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Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback?

 

We have had a lot of Questions from all over the country on this subject so I thought I would provide some information. This issue is typically found on the 2000 to 2004 Subaru Outback and Subaru Legacy. There will be pictures up next week to help illustrate what is going on.

Here is the usual situation someone replaces the belts, or the timing belt or the alternator and almost instantly the power steering pump starts to make noise and the car can be hard to steer. Well here is what happens. The top bolt for the alternator and power steering fan belt shroud is secured to the power steering return line tube/bracket through a rubber grommet in the top of the shroud. If there isn’t enough slack in the shroud when the top bolt is tightened the shroud will pull onto the tube (towards the drivers side) allowing air into the power steering system thus causing the fluid to become aerated. The other end of this shroud is slotted at the alternator pivot bolt. The rubber grommet is there, to give a little instead of pulling the tube under load. Once the tube is pulled it is necessary to reset it in the power steering pump to make sure it isn’t still being pulled in one direction after this the shroud will need to be installed properly ( with slack). From there the aerated fluid must be replaced with fresh fluid and the problem is solved.

I have received over 100 phone calls from people as far away as Jamaica (you know who you are and thanks for the gift card) so I figured someone should post some help as I have received calls from frustrated Technicians and Drivers a like . I had a post on Allexperts.com, that includes our shops phone number and I would say it has been one or two calls a week.

I am always happy to help out my fellow Technicians who just want to take care of their customers. I also have heard the other end of the spectrum where after the belts were replaced on their Subaru Outback and the noise showed up they have been charged a lot of money to replace parts that did not need to be replaced. Quite a few times a frustrated vehicle owner has sought out help on the Internet and found me.

To the Automotive Professionals out there, help each other first of all and use the Internet to seek out those who no more about the subject than you do. Also while we are all human and do make mistakes and there is always a lot of pressure to be perfect, at least exhaust all of your resources prior to guessing. If some can find the answer to the problem online then we all can.

I have personal experience with this issue.  I know Subaru’s so well, and one thing they are not prone for is power steering aeration, with that knowledge,  I was able to  problem solve my way to the fix.  Subaru Owners, if this has or does happen to you. Most likely no one is trying to defraud you; they just haven’t experienced the issue before and are now forced to learn.

Thank you for reading.

Justin Stobb

Your Independent Subaru Specialist

Subaru power steering picture Here is the fan belt shroud in question.

Fan shroud bolt pic This is the upper alternator/ power steering belt  shroud retaining bolt.

subaru power steering bolt picture This is the power steering return line bracket going into the pump.

alternator pivot bolt Here is the alternator pivot bolt that must be loosened to put the “slack” back into the shroud.

Follow up to an older Article;

When I originally wrote this article, it was really about the 2000 to 2004 Subaru Legacy and Outback, as we had seen a few cars have pumps, racks, and so on replaced as part of an incorrect diagnoses after the belts were replaced, or the car was serviced in a way that required removal of the belt shrouds.  The point of this article was how to readjust the belt shrouds after removal to avoid power steering fluid aeration do to a small air leak at a o-ring.  It pertains only to the 2000 to 2004 H4.  My goal was to prevent replacement of expensive components that didn’t need to be done.


If you have something other than a 2000 to 2004 Subaru Legacy or Outback with the 4 cylinder 2.5l engine, you have something else going on.  This can that can range form a o-ring that no longer seals, to old fluid to a defective pump.    There are many possibilities.

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About the Author

All Wheel Drive Auto is a unique independent Subaru service & repair facility. We combine years of dealer experience with a local neighborhood shop atmosphere. We use Subaru parts & test Equipment and have the expert knowledge to fix it right the first time.

Comments (405)

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  1. Dan Hanks says:

    I recently had my alternator go out on my 2000 Outback which required a tow to the local repair shop and an alternator replacement. Since the shop had to remove the old alternator I had them replace the serpentine belts at the same time. The shop called me to tell me the repairs had been completed but the power steering pump was making noise and overflowing the reservoir and they were wondering if it had been doing that. I informed them that it was fine before they worked on it. They told me that it may have just gotten some air in the system and it may settle overnight but if it didn’t quit making noise to bring it back and they would replace the power steering pump at around $500.00 Needless to say the noise did not quit, but I was so upset with the repair shop because they had charged me $100.00 more than originally quoted to replace the alternator, (another story entirely) that I will never take a vehicle back to them. So I did some research on the internet and ran across Justin at All Wheel Drive Auto and read a blog he had about the very problem I was experiencing. I called Justin and told him what happened and he told me over the phone how to fix the problem. Basically I adjusted the shroud and the noise quit instantly. The power steering pump is working normally and silently. Thank you Justin not only did you save me a bundle of money, but you are very pleasant and helpful. I have relatives in Washington and I will recommend you to everyone I know. Thanks again, Dan Hanks Boise, ID.

    • Jeremy Remele says:

      Can you please clarify by what you mean by “Adjusting the shroud” I know what the shroud is, but what adjustments should I make to it to eliminate the sound. My ’99 Subaru Legacy SUS 2.5l has been making a loud whine/grind noise and my mechanic is saying its the power steering pump going bad. Thanks again for the thread man!

      • wayne says:

        In my experience. Once I replaced the alternator, I discovered that the new alternator is not exactly the same size as the factory alternator. And, the alternator interferes with the shroud (the shroud touches the alternator and doesn’t allow proper adjustment of the shroud). I had to add a thick washer to the alternator bolt so that when tightening the shroud onto the alternator bolt, it won’t touch the alternator and thus will allow proper adjustment of the shroud. (The extra washer keeps the shroud from touching the alternator and causing it to bind and not allow movement as is required during hard turns).

        • Justin Stobb says:

          You should of bought the correct Alternator. Would have made the repair much more simple and longer lasting, I would imagine the alternator you put in will also have a short life if its that inferior to start out with, just something to consider if you still have the ability to return it and buy the proper part.

          Justin

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Justin,
      Is it a constant squeak that you are referring to or one like a mouse? I just had my alternator replaced along with the air conditioning belt and now I am hearing a noise like a mouse yet at a regular rhythm. I can hear it clearly when I’m going about 35 mph. My power steering is still working.
      Lynne

  2. Joshua Hufford says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! After two weeks of trying to figure out what was causing this noise after having work done at the dealer on my 00 outback, I was one day away from replacing the power steering pump, just had ordered it. I’ve only drove around the block once, but so far the pump sounds PERFECT! THANKS!

  3. wagner says:

    Does this shroud problemn also relate to the 3.0 h6 as well. I am having the same issue with the fluid getting areated and loud whining noise

  4. Justin Stobb says:

    Hey Wagner,

    The H6 uses an automatic tensioner, so it is different than the H4.

    But you could have a similar problem in regards to air entering the system.

  5. Craig Phillips says:

    Even with resetting the tube mine leaked air into the tube fitting. The two o-rings on the tube were dry due to the fact the air leaks into the tube and not fluid out. I just greased them up with a little silicon grease and no more groan!!! GREAT JOB

  6. Manny says:

    Would this same problem happen on a 99′ 2.5 RS? and does it always start making the noises almost immediately after getting serviced?

    -Thanks

    ~Manny

    Dublin, CA

  7. Justin Stobb says:

    On the RS if it has the type of power steering pump in the pictures in this article then yes, but I am thinking the 1999 RS has the reservoir mounted directly on top of the pump. I dont have one here today but if one comes in the next couple of days I will update this post.

    Justin

  8. Mike says:

    Justin, thanks so much for the article on this. I just replaced my belts and had this problem happen immediately. I am very new to working on car/auto stuff.

    I had two quick questions for you.

    1. When you say to reset the line, are you talking about the insulated line with the tensioner around it as seen in picture 2 of your guide? I looked at mine and it does not appear to have shifted, but I do understand that it takes very little movement for air to get into the system.

    Do I just loosen the tensioner and push the line on further to reset it?

    3. Will I need to replace the fluid, or can I let it sit for a while? Also, what is the most straight forward way to replace the fluid if need be.

    Thanks,

    Mike
    2002 Legacy L Wagon

  9. Justin Stobb says:

    Hey Mike

    To reset the line, remove the belt shroud, loosen the line retaining bolt, and then re tighten it.

    If the line has shifted in the pump housing it won’t be by much but as you correctly pointed out it won’t take much.

    It is possible if you let the vehicle sit that the fluid may rest and the air can dissipate out of the fluid.

    For a home gamer the best way would be to just drain out the reservoir, put fresh fluid in it and repeat as needed.

    Justin

    • Dave Dulin says:

      My 2003 outback is making a power steering noise (sort of a whining sound) only when making a right turn. It occurs anywhere between a slight right turn, or a sharp right turn and is always changing within that range. It started in the spring when the weather warmed up. And the noise gets louder when it gets hot out. I have siphoned out the p.s. fluid twice, but no change. The power steering is working perfectly fine. Any ideas? Thanks, Dave

    • Meagen says:

      Would this happen in a 2010 forester? My serpentine was replaced and the squealing stopped for a couple months. Now it is back to squealing when the car is first started and I turn out of parking. The power steering pulley jumps and the belt slides on it when it’s turned too sharp. The mechanic is telling me the clutch on my ac compressor is bad and burning the belts. My coworker checked it out and said it’s the pulley on the power steering pump. Could this be air in the lines from the lines being moved?

  10. Frank from AZ says:

    Thank you Justin….I consider myself very fortunate to have found your article! You saved me tons of aggravation and $$$.

    A shop replaced the alternator on my 2001 Outback yesterday. Upon leaving, my power steering immediately starting making noise. The shop owner didn’t know why…..chalked it up to a coincidence. Although I believe in coincidences, something didn’t seem right to me. The internet is great…I did some googling and found Justin’s article.

    I called Justin this morning to ensure I understood how to make the fix (I’m not a car guy). I was very fortunate that he answered since it’s the weekend. After speaking with Justin, I realized I didn’t have a tool that was needed so I brought my car and Justin’s article to the mechanic. I explained the article to the mechanic/owner but he didn’t believe it was possible for air to get into the system. I called Justin back and asked if he would mind explaining this to the mechanic. Justin agreed to but the mechanic backed-off and said he would make the adjustments.

    It took the mechanic about 5 minutes to make the adjustments. Once done, he started the car and turned the wheel….no noise. The mechanic was flawed. The mechanic did acknowledge that the tube must have moved but he didn’t think that air was the issue. He thinks the fluid flow became disrupted. Since the noise stopped, I didn’t push to have him change-out the fluid. I only drove a few miles so far but I’m hopeful the issue doesn’t resurface.

    Justin….thank you again for sharing this article and taking my calls…very unselfish of you. If I ever move to Washington, I would absolutely bring my Subaru to your shop.

    Quick question….I moved from Phoenix to Northern AZ a couple of years ago. When it gets below 30 degrees or so, I often get a fuel smell in and around my car. I did some googling and found this to be a common problem with early 2000 Subarus. Unfortunately, I got mixed ifnormation about what the cause is. Called the local dealer but they were no help. Your thoughts would be appreciated!

    Sincerely,
    Frank from Arizona

  11. Justin Stobb says:

    Thanks for the feedback Frank!

    The stainless steel fuel line clamps expand at a different rate than the rubber fuel lines and end up loose, if you go around with a long phillips screw driver and tighten all of the fuel lines you can find around the intake manifold you should be ok.

    Justin

  12. Scott says:

    Hi Justin

    I have read the above article and it makes sense. However, I ahve an ’01 Outback with 200k on the clock and recently the power steering has started clunking from 1/2 to full lock, obviously at low speeds. It feels like the system is low in fluid (which it isnt) or air in the system.

    I am planning to bleed the system as it likely hasnt been changed for some time. But I really need to know if there is another likely issue I need to consider (like pump failure or other…?)

    Any suggestions appreciated.

    Cheers Scott

  13. michael says:

    Hi Justin, The 2002 Outback LL Bean H6 100k + miles, power steering pump howled for the first 10 minutes when started from cold,then noise went away, only to repeat next day. The fix for me was the O ring where the line from the reservoir enters the pump. Subaru part # 34439AE020. A ten minute job, the savings,$$$
    Thanks for your site, Michael

  14. Jeff says:

    Thanks for the assistance. We were on the cusp of replacing the pump on our 2003 Outback Wagon when I read your remedy and within minutes the noise was eliminated.

  15. anne lovett says:

    Thank you! I nearly spent $400.00 for a new pump that the dealership said I needed!!!You are a life saver! Thank you so much for posting this!

  16. minsk says:

    THANK YOU!!!! After fixing a squeaky, loose belt I over-tightened that pivot bolt and created a terrible whining sound. Saved me $ and time. Thanks again.

  17. Bob @ Master auto poway CA says:

    Thanks for the tip just fixed someone’s problem child also had to replace o-rings wore hard and brittle. Might mention that had no signs of fluid leakage just pulling small amount of air

  18. mitch says:

    hi there I am a freelance mechanic and i am having trouble getting the air out of the power steering system. what is the best way to do this on a 2001 legacy 2.5? instead of just a noise this is making a slight shutter/shake when turning. it has to be on the ground running in order to do the shake. it is not necessarily at any specific degree of turn. just when it feel likes it. it was in a pretty serious fron end collission and i rebuilt it completely, this is my only problem. the suspension and all ball joints, etc are in good shape. this is why i think air in the steering. i just haven’t really dealt with this before. any help would be greatly appreciated! thanks.

  19. Justin Stobb says:

    Hey Mitch,

    If there is air in the system the fluid will be aerated it has no choice.

    Justin

  20. Ann says:

    Thank you! We had just replaced the alternator & belts and immediately had this exact problem with p/s noise. Adjusting the shroud as described completely corrected it. Thanks for making my day!

  21. Mark says:

    Holy Smokes! Thank you Justin! I just bought a 2000 Outback from my neighbor as it needed head gaskets, water pump, etc. I finished the job and after starting to drive it, noticed the PS pump getting very noisy – worse every day. I put some treatment in it and it was quiet – for about 5 minutes (not air in it!) Decided to Google it in anticipation of replacing ther pump and found your diagnosis. FIXED! You are a true gentleman for posting your solution and hats off to you for figuring this out.

  22. Robert says:

    I just changed a failing alternator in my 2000 Legacy. Fired the car up, and: “Whoa! My power steering pump is screaming! What the…?” A google search led me here. I reinstalled the belt shroud and changed out the PS fluid, and things are back to normal. Thank you so much for posting this writeup; you saved me some money and heartache.

