Subaru Outback Power Steering Pump Noise: A Practical Guide to Diagnosing and Repairing (2022)

subaru outback power steering pump noise
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Although a power steering pump noise coming from your Subaru can be alarming, it’s rare that this annoying noise is a sign of something more serious. If the whine’s cause is not addressed, it may eventually result in damage or the need to replace parts, but there are frequently a number of preventative actions you can take to stop any possible problems from occurring.

We explain the power steering system and its functions in this article. We go over possible noises and what they signify. We’ll also look at possible causes, symptoms, and fixes for various noises. After reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of what the noises coming from your power steering system are trying to tell you and how to fix them.

10 reasons why Subaru outback power steering pump is noisy

subaru outback power steering pump noise

Power steering pump noise is a red flag for a problem. It will get worse if you delay.

1. Low Power Steering Fluid Level

For easier turning, power steering fluid is used. The pump moves a hydraulic fluid, which helps in lubricating and cooling parts, through high-pressure pipes. Low power steering fluid levels indicate a system leak.

If there is a leak, air may enter the system and cause the steering to make squeaking, rattling, grunting, or grinding noises.

2. A Power Steering Pump Leak

Under the front of your car, there will be a puddle of reddish-brown liquid if your power steering pump is leaking. Where the driving gear shaft enters the pump or where the hoses are connected to the pump could be the source of the leak. Lack of hydraulic fluid caused a leak in overheating and fluid loss. Other parts of the power steering system may also be harmed and you can fix it through LUCAS 10008.

3. Exhausted Power steering fluid 

It is a hydraulic fluid with a silicone, mineral, or synthetic oil base. The fluid is used to cool and lubricate parts, as well as to facilitate steering pump noises.

4. Power steering pump with air

A bubble of air that forms in the power steering pump can make steering more hard and produce a gurgling noise. Air is compressed, trapped, and interferes with how well the hydraulic fluid works. 

5. Power-Steering Belt That Is Slipping or Rusty

A gurgling noise and harder steering can result from an air bubble rising in the power steering pump. The compressed, trapped air interrupts the hydraulic fluid’s ability to function.

6. A defective power steering pump

The hydraulic fluid that makes steering nearly effortless is pressurized by the power steering pump. When turned on, a worn-out or faulty pump will noise, and it will squeak when steering. Furthermore, when turning and steering may become more difficult, there may be a response delay of a few seconds.

7. Problems with the Pump’s Design

Some power steering pumps are made with poor materials or with bad planning. They are sensitive to sudden failure, leaving you without power-assisted steering. Some start to leak, while others end up with gear axle or bearing damage.

8. A jammed power steering hose

A block in a power steering hose can result in low fluid levels in the tank, hard steering, and fluid leaks. As the flow of hydraulic fluid is restricted, you can hear a whine, whistle, or grinding sound from the power steering. Particles like metal, plastic, or rubber that block flow through holes or make the flow valve stick could be the reason for the blockage. The fluid can boil due to a jam, which can potentially harm other steering parts.

9. A faulty power steering pump

A bad steering pump may whine, grind, or squeak as a result of components performing incorrectly. It could develop a leak, leading to low fluid levels, which could then cause the fluid to overheat and shatter the storage or harm another steering entire system. 

10. A wobbly belt or a leaking belt seal

A shaky power steering belt can make a noise-like screech. It can result in costly repairs due to damage to the woodruff key, shaft, or key slot. Moreover, it could result in slippage or belt failure, which causes new issues.

How to Stop Power Steering Pump Noise on a Subaru Outlet

How to Stop Power Steering Pump Noise on a Subaru Outlet

1. Identify and pinpoint the noise source

Start your car’s engine. If the whining or other noise vanishes quickly after starting, the belt most likely has some moisture or wetness on it. Consider checking for a loose or rusty belt if the noise continues as the RPMs grow.

Turn the wheel sharply left, then sharply right, while the engine is running. Find out what kind of noise it is by listening for a whine, squeak, squeal, screech, moan, grind, rattle, or clunk. Hopefully, you won’t hear a clunk.

2. Take the air out of the power steering

Remove the reservoir cap after the engine has finished cooling. If required, check the fluid level and fill it to the full line. The bleed valve can be found on the high-pressure line that runs from the power steering pump toward the steering box after the cap has been replaced.

Onto the valve’s end, press a hose. The hose needs to be long enough to extend to a ground-level drain basin or container. After turning the engine on, slightly loosen the valve. As far to the left and right as you can turn the wheel. Close the bleed valve after turning off the engine.

3. Change your power steering fluids

If the power steering fluid is reddish-brown or black, it needs to be replaced. The recommended period is every 24,000 miles or two years. Use only the fluid that the manufacturer suggests and keep enough on reserve to complete the task. Avoid magic or leak-stopping products since they might block systems and require costly repairs. The problem should be fixed rather than covered up.

4. Remove the Power Steering Hose’s blockage

Before deciding that there is a blocked hose, check the steering system filters for blockages. Plan to clear the lines if they are clear. Chemicals that have rusted or worn from other parts might block a power steering hose.

Particle blockages should be removed by flushing the system, but damaged hoses might also need to be replaced.  It is simpler to access the inside of the Subaru if it is supported by jack stands or a lifter. You can also rotate the wheels to the left or right.

Lift the tank cover off. If there is a catch tray, take it out to make it easier to reach the steering lines. There is possibly a leak if there is liquid in the tray. Add a catch-pan to catch the liquid that was flushed.

To increase drainage, gently unplug the hoses that connect the reservoir to the steering rack. At the pump’s lowest point, unplug the low-pressure hose, then remove it.

Fill up the reservoir and start the vehicle. To move the hydraulic fluid through all parts, turn the steering wheel right and left. Likewise, drain the system of any air.

5. Replace the Belt

Remove the power steering or serpentine belt if it is worn out or damaged. To verify that the installation matches the removal, take a picture. For information on belt size and installation patterns, read the guide.

6. Change the Power Steering Pump

The percentage of steering noise and issues should be addressed by replacing the power-steering pump with a new or reconditioned pump.

A drain pan should be put under Subaru to catch the liquid. The pressure hoses and any other connections or lines should be disconnected. Remove the pump by removing the mounting bracket bolts.

After re-connecting the hoses and lines, attach the new pump to the bracket. Replace the belt with a fresh one if it is worn out or damaged. In the same sequence, replace the belt on the pulleys.

As you adjust the pressure and tighten each bolt, keep an eye on the strain. Put the advised fluid into the reservoir. Check for leaks after running the engine for a few minutes.

7. Modify the steering belt

Measure with tape how far you can push the belt inside with your thumb from the straight edge.   The recommended size is 3/8″.

The belt has to be adjusted if it is either too tight or too loose. To enable the pump to move, loosen the adjustment bolt. If the belt is too tight, the pump will start to move. Keep it from moving too much.

Use a lever on the cast iron case to push the pump up if it does or is loose. Levering against soft metal or pipes might cause damage, therefore avoid doing so. Once the pressure is correct, check it again. Recheck the belt angle after tightening the bolt(s) to the proper torque.

Final words

Subaru Outback power steering pump noises are a sign that your steering system isn’t working properly. It is not something that should be ignored.  The hydraulic assist technology finds a careful balance between making steering simple and maintaining your awareness of the road’s circumstances.

Hopefully, you have a better knowledge of what power steering whine, grind, or streaks indicate whether you choose to handle it yourself or pay a professional. Please spread the word if you found this post interesting. Your suggestions and opinions are valued as always.

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