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Discussion Starter #1
2000 Hyundai Elantra makes a humming or faint grinding noise when the steering wheel is rotated in very slow speed or when stopped. It only happens when the engine is cold, goes away after a few minutes of driving. PS and other belts are 16 months old. Belts had a chirping noise which went away a few months ago. Is it a wheel, tire or belt issue or something else?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
It is the original PS fluid from 2000. The fluid level is OK.
The vehicle does not have to be moving to hear the noise. The noise is there even when the car is fully stopped. When the car is stopped or moving at very slow speed, if I rotate the steering wheel either way and hold it, the grinding noise continues until I rotate the steering wheel back to straight position.
The sound seems to be coming from the front side. The sound is similar to brake dragging but I don't think the brake is dragging because the car runs fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No reply? I did some testing and found the following:
The noise only happens when the car is in gear, moving slowly or fully stopped with steering rotated and held in rotated position.
No noise when rotating the steering and the engine is off.
No noise when rotating the steering and the engine is on but the transmission is in parked position.
 

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I would replace the fluid with new stuff. At the bottom of the reservoir is a fine mesh screen that sometimes gets plugged.

Clean the mesh with brake cleaner spray, dry with compressed air afterwards.

Pump could be cavitating from old fluid and poor return flow through screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The PS fluid reservoir probably holds 1 or 2 ounces of fluid total. Is it OK to siphon out the 2 ounces of fluid or do I have to maintain a minimum fluid level at all times like the brake fluid reservoir?
 

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seems you can only change around 10% of ps fluid from reservoir. There are some videos about how to do ps flush. You will need to cut off return line, put towel and funnel on the reservoir, flush about 32 oz of ps fluid
 

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Air not an issue like brakes. After working on system ; start car for 10 seconds shut off, wait for foam in reservoir to subside, top up fluid.

Start again, cycle steering lock to lock and shut off again, same deal with foam and top up.

Additives in fluid wear out, fluid gets muddy a bit. New fluid may help or there could be a pump issue.

The smaller the reservoir the more critical the level is, pump will cavitate and get noisy if level low.
That could be the noise you are hearing now.

Better to over fill and siphon some out if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Is it OK to unplug the low pressure hose out of PS and empty out the fluid by turning the engine on and rotating the steering end-to-end? Am I risking burning the PS pump by running it without any fluid?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There was an incident. The car lost power steering ability while driving and then several minutes later some of the power in steering came back. After opening the hood I saw power steering fluid around the PS reservoir and even on the hood, so the old fluid leaked for some reason. I was supposed to siphon out the old fluid anyway in order to get rid of the whining noise. This incident kind of helped me getting rid of the old fluid.
Previously, there was a grinding/whining sound coming from the drive belt area that's why I started this thread, now the noise is even louder since the incident.
Bought a Sea Foam Hydra Trans Tune and a quart of Dexron II and III compatible ATF. Added 6 ounces of Sea Foam and filled the rest of the PS reservoir with the ATF.
Started the car, rotated the steering end-to-end, idled for a while and then drove around. When the steering rotated to either ends, the whining got louder. Didn't see any fluid leaking.
I took the PS belt off and checked the PS pulley and it was wiggling up to a few millimeters which didn't feel normal.
I have audio and video, will it help if I upload? Is it a bad PS pump or just the pulley?
 

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Sounds like the pump sucked in air through a worn seal. That’s why you lost power, pump can’t pressurize air.
The lip seals on the main pump shaft have worn out after 18 years.

Should be no movement from pulley when you grab it. Dont not run a pump you plan to keep without fluid in it.
It will spray every where and make a big mess. Once old pump is out you can manually flush lines and catch the fluid that goes through.

Buy a decent brand of remanufactured pump if you don’t buy a new one from dealer.
 
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