  23. Mark says:

    Thank you for posting this information. I had an alternator that was going bad, so I decided to replace it. Imagine my surprise when I fired up my Subie and the power steering pump sounded terrible. I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on! I thought the problem had to be in the belt tension, I mean what else could it be? Now I know. Thanks so much for saving me a lot of trouble!!!!!!

  24. Denise says:

    I just replaced my battery in my 2000 Subaru Outback within the past year… almost a month ago, my vehicle died after my son stalled the car (instructors permit). It wouldn’t start, make a noise or turn anything on in the car when we tried to turn the key. Needless to say, we haven’t been driving the vehicle since. After a jump start from an extremely nice couple, the car started right up & it’s started up again after parking it (tried to start it a couple days ago & it started right up again).
    Do I have to get the alternator replaced? Or could it be something else?

  25. jo says:

    If Justin, et.al, could please help. I have a 2006 turbo Legacy wagon. It sounds like I may have the same problem? In the mornings, when I back out of the garage, the steering chatters (can feel it in the steering wheel) and when I turn out (still 5 or 10 mi/hr), it continues to chatter (like rubbing against something and now it is starting to squeal. After that I don’t notice it unless the car has been sitting for another couple of hours. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Dealer wants me to leave it overnight. Thx, jo

  26. jo says:

    postscript from Jo: the 2006 Legacy wagon has around 11000 miles on it and has been treated gently. thx.j

  27. Justin Stobb says:

    Denise,

    Its probably better have the alternator and the battery tested by someone who knows Subaru local to you

    Justin

  28. Justin Stobb says:

    Jo,

    Thats actually a different issue and one that is somewhat common on the 06 model, most likely the belt just needs to be adjusted.

    Justin

  29. jo says:

    Thank you very much, Justin, for your reply. Please excuse my lack of knowledge. Which belt would that be that you are referring to? thx.j

  30. Dave Wilcox says:

    Thank You. Thank you Thank you. After numerous shops telling me to replace my wearing out pump, your solution worked in a matter of minutes.

  31. Lee Myhan says:

    Justin,
    I am having the same subaru H-4 groaning steering pump problem. I came across your article and uded your method. It worked for a short while and the groaning started going away,then suddenly it started back. I checked the orings in the suction side and one was cracked; it was very brittle. I noticed the o ring was flat on the outside and inside radius. Is is it supposed to be that way?and where do I get new ones?

  32. Grayson says:

    I am thankful i found these posts. I was having the same problems after working on my 03′ Turbo Legacy…got it from the shop with noise and intermittent toughness in the steering, unbelievable how my subaru expert mechanics didn’t know this. The problem was not only the proper sequence of tightening the relevant nuts and bolts(as Justin pointed out – Thanks Justin) but the o-ring seal was worn and done, silicone was used to support this and this failed miserably. I had to get a new o-ring seal and reset the line and bolted up as Justin outlined…as simple as that. Lesson learnt, there’s no more boiling action in my reservoir and after topping up to the right level i feel the difference already – I drove away from the garage feeling like a mechanic(me…lol) in a new car. I know after i flush the system properly(later if required) it should even feel better. I will comment again if and when i do this.

  33. Matthew H. says:

    Thanks Justin.
    My wife’s 02 legacy was sounding awful (worse when cold) and I was afraid we needed a new power steering pump. I found your article and was able to fix it in about 5 min. I guess I should wait until tomorrow morning to declare it a total success, but when I loosened the bold the bracket shifted a fair amount. Hopefully that does it. Thanks again, you do credit to your profession.

  34. Dan Sorochan says:

    My girlfriends 2009 Outback has just started making a noise coming from the front of the engine combined with hard steering. Is it the same problem with 2009′s?

  35. Justin Stobb says:

    Dan,

    That would be real uncommon in an 09. I would suggest it really should be looked at soon, it may be as simple as a belt that has stretched.

    Justin

  36. Jessika says:

    THANK YOU Justin!!

    I printed your article and shared it with my mechanic as a possible solution to my power steering problem. He gave it a shot and instantly my car ran smoother and sounded better! Has this been posted in a technician’s bulletin (or something equal)?

    THANK YOU!!

  37. Peter White says:

    My 1996 Impeza WRX began to exhibit horrible power steering pump noise. It was impossible to believe that it was not a mechanical failure as the noise was so bad.
    Simply sucking the old (filthy & aerated) fluid out of the reservoir with a turkey baster and refilling a couple of times was a complete cure.
    My car had been in the shop having the front discs skimmed and pads changed. From another website I learned that Subarus can be prone to sucking air into the system if the steering is exercised without the engine running and that is what seems to have happened to my car.
    Without reading your posting on this issue I would have changed the pump. Many thanks for you advice. Also the state of the fluid was terrible – dark brown and toasted. Regardless of how the system behaves itself in future I will make regular fluid changes.

  38. Peter White says:

    Further to above, here is the link to the opinion that these cars can suck air during maintenance: http://www.boston.com/cars/researchandadvice/2008/10/02/the_car_doctor/
    I don’t think my car would ever have bled out the air by itself, and if it had the fluid would have been very low. While using my turkey-baster, refilling, running the engine, and repeating the whole thing sequence a big airlock seemed to release from the depths of the system. Judging from the amount of trapped air and the sort of noise it had been making, I think the pump would have been seriously damaged if I had continued to run the car.

  39. Anthony Della Rossa says:

    I have a 2002 Subaru Outback AWD 4cyl. When car sitting in park with engine running power steering is free. When engaged in drive with break on power steering is stiff. If you start to roll steering becomes free again. What causes this problem.

  40. Brandon says:

    Justin,

    I recently purchased a 2000 Outback with approx 75,000 mile on it. For the first few months, the pump made no noise whatsoever. Now that the cold weather is settling in, I am experiencing problems akin to Jo (above). When I start the car, the power steering squeaks and the steering wheel chatters. It is especially noticeable during K-turns and other parking maneuvers. Once I hit road speeds and the car warms up, I no longer notice the noise and/or chatter. The noise returns once the car has been allowed to cool.

    I’ve loosened the bolts and adjusted the shroud (which seemed fine), but am not sure which bolt to remove to reset the return line bracket(the only “bolt” I see is a torx head screw which does not appear to require adjusting). I’ve emptied the reservoir and filled it with fresh fluid. The noise is still apparent.

    If I have someone sit in the car and turn the wheel while I am under the hood examining things, it appears that the pulley coming out of the power steering pump “sticks” and causes the squeak and shutter. Is this the same problem that you are tackling here, or does this sound like another matter altogether?

  41. Matt says:

    I SECOND BRANDON’S ISSUE.

  42. Matt says:

    Oh and Brandon, the squeaks and chatters got worse over time with my Outback…the belt slowly disintergrated (dust on top of engine). and then the PS Alt Belt failed this weekend.

    Watch those long trips from home!

  43. Ryan says:

    Hi Justin,

    I have a 2002 Outback LL Bean H6 100k + miles. I have read all of the prior posts regarding the all too familiar whine with the power steering. Mine had been moderately loud in the morning, but quieted down after the car warmed-up. However, the sound started becoming more noticable and I decided to have a trusted shop try and replace the pump with an lkq part, thinking the pump was on its last leg. Now the whine is more like a scream when trying to turn the wheel. I have tried letting the car cool, rotating the wheel 30-40 times each way to release air, checked all the lines, rings, connection points etc. The resevoir is full and bubbles when the car is running. The shop said to drive it around for a few days to try and get the air out of the lines and if nothing works they will put-in my old pump that wasn’t making as much noise. I am baffled at this point and dreading replacing the pump oem due to cost. Any last suggestions? Thanks!

    Ryan – Texas

  44. Justin Stobb says:

    Brandon,

    Most likely the belt is slipping.

    Justin

  45. Justin Stobb says:

    Ryan,

    The H6 found in the LLBean, doesn’t have the same issues as the 2.5l in this article.

    The H6 has a tendency to have the serpentine belt idler and tensioner make noise, we do quite a few of these. Most likely that was the original noise, and now the pump that was put on is either defective, or there is air in the system.

    Justin

  46. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the feedback Justin! I will have those areas checked-out. Appreciate the information.

  47. Ray says:

    What an annoying problem from the most unexpected places… the freaking shroud! This one made me go crazy after replacing the belts on a friend’s Legacy. Thanks a million for taking the time to post this solution.

  48. Lisa says:

    Hi Justin, I ran across this post on a google search. This sounds like the exact problem I’m having with my 2004 Suburu Outback, however, it didn’t start happening right away. I bought the car used in Michigan and a few weeks later drove it across country loaded with my things to move to California. The squeal didn’t start until I was already in California for about a month so I don’t know if this is the same problem. Does the noise usually start immediately or might it wait a couple months? If it’s usually immediately, then I fear I may have a different problem. I did take a wrench and loosen the bolt that you show in the picture and it hasn’t seemed to help so far. But I don’t know if I loosened it enough. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Lisa

  49. Leslie says:

    Hi Justin,
    Came across this website while googling. I have 2004 WRX 2.0manual. The radiator sprang a leak and was changed. A day or two after, the steering starts to whine with acceleration and turns, especially during the 1st 10-15min of driving. the whine disappears if the car is driven longer. Fluid level is good. Is it the steering pump or something to do with the radiator change?
    Thanks very much for any advice,

  50. Darcy Closs says:

    THis question was asked earlier but no reply was given. I’ll ask it again because I have the same queston: which bolt do you remove to reset the return line bracket(the only “bolt” I see is a torx head screw which does not appear to require adjusting).

  51. Justin Stobb says:

    Comment # 10 descibes what needs to be done to reset the line,

  52. Darcy Closs says:

    thanks justin. I did loosen the shroud bolts and replace the fluid and everything seems quite a bit better (my Canadian dealer was going to charge 700.00 just for the ps pump). Think I avoided that.

    I’m still not sure, though, even after reading comment 10, which bolt to remove to reset the return line. Is it the torx head screw?

  53. jey says:

    Okay, i don’t know where to start but i’ll try to explain it. Its been a week that my power steering pump is leaking so i took all the part to fix it, and it seems look that the rubber/gasket inside the pump is worn or not good, so i decided to go to the auto parts store to buy a a liquid gasket maker which is good. After that i put everything back the way it was, then i start the engine make sure the leaks it fix, it fixed but there a noise when i turn the wheel, everything is okay except that, when i check the steering fluid its overflowing and did not put the Max level when i filled it up. Please help and please be specific for your answer and be serious please cause i need this car to take me to school and work. Thank you in advance!!!!

  54. Justin Stobb says:

    Darcy,

    By loosening the torx type bolt and tightening it back up you will in effect relieve any strain that may have been pulling the tube one way or another. It is the only bolt that retains the return line tube to power steering pump. Some models don’t have the Torx head, which is why I don’t call out that it’s a Torx, as that would be very confusing to anyone who didn’t have one.

    Justin

  55. Justin Stobb says:

    Jey,

    A power steering pump reseal kit can be purchased for around $32.00, and will have all of the proper seals and o-rings to make the repairs correctly. This is how you should make the repairs, and I would not advise otherwise. I would never use a liquid make a gasket product that could damage the pump or clog a passage. You could have a clogged passage or installed one of many parts backwards or incorrectly.

    I am serious; I am trying to be very specific for you.

    Next time you seek someone’s help on-line, maybe try and provide a little vehicle information, Subaru has many models that all have similar but also different systems. Also understand that putting the word please in front of a demand doesn’t make it any more pleasant to read “Please Be Serious” and “Please be Specific” I Always try to help, but I have to do it on my terms. There are some “pay for your questions to be answered sites” in which I suppose you would have the right to dictate to the person answering your questions, this just doesn’t happen to be one of them. I do this for free to try and answer questions about Subaru’s as I can and hope in doing so a potential reader will have a better understanding of their Subaru and how to navigate through repair and maintenance. I understand your situation is frustrating, I know a lot about Subaru, but I am not there with you, I am not seeing what you are seeing, or hearing what you are hearing so I am at a disadvantage and need as much vehicle information as possible to help you

    A lot of your question makes just no sense to me at all, if the fluid level is overflowing how can it be fixed? Power steering fluid “level at max” is checked with the vehicle running, is that how you are checking it?

    I always do my best to try and answer the questions that come in and I am usually also always happy to help someone out but I can’t fix your car for you, and I really have no idea what you have done wrong, only that you have done something wrong. Please understand I can give you advise and tips on things that are very common, such as a power steering noise that occurs after belt install on a Legacy or Outback that wasn’t there before, which is the point of this article, it became very apparent to me that this sort of thing will happen to all sorts of people and those same people may spend a lot of time and money that is not needed, or worse be advised by a service department they need a power steering pump they do not.

    It’s not very common to have to advise somebody who took their power steering pump apart and is now having a problem, in fact it’s the first time ever. There is a limit to what I can do over the internet, and really if you can’t figure out what’s wrong (which the possibilities are many) may be go to a local wrecking yard and buy a good used pump and move on.

    This may seem like a long winded answer to a question, but I am also using this as an example of how not to ask a question on our site.

    Readers, I will always try to answer your questions to the best of my ability, I only ask for you to be as specific as possible, and patient, if you have an emergency asking through the blog and awaiting my reply will most likely be to slow to be of any use to you.

    Justin

    • Dod says:

      Hi Justin,
      I have an Outback H6 2007 (115,000KM)and facing a very noise steering pump sound, at the beganing it was only in the morning, now, it goes all day long in addition to a leak hapenning from the steering oil container
      the mechanic is insisting that the pump ($970) needs to be changed! Anything else do you seggest?

      Good day
      Dod

      • Justin Stobb says:

        Its tough for me to comment on a noise and its cause without hearing it and evaluating it my self, we have seen the 2005 and newer models develop an air leak and fluid aeration as a result of the return line becoming hard and not sealing.

        Justin

        • james says:

          We have a 2005 outback with loud squealing when turning at slow speeds. When I look under the hood, I can see the PS pump pulley briefly come to a complete stop intermittently. These stops correspond with the loudest squeaking. Could these complete stops be caused by anything besides a bad pump?

  56. Darcy Closs says:

    Thanks for the clarification on the torx bolt. This is a wonderfully helpful and dutifully attended site.

    • Travis says:

      Ditto Darcy. Tried the shroud loosening twice and replaced fluid once, but was clear on the torx. Noise went away but returned. Loosened retightened the torx after reading this comment. Noise was gone immediately, without even bleeding. About to take a spin around the block to verify, but have been so frustrated with this issue since having head gasket/timing belt replacement, that I wanted to say thanks! BTW, after taking it back to the mechanic because of the noise, they told me the pump was going bad, even though it was silent when I took it in. That’s a whole ‘nother story, but won’t be taking it back to that shop.

