Intermitent bearing squeal(PS pump)?


HighMileage93

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I have a noise that sounds like a bearing squeal but it usually occurs at start up and goes away in a second or two but can last several seconds at times. It is so loud with the hood up that i can't pin-point the location but when setting in the cab it seems to be directly in front of me. I could get it to make a mild squeal while goosing the throttle today and thought i heard noises within the PS pump. Could the pump be catching internally and causing the pulley to slip on the shaft? Has me thinking about swapping to manual steering instead of replacing the pump.
 


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ericbphoto

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Does turning the steering wheel make it louder? After it goes away, can you make it come back by turning the steering wheel? If yes, I would continue thinking about the powers steering pump. It is doubtful that the pulley is slipping on the shaft. More likely that a bearing is gailing somewhere, causing the belt to slip on that pulley. Otherwise, check everything before buying parts.

With engine off, remove the belt. Spin all the pulleys, try to wiggle pulleys sideways to feel for play. You could have bad bearings in something causing bearing squeal or belt slip. Alternator pulley should spin freely with no play. Tensioner pulley should have no play. Idler pulley should have no play. Etc. Check the condition of each item.

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HighMileage93

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The only pulleys that are original are the tensioner and the power steering pump. Today is the first time that the volume changed VERY slightly with steering input. Also, as soon as the squealing stopped, the charging gauge jumped up. Whichever one it is, it was slowing the belt down. It did seem to get a little worse after I put a new belt on and snugged up the tensioner. (I just bought a new belt to bypass the AC compressor.)
 

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Frankly I find the notion of the tensioner being worn out and allowing the belt to slip to be far more likely than the idea that the PS pulley is slipping on it's shaft.

The PS pulley is an interference fit to the shaft, which is why the end of the shaft is chamfered. Interference fit means that the shaft is actually a tiny bit bigger than the hole it belongs on. That's why you need a puller/installer to replace the pulley.

The fact that you are starting to get it when the steering load changes, and the charging indicator is getting involved supports the idea that the belt is slipping across all the pullies, meaning it is loose. The tensioner is what keeps it tight.

Given the symptoms and conditions you have listed I would replace the belt and tensioner (whole thing, not just the pulley) and see if it improves before spending the money to swap out the power steering system for the even more problematic manual steering system Ford managed to cook up for the Ranger.
 

HighMileage93

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Today I took the belt back off and checked the pulleys. The tensioner pulley has some play in it and is quiet-ish and the arm is holding pressure just fine. I spun the alternator pulley in the drive direction and it sounded like a little mouse. Spun it backwards and it was quiet. Put the belt back on and tightened the tensioner and it hasn't made nearly as much noise yet. Guess I am probably looking at a new alternator soon.
 

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If there is play in the tensioner pulley bearing, it should be replaced also.

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Today I took the belt back off and checked the pulleys. The tensioner pulley has some play in it and is quiet-ish and the arm is holding pressure just fine. I spun the alternator pulley in the drive direction and it sounded like a little mouse. Spun it backwards and it was quiet. Put the belt back on and tightened the tensioner and it hasn't made nearly as much noise yet. Guess I am probably looking at a new alternator soon.
that sounds like brushes on the commutator/slip rings, not bearings.
either way, its possible to open the alternator and add some grease to the bearings. the seals on the front bearing are kind of difficult to remove undamaged.
 
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HighMileage93

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It was the tensioner. I just replaced the whole unit and it is all quiet now. Thanks all.
 

ericbphoto

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congratulations.
 

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Mine went out when we drove back to Kentucky, while driving into Memphis.

Summertime and, with all the cicada, I wasn't sure what the noise was until we got out of town and a bit more rural.
 


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