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Discussion Starter #1
2005 Outback. Now that the cold has come into the area, I have been experiencing whining when acclerating and using the power steering. When in park I am hearing whining from the PS pump area.

In addition, I have also experienced a small gas leak under the manifolds on the passenger side. I have my ideas and haven't gotten in depth to looking under the hood, but what does everyone think, and could they all be related?
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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All related to cold weather, known problems with Outbacks of that vintage.

Tighten the hose clamps on the fuel lines near the pressure regulator. That should cure the fuel leak & odor issue. They just need to be a little tighter than they are.

The power steering noise is an aged o-ring shrinking in the cold and then allowing air to be pulled into the pump along with fluid from the reservoir. Once the air is in you can get all kinds of noises. A fresh new o-ring should take care of this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Both problems have been fixed and your diagnosis was dead on! Thank you so much! I never knew air in the PS pump could make a car so noisy and whine like that!

~Matt

All related to cold weather, known problems with Outbacks of that vintage.

Tighten the hose clamps on the fuel lines near the pressure regulator. That should cure the fuel leak & odor issue. They just need to be a little tighter than they are.

The power steering noise is an aged o-ring shrinking in the cold and then allowing air to be pulled into the pump along with fluid from the reservoir. Once the air is in you can get all kinds of noises. A fresh new o-ring should take care of this.
 

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2005 Outback Wagon with 2.5L NA Auto
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Power Steering Pump Bleed Process - Subaru Service Manual

I had the same problem, but at 165,000 miles, wondered if it was better to replace the pump since I couldn't get the original to stop whining. Replaced the seal and flushed the system and the pump still whined. Decided to replace the pump, not knowing how incredibly hard it is to bleed the air from the system until I had difficulty getting the rebuilt pump to play nice.

Reason I mention all this - it takes a VERY long time to get all the air out of this system if you don't follow the process listed below and thereby make the pump happy. I imagine had I correctly bled the air out of the system, replacing the o-ring in my pump would have fixed my issues after getting all the residual air out of the system. Didn't have the following info to follow; might have made the whole process easier (easier being relative. The bleeding process is simple, but not easy).

C: REPLACEMENT
1) Lift-up the vehicle.
2) Remove the crossmember support.
3) Remove the pipe joint in the center of gearbox, and connect the vinyl hose to the pipe and joint. Wipe fluid off while turning the steering wheel.
4) Add the specified fluid to reservoir tank at MAX level.
5) Continue to turn the steering wheel slowly from lock to lock until the bubbles stop appearing on oil surface while keeping the fluid at the level in the Step 4).
6) If turning the steering wheel in low fluid level condition, air will be sucked in pipe. In this case, leave it about half an hour and then do the step 5) again.
7) Start the engine and let it idle.
8) Continue to turn the steering wheel slowly from lock to lock again until the bubbles stop appearing on oil surface while keeping the fluid at the level in Step 4).
Normally bubbles stop appearing after three times turning of steering wheel from lock to lock.
9) In case bubbles do not stop appearing in the tank, leave it about half an hour and then do the step 4) all over again.
10) Lower the vehicle, and then idle the engine.
11) Continue to turn the steering wheel from lock to lock until the bubbles stop appearing and change of the fluid level is within 3 mm (0.12 in).
12) In case the following happens, leave it about half an hour and then do step 8) to 11) again.
(1) The fluid level changes over 3 mm (0.12 in). (2) Bubbles remain on the upper surface of the fluid.
(3) Grinding noise is generated from oil pump.

13) Check the fluid leakage after turning steering wheel from lock to lock with engine running.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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I fixed whining on 2 soobs and didn't do other than fix the o-rings, top-off/swap-out fluid, and drive.
 

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2005 Outback Wagon with 2.5L NA Auto
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I fixed whining on 2 soobs and didn't do other than fix the o-rings, top-off/swap-out fluid, and drive.
Maybe my pump WAS shot. It had been leaking a lot and I think it sucked in a lot of air when it was 4F last week; that's when it really started acting up and bucking through the steering wheel. Maybe had a lot of air sucked in or maybe pump was shot. Makes me feel better to think it was the pump since I replaced it.
 

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2009 OB 2.5i 4EAT
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298 Posts
Maybe my pump WAS shot. It had been leaking a lot and I think it sucked in a lot of air when it was 4F last week; that's when it really started acting up and bucking through the steering wheel. Maybe had a lot of air sucked in or maybe pump was shot. Makes me feel better to think it was the pump since I replaced it.
I'm going through the same thing. I replaced the o-ring and everything went to ****. Replaced the o-ring again, then the connector, then the hose, and tomorrow I'm getting a pump and replacing it.

Theoretically the system will bleed itself out if the air is small enough- the reservoir is the high point and any air should eventually 'float' to the top and bleed from the system. I definitely think that doing the procedure is critical to preventing damage. I believe I damaged my pump by introducing too much air into the system and not bleeding it properly.
Or maybe Texan is just magical, who knows :grin2:
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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....more likely 'Lucky'

HAHAHAHAH..*cough*..HAHAHA
 

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2005 Outback Wagon with 2.5L NA Auto
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I'm going through the same thing. I replaced the o-ring and everything went to ****. Replaced the o-ring again, then the connector, then the hose, and tomorrow I'm getting a pump and replacing it.

Theoretically the system will bleed itself out if the air is small enough- the reservoir is the high point and any air should eventually 'float' to the top and bleed from the system. I definitely think that doing the procedure is critical to preventing damage. I believe I damaged my pump by introducing too much air into the system and not bleeding it properly.
Or maybe Texan is just magical, who knows :grin2:
What I found happening is fluid foaming. I figured out I needed to overfill the reservoir to try to keep the air from returning to the pump and causing cavitation and also 'drying' out the pump. As soon as the foam filled the reservoir, I'd shut down the engine and let the air come out of the fluid.... then do it all over again. I did this 4-6 times to try to 'work' the air out and get it to a point where the foam wouldn't fill the reservoir. A couple days later and about 120 miles on the car and it appears that all the air is out and my steering it uneventful (no popping, jerking, loud pump noises, etc.)

So yes, the air will work its way out, but beware the FOAM.

TC
 

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2009 OB 2.5i 4EAT
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What I found happening is fluid foaming. I figured out I needed to overfill the reservoir to try to keep the air from returning to the pump and causing cavitation and also 'drying' out the pump. As soon as the foam filled the reservoir, I'd shut down the engine and let the air come out of the fluid.... then do it all over again. I did this 4-6 times to try to 'work' the air out and get it to a point where the foam wouldn't fill the reservoir. A couple days later and about 120 miles on the car and it appears that all the air is out and my steering it uneventful (no popping, jerking, loud pump noises, etc.)

So yes, the air will work its way out, but beware the FOAM.

TC
The foam be deadly, when mine was doing this, as soon as the motor was off and pressure was lost, air pockets would expands and push the foamed PS fluid everywhere. That's why the procedure you outlined before is really the way to go.
 
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