Power steering pump groan/weak - JeepForum.com
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  • 1 Post By 1996maroonzjf
  • 3 Post By Timo_90xj
  • 1 Post By Zilliver
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-27-2020, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
nhcd538
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Power steering pump groan/weak

Guys I've only put a couple hundred miles on this setup (4.5" lift, 33" tires) but I'm noticing that at low speeds when I turn the wheel the pump gives a slight groan and it feels like it's working very hard to turn the wheels. Fluid is full but it smells.

The front end is in good shape, tie rod ends, ball joints, etc are all either new or recent. Going down the road it drives fine, just low speed maneuvers it seems the pump is having a heck of a time.

This isn't my first lifted Jeep - hell my 4-cylinder TJ with 35's didn't have any trouble like this. Any suggestions for shoring up the steering so it doesn't feel like I'm going to break something every time I turn at low speeds?


1996 ZJ 5.2
*Disclaimer - I've probably had a few beers
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-27-2020, 12:49 PM
1996maroonzjf
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The smell and the fact it feels like it's working very hard to turn the wheels is concerning, but the groan is not always a major issue.

When I installed a new crown steering box with new a/c delco pump and new hoses and fluid I still got a sort of high pitched whine on full lock. I bleed the system per the FSM multiple times and still had the whine. After some research I determined it was from the hoses making contact with the air box and fan shroud. There was a TSB for WJs this exact issue and the hoses making contact with other parts was the cause.

If you want to beef-up / tighten-up your steering look into a steering box brace and Ruff Stuffs "The Cure". There is quite a bit of flex in the uni-frame rails on a ZJ when you have over-sized tires add that to the rather large amount of tie rod roll and you get the picture. There are couple different levels of braces - some have a bearing that attaches to the steering box output, and there are more simple braces that just clamp to the box and tie it into both frame rails at the sway bar brackets. Ironman off road and mountain vista fabrication make a couple different versions. I'm sure there are more out there as well.
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-Tim
(2) '96 4.0s
#1-'10-'18
#2- HP30/Ford 8.8 - 4.56, OME HDs, 5100's, IRO Adj Arms/Track Bars
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-27-2020, 12:52 PM
Timo_90xj
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More than likely it's the pump showing signs of failure. It might've not made a sound at stock height/ stock tires, but with the extra stress from the tires, and the draglink being at an angle pump no longer is happy.

I swapped in a new P/S pump couple years ago after the original pump failed - however I noticed that I still had occasional pump noise issues when wheeling especially during summer. I installed a fluid cooler to the return line, no issues after that.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-28-2020, 02:33 AM
Zilliver
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Cooler for a steering pump is a very needed thing.

On my first offroad trip I lost power steering, there was no leaks, but when I opened the fluid cap, the oil was boiling inside of it. Had no noises tho.

98 Grand Cherokee 5.9 - daily
95 Grand Cherokee 5.2 - offroad
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-02-2020, 01:37 PM
diggler55
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any specific cooler or size that you guys recommend?
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-02-2020, 10:02 PM
Timo_90xj
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Doesn't need to be that huge, I used a PS cooler from a KJ that I got for free. It's a bit on the small side, but has provided enough cooling to not run into any heat-related issues.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-02-2020, 11:59 PM
Zilliver
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I took the ZJ factory tranny cooler from the junkyard and used that.
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98 Grand Cherokee 5.9 - daily
95 Grand Cherokee 5.2 - offroad
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-25-2020, 11:41 PM
variable
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zilliver View Post
I took the ZJ factory tranny cooler from the junkyard and used that.
I've got a steering box from Kolak (which works great - or at least, I'm convinced its not the weak link). Have the steering box strengthening arm as well, and replaced the power steering pump mount at someone's suggestion a while back - I don't think it was causing a problem but probably would have eventually as it had the starting of a hairline crack in it (almost didn't see it). The PS pump is nothing interesting - oreily's or autozone.

I checked the hoses and they don't appear to be impacting/rubbing against anything in really - certainly not the fan shrowd.

At the more embarrassing parking lot speed, its almost like I have no power steering which is like the one time I really need it the most... so I'm curious how you adapted the tranny cooler - I'm assuming on the low pressure side(?) Where'd you end up putting it?

93 ZJ V8 5.2 - K&N FIPK, leaky exhaust
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-26-2020, 12:15 AM
Zilliver
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Variable - yes, you put the cooler to the low pressure side/return side. I just mounted it next to the tranny cooler.

98 Grand Cherokee 5.9 - daily
95 Grand Cherokee 5.2 - offroad
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 09:28 PM
variable
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After making a bit of a mess (can someone please make some nicely scented 'vehicle fluids' please? khtnx), I got my old tranny cooler mounted and installed like you suggested. I didn't do a whole lot of driving but I would say it was better, but maybe only 10-15% better. At a stand still, spinning the steering wheel still requires quite a bit of effort for me.

I'm guessing in my case, the temperature isn't the major issue.. Suggestions on a better pump? I'm thinking not a 'better' brand/replacement for the oem pump, but an upgraded, custom, out-of-something-else pump etc.?

93 ZJ V8 5.2 - K&N FIPK, leaky exhaust
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-28-2020, 12:46 AM
Zilliver
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Go with the original pump, if they are new they work fine.

98 Grand Cherokee 5.9 - daily
95 Grand Cherokee 5.2 - offroad
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-28-2020, 12:37 PM
1996maroonzjf
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Go with a Mopar pump. There are NOS pumps available on eBay still.

Most of us ZJ veterans (10+ years of ownership / repairs) have found out the hard way that Mopar is just better than aftermarket for almost every ZJ part. They have tighter tolerances than aftermarket and just plain last longer and work as intended. Not to say you can’t get a bad Mopar part out of the box, but it’s much more rare with OEM. It is totally worth the higher price IMO.
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-Tim
(2) '96 4.0s
#1-'10-'18
#2- HP30/Ford 8.8 - 4.56, OME HDs, 5100's, IRO Adj Arms/Track Bars
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