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squeals while turning

  #1  
Old 10-08-2008, 04:34 PM
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Default squeals while turning

I had my car serviced about a year ago. Immediately after that, my car started squealing horribly in the morning when I turned the wheels while parked. I assume that my dealer didn't bleed the steering fluid when it was replaced and is too lazy to admit that is the problem and fix it. His answer of "well, sometimes cars get noisy" just isn't satisfactory. The squealing goes away after the car warms up. I know that it is not the fluid level or the tires. Anything else that it can be? Is it a problem I can solve myself or take to any decent mechanic?

MRR
 
  #2  
Old 10-09-2008, 09:56 AM
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Default RE: squeals while turning

One possible source of a groan or growl is contact between a hose and the vehicle frame or body. That's something you can look for.
Because it seems to occur when the car is cold, it may be related to fluid viscosity. It could be that the fluid is just getting old. There is no recommended fluid change interval for power steering fluid, so I guess the engineers are assuming that power steering fluid never wears out, and maybe that's true. On the other hand, most organic substances tend to break down over time, so why should power steering fluid be any different?

"Bleeding" the system is done by slowly turning the wheels fully from side to side with the engine running. I wouldn't pay a dealer to do that.
 
  #3  
Old 10-09-2008, 03:37 PM
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Default RE: squeals while turning

Well, it only started immediately after the dealer changed some fluids. Since it never does it when warm, I doubt it's a contact problem.

My repair manual did say that turning the wheels is how you bleed the system. Do I need to take the cap off or anything first? I've tried turning it side to side, but no help. Should it be done cold (while squealing) or warm?

On a side note, the steering also feels loose, jumpy, or out of synch when cold. As if one wheel is turning at a different pace and then tweaks to catch up.
 
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:01 PM
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Default RE: squeals while turning

I doubt that the jumping is related to the groan, UNLESS your power steering pump is failing. That might be the case if it only occurs when the fluid is cold and more viscous. It could also be loose ball joints or tie rod ends, I would think. You might want to put the front end up on jack stands and give it a good inspection. Turn the wheels fully through their range of steering and check for looseness or excessive play in all the connections. If the jumping continues to be felt with the wheels off the ground, look for binding in the suspension and steering gear.

The Chrysler shop manual insists that power steering fluid and NOT automatic transmission fluid be used in the steering gear. The Haynes manual says to use ATF. I have no idea whether these are incompatible with each other. Maybe they are not and somebody added some ATF into the system and this is causing your problem. If so, a flush might be in order. The shop manual does not provide any instructions for flushing the system. Short of disconnecting the lines to the gear (which is not an easy job), there doesn't seem to be a way to get the old fluid out before adding the new. Thus any "flush" is not likely to be complete unless repeated several times. So do we have any idea what the dealer did when he "changed some fluids"?

You don't need to remove the cap to bleed the air. There's some expansion space in the reservoir, so that's not a problem. I would do it hot, as the fluid is a little thinner then and the air ought to move more easily.
 
  #5  
Old 10-09-2008, 09:11 PM
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Default RE: squeals while turning

I had the ball joints replaced two years ago. I still remember the feel and sound of those being bad. This is not the same and disappears when after warm up. I honestly do not remember what was done when I had the fluids changed. I had them do a lot of work at that time; transmission flush, Alignment - which involved replacing some mechanicals (not the ball-joints; that was earlier by a different dealer), probably some other work. I'll try to find that paperwork to see specifically.

MRR
 
  #6  
Old 10-09-2008, 09:12 PM
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Default RE: squeals while turning

Replace your belt. It probably got fluid on it during the change. That fluid causes the belt to slip when you turn the wheels, causing jumpy steering, and belt squealing. If the belt is new, try cleaning it in some soapy water, rinse, dry, clean the pulleys and idler wheels, inspect all closely for wobbling or noise when you spin them, reinstall and tighten up the belt to correct specification.

Your problem will likely disappear.
 
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