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

Power Steering Problem - any help appreciated

I have a 2004 Dodge Durango, 4.7 SLT, 4x4. I was in a parking lot and made a low speed U-turn in a right turn direction . Just prior to completing U-turn, and with wheel turned all the way to the right, I heard a pop or knock sound, metallic on metallic I think. Now stopped, I attempted to return the wheel to the left, but no power steering assist. I increased RPM, and power steering assist kicked in. When I stopped turning to left and attempted to turn to left again, same thing until increased RPM. Wheel does turn perfect to the right, but not to the left regardless of position. Wheel continues to feel as if no power steering assist to left for a few seconds (at low speeds or stopped). Seems fine when moving and no play in steering wheel. I have noticed that if stopped, and trying to turn to left but not forcing, power assist will kick in (at idle without higher RPM) in 2-3 seconds. Fluid levels are fine and this began immediately after hearing the knock or pop sound. Any ideas of problem or bad part?

My guess is that something articulated like a ball joint or tie rod end is physically “hanging up”. This one needs a hands-on look-see.

When you made the u-turn did you have the steering wheel all the way, against its stop?
That puts a lot of stress on the PS system; fluid pressure rises to its limit.

1 Like

It sounds as if the steering rack is bad. I would get it towed and not try to drive it.

Make sure you haven’t just busted a power steering hose. It’s a common problem. Hitting the steering stop boosts the pressure and if the hose is about to give way anyway, that will be the time it does. The hoses usually fail near to one end or the other. Usually where they connect to the rack assem’y. It could be other problems as noted above, but first thing’s first. Ask your mechanic to check the hoses.

For any new readers looking at this thread (like me) i went through 3 power steering pumps before i got my truck running again the 2 new mopar ones had cracks in them and leaked (the mechanic didn’t charge me for the replacement costs/labor). Something to watch on your Durango

Good info. It sounds like it might be a good idea to fill replacement PS pumps and bench test them for leaks before installing them.

I can see bench testing an electric power steering pump, but not a belt-driven one. How do you do that?

1 Like

Fill it w/fluid and see if any leaks out.

I have a current post about three consecutive racks. I can’t tell you where the thread is, but it’s about my 1990 Volvo. So, you did have 3 bad pumps. Maybe I shouldn’t give up yet.

@Whereisthebus … re: “I can’t tell you where the thread is”

You can find all the new topics you’ve created by clicking on that “W” in your post above, then for some reason you have to click on the “W” again on the next screen that comes up. Then you should see a line across the top of links, one of which is “topics created”.

The belt only drives the power steering pump. There are only two types of power steering currently being produced; hydraulic rack & pinion and electric. The first has a pump and a rack, the rack containing the proportional (spool) valve that directs the hydraulic fluid to one side of the rack’s piston or the other, proportionally depending on how much you turn the wheel, and the piston that pushes the steering linkage back & forth…