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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

My wife and I have a 2002 Outback 3.0 which has developed a loud whine upon cold start. When driving, the noise tracks RPMs (not vehicle speed), and when the car is warm it goes away. Power steering has always been weak (almost as if there's no power assist sometimes when parked and turning the wheel), Though I haven't really noticed anything getting worse in regards to shifting or power steering, I'm guessing it's either the power steering pump or torque converter, but I don't really know what's common or likely with this model.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!

DanB
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,206 Posts
common issues possibly related to a whine type of noise;

1. air in the power steering system usually due to a bad o-ring in the suction hose adapter on top of the pump - while idling, inspect for bubbles/foam in the PS fluid tank.

2. serpentine belt idler and tenisoner bearings, if severely worn, a wobble might be observed while idleing. Or felt with belt removed. Regardless, if they haven't been changed, they definitely need it.

3. less likely without other symptoms would be a failing alternator.

certainly, there are several other sources that could make a whine.


there are many posts on these issues with DIY info, pics, part numbers etc.
 

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2002 Outback Sedan H6 3.0 VDC
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151 Posts
What kind of oil do you use? How's the level? It might be the timing chain.


-Tim
 

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2003 ll bean 160k
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41 Posts
My 03 outback just started this tonight as well. I just did some other work on the car, but nothing power steering related. It's really cold here and my car sat for a week. My idler pulley was changed before I bought the car but I'm not ruling it out. My h6 has 160k. How many miles on yours. I hope it is low fluid as I am looking forward to trouble free holiday driving. It will be 20 degrees tonight where I am. Sick of changing seals this weekend.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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2,441 Posts
I have had a persistent whine and steady losses of power steering assist over the last two years. I replaced the oring and the suction hose but that did not help. I rebuilt my pump myself which did not help. I still suspect the pump though and ordered a reman one from autozone. I will install in a week or so and report back. My car has 175k. The h6 pumps are a differnt design from the other cars and seem to be more prone to failure.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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there's also a TSB concerning a pressure relief valve in the side of the pump. But, I dunno the symptoms of that problem. Would changing/resealing that valve have been part of a rebuild?
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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2,441 Posts
Wholly crap, Texan, i thought i was taking crazy pills when my rebuild did not resolve the issue. I found the TSB and accordibng to it Subaru sells a replacement pressure relief valve to deal with this issue to address this problem. See TSB in next post....

I will order the part today and replace and report back.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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NUMBER 04-13-09
DATE: 12/14/09
APPLICABILITY
2001~07MY Legacy/Outback H-6
2003~08MY Forester 2.5L N/A and Turbo
2004~07MY Impreza 2.5L N/A
SUBJECT:
Power Steering Pump Relief Valve
Introduction
If you encounter a vehicle that has a groaning type noise coming from the power steering pump when the wheel is turned to the full right or left position when the vehicle is parked, it may be caused by the relief valve vibrating within the pump. In lieu of replacing the power steering pump, the relief valve is now available as a replacement part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You guys are awesome. Will stay tuned to hear how the new pressure relief valve / reman ps pump work out before proceeding. Oh and of course I will re check fluids.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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I bought the replacement bypass valve. Just picked it up yesterday. In the middle of swapping the trans on my legacy. Will most likky get it in this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Parked in the garage last night so it was about 10 - 12 degrees warmer. The whine was much quieter. This leads me to believe it's air seeping in past that o-ring. Going to park it outside tonight and start it up tomorrow, then check the PS pump tank for frothing. If present, I'll replace that and the relief valve mentioned. Does anyone have a source for the o-ring? Can't find the answer through the search engine. Thx.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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Sorry for the slow update.

Let me give an overview of my power steering problems and final resolution

Over the last year or so I have been suffering from noise from the PS pump and decreased power assist. Mostly noticeable when doing slow maneuvering in parking lots.
I have no leaks.

I did the following things.

Flushed fluid
Replaced suction hose o-ring
Replaced suction hose with 5/8" fuel hose.
Inspected return line to canister.
Inspected canister for cracks.

