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Petey has a power steering issue

Discussion in 'PT Cruiser' started by guitarjerry, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. guitarjerry

    guitarjerry Member

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    01 PT cruiser, no power steering at idle.

    Works when you are going down the road and have at least 2000 rpms, yet it still whines.

    I replaced the pump with a used pump from a wrecking yard, I don't know if its a good pump because the system doesn't work. I also cleaned the mesh filter in the reservoir.

    At idle, the power steering works if you turn the wheel very slowly(it also whines loudly), as if the system has trouble building pressure?

    I guess at this point, its a bad pump or a bad rack, or both.

    I'm poor will the replacement seal kits fix the rack and or pump?
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator Level III Supporter

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    As long as the belt isn't slipping, it sounds like a defective pump or plugged reservoir.
    I have always replaced the reservoir as it is nearly impossible to clean the mesh screen on a plugged one (Believe me, I've tried).
    A reman pump may be the best solution.
    Be sure to flush all the old fluid out and replace it with fresh fluid. The amber P/S fluid may be recommended instead of red ATF+4.
     
  3. AllanC

    AllanC Active Member

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    I looked at several factory service manuals for Chrylser built front wheel drive vehicles around year 2000 - 2003. All indicate that you need special pressure test equipment to check pump output. Basically if pump meets minimum pressure when isolating its flow from the system then the problem is in the pressure hose or the spool valve in the rack and pinion assembly.

    You probably don't have access to this special test equipment so this makes an accurate diagnosis difficult. From the symptoms you describe you could have a blockage or wear in the spool valve in the rack and pinion that is not diverting proper pressure to provide the necessary steering assist at low speeds. At higher engine speeds more pressure from the pump masks this problem and gives somewhat normal steering assist. I am NOT recommending this but you could fire the "parts cannon" and replace the steering rack and HOPE that solves the problem. That is an expensive gamble due to parts and labor.
     
  4. guitarjerry

    guitarjerry Member

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    well I havent decided the best course of action yet, Ive removed rack and pump, thought I wld look at the rack at least and see if this seal kit can fix it, looks like I don't have what I need to take it apart.

    So either I will just replace rack and pump both just to be sure or I will try putting the new pump on, possibly risk breaking it to see if that works,

    but with the lines off I noticed the pressure and return lines have restriction when trying to blow through them and on further inspection, the return line has a tube inside restricting it with 1/8" opening, is this normal?
     
  5. AllanC

    AllanC Active Member

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    The pressure line has threaded metal fittings on a preformed tube at each end. The flexible hose is crimped on each end to the tube.

    The return line experiences less pressure so it has metal lines and fittings with probably (I am guessing) a hose clamp that secures the hose to the metal line. So the configuration for each hose, pressure and return, is correct.
     
  6. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator Level III Supporter

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    The return line may have an intentional restriction to reduce hydraulic noise/shudder. The pressure line should be fairly free and clear.
    Rack problems may show up on either left or right turns. Pump problems should affect left and right turns equally.
     
  7. guitarjerry

    guitarjerry Member

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    Well, I tried a new pump, so don't think its that, there is a whine at idle now and if I try slowly turning like before it gets really loud, so I think the pump is ok.

    I may try a rack from a wrecking yard.. Or may get a new one, $200

    Ok so what causes the reservoir to overflow when I'm trying to bleed the system?
     
  8. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator Level III Supporter

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    2,204
    Reservoir overflow and noise sounds like a restriction in the P/S fluid flow.
     
  9. guitarjerry

    guitarjerry Member

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    Ok, well when I cleaned the reservoir I soaked the inside out and sprayed it out and backflushed it with carburetor cleaner.

    When I was done it was clean enough I could see through the mesh to the passages beneath and I could plug the return side and I could blow through it with my mouth, like the old trick on older cars where you blow backwards through the fuel filter to see if its clogged. If I can blow easily through it, it can't be clogged right?

    And I just took it off to check it again.

    So that leaves the rack, its the only thing left..
     
  10. guitarjerry

    guitarjerry Member

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    Ooooooohhkay.......

    Well I've replaced everything and it still doesn't work..

    ????

    Maybe I was sold a bad pump or a bad rack
     
  11. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator Level III Supporter

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    Really without diagnosis, we are all just guessing here. Using used, unknown parts makes the guessing harder. To me, I get the impression that it is a pump problem.
    Possible restriction in the hoses could be another problem.
     
  12. guitarjerry

    guitarjerry Member

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    Holy freaking f**k,

    I found the problem. So I hadn't thought to check the tube from reservoir to pump, because its a big tube, no way it would get clogged under normal circumstances..

    Finally it was really the last thing to check..

    There was a cap inside of it. The chances of the refrigerant port cap falling in that tube and getting pushed in so I didn't see it while I was working on are not very good, so apparently I have an enemy out there who sabotaged my work while I had it apart, I did an engine swap when I first got it a month ago

    That cap cost me over $300.

    Well to anyone with power steering problems on a PT Cruiser, make sure you check ALL the lines, even the one from the reservoir to the pump
     
    djsamuel, valiant67 and ImperialCrown like this.
  13. chuzz

    chuzz Active Member

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    Glad to hear you finally got it figured out. Too bad that it cost you all that time and money though. Who have you ticked off lately?
     
  14. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator Level III Supporter

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    It is usually always the little things that you least expect, that are out to get you.