  57. jey says:

    sorry, i have a 2004 wrx turbo. thanks!

  58. Ben says:

    Justin,

    I have the 04 legacy anniversary ed, I recently had the belts replaced, and right after I drove off the lot ( from the Subaru dealer ) I heard this god awful loud noise. I did loosen the correct bolts as described in comment 10, then I did some small adjustments to give some more slack in that line, however.. it still has the loud noise.. I guess it’s not an instant fix, I just have to replace the fluid as well. Do you think that since the dealer replaced the belts and caused this problem that they should be responsible for fixing this issue? I do. I do appreciate you putting this out, maybe I’m doing something wrong, and they can fix it.

    Thanks Justin!

  59. Hollie says:

    Justin,
    I have a similar problem to what’s been posted above, but could use your help. I have a 2004 Outback and recently it squeals a little bit and the steering wheel is hard to turn when I crank it (turning both left and right). Steering fluid is full. I’m hoping it’s something simple and inexpensive to replace, but I’m leery of getting taken advantage of at the shop. I’d like to sound somewhat educated when I go in the shop. Any advice on what to have them look at and what to say so as not to be taken for an expensive ride?!

    Thanks in advance-
    Hollie

  60. Thomas W. says:

    Justin,

    Thanks for your time into this website and Q&A. My knowledge of Subaru’s is limited. I have an ’02 h6 3.0 making a lot of noise all the time in the power steering pump and with air bubbling in the reservoir. But I can find nowhere on the net telling me how to bleed this air out. Could you help please? Forgive me if I missed how above and for straying off topic. Thanks.

  61. Marc says:

    This was a life saver. Mine acted up after replacing the belt. I took the oil line mount off and cleaned the O rings. I emptied the PS tank and replaced with new oil. No noise. Saved me a trip to the dealership.

  62. Theresa C says:

    My Subaru is making a really loud noise when I start it up….and a squealing noise….and it is also difficult to steer, when I first start driving, before it warms up? It also squeals when I turn right or left. Is it a belt? How can I fix this problem and how much does it cost?

  63. Justin Stobb says:

    Ben,

    Yes they should fix it

    Justin

  64. Justin Stobb says:

    Hollie,

    I think you are either looking at a simple belt adjustment or belt replacement, the cost should be under $80.00 to replace the drive belts.

    Justin

  65. Justin Stobb says:

    Thomas,

    On the H^, any air that is coming in and causing the fluid to aerate, needs to be fixed first, then bleed out or replace the fluid. There is no bleeder fitting, only a procedure that involves raising up the front wheels(make sure you use jack stands) and turning the steering lock to lock slowly with the engine off at first, than while cranking it over after you have disabled fuel and spark so the car doesn’t start, than top of the fluid and you should be ok.

    Justin

  66. Justin Stobb says:

    Theresa,

    It could be a belt, its a simple easy thing to take care of, the H6 has one accessory drive belt, the H4 has 2 drive belts, the cost varies but should be around $85 for the H6 and $80.00 for the H4.

    Justin

  67. Qidao Li says:

    Justin,

    I have a Subaru Legacy 2006, I just replaced the power steering pump because it was hard to turn the wheels when the car was not moving. I never touch the alternator. When I replaced the power steering pump, the belt have already melted, now there seems to be a leak of power steering fluid somewhere when I’m driving because I can smell it and see smoke from the exhaust manifold. Do you think my problem is related to this post?

  68. Adam says:

    Thanks for this Justin! We were actually thinking about getting a new car because we were tired of paying to fix this and that every other month. If I may, we have a 2003 outback limited edition. After having our head gasket replaced we had a whining sound when turning sharply immediately after leaving the shop. Now when it’s cold, it sounds like a sowing machine on steroids even when not turning. It goes away after 5 minutes of driving. Does this sound like a possibility for the simple fix you suggest? If so, I’ll be sharing this with the shop this week! Thanks again for your help!

  69. Jennifer says:

    Justin,

    I have read all above comments and seem to need a belt replacement. My problem is the same as Brandon’s and Theresa’s and a few others. Pardon my novice, but I am assuming these are drive belts and not a power steering belt I need to replace. Is that correct? Are they one and the same? I drive a 2002 Impreza Outback. Can you tell me what belt I need to purchase and where I can find directions that tell me how to do this? Your help is greatly appreciated.

  70. Justin Stobb says:

    Jennifer,

    There are many names for the same thing.

    The power steering pump, Alternator, and Ac compressor are all accessories to the engine, accessory drive belts are the belts that drive the engine accessories.

    So one can call it a drive belt, accessory belt, power steering belt, serpentine belt, etc.

    Your Subaru 2.5l has 3 belts, one timing belt, one power steering/alternator belt, & one ac belt, they are all drive belts.

    As far as instructions, that info is in a service manual, as far as where to buy belts, we sell belts as does the Subaru dealer.

    Justin

  71. Justin Stobb says:

    Adam,

    Its possible, but it may also just be a loose belt.

    Its hard for me to comment on a noise I cant hear for my self.

    It would be better for you to check the reservoir foe signs of fluid aerating.

    Justin

  72. Justin Stobb says:

    Qidao Li,

    Um no, your issue is not related to this post.

    I really think you need to let someone else service your car it sounds like you may have some significant challenges ahead of you, that based on your post I am not sure you may be up for.

    Justin

  73. Adam says:

    Thanks for your help Justin. It’s much appreciated!

  74. Keith Meyer says:

    Justin:

    I have a 2004 Subaru Forester with only 47k miles. The steering is never a problem until I make a hard turn (obviously at slow speeeds) left or right turn…at which point the steering sounds as if something is “rumbling” / “grinding”. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks, Keith

  75. Chris says:

    Hi Justin…

    I have a 2001 Subaru Legacy Outback wagon and I seem to be having a combination of issues posted here going on.

    I live in Minnesota, so it’s quite cold in the mornings here. When I start the car after it’s sat for a period of time (usually 6 to 12 hours overnight), it makes a high pitched squeal. That noise gets worse if I turn the wheel. It will go away immediately if I rev the engine and if I let it warm up for about 10 minutes, it doesn’t seem to make any noise.

    Once I get it to speed on the highway, no issues whatsoever. Just happens when it’s sat for a while. I checked the belt and it seems to be in great shape (no cracks or worn spots) and it’s not loose. Power steering seems to work just fine as well, even if I leave right away before warming it up. It will squeal for a few seconds if I do that but not consistently.

    Just wondering if you have any ideas. Thanks very much for your help!

  76. Jeff says:

    I just bought a 2001 Outback from my Father-in-law (used car guy) with 235,000 miles on it. He got it cheap and replaced a blown head gasket. I noticed the engine purred like a kitten, but the power steering pump sounded horrible, even at highway speeds you could here it whine. Well I just went out tonight and loosened the alternator pivot bolt and the shroud retaining bolt(apex). I gave the return line bracket a little jiggle to find the sweet spot. I tightened everything back down; ensuring i didn’t hit the shroud with the wrench when tightening (could see nicks where others had hit it). When I first started it I could still hear the noise a little so I left it running and went around to the front. As I stood there I heard a THOMP! sound… and all was smooth and quiet!
    Wow I love the internet! Justin thank you so much for making this available to us novices!

  77. Jeremy says:

    Justin,

    Thanks from Kennewick! A few years back I had the local Subaru dealer replace the alternator on our 2001 Outback. When we arrived to pick up the car, they mentioned we’d need a new power steering pump because it had begun making a terrible noise. I couldn’t afford it, drove the car home, loosened the belt a bit and I suppose inadvertently fixed the problem, because it went away. I then figured the dealer was being dishonest in trying to sell me a $450 plus pump install and said I’d never go there again.

    Today I replaced the AC compressor belt and had this issue reappear, and your advice helped a lot! Wow, what a touchy system. I replaced the spring clamp (seen in your 2nd photo) with a screw clamp on the power steering pump intake and the system flushed itself in about five seconds after I restarted the engine (no fluid change necessary; nice). Next time I take the car by the dealer I’ll let them know about this and apologize for mistrusting them.

    Thank you,
    Jeremy

  78. Raffles says:

    I drive a 2003 Legacy Wagon 2.5 with 96,000 miles. Recently, when I start to car and begin to turn the wheel when it’s still cold and I’m at a standstill, the steering if very inconsistant with a loud whine. I had the fluid changed, but I fear that there is still air in the system.

    I think that I am having a similar problem to most people above and I am going to try and flush the system this weekend as directed above. Does this sounds like the same problem Justin. Any help you can give would be great.

  79. Raffles says:

    so I just did as directed on my car. I also recently had the power steering fluid drained, and new fluid added. I don’t know if there is air getting into the system or not, but I think that there is because the fluid level is way above the recommended amount; so I’m assuming that there is an air bubble in the system.

    are there any other ways to check to see if air is in the system? the Fluid does not look aerated, but I’m not sure what aerated fluid looks like.

    last question, can you put new rotors on after you have installed new pads? I had the pads replaced, but I feel that I should have done rotors at the same time. Thought’s?

  80. Justin Stobb says:

    Raffles,

    If you look in the power steering reservoir while the car is running it will be very evident if there is any air entering the system and causing the fluid to aerate.

    Justin

  81. James Fra says:

    Justin,

    I have a 2004 Subaru Outback 3.0 LL Bean deal. I had a belt break and the PS went out. Both the battery light and the brake light went on in the dash.

    I suspect very much I will run into this problem tomorrow when I try to replace it. Is there anything else I need to be careful of? Special tools?

    Thank you so much for the post.

    James

  82. Raffles says:

    Justin,

    From what I could tell the Fluid does not appear to be aeratet. I feel as though the choppy power steering in intermitent in the sense that it’s not always that bad, only when I’m moving at slow speeds.

    I feel as though the car isn’t that old nor had that much ware-and-tare for the power steering pump to be failing, but if that’s that case, then that’s the case.

    Any thought’s?

    Best,
    Raffles

  83. Raffles says:

    *Aerated

  84. Justin Stobb says:

    Raffles,

    You may just have a slipping belt.

  85. Dee says:

    I have a 2003subaru baja. Bought it in october 2009, have not had any work done on it, has been running beautifully. Only recently after starting it for the first time in the morning and turning the wheel to drive forward out of the driveway do I hear a whining noise. The noise stops for the whole day either before I am out of the driveway or two-three houses down the road. Any ideas about this?

  86. Dan says:

    Hi Justin,

    I’m glad I stumbled on this site, it sounds like you know what you’re talking about. I have this exact steering issue with an 06 Legacy 2.5i. I know you mentioned to Jo earlier in this thread that the belt might need to be adjusted; can you elaborate on that a little bit so I can communicate it intelligently to my repair shop? They are telling me that my timing belt “might” need to be replaced, which i find hard to believe at 60k miles. Thanks.

  87. Kevin G. says:

    Justin, a question: my ’03 Forester is making a noise that sounds just like the bad-power-steering pump noise (the sort of momentary, rattling ‘grrk’), but it’s only produced when I hit the accelerator. Steering seems okay and there’s no noise except when accelerating. It’s intermittent then as well, mostly when accelerating from slow speeds, and stops when I ease off the pedal. Could this be somethign besides the PS pump?

    When the noise first started, I checked the PS fluid and it was pretty low, but not empty. Filling it doesn’t seem to have changed things.

    I just came across this site after a lot of hunting for good information on Subaru power steering pump issues. Thank you for providing such an informative service.

    • Ben B says:

      Kevin,

      Did you ever find out what was wrong with your Subaru? My 2001 Outback does the exact same thing.

      BenB

  88. Thanks a ton! That was very helpful, I just Dugg your website.

  89. Teresa W. says:

    I drive any ’01 OB, a shop replaced the O Ring on the AC, aligned the steering wheel, replaced an axel boot, and front brakes.
    When I picked up the car, the ps was making a loud groan and would shake when turning.
    I called the shop the next morning and they said, “We didn’t touch the ps.”
    I took it to a Subaru dealer and they “retensioned the belt.”
    The first shop denies touching anything that may have caused the problem, and said the dealer’s fix is temporary, and unlikely.
    The dealer can’t explain why the belt was tight, or needed to be retensioned.
    Do you have any idea what happened?
    Thank You!

  90. Justin Stobb says:

    Teresa,

    Its really not possible for me to know what happened. Its possible a line was bumped and air entered the system but why the shop didn’t just take care of it is puzzling and I think you may want to look for a different shop for repairs in the future I understand its frustrating but there really isnt much I can suggest here.

    Justin

  91. Darren E says:

    Hi Justin,

    I have a 2000 Impreza Outback Sport with appoximately 90000 miles on it. Over the last 6 months I have had a similar problem to what’s been posted above,it squeals a little bit and the steering wheel is hard to turn when I crank it (turning both left and right) in the morning. This is especially noted during colder temperatures. When the engine is warm there is considerably less noise and the steering is relatively smooth again. I have changed the power steering fluid 3 months ago and there does not appear to be any leakage. I had the belt changed 2 months ago but the problem still is still occurring. I tried following your fix but the PS pump on your pictures is different from mine. The power steering reservoir is on the top of the pump. Another note is that I did take off the shroud I saw that the belt was chewed up a little. For a belt only a couple months I do not expect to see this wearing. Any sugestions?

    Thanks

  92. Justin Stobb says:

    Darren,

    The article I wrote only pertains to a noise AFTER the car was serviced as a result of air entering the system from a tweaked return line and fan shroud bracket.

    You have a completely different set of circumstances and the above article just doesn’t apply as you have probably realized after seeing you have a different power steering pump.

    As I cant hear your noise from here there isn’t much I can advise you on. If you cant tell if its a belt, bearing or pump noise I would suggest a Subaru Shop local to you or you may just continue down the path of no repair.

    Justin

  93. Darren E says:

    Thanks for your fast reply. I guess it is now time to take it into a Subaru Shop.

