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Humming Noise + Steering Issue

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by tdubs329, June 13, 2018.

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    1. tdubs329

      tdubs329 New Member

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      Hi everyone, this is my first post on this forum. I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction with an issue my father-in-law is having with his 2004 Mountaineer 4.6L AWD. This is actually two issues, but I'm not sure if they are related.

      The first issue has to do with the steering. It feels like when turning the steering wheel the power steering cuts in and out at points. I would estimate that it's about ever 1/8 - 1/4 turn of the steering wheel it feels like there is a bump you have to push through, and the wheel will not straighten itself out when coming out of a turn. I first noticed the difference in pressure needed to turn the wheel when I borrowed about a month ago, but the steering issue was VERY subtle then, barely noticeable. I also think it would return to center back then. He told me that over the last few weeks it got a little worse so he brought it to a shop and they told him they replaced his power steering pump and when he picked it up it was a lot worse. When looking at it today I'm not sure they actually replaced the pump, the label on the pump was covered in grime, but it did look like fluid had been drained since there was a bunch of fluid on the frame below where the pump sits. The reservoir also looks like someone spilled fluid all over it while filling it up. The fluid looks clear red when I took a little out with a turkey baster. I tried to bleed the system using this write-up How to easily remove air from your power steering pump & steering rack , but it didn't seem to have much effect, there did seem to be some air in the system though since I saw burping when removing the stopper while the car was running.

      The second issue is a humming noise that's noticeable at all driving speeds, and seems to sync with the speed of the vehicle (not RPM dependent, and if I drop it in neutral while rolling and hit the gas there is no change). The noise is there at all times when the vehicle is in motion, and gets worse the faster you go. It does stop when turning right though, but not when turning left. I can feel a slight vibration in the steering wheel and possibly the peddles, almost like when closing a zip tie. I have a clip of the noise here and you can see toward the beginning and end when I get on and off the highway the noise cuts out while I'm in the turn, but comes back when I straighten the wheel out. Do you think this would be a bad wheel bearing?

      If anyone could point me in the right direction to get this resolved it would be greatly appreciated. It looks like the place he brought it to might have screwed him over with the pump, and I don't want to see him dump money into chasing ghosts.

      ()
       
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    3. shane10

      shane10 Active Member

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      The humming sounds like wheel bearings, I would recommend replacing them in pairs, they usually fail that way. I had the same noise, was hard to pinpoint, had no play in tires with the truck on jacks, but both fronts were totally shot.
      Can't be of any help in regards to the steering, good luck
       
    4. tdubs329

      tdubs329 New Member

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      Thanks, I found a pair of hubs on 1A Auto for $100. I told my FIL that it's worth a shot trying to replace those out first. I've never some across a bad wheel bearing and while I'll turn a wrench once and a while, i'm in no way a mechanic so I didn't want to tell him that was definitely the issue. But, it did seem to make the most sense to me.

      For the steering I'm going to test the pump tonight by bringing the truck up to 2000 RPMs while parked and turn the wheel to see if there is any difference. If nothing changes then I'm going to try to spray some WD40 in the U joints on the steering column to see if that helps.
       
    5. TechGuru

      TechGuru Well-Known Member

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    6. EdmondsXLT

      EdmondsXLT New Member

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      I have a similar loud noise issue - faster speed = louder noise - although it doesn't change or cut out when I turn, but my ABS light will randomly come on. Tried to get the code read at O'Reilly but nothing showed up. Think this is bearings/hubs as well? Any way to determine if front or rear, left or right? I've jacked it up and can't find any play in any of the wheels.
       
    7. TechGuru

      TechGuru Well-Known Member

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      Well only the front ones would have impact on the ABS light AFAIK...
       
    8. EdmondsXLT

      EdmondsXLT New Member

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      Hmm, good to know. Guess I'll order up some front ones then. It's got 174k on it so they are probably all due for replacing anyway. Thanks!
       
    9. tdubs329

      tdubs329 New Member

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      Sorry for the late reply, I just wanted to follow up on this thread to let anyone that might read this know everything went. Spraying penetrating oil on the steering column took care of the binding issue when turning the wheel and replacing the hubs eliminated the grinding noise while driving.
       

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