Mazda 323 power steering noise

  • 1932 MAZDA 323
1996 Mazda 323 ZXi 2.0L V6 24v, 89,000 miles - Power steering works fine, but there is a loud groaning noise when I turn the steering wheel when going slowly/stopped. Not noticeable when the engine is cold, but progressively louder the longer I drive. There don't seem to be any leaks. I've checked the fluid level several times when cold, as recommended in the manual. Sometimes it's on max, sometimes on min. Any help greatly appreciated!
P.S. I had the timing belt replaced and the car serviced on Feb 13. I first noticed the noise on April 11 after a couple of long drives.
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Sunday, May 20th, 2007 AT 6:20 AM

1 Reply

Is the fluid clean? If not replace the fluid. This may not be the Ultimate fix, but dirty fluid can cause problems as it's quality has depreciated like a new car does when you drive it off the lot. There are contaminants the build up and can affect flow or seals not to mention the heating/cooling properties of the fluid.

When the noise is happening, open the hood and have someone turn the wheel. Listen closley for the noise source. I would start at the pump.

If it is the pump, and the fluid change doesn't resolve it, it may have a fluid restriction causing the pump to overwork from a pressure problem, or the pump may be going bad. You can try adding a powersteering conditioner such a one made by Lucas. I have had it help on some and do nothing on others. But find the source first.
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Sunday, May 20th, 2007 AT 7:17 AM

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