P/S PUMP UP
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.