So you wake up one morning ready to drive the kids to school and head in to work. The sun is up, and the dogs are barking. As you are walking up to the car, your son says, "Daddy! Look at all that water under the car!" -- and it isn't water. It is power steering fluid.

Another symptom is a "growling" sound from under the hood when turning the wheel.

Gosh, how much is this going to cost? Well, expect $200+ if you take it to the shop. This DIY repair cost less than $50.

Over the course of a vehicle lifetime, it will likely become necessary to replace or rebuild the power steering pump due to leakage. The power steering pump is a hardened pump, where the failure mode is normally fluid leakage around the gaskets and seals.

So which to do? A replacement or a rebuild? In my opinion, the power steering pump should be viewed as a line replaceable unit. Rebuilding will not be addressed in this instructable.

The pump replacement is easy to do once a few tricks are recognized. For example, do not attempt pump replacement without locating a power steering pump pulley puller. Using a standard pulley puller may make the pulley out of round -- not a good thing!

This paper outlines pump replacement on a 1987 Ford Thunderbird 3.8L V6. The original pump lasted more than 300,000 miles.

Expect Total Time to Repair around 4 hours.

Have fun, and be safe!



Step 1: Gather materials

This instructable is designed into four main parts. Here's the outline:

1) Gather the materials
-- Instructable step 1 - This includes tools, a new pump, fluids, etc.
2) Remove the leaking pump
-- Instructable step 2 - Drain the Power Steering system
-- Instructable step 3 - Remove accessories from Power Steering system
-- Instructable step 4 - Remove the pulley and bolts
-- Instructable step 5 - Remove power steering pump
3) Install the new pump
-- Instructable step 6 - Place the new power steering pump
-- Instructable step 7 - Press on the power steering pump pulley
-- Instructable step 8 - Align the pulley and attach the belts
-- Instructable step 9 - Flush and fill the power steering system
4) Cleanup
-- Instructable step 10 - Cleanup

You'll need some tools to complete this task. Before you start, gather the necessary equipment -- you will not be able to use the car once you start the replacement! It is always a good idea to have a friend on call, or a second car available.

Equipment list:

  • Power Steering pump (to replace defective pump)
  • Two (2) quarts power steering fluid or appropriate ATF (to flush and fill). More than 2 quarts if flushing the rack is desired.
  • Power Steering Pulley Puller set (to remove and attach the pulley). Some auto parts stores will loan the tool sets.
  • Socket set.
  • Open end wrench set (for use with puller set).
  • Leverage pipe or extension bar (in case the pulley is hardened on the spindle).
  • Drain pan (to drain & flush power steering system).
  • Wheel bearing grease for sliding pulley on the pump hub.
  • 2' wood 1x2 for assistance with aligning the pulleys. Any straight tool will work fine -- a level, metal rod, wood, whatever.

About This Instructable


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