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Power Steering Pump Noise


Studancer
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I bought a 1994 LS 400 and before purchasing I took it to AAA for their diagnostic evaluation and they had a couple of minor recommendations which I took care of but after buying the car I started hearing a grinding type noise when I turn the steering wheel when driving. I also have no dashboard lights for about five minutes after starting the car in the morning. I've been taking the car to a small independent repair and maintenance shop called The Garage on 10th Street in San Francisco where I live and they're fine folks but after the last service and $650.00 service and repair the grinding noise has grown worse. They had said I might have to eventually replace the power steering pump and talked about over $1000.00 for that job and between $500.00 and $1400.00 for the dashboard instrument lighting unit. Did I buy a car that is going to be a real expensive problem. It has only 84000 miles and I bought it from the original owner supposedly, but I'm worried and it really sucks up gas more than any car I've ever owned. I'd love any advice or suggestions from others who have any experience.

Thanks

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Check if the PAS is wet underneath. If it is I'd urge you to fix it super quick. It can be a $2 fix at this stage to replace the O ring on the PAS reervoir. At the same you will need to take off the alternator and remove the back plate check the brushes and give it a good clean. It's a DIY Saturday morning job. If you drive with a leaking PAS it can cost several hundred unless you catch it quick. There's lots of posts on the subject under PAS, Oring & alternator.

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Dashboard lighting problem is solved for $225 incl shipping. As long as you're handy enough to remove it, and send it to Jim Walker. He'll provide all the instructions on how-to. Search his name here.

The P/S problem is so well documented here, it's foolish. Just use the Search feature.

I'm sorry you live in SF-prettiest place on earth, but one of the most expensive. My former employer Bechtel used to send me to their SF home office occasionally-no way I could have afforded it without being on a fully paid business trip. One time, I need a throw-away razor in an emergency-can you say $2.00?? 30 cents here in Vegas. Best of luck....

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I took it to the Garage and one of their mechanics looked at it and checked the power sterring fluid right away and added some and then bled the steering by turning the steering wheel back and forth for about five minutes and the noise disappeared almost completely. It's a very slow leak they think and is OK for now. Down the road the pump should be replaced they say, and a factory pump is about $250.00 with about $350.00 in labor for between $500.00 and $600.00 they think. Does that sound reasonable and what lese could pop up when they do that?

Thanks,

Stu

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It's a very slow leak they think and is OK for now.

Stu

Hi Stu, welcome to the boards.

With the old cars there is two classic steering problems, both very well documented in the FAQ section. Spend some time familiarising yourself with other peoples pain so you don't have to repeat it.

#1- The oring under the reservior leaks, (or sometimes a hose leaks) and drops fluid onto your alternator, killing it. You want to do preventitive maintenance. Do not wait on this one, as everyone says its an easy fix if its the problem.

#2 - the air valve on the steering pump malfunctions and the fluid gets sucked into the intake, causing blue smoke to be noticed on start up. This can really empty the reservior fast even if no-one can see leaks under the car.

The dashlights are related to old capacitors misbehaving when cold. As per others recommendations.

Good luck.

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Get some details on the leak. Some leaks miss the alt altogether. Others as Leadfoot says will do in your alt. If you can't see any leakage and you blow out some smoke on startup, the acv fix is cheap. Problem could also be in the reservoir screen filter. Try doing a flush: http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/steering/psflush.html. How much fluid have you been adding and how often?

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