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I have a '99 Taurus SE Sedan with the Vulcan V6, 113k miles. Lately, a bit suddenly, the steering is very heavy at low RPM (less than 900-1000) but fine above that speed. Basically it is only hard to steer when idling after the car is warmed up. Checked the fluid level and serpentine belt tensioner; both were fine. The fluid is dark brown though.

When steering (or attempting to) at idle, the pump sounds like it is struggling and the engine slows noticeably. I don't know if that means the pump is working and the problem lies in the rack, or if the pump is going. I got the car from my grandparents a few months ago, and they said they had the rack replaced recently because the same thing happened (heavy at low RPM). My grandpa mentioned an adjustment for the amount of power assist... has anyone heard of this?

Does anyone have any idea what the problem/solution could be?
 

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I'd definitely replace the fluid first. Next, since this is not the first time, did replacing the rack FIX it the first go round? I'm thinking it could be a hose colapsing internally, or it could be the pump simply not pumping. You could pull the return line from the rear of the pump, and start the car, run the line into a bucket to see if it's pumping, this will also remove the fluid, you just have to make sure not to let the level drop by re-filling with new fluid as it drains.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
QUOTE (rudedog @ Mar 10 2009, 10:06 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=707223
I'd definitely replace the fluid first. Next, since this is not the first time, did replacing the rack FIX it the first go round? I'm thinking it could be a hose colapsing internally, or it could be the pump simply not pumping. You could pull the return line from the rear of the pump, and start the car, run the line into a bucket to see if it's pumping, this will also remove the fluid, you just have to make sure not to let the level drop by re-filling with new fluid as it drains.[/b]
Replacing the fluid will be my first order of business. And yes, replacing the rack did fix it the first time. Even now, if I need to steer while stopped, I just give it a little rev and the power assist kicks in nicely. The sound while steering is a smooth hum, with no whining or grinding sound. Would replacing the fluid (maybe several times) flush out any sediment and possibly clear any clogs?
 

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Figured I'd give an update. I replaced the fluid by siphoning the reservoir dry and replacing with fresh ATF 4 times over about 2 weeks. Contrary to my first post, the fluid was actually a clear dark red as I looked at it in the clear tubing I used to siphon, so I believe the fluid was fine. Still, I replaced the fluid. No improvement.

I thought I would try replacing either the pump or the pressure hose. Yesterday I decided to replace the pump first, since it was the cheaper option, and that seems to have fixed it. Steering is nice and light again, even at idle after warming the engine up. We'll see if it stays.
 

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yeah but you should do as rudy told you lol

flush the fluid completely with the return hose into a bucket so you dont have anythign else stuck in there like debris and so on
 
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