CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Power Steering Problem and Popping Noise

Hello Everyone,

2004 Ford Taurus Vulcan 3.0 L V6 Engine.
155,000 miles

I had a problem with my 2004 Ford Taurus and you guys help me out back in November. It ended up having a broken valve spring which I replaced and it is now running fine. All check engine lights are off and it is no longer sputtering.

I took it for a drive back in November and again today and it is running fine…but the power steering is extremely hard to turn. It’s very frothy and has a ton of air bubbles.

I didn’t have time through the Christmas season but I am looking back into this now. I bought a vacuum pump and the ford adapter for the reservoir cap and I put a vacuum on it following the ford instructions but it is still whining, fluid is frothy and hard to steer.

I disconnected the power steering lines and removed the pump when I replaced the valve spring because the cylinder head had to come off to remove the broken valve and I put a new head gasket on. So I thought I just had air in the lines…However it the power steering pump was leaking previous to the problem with the broken valve spring so perhaps I need a new pump and then apply the vacuum to it?

What would you guys recommend. For the past few months I just added a little power steering fluid as needed when it was low but a few times it was quite low before I noticed…I know that is a bad mistake and I should have fixed this long ago.

Thanks and please let me know what you think.

Problem #2 - Forgot to mention I am hearing a popping noise that sounds like popcorn popping coming from my air filter box. I know I read something about this before but I can’t remember what it was.

I really do not know anything about bleeding your power steering.
But, I wonder if you have a seal going bad on the rack. You might slide off the dust boots and see if there if
fluid in them.

air bubbles in your p/s reservoir will make your car hard to steer, as air doesn’t work like p/s fluid does. YOu have to get the air out- is that what the vacuum pump is for? I’ve never done that, so I’m not sure the process here.

What I do to get the air bubbles out of the p/s system is slightly jack up the front of the car, and turn the wheel from stop to stop several times. Re-check the fluid, and repeat as necessary. I did the p/s pump on my sons 2002 Taurus, and this is how I bled the air out.
This isn’t a massive ordeal to do, so perhaps you should recheck all your connections to make sure one of the hoses isn’t sucking air in or something.

Also, every Ford I have ever worked on (not too many, mind you- 20 or so,) has been VERY picky about the type of p/s fluid used. If I used a generic p/s fluid, the pump would whine terribly. I can’t think of what I had to use, so perhaps call Ford and see what type of p/s fluid they recommend for your car?

Yes the vacuum pump is for the power steering pump to get the air out. I bought the adapter that fits on the reservoir instead of the cap so it holds a vacuum and the hose/pump attaches to that.

It overflows with frothy air bubbles when the car is running and the steering wheel is turned. It whines and is very hard to turn.

eddo I tried that method to start with before buying the vacuum pump. I jacked up up and turned it from stop the stop and it didn’t any good.

With the vacuum pump your supposed to do the same thing but with a vacuum of 20-25 applied. It’s supposed to get all the air out of the system but it did not work for me.

I’m thinking I might need to replace the pump and then try it again. I’ll looking into the rack and see if there are any leaks visible.

Any idea on the popping noise at the air filter box?