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Power Steering Whine

murf3030
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Power Steering Whine

Post by murf3030 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:05 pm

We have an '06 FS Ltd that has slowly developled a louder and louder power steering whine the longer it is driven. We initially took it into our local dealer twice before the warranty was up, but both times they said they could find nothing. Since the, the warranty has expired and its getting gradually worse. I have been reading up on things to try: Checking for clogged screen in resevoir, low fluid, bad pump and bad rack.

With that said, I am just now beginning the process of elimination. Can anyone provide the easiest way of checking the screen for clogs? How about the easiest way to change out the fluid without disconnecting the lines (i dont want to have to deal with bleeding any air out of the lines)? Does anyone have any instructions on how to replace the pump altogether?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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andysinnh
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by andysinnh » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:01 pm

One thing to keep in mind is that if you started seeing the problem before the warranty ran out, and brought it in to the dealer and they noted that it was checked - many times if the problem rears it's head more prominently after warranty expiration they will cover all or part of it. If it's something that's now reproducible, I'd go back to the same dealer and say "see, it's doing it now" and see what they say. Wouldn't hurt, anyhow.

Typically with loud PS racks like this, it's either air in the system or a seal that's going to cause the fluid sound to occur or the PS pump to get real noisy. In most cases (at least in my experiences) replacing the rack is the ultimate solution.

andy
A "Ford" and 3 "Honda" Family in NH

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murf3030
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by murf3030 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:03 pm

I did contact the dealer and they did not note the last time we brought it in to be looked at. Therefore, the last time they show us bringing it in was back last November. They said they would give us a discount on the parts and labor, but that Ford was not doing anything to help them out.

Jack Watts
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by Jack Watts » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:19 pm

If your warranty is up and the dealer won't help you out, I'd first try flushing the PS fluid. That's what I did and it completely fixed the problem (whining, particularly when hot, parking/slow speed turns). My car is still in extended warr for another 30K but I decided to flush the system when it was making noise. I figure if I have anything more serious like a leak in the rack, it'll come back before the warranty is up.



Here's how to flush the PS fluid according to the FSM:

materials you'll need:
- 2 Quarts Merc or MercV fluid (I used Mobil 1 AFT synthetic)
-vacuum caps to plug reservoir (Home Depot or Autozone)
-clear plastic tubing--I think 5/8 ID, sorry, can't remember for sure
-fluid pump or siphon

directions
-open PS reservoir and remove as much fluid as possible (I used a simple siphon).

-remove the PS inlet hose (open banjo clamp w/pliers and slide back 2 inches, pull of inlet hose (hose in the front of the res.) and plug/close off w/vacuum cap

-attach plastic tubing over the inlet hose (5/8 ID slides right over the hose with a snug fit, no need for clamps)

-run plastic tubing to clean plastic jug (2 liter soda bottle)

-refill reservoir, put on cap--DO NOT OVERFILL RESERVOIR

-start car while simultaneously turning wheel to 'lock' position. Immediately turn off engine. Fluid will drain out into bottle. Re-fill reservoir, re-install cap, repeat turning wheel back the other way to the 'lock' position. Rinse, repeat. Do this 4-5 times until the fluid coming out is clear (red) and clean.

-remove clear hose from inlet hose, remove vacuum cap and re-install inlet hose

-after you're done, top off fluid, start engine and move wheel back and forth quickly to remove air--don't turn all the way to the stops. Add more fluid as necessary. It may take a couple of days to get all of the air out--ATF aerates easily. Check it every couple of days. After a week or so, the air should be out. With the car running and hot, the fluid shouldn't be bubbling. If the fluid isn't bubbling while hot and running, and you're still losing fluid, you've got a leak somewhere, possibly in the rack.

-note: this procedure is a little different that what's normally seen (raising front end and not starting the engine), but this was in the factory service manual, so that's what I did. I'd recommend a good quality synthetic ATF which is MercV (meets the new requirements for PS fluid according to Ford).

-the PS pump sounded pretty rough while doing this-don't panic. Just try not to let the reservoir get too low. You'll have to re-fill after every turn. Don't panic if the fluid gets foamy, the air will go away. You can avoid MOST of the air by keeping the tube in the plastic bottle submerged and by not overfilling the reservoir; for this reason, it's a little easier to do with 2 people.

