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power steering issue


Well-Known Member
October 5, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Branchburg NJ, Bethlehem PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT
Hey everyone,
A week or so ago i noticed that my power steering was real stiff. I figured the fluid was low so i checked it and it was fine although very dirty. I drove it for a bit but the problem persisted so tonight i replaced the power steering pump. I was sure this was going to be it but i took it out for a drive and it is pretty much the same as before. I still have power steering but it is real stiff turning the wheel in both directions. I did a quick drive around the block and in a cul de sac i was able to turn the wheel all the way to one lock and drive in a circle without the car correcting itself. I did it the same way in the other direction with the same results.

Does this sound like my rack and pinion is gone? Possibly 2 bad power steering pumps? Should I go and have the power steering fluid flush? I have no fluid leaks and everything else on the car works but if its the rack and pinion I fear Im gonna have to junk the car as its not worth it to fix.

Any help is appreciated!!

I was doing some research and reading and it seems that a lot of times when the wheel won't go back to center automatically it is an alignment or ball joint issue. Anyone ever had this problem?? Ball joints I could do myself (probably) and are not super expensive.


Pull the steering shaft and check the joints in it!

They will bind up and cause the steering to be stiff.

I replaced my steering rack due to this, not thinking it would be an issue.

I also see you are in NJ/PA, so if the boots failed (which I'm sure they all have) there is probably dirt and crap in it.

If you can get the shaft out, and it is the problem, you may be able to free it up.

I have the tires off now and the upper ball joints look to be completely shot. The rubber is almost completely dry rotted and cracked all around on both sides. Although I am sure it has been like this for awhile so im leary to think that this is what is causing this problem all of a sudden. All of the CV boots look to be in good shape and the rack does not have any visible leaks anywhere.

How do i pull the steering shaft??