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DaveTheCarGuy, Car Enthusiast
Category: Car
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Experience:  AAS in Automotive Technology.
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Ford S-Max 2.0 Diesel: I have a 2.0 diesel s-maz, 2007.A

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I have a 2.0 diesel s-maz, 2007.
A few days ago the steering seemed to become very heavy during a three point turn into a car park space.
I now suffer occasionally what seems to be slightly more resistance to turning the steering left while driving at speed.
When turning left corners the steering sometimes sticks or becomes heavy momentarily.
When at standstill the steering is OK turning lock from left to right but on turning lock from full right to left it usually sticks.
Sometimes when at standstill the steering sticks when making a small movement left,
sometimes while at rest having stuck once it will not stick again for several minutes, other times it sticks every time.
After it happened the first time I noticed the fluid was slightly low and needed aboout 70cc to top up. I have had the cap off and turned the steering completely from side to side several times.
The fluid is green and appears clear when I syringed some out of the reservoir.
Usually I can hear the pump whine when on full lock otherwise it seems quite.
There seems to be no bubbling from the fluid which is warm after driving a few miles.



My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be helping you today. Most times an issue like yours is a defect with the spool valve inside the power steering. This is the valve that controls how the fluid pressure is used to assist steering. The valve will get a slight leak on one of the seals on one side, which then makes it harder to turn that direction as you do not have full pressure. The issue will vary in severity depending on where leak is in comparison to how you are turning. Sadly, the only way to repair a spool valve issue is to replace the steering rack. The resistance will be higher at lower vehicle speeds as there is more resistance at the wheels and less pressure from the pump (lower engine speed usually).


If your problem was both directions I would look at the pump, belt or fluid issues, but since it is only one direction, it does limit the possibilities.




Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Forgot to say that accompanying the "sticking" there seems to be a clunk sound from the general direction of the power steering when continuing to turn the steering wheel. Would this also be explained by the sticking valve.

It is possible that the clunk is from the rack itself. A clunk and binding might be from a worn steering component, like a inner or outer tie rod end being worn, but once again, it will normally be in both directions. Have the techs double check all the steering components (this is easy and should take them 5 minutes if the car is on a lift) for wear. Next, I would have them check the steering shaft. There are one or two joints between the steering wheel and the steering rack that can go bad. So they can visually inspect those. But once again these issues usually show in both directions.

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