  94. Kelly Y says:

    I’m ecstatic about finding your article because we had our belts changed in Dec. on our 2001 Outback and noise from steering immediately. Called Mechanic and they said belts just need to loosen. In Feb., had alternator replaced. Mechanic said you need new power steering pump. So, I was researching web yesterday and stumbled upon your article and I knew I had hit the gold mine! I printed out your article, took it to my mechanic this a.m and VIOLA. He called to tell me he would have never believed it unless he had seen the article and he said “you are ready to go.” Fixed it, bled the line etc. and she purred. So, he also brought over his other mechanics and showed them. Great teaching moment for them as well and saved me $$$$ THANKS SO MUCH

  95. Sheridan says:

    Justin…after reading the posts here, I think you are a hero. I add my thanks to those of all you’ve helped so generously.
    My ’98 outback PS pump leaks a little and the shop says that means I need to replace it for $450. Is a seal kit worth trying to avoid that painful repair?

  96. Justin Stobb says:

    Hi Sheridan,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Yes, find a shop that can reseal your pump, it should be closer to $200.00 to install a reseal kit and a much better longer lasting repair.

    We almost never replace pumps, and when we do I tend to gravitate to a used pump , with a reseal kit installed, over a new Subaru pump or an aftermarket part I would have no faith in.

    Justin

  97. Randy says:

    Hi, I have a 01 LL.Bean outback with an H6. My steering feels springy.like it has pressure on it both ways. It looked like the fulid was boiling in the reservoir.not sure if it has bubbles.Car seems to wander bad in wet weather.I just got the car.the best way I can describe how it feels is. It is like driving a riding lawn mower. Thats what the steering wheel feels like. Randy

  98. Jerrod says:

    I have an 02 WRX that makes a loud kinda grinding/squealing noise when the car is first started up and the wheel turns in either direction. Driving for ~5 mins seems to make the noise go away. This noise is only heard when a) car is cold and b) wheel is turned. Any ideas?

  99. Justin Stobb says:

    Hi Randy,

    For the wandering I would start with inspecting the tires. The article above pertains to the H4 Outback and Legacy, and doesn’t pertain to the LLBean with the H6.

    There are a lot of possibilities, and unfortunately there just isn’t anything I can advise you on, from here.

    Justin

  100. Justin Stobb says:

    Jerrod,

    Its probably a loose or aged belt.

    Justin

  101. [...] going to try this tomorrow for the power steering pump: Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback? – Seattle Subaru Repair __________________ phishphanman 07′ Outback [...]

  102. William G says:

    Thank you!! I am a poor college student with an 00 OB, and even though I can do all the work myself I could not foot a $200+ water pump right now with everything going on. I had just replaced the belts and was about to go insane when the pump started whining until I found this article. Thank you x98209820 youre a life saver!

  103. John/Charleston says:

    Justin,
    This is just another thank you for posting this info online.
    I had the upper radiator hose break on my ’00 Outback while visiting up in the NC mountains. When I fixed it I removed the belt shroud to clean some of the radiator fluid off of the belts. The power steering had started making noise and I researched it online as I’m not working and have time to try to fix it myself. Lucky for me I found this page. I re-positioned the shroud and simply “pushed lightly” on the power steering tube to re-set it and that seems to have done the trick.
    I’m not a mechanic and would have never figured something like this out myself.

    Thanks!

    John
    Charleston, SC

  104. Eric says:

    Hey Justin,

    So I recently started noticing a screeching like noise on my 2005 subaru outback 2.5i with around 66,000 miles on it. I know you said the problem you posted about is usualy on 2000-2004 models but could it also happen to an 05 or is it completely different. When I took it in for an oil change and pointed the noise out to the guys, they showed me that when i turn hard (even when not moving forward at all) one of the belts tightens up and almost stops moving, and he said it was because the power steering fluid wasn’t getting to it. I looked online and ended up here. Do you think the problem you describe could be the one I am experiencing? I did get the belts replaced in the vehicle recently so thats what made me think perhaps its the same issue.

    Thanks for any help!

  105. Justin Stobb says:

    Hi Eric,

    2 totally separate issues, I would start with having someone look at the belt adjustment and need for replacement and go from there.

    Justin

  106. Jim says:

    Hi Justin, thanks so much for the info. I bought a 2003 Outback recently. The past few days I’ve noticed that after driving down the highway for about 10-15 minutes I hear a whining noise that gets higher with speed. When I slow down, say into a parking lot, and turn hard I hear and feel an awful bumping/grinding noise that increases as I turn harder. I tried resetting the line but I’m getting similar results (a bit quieter whining and a bit less thumping). I checked my fluid level and it is full with no foaming or noticeable aeration. Perhaps I loosened and retightened the wrong line. Can you clarify exactly what line needs retightened? Is it the clamp on the rubber line (in Pic 2) or the larger bolt on the same line (in Pic 3)? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much.

    Jim

    PS the dealer claimed to have replaced “some belts” prior to purchase.

  107. Justin Stobb says:

    Hi Jim,

    It doesn’t sound to me like you have the symptoms that would require resetting the line if you are not seeing any fluid aeration.

    There are so many possibilities, but if you don’t hear the noise at a stop when turning it may not be power steering related at all.

    You really just need to have it looked at locally. Since I cant listen to your noise I am always kind of at a disadvantage when trying to help you get to the bottom of it.

    The bolt in picture 3 is the one that can be loosened and then re tightened.

    Hope that helps

    Justin

  108. Dne' says:

    HI, thank you so much for this information. I’d like to thank Michael from further up~ I replaced the 0-ring(Michael even supplied the part number) at the power steering pump on my ’04 Outback H6 (3.0), the 0ring was brittle and broke when I removed it. The mechanic shop wanted to sell me a rack(1600) and all it was is this 0ring! OMG! It’s had this whining noise for a year! I love my Subaru again! thank you thank thank you!

  109. Marvin says:

    Hi Justin. Changed my altenator and drive belt the other day and after that, I got the left/right moans from the ps pump. Tried all different tensions on the belt to no avail. After a couple days, I couldn’t take it anymore and took it to a Goodyear center. They told me the ps pump had gone bad and a replacement was in order. I should have known better because I knew it had something to do with the replacement of the altenator but I was in a real bind timewise so I told them to go for it. $700 later and the new ps pump still groaned. They said to let the new pump settle for a couple of days and if it still groaned, to bring it back to replace the fluid.
    Last night I found your site and your fix. I loosened the shroud and reset the torx bolt. Tightened the altenator hinge bolt and lightly tightened the shroud bolt on the ps pump. Like a miracle, no left/right moans anymore. Chalk this up to a expensive lesson learned. Thank you so much.

  110. Alex says:

    Justin,

    I just did an alternator replacement on my 06 Outback LL Bean with the 3.0. I am having the same issues. I don’t have a shroud but I do have a bar going between my two alternator bolts. Would over tightening these bolts be the same cause. Thanks!

  111. John Meyers says:

    I had the same problem on my 2007 Legacy–had a belt changed and the power steering started screeching. In the course of trying to readjust the shroud, I dropped one of the bolts (the one that passes through the rubber grommet). I couldn’t find it, but the noise was gone! I got a replacement bolt just in case, but haven’t installed it. I’ll probably leave it out, unless someone knows a reason not to…..

  112. Richard says:

    Hi Justin, the symptoms described above sound similar to what I’m experiencing. I have a 2005 Saab 9-2x (subi wrx for all intents).

    Recently I replaced the rad, right after I noticed the steering being stiff and making some vibration when turning, now with the colder weather starting here (Dallas) I’m getting some noise from the steering when it’s cold…. does this sound like air in the system?

    Like others have said it seems to have started after another component was replaced so would be hard to believe that one component went bad right after another. When I replaced the rad I had to push the pipe from the PS reservoir out of the way to get the rad out and in, would that have caused an issue where that enters the pump, any sure fire ways to tell/test?

    Thanks.

  113. Justin Stobb says:

    Hello Alex,

    The set up is different on a H6, but you can create an issue if you are not careful.

    I am not sure what you might have done, but I would start with trying to reposition all of the bolts you touched.

    Justin

  114. Justin Stobb says:

    John,

    You want to keep all of the bolts in place.

    Justin

  115. John/Charleston says:

    Justin,
    I had the problem that seemed just as you described…radiator hose blew and I likely over tightened the housing and my PS pump started whining. I loosened the housing but it seems like the PS pump fitting that the housing attached to is leaking ps fluid. I removed the part and I see two O-rings. Can I replace them with O-rings from an auto parts store or do I need to get Subaru O-rings. (dealer does not have them in stock)

    Thanks,
    John

  116. John/Charleston says:

    I should add that I have a 2000 outback ltd with the 4 cyl.

  117. Brian D says:

    Justin,

    Experiencing a similar sound/vibration as described above in the steering on a 2007 Outback. Fluid levels look fine. Its my GF’s car and shes not sure if they recently replaced any belts but the noise started shortly after a service appointment. Seems to occur when the car has sat for a while and is cold. Any ideas before I take it to a shop?

  118. Justin Stobb says:

    John,

    We dont typically replace the o-rings unless there is a reason to, if I did, I would only buy the Genuine Subaru part.

    Justin

  119. Justin Stobb says:

    Hi Brian,

    The 2007 has a totally different design, and wouldnt be subject to the issue above.

    Its possible that it has a loose belt than is more prominent in the cold weather, and gets better as the engine and the belt warm up and expand.

    Justin

  120. John/Charleston says:

    Justin, I only thought to replace the O-rings because it seemed to be leaking there. Maybe since I re-seated them, it’ll be ok. They did not seem like a very snug fit to me but I’ll watch for future leaks.

    Thanks,
    John

  121. Aaron says:

    Justin,
    We just had to replace the engine in our 01 Outback VDC 3.0 because of a bad coolant change at a local shop. Over $5400 all in all. Got the car back from Subaru last Friday. Power steering pump sat dry for a month while waiting for motor etc. Started groaning immediately and bubbles in fluid while in operation. Read the blurb about the O-ring. Checked it and it was hard. Put a dab of silicone to seal temporarily. Worked immediately. O-ring is $1.32. Whew!! Side note, please inform 3.0 owners to have the coolant changed ONLY at Subaru. Cost us a motor.

  122. amy says:

    We just bought a new 2011 Subaru Tribeca for 3 days, from the 2nd days we just felt the noise … is under dealer’s checking, seems there is something wrong with the PS, and also leaking… Gosh, i was so frustrated, it is totoally new car!!i just have concern if that is safe enough in the future and the problem will occur again and again ? what shall i do with the dealer about this 3 days new car…any idea or suggestion? thank very much!

  123. John/Charleston says:

    Hi again Justin,
    The O-rings on my pump still seem to be leaking. I’ve called 2 dealers and they both seemed to have trouble looking up the part and each gave me a different part #. The part numbers I got were 34621ac021 and 34439ae00a. Can you tell me if either of these are correct or if not, what the correct number is?
    Thanks,
    John

  124. Meredith says:

    Hey,
    My 2000 subaru outback is having issues steering. It doesn’t make a sound, but trying to parallel park and making tight turns is a nightmare! I had one shop quote me for a new power steering rack at $800 and said that I would need a new pump as well because it was leaking. Another shop said same thing about the rack but that the pump wasn’t leaking but that I would need a new oil switch…I’m not really sure what to make of this but either way it makes me not want to take my car in because I don’t who is really on it or not.

  125. Justin Stobb says:

    Hi Amy

    Subaru Will take car of the issue you are having, I am not aware of any major or typical power steering issues on the Tribeca, overall they have been very solid cars.

    Justin

  126. Justin Stobb says:

    John,

    Are you thinking the return line braket o-ring is leaking fluid out?

    Justin

  127. Justin Stobb says:

    Meredith,

    The way to have a good car service experience is to establish a relation ship with a shop that can take car of all of your cars service needs, that way when your car has some sort of a symptom you know exactly who you will call.

    Like when you dont feel well you most likely already have a doctor, or when its time for a hair cut, teeth cleaning etc.

    There is really not much else more stressful than to have an issue and not be in good hands, or to have to question the hands your car is in.

    I just cant know from here what is wrong with your car, But it almost sounds like you are experiencing some transfer clutch binding. Having more than one shop involved will make it a challenge as well.

    My advice is really to go about what you have been doing a different way, and find a good shop, and yes it will probably cost some money.

    Justin

  128. John/Charleston says:

    I’m not sure what it’s called. It’s the part on top of the pump that has a rubber line going back to the reservoir and which has the belt shroud attached to it. It’s fastened down with a single #30 star bolt.
    There are two O-rings on the shaft of that part that extends into the pump.

    The O-rings on my pump are flat. I’m not sure if they’re manufactured that way or are just old and compressed.
    I bought two “similar” O-rings at a hardware store but they’re made by Danco (a plumbing supply co) and I’m not sure what they’re made of. They’re black. I’ve got a question into Danco asking that.

  129. Scot says:

    Justin,

    ’05 FXT just had radiator replaced and installed an engine block heater. immediately experienced the whining PS pump. I called dealer and said, do you remove belts for radiator and / or block heater… I said belts or PS pump is squeeling and brought in for adjustment. They said my PS pump is going and to replace it. That is when I googled and found this. Do you think radiotor replacement and block heater would cause the same as I can complete your fix? Greatly appreciate for all that you do. I am a do it yourselfer and have lots of subaru bucks so have dealers do major work :) Thx in advance, Scot

  130. Justin Stobb says:

    Hello Scot,

    I would start with changing the fluid and seeing where that takes you, we have seen real dirty fluid in the turbo models cause noise.

    Normally I would say the 2 things should be unrelated, but sometimes a bump or a shift here or there can be all it takes to create a new problem.

    I am really just not in a good spot to advise if there were any mistakes or if its just your car.

    Justin

  131. Fung says:

    I have 1999 outback, and before I bought it from a used dealer dealership, the dealer promised to changed the belt, when I test drove it, it fully locked the wheel to test the ball joints, it was fine no noise.

    So after two weeks with a supposedly new belt, I was moving around the wheel alot to park, I notice a squealing noise coming from the belt. Would this procedure apply to me in this case?

  132. ZAZ says:

    Hey folks. Let me key you all into a fix that cost under $7 for this groaning sound.
    I won’t reiterate what was said through this entire post but believe it or not it could be as simple as fresh fluid and…A NEW O-RING! I found the tube closest to the radiator on top of the PS Pump (you have to remove it with a star driver)can be lifted up. The O-rings harden and allow air to leak in which causes the frothing of the fluid. There are two or rings which should be picked off of their grooves and replaced with ones of similar sizes. You can get a pack of these for about $3 at your auto supply store. After you replace them, siphon out the old fluid and replace with Dexron ATF which is recommended for our vehicles. Start the car up after re-assembly and you should no longer hear the noise and see the bubbles in the fluid. It took me about 15 minutes to complete this. Steering is back to normal with no stiffness and the wine is completely gone! Just thought I’d help!

