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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2008 Santa Fe has a problem with the power steering at temperatures below about 8 C.When I start the vehicle in the morning in the garage and begin to reverse, the steering wheel seems stuck and will not move.As i force it,usually to the right,it breals free but will not return to the left without much coaxing and further turning to the right.There are no fluid leaks or unusual sounds while this is happening of any kind.I replaced the steering rack once for this problem and immediately after a second time with no improvement.I am using the OEM fluid.the vehicle is well maintained and has been having this problem since 60,000 km(40000 miles) I really fear my next visit to the Hyundai Dealer and the frustration of not knowing how to get them on track to solve this potentially life threatening problem.Any suggestions ?
 

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When you say "I replaced the steering rack once for this problem and immediately after a second time with no improvement", do you mean that this was previously done by the dealer under warranty, or that you actually replaced the rack yourself? I'm guessing the former since you say this problem started at 40K miles.

How many miles on the vehicle now, and at what mileage (and by whom) was the rack last replaced?

Your description really does sounds like binding in the rack, but after two replacements with no improvement (I assume the problem was still the same immediately after both replacements from your description), there's not much chance of that.

I'm curious to know a bit more about how this feels as you try to free it up. Does it feel as though the system is binding (when it comes free, does it do it suddenly), or is the feeling more that you have no power steering assist (steering wheel turns like a truck)? The fact that it seems to be directional puts me off this a bit, but is there any chance that the problem is actually loss of pump pressure when cold?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so muchfor your response.the rack was replaced twice in quick succesion by a trusted mechanic just out of the 3 yr/60k canadian warranty for these components.The dealer could not detect my complaint.Vehicle has 95000km now(55000 miles)Yes,the system is rock solid stuck and breaks free suddenly after less than a minute.In cold weather it will stick again in the parking lot after sitting for an hour or so.When it breaks freeit is still sticky, only able to move the wheel a little in the opposite direction and i must move it futher and further in one direction untill it will move back more than a quarter turn in the opposite direction.After 1-2 minutes i am confident to cautiously proceed.The pump seems like a good candidate.This problem happens every time but only under the cold conditions.Can the the pump be tested to verify the problem or could there be a sceen or debris blocking it ?
 

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I'm bothered by the fact that there's nothing audible happening concurrently with the difficulty in turning the wheel -- and the fact that on this vehicle, a pump rarely fails. For a variety of reasons, a pump that is behaving badly will usually start making some noise, or will cause the serp belt to make some major squalling noises on its behalf :( Is there any abnormal sound before or when it breaks loose, apart from hearing the tires move?

Let's get back to the rack for a moment. Why was the rack originally replaced? Symptoms, please. If it's exactly the same problem you also had with the two replacements, I'm guessing that the original problem was completely misdiagnosed. There are more ways than a pump and rack to bind up your steering, and none of them are good when you're actually finally out and moving.
 

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FWIW: Even a damaged strut mount (not a horribly difficult thing to solve) or a bad lower ball joint (not something you want to dink around with) can cause binding in the steering, though there's not normally a temperature issue associated with those or any of the other mechanical issues I can dream up. Still, please have both of those possibilities checked, especially the lower ball joint.
 

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Thanks so muchfor your response.the rack was replaced twice in quick succesion by a trusted mechanic just out of the 3 yr/60k canadian warranty for these components.The dealer could not detect my complaint.Vehicle has 95000km now(55000 miles)Yes,the system is rock solid stuck and breaks free suddenly after less than a minute.In cold weather it will stick again in the parking lot after sitting for an hour or so.When it breaks freeit is still sticky, only able to move the wheel a little in the opposite direction and i must move it futher and further in one direction untill it will move back more than a quarter turn in the opposite direction.After 1-2 minutes i am confident to cautiously proceed.The pump seems like a good candidate.This problem happens every time but only under the cold conditions.Can the the pump be tested to verify the problem or could there be a sceen or debris blocking it ?
Are you sure about 3yr 60k warranty. My warranty was 5yr 100k bumper to bumper and I'm pretty sure it included the steering rack!
 

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If the thing just made a little noise, I might even be willing to suspect a sticky flow control valve on the pump. Now there's something that might be subject to low temperatures.

Problem with the pump is that it runs around 1400psi, and requires some special equipment for measuring that pressure. Definitely not something to be fooling around with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For the record,only one trusted mechanic and the Dealer have done routine work on the Santa Fe.There are no abnormal sounds from the pump or belt at any time and the belt checks out fine.The rack was originally replaced because of a slight drip on my garage floor and i agreed this may have been the cause of the problem. My mechanic thought this rack was defective inside and he thinks the second behaves with the same defect according to his experience.There seems to be a little looseness in front over bumps at low speed indicating wear on strut/bushings and lower/upper ball joints.My mechanic will tend to it this week now that it is cold enough to see if this solves the problem.I am suspicious of a steering box ?or shaft and coupling ? There is a modest clunk when i make a half turn with steering wheel from side to side while standing still.Happens the same in any season and is not noticable while Driving normally.While driving at low street speed and hitting a signifcant bump there is significant and suspicious noise and looseness in the front suspension:perhaps a sway bar ?
 

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There is a modest clunk when i make a half turn with steering wheel from side to side while standing still.
While there may be more than one thing going on under there, this might be a good place to begin the search since it's abnormal and reproducible on demand. Will no doubt require two to sort it out... one moving the wheel, and the other looking for the source of the 'clunk'.

Keep us posted on whatever it is you find. We don't hear about problems like this for this vehicle, so it will be a good data point in case we ever hear of it again.
 
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