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No Power Steering, No Problem?

My rack and pinion in my 1999 Taurus has a vaccum leak that causes the power steering fluid to overflow, thus I have little to no fluid and no power steering in the vehicle. I don't mind driving without it and I'd rather not invest the mucho dinero to get it fixed. Am I causing damage to my vehicle by driving it in this condition?


  • edited February 2010
    You're risking your life and the lives of everyone on the road by not having the power steering fixed. You can't steer quickly enough in an emergency without the power steering. It's not a money issue, it's a safety issue. Fix it.
  • edited February 2010
    It would be different if the car did not have power steering in the first place. The steering would be a lttle slower but light enough when the car was moving to quickly control it. With power steering inoperative the car is much more difficult to control.

    As suggested, please get it fixed immediately, or ground the car until you can afford to fix it.
  • edited February 2010
    The pinion gear turns the rack. In most vehicles this part is grease lubricated, not lubricated with power steering fluid. The power cylinder, however, holds powersteering fluid. If the lack of fluid were to cause binding, that might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I mean, you're already over exerting yourself as it is and the extra effort required if binding occurs (especially if you're in the middle of a turn)--could be catastrophic. That's just binding[i/]. What if it seizes?
  • edited February 2010
    You're risking your life and the lives of others. You must remember that driving a power steering car without a functioning pump is *not* driving a car with manual steering, you're having to work against the hydraulics in the power steering system.

    There's also a liability issue involved. If you were to get into an accident, and it was discovered that it resulted in your negligence to keep your car in working order, there's a good chance you'll get taken to the cleaners, I wouldn't count on insurance covering it either.
  • edited February 2010
    No offense to the OPer, or anyone else, but this is why some states have safety inspections.
  • edited February 2010
    Vacuum leak?

    Jumping the pressure hose to the return hose will give you manual steering. It will operate just like it never had power steering, i.e., won't be any more difficult to steer than a non-power steering model. Jumping the hoses at the pump keeps the pump from running dry and seizing, causing all accessories to fail.

    For the sticklers for details, yes, the manual steering systems usually have more turns lock to lock and would be nominally easier to steer when stopped than the cobbled up mess I proposed but it ain't noticeable. It has been done on all makes and models with all types of steering.

  • edited February 2010
    No one has addressed the Vacuum leak. What kind of vacuum leak would have anything to do with the steering??
  • edited February 2010
    It's a leak on the suction side of the pump. Air bubbles get sucked into the pump and it causes the power steering fluid to foam. It's not all that uncommon. It's also usually not all that hard to fix.
  • edited February 2010
    Suction side of the pump?????

    There is no negative pressure anywhere in the system. It cannot "suck" air bubbles in. If the pump is full of fluid and noisy with bubbles foaming out the top you may have contaminated fluid or the pump could be totally worn out and cavitating.
  • edited February 2010
    "There is no negative pressure anywhere in the system."
    Frankly, it is clear that you have never worked on these, and you don't know what you are talking about.
This discussion has been closed.