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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I think my power steering pump is about to explode...when I start my car for the first time in a given day, especially if it sat outside and not in my garage, something in the engine bay starts to groan a whole bunch when I turn the steering wheel. The steering wheel itself turns quite easy. However, I can't figure out what is groaning and I don't have anyone around to turn the steering wheel for me when it's making the noise.

Any insight as to what it might be??

Thanks in advance!

Bret
 

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Check the fluid level in the power steering reservoir (you'll probably have to wipe it down to see the level - where it's mounted, it always gets grungy and no longer opaque).

Chances are VERY good that you need to replace the O-ring on the line that feeds the power steering pump. They're notorious for getting hard and brittle, and leaking air, which then travels through your pump, making all kinds of odd noises in the process. The O-ring costs a few bucks and takes 5-10 minutes to install (IIRC, it only takes a 10mm wrench, though it is a little tight getting to one of the bolts). There are a host of internet references to this, so it should be simple to find a video describing the process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Check the fluid level in the power steering reservoir (you'll probably have to wipe it down to see the level - where it's mounted, it always gets grungy and no longer opaque).

Chances are VERY good that you need to replace the O-ring on the line that feeds the power steering pump. They're notorious for getting hard and brittle, and leaking air, which then travels through your pump, making all kinds of odd noises in the process. The O-ring costs a few bucks and takes 5-10 minutes to install (IIRC, it only takes a 10mm wrench, though it is a little tight getting to one of the bolts). There are a host of internet references to this, so it should be simple to find a video describing the process.
The fluid level was maybe a little high...but that was about it. I used a turkey baster and lowered the level to in between the lines. I'll have to check on that o-ring. Do you know where to pick those up? The Acura parts store?
 

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That the fluid was a little high and if you still have groaning, there maybe something else going on.

Unless it was recently added, high fluid would indicate there is no leak.

One thing you could do to try to pin point the groaning is to buy a car stethoscope from a parts store or Harbor Freight. From HF, probably <$15. You would have to have the car running and have someone turn the wheel while the scope is on the body of the pump. (Can be dangerous with the spinning parts and belt so depending on how mechanical you are and used to doing this something like this, can't recommend it.)

No promises but if it is the pump, you might consider a power steering additive and if that doesn't help, replacing the pump before it breaks to avoid the hassles of a breakdown on the road. If it goes and depending on how it goes, other parts in the system like the steering gear could be affected.

If you change it, a power steering flush would usually be done to refresh the fluid and to remove any wear contaminants. If you replace the pump, a 3/8 inline magnetic filter like Magnefine or equivalent would help too. The flush and filter might be required for the warranty on the pump.
 

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Keep in mind that a bad O-ring on the suction side WILL produce that noise, and would fail the pump stethoscope test, even though there's nothing wrong with the pump itself (lots of shops know this, but will quote replacement of the pump, and oh by the way happen to replace the actual bad O-ring in the process). This is one of those very common failures that's almost always because of the same failure - the suction side O-ring(s). With a bright flashlight, you may be able to see tiny air bubbles circulating in the power steering fluid reservoir (it'll look kind of cloudy).
 

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When its running look inside the reservoir and if there are bubbles, you know that air is getting in the system which is a bad thing. If there is air getting in the system you might need to replace the pump, which is around 100$ if you go to advance auto. I tried replacing the o-rings to no avail on my 2003 Honda Odyssey. It has an almost identical pump to my MDX. I would just replace the pump and save yourself the hassle.
 

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FWIW, there is almost no way for a bad pump to cause air to get into the system - pumps fail on the high pressure side, not the suction side, or just fail mechanically when the bearings wear out. But if you have 10 MDXs with noisy power steering, and you replace just the pump on all of them, you will have spent $1000 and fixed one or two (maybe). OTOH, if you replace the O-rings instead, you will have spent $30 and fixed 8-9 of them. Your call, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
https://estore.honda.com/acura/part...3-mdx-5-tourpkg-nav-res-5at&sn=&b=E++1901&dl=

Ok...so in order to overhaul it, I think these o-rings would have to be replaced completely, and I believe part 13 is the inlet O-ring that doubleot listed in the hyperlink.

13 - inlet O-ring - O-Ring (13.0x1.9) Part Number: 91345-RDA-A01

12 - seal around pump drive shaft
14 - Flow control valve o-ring
15 - pump vanes o-ring
16 - pump cover o-ring
17 - seal for pump cover

I think this video outlines the procedure??? I'll find out in a day or two. Thank you all for helping :)
 

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Yes, that's the correct procedure (and the O-ring that causes all the noise). The 10mm bolt is a little fiddly to get to, but it's really a dead simple DIY job. One thing that the video didn't mention is that you might have to saw the steering back and forth a little to expel air caught in the system - I like to do that while driving (it's hard on the steering box to do it sitting still). Of course, if you lift the front of the car it's a lot easier.

Let us know how it comes out.
 

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Just did this repair today. It was extremely simple. The oring in there was dry and cracked installed the new one and hopefully in the AM I'll have no more loud groan or noise.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sooooo....what kind of a wrench do you use?? I have an '03 MDX and that little 10 mm bolt only has about 3/4" an inch gap to get a wrench in there. I think I need a midget wrench in order to even get room to crank on the bolt head. Either that, or I have to take the pump off the engine block. Jeez! Tight stuff!
 

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Dumb question but can this O-Ring can cause a leak? I think I have a leak in my P/S Pump but the oil/dirt has gathered around the P/S Pump inlet which lead me to believe this O-Ring might be causing it.
 

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Yeah I went on and test it myself... Indeed is the inlet, there is movement on it if I giggle the inlet and with the car running the P/S Pump air leak fiesta began! (Foaming on the Reservoir).

So next thing to do for sure, replace that dumb O-Ring.. Luckily it is quite inexpensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ahhh, yes. A close ended wrench. All my close ended wrenches have a ratcheting mechanism that makes em waaaaay bulkier. I'll have to get a cheapy set of regular close ended wrenches. Thanks guys!
 
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