Hard steering when idle or not accelerating with new pump and rack and pinion

Tiny
JKLAUKA1643
  • MEMBER
  • 2011 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 194,000 MILES
So I just had a new rack and pinion and power steering pump installed. The steering is fine as long as you push down on the accelerator. It will not turn when at idle or taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. All hoses have been checked and are good. The belt is in great shape. All new fluid and there are no leaks. Could it be air in the system? I am hoping it is not a bad pump as it is the second new pump in a month. The other new pump leaked and whined but I was able to turn the wheel when at idle. So we just put another new pump in today and this is a new issue. What could be the problem?
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Sunday, December 1st, 2019 AT 4:03 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi,

Is the engine idle speed dropping extremely low? Is there any noise with the new pump?

Yes, air in the system can cause issues and needs bled out when this type of work is done. Here is a link that explains how one is replaced. What I always do is fill the reservoir with the correct fluid and with the front of the vehicle off the ground and the engine off, I turn the steering fully to the left and then fully to the right several times. Then, I recheck fluid level and add if needed. I do this until the level no longer changes. Then I put the vehicle down and start the engine. If there is noise or an issue, recheck the fluid level. Also, it isn't uncommon for air to be present in the fluid; however, it should go away after a short time.

Here is a link that discusses the most common causes of power steering issues. Take a look.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-replace-a-power-steering-pump

One last thought. If the new pump didn't come with the pulley attached and you had to install it, make sure it is full seated and not slipping. Pic 1 shows the install of the pulley using a specific type of tool.

Let me know if that is what was done.

Joe
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Sunday, December 1st, 2019 AT 10:32 PM
Tiny
JKLAUKA1643
  • MEMBER
When I first start the car I am able to turn the wheel a few times at idle then it locks up. It does make some noise. The pump does not whine after that and it's quiet while driving. Its just not turning when at idle or when I take my foot of the accelerator. That is why I was wondering if it could be air. When it was raised up the steering turned. But when its down and there is weight on the tires it locks up. The pump I bought a month ago with the new rack and pinion turned while idle but whined and leaked so I we replaced it with this one. The existing pulley was reused because the new one didn't come with one. So it is possible that the pulley isn't fully seated. That I will have to get checked out.
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Monday, December 2nd, 2019 AT 4:20 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Let me know about the pulley. Also, when you say it locks up, do you mean it is unturnable or do you mean you lose power assist? If it nearly impossible to turn, it sounds like the rack is bad. I have seen the bushings inside go bad and when pressure is placed on it, the system would jam. On the other hand, are you certain that everything was installed correctly as far as pressure lines and so on? Something isn't adding up. Are the rack and the pump re-manufactured? Did you notice if there are any air bubbles in the fluid?
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Monday, December 2nd, 2019 AT 4:34 PM

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