Hi gang, I've noticed a new noise from my 00 OBW with auto trans. There is a fairly high-pitched whining noise that changes in frequency with the RPMs moving or parked. Sounds kinda like that engine noise I used to get in my old Ford when the spark plugs could be heard through the stereo. If you are too young to remember such things, that's cool.
The most revealing points are: It is coming from the front where the belts are. I haven't bought or rigged a "car stethoscope" yet, so not 100% exactly which belt driven device is whining. BUT, when I turn the steering wheel the frequency goes down and at certain points nearly stops. Leads me to believe it is the PS pump and/or its bearings are failing. I've had trouble with a jerky wheel before (see here http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums.../44843-steering-wheel-jerks-when-turning.html
) and changed the fluid using the method described there without fixing the issue. The belts look and feel fine.
Based on the noise and the Jerking issue, it leans towards the pump or some component thereof. Questions: If I drive the car and the PS pump fails = A. sudden death, B. PIA difficult steering, C. other systems fail, D. safe to drive or E. non of the above? Do these puppies usually fail and how long does it usually take after a symptom like mine? Also, is there a common cheaper solution to this potential problem besides replacing the pump? I'm busy and broke as usual.