How to Diagnose the Power Steering Problems in Ford Trucksby Alibaster Smith
The power steering in your Ford truck uses hydraulic fluid to assist in turning the wheels left and right. The power steering pump is the component that pushes this fluid through the power steering system. If the pump fails, you will not have any power assist from the power steering system. However, other components, like the accessory belt, the power steering rack, and the fluid in the system all need to be checked as well in order to diagnose the potential problems that can occur with your Ford truck's power steering.
Start your Ford truck's engine.
Turn the steering wheel from lock to lock (side to side, all the way until the steering wheel does not turn anymore).
Listen for a "whine" as you turn the wheel. This is the so-called "Ford whine" and indicates that the power steering pump and pulley may need to be replaced. You will need to take this to a dealership to have the pump serviced.
Check the power steering accessory belt. Open the hood and look at the belt wrapped around the power steering pump pulley on the driver's side of the engine bay. Check the belt for cracks, chipping, peeling, or hazing. Hazing is when the teeth of the belt become shiny. This indicates that the belt teeth are nearing failure or are excessively worn. Any of these conditions indicate that the belt needs to be replaced.
Check the power steering fluid level in the power steering reservoir tank. The reservoir tank is in the engine bay and the top of the cap on the tank is clearly marked "power steering fluid." The fluid level needs to be between the upper and lower marks located on the side of the reservoir tank. The tank is translucent so you should easily be able to see the fluid level on the outside of the tank. If the fluid level is too low, you will need to add fluid to the reservoir by turning the cap counterclockwise to remove it and filling the reservoir tank until the fluid level is between the upper and lower marks on the tank.
Get in the truck with the engine running and turn the wheel left and right. Check for any "slop" in the steering wheel. Slop can be described as slack in the steering wheel before the wheels start to turn. If the wheels do not turn immediately when you turn the steering wheel, there is a problem with the steering rack and tie rod assembly. These components need to be serviced by a professional mechanic.
- For specific information about your Ford power steering pump, consult the particular vehicle's manual (see the Resources section).
Items you will need
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