Steering problem on Escape

OK, so I have a weird problem. When driving down the road and you come to a corner, you slow down, turn your wheel and take the corner. You then straighten out your wheel and continue on. When I straighten out and drive away from the corner in a straight line the wheel will turn by itself a bit to the same way as I took the corner. So, if I take a right turn and straighten out the wheel will turn to the right a touch. It’s a little scary when it happens. Things I have checked are:

Ball joints
outter tie rod ends
I replaced the steering knuckle on the drivers side
New rotor
brake pads

I have a power steering leak but don’t think that is the problem. Anyone know what could be wrong.

Might help if you told us what year the Escape was

Edit… looked at a previous post, a 2002.

Possible that one or both steer bearings at the top or the front struts are bad.

Since this is a 19 year old Canadian car… there could be rust damage and something has broken free underneath. I strongly suggest you have this checked out by a pro. Steering problems should not be ignored.

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So, it could be struts, ok. I never thought of that. Where are the steer bearings located. ??

The steer bearings are located on top of each front spring and under the strut mount. The only way get to them is to remove the strut and disassemble the strut, mount and spring.

If you are going to do that yourself, you might as well install a new pair of quick struts that have all that already assembled. No danger of getting whacked with a spring during disassembly that way. Plus the struts are likely in need of replacement as are the mounts and jounce bumpers.

I think you have a sticking spool valve in the steering rack.


@Mustangman Sounds like I am gonna replace both struts. Thanks for the advice.

@NYBo Where is the spool valve. Closer to under the car or around the top of the engine. ??

The spool valve is inside the steering rack.

Don’t forget to check for rust damage to the engine subframe.

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The rotary valve (spool valve) seals in the rack and pinion are starting to leak,


This valve directs the hydraulic pressure of the power steering fluid to the piston inside the R&P which provides steering assist in the direction the steering wheel is turned.

These seals are no longer preventing hydraulic pressure from being applied to the piston once the steering wheel is turned straight.


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Well, that don’t sound good or easy to fix at all, lol. :frowning_face_with_open_mouth:

Ok, so I just watched a video on how to replace the rack and pinion. It doesn’t look all that bad I guess. I will have to do a lot more research though before doing anything.

I suggest that you do your research quickly and get it fixed or quit driving it before you get to the scene of the accident. :upside_down_face:

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Maybe this is normal. Google “torque steer”.

@George_San_Jose1 Hey, thanks for that. I will look into this more for sure.

If this Escape is FWD, then I suppose that torque steer is a possibility, although I doubt if this is the actual cause of the problem. If it is AWD, then torque steer can be ruled-out, IMHO. I agree that a bad spool valve is the likely cause.

It’s not torque steer.

Torque steer only occurs in one direction.

Torque steer is the annoying tendency of a front-wheel drive car to pull to one side during hard acceleration. The problem they say, is caused by an “imbalance” in the distribution of power to the front wheels . … It means torque steer is an inherent though undesirable characteristic of front-wheel drive.



I know you want to save money and do it yourself, but you might actually save money if you have a pro diagnose what is wrong before you put struts and a steering rack on it. Who knows, it could be some other problem.

Find a good independent mechanic, don’t use a chain shop.


The vehicle in question is a 3.0l v6 4x4 2002 ford escape. The front tires are low on air sometimes and that does make it all the more difficult to drive. I am still doing research on all aspects of this. I will be getting more advice from a local mechanic if I can. I know one strut should be changed out and will do that. It might not solve the problem but it has to be done. I will take a look at the rack and pinion for sure as it sounds like a clear possibility. Keep the ideas flowin guys this is all good stuff to check out.

Struts should be done in pairs . By all means have a shop find out just what is needed.


Yes, I agree, one was done not to long ago. I think it still has a lot of life left in it at this point.

Good, since you have to change both front struts anyway (don’t do just one), maybe that’ll fix the problem. Be sure to get it aligned after you do the struts. The same shop doing the alignment could inspect the front end if the new struts don’t fix the problem.