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1997 mercury mountaineer steering problem on 1997 Mercury Mountaineer

Rookie cbe0621eac06868b3efe0d8d1d3611e23c60d3114864ea2ec19a68cfbd3eebab
already replaced ball joints........steering is very tough..feels like the power steering isnt working...worse in turns...hope its not the rack
(2) Answers
I have a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer that started doing the same thing at around 78k miles, I was suspicious of the power steering fluid so I jacked the front wheels off the ground, removed one of the hoses that goes to the power steering fluid oil cooler, drained it, reattached the hose and added fresh fluid then ran the engine while SLOWLY turning the steering wheel all the way to the left and right to bleed all the air out of the system. This returned my steering to like new and the fluid that came out looked very contaminated.