Changing a Ford Explorer
Power Steering Pump

Contributed by drbob

Take the belt off completely.

Remove the AC compressor with those 4 bolts on top, undo the pin for the electrical harness behind on the rocker cover, and swing the compressor out of the way.

The steering pump comes off the motor with the big aluminum bracket. Undo the hoses first, and catch as much of the old fluid so you won't have to swim in it.

You'll need a P/S pulley puller for that PLASTIC pulley, one designed to grab just the metal hub, not the plastic part where the belt rides. I rented one from the store where I got the pump.

Once the pulley is off you can remove the bolts that hold the pump to the bracket. Remove the pump, and bolt the new one to the bracket.

Installing the pulley was a bit of a chore, since the installation tool is just a hardened bolt and a nut with a thick washer (came with the rebuilt pump). Grease the threads on the bolt, WD-40 on the shaft before the pulley goes on, and MAKE SURE you put the pulley on in the right direction. I wrapped the old belt around the pulley tight, then clamped the belt in a vise to keep the pulley from turning. Don't even think of clamping on the plastic pulley.

Once the pulley is on flush you can reinstall the bracket, the wiring clip and the air conditioning compressor. Put a new belt on while you have it apart, especially since you pinched that old one in the vise. Follow the directions with the pump regarding that Teflon ring on the pressure hose fitting -- you must replace it or risk a leak.

Get a few feet of hose and a coupler so you can extend the return hose down into a bucket. Block off the return hose nipple on the reservoir with the plastic cap that came on the new pump, and flush a few quarts of ATF through the system with the engine idling. Make sure you move the wheel completely from side to side while flushing to get all the old pump bits and crud out of the system. You'll need a helper for this part with the steering wheel, especially since you are covered in ATF by now.... This flushing is extremely important, so don't skimp on it!

Reconnect the return hose and fill the system with new ATF, and you are ready to get out the soap and water to clean up your dribbles and fingerprints. Be sure to go through a few steering cycles from full lock to full lock, then check the fluid level. There's a description somewhere of a method to de-aerate the fluid if it's foamy, but I've never needed it.

While the pump and the A/C compressor is out of the way, you have a very clear access to the left-side rocker cover gasket. If yours is leaking, now's the perfect time to replace it while the tools are out and the parts are off.

Took less than an hour to change the pump, an extra 20 minutes to do the gasket, working at a casual pace.

Contributed by Chris Goff

I found out, after going through a couple of plastic pulleys, that usually the place where you bought it will put it on for free (Auto Zone in my case) without having to rent a tool. It was certainly better than breaking about 8 or 9 of those horrible bolts they give to put the new pulley back on. A couple of torque's with the air wrench and the guy at Auto Zone was done and we were done in less than 30. I wish I read your tip before hand, but you might want to stress again "DO NOT USE A PULLEY PULLER THAT CLAMPS ON THE SIDES OF THE PULLEY OR IT WILL CRACK, and ASK YOUR AUTO PARTS DEALER TO PUT THE NEW PULLEY ON FOR YOU."

Contributed by Jeff Singleton

A few more points. I concur with Chris Goff's suggestion for letting the auto parts store guys remove and replace the pulley (though see the next section for another view). Even with their air tools, it took about an hour to remove my pulley and reinstall it on the new pump - apparently mine was more of an interference fit instead of a press fit. Also, the tubing you will need for the flush procedure is 3/8in I.D. - I temporarily installed a tee in the return line and used a hose pincher to slow down the rate the fluid left the system and sprayed around the garage^H^H^H^H^H^H^H filled the catch bucket. This made it almost (but not quite) a one man job. Finally, I had to replace the pressure hose in my system because the little teflon ring was destroyed in removing the original from the pump (the hose end was damaged too). In fact, I had to remove the pump/pulley from the truck with the pressure hose attached.

Contributed by Mike T.

Most of the mechanics I work with are from heavy equipment repair, automotive, or the airlines. I have an input on the steering pump from a factory trained Ford man.

The C2 pump found on the Explorer with the plastic reservoir attached is a Ford adaptation of a TRW pump, and basically they all said it stinks. The new Fords have a C3 Saginaw pump with the separate reservoir. GM has been using the Saginaw pump for decades, and it is much better. Here are the main things I have learned about the C2:

1. Even if you just installed the pump, if any air gets in the system, it will howl for the rest of the pump's life. It may operate fine, but it will howl. You can not over emphasis the need to bleed the system, and when you think you have spent too much time doing so, you need to continue. The front tires must be raised, the pump needs to be turned manually (before pulley is attached), and you need to follow the repair manual procedures for bleeding the system before you ever start the car.

2. The pulley should be removed and installed by hand using the proper tools. My parts guy installed my pulley with the impact wrench, like some of the guys described in your section, and invariably the front shaft seal would leak. Lifetime warranty or not, after the third pump, I decided to figure out what was happening. Two of my mechanics from the Ford dealership laughed when I told them how the pulley was removed and installed at the parts place. Anyway, it is time consuming and hard work even at the dealer, but they would never use a power tool to install the pulley for fear of damaging the seal. Also, the pump starts to howl as soon as you get a leaking seal.

I currently have a Saginaw pump from a '76 Chevy that I plan to install on my '91 Explorer XLT with a little fabrication of a new bracket. I will let you know how it turns out.


Contributed by Matt A.

Hey, love your sight and have found it useful in many ways. Unfortunately, I've found the section on changing the power steering pump has you doing it the more difficult way (taking the whole assembly off including the a/c compressor and having someone else take off the pump). Here's how I did it, feel free to add it if you want, if not its just kind of a useful tip.

The easiest way to remove a power steering pump is to start off with the belt, of course. Tensioners differ from year to year, but the basic point is to get the belt off. Once that belt has been removed, take a power steering pump puller (I rented one from the local Autozone, has a clamp that goes around the small portion of the pulley, and a bolt to pull it off. Takes a bit of muscle work and about 20-30 minutes to get it off. Once the pulley is off, the three bolts holding the power steering pump to the bracket can be removed, and the power steering pump dropped out the bottom of the bracket (it is horseshoe shaped). This procedure can be done in reverse to attach, and re-insert the pulley. Then its just a matter of hooking up the belt and bleeding the air out of the system!




Updated November 24, 2000

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