99 Ford Taurus Power Steering leakage

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OK...I have introduced myself in the appropriate forum. Now I have a question for all of you mechanical types.

I have a 99 Ford Taurus. This weekend I noticed a loud whining when I cut the wheels. I checked the power steering fluid and it was empty, didnt register at all on the marker. This was full when I checked all fluids just a week ago. I added fluid but it would only hold a little. I drove it home and it shows empty again. Hubby checked and can't find any normal leakage. BUT...with the cap on you get the standard whining, when you take the cap off fluid shoots out, major overflow. He has no idea whats up and I've not been able to find anything about it online. Anyone have any ideas?

posted by  JamieC

No visible leaks, It sounds like it could be a faulty steering pump. I think there is pressure test you can do to determine if its the steering pump thats the problem.

posted by  DSMer

Well if the fluid is going somewhere, common sense tells us it's leaking somewhere. Your just going to have to find where.

posted by  DodgeRida67

lol...yeah, its obviously going somewhere. We just can't find where. No visible leaks.

posted by  JamieC

If either of you's can't find it take it to somone who can. A qualified mechanic sounds right up your alley. Or a backyard mechanic, whatever have you...

posted by  DSMer

Well, if fluid shoots out when you are running the engine and release the power steering fluid cap on the pump, it tells me that you are blocked somewhere and you are building essessive pressure. You can run the power steering pump (engine running) and remove the cap and fluid should not shoot out. Your rack and pinion might have a passage blocked, or somewhere in the lines from the pump to anywhere else. Have you looked at the rack and pinion assy to see if the end seals were leaking? You're building pressure and if that pressure is released when the cap's off......you've got a problem.

posted by  cmeseadoin

Also, you need to do a VERY detailed inspection of the whole underside of the car. The fluid may be leaking at one point and only that place. Have you filled the power steering pump reservoir with fluid and run the vehicle, then parked it over some cardboard whereas you can see if there are any drips the next day? Leaks sometimes can be tricky to find and you're going to have to find this one. No on here but you can determine that. Like I said, check rack and pinion seals too. Sounds like either there is a blockage somewhere causing the pump to overpressurize and backfeed that pressure out the fill hole, or fluid is leaking somewhere. Nothing else much can be done on this online. It needs inspecting visually.

posted by  cmeseadoin

OK...
I do have the car over cardboard today. I put it out this morning to help figure out where the leak could be.
Also, thank you for the advice about the rest. I will pass this on to hubby and put him to work tonight. A certified mechanic is currently my last choice. Finances don't always allow you to do the best thing first.

posted by  JamieC

Sounds good, let us know what you find out. A leak logically should not be that hard to figure out...but they can be tricky. Look for the leak and go from there. I am concerned with the fluid shooting out of the fill hole in the pump with the engine running. You'll definity need to look into this as well. :thumbs:

posted by  cmeseadoin

Yeah...the fluid overflow was the big question. Neither of us had a clue what that was about. A leak was expected but not that mess. I don't know, one step at a time I guess. They'll just have to be fast steps. I gotta drive this car.

posted by  JamieC

I finally got this car fixed and I wanted to give an update. Never know when it can help someone else who was as clueless as I was.

The problem was the Rack and Pinion. I replaced it with a used one from another car, and in case you need to know, only a 99 Taurus or Sable was interchangeable. No other year. It was a little more expensive than some parts but I won't complain.

There...now its on record in case anyone else ever has the same prob.

posted by  JamieC

I'm not sure which forum I'm to visit to introduce myself (I'm brand new here). Apologies if I've broken any rules or conventions here.

I went through the steering thing with my 99 Taurus, which had served me well from the day it was new until about six months ago. My mechanic tells me that this is not uncommon in the Taurus.

My repair quote was "at least" $1400, potentially rising higher depending on the unknowns that the dealership might find. My local shop wasn't able to do the work...

posted by  Coffeehound

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