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Old 02-06-2004, 04:59 PM   #1
SonicJLee
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2004 Subaru WRX STI
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Angry Power Steering Problem on '04 WRX

Hey,
I've been having problems with my power steering pump not working sometimes. This happened after it got really cold one week (-10F). It seems to not work when I start the car on a cold day (even after warming up for about 3mins) and if I get on the gas while I am turning. If I fight it through the turn it will go back to normal for a little while. The local Subaru dealer said that they haven't heard of the problem yet. I almost hit another car the first time that I ran into the problem because I wasn't expecting the power steering to kick off halfway into the turn. FYI, the 2004 WRXs have a variable-speed sensitive powe steering pump. Any help on what could be the cause of the problem would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Joe Lee
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Old 02-07-2004, 05:10 PM   #2
Raptor75104
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I'm just thinking out loud, here, but perhaps it's not the pump. Perhaps it's the belt. I would check belt tension. You can also look at the reservoir and make sure you have enough fluid in it. Power steering pump issues are not hardly ever seen in Subarus.

Raptor
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Old 02-09-2004, 12:40 PM   #3
Kean
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Do you ever hold your wheel at full lock? There are several owners on this board who have made that mistake and burned out their pumps.
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Old 02-16-2004, 07:42 PM   #4
SonicJLee
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Hey guys,
Thanks for the responses! I checked the fluid when I first experienced the problem and noticed that it was fine. Also, I'm pretty conscious about not keeping my steering wheel at full lock because I know that is bad for the power steering pump. Hopefully it is just the belt tension. Would I hear the belt slipping if that was the cause? I never heard any unusual noises.

Joe Lee
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:34 PM   #5
Roy Lin
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Out of curiosity: what is "full lock"?
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Old 02-19-2004, 10:02 PM   #6
Mulder
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Full lock = holding the wheel fully turned to one side so it is against the stop and can't go any further. In this condition the internal pump pressures are very high and if sustained for long enough the pump can be damaged.
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Old 02-20-2004, 12:37 AM   #7
Uncle Scotty
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Joe...did someone else drive your car right before your problems started?
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Old 02-20-2004, 07:58 PM   #8
PeterJ
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The service manual (bottom of PS-74) states that sometimes the wheel can be hard to turn when its really cold due to the fluid thickening at such temps. The cure for it is to turn the wheel back and forth several times after you start the car to warm up the fluid.
The problem you described (sometimes not working) could also be because of cold/thick fluid, so give it a try and see what happens. At -10F my acts like its 20 years old before everything is warmed up.
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Old 02-22-2004, 08:30 PM   #9
SonicJLee
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Uncle Scotty, No one drove my car before the problem started. Actually the problem started after the car sat at the airport for a week (parking deck). It was in the same spot that I left it in.

PeterJ, I will try what you said when I see the problem again.

The temps warmed up to about 30 F now and the problem seems to be pretty much gone. I took some hard turns and found that the steering works as it should. Hopefully it was just thick fluid. I do have to say that it scared the crap out of me the first time that I lost power steering during a turn. Thanks for the help guys.

Joe Lee
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Old 02-22-2004, 08:48 PM   #10
Uncle Scotty
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"Actually the problem started after the car sat at the airport for a week (parking deck). It was in the same spot that I left it in."

That'll do it....

Also...NEVER hold the steering wheel at full lock--turned hard to the stop, either way---even for just a few seconds....if you hit full lock, back off a bit....the results may be a fried PS pump
Happens in the winter when 'kids' go out and play in the snow and hold full lock...
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