HELP! Foam in power steering + ps pump whine - Nissan Forum
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#1 Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 11:31 AM
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Exclamation HELP! Foam in power steering + ps pump whine

HELP! I drive a 1997 4 cylinder stick shift extended cab 2 wheel drive hard body truck.

This problem began when we started seeing overnight freezing temperatures in my area.

My power steering fluid is foaming up big time and my power steering pump is whining.

Obvious thing to do would be to flush and fill the power steering system, right? If so what is the best way to do this procedure? Should I do this tonight as soon as I get home?

Thanks so much to all who reply!
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#2 Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 03:43 PM
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Foaming over? Well it sounds like you have a leak and a lot of air in the system. Foaming is usually a result of excessive air in the system creating tiny bubbles from cycling the pump while running and causing the foam while the louder whine is a result of parts not full of fluid or submerged. Water can also have a similar affect.

Suggest first looking for leakage and addressing that. You can just top off the system to see if the whining goes away so you don't waste as much fluid if it is leaking. The colder temps can cause clamps to loosen. Start with hose ends and clamps. Post back what you find as far as leaks go. Z
#3 Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 05:56 PM
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Yeah it's foamy like some a can of Coke someone shook up and opened. I've never seen that happen before on any vehicle I've owned in the past, domestic or foreign.

The reservoir seemed "full" of foam earlier but once it calmed down I was able to add more power steering fluid. The pump is quiet now that it has some fluid.

I'll check the clamps and hoses when I get home, gotta be a leak somewhere as I can see the fluid on the ground in my usual parking spot.

Thanks Z_Rated, will report back with final findings so others who search these forums in the future can find this (and hopefully a solution without having to ask the same question).
#4 Old Mar 5th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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Arrow problem solved, now where to buy parts?

Turns out that I had a leaking power steering line down near the gear box. One of the rubber sections of one of the hoses is separating from the metal part of the hose when the temperature drops to certain point (around freezing). Mind you I can't actually SEE where it is separating but the fluid leak is the telltale clue. At least I HOPE it's the power steering line and not the steering box itself that is leaking

I'm planning to replace both power steering lines with new parts from rock auto dot com. If anyone knows of a cheaper place please let me know, thanks!
#5 Old Mar 5th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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Local auto parts store? The parts will be chinese made copies, so they should cost less.

#6 Old Mar 5th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Fred S View Post
Local auto parts store? The parts will be chinese made copies, so they should cost less.

My local stores are almost always more expensive than Rock Auto on Nissan parts. Wish my mechanic had not moved away, used to use his professional discount all the time. Now it's Rock Auto or I pay too much if I need it ASAP and buy locally. One way or the other I will get cheap chinese parts since I'm not going to pay dealer prices on parts.
#7 Old Mar 5th, 2008, 01:43 PM
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Good to hear you are making progress. When I had issues with my '91 it was both the hi-pressure line and the shaft/bearing on the pump. Autozone was the cheapest locally when I needed the parts. I can't remember the prices, but they had both in stock, fit well and have been working for about five years now. Both were very easy to do it yourself.

Thanks for the update and good luck. Z
#8 Old Jan 17th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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Thank you all - I just had the same issue on my '02 Xterra. After some freezing weather my PS started whining, presumably because of a leak. The fluid level was low and after driving only 1/2 a mile to buy more fluid I noticed it was nice & foamy. Now to see if this suburban middle-aged mom can replace some hoses & clammps herself...! (If not, suburban middle-aged dad will help, I'm sure.) Crossing my fingers that it's only an issue with the lines and not the PS box.

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