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Power Steering Noisy and hard

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Well I"ve read quite a few post about power steering problems and fixes. As a former gm mechanic I'm a little frustrated to say the least.

I've never been test and guess and hate to start now. Plus at my age don't really want to perform either repair. Pump or Gear.

So lets start. The steering has been a little strange since new (2004 GMC sierra crew 5.3L gas) noisy grumpy at times when turning, but not a power steering whine.

All of the sudden power steering starts whining and groaning like crazy and almost no power steering , kind of comes and goes between real bad and no assist at all. Works better at high rpm, but still very noisy and fluid is aerated/bubbles. Let set and start cold, no noise and steering works for a few seconds then gets air, goes noisy and back to where I started.

Flushed the system and if anything worse now.

Pumped fluid out like crazy when I flushed it.

Could I have a bad cooler or air getting into system?

No Leaks. I was going to hook up my old ps tester, but can't find adapters for the thing to metric.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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More info.

I tried making a vacuum adapter, but can't seem to make it work, keeps leaking through the cap.

System is perfectly quiet until you attempt left or right turn and then instantly pump gets air, starts screaming and fluid gets foamy.

Next I might try bypassing cooler. I was thinking maybe it works cold momentarily because the fluid is less viscous, but it sure goes foamy fast.

Probably less than 5 seconds. I haven't tried cold since flush. I flushed with cheapy Pennzoil and thought I would reflushl with gm fluid when I decide to replace something.

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I've asked this question many times......and the only fix I've heard that works is to replace the gear box, which I have no interest in doing.....


because of the cost and it might not fix it...... this problem has been around for a long time. thanks GM for addressing the issue!

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I had similar issues with my previous '06. It would actually lock the steering wheel when it was at it's worst. I replaced the pitman and idler arm to fix that. However, the hard steer at low speed was never fixed. I blamed it on the wide tires and not enough umph from the power steering pump. Sorry I don't have any ideas except maybe try a new steering gear but that may not fix it either.

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I had similar issues with my previous '06. It would actually lock the steering wheel when it was at it's worst. I replaced the pitman and idler arm to fix that. However, the hard steer at low speed was never fixed. I blamed it on the wide tires and not enough umph from the power steering pump. Sorry I don't have any ideas except maybe try a new steering gear but that may not fix it either.

replacing the gear box with a remanufactured one could still have the same issue......cuz we all know GM has not fixed this for many years.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I had flushed system with Pennzoil and the problem got worse. So I decided to drain and refill with GM fluid.

Same problem, under the slightest steering attempt the pump would scream (very loud) and get foamy, then settle down if you left it alone. I finally got my vacuum pump adapter to work. Held 20" no prob. I figured if I messed with trying to get adapter for pressure test it would just show crappy as it was foaming so fast. I had already ordered the gm pump weeks ago so decided to install. About a 2 hour job, luckily I still had a puller and installer. Checked the cooler for restriction, all good. Refilled and steering works fine. Not sure if perfect, but quite and good. Just a note I do not have the variable steering. Which I thought was odd because I always swore I did. Anyone know the option code for that? I will have to check my msrp sticker if I still have it. I'm going to dismantle pump when I get a chance. I remember resealing these guys years ago. Hope this helps somebody. Just worried pump might have early failure.


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  • 2 weeks later...

My 03 Z-71 was real bad with the power steering and was at the dealership about 5 times over it before I gave up on it. Then I traded for an 05 Z-71 and damn if it didn't do it too ! They replaced the fluid with the "cold climate" fluid which didn't do much to help it, but I didn't want them to jack it all up like they did with my 03. I just lived with it all these years. This past summer it finally got worse so I changed out the pump. It helped a little, but not enough for all the work and cost it was. I plan to flush out the Castrol brand fluid and put some of the GM cold climate fluid back in it. It's just nuts that some trucks suffer from this stupid problem, and others don't have any issue. I recall reading that there was supposed to be some kind of electrical switch or something on the steering column that somehow boosted the pressure at low speeds, but never got a chance to look into it. Does anyone know about this thing, where it is, and is it a possible cause ? I'd hate to think the dealership would overlook something that simple.

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.....some kind of electrical switch. never heard of this......from what my dealer and other ASE certified mechanics Ive talked to

said that its a seal leaking some where in the system....probably in the gear box. which im to replacing.


I've noticed that its not as bad in the mornings as it turns cold here in Michigan.....just pisses my off! might pull the trigger on a dodge/ toyota

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  • 3 years later...

I recently watched a youtube video on this very issue due to my 04 having the same problem. There is a valve you can replace in the back of the power steering pump that allows more pressure release in low to idle rpm turning. I have not yet swapped mine out but plan to do so once I get moved into my new home. The part is called "power steering control valve'" and the part number is 26065843. Type it into google and it will bring up several options. Hope this helps someone and I will update when I swap mine.



https://youtu.be/zVcVUkSch0c 1st video 


https://youtu.be/kpdYg8DPa-I 2nd video 

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