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Old 08-10-2007, 06:39   #1 (permalink)
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96 Ford Taurus tight power steering

My 96 Ford Taurus LX's steering has been tight since I bought the car two years ago. The power steering isn't out, it's just harder to turn the wheel. One mechanic told me I needed to replace the pump. When I got my car inspected, another guy told me to check out the rack assembly. My dad thought he'd take a look at it and decided to check the fluid, which was fine. He drained it anyways and added some power steering fluid stop leak or lubricant and then new power steering fluid. This didn't help things at all and in fact when I first start up the car and drive and reverse to turn around on the street by my apartment it is really tight initially but fine later. Because I've heard two different things to fix, I'd like to know what someone else might think. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 08-10-2007, 06:49   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 96 Ford Taurus tight power steering

I agree, the rack or pump.
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Old 08-10-2007, 07:55   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 96 Ford Taurus tight power steering

Is there any way to know which one it would be?
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:04   #4 (permalink)
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cool Re: 96 Ford Taurus tight power steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjb954
Is there any way to know which one it would be?
I'd make sure first nothing is bound up in the suspension and rack first by doing this:
1. Remove both front wheels.
2. Remove the nuts holding the tie rod ends to the spindles.
3. Hit the spindles with a hammer to release the tie rod ends from the spindles.
4. Manually turn the spindles. The should turn easily.
5. With the ignition key on, turn the steering wheel side to side, It should not bind.
6. Make sure the tie rod end studs do not bind.
If evertything checks out then go with the pump.
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Old 04-12-2011, 20:58   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 96 Ford Taurus tight power steering

I agree with T-bird's post about checking the suspension components first-- I would also suggest checking the steering knuckles at the steering column to be sure they're sufficiently lubricated and not binding. I had this exact issue with a '98 Taurus, and here's what I found: After confirming that the ball joints/struts and steering knuckles weren't the problem, I next turned my attention to the rack and pump. I wasn't completely convinced that either of these were the problem, as the pump was quiet as a church mouse and the steering wasn't herky-jerky like a classic rack failure. The steering was just tight; not dead, but about 50% there. Long story short, it turns out that the GEM module had failed. If your Taurus has VAPS,(variable assist power steering), this could very well be the culprit. The GEM module is mounted on the back of the fuse panel adjacent to the brake pedal and controls VAPS, which gives you full power steering at a dead stop or low speeds, but reduces it at higher speeds to improve road feel. In layman's terms, when the module fails it tells the PCM (powertrain control module) that the vehicle is at speed even when it isn't moving, and as such cuts the power assist in half. Ford discontinued manufacturing replacement GEM modules for my model year Taurus, so I had to find one at the salvage yard for about 50 dollars. It's imperative that the part numbers match if you go this route, and there's about a 50/50 chance that it will have to be programmed at the dealer before it functions properly. Good luck!
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