-It also sounds pretty rough when you're purging the air before final fill-up.

The fluid I took out was REALLY dirty (I did this around 60K). After changing it, steering effort was greatly reduced, it feels really smooth lock-to-lock, and there's no more whine. After 15K, the fluid still looks good and all's working perfectly.
Last edited by Jack Watts on Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wheelman
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by Wheelman » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:10 pm

I have the same problem, but I don't believe it is the steering pump or anything seriously wrong. Unless yours in not the same as mine. What I hear is like a shaft squeaking on rubber. The reason I don't believe it's the pump is because I can make it sound with the engine off and just turning the wheel slightly, with the key turned on, so the steering doesn't lock. I just don't know where it is squeaking. If I could find it and gain excess to it, a bit of graphite or dielectric grease would probably fix it.

murf3030
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by murf3030 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:59 pm

Let me ask someone if this is normal. I left the vehicle running and popped the hood. I looked at the power steering resevoir and it looked like the fluid was "bubbling". Is that common? If not, what is causing it and what is the remedy? Would this be causing the whine?

Thanks,
Tim

Jack Watts
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by Jack Watts » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:26 pm

murf3030 wrote:Let me ask someone if this is normal. I left the vehicle running and popped the hood. I looked at the power steering resevoir and it looked like the fluid was "bubbling". Is that common? If not, what is causing it and what is the remedy? Would this be causing the whine?

Thanks,
Tim
It's not normal if you haven't serviced the system-the bubbles indicate that there's air in the line. Are you losing fluid? Do you see any leaks under the car?

If you have a bunch of air in there, put the front of the car up on jack stands, turn the key to the on position (but don't crank it over), and move the steering wheel quickly back and forth (but not all the way to the stops). Do this like 30-40 times.

That said, I'd flush the system if I were you.

murf3030
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by murf3030 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:31 pm

I do not see any leaks and there is nothing on the floor of our garage. Would these bubbles cause the whining noise?

Jack Watts
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by Jack Watts » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:58 pm

it's not the bubbles per se, but the air in the system, i.e. the rack or pump may not be getting proper lubrication because there's air in the system. The bubbles are simply the indicator that there is indeed air in the system.

Edk
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by Edk » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:43 pm

My 06 was doing the same thing, after some city driving, the ps pump would whine terribly. However, i got the extended warrenty, and my dealer replaced the pump for me. they said it was leaking and that is what was causing the whine.
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WhereisWill
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by WhereisWill » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:46 pm

My Freebie has what I would consider a power steering whine or growl. It reminds me of the sound my old Chevy would make after enough power steering fluid had leaked out. I checked the level of the fluid in the Ford and while it is a little dark, the level is good. It is moving rapidly through the reservoir like it is being pumped very fast. It's not "bubbling" but it is sloshing around in there a lot. The noise I'm hearing is intermittent. It has to be really hot to do it, and even then, it does it every once in a while.
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Imperial Death Star
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by Imperial Death Star » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:59 am

search the forum here for a "turkey baster" fluid change method to change out the fluid. If it still persists them haqve the pump checked.
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WhereisWill
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by WhereisWill » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:43 pm

That's not a bad idea. The car's still under warranty til 60k (currently 53k) so I'll do just that. It's worth the $100 deductable if I end up with a new pump or rack.
2006 Ford Freestyle SEL FWD 3.0 V-6 CVT
1996 Toyota Tacoma LX 4X4 3.4 V-6 5-Speed

jepotter
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by jepotter » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:40 pm

I too had this issue and fixed it by starting the motor (left it in park), turned the wheel all the way to the left and added fluid. No more sound.

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redd_planet
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Re: Power Steering Whine

Post by redd_planet » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:15 pm

Last summer my wife's 2006 Freestyle Limited started to growl. Checked the fluid level and it was down ever so slightly. Debated on what to do but figured a bottle of fluid is cheaper than a service visit, so I added a small amount and the growl stopped. Can't believe such a small amount of fluid made the difference but so far so good. If you do add fluid make sure to check the manual, I recall purchasing Mercon something fluid.
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