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Putting the Power Back in Power Steering
By Mike Bumbeck/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Estimated Time120 minutes
120 minutes
Past Due
A low power steering fluid condition left neglected long can accelerate pump wear. When bringing the fluid level back up to snuff, first check the pressure and return hoses for leakage. Next check the steering assembly or rack-and-pinion for leaks. If everything is topped off and not leaking, yet the pump continues to groan and whine, the damage may have already been done. It may be time to replace the power steering pump, fluid, and flush the system of toasted fluid. If you're one of the lucky people, removing and replacing the power steering pump is a fairly simple task. On the other hand, some pumps are buried in a maze of manifolds, vacuum lines, and everything else that could possibly be put in place to prevent easy power steering pump replacement.

The power steering pump takes its power from the engine by using belts and pulleys. V-belt or serpentine, the idea is the same. Loosen the tension on the belt, remove and replace the pump, and put the belt back on. Depending on what type of replacement pump is procured, it may be necessary to transfer the pulley from the old pump to the new one. Auto parts stores rent puller tool kits for a nominal fee. Be certain to get the kit that will work for your vehicle. Once installed, the system must be bled of trapped air. This entire replacement procedure varies by vehicle, so it's best to consult a service manual if that grumpy old pump has breathed its last breath.
Step 1 - Disconnect the battery. Release the tension on the drive belt. This vehicle has a serpentine belt with an easy-to-reach tensioner. Your experience may vary.
Disconnect the Battery
Step 2 - Remove the belt from the power steering pump pulley.
Remove Belt from Power Steering Pump Pulley
Step 3 - Loosen and remove the mounting bolts. Note the access holes through the pulley.
Loosen and Remove Mounting Bolts
Step 4 - Remove the fluid pressure line. Note the O-ring. Replace all O-rings and gaskets. Replace the hose if cracked or leaking.
Remove Fluid Pressure Line
Step 5 - Remove the power steering fluid return line.
Remove Power Steering Fluid Return Line
Step 6 - Remove the power steering pump. Block hose mounting holes to avoid spillage.
Remove Power Steering Pump
Step 7 - Drain old fluid from the pump into a catch container. Clean the pulley of slippery power steering fluid. Always properly dispose of used oil and fluids.
Drain Old Fluid from Pump into Catch Container
Step 8 - To remove the pulley, first install the remover according to the owner's or service manual instructions.
Follow Manufacturer Instruction when Installing Pulley Remover
Step 9 - The pulley remover pushes on the pump driveshaft and forces the pulley off.
Remover Pushes on Pump Driveshaft and Forces Pulley Off
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