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Power steering Noise

Nauman Sharif

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Hello everyone


I own a 2004 Honda Accord (2.4L 4 cylinder, 135K Miles) which about a year ago started producing the infamous whining noise which my mechanic said was the PS. Now back then the noise would go away after 2-3 minutes of warm-up. Fast forward a year, and the noise is louder and does not go away at all, even after a 300+ mile highway drive. The problem here is that none of the mechanics I've come across can pin point if it is the high pressure hose that needs replacing (I've never found leaks anywhere, but it has got to be pulling air in from somewhere) or has the pump itself given out. It wasn't a problem before but now the noise is considerably loud and is quite embarrassing not to mention I got pulled over for it.


Some additional info: The reservoir fills up with foam when the engine is running. Also, I don't live in the states and the mechanics aren't that good down here. Any help would be appreciated since I'm a student and can't afford replacing everything needlessly.



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You say the reservior fills with foam but you have no leaks. Unless you've missed leaks somewhere, the air would be coming from the reservior. The first thing I can think of is the fluid level drops low enough for the suction line to cavitate at the reservior and then either cavitate in the pump or cause a vapor lock. Even a full reservior can get foam, and a pump can cavitate without air present.



Now, assuming you don't know what you're looking at, I'm going to offer a fresh perspective. The foam is normal, you have no leaks, and your pump has progressively increased its noise output over time. I would say the pump bearings are making the noise.


Is the correct amount of fluid in the reservior and can you check the pump bearings yourself?

Edited by James Matteu
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Thank you for your reply. It could be possible that I may have missed any leaks present or they may be small enough to not be noticeable. The fluid is the correct amount, however, I do recall now that every 2 or so months I do have to top off the reservoir a small amount as the fluid level drops. Is that normal? The noise does go away but after a really long time driving, given that I turn off the engine and let it sit for at least half an hour, however, even so the noise returns within 10-15 minutes of driving. I checked the markets and a Japanese aftermarket high pressure hose retails for around $90-100. The pump new is expensive but I suppose I can find one from a salvage yard.


Isn't there an accurate way to tell if it's the pump itself or a leak? I'm going to visit a mechanic that specializes in Japanese cars tomorrow and see what he has to say.


Thanks for the help, will keep in touch :)

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There are pressure gauges to see if the pump is failing to make pressure, but bearing noise is subjective: you just have to know what a failing bearing sounds like and listen for it. The alternative is to dismantle the pump and check the bearings for play since they will have excessive play long before they make noise.


If the high pressure side has a leak you will know. It holds alot of pressure and will either leak profusely or spray everywhere. Also, the wet spots are hard to miss. Same goes for the low pressure suction side, leaks are obvious. The only way to miss a leak is to already have a dirty grease-pit of an engine bay. If that's the case, cleaning everything up should be the first order of business. Then look for leaks.


Your fluid loss isn't normal. I add about 10mL a year; I rebuilt my steering rack and replaced most of the lines (they were all leaking) so I have only one leak in the return line under the reservior, hence the 10mL.

Edited by James Matteu
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