  133. Maret says:

    Hi Justin:
    Thank you for all the information you have provided here.
    I have a 2001 Outback (2.5 liter, AT). After changing the belts I also noticed an issue with power steering noise. I changed out the PS fluid and everything now seems OK. However in the process of attempting your procedure on the shroud, the upper alternator/ power steering belt shroud retaining bolt broke off. I tried drilling out the broken bolt to no avail. My question: Is it OK to just leave the shroud “hanging” or should I try to blot it down some how?

  134. Mike says:

    I have confirmed there is a similar probelm on the H6′s. My 2002 LLBean with 140k miles started making howling noises when started from cold,then noise went away, only to repeat next day. I read about possible problems with air entering the system and tried tightening the bolt that holds the inlet assembly to the pump. I was immediately greeted with a foaming, overflowing ps reservoir and next to no power assist. I tried to reseat the o-ring on the inlet but it still whined & bubbled. The fix was to replace the o-ring on the inlet where the line from the reservoir enters the pump, install a screw clamp on the hose where it attaches to the inlet & replace the aerated fluid. Subaru part # 34439AE020 for the o-ring on 2002-2004 H6′s.

  135. Uriah says:

    Justin: Wow! thanks for all the information. here’s my situation on my ’00 Legacy L

    I had timing replaced about 2 months ago. then about 6 weeks ago replaced power steering fluid with Amsoil PSF. I go some air in the rack but did a bleed about 2 weeks later, to try to get it all out.
    The first problem that I noticed was a vibration on slow turns especially with bumps in the terrain. I noticed when I had it lifted for the bleed, that if I pulled back on the steering wheel while turning the wheels would shutter (not a smooth turn). I thought maybe some more air needed to work out, but its been six weeks and the noise in the pump is much louder and sounds like its getting worse fast. I took off belt yesterday and the pully had about 1/16 inch play in it.
    I should tell you I moved from Phoenix (warm climate) to Northern Idaho about a week after the last bleed. I thought maybe viscosity might be an issue for the pump in the cold but doubt it.
    So I am going to try your fix with the shroud, although not sure it has anything to do with the vibration.
    So My questions are this. In your shroud fix process, how do I ‘replace the aerated fluid’ in the pump? My reservoir is a bit high, will it work itself out? Is 1/16 inch of play a bad sign? Anything you can tell me about the vibration, the amsoil, or if you think I have issue with my rack/pinion? Thank you so much for you wisdom and expertise on this.

  136. Pete says:

    Had exactly this issue after removing the alternator to have it tested. A friend said it sounded like the pump was on its way out, so I was googling pumps when I came across this article. Followed it, bled the air out of the system, topped it up, and now it seems fine. Need to try it on a cold morning, but I’m optimistic.

    Thanks for posting this.

  137. Lori says:

    Can this issue occur on a 2005 Forester? I had my timing belt replaced a little while ago, and since then I get a squeak when I first start the car. I can eliminate the squeak if I rev the engine. It mostly occurs when I first start the car but sometimes it occurs after 20 minutes of freeway driving.

    Thank you!

  138. Justin Stobb says:

    Lori,

    The article is about the 2000 to 2004 Outback and Legacy, a squeak on a 2005 Forester indicates the belt should be inspected, adjusted or replaced as needed.

    Justin

  139. Danny says:

    Hey Justin, this is has captivated my attention for quite some time. I’m having a similar problem to a lot of these people, but maybe not so similar. You see, my legacy is from 1992. So I’m unsure if the diagnosis you give these newer Subarus is similar.

    Its a Subaru legacy wagon with 250,000 miles on it.

    replaced my alternator a month or so ago. On Christmas eve the engine was revving really high. next day power steering pump was making a big racket. the pulley, i guess you’d call it, was making a grinding noise and looked like it was shaking and sort of out of balance. I looked at the power steering fluid level and it was low. so i added the appropriate amount. drove it and the power steering came back and the sound went away. everything was fine until about 3 or 4 hours later when all the power steering fluid had leaked out again. No more power steering and noises every now and then.

    looks like the leak is coming out the center of the pulley where the bolt goes in, but i am not sure its hard to tell.Its a pretty intense leak so it kind makes lots of stuff have fluid on it.

    I feel like maybe i do need a new pump seeing as the car is nearly 20 years old.
    just didn’t see any questions here about older subarus. thought id chime in as me and my father will be looking into a new pump tommorow or the next day. thanks Justin, any info would be informative i am sure.

    i live across the water in Bremerton, its cool to know you’re right over there in Kirkland.

  140. Greg Bossie says:

    Thanks so much Justin. Just replaced my belts and the noise started and the ps reservoir overflowed with frothy fluid. Before I started looking for a new pump or rack, I found your article and had it fixed in 5 min. MUCH appreciated!

  141. Justin Stobb says:

    Hi Danny,

    The old 90 to 94′s did go through pumps at about that mileage. Sounds like the center bearing failed.

    Usually I would suggest obtaining a used one and putting a reseal kit in it, but the Subaru Only wrecking yard in Burien went out of business last year and sourcing out good used components locally has been a challenge.

    Justin

  142. yemaya says:

    what do you mean by reset the line? and where is the o ring located to inspect… and how do you drain the old fluid?

  143. Justin Stobb says:

    Yemaya,

    Everything you need is in the Article or the pictures. The o-ring is located on the return line bracket. To reset the line you loosen it and re-tighten it with out tension from the belt shroud.

    How You would drain the fluid is up to you, we have a expensive device to do the job.

    Justin

    • yemaya shimek says:

      thanks Justin. I have done all that plus replaced the serp belt and noticed there is play in the pulley of the steering pump. not up/down or side/side but in/out. is some play normal? the car sounded great for a week and a half..then started up again…but no change in the fluid level this time, so thinking its not getting air anymore, so one problem corrected.:)

      • Justin Stobb says:

        Hello Yemaya,

        Yes you will have in and out play on a power steering pump.

        Justin

        • yemaya shimek says:

          hmmm, then i am stumped with what causes the whining especially when its cold…but sometimes hot too. even replaced the worn and hard rubber double washer looking thing on the mounting bolt of shroud to power steering pump area. new belt. what tension do you recommend? I have between 3/8 to 1/2 inch give in the belt now. so wish you lived here in tucson. :) i bet you could resolve this noise once and for all. thanks again.

          • Justin Stobb says:

            Hey Yemana,

            There are other things that can cause a whine, If you are not experiencing power steering fluid aeration than we need to move past the tip in the article and look somewhere else.

            I would start by localizing the noise, if it still appears to related to the power steering system, its possible that there is a problem still there. I would hate for you to throw parts at it but it could be in the pressure valve or the pump it self.

            Justin

  144. Glen says:

    I had the whinning/groan power steering issue in my 2001 Outback 3.0L H6. Installed Subaru O-Ring part# 34439AE020 on top of the pump where the supply line connects. It took approx. 10 minutes to remove the old brittle O-ring and replace with the new one. Problem solved. Thanks for this informative site!

  145. shannon says:

    Hi Justin,

    I have a 2001 H6 VDC with 100K. The PS pump wails in cold weather when the car is first used. Fine in summer. Fine after warming up. Absolutely NO aspiration occurring in the fluid, so air isn’t getting in.

    It’s not the problem you illustrate with the H4 because of the different shroud. It appears to have a very small leak. Enough to notice on the pump body, but not enough to draw down the level in the reservoir significantly. I think the leak is coming from the inlet for the sensor in the pump body or possibly from the gasket between the 2 main parts that make up the pump. I’m going to try to find a new sensor, but i doubt Subaru offers it for sale.

    I hear that there are no rebuild kits for these (that sucks). If this is true, should i attempt to disassemble the pump, clean it up and rebuild? There are only 2 new ones in the country and Subaru wants $500 for the part. I found used for $200. what is my best course of action at this point?

    Thanks so much.

    • Kelly says:

      where did you get your 34439AE020 O-ring?
      I have a 2001 LLBean H6 3.0 w 160K and the same P/S pump groaning problem.

  146. shannon says:

    I bought and installed a used PS pump. It still screams. No signs of aspiration. I am pulling my hair out! I guess i’ll try replacing all of the fluid, but i really doubt that is the problem. Am i to expect this in winter from now on with this car?

  147. Justin Stobb says:

    Hello Shannon,

    There are a few different places a small leak can develop on the H6 models.

    Its Probably better to not guess at the cause. If you cant determine if it is sucking air into the system at this point anything you do is just a guess, and that can go great or badly.

    The common thing on the H6 is the inlet o-ring.

    Justin

  148. Justin Stobb says:

    Hello Shannon,

    The car is very fixable! But guessing at whats wrong and than acting on that may not yield the best results as you have discovered.

    You can try to spray some spray type lubricant or the something similar around the fittings and pump body, and see if the noise subsides, if it does, fix the air leak at the fitting. which may be simple or not.

    Justin

  149. shannon says:

    Justin,

    Guessing is all I’ve got right now – that’s why i’m picking your brain.

    So you’re pointing to air in the system as the root cause of the noise eminating from the pump(that goes away once warm)- even though there are no signs of aspiration/foaming in the reservoir?

    Subaru won’t have the replacement inlet o-rings in until Friday. Until then, i’ll try the leak test you describe. Will WD40 or 3 in 1 oil work okay? It won’t affect the fluid if it gets into the system?

    Thanks for the responses.

  150. Eric says:

    I changed the belts on a 2000 Subaru Outback, when I started the engine I could not believe the noise coming from the power steering pump. I discovered your site and tried to reset the return tube,noise was still there and the fluid appeared to be boiling. There was so much air coming in! I took a look at the o-rings they looked well worn and hard so I replaced them. When I started the car back up, no more whine!!! Thanks Justin for being kind enough to give free advice! I was about to replace the pump. You saved me time and money.

  151. Jeff Trost says:

    Justin:

    Have I got a story and a question for you.

    Changed the spark plugs on my 2006 Outback 2.5i (automatic, 98K mi.) last weekend and in the process, probably pinched my power steering “intake” hose (connecting reservoir to pump). Started the car a few hours after changing plugs and power steering went out completely. Long story short, towed to a mechanic who was able to bleed out an air lock for me (the reservoir “burped”) that I probably caused.

    After this was done, for the last 3 (cold) mornings, the pump is moaning/grinding on engine start up, both at rest and when I turn wheels with driving, for about 10-15 minutes, then goes away completely. Problem seems to have lessened somewhat this morning (not as loud for as long), but was still noticeable.
    Could this be;
    1) damage done to the pump from the air lock?
    2) problem with pressure relief valve (there was a TSB on this by Subaru in 2009)?
    3) bad O-ring?
    4) something else (i.e. loose belt, although I would have thought mechanic would pick this up)?

    Thanks greatly for your input,

    Jeff

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Jeff,

      Most likely you shifted the return line fitting at the pump. I would start there, you may need to replace the o-ring, but I would start by trying to reset it. I would also take a Turkey baster to the fluid and pull out as much of the old fluid as you can and put some fresh fluid in.

      Justin

      • Jeff Trost says:

        Should I just disconnect the return line (I’m assuming that is the hose from reservoir to pump, or the inflow line) and re-”set” it?

        Thanks,

        JT

        • Justin Stobb says:

          Hello Jeff,

          Yes, sometimes it is pulled one direction and a very small air leak occurs, the only way yo resolve this is to loosen the bolt and tighten the bolt while the Shroud is NOT connected to the return line bracket going into the pump.

          Hope this helps

          Justin

          • Jeff Trost says:

            Actually, shroud not an issue – after going to 5 different places, found an O-ring at a hardware store that did the trick.
            Thanks,

            JT

  152. Tony says:

    Thank you for the tips. I had the exact problem on my 2001 Outback Limited after timing belt replacement.

  153. CBolt says:

    Hi Justin, I just came home with a squealing noise which sounds like a serpentine belt pully bearing starting to fail. The weird thing is I also get a smell from the car now (inside as well as it is & has been very cold in New England). Not gas, but burnt belt or fluid smell. I also noticed at one point it effected the engine speed/idle. Thought this may be the water pump, but do you think it is the steering pump as mentioned? Thanks for your time..

    • CBolt says:

      Meant to add .. 2002 h6 3.0 with 170k. Never had any issues to date.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hello Cbolt,

      The H6 can develop issues with the Serpentine belt tensioner and idler as well as if the idler is not caught in time it can destroy the idler retaining bracket. I dont know if that is what is wrong with your car but its where I would start looking.

      Justin

  154. Alex in Ontario says:

    Here I am three years since this post first appeared and I was so appreciative of what your “fix” did for me and my 00 Legacy GT that I read each and every comment to the end. I remain indebted to you. You have saved many of us a bunch of cash. Thank you, Justin. Keep it going.

  155. Bevan says:

    Hi Justin,

    I am afraid I may have found the site a little too late.
    I had a similar problem on my 01 legacy wagon (2.5 GX awd).

    I had the belts replaced twice, and still problem persisted. Finally the belt snapped while I was driving. I swopped the old belt out and cannot for the life of me get the new one onto the car (5PK 872). result is that it appears as if the shop put the wrong part on. Internet says it should be 5PK 875 Any idea which is correct? Dodgy mechanic or anonymous unqualified contributor to wikipedia?

    Thanks, Bevan

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Bevan,

      The O.E number is 80921 8370 which I believe is a 5pk 874 so neither of the options you had found. I have never found an after market belt that was sized right only use the O.E.

      Justin

  156. Don says:

    Justin,

    Excellent fix on the p.s. noise. It only took me 5 minutes to remedy that absurd noise and my neighbors are happy too! Thank you!!

    Don
    North Carolina

  157. Bill says:

    Justin,

    Thanks for this article, I have an ’05 Legacy, and a couple of months ago, the power steering pump starting a whining sound and has gotten worse over time. It has not seemed to affect the steering at all. I was about to just order a new pump but coming across this, it made me think it that it could be something else. What do you think, am I about to loose my pump, or is there other possibilities that I should consider?

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Bill

      There is an o-ring where the return line feeds into the pump, sometimes they shrink and allow air into the system.

      Without hearing it I don’t know if we are on the mark.

      Justin

  158. Steve M says:

    Great resource! 03 Outback 4 cyl. I have a leak I believe at one of the o-rings for one of the lines that attaches to the rack just below the steering column join to rack area. The one in question is the line that is forward facing to front of car. The area looks pretty tight to get a wrench on it. Any tricks to replacement of the o-rings in this area? TIA

  159. Beth says:

    Thanks heaps! Our 06 gt has just gone out of warranty and just started having serious steering issues last week, despite just having it’s 5 yr service. This seems to have fixed it instantly and made sense as all the belts were replaced as part of the service.

