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How do I know if the Power Steering Pump is bad or if it is the Rack and Pinion?

(2004 GMC Envoy)
in Maryville, TN on January 18, 2013
Wife came home tonight and said the car was hard to turn like there was no power steering. I checked the fluid level and it looked fine (almost up to the H). I checked to see if the fluid was hot and it only felt warm. Also touched the hoses and they felt warm but not hot. Didn't see any leaks. I started the car and didn't hear any strange noises. The wife did say she heard some noise, it stopped, and then the steering started getting harder and harder to turn. Basically I'm trying to know if I'm looking at replacing the Power Steering Pump or the Rack and Pinion. I want to be prepared before I take it to my mechanic in the morning.
Displaying 3 answers & 3 comments
Popular Answer
on January 18, 2013
Is the belt tight?.....Do you trust the shop/mechanic you are taking it to? If not , get references to a shop , before bringing it anywhere.Proper diagnosis , in person will be the best way to answer your question.
on January 18, 2013
I replaced the belt this past summer and still feels tight. I will be taking it to a mechanic that has worked on this vehicle before and I trust him. I just like going in prepared to discuss what the problem is and an idea of what it will cost me. Unfortunately the guys up front are the ones calling me to "sell me the service", not the mechanic. From what I have red, the pump shaft my have broken off inside the pump. However, I wish I had a way to know if the rack and pinion could be the problem. Replacing the rack and pinion has me more concerned from a cost standpoint.
on January 19, 2013
It could be that your vehicle is out of alignment though. But I would take your vehicle to a GM/GMC dealership and see if they can determine why the power steering is not working right. It could also be that the fluid for the power steering is very low or is totally out. If that is the case, then they can fill it up and check other fluids for your 3,000 mile checkup on your vehicle, just to be on the safe side.

I would take it to your GM dealership rather than your mechanic and get them to check it out first and tell you before you take it to your local mechanic. That way your dealership will be the starting point for you to see what the problem could be.

Hope this helps and good luck
on January 19, 2013
Thanks for the suggestion but I really don't have a lot of time to get this repaired. This is my wife's daily driver so I needed to get it fixed today. I did take it to my mechanic and the power steering pump did need to be replaced. The steering works good but the pump still makes a noise. The mechanic said there is still air trapped in the system and needs to works itself out. He said driving will help but turning the wheel to the left or right while it's parked will also help. Does anyone have any ideas how long it might take for air to works itself out. I have heard some of these replacement pumps are no good right out of the box so I don't want to wait too long to take it back if I need to. I appreciate everyone's responses.
on January 19, 2013
OEM pumps are always best (in my opinion). There should be no air 'trapped in the system if they completed the job correctly , which includes purging the air from the system (usually with the front wheels 'unloaded' (off the ground). Yes it is possible the pump is at fault for the noise , depending on the grade of part they used. Give it a week and then bring it back for them to re-check. Good luck.
on December 10, 2015
I am also facing the same problem and I have replaced the motor once.
The p/s seems to work fine when i reverse at speed or move forward at high speed.
yet when i am driving slow my PS becomes too hard.
I am using a vw vento 1996 sedan.
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