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Ford Thunderbird Power Steering Pump

Taking the Power Out of a Ford Thunderbird Power Steering Pump: Common Problems and Causes

Power steering is a godsend for many drivers today. Without it, steering your vehicle will turn into the equivalent of a gym workout. The power steering pump is the heart of this system and any problems with this part could spell trouble for the power steering. Unfortunately, the pump will wear out and break in due time. If you start having trouble with your steering wheel then read on to learn about commons problems with the power steering pump and their causes.

Hard steering for the Thunderbird

The power steering pump is responsible for delivering the pressure needed to make it easier to move the steering wheel. If the component is unable to properly pump the hydraulic fluid, you will notice an increase in steering wheels stiffness and it will take you a lot of effort to move it. This is a sure sign that your pump is malfunctioning.


Check the fluid level of the Thunderbird's power steering fluid reservoir. If the fluid level frequently decreases and needs to be topped up regularly, that could mean a leak in one of the hoses or in the pump itself.

A visual inspection of the pump could give you an idea about its condition. If you see fluids leaking from the part, that could be a very bad sign. Leaks could mean that the o-rings or the gaskets are worn out; at worst, it could mean that the pump itself is broken or cracked.


A broken power steering pump will usually emit different loud noises like clicking, rattling and whining, depending on the problem affecting the pump. Some common problems that could cause such a racket include a broken pump vane, shaft or pump bearing, a blockage inside of the pumps or low fluid level.

The Thunderbird's steering wheel is unable to go into its centered position

When letting go of a steering wheel, it will usually shift into its center position. While a number of other problems could cause this, a defective power steering pump is a likely culprit as well.

Wrong pressure

Testing the Thunderbird's power steering pump with a pressure gauge could clearly indicate if there is any problem. A problematic power steering pump will usually give a reading that is not in line with the recommended power steering pressure of the vehicle.

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  • How to Keep your Ford Thunderbird Power Steering Pump in Peak Condition

    Driving the Ford Thunderbird has become much easier thanks to the power steering system; without it, operating the steering wheel becomes a very physical labor. The whole system is powered by the steering pump, which pressurizes the system by pumping out fluid, thus, allowing the steering wheel to be turned with much less effort. This is why you must make sure that your Ford Thunderbird power steering pump is always in working order. Read on to learn a few tips about proper maintenance of the pump.

    • Always check the power steering fluid level of your Thunderbird.
    • Make sure to check the level of the power steering fluid frequently and add additional fluid when needed. The power steering system only rarely needs to be topped off. If you notice a frequent drop in the fluid level of the reservoir, there must be a problem with the fluid lines or the pump that needs to be addressed immediately. Catching any problem before or as they happen will prevent any additional damage from occurring to your power steering pump.
    • Avoid steering the wheel too far to the left or to the right and don't keep it in that position for too long.
    • Whenever you operate the steering wheel, the power steering pump sends out power steering fluid in response to aid the steering operation. Having the steering too far in either side may strain the pump too much and shorten its life. If you do need to steer your wheels that far, be sure not to keep them too long in that position.
    • Always use the correct type of power steering fluid.
    • Not all power steering fluids are the same, so always be sure to use one that is compatible with your Thunderbird's power steering system. To find out what power steering fluid you will need, just consult with the owner's manual.
    • Replace your old power steering fluid with a new one at regular intervals.
    • The constant pressure of the power steering system will eventually break down the power steering fluid, making them ineffective. This will force the power steering pump to work much harder which in turn will shorten its life. Power steering fluid can last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles or 3 to 5 years, depending on the brand or type of fluid. All of the old fluid must be flush out before being replaced with a new one. After replacing the fluid, the power steering system must be bled to remove all air in the fluid lines.