1998 3.8L Power steering huge issues

dchall89

New Member
Jul 26, 2018
17
0
1
34
Knoxville
Hi there, thanks for taking the time to read this.

I am currently a member on V6Mustangs.com forums, and I am branching out to try and get some answers to what I think is a really strange problem.

TL:DR ENTIRE new power steering system (pump, lines, rack&pinion, inner/outer tie rods) and steering is "stuttering" when turning to the left. I made a video on ground View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qvRRY1SSWc
and off ground View: https://youtu.be/9ccHyPwFwgw
***I just uploaded this so hopefully it's done processing by the time you click it. If not, it's the same as on the ground. It's me after 1 hr of bleeding


So, I replaced the entire steering system myself, I would put myself as intermediate, but without the proper amount of time to deal with setbacks.
First new rack leaked into the boots within 30 minutes. So it was back to Advance for a replacement (lifetime warranty on their remans) 2nd new rack had the stuttering issue sooo I went ahead and replaced pump thinking it must be that, I decided for not much more money I should just do lines too. Bleeding system for almost an hour and still shows stuttering. Replaced the new pump with ANOTHER new pump, same issue. So I decided to swap rack one more time. Here's why I'm making this post.

I have run out of time to work on the car so I am paying a shop to do it. They decided the issue first was I hadn't bled it enough, so they bled it. Issue was still there so they decided rack was a good way to go since I was 2 pumps in already. Well I get a call today that car is ready to be picked up but the stuttering it still there a little bit after the 3rd new steering rack. Mechanic is telling me what probably needs to happen is I should drive the car and let things "settle in/break in" but that doesn't make any sense to me. the hydraulic system either 1.) has air or 2.) doesn't have air.

Anyone here think there might be a break in period that would involve the stuttering you're seeing in the video? There are no leaks I can find, and this is a decent shop that said it's leak free as well. What are the chances this issue is persistent with all new parts? Could a ball joint cause this stuttering?

Thanks for the time.
 
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wmburns

SN Certified Technician
Aug 14, 2009
5,878
514
204
Houston Texas
I have replaced multiple steering racks as well as power steering pumps. No break in period.

But it is normal for a power steering pump to make noise at the limits of travel steering travel.

However I do know that it can be difficult to get all of the air out of the system. Further If the motor is run with air in the system the longer the condition is allowed to continue the WORSE the problem becomes. The air will be homogenized into ever smaller bubbles that are ever more difficult to remove. Running the motor for an hour while waiting for the PS pump to bleed Which is why it is recommended to turn off the motor as soon as any bubbles are seen. Allow the bubble to go away. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Sometimes a better/faster bleeding results can be achieved by applying a vacuum to the power steering pump reservoir. They make a special adapter for the purpose. I know that some GM cars benefit from vacuum bleeding.

Mityvac Ford Power Steering Air Bleed Adapter (MTY-MVA662)
Amazon productView: https://www.amazon.com/Mityvac-Power-Steering-Adapter-MTY-MVA662/dp/B00RVZ7JSI/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1532628397&sr=8-14&keywords=power+steering+vacuum+bleeder


I personally have had good luck by spinning the PS pump with the belt off using a right angle power drill and an Allen socket. This makes it easy to stop when bubbles are seen. This also makes it easy to monitor the fluid level and top up when needed.

When the PS pump was replaced did you clean the bottom reservoir screen? If clogged this can starve the pump of return fluid creating noise.

When the PS pump was replaced how did you replace the PS pulley? Did you use the correct tool? Did you hit (even once) the pump shaft?

With regards to what else could cause a continued PS pump to make noise:
  • Bent, kinked, or restricted PS lines.
  • clogged PS reservoir screen.
  • incorrect fluid. Fords use Mecron transmission fluid.
  • Bad/dirty/burnt PS fluid.
  • Bad ball joints or other suspension problems that increase turning effort.
  • low tire pressure (see increased turning effort).
 
Last edited:

dchall89

New Member
Jul 26, 2018
17
0
1
34
Knoxville
I have replaced multiple steering racks as well as power steering pumps. No break in period.

But it is normal for a power steering pump to make noise at the limits of travel steering travel.

However I do know that it can be difficult to get all of the air out of the system. Further If the motor is run with air in the system the longer the condition is allowed to continue the WORSE the problem becomes. The air will be homogenized into ever smaller bubbles that are ever more difficult to remove. Running the motor for an hour while waiting for the PS pump to bleed Which is why it is recommended to turn off the motor as soon as any bubbles are seen. Allow the bubble to go away. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Sometimes a better/faster bleeding results can be achieved by applying a vacuum to the power steering pump reservoir. They make a special adapter for the purpose. I know that some GM cars benefit from vacuum bleeding.

Mityvac Ford Power Steering Air Bleed Adapter (MTY-MVA662)
Amazon productView: https://www.amazon.com/Mityvac-Power-Steering-Adapter-MTY-MVA662/dp/B00RVZ7JSI/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1532628397&sr=8-14&keywords=power+steering+vacuum+bleeder


I personally have had good luck by spinning the PS pump with the belt off using a right angle power drill and an Allen socket. This makes it easy to stop when bubbles are seen. This also makes it easy to monitor the fluid level and top up when needed.

When the PS pump was replaced did you clean the bottom reservoir screen? If clogged this can starve the pump of return fluid creating noise.

When the PS pump was replaced how did you replace the PS pulley? Did you use the correct tool? Did you hit (even once) the pump shaft?

With regards to what else could cause a continued PS pump to make noise:
  • Bent, kinked, or restricted PS lines.
  • clogged PS reservoir screen.
  • incorrect fluid. Fords use Mecron transmission fluid.
  • Bad/dirty/burnt PS fluid.
  • Bad ball joints are other suspension problems that increase turning effort.
  • low tire pressure (see increased turning effort).

Thanks for the info.

I have bled the system with the engine off for just such that reason. I would wash rinse repeat like that for a while, and turn it on to see how it was going. The worst part is the shop I took it to is telling me it needs a "break in" period, which I'm positive is BS, and you confirmed it. I think I'm going to just take it to my local Ford dealership to inspect.

as far as replaced parts, I replaced pump and reservoir together, and new pulley. I did use the correct puller/installer and was gentle as a baby, no hits.I just both LCA in the front that were fitted with new ball joints and bushings.

Thanks again for the insight.
 

dchall89

New Member
Jul 26, 2018
17
0
1
34
Knoxville
So my steering has become normal it seems. No bubbles or stuttering about 300 miles later. Super strange, something I've never experienced before with a hydraulic system. Think if brakes needed a "break in" period. Anyways, seems good now.......lol