power steering fluid squirted through vent hole

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Old 07-21-14, 05:39 PM
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power steering fluid squirted through vent hole

On my '98 Ford Ranger the "check engine" light came on the other day while driving. I made made an appointment with a shop to check it out, because for one thing I don't have a code scanner. The light stays illuminated whenever the truck is running. They can't look it for a few days but meanwhile I've been driving anyway as needed because there is no obvious running malfunction. My guess (and of course just a guess at this point) was that the check engine light might be the result of an emissions-related component or sensor perhaps going/gone out. Anyway I just tried starting the truck and am just getting rapid clicking noise when trying to start, and the engine isn't turning over. I needed to move the truck out of the way so took it out of gear and me and a buddy pushed it several feet manually. I popped the hood and noticed a very recent (wasn't like that before) fluid wetness that had squirt out from somewhere and made a mess there by the power steering pump. With closer investigation I could see that a significant amount of power steering fluid had squirt out of the little vent hole in the pump cap. The fluid level inside was still ok, low but not below even below minimum. I haven't had any trouble or heard any unusual noise from the steering. What would cause that fluid to squirt out of the vent like that? Any chance the "check engine" light had anything to do with this, or probably not related at all? Any comments appreciated.
 
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Old 07-21-14, 09:08 PM
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Okay I was able to find out the reason that fluid squirted out of the vent hole. It's just because when we were pushing the car to move it and the engine wasn't running (thus power steering of course not running) and I was turning the wheel sharply at the same time, this causes a pressure buildup in the pump reservoir and causes it to squirt out that vent hole. Nothing to do with the "check engine" light or it not starting now.
 
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Old 07-22-14, 12:27 AM
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Okay I'm pretty sure I figured out the starting problem and probably the reason the check engine light was coming on. When trying to start it was acting like a dead battery but I thought that couldn't be because I have a fairly new good battery. Then turned on the lights and seeing them dim gave big hint of low/dead battery. Switched out the battery with a good charged one and it starts right up. I did notice when driving down the road the other day when the check engine light came on that the charge indicator meter on the dash had its needle pointing down halfway from the middle, which I chose to kind of "ignore" at the time. Of course, with the alternator not putting out sufficient charge that set off the check engine light.
So, time for new alternator.
 
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Old 07-22-14, 09:52 AM
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WORD OF WARNING:

Fords Power Steering system is notorious for air entering the system when the steering is turned while the engine is off. This will result in whats known as the death wobble.

When you get the truck started, make sure you do several lock to lock turns of the steering wheel before you drive it. This will purge the system of any air and give you stable steering.
 
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Old 07-22-14, 10:22 AM
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Great, thanks for the warning tomf63. Will do.
 
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