Wife told me that the power steering in her Ford Explorer was getting stiff. She checked and added a small amount of power steering fluid to top off the reservoir.
The problem was still there. Seemed that the steering was stiff when turning sharply out of the driveway at low engine RPM.
I purchased some belt dressing and got some on the serpentine belt as the engine was running. I took the Explorer to Huntington (about 40 miles, mostly two lane highway and ten to fifteen minutes city driving) for a doctors appointment and the steering was some better but still was stiff when turning sharply at city street corners and in parking lots.
When I returned home I had my wife start and stop the engine to completely coat the inside of the serpentine belt with spray-on belt dressing.
The next day I had to return to the doctors office for a follow-up appointment (cataract surgery) and discovered the steering was not any better.
When I left the doctors office I heard a rattle sound either in the dash or under the hood. I had just had my eyes dialated and it was late dusk. I had to use my headlights and heater (it was cold out). I was concerned about driving with the glare of the other cars on the road headlights. When I was a short mile from the freeway across town when I noticed that the red battery warning light was on. The steering was quite stiff but manageable on fairly straight roads. I drove the 40 or so miles home with no heat and was happy the lights stayed brightly on.
This morning I drove across the small towns I live in, about 3 miles of city streets, to the Auto Zone store and purchased a new serpentine belt and a lifetime guaranteed rebuilt power steering pump. Returned to close to home a garage/filling station to have the mechanic replace the power steering pump and serpentine belt.
The mechanic just called and said the pump wasn't any good as the steering was still very stiff. He suggested the rack and pinion unit might be bad. He called Auto Zone and they didn't have another power steering pump but would have one in the morning.
My main question is: Could I have hurt the rack and pinion unit, or any valves in the rack and pinion unit by driving the Explorer as much as I did?
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
Wednesday, January 20th, 2021 AT 1:05 PM