At this point I had made no improvement. There are many posts in other subaru forums about resealing the pump. The process involves tearing down the pump and replacing all of the seals. This seems to be a good fix for the folks who have done it. That being said, the pump used for the H6 cars is vastly different from other Subaru's. Its actually simpler in design. I took on this task and resealed my pump. This did not make an improvement.

This leads me to the TSB about the pressure releif valve. I bought that and installed it. No improvement...grrrr.

Part of the reason that I did this round about approach is that its really hard to source a rebuilt pump for these cars. I also don't trust the rebuilt parts but the new part is over $400. I kept hoping I could fix this on my own.

Long story short, I bought a rebuilt pump from Autozone. It is rebuilt by Atsco. It has a lifetime warranty. I installed my shiny new pressure relief valve in my rebuilt pump and I am golden now.

Long story short. I would replace the suction hose and suction hose oring. If that does not fix your problems I would replace the pump. I think the TSB really only covers at steering lock whining noise and so I would not mess with the pressure relief valve.

The part number for the oring for the H6 pump is 34439AE020
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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wow - you really stuck with it!

glad it's fixed but, kinda sucks you had to go thru all that to fix it.

I guess we don't know what was wrong with the old pump huh?
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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Not knowing what was actually wrong was what drew this out as well. I wasn't 100% certain it was the pump, in which case replacing the pump might have been a waste. To diagnose a pump I need to measure the pressure at the output which I am not set up to do.

I'm fairly certain that the pump had worn out, ie the vanes in the pump or the bore needed to be replaced. When I disassembled it everything 'looked' okay but I don't have the specs, nor the tools to measure the internals of the pump.
 

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2000 & 2002 Outback Wagon EJ251/Auto + 2004 Outback LL Bean EZ30/Auto + 1996 Legacy Outback Wagon EJ22/5sp + 2008 Outback Wagon EJ253/Auto + 2004 Legacy Sedan 35th Anniv. EJ251/Auto (not OB) + 2005 O
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I went with an aftermarket Silicone size -014 O-Ring and it seems to have fixed my whining pump. I'll report back if the whine returns, but it sure was nice having a cheap fix for once.

These are the ones I used. I know, it is a pack of 100, but it was cheaper than the package of 1. Go figure.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FN0XIG
 

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(1) 95 2.2L legacy wagon 243,000 miles; about to instal used 107.000m motor due to knocking rod end. On it's 3rd transmission (# 2 & #3 were from wreckers). (2) 99 Legacy outback ltd, recently purcha
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Done 1,000 miles on 2002 H6 O/B sedan since purchase at 186,000 miles. Noisy P/S pump; in last week's cold weather no P/S until car idled a few minutes after first start of day. Tried the change of O ring and and suction hose; no difference. (Hose from Subaru dealer almost $60 did not come with gold plate finish as expected). Have to keep engine rpm above 1500 or there is no P/S assist if starting off form a stop sign and making a turn, same if approaching a turn on over-run and engine is idling. No bubbles in P/S fluid reservoir. Checked belt tensioner, not the noise source. Timing chains all quiet.

Purchased a Cardone rebuilt pump from Rockauto $150 inc. shipping. Will install it tomorrow and bleed P/S system.
P/S pumps do fail - there is no filtration of fluid which does not help longevity.
 

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Hello,

My wife and I have a 2002 Outback 3.0 which has developed a loud whine upon cold start. When driving, the noise tracks RPMs (not vehicle speed), and when the car is warm it goes away. Power steering has always been weak (almost as if there's no power assist sometimes when parked and turning the wheel), Though I haven't really noticed anything getting worse in regards to shifting or power steering, I'm guessing it's either the power steering pump or torque converter, but I don't really know what's common or likely with this model.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!

DanB
My 2001 did this. It was so loud. Tight tight steering. As if no power steering but then it loosened up. Than a couple days later the noise got worst and my car just shut off. We only have had the car for 2 weeks
 
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