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What Everyone Should Know About Their New or Rebuilt
FORD/THOMPSON POWER STEERING PUMP
This section is based on the Ford/Thompson (TRW) style power steering pump used by Ford from 1965 to 1978. While all the pumps used over the years on various model cars all look about the same, there are enough differences and production changes that swapping parts is not always possible. Most of the internal "hard parts" are no longer available for this model pump, so care must be taken to avoid damaging them or causing undue wear.
There are a few things that owners of used and rebuilt units should be aware of. Knowing these common traits and often made mistakes will help you to better understand the units and how to help them operate efficiently.
Check your owners manual or shop manual for the fluid that is supposed to be used in your car. In most cases, this is Type "F" Automatic Transmission Fluid. This is what the engineers who designed the system recommended and built the system around. The seals, gaskets and rubbing surfaces were all designed for Type F fluid. Do not use auto parts store generic power steering fluid in your system. It may say on the bottle that it is compatible with all systems, but it isn't the specific fluid recommended by Ford for your car. It often contains some form of alcohol which is used to swell and soften old seals to stop them from leaking. You don't need additives in a system with new seals and parts. Type F Fluid is cheaper than special power steering fluid and it is what your system was designed to use. Failure to use Type F Fluid may void the warranty on your new parts, particularly the power steering pump.
PULLEY REMOVAL and INSTALLATION
BOLT PATTERN and RESERVOIRS
The front housings on all Ford/TRW pumps have the same 3-bolt size and pattern. Therefore, all Ford/TRW pumps will physically bolt to all Ford/TRW front mounting brackets. Occasionally, a return hose fitting may interfere with other brackets or components, but the front pattern allows interchangability. Unfortunately, this is why most cars no longer have the "correct" pump on them any longer, but now have a "generic" or replacement pump. Keep in mind that although a pump may bolt to your mounting bracket, it may not allow proper clearance of hoses due to production variations.
The most noticable part of the Ford/TRW pump is the external canister or reservoir. Variations of return hose nipple length and direction, pressure hose fitting style and location, and filler neck size and orientation means that there are quite a number of similar but different pumps out there. Certain mounting brackets will only fit certain style pumps. Be sure of what pump is correct for your car and if it matches the mounting brackets you intend to use.
Reservoirs came with different lengths, styles and locations of pressure fittings. Some models also had mounting studs protruding through the back of the reservoirs for mounting and support. Because of these variations all reservoirs will not interchange among all internal pumps pieces. If you have a pump designed for a 1968 Mustang, you cannot install a reservoir for a 1966 Mustang on the pump because the holes and fittings are in the wrong places. Many times the internal parts have to be changed in order for a different reservoir to fit. Internal canisters and external reservoirs must match to fit together.
The Ford/TRW pump has many different lengths and clockings of return hose nipples. The hoses made for the application are designed to fit that particular nipple. If you install a pump made for a different application than the hose, the hose may not fit properly and may break or kink. A common problem on 1965-1970 Mustangs is a pump that has a return hose nipple pointing upwards. Since most Mustang applications require a downward oriented nipple for the hose to fit correctly, an upward tilted nipple will often cause the hose to kink or be too short and break. Check the reservoir for the correct return hose nipple for your application.
Type "F" fluid was originally designed to work in modern automatic transmissions where it acts as a lubricant, a hydraulic fluid and a coolant. It is designed for high temperatures. Many aftermarket power steering fluids will not hold up well under high temperature and can cause trouble. Some fluids, when over heated will cause the internal pieces in a pump to malfunction and pressure can suddenly fall or fail when hot. Always use Ford Type "F" fluid in cars designed and designated to use it.
The most common damage done to a Ford/TRW pump is from improper removal or installation of the pulley. On the Ford pump, the pulley is press-fitted onto the input shaft. The pulley must be removed and installed without putting any pressure in the shaft either inward or outward or internal parts of the pump will be damaged or broken. You cannot install a pulley on a pump shaft with a press without damaging the pump. You cannot use a gear-puller to remove a pulley from a pump without damaging the pulley. All Ford pump pulleys have identical flanges on the front specifically for certain tools to remove and install them.