  160. DJ C-Note says:

    Shortish version of a long story. Bad rattle from 45 to 60, turned out to be axle. During the time before I diagnosed and fixed the problem, I also started having a problem steering. Sometimes hard sometimes not, wheel not returning most of the time. Changed the axle, vibration ended. Same day changed fluid in PS pump which fixed the steering problem. Couple thousand miles later, steering problem is back. Bought a new pump, did not come with sensor, took side of the old pump with the sensor off, put it on new pump. Same problem. Put old pump back in and still same problem. One question is: what is that sensor on the OE pump and also, it is possible that the Rack and Pinion is shot. One boot on the RP is torn. If there is air somewhere in one of the lines would that cause this. Kind of at wits end. Pump is not whining or making any noise. Thanks for any ideas…

  161. Richard says:

    Justin,

    Thank you so very much for posting this solution! I recently replaced the belts on my 2006 Forester, and within a week began experiencing the high pitch whine, and difficulty in steering. I found this web page and readjusted the shroud as directed, and voila, no more problem!!! I thought I was going to have to pay big $$$ to get the dealership to look at it.

    Thank you!!!

  162. Shanti says:

    Hello Justin,
    Please take some time to read this and provide me with some advise. I read the other stories first but didn’t find the same problem….I think.
    I am mailing from Brussels. I imported a 2007 Tribeca in 2008 from US. Last year the garage seemed to have forgotten to put oil in the engine after a maintenance. Soon after that I experienced the temp to rise fast and the fan turn on quickly. I checked the oil, totally dry and thought I found the problem, added some liters and went back to the garage, this all was several weeks and hundreds of miles after the maintenance. He added some more oil and the problem with heated engine got more serious and I ended up on the highway several months later. Diagnose was leaking head gasket. In an other garage it seemed parts of the heads were lifted. The gasket was ok.
    So can I conlude the cause was that the temp was too high due to lacking oil in the system? Is the garage responsible for this problem, which cost me 3000 euro’s and lots of inconvenience? Or is Subaru responsible for this problem? The engine had run at time of problem around 55000 miles.

    After the repair I kept hearing some kind of noise in the cabin like a computer starting up. getting it back to the garage they said it came from under the hood and sounds different inside the car. It seemed to be the alternator, it was brought to another specialist for overhaul. They said: nothing wrong with it. new diagnose it is the steering pump, cause that is where the worst noise (sounds like rattle) comes from and if you turn the steering wheel it becomes worse indeed, the pump has to be replaced. I am not so sure about this diagnose and want to prevent spending money each time again and not finding the real problem. If I read the other experiences and your article I am almost convinced the problem occurred when they took the engine out for repairing the heads. There are only 2 tribeca’s driving in belgium, and hard to get parts (us versions).once it has been ordered, it seems the european version is quite the same.
    what is your opnion on both issues?
    you are doing a great job!

    best regards,
    Shanti

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Shanti,

      I just don’t understand what you are asking me, Who ever left the oil out is responsible for any engine damage. Its not Subaru’s problem if a service provider makes a mistake its the service provider. I know you are looking for some help and resolutuon to the problems you are having, but with out hearing the noise, and viewing the vehicle I just don’t have any real advice. I can advise on typical issues but not really on a case by case basis when the issues are abnormal and require evaluation.

      Justin

  163. Shanti says:

    Hello Justin,
    thank you for replying. I surely will hold the 1st garage who left the oil out responsible for the damage caused.
    the noise: I was wondering do you know whether the same problem as the Outback has occurred to Tribeca’s? There are quite a lot driving around there. There is a H6 Boxer engine in it. This was removed for the repair of the heads. So I was wondering whether the belt could have been placed back in a wrong way and the oil of the steering pump been aerated as concluded for the outbacks? so has this become a typical issue for subaru’s? since the diagnose now is ‘replace the steering pump’.
    if I have to replace it eventually.:is it possible to order this part from your shop?

    best regards,
    Shanti

  164. andy says:

    THANK YOU!!! Shortly after replacing the radiator on my 04 WRX, my power steering was making the same type of noise it didn’t have just prior replacing the radiator. Readjusting the hose connected to the power steering reservoir made the noise go away.

  165. Ganby says:

    Thank you for this great article. I haven’t tried it yet though. I have a request, can you please publish an youtube video, fixing this exact ps problem? Because of some language barriers of different people from different countries may not understand some words as I do.

    Regards,
    Ganby
    UB, Mongolia

  166. Alex says:

    1999 Subaru Outback. We had the alternator replaced recently. Ran fine for about a month then the p/steering got really hard and difficult with lots of noise. I saw the p/s reservoir was low so I refilled it and the noise subsided but then I noticed the fluid under the right wheel on the ground. I peeked and saw fluid on the boot (?) even though I hadn’t spilled any. Now mech wants $800 to rebuild rack. I havent that kind of money. Is there a kit to rebuild the boot with or is there more to this than meets the eye that the rack needs rebuilding? And if it really is a rack rebuild isn’t $800 kind of steep? TIA, Alex

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Alex,

      Typically it starts out as a torn bellows boot, than debris gets into the rack and damages the seal and finally the seal fails and leaks. Its better to never let the bellows boot become torn, but hind sight is 20/20. what to do now? The rack rebuild is not a do it your self project and an aftermarket rack may be low quality and not last all that long. when we deal with this hear we either go with a New Subaru unit which is higher than $800.00 or a used rack which is less than $800.00. I would look for a good used rack, replace the bellows boots and tie rods as needed have it aligned and move on.

      Justin

  167. Peggy says:

    Hi Justin! Thanks for this post.

    I just had the radiator replaced on my 2000 Subaru Outback yesterday and when I got it back I noticed the power steering was making noise (and still is). I had had the car towed to the shop, so the mechanic suggested that since the fluid levels are fine, air must have somehow gotten into the steering fluid during the tow. He said it would bleed out on its own over the next day or so. I’m wondering if this is the case or if the real problem is the one you describe in your article. I am not sure if they needed to remove/adjust the shroud in order to get to the radiator, though. They did check my belts and change my oil (which I am pretty sure don’t require removal of the shroud). Can you help shed some light on this? And if you do think it might be the problem you describe, can you please give me some step by step instructions on how to fix it? I really don’t want to end up spending a lot of money on this if I don’t have to.

    Thanks!

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hello Peggy,

      There really isnt much I can show you other than the fix I describe in the post. I have had requests for a video but the shop keeps me pretty busy right now.

      Justin

      • Peggy says:

        Well thanks anyway. Regardless, does it sound like this could be my problem or do you think the mechanic could be correct about the aeration being caused by the tow somehow? Does the shroud need to be removed in order to replace the radiator? Sorry for all of the questions, I am pretty new to car mechanics. :/

  168. Rob says:

    I recently purchased a 1998 subaru legacy station wagon
    and have screeching air sounds from time time to time
    we are also having problems turning in hard lock either way – like shudders on hard lock.
    The previous owners repair invoice states – Vehicle noisy on hard lock either direction,Traced fault, isolated rear diff as necessary.

    The 15a fuse is inserted,however no FWD sign on dashboard to indicate FWD.
    Not sure where to go from here – sorry about not being more specific. I suspect as a layman there may be a fault
    with the electrical – I understand the fuse should activate a dashboard indicator – If you think you can give general direction it would be grateful
    Do I take the vehicle to a Auto electrian or a vehicle mechanical repair garage?

    Kind regards

    Rob

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Rob,

      If the AT-TEMP light flashes on start up there is a problem in the AWD system that needs to be evaluated by someone familiar with the Make, like a Subaru Shop, Subaru Dealer, or Japanese import shop.

      If NO lights are coming on and flashing at start up it still needs to go into one of the three shops I have mentioned.

      Dont take it to a Trans shop, or an electrical shop you need a Subaru Guy.

      Justin

  169. Stuart says:

    Hi, have stumbled upon these interesting comments looking for the cause of the sudden Power steering loss on my 97 SVX. Almost immediately after start up one morning the ‘power steering’ light came on in the dash (I believe it has electronic control) and the assistance was gone. No work had recently been undertaken and it had been quiet and fine before. I have taken the reservoir off the top and checked and replaced the O ring – it looked fine though – no change. I have slackened the outlet hose(only the tiniest amount) and fluid pours out. It’s not unduly noisy and I can’t see any evidence of bubbles in reservoir or overflowing. There’s no sign of leaks and the fluid was to level even after the failure. Any ideas would be appreciated,
    thanks,
    Stuart

  170. Carl says:

    Hi Justin, I have a 2000 Subaru Outback. 265,000 miles still runs like a top. Recently it began leaking power steering fluid.Problem is I cant find where it is leaking from. I cant see anything on the ground,cant find fluid dripping anywhere,im baffled ??? Are they known to have leaks anywhere ? Any help you can provide will be helpful, thank you…… Carl

  171. Rebecca says:

    Hi Justin!

    This is the closest thing to the problem I am having with my 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback (78,000 miles) The noise happens when i turn the wheel either way when at a stop or parking. I did have the power steering pump changed a couple weeks ago and the noise started shortly Before I had the pump changed. It seems to be getting worse now. I really don’t think its the ball joints or tire rod, as that would be my next guess and my mechanics. I will have my mechanic try this solution, as he looked everything else over and said it was fine, just maybe the ball joints. What do you think, from the symptoms I am having? Really appreciate this post and your reply!

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Rebecca,

      It may be as simple as an out of adjustment drive belt. Its tough to say without hearing the noise and experiencing the symptoms. Sorry I cant offer more but there Isnt a typical thing I can point to on a 1998 Legacy Outback

      Justin

  172. Stephen says:

    Justin,
    You Sir, are AWESOME!!!!!!!!! in a nutshell: My wife totaled her Camry so I jumped on the opportunity to replace it with a sweet 2001 Outback. I replaced all of the fluids and belts, and… well… you guessed it, whiney pump. Thank you for the info, you are truly a God send! Many thanks!!! Stephen

  173. Linda says:

    Hi Justin,
    I lost my Dad in late October 2010.. He knew how to fix anything..and taught me everything.. its been hard without my Dad around. So when I found your site I was so happy..I Just had to share my story..I have a 2002 H6 3.0 Subaru outback LL Bean. The tension pulley bearings went and I had to have the belt and both pulleys replaced.While the car was being fixed I read all of your posts..I was going mention to my mechanic about the power steering pump issues but didn’t.. Well when I picked up the car.. before I started it he said by the way was your power steering pump making that loud noise before? Nope I said but I know what it is. It’s got air in the system..Yes he said it’s loaded with air..Got the car home squealing and hard to steer all the way. I know the H6 3.0 didn’t have exactly the same shroud issue but I knew it was pulling air into the system..boiling in the reservoir and frothing of the fluid. I pumped out the ps fluid and replaced with new.(I ordered an O-ring from the Subaru dealer part # 34439 AE 020 for the 02 Subaru H6 3.0.. cost $1.82 it will be in tomorrow.) In the mean time I decided to try resetting the ps return hose that bolts to the pump.When I unscrewed the bolt it let out with a burp of air. I carefully reset it back into place.Started the car it was better but still squealing.On my second attempt I thought of my Dad..I carefully took the O-ring off cleaned around the openings and flipped the O-ring over placed it back on the fitting and reset it into place.Started the car and it was quiet as a mouse.No more noise..no more sucking air into the system!! I’ll keep the O-ring I ordered in the glove box..will replace if it acts up again.My Dad would have said if it isn’t broke don’t fix it!!
    Thank you so very much for sharing your expertise and being so generous with your time and knowledge to answer so many questions.
    With Gratitude,
    Linda

  174. Edward says:

    Hi,

    I have a forester 2009 and Power steering whines very loud when turning steering in full lock both left and right, checked the fluids and its at the right levels.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      There isnt anything I can offer you without viewing the car. Your Forester is covered under a 5 year 60k warranty from Subaru have you contacted your Local Subaru Dealership?

      • Edward says:

        Hi,

        I have mentioned it to the dealership they said it’s normal. And there is no leak at all. Replaced fluid already and still the same.

  175. Scott says:

    Hi thanks for the video you have provided some useful info to many people.

    I have the same problem except it’s for a 2006 Forester. I have gone down the route of replacing the powersteering lines and also my powersteering pump. Still that sound is there I can’t get rid of it.

    You say that the bracket it connect to the suction hose (inlet hose) however the one on my pump isn’. Is there anything else you can suggest I try? My mechanic said it’s a normal sound.. I don’t think he is correct though.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Scott,

      “You say that the bracket it connect to the suction hose (inlet hose) however the one on my pump isn’t”

      The article and Video pertains to a noise after someone has done something incorrect to a 2000 to 2004 Subaru Legacy and or Outback i have tried to state this over and over and over again on this post.

      On a 2006 most likely it needs an o-ring at the return line to pump fitting. There are so many other possible scenarios If you have a ‘”mechanic” that cant figure it out , you need a new one!

      Justin

      • Scott says:

        Thanks for the reply Justn.

        I know this is only intended for a 2000-2004 outback however, I just thought that you might have some insite into what could be causing my problem.

        I have spoken to a steering specalist and they have said the noise is in my alternator. I will test with a new one and see what happens.

        Everything in my steering system apart from the steering rack is brand new.

        Hopefully it is the alternator causing the whine and I can finally put this problem to rest.

        Thanks for your help.

        • Justin Stobb says:

          Hi Scott,

          Form here the best I can do is advise on typical stuff we see day in and day out, the “Everyone” does this kind of a thing. Whenever there is a noise that I cant hear I just cant give you factual information with out hearing it, and then inspecting, I do the best I can but I really just hesitate to give out advice on noises I cant hear.

          Usually if its the alternator you will hear some increased noise when you turn on the head lamps?

          Justin

  176. Tim Graves says:

    I have a 2001 Outback 3.0 Wagon with a whining power steering pump. Noticed the fluid was low, so I filled reservoir. Soon as I started the car, the howling continued, PLUS the fluid in reservoir is filled with bubbles & overflowing from the canister all over my shop floor. Whats up with this??? Someone told me needs power steering pump, due to bubbling in reservoir.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Tim,

      The H6 models can develop a power steering pump issue also the seals can allow air into the system causing a noise as well it may be a simple as a couple of seals or could it could be a power steering pump problem.

