Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

'97 Taurus GL Wagon: Power Steering Pump Screech

'97 Taurus GL Wagon: Power Steering Pump Screech

Blew a hole in my coolant bypass hose near the water pump and replaced it with an “old” one from the parts I kept off the “donor” car from the panel replacement project a few months ago. At the same time, and I don’t see how the two could be related, the Power Steering Pump has started screeching loudly. I’m assuming it’s the P/S pump making the noise because whenever I spray water mist on the face of the P/S pump pulley, the noise goes completely away.


1.) Turns out I also have a “donor” P/S pump. How do I know if this pump is any good? About all I can do is turn the shaft and pull in and out on it. Seems to be pretty tight. Also, this “donor” has been sitting around in a dry bucket with it’s connection points uncovered. This wouldn’t be a problem, would it?

2.) How do I get the pulley off and on? The shop manual shows “special tools”, as does the Haynes manual. Can I use a 3-jaw puller to get it off and some makeshift “tool” to press it back on? Or does Harbor Freight sell these tools?

3.) Can I drive it like this until the weekend (4 days, 25 miles back and forth to work)? It’s dicey, right? If it seizes up, I’m in big trouble. Four day weekend and this thing has to fail on the last day!!!

Are you sure the serpentine belt didn’t get contaminted with coolant when the bypass hose blew?



You know what - I think that IS what happened (ie: I DON’T think I need to replace the [original] PS pump). On Sunday, the squeal started at the same instant I noticed the temp gauge spike just as I was pulling into my subdivision. It HAS to be the coolant on the belt. And when I sprayed the FACE of the PS pulley, the water was probably thrown onto the belt enough to stop the noise, so it was an illusion.

I just tried spraying directly onto the belt at the top of the PS pulley and the noise stopped this way, too.

So - has the belt been ruined by this tiny bit of coolant? It’s only a 2.5 year old (and 35,000) belt! I changed it 12/29/07! The factory belt was on there 150,000 miles!

The “H” hose blew a hole out the backside at the water pump connection “elbow”, shooting a stream toward the firewall. I guess a little bit got on the belt, but it couldn’t have been very much. Maybe I can “wash” the belt with water to clean off the coolant? Or is the belt history now? Seems hard to believe…

Here’s what to do. Instead of spraying water on the belt, spray brake parts cleaner. Take all precautions. If the screech doesn’t go away, replace the belt.


Ok. Might finally justify a reason to pick up one of those full-face shields at Harbor Freight.

All you need is a pair of safety glasses, the vehicle in a well ventilated area, and look away before you give the belt a blast of the brake cleaner.


No dice. The sound goes away for longer than the water spray, but it still returns. Sounds like a chorus of crickets right now. Really annoying. The belt’s got to come out, I guess…

Nope - the belt stayed in! With the water-misting once or twice per day for about 3 weeks, the screech became a squeal - and than a faint squeal - and then it finally went away completely. Took about 6-8 weeks all together.