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This type of issue can be caused from a bad power steering pump or steering rack (steering gear).
how do you know which it is?
It is not uncommon to have a bad pump on this type of vehicle. Being the fluid level is good with the engine off then very low with the engine running makes this seem to be a rack issue. Do you have harsh steering from either direction?
no just very noisy
Also what color is the fluid?
As long as the steering is not hard in either direction and you do not have a pink milk looking fluid the power steering pump would be the cause of your concern.
If the steering was harsh the rack is the fault. It is not uncommon to have good steering but a noisy pump which will require a new pump to fix the condition.
if you put power steering fluid in the pump while running it spits it out when turned off
The fluid level needs to be checked with the engine off. The level will drop with the engine running. If the rack was bad the level would be extremely low (normal level running is at the base of the reservoir housing) and the steering would also be very tough in one direction or both.
do you need a special puller to get the pully off?
To replace the pump you will need a pulley removal tool. Many of the larger auto parts stores will loan out tools.
The pulley is pressed on.
thanks for your help, i'm pretty sure now that it's the pump/
The book time if you have a shop do the repair is 1.6 hours.
I would say for sure the pump is the cause of your issue!
A bad rack would cause harsh steering also.