I just wanted to add another two cents about the topic of bleeding or burping the power steering system:
1. Know what type of power steering fluid is needed for your car. Some power steering pumps can use automatic transmission fluid, others have specific power steering fluid for each car, i.e. Honda requires and suggests that you use Honda's brand of power steering fluid (see owner's manual). Make sure you know, or the warranty from the dealership or from the parts store may be voided.
2. Before attaching the power steering belt, fill pump with required amount and type of fluid (see owner's manual), and then turn the pulley wheel by hand a few times. This helps cut down on dry turns before they can happen. If more power steering fluid is needed, fill accordingly.
3. Attach the power steering belt with proper amount of tension (see owner's manual).
4. Turn vehicle on and proceed to turn the steering wheel all the way right and left 3-4 times.
5. Turn the vehicle off, and examine that the belt tension is acceptable, and again check the level of fluid and fill accordingly.
6. Always, always check your owner's manual before performing any maintenance on your vehicle. An educated car owner is a safe car owner!Another possibilityHow long has the pump run without fluid? There could be damage inside to the cam and rotor (assuming it's a vane type pump), or to the plates, or it could be cavitating due to the ingress of air -- possibly why the fluid leaked out in the first place.
I too experienced very loud whining noise from my 93 Ranger 3.0's power steering pump at idle, and even louder when turning the steering wheel even a little bit in either direction. I changed the fluid but there was no change in noise. I read in a Ranger forum that if you add some STP oil treatment (yes, STP OIL TREATMENT), not the whole can, it would help. I decided to give it a try and sure enough it has reduced the noise greatly. It didn't completely eliminate it but people no longer stare at my vehicle at red lights because of the noisy pump. That was embarrassing! Ford's pump must be partly to blame since the problem is so rampant among all their various models.
By the way, Mercury is supposed to begin being phased out (discontinued) beginning in 2010 and completely gone by 2012. Only Ford and Lincoln will remain. Just thought ya'll might want to know that since your Mercury's value will likely plummet as that kill-off nears. However, those of you who have a stiffy for Mercs may get a good deal on one before they are gone. I personally don't think they are "all that". Fords in general are pretty low market in build and longevity. I used to favor GM but switched to Honda products in the 90s, they are very long-lived. My latest is a Jaguar and I'm quite happy with it. Yes I know they were owned by Ford and now by Tata Motors but the design is all Jag.
If your power steering pump makes a whining noise as you turn your steering wheel your power steering fluid reservoir is probably empty. The noise is caused when your power steering pump tries to pump fluid that is not there. This indicates that you probably have a leak somewhere in your power steering fluid lines. You can either try to find the leak or simply replace the power steering fluid every so often.
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