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Old 07-28-2017, 08:44 PM   #1
RDD3
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Member#: 459236
Join Date: Dec 2016
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2002 WRX Wagon
Red

Default Power steering failing when hot/racing

We have a 2002 WRX that we use primarily for RallyCross. At the past couple of events we've had a problem with power steering. It was about 90 degrees out at both events. My son drives the car very hard during these events.

The problem is that the power steering failed for maybe the last 15 seconds of a 75-90 second run, on multiple consecutive runs. It seemed to recover after a very short time (by the time the car was back in grid maybe two-three minutes later). There was some evidence that the fluid may have boiled over (the reservoir caps are not fluid-tight), but the level looked fine.

We've had zero problems with power steering otherwise - no noises, no failures (drove the car home on the freeway in that heat for 3+ hours and it was fine).

We changed the fluid after the first time it happened using Redline D4 ATF (seemed to be the consensus), but it happened again at the next race.

Because we are running stock and planning to compete at nationals, we cannot add a power steering cooler loop (we actually have one from a JDM car, but no can use).

I'm assuming it's the heat, but it could also be related to the fact that the car is at pretty much right below redline for 60 seconds straight and the power steering pump doesn't like that.

I've had several people tell me to change the power steering pump, but I'd really like to have either some input from someone who is familiar with this specific problem (maybe a rallycrosser or autocrosser who's seen it), or some diagnostics I can do to determine that the pump is failing, before I start throwing parts at it. A $400 power steering pump is about 15% of the value of the car, and I'm not confident that a junkyard pump is going to be any better than the one that's in there now in this specific stress scenario.

Any help is much appreciated!
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:05 PM   #2
Charlie-III
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My first thought was do a fluid change, but you did that.
A rebuilt pump is about $125.

Pack the pump in ice before a run?

Can't say I have heard of an issue like this, I do some track days as well as AutoX in my 98 Legacy wagon with a stock PS pump and don't have issues.
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:29 PM   #3
Blingstrom
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Just had this same issue for a whole year of auto-x. Fluid change seemed to delay the issue... heat resistant coating over lines.. did just about the same thing.

I always would have issues whenever I had back to back to back sharp turns. The steering would work, work, nothing.. it was pretty sketchy to be pointed towards a course worker trying to wrench the wheel to the other direction with just manpower.

I know in auto-x they changed the rules to allow for more "reliability" based mods that give no other enhancements. But I am not as clear on the rally-x rules.. I heard they were a pretty lax bunch of guys from a friend that went to nationals last year.

I would stay clear of rebuilt pumps myself.. I put in 3 "rebuilt" pumpss before I rebuilt my original subaru p/s unit. That lasted 4 years until I auto-x heavily.. never had an issue on the street with it. Rebuilt units would never bleed properly and always seemed to have something wrong with them right out the box. My brand new subaru p/s pump needed nothing. Didn't even bleed it.. just worked right out the gate.

I wish I would have just bought the o.e unit and never looked back. Would have saved me many hours of bleeding worthless rebuilt pumps and wasted fluid.

Last edited by Blingstrom; 07-29-2017 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 07-30-2017, 06:16 PM   #4
binny
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Do you have a power steering cooler?
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:32 PM   #5
Blingstrom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binny View Post
Do you have a power steering cooler?
Not quite sure who you are asking. But no I do not have a cooler.

Wasn't legal for my auto-x class until this year and not having any issues with the new pump. So i have been less interested in adding one in the current time.

I may still do it during the winter this year. For awhile I was concerned that my driving style was inducing it.. as I used to be quite erratic with the wheel and have since improved on that facet.

Or under very heavy load the P/s unit was internally bypassing a weak seal. Every so often at slow speeds I would get very inconstant feedback and feel.
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Old 07-31-2017, 05:38 AM   #6
RDD3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binny View Post
Do you have a power steering cooler?
Same here. Not legal in RallyCross (stock). We actually have one we got from a JDM nose cut that we're love to put on, but no can do in stock.
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Old 07-31-2017, 05:46 AM   #7
dls1975
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDD3 View Post
We have a 2002 WRX that we use primarily for RallyCross. At the past couple of events we've had a problem with power steering. It was about 90 degrees out at both events. My son drives the car very hard during these events.

The problem is that the power steering failed for maybe the last 15 seconds of a 75-90 second run, on multiple consecutive runs. It seemed to recover after a very short time (by the time the car was back in grid maybe two-three minutes later). There was some evidence that the fluid may have boiled over (the reservoir caps are not fluid-tight), but the level looked fine.

We've had zero problems with power steering otherwise - no noises, no failures (drove the car home on the freeway in that heat for 3+ hours and it was fine).

We changed the fluid after the first time it happened using Redline D4 ATF (seemed to be the consensus), but it happened again at the next race.

Because we are running stock and planning to compete at nationals, we cannot add a power steering cooler loop (we actually have one from a JDM car, but no can use).

I'm assuming it's the heat, but it could also be related to the fact that the car is at pretty much right below redline for 60 seconds straight and the power steering pump doesn't like that.

I've had several people tell me to change the power steering pump, but I'd really like to have either some input from someone who is familiar with this specific problem (maybe a rallycrosser or autocrosser who's seen it), or some diagnostics I can do to determine that the pump is failing, before I start throwing parts at it. A $400 power steering pump is about 15% of the value of the car, and I'm not confident that a junkyard pump is going to be any better than the one that's in there now in this specific stress scenario.

Any help is much appreciated!
The rack is by passing inside, my 03 was working then would stop working and get hot. I deleted mine for now, but i know you can't, rebuild the rack stock part on EBay is around 100.
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:53 PM   #8
Suba_Roo
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I have this same problem on an 01 RS that runs street mod class in autocross. When running in the warm (california central valley) with slicks the PS will just cut out for a second or two. I've been able to fight through it (it usually happens on the same place on course so you can be ready for it). The annoying thing is that it works great on the street so I always forget to fix it before the next event.

I'm pretty sure that my issue is exacerbated by my car having an STI steering rack and running RComps and a lot of caster.

I did notice that my pump is a little overfilled and had wondered if that was contributing to the problem.

I'll have to check out adding a PS cooler and see if that helps.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:01 PM   #9
Suba_Roo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDD3 View Post
Same here. Not legal in RallyCross (stock). We actually have one we got from a JDM nose cut that we're love to put on, but no can do in stock.
Write a letter about that one. A PS cooler isn't going to make your car faster, it's just going to prevent you having to replace expensive parts.
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Old 08-02-2017, 05:58 PM   #10
Crawlerado
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I was having a similar issue on my RX car, switched everything to Redline High-Temp Full Synthetic ATF and never looked back.

https://www.redlineoil.com/product.aspx?pid=54
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:21 AM   #11
binny
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Default Power steering failing when hot/racing

Quote:
Originally Posted by RDD3 View Post
Same here. Not legal in RallyCross (stock). We actually have one we got from a JDM nose cut that we're love to put on, but no can do in stock.

Ah Ok there's your problem*

WRX in Oz come with them stock (most models)

Could try an under drive pulley (if rules allow?)

*possibly
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:32 PM   #12
RDD3
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Red

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We replaced the o-ring and both hoses (with OEM), and all four clamps (with worm-gear style) and it seemed much better.
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