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Ford Explorer Steering Problem

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  • Ford Explorer Steering Problem

    I am still layed-up after surgery, so I can't diagnose this. My wife came to me and told me she has a prob. with her 2004 Ford Explorer. It only has 46,000 miles on it. It makes no noise, but when it is cold(first time use in the morning), it is already 80 in the morning, but as she backs out of the drive and turns the wheel hard, the power steering goes out. The idle does not change, but the battery light flashes on. When she tries to straighten the wheel out, the ps does not work. When the steering passes center, it begins working again, and works fine the rest of the day. I have changed the PS fluid twice over its life, the belt and idler has been changed. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    If the engine speed is not dropping at full lock and the alt light is on; seems like your belt is slipping. The highest amount of torque from the crank pulley to the belt would be needed when at full lock and a cold start since the PS pump is putting out max pressure and that alternator is trying to recharge the battery from what the starter just sucked out of it. I but if your AC is on too (if on same belt) its even worse.... Odd that is would not recover until steering past center though.... When was that belt changed? Take a look at it and see if its glazed. My neighbor had a taurus with a "stuck" idler. The belt was worn and slipping and the idler seemed to be siezed too so it wouldn't keep the belt tight.

    Jeff in ND

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    • #3
      For what it's worth (probably not much), my Excursion had a left front ball joint go out at 45k. From the noise, I thought it was a steering issue.
      63 Avanti R1 2788
      1914 Stutz Bearcat
      (George Barris replica)

      Washington State

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      • #4
        Sounds like "morning sickness". Pretty common in early 80s GMs. It's to do with the internals of the rack if I recall. The repair was replacing the rack. Most lived with it since it only happened on that first start in the morning, as you describe, and didn't seem to get worse for a long time. Not sure if that's your case, but it's a thought.

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        • #5
          You might take your Explorer to your local mechanic and have the power steering pump checked. Over the years it seems as if Ford has had troubles with the power steering pumps.


          John S

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          • #6
            The pump let go last night. Wierd that a low milage vehicle would do that. But it is a Ford.

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            • #7
              I bought an 05 Explorer a couple of weeks ago and have learned a LOT about various aspects of it from http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/...play.php?f=101. This link will take you directly to the 2002-05 stock Explorer forum and I guarantee you that someone there will be able to answer your questions. You can also do a search in this forum for "power steering" and read previous threads on this subject. Good luck....
              Last edited by 50Champ; 06-10-2010, 11:06 AM.
              1949 Studebaker 2R5 half ton pickup...

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              • #8
                Wow, turns out the harmonic balancer came apart. Luckily the outside pulley slipped backwards, and scared the timing chain cover. If it had slipped forward, would have taken out the radiator. The new part is made completely different, so maybe Ford realized they have a problem.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chucks Stude View Post
                  Wow, turns out the harmonic balancer came apart. Luckily the outside pulley slipped backwards, and scared the timing chain cover. If it had slipped forward, would have taken out the radiator. The new part is made completely different, so maybe Ford realized they have a problem.
                  4.0 engine?
                  yeah, another mechanic at work had one come in like that.
                  Someone had actually put the belt on the rubber part of the balancer after the outer part had slid inwards like yours did because it had some grooves kind of like the pulley does.
                  I'm sure we'll be seeing more of this problem in the future.

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                  • #10
                    Yeah, its a 4.0. Replacement is avail in the aftermarket, so that means there is enough of a problem to reproduce the parts. Luckily, the crank sensor was not blanked out, and she was able to get the car home.

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