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Old 02-14-2010, 10:57 PM   #1
RP31
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Location: Lisle, IL
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2005 2.6L 9:1 425WHP
CGM STi

Default Power Steering pump going out, or rack & pinion issue?

For the past few days I've noticed a whining/whistling type sound coming from under the hood. It sounds like a kazoo. At first I thought it was a boost or vacuum leak, but the sound seems more RPM-dependent than boost dependent. And the car still reaches target boost levels, so I don't think it's a dying turbo.

Then today I got in the car, started driving, and noticed terrible vibration/feedback when turning the steering wheel at lower RPMs. The whining noise is still there, but now the steering wheel shakes a lot during low RPM turns. Checked the fluid level and it's fine. No noticeable leaks.

At this point I'm thinking this is either a dying power steering pump, or a rack & pinion issue. Any tips for troubleshooting and determining which one it could be?
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:29 AM   #2
BlackFighter
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Does it get better as the car worms up? I have the same thing but i know that my power steering hose is leaking. Check the hose on the pass side under the eng area. Hoes it feel like intervals, not smooth turning feeling on the wheel? Don't know how to describe it best.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:37 AM   #3
photodude
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The wining you are hearing is def the pump.. This usually happens when the fluid is low, either because of a leak or because the oil is so old it has just lost its viscosity.
If you ran the pump low for a long period of time you can and will destroy the entire pump and rack and pinion system. The R&P is NOT designed to use without a pump. Usually leaks are in the R&P.. clean up the bottom of your car.. find the leak.. repair/or replace as necessary.

Good luck.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:05 PM   #4
RP31
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Well I got in the car this morning and the steering is fine, but the noise is still there. WTF. I bought a few quarts of M1 synthetic ATF and am going to change the fluid tonight. Will remove the undertray and do a more thorough leak check while I'm working on it.
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:59 AM   #5
RP31
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Swapped out the fluid last night. Definitely no leaks. Noise is still there.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:25 PM   #6
BlackFighter
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how many miles?
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:36 PM   #7
mespinola
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photodude View Post
The wining you are hearing is def the pump..
+1. How many years/miles on the car/pump? Did you recently drive over anything that may have hit it?
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:54 PM   #8
madmax718
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Could just be air. Maybe its not the pump. Jack the front end up, Open cap, try turning steering wheel left and right all the way, bleed the system.

If noise is still there, try removing the belt. See if the noise goes away.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:58 PM   #9
RP31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackFighter View Post
how many miles?
95,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by mespinola View Post
+1. How many years/miles on the car/pump? Did you recently drive over anything that may have hit it?
Car is coming up on 6 years old, pump is the same. Have not recently hit anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madmax718 View Post
Could just be air. Maybe its not the pump. Jack the front end up, Open cap, try turning steering wheel left and right all the way, bleed the system.

If noise is still there, try removing the belt. See if the noise goes away.
This was part of the fluid replacement procedure last night... Haven't tried removing the belt. Guess that's the next step. Won't get to that tonight, but I will report back when I do.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:00 PM   #10
RP31
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Still have not gotten around to disconnecting the pump, but I did pop the hood, wedge a piece of wood against the pedal to rev the engine to ~2K RPM, and listened... It's difficult to be sure, but the sound seems to be coming from the AC compressor. Found a few posts talking about these bearings going bad. Going to continue to try to isolate the noise.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:32 AM   #11
RP31
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I got it!

Last night I loosened the AC idler pulley, removed that belt, and started the car. No noise, so it had to be either the compressor pulley or the idler pulley. Hoping it was the less expensive problem, I went to AutoZone, spent $35 on a new metal idler pulley, replaced it, and now all is well.

The steering issue is still a bit concerning though... The fix for this noise was completely unrelated to the power steering or rack & pinion. Oh well, at least the steering issue has not returned since.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:10 PM   #12
metaphist
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Sorry to resurrect a 3 year old thread, but wanted to chime in.

I was having this exact problem. My steering slowly got to the point where I could turn the wheel seemingly twice as far to get the same turn in the tires (before that, though, all the same steering symptoms the OP had). I popped the hood to discover my AC belt snapped in two. The nut that locks the tension bolt in place was gone, which allowed the belt to loosen slowly, and also the idler pulley looked pretty shot. Don't know what happened first to cause what, but that was the case.

But the fact that it would effect steering doesn't seem right...? It makes me think there is a greater underlying problem.

At any rate, I just ordered a new belt and pulley and will install tomorrow, so we'll see what happens to the steering.
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