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Another vehicle, another problem w/ steering this time

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by rick88blaze, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. rick88blaze

    rick88blaze 1/2 ton status

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    My wife drives a '97 Mercury villager mini-van. It's got power rack and pinion steering on it. The steering has gotten stiff these last few months, and from time to time it "sticks". The steering wheel basically locks up. You can still turn it, but it's like driving an old truck with worn out manual steering. I put a screwdriver up to the pump a couple weeks ago and the bearings seemed to be quite noisy. A power steering pump is about $120, the rack and pinion is $200. I am waiting to tear into it until I find out exactly what's wrong. I am thinking it's the power steering pump, but I don't know **** about rack and pinion steering. So if anyone has any ideas or already knows what's wrong please post up. I would hate to replace one expensive part to find out it was the other one. Thanks in advance! :bow: :bow:

    Rick
     
  2. PsychoticDeadGuy

    PsychoticDeadGuy 1/2 ton status

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    rip it all out and put a couple solid axles on it with some major fender hacking and 44" boggers...haha, just kidding. if the noice is coming from the pump, i would start there and replace that first...
     
  3. rick88blaze

    rick88blaze 1/2 ton status

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    I'm not quite sure if my wife would go for all that? :haha: I am thinking along those same lines as far as the pump goes. :D

    Rick
     
  4. PsychoticDeadGuy

    PsychoticDeadGuy 1/2 ton status

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    :haha: :haha: c'mon...you could talk her into it couldnt you? just imagine it...post a pic of the van and people have have fun with photoshop and then you will see how cool it could be...just imagine it... :haha: :haha:
     
  5. rick88blaze

    rick88blaze 1/2 ton status

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    I'll get try to post up a pic up in the next day or two. :haha: :haha:

    Rick
     
  6. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    A few thoughts..

    If it only sticks "from time to time",I would say it might be low pressure causing it,and the "bearings" your hearing might actually be the vanes in the pump growling..a bad pressure hose can restrict the flow to the rack and cause that..so can wear and hardened seals in the rack and pinion--is it worse when you first start it cold in the morining??--if so,its probabaly the rack itself..but read this too..

    My sisters toyota corolla did the same thing--felt "lumpy" and binding up once in awhile..she was afraid to drive it,so she let it sit 5 months and used her husbands truck instead..I assumed it needed a rack--it was going to cost 200 for a rebuilt,and 150 for a shop to install it..one day I drove her home from my house,and I looked her car over--.

    I started it up,and grabbed the wheel--after straining,I got it to "break free"--and I heard a squeaky-squeak noise with every turn of the wheel!..I looked under the dash--it has a U-joint in the steering colum!--looked like a pto shaft dinky one--it was all rusty,salt must have gotten to it from her boots or something,it was seized up pretty solid!..all the needle bearings were corroded to death!.
    ---20 bucks for a new one, I it fixed in 45 minites! :D --your van might be set up the same way? . :crazy:
     
  7. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    fords have the dirtyest system out there. i see them all the time. try to flush the fluid out. or have it done by a shop with the machine.

    if you want get a big turkey baster and 2 quarts of fluid. then suck out all you can and refill . then run lock to lock a few times and repet till all clean and 2 quarts gone. i bet your fluid looks vary brown or gray with a burnt smell.
     
  8. rick88blaze

    rick88blaze 1/2 ton status

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    She told me that it did this same thing last year and she had the steering system flushed out while I was in S. Korea, but the shop she said she took it too I don't trust, so I don't know if they really did it or not and she can't find the paperwork. And yes, the fluid is exactly the way you described. I'll try to flush it out this week or next weekend. Maybe that's something that needs to be done yearly on this stupid van. I'll price new hoses too.

    I'll check and see if it has a U-joint in the steering shaft, but there's no noise coming from the shaft.

    Rick
     
  9. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I agree...

    I have seen some nasty P/S fluid come out of many Fords too.(a lot of fords have noisy pumps period too!)
    .That Lucas power steering treatment works good on rack and pinions too--the used car guy I know uses it a lot,and its worked miracles on a few cars he used it on..a good flushing and some of that stuff might fix it right up !!..it would be cheapest thing to try first... :crazy:
     
  10. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

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    yes i will second the lucus steering stuff. that stuff stoped the leak in my dads old van rack.


    and wait till you price stuff for that merc van as it is possible the forgin body van like a nissan quest. :D not a true ford.
     
  11. gauder

    gauder Banned

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    Does it have that speed sensitive steering assist on it? If it's anything like the newer gm's it could just be the sensor on the back of the ps pump.
     
  12. 88sub4x4

    88sub4x4 1/2 ton status

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    I will agree with flushing out the fluid every year or so. The turkey baster method usually works fine. P/S pumps always sound like they are bad through a screwdriver. It really is not the best method. The problem you describe sounds alot like the symptoms a chrysler van exhibits with a bad rack. See if any of your local parts houses rent P/S pressure testers. That is the only real diagnostic method that will be accurate.
     
  13. rick88blaze

    rick88blaze 1/2 ton status

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    No, it doesn't have speed sensitive steering.
     
  14. 79cheyenneblazer

    79cheyenneblazer Registered Member

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    flush out the system and try Lube Guard's product for power steering. A caravan came in with stiff steering to our shop and it was whining really bad and he couldn't afford to fix it, so we put the stuff in and the longer he drove it the better it got. He came back to thanks us for making it last longer. I believe they are usually around $7 for a bottle. Its a cheap try. Hope I helped! :D
     

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