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Power Steering not working.

Posted by B-lackGSX99, Jan 30, 2008
Handling Tech - 4G63 suspension, steering, brakes, tires, lightweight wheels, bushings, etc.

  1. B-lackGSX99

    B-lackGSX99 Proven Member

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    Okay, i've read through every single thread with the words "power steering" in the title, and although it's given me some ideas, I do want to start a new thread here as my issue seems different than the things I have been reading about.

    I park my car in the winter, but take it out once a month to run a short errand (just to give it some fluid flow, ensure i move the tires to avoid flat spots, and of course to have a little fun in the snow). Anyways, last night it was -50 celsius, and I took the car for a quick drive to the store. An hour later I came back outside, and when I started it up (no issues in starting), the power steering was no longer working. When I turn the wheel as i move the car, there is no whining noise or anything similar to what i've experienced in the past with a car that has leaked or is low on power steering fluid. I suspect the following:

    a) leaking fluid because something may have gotten caught on a snow/ice rut (maybe tore one of the boots on the bottom of the car?), and I cannot hear the whine becaues the engine/exhaust is simply too loud.

    b) blew the power steering pump, or the belt is shot?

    c) thought the power steering fluid froze, but after having it parked in a room temperature garage overnight, the problem has not resolved itself.

    When I get home, I will pop the hood, and check the fluid levels. I didn't notice any excess of fluids on the garage floor underneath my car. Also, I will jack the car up and inspect the power steering rack boots.

    Any other recommendations or ideas??

    I will report my findings later this evening, thank you in advance for your help.

    Okay, the power steering fluid dipstick wasn't even picking up fluid, and after i poured about a quarter liter of stop leak p/s fluid (prestone), it basically just sucked it all in and is still not giving me any reading on the dipstick. This is as expected, as I know the capacity of the p/s system is .9L (or .95 quarts). In any case, the steering hasn't eased up at all, so i'm assuming that either the pump blew (because there was no fluid going to it) or it needs more fluid before it's going to work.

    I believe that I have been running the car with unreadable levels (too low) of p/s fluid for quite some time (definitely weeks, maybe months), but the p/s system has felt normal to me until yesterday. The only reason I didn't fill it was because the idiot at the lube-x where i last changed oil (3 weeks ago) showed me the dipstick and told me it was for the manual transmission fluid. I don't know why it didn't click back then, but I don't think there is a dipstick in Mitsubishi's for the MTF.

    Tomorrow, i'm going to fill the power steering up to par, and see how the car does. I have placed a sheet of cardboard under front driver side of the car to monitor any dripping / leaking that may be occuring.

    Any feedback, or suggestions?? Can I test the power steering pump by just turning the wheel and listening for the whining?? Also, there did appear to be a wet area on the ground that wasn't water around the p/s pump area of the car...it's pretty snowy here, so it's tough to tell if it was just from stuff brought in from outside. This is primarily the reason why i've put the cardboard down.
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  2. Defiant

    Defiant DSM Wiseman

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    To bleed the PS system, fill it, start the engine, drive the front wheels up onto a few newspapers to lubricate the contact patch, and turn the wheel back-and-forth going gently against the stops in each direction. Apply slight force to the steering wheel against the steering stops -you should hear the relief valves open, and the flow through them- to get the air out.
    Make sure your PS belt isn't so glazed that it's sliding on the pulleys.
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  3. B-lackGSX99

    B-lackGSX99 Proven Member

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    Should I bother bleeding the system if it is already totally empty?? I tried putting in some lucas power steering stop leak in this morning, it is some syrupy stuff...pretty thick. Either way, I don't think I have it up to the minimum line on the dipstick, so i'll fill it some more tonight when i get home (parkade is being sweeped, so my usual room temperature garage is unavailable to me right now). Also, nothing dripped out of the car overnight...so it doesn't appear to be leaking in the garage. I will check the power steering belt to see if it is "glazed"....by this, I take it you mean overly smooth?? Thank you for the advice.
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  4. B-lackGSX99

    B-lackGSX99 Proven Member

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    Update: I filled the reservoir with PLENTY of p/s fluid, and (due to the garage floor being clean) noticed that it was gurgling out of a totally different spot. The p/s fluid is leaking out from the place indicated in the picture...I am having a hard time tracing the lines from the power steering pump back to that area, so would anyone be able to suggest which/where the leak may likely be occuring (i.e. which of those lines would carry p/s fluid??)?? I'm going to check it out with a friend here right away, i'll have him turn the steering wheel, so that I can visually observe the area in question.

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  5. B-lackGSX99

    B-lackGSX99 Proven Member

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    Alright, so i figured out where it was leaking and reattached the loose hose! filled (actually, overfilled) the reservoir, and then bled out the air (ran car, cranked wheel slowly side to side, held 5 seconds against each stop).

    Now the power steering feels like it's back, but there is a terrible whining coming out of the power steering pump. If it is whining, does that mean that the pump requires replacement, or could it just mean it needs more time to get the fluid around the system?? Also, should I avoid driving it right now? I have been driving it up and down the street while I was trying to figure the problem out...and will stop if it is bad for the car to be driven with a whiney power steering pump.
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  6. Defiant

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    It's dying. I hope you didn't put ATF in your clutch reservoir.
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  7. B-lackGSX99

    B-lackGSX99 Proven Member

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    So I gently cranked the steering wheel from full left to full right quite a few times (~10 times each way) and the power steering pump/pully grinding alleviated a bit. It's definitely still whining though. Also, after doing this, i checked the p/s fluid reservior and it didn't even register any fluid. So i'm gonna pick up some more (I am assuming that because i only had about 500ml in the bottle, that it just wasn't enough to properly fill the 900ml p/s capacity. That, or it is still leaking out of somewhere else.

    I will clean up the fluid that has spilled out (throw some kitty litter on it and sweep it up), fill the reservoir, and see if I can get it to stabilise (in terms of fluid level). Also I will monitor the soon to be clean garage floor for leaks.

    If the power steering pump is acting this way, is it bad for me to be cranking the wheel back and forth so much while trying to bleed out air bubbles? Is it okay for the car to be driven while I test for steering changes??

    Oh, and no I didn't put ATF in the clutch reservoir, that area is just where the hose had come loose.

    BTW, i'm making preparations to pick up a used power steering pump...will one off of a 95 or 96 gsx work on my 99 gsx??
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