Always use the correct tools to remove and install the pulley. Often these tools can be borrowed or rented at a local auto parts store. If not, they are readily and cheaply available at Harbor Freight. Go to the SPECIAL TOOLS page for information on the tools used to properly remove and install pulleys.
There are a few precautions to take when installing and firing up a Ford pump that will help prevent damage and poor performance:
1) The return hose usually just slips on to a metal hose nipple on the pump and is secured by a hose clamp. This is a return line, so there is very little pressure on this hose. The clamp does not have to be super tight. Be carefull working the hose onto the nipple. Use a little ATF inside the hose to help slip it on. Avoid forcing the hose on and putting a lot of force on the nipple. On most pumps, the nipple is lightly soldered onto the reservoir and can easily bend or break the solder joint and cause a leak.
2) The pressure fitting comes out of the back of the pump. Between the outer reservoir and the inner pressure canister, there is a paper gasket-washer around the fitting. This is what seals the reservoir at the pressure fitting. There is a large thin nut tightened down on the fitting, usually with a metal ID tag under it. Tightening down this nut is what forces the outer reservoir, gasket and inner canister together. If you have a leak from around the pressure fitting, check the nut on top of the tag and snug it up. Do not remove the tag. Using a nut without a tag tends to damage the hole in the reservoir that the fitting goes through. The tag acts like a flat washer and spreads the load out and protects the reservoir. This nut does not need to be tightened down super tight. Over-tightening the nut can distort the hole in the reservoir and cause a leak.
3) Some early pumps, like the 1965/1966 V8 Mustang pump, have a threaded stud coming out of the back of the reservoir near the edge. Tightened down on this stud is a unique nut that is quite thin.This stud is used to mount the pump and support the back of it. Between the reservoir and the stud is a soft copper washer. When the thin hex-nut is tightened down, it compresses the reservoir against this copper washer and seals the stud. If there is seepage from around the stud, check and snug the hex-nut. Remember that the hex-nut is thin and only has a couple of threads in it. It is easy to overtighten and strip the nut and/or the stud. Snug should do it.
4) When tightening the belt, do not pry against the reservoir. The reservoir is thin metal and will easily bend and dent. This could damage the baffle around where the return hose dumps in and cause foaming and force fluid out the filler neck. It could also distort the metal around the outer lip and cause leakage past the o'ring. Go HERE to see one way to tighten a Ford pump using a special lug made into the front casting of the pump. Due to some styles of mounting brackets, this method may not work on all models, but if accessible, this is the prefered method. If nothing else, grab the pump with both hands and pull toward the fender while someone else tightens down the adjustment nuts.
5) When putting fluid in the pump, look down inside the filler neck and you will see the shiny silver metal pressure canister inside. Always make sure this canister is completely submerged in fluid. Don't fill the fluid to the top of the filler neck as it will overflow and blow out during operation. Work the wheels back and forth many times to force fluid into all the channels and force the air out. Repeatedly check the fluid level in the pump. It may take some time to bleed all the air out of the system.
A pump being filled and operated for the first time will often make all kinds of noises. This is not unusual. Any of the reasons below can cause a pump to make noise or operate erratically:
1) Low fluid level in pump reservoir
2) Aerated fluid (foaming)
3) Use of improper type of fluid
4) Air pockets anywhere in the hydraulic system
5) Belt slippage
6) Kinked or blocked hoses
7) Contaminates in the old fluid still in system
Some rebuilt pumps have new cam packs installed in them and will make some noise until they have "bedded in", like seating the rings in a rebuilt car engine. This may also cause the pump to run quite hot since the parts are new and tight. The heat may temporarily cause the fluid to run very hot also.
A piece of debris can cause the pressure valve to stick, or a kinked return hose can cause fluid to back up in the reservoir and overflow.
Some pumps make a little noise until they are good and broken in. Some just make a little noise all the time. Many will "groan" when turning the car as pressure is applied to the system. A really noisy pump, or one where the noise gets louder with mileage, should be checked and may need replacement, but it is not unusual for some pumps to be a little noisy, especially when first being run in.