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Four Power Steering Pumps, Same Horrible Groan

Discussion in '1994-2004 V6 Mustang Tech' started by pixapusho, May 13, 2017.

  1. pixapusho

    pixapusho Member

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    Hey all,
    Been battling this power steering groan... The original pump had it, the pump that came with my low mileage engine had it, I pulled a '94 power steering pump and it had it, and I recently bought a remanufactured pump.... and it groans. I'm beyond suspicious now. Yes, it is the pump - verified with stethoscope, not to mention everything else has been replaced. More specifically, I believe the pump is being overworked to overcome a resistance.

    I use ATF Dex/Merc in the pumps. It has been flushed many times now. I blew the PS lines out with my compressor, though I know hydraulic pressure is more than a compressor's output, so I couldn't accurately judge any restrictions. It seems to be free flowing.

    When I install a pump, I'll fill the reservoir up with fluid and turn the steering wheel from lock to lock slowly with the car off and front end in the air. When I hit a lock, I will let it sit until the air bubbles stop coming up. I noticed I get more air bubbles when I turn the wheels quickly. I have bled other cars using this method, and have had 100% success. I usually go lock to lock over 30 times.

    I'm thinking an inner or outer tie rod end could be the culprit. If it had failed and was binding, it could take excessive pressure to turn the wheels. Same with the ball joint. It takes more force than it should to turn the wheel at a stop.

    If all else fails, I'm going to convert to a Saginaw pump with fluid pressure limiter. I'm so tired of this.

    Meanwhile, my donor exhaust manifolds are cracked bad. Just got a set of pacesetter headers in, I need to paint them tomorrow. I think shorties are a great investment for durability.

    Next step, an acquaintance has a Diablo tuner thats ready to marry an ECU for $150... My kind of price.
     
  2. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    Have you checked the return lines to the ps reservoir? A little restriction goes a long ways.
     
  3. pixapusho

    pixapusho Member

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    I haven't replaced any lines, I know it's recommended... I found an army man in the original power steering pump. Not sure how I can measure absolute line pressure.
     
  4. Phil II

    Phil II Cone Destroyer Staff Member

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    No real need measure pressure. Just check for kinks and the like.
     
  5. 6 Shooter

    6 Shooter Well-Known Member

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    This is so true. After multiple whining pumps, finally traced the problem to the oil return line attached to the bottom of the power steering pump. Am still using a stock pump, but my setup uses the GT hydraboost brake system, thus two return lines. Finally solved the problem by using two 6AN sized return line going into a Y-block that was connected to the bottom of the power steering pump.
     
  6. pixapusho

    pixapusho Member

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    No kinks that I can tell, just examined the lines. Just installed Pacesetter headers and now the gruesome exhaust noise is gone... bringing PS pump to the top of my list! Finally a small success.

    I read that pumps have a 500 mile break in period, Im about 200 miles in.

    6 shooter, do you think your return line was partially clogged? I could replace all of the lines between PS pump and steering rack. That would explain straining of the pump
     
  7. 6 Shooter

    6 Shooter Well-Known Member

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    No clogging. First used a brass Tee fitting and the pumps would whine. Switched out the Tee for an upside down Y-block connection and larger return line hoses and the noise went away instantly. Think the Y-block was 6AN which is 3/8".

    Suggest you increase the diameter of the return hose. The supply side should be OK. Plus, I used high pressure 3/8" hydraulic hose that would not collapse or balloon. You can get that hose from a hydraulic hose repair shop. It's good for 300 psi which will never happen on a return line. The idea is good flow volume to the bottom of the power steering pump reservoir without any restrictions. No sharp bends, just smooth curves of the hose without any squashing of the hoses. OK if a little longer to smooth out the curves in the return line.
     
  8. pixapusho

    pixapusho Member

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    You modified the return hose nipple at the bottom of the pump to a hydraulic hose fitting that's a larger diameter? I have an extra pump or three to experiment with. I'm absolutely going to try this next weekend. I appreciate the help. I never did change out the stock return hose. I just used the one on the car over and over.
     
  9. 6 Shooter

    6 Shooter Well-Known Member

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    Did not modify the return nipple at the bottom of the stock pump reservoir. Since the setup uses a GT hydraulic boost brake, one oil line come from there. The other return line comes from the power steering oil cooler line which is a 3/8" rubber hose line. Thus, the reason for the Y-block. So, best to use the better hydraulic rubber hose which is stiffer and made for the hydraulic PS oil and is less susceptible to kinking or flatening on a tighter bend.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  10. pixapusho

    pixapusho Member

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    Awesome. Thanks. Cant wait to get this last thing nicked. Ill report back this weekend... was seriously considering the Saginaw swap.
     
  11. pixapusho

    pixapusho Member

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    I replaced all soft tubing for the return lines (rack to cooler, cooler to pump) with 3/8" power steering hose. Flushed it. Switched to Castrol Mercon V. Filled with fluid, flushed a whole quart, spun pump by hand, turned wheels back and forth. Bled it for about 3-5 minutes before starting vehicle.

    Noise is a little better, but definitely not resolved. Still way beyond a normal whine (not my first Ford). Going to try my luck at a nicer pump from American Muscle later on. I've tried: stock 250K pump, 35K pump from '99, 150K pump from '94, Autozone pump rebuilt $60. For now, I'm onto the Windstar swap.