P/S PUMP UP

Four Wheeler - - Techline -

I have been a sub­scriber since PV4 went belly up. I need help get­ting a power steer­ing pump with a reser­voir for my ’88 Chevy Sub­ur­ban. The pumps cur­rently avail­able from the parts stores are all re­man­u­fac­tured/re­built by the same com­pany and are not as good as the orig­i­nal OEM part. Ap­par­ently, GM no longer makes them. I have put on three of the Auto Zone pumps and they only lasted a cou­ple of weeks. I have slightly larger tires. Lo­cal me­chan­ics tell me th­ese re­builds can­not han­dle the in­creased pres­sure. Your mag­a­zine

Qhas fea­tured many older Subur­bans and Chevy trucks over the years that have big wheels and tires, so surely there is a source for af­ter­mar­ket high-qual­ity power steer­ing pumps that will fit my ve­hi­cle. I am the orig­i­nal owner of this ve­hi­cle and my youngest daugh­ter was al­most born in it dur­ing a snow­storm. That Sub­ur­ban got us to the hospi­tal about five min­utes be­fore she was born! I left the doors open and the en­gine run­ning while I wheeled her into the hospi­tal. I can’t let it go. She pretty much grew up in it dur­ing the many years it was my pri­mary driver. She has a learn­ing dis­abil­ity but al­ways loved that truck and would not let me get rid of it. Thanks for any help you can pro­vide and thanks for a great mag­a­zine.

CHUCK HUFF VIA EMAIL

A We have not had the same is­sues with parts store pumps. How­ever, many pumps fail right out of the box, re­gard­less of the man­u­fac­turer or re­builder, be­cause of im­proper bleed­ing. If you have sim­ply been in­stalling the pump, fill­ing it with fluid, and start­ing the en­gine, you could be smok­ing your power steer­ing pump be­fore it even has a chance to work prop­erly. If there is air in the sys­tem when you start the en­gine, you are likely ru­in­ing ev­ery pump you in­stall. To keep this from hap­pen­ing, you need to prop­erly bleed all of the air out of the en­tire steer­ing sys­tem prior to startup. It’s a very sim­ple, yet time con­sum­ing process that needs to be done when­ever the steer­ing sys­tem is mod­i­fied or dis­as­sem­bled.

Prior to in­stalling the new pump, make sure the lines are free from all con­tam­i­nants. Flush out the lines if need be. With the new power steer­ing pump in­stalled and all the power steer­ing hoses cinched down you can fill the pump reser­voir with the rec­om­mended fluid. I pre­fer to use a syn­thetic fluid like Red Line (red­li­neoil. com), but there are many other syn­thetic power steer­ing flu­ids avail­able that will help keep the sys­tem cool. Safely raise the front axle on jack­stands and cy­cle the steer­ing wheel back and

forth lock-to-lock with the en­gine off, oc­ca­sion­ally check­ing and re­fill­ing the fluid as you go. You need to cy­cle the steer­ing wheel many times un­til you no longer see bub­bles boil­ing up in­side the reser­voir and it no longer needs fluid added. Now the en­gine can be started and you can cy­cle the steer­ing back and forth lock-to-lock a few times to fin­ish the bleed­ing process. Turn off the en­gine and in­spect the fluid and fluid level. If the fluid is foamy, there was still air in the sys­tem. You’ll need to let it rest and start over from the be­gin­ning once the air bub­bles dis­si­pate.

If you are still con­vinced that the parts store pumps are not for you, com­pa­nies such as AGR (steerco.com), Howe Per­for­mance Power Steer­ing (howeper­for­mance.com), and PSC Motorsports (psc­mo­tor­sports.com) of­fer re­built high-per­for­mance power steer­ing pumps that fit your ap­pli­ca­tion. Some pumps in­clude re­mote reser­voirs to in­crease fluid ca­pac­ity and built-in fil­ters to keep the fluid clean.

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