      Justin

  177. Zack says:

    This was a lifesaver for my 2005 outback 2.5i. Loosen and retighten and the noise went away. THANK YOU!!!!!

  178. Ganby says:

    Thanks for the great video. I tried all in the video. But no use. When I open up the PS fluid tank overnight and close it in the morning the noise and the hardening of the steering wheel goes away for a while, but after awhile it all comes back. There is a noise and difficulty to turn the wheels even in lower speed. I guess now I need to change the PS pump. BTW my Subaru is Outback(Japanese model-Legacy Touring Wagon B-Sports 2.0l). At least I could found more knowledge about PS problems. Thanks

    Ganby

  179. Nate says:

    Thank you! After a quick adjustment and bleeding my power steering system, the problem on my 2000 Outback is GONE! And it steers better too. I’m bringing my car to you next time I need service.

  180. Mike M. says:

    Very handy tip to keep in mind on my 2002 Outback. I had a similar issue on my 2004 WRX. The pinch-clamps that hold the power steering lines/hoses on are pretty crappy once the rubber isn’t as soft as it is when new. As a result, air can get sucked into the system. So my tip is: In addition to the original post, check the clamps if you are still getting bubbles in the power steering fluid reservoir.

    My power steering has been poor and unreliable for the last 5000 or 10000 miles. I should have look at the hoses sooner, but I’m pretty lazy. When the car was cold, the pump was noisier than a banshee. Backing out of the driveway in the wintertime was a good full-arm workout. Once the fluid got warm all the way thru the system, it would perform decently, but there were still times it seemed like it wasn’t performing. Namely, when I would hit the brakes fairly hard and try to turn a little at the same time (flooring it thru the empty mall parking lot as I park at my workplace next to the mall, then braking while I turn). It felt like there was no power assist while braking hard.

    Today, I decided to check the hoses and sure enough, they were loose. Not just one, probably 4 out of 6 on the passenger side leading away from the pump. I pinched the pinch-clamps and moved them down the hose and put a hose clamp in place of it. Then I put the pinch-clamp up next to the hose clamp. This was just so I didn’t have to take the hoses completely off to get the pinch-clamps off and spill fluid all over the place. Now, there is no more bubbling in the fluid reservoir and the pump is quiet. I haven’t tested it more than a few minutes, but I know it’s a lot better now.

  181. beeky says:

    My 96 SVX came home after a timing belt change with a loud and jerky power steering. Could this be the same problem?

    • Justin Stobb says:

      The SVX has a very fragile power steering system, you probably have a small leak somewhere. I have also rebuilt a lot of pumps on the SVX as well.

      Justin

      • beeky says:

        Justin,
        Thanks for the reply. The Subaru dealer that serviced my SVX since it was new recently changed hands and the service department has gone to hell. I’m currently taking the car to a a non-Subaru specialist mechanic. If I ask him to check for a power steering leak will that be enough for him to go on? Or should I look for another Subaru mechanic?

        Thanks,
        beeky

  182. asmawie wrx sti v8 says:

    Hi Justin,

    i have a subaru impreza wrx sti version 8 2004. 2 days ago i removed PS pump due to oil leaks. After replaced the O ring and re installed (no more leaks observed), i facing a problem pump noisy and the steering hard to turn. is it the problem happened caused of air enter into the system???

    FYI, i trying to bleed the air by jack up the front wheel and turn the steering lock to lock for dozens times (during engine start) but the problem still there (PS pump whining and steering hard to turn).

    p/s: justin…can i order from you the original o rings parts from you and ship to Malaysia…

    Thanks for your advice…

    Asmawi V8
    Malaysia.

  183. MARKIUS says:

    Hi Justin – you are right about other sites charging for ?? – thank you so much for providing your knowledge for free! we appreciate it.

    have a 2000 Legacy Outback 170K miles. last monday, my radiator failed. I was flatbedded to a local shop (not a dealer) and the radiator was replaced.

    8 p.m. that night i drove to the store and heard a loud whine and some grinding(?) on hard left to park. it’s been doing it every since. can hear it most in morning when starting up, windows down, louder when accelerating, i avoid hard turns now cuz they scare me but it definitely makes more noise on turns. shop topped off PS fluid 2 days later but no change. goes away once on road for a while but still hear noise on turns. sounds like what you have described but shop states they only removed radiator and didn’t R&I or touch anything else.

    a few people have posted about radiator replacements before this problem but not real clear on your opinion (so many posts to read!).

    if i’ve got is straight: 1) try your fix per the video and instructions. If stil having problem – 2) replace the o-rings? and 3) if still doing it, check the belts before replacing the pump?

    just trying to find the cheapest fix since i will be taking it back to the shop and the rad already cost me $400 to replace! :)

    any suggestions appreciated.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      The issue I have tried to carefully point out in this article pertains ONLY to aerated power steering fluid and how to correct it, if that’s not what is going on than your chasing the wrong dog I am afraid.

      If when running the vehicle and you look in the power steering reservoir and the fluid is aerated (this should be easy to spot) than proceed with what I have laid out. Now if the fluid is not aerated than you need to look else where.

      The article points to a very specific issue after a repair is made. Thee is nothing that should have been done in replacing the radiator that would have affected the belt shroud so I suspect its a different set of circumstances that requires evaluation which I am curious as to why the shop that put the radiator in didn’t at least figure out what going on for you and let you either approve or deny the repairs?

      Justin

      • MARKIUS says:

        taking it back in on Saturday. They already tried to add fluid but it didn’t change anything. just find it very odd that the same day the shop replaces the radiator i immediately have a problem i never had before. thought maybe someone might have bumped something or maybe, like someone else wrote, the shroud cover was removed to clean up the sprayed rad fluid. just frustrated – this is my first suby – only had for 19 months. really like it but now missing my 4Runner which reached 267K miles with no problems before getting totalled in a car accident. thanks for the response Justin – will check to see if there is any air in the reservoir if i can figure out where it is. :)

  184. [...] The Power steering return hose that runs from the reservoir to the pump sits in a bracket that connects engine. If it is not seated correctly in the bracket then air gets in the line as fluid runs from the reservoir to the pump. Check to make sure the hose is seated correctly. Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback? – Seattle Subaru Repair [...]

  185. Matt says:

    Cheers to the power of the internet!
    Thanks Justin, very grateful for this info.
    I’m in Australia and had this problem surface today after having belts replaced. I took it back to the garage and they were looking at it for a while and wondering why there was fluid coming out…leading to him saying it was a seal in the power steering pump. He costed it for a replacement which would of been $700AU.
    Thanks so much for a brilliant article post!!

  186. STEFFON says:

    I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM IN MY LEGACY B4 1999 MODEL ISNT THE 1999 AND THE 2000 THE SAME

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Not in America. Thats where I live and you will find that the majority of what I post about will always be about the models I have factual information about, I hope to one day make it to Australia and Europe but that probably wont happen for some time to come.

      Sorry I cant offer more

      Justiin

  187. Deon says:

    Hi Justin,

    I have recently purchased a 2003 Outback 2.5i with 200 miles(328000kms).
    Engine has had its gaskets replaced. The cluch was also replaced as well as the Aircon compressor.

    The radiator is leaking as its top corners, but that will be fixed next week.

    The issue I am concerned about is a rattle in the steering column when driving over rough roads or off road. I had the CV joints checked and what the mechanic found was a grinding noise coming from the steering rack. There is also a knocking sound when moving the steering wheel quickly from left to right.It feels like a few millimeters of play.

    Is this an indication that the steering rack needs to be replaced or reconditioned? What are the implications if this is not done?

    Thanks
    Deon
    Cape Town
    South Africa

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Deon,

      Thanks for finding us from so far away, we do see rack bushings fail internally in the rack but also replace a lot of rack mounting bushings as well, and that is where I would start looking for worn components. Its usually the left side has failed from a previous head gasket leak.

      Hope that helps or at least gives you a place to start looking

      Justin

  188. Mike says:

    I recently purchased a 2004 Outback 2.5 from a friend of mine. The car had been sitting for an extended period of time (from 2009 to now the car has had a total of about 5,000 miles put on it). There is some steering noise, but I wouldn’t really describe it as the groaning mostly depicted here. You usually cannot hear it when the vehicle warms up or the ambient temperature is decently warm, but when the vehicle is cold, turning the steering wheel at idle it is very jerky and stiff, and it makes a chirping noise. It also bogs down the engine a bit. Could this be caused by the same problem with the belt shroud? I already have to put a fair amount of money into this vehicle since it has been sitting so long, plus it is also nearly due for timing belt replacement. I’m hoping this won’t be another expensive fix. Thanks.

  189. Paula says:

    Hi Justin

    I have a subaru outback 2002 awd. I recently had the aircon compressor replaced, and now the engine has a whine & there is a noise in the driver’s side wheel. Does this sound like this problem? My mechanic says he can’t find any problem with my car… Could this problem also affect the air conditioner? I feels like the engine is struggling to run the compressor. Can you over tighten the belts?

    Thanks for your help from Townsville, Australia!!

  190. Mavi says:

    Hi Justin
    I drive 99 Subaru liberty. I’m facin problem with my steering. Wen car is not moving steering get jammed n I can’t park my car properly. But wen car is moving there is no problem. But wen I stop my car n turn my steering on any way. It’s really to move steering. I feel like I’m driving an old truck with no power steering. Plz help me

  191. Ashley says:

    Hey Justin,

    I recently purchased a 2005 Outback Sedan, H6 Boxer 3.0R. Yes, I do realize this article and all your replies are generalized toward the slightly older 2.5 Subaru models. After reading through the entire thread generated from your initial posting years ago, I can’t help but ask you questions about my car. I feel I trust you already, which is surprising for a woman who is perpetually treated like a dumb blonde as soon as she enters a car shop. Here’s the short story on my sedan:

    1.) Alignment was slightly off; I noticed wear on my rear driver’s side tire. Knuckle and rear cradle were damaged due to a small accident before I owned the car (and wasn’t reported on CarFax). One of those, “My brother worked as a mechanic in a past life; half correct jobs.” This was repaired with quality used Subaru parts. The alignment shop also said my steering was way too stiff; replaced the rack and pinions with good used Subaru parts as well. My car does drive better, but not shockingly better. Didn’t really notice the stiffness in the first place, to be honest.

    2.) Fast forward a few months; it is getting really cold in the upper Idaho panhandle. My car seemed to need to turn over a time or two more than usual to start. Noted; however, weird as my car has heated everything; a winter-ish edition…

    3.) Car made a mechanical-like whine when I started the car one Sunday morning. It was very cold outside and the car had not run since Friday evening. Hasn’t made that noise again; equivalent to turning the key over when car is already running. Car seems to respond slower with the growing cold.

    4.) Today – Turned car on to head out for lunch; mechanical whine, less loud, while I backed up and for the first 30 seconds of the turn/drive onto the highway. Did not accelerate past 30mph. Came back from lunch, parked again for another three hours; same noise when I started my car to head home. Didn’t last quite as long, but the sound did occur when I accelerated through a “round-a-bout.”

    Local, certified Subaru mechanic (I have no previous experience with this shop) believes it sounds like an alternator whine – not a belt. He would like me to drop off my car to conduct a load test on my alternator to see if it’s failing. I’m wondering if this is a pursuable lead, and other areas I could suggest they investigate. I’ve found that my prompting and suggestions, even when a mechanic doesn’t believe in me, usually leads to a fix. I’m hoping you can equip me with knowledge to help my local mechanics fix my car rapidly and as inexpensively as possible.

    Any help is greatly appreciated; thank you for your time and consideration in advance.

    Ashley

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Timing is everything I was just in North fork Idaho, in some great 15 degree weather, I could of stopped by and had a listen if I was close, Lol.

      First off to the cold start, it can take a little longer to start ( extended cranking) when very cold outside and I will add that any deficiency such as worn spark plugs will in fact amplify this. Also if the battery is at all weak it will compound the situation. The battery needs to be tested heading into winter, and hopefully you have records on the spark plugs ( every 60k interval).

      The starter on the Turbo models and the H6 can and do make a little disengagement noise that is more pronounced when cold. It may not do it every time but my own 2005 Wagon did it to me this am as a result of sitting for a week, so thats very fresh in my head. I would just keep a careful ear on that one.

      To the whine you are hearing more recently if its from the engine area it should make noise even at a stop, if thats the case then the power steering pump or alternator could be noisy and would need to be evaluated. If the noise only seems to be there while moving it may be something different say from one of the wheels like from a brake wear indicator. With out hearing the noise im just tossing out some usual suspects I am afraid.

      Your Subaru is a good choice for Idaho I will say and Im sure it s issues will be resolved.

      Thanks for the kind words and best of luck

      Justin

      • Ashley says:

        Hey Justin,

        Thank you for the fast response! Yes, timing is everything and it seems that I’m always a day late and a dollar short. Darn. I did look up your shop location relative to Sandpoint; the trek would be worth it if I can’t get good help here at this local Subaru shop… We’ll see what happens.

        The plot of my car does thicken. Today the whine did accompany the regular pulse of my engine upon startup but dissipated after a few moments. I gave the car about 15 minutes to warm up, but the noise did reappear when I backed up and cranked my steering wheel to turn out into the street. I swear I heard a little bit of a grinding noise – still mechanical – somehow…

        Driving home from work the noise did accompany the startup of my car; I did not let it warm up at all before I headed home. The noise was loudest in the turn, but I could detect a lighter whine all the way home, which is less than 5 miles. My car does not feel impaired when I drive. I might have seen a flicker in my low beams; could also be seeing things…

        I’m going to try and get my car into this shop tomorrow morning for a once-over. I’ll report back with their findings.

        Again, thank you for all of your advice,

        Ashley

        • Ashley says:

          Hey Justin,

          Turns out my power steering fluid was low and cavitating; wasn’t filled up full enough last time it was serviced. They replace the line and checked for leaks – nothing. Within two days of the steering fluid top-off, the noise is gone.

          I do have a question about my steering. The guys at the tire shop think my steering is a little stiff for an Outback, but the guys at the Subaru shop didn’t mention anything. My car does steer stiffer than the 2010 Legacy sedan, but I’ve also been told that my car wasn’t manufactured to be a “featherlight”. My car doesn’t return to center on a light turn, but will on a harder turn. Just checking…

          Thank you!

          Ashley

          • Justin Stobb says:

            Ashley,

            I would really have to experience the steering for my self to know if what your car is experiencing is normal.

