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Old 02-21-2011, 08:37 PM   #1
stumper302
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Default Power Steering Pump Question

I have on 02 Outback Sport, it now has 154k. Last winter the power steering pump started to squeak/squeal and I had a hell of a time finding a rebuilt unit and ended up getting a used pump with unknown miles on it, replaced pump and fluid then. So this fall the car starts the same thing when it started getting cold, so I was able to find a rebuilt this time and swapped it in back in November, this time I didn't change the fluid because it still looked new from the last time. Now a few months later the damn rebuilt pump is starting to squeal when I fire it up from a cold start.

Is there something that would cause this, or is it just a coincidence that the original, then a used pump, and finally a rebuilt pump all failed.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:31 PM   #2
RaceFaceXC
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You changed the belt when you changed the pump, right? Also, is the belt at the correct tension?
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaceFaceXC View Post
You changed the belt when you changed the pump, right? Also, is the belt at the correct tension?
+1...
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
stumper302
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Did not replace belt, was less than 20k on belt when I originally swapped pump. Also did not change it this last time either, but did inspect and there were minimal signs of wear. I think I got the belt tension right, wasn't really sure how to check proper tension, made sure it was pretty snug but not tight. That would make sense if the belt was over tightened it would put excess wear on the bearings.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:26 AM   #5
RaceFaceXC
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The squeal is almost always from the belt, not the bearing. The FSM states a tension, might state a deflection per pound, too. Errrr, kilogram. A mech at the dealer should be able to give you a tip for sering belt tension. If the belt has been contaminated with fluid it can be impossible to remove it completely.


Btw, are the pumps actually failing or are they just making the noise you describe?
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:52 AM   #6
Patrick Olsen
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What fluid are you using?
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:43 PM   #7
stumper302
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The original pump was very close to seizing up, since I continued to drive it while I couldn't locate a replacement. When I swapped that I put a used pump in that was fine for the rest of last winter and all summer. When the weather started to get cold again it would squeal when I started the car up but went away after 3-6 seconds. Since the pump was used I didn't know how many miles were on it when I put it on. So when that happened I figured the pump was on its last leg when I got it, and this fall I was able to find the correct rebuilt pump through Rock Auto. I put that on and it was fine for about a month and again it started to squeal when I started it up from cold start. The noise sounds internal when I put my ear to it. Fluid is I think valvoline synthetic.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:46 PM   #8
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Also noise only lasts 3-5 seconds then goes away, but you hear it if the car is still cold and turn the wheel. Then it seems to be fine once the car is warmed up.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:38 PM   #9
Patrick Olsen
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Valvoline synthetic what? ATF or PS fluid?
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:08 PM   #10
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Manually tensioned belts usually need to be re-tightened after a couple months. P/S pumps don't squeal when they have an internal problem. They whine.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:42 PM   #11
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all your symptoms point to the belt needing to be correctly tensioned or replaced. I have heard a PS pump make some awful noises before, but never squeak/squeal. When my PS pump started failing on my 93 pontiac it was noticeable in the steering wheel effort/feel. Also, just curious how you determined the PS pump was about to seize? And if it was about to seize, how was the belt not glazed/stretched or worse?
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:32 PM   #12
haze89
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true
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:13 AM   #13
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Any updates, stumper?

I just had my power steering pump replaced by the dealer about 6 weeks ago and I'm having the same symptoms. When it's cold and/or low RPM, I get the squeal, but only near either left or right lock. Steering feel doesn't change, however. I'm definitely going to take it back in, but I was curious if there was anything I could check.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:52 AM   #14
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theres air in the system.Thats the problem.Ya need to vaccum that out.I had the same issues..
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gh32
Any updates, stumper?

I just had my power steering pump replaced by the dealer about 6 weeks ago and I'm having the same symptoms. When it's cold and/or low RPM, I get the squeal, but only near either left or right lock. Steering feel doesn't change, however. I'm definitely going to take it back in, but I was curious if there was anything I could check.
Check the belt tension. The load on the pulley/belt interface is highest at the steering stops so a belt is most likely to slip at that steering position.

I thought the ps system was an open hydraulic system so air was pumped out and replaced by fluid. So if fluid is in the reservoir then you are good to go. Am I wrong here?
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:20 AM   #16
Wrencher86
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That's correct. However, if the system is low either from a leak or a component being replaced the fluid can become aerated. With the fluid in this frothy state the pump will whine quite loudly and steering effort will be pretty high and non-linear (sort of a notchy feeling). This issue will usualy remedy itself after 15-20 minutes of driving. The easiest way to get this to go away, though, is to start the car, turn the wheel lock to lock a few times, then shut the car off, take the cap off the P/S reservoir and then go take lunch. By the time you get back all the fluid should have settled and it should be ready to go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gh32 View Post
Any updates, stumper?

I just had my power steering pump replaced by the dealer about 6 weeks ago and I'm having the same symptoms. When it's cold and/or low RPM, I get the squeal, but only near either left or right lock. Steering feel doesn't change, however. I'm definitely going to take it back in, but I was curious if there was anything I could check.

This sounds like a belt issue. Cold belts tend to be less grippy on the pulley, at low RPM's the P/S pump is spinning slower and has to work harder to put out more pressure, and the closer you get to the steering locks the more pressure the pump is trying to put out.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:56 PM   #17
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Thanks, I'll take a look at the belt tension tomorrow. Interestingly, it didn't happen at all today. I'll have to make more notes of when and under what circumstances the noise comes back.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:55 PM   #18
Saabaru25rs
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I have had the same problem that persists only below freezing. Wrencher made a good point, the belt will have less friction in this temp range. This is not an issue that will damage your pump. However, over tensioning this belt in an effort to remedy the problem will cause the pulley bearings to fail prematurely.....
...What I did was tighten the alternator tensioner a 1/4 turn each time i started my car until the noise went away.

it only took a half turn total
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