Symptoms and Diagnosis
A post in a 2004 model thread shows several photos of the spray pattern where the power steering fluid leaked out
. The Taurus had been leaking fluid at a slow rate for a while and needed topping off, until a puddle started forming and one day the engine idle bucked the car like a carnival ride between 700 to 1400 rpm
until it warmed up and presumably the o-ring and switch membrane partially sealed. I found the spray pattern after that and immediately replaced the switch.
The engine revs up to increase power steering pressure when the pressure is lowered during turning, or will get confused when there is a massive leak such as this. You might not think steering would be related to engine performance, but the drive belt powers the power steering pump.
Replacement of Power Steering Pressure Switch
First buy the replacement. I got one at O'Reilly for about $25. Make sure the o-ring is included!
I bought one at Autozone and had to return it as the o-ring was missing. (Photos 1 and 2)
Remove the airbox accordion hose, EGR
, throttle body, and upper intake manifold. This FordTechMakuloco video is pretty good, though I also remove the throttle cable and cruise control cable so I can completely remove the throttle body and UIM
out of the engine bay.
Clean the area of all the sprayed fluid using appropriate cleaner. I mostly used electrical connector cleaner and paper towels.
If you see fluid pooled in the connector once you remove the 2-wire cable, you're probably on the right track. (Photos 3 and 4)
I used the electrical connector cleaner to thoroughly clean the plug. The blue gasket on the back had been blown off so I cleaned the inside of the connector too and dried it before replacing the gasket. (Photos 5 and 6)
A 9/16" wrench that is 8.5" long will barely fit and give good leverage. Use it to loosen the old switch, then you can easily unscrew it by hand. Quickly put in the new one as fluid will start leaking out. Tighten it with the wrench. You will need to make use of the trick of flipping the wrench over to get 1/12th turns due to the 15 degree offset of the wrench head. It is a tight space to work in. I also suggest buying a new wrench or at least test fitting your wrench with the replacement before starting. My toolkit's 9/16" wrench was a bit short and the head was forged too tight and did not want to slip onto the switch's bolt head. (Photo 7)
Top off the power steering fluid using the owner's manual instructions.
That's it, there should be no more leaks and your engine and steering should run well.