            Sorry that I cant offer more , you may want to think about finding the same model at a car lot and maybe taking it for a drive and seeing if it feels the same to you.

            Justin

  192. Alex says:

    Justin,

    I had taken my car to have some body work done after a deer hit, and they had no idea what caused the noise and said it must just be a coincidence. I took it to a second shop that I trust more than the body shop, and he had no idea either. I got home, searched online and found this and loosened the shroud as shown in your video. I didn’t notice an immediate response, so I printed out your post to take to the shop and see what the technician thought. I got in the car this morning to take it, and the noise is pretty much gone! It looks like it just needed to sit for a while for the air to work itself out.

    I do still get the noise if I turn the wheel all the way to the right or left – do you think that’s just because there’s not quite enough give on the shroud, or would it be something else? It’s not as loud as it used to be when the wheel was turned that far, so maybe it’s still working out a little air?

    Alex

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Alex,

      Most likely it still needs a little adjustment and most likely the o-ring under the bracket into the pump may need to be reset as it may have shifted and allowing a small air leak into the return side of the system.

      There is one single Torx bit bolt that can be relaxed by loosening up the bolt and then just re tightening it, then install the shroud with slack and maybe replace the aerated fluid.

      Hope that helps

      Justin

  193. Nancie says:

    Hi Justin: Came across your website with frustration due to unending repairs on my 2001 Subaru Outback with 68k miles. I know this is not specific to the diagnosis you have provided. I am a senior citizen and tired of spending my fixed income on repairs. I think it all goes back to 2006 when a friend tried to install a timing belt. I say “tried” because he didn’t replace the water pump (I think that was the problem) anyhow it had to be re-done and I am taking the car in every other month for one thing after another. A clicking noise diagnosed with something with the piston still clicks. In addition I have a clunking noise in the rear (comes and goes), Then there is a vibration on the left (drivers side) that will move to the right passenger side. I have a good mechanic with a good reputation but even he is frustrated with the problems.
    Anyway, to try to be more specific, I have had 3 mechanics say my tie rod is loose, but, “not to worry”. However, my car pulls to the right, and I feel a vibration on the acceleration pedal. I had the rod replaced about 5 years ago, before the timing belt was replaced. I have taken my Subaru to 2 other mechanics for “2nd opinions” and they both came up with other problems and more expensive repairs. However, both + my regular mechanic concur on the tie-rod being loose but, “not to worry”. I do worry.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Nancie,

      Its hard to correlate even a novice timing belt replacement in 2006 with something going on today?

      A loose tie rod end is a concern, as is the pulling, so both should be addressed. Driving a car that pulls is unsafe, tie rods do break.

      If 2 shops have looked at it and provided estimates, and they are similar its probably factual. It does however sound like you have a few separate issues.

      Other than have you come here so I can tell you what are the concerns, I am really at a loss for how best to advise you.

      A 2001 Subaru is ready for a few thing to be done as normal wear and tear, I understand your on a fixed income, but waiting isnt going to help, not repairing isnt going to keep you safe and buying another car will impact your finances much more than repairing what you have.

      Sorry I cant offer more

      Justin

  194. Ncharley09 says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I did do a timming belt replacement and after seeing you video on the power steering problem I went out and did what you said and it fix my nose. I just want you know that it fix it and thanks for doing the veido
    Ncharley09

    • Justin Stobb says:

      I am Glad I could have helped.

      Justin

      • Kevin says:

        Should the car make this noise when stopped aswell . My 2002 legacy outback makes a strange howling noise when moving from near stopped to up to 15kms (after that i don’t know can only hear it in the under ground paking as the sound bounces back) And is “howling” a proper way to describe this noise, or should i be looking at something else?

        Thanks

  195. Ncharley09 says:

    thanks for you video it realy help that that was my problem

  196. Zulfi says:

    Hi Justin,

    I have a 2000 subaru outback and suddenly from couple of days I am getting a sound on the lefhand side when I turn to right – the sound is like some sand or granule sliding and after this sound continues as though water falling on some hot surface and once the car is back straight no noise. I know it sounds weird but hoping you would have come across something like this.

    Thanks in advace.
    Zulfi

    Also, just an fyi – I am in Sydney australia – car is right hand drive.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      The first thing that comes to mind is a front brake wear indicator, the second is a wheel bearing.

      With out hearing it those are the two common things I can suggest looking into.

      Hope that helps some or at least gives you a couple fo things to check

      Justin

    • christy says:

      I am hearing the same noise in my 2007 ford edge.

  197. Abby says:

    Hello,
    I have a 2004 subaru legacy, I started hearing noise coming from the power steering pump along with hard steering. I wonder what I should do to fix it?

  198. Riley says:

    Hi Justin,
    Hopefully, this isn’t too far off topic. I have a 2005 Outback 2.5 non turbo with a leaking power steering pump. It misbehaving at low rpm, especially stationary turning – stiff to turn and shudders. I cannot find a rebuild kit for this year/model. Do you know of one? Or, do you have any recommendations regarding rebuilds such as Cardone’s?

    It is really awesome of you to provide this service. If I lived in your area, you’d definitely get my business for the bigger jobs.

    Thanks in advance!

    Riley

    • Justin Stobb says:

      There isn’t any aftermarket power steering parts I would ever suggest for a Subaru.

      The power steering components are sold by Subaru but for your year there is no “kit”

      Justin

  199. Larry says:

    Justin, thank you very much for your insight and advice on all things Subaru. I am definitely bookmarking your site.
    I have a 2003 Outback with the H6 engine that was having all these same issues; noisy pump, aerated fluid overflowing, etc. Subaru wants $497 for a new power steering pump and no one sells an aftermarket rebuild. After reading this blog and everyone’s comments I replaced the O-ring on the inlet hose, the aluminum banjo washer on the outlet hose, and the inlet hose itself. Problem solved.
    I should also mention that Subaru wants $68 for the molded shape inlet hose. Instead I purchased 2 feet of hose from Autozone that is rated for dexron ATF and cut it down to the correct length and used proper hose clamps to fasten it. It appears to work fine with no leaks and does not appear to come into contact with anything that might dammage it. I will keep a close eye on it for the next few weeks.
    Thanks agin for your help!

  200. Pearl Roberts says:

    I recently had my timing belt replaced which caused air in my power steering. Upon reading your article, I had the mechanic follow your instructions. Then my alternator went back. Could the garage have damaged this? I had to pay an addition 291 to replace the alternator.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Pearl,

      That’s really tough to answer, if the belt was over-tightened it could damage the alternator, but then again if the bearing in the alternator was weak to begin with, a new belt adjusted to the proper specs could push a weak component over the edge.

      Justin

  201. Doug Butler says:

    Hey Justin…

    I have a squeaky belt on my 1996 Legacy Outback. I have tried replacing the belt twice and it starts to squeal all over again. Is it possible to over/under tension the belt that would help eliminate the noise? I have tried belt conditioner to no avail. Any ideas on my problem?
    Doug

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hello Doug,

      I am having trouble trying to picture what you are up against right now.

      If you put a good belt on it (not some piece of aftermarket garbage you bought a t a local parts store) and have it adjusted properly there should be no issue. If you bought a cheap non Subaru type belt, and or dont have it adjusted correctly you will have an issue.

      If its a Subaru belt and its installed correctly then you have a component issue such as alternator or power steering pump.

      The issue I have helping you is I cant know from here where your situation falls into and can only point out some possibilities. It sounds like your at the end of what your capable doing, I know you don’t want to here this but you might need to have someone else have a look local to you.

      Justin

  202. Doug Butler says:

    I need to mention the the belt in question is my power steering pump belt.

    Thanks

  203. [...] all the way to the right or to the left. Is it steering pump going bad or something similar to : Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback? – Seattle Subaru Repair The article is about air getting into power steering fluid lines. Anybody experienced the same [...]

  204. Jared says:

    Hi Justin,
    My 2003 forester squeals during a cold start for 15-30 seconds…turning can be difficult…more squealing when turned all the way in either direction. A friend noticed once that it looks like the PS pulley trips up during the early revolutions of a cold start. I have tried belt lube, it didn’t stop. I tried spraying lithium grease on the bearings, it stopped for a bit. What’s going on and what can I do?
    Thanks Justin!
    Jared

  205. Barrin says:

    Just had the Timing belt and sprockets replaced on 200 OB Wagon with 96K miles . about3 days later the Power steering pump exploded…. gushing fluid all over the engine . Called mechanic and he told me to fill the pump with fluid and drive back (I was an hour away) I used 2 bottles of fluid to get to the garage. PS pump was replaced but now the alternator is making loud noise. Mechanic was told by garage boss to loosen belt. They used stethescope to find noise in front area of alternator. They said bearings were shot. could have been damaged by all the PS fluid squirting all over…. or was the belt too tight and was damaged……????

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Barrin,

      Its possible but Ive never seen a power steering pump “Explode”, but if it did the fluid can damage the Alternator but not typically the bearing

      Not seeing the car, not knowing the facts make it hard to advise you. I dont want to badmouth another shop especially without first hand factual knowledge.

      Sorry I cant offer more.

      Justin

  206. Derek says:

    Hi Justin,

    I have a 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5i with 103k miles on it…the alternator/belts were not replaced recently, but the power steering (steering wheel in general) makes a rumbling/vibration noise whenever I am going very slow and turn left or right (same issue going forward or reverse). It could be the belt shroud but is there a way to tell so I can tell the mechanic what to fix? Or would it be best to have them drive it to see for themselves? Thank you

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Mot Technicians wont respond positively to someone telling them how to do there job, it is really better to let them have a look and go from there.

      If you are taking it to a Subaru shop that is, if not I would rethink that aspect of it.

      Hope that helps

      Justin

  207. Dan says:

    Hi Justin,
    I am having the same issue with my 2004 Subaru Outback here in Australia. I will try your fixing method and will let you know how I go. I also wanted to ask you about squeaking noise that my clutch pedal makes. Well, this is at least what I thought. It comes from the engine bay when the pedal is pressed all the way down, and only just before it touches and just before I start releasing it. In the morning, there is no noise when the pedal is pressed. After roughly, 15 min drive, the noise can be heard. (I really hope you can understand my terrible description).
    Is this something that can be adjusted or lubricated?

    Thank you in advance
    Dan

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Dan,

      It could be the through out bearing which cant be lubricated internally and can only be replaced with removing the transmission. The pivot point for the clutch fork should also be lubricated, the clips that hold both the fork to the pivot point and the throw out bearing to the fork should be inspected and replaced as needed.

      You can try spraying some lube down the back of the fork and this could help if its a dry pivot point, but you may in fact damage the clutch material if you get any lube on the disc.

      Hope that helps

      Justin

  208. [...] just link to this excellent article (all the other articles by that author are excellent as well): Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback? – Seattle Subaru Repair Hope that helps. Cheers! [...]

  209. [...] and retighten. That should get rid of the whine. If not, then look for other reasons. Check out: Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback? – Seattle Subaru Repair Cheers! [...]

  210. Way says:

    Justin!
    I went to check mine out after seeing your article (not hearing anything, but just checking it out) and the left hand bolt on my shroud is missing – of course, that means that it has plenty of play, and it isn’t hitting the belt or anything, but is that okay?

  211. Kaylin Lindell says:

    I think this is a real great blog.

  212. Mark says:

    My 2008 Outback 3.0 LL Bean w/ 67k miles suddenly started squealing. (I thought it was a bad bearing in the alternator.) There were no prior belt replacements or other work that could have contributed to the issue. The car is not driven off road or aggressively. Brought the car to a Subaru dealer who diagnosed metal shavings in the power steering system that ruined the pump, which in turn caused damage to the rack. After replacing all parts, flushing the system, etc., the cost for repair is $2,200 ! ! ! Mechanic says they have seen this issue before across all model lines, but are not aware of the root cause. As an engineer, it sounds like poor manufacture, fit, or design – all should be readily correctable by Subaru if, in fact, they have an intermittent history of this issue. They may not know the cause, but the effect is that I will become a loyal Toyota owner! My wife and I owned four of those without a single major failure; and we drive our cars an average of 10 years (minimum150k miles) before replacing. This was our second Subaru. Ouch.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Mark,

      Was the power steering fluid ever changed? It should have been at 60k. I have yet to see a $2200.00 repair bill for a Subaru for the power steering system. I am not saying its not possible just letting you know its not a wide spread issue regardless of what the service advisor at the Dealer told you.

      Toyota Owns 20% of Subaru so you are already a loyal Toyota owner, Subaru builds many Toyota Camry’s by the way, and lastly the power steering components in the Subaru Are exactly the same as many offered in the Toyota, Honda and Nissan lines. Look closely at the pump and rack and you will see the vendors for Subaru on the components, all who also make parts for the other Japanese Auto makes as well.

      Every time someone puts money in their car its the biggest junk pile ever made, and they move on to the next junk pile that needs work later in life as well. Its what the industry wants “you buying another car”.

      Toyota is in court right now as we speak blaming the drivers for the sudden vehicle acceleration problem that has caused many accidents and some deaths and that’s the company you gravitate to?

      Justin

  213. Martin says:

    Hi Justin and AllWheelDriveAuto

    I have the same problem as adressed earlier in this thread.
    I drive a ´01 2,5 Outback Limited.
    Symptom: Noise from the power steering pump that excel´s when turning the wheel while the motor is idling.
    Do you have the spare-part number for the two o-rings on the return line from the power steering housing?
    I would like to look into the possibilities of getting the set of rings over here (Denmark).

    Thank you

  214. Barb says:

    it sounds like you are a wealth of information and I really need some advise. We have a 99 Outback with approx 140k on it. We have owned it for 7 years and it’s been a great car. Recently we just put over 3k into it with a new clutch and had it torn apart to fix all the oil leaks. The shop was supposedly very familiar with Subaru’s (NOT AT ALL) and they have royally messed our beloved car up. Just after getting it back it was running horrible, making an awful noise from the drive shaft, idling rough etc. and still tons of oil leaks, more than when we brought it in. We were told to drive it for a couple weeks, that the new timing belt had to stretch out a bit to run good, LOL!! After bringing it back the first time found out they stripped a belt in the drive shaft, fixed that, but after getting back still running terrible. Long story short after bringing it back in 4 more times, still leaking oil, idling rough etc. found out they put the old timing belt back on and it was off by 1 tooth. So now we found out we had been lied to and just plain screwed on the original service that was done. They replaced the timing belt, and after getting it back it was running ok but after bringing it to a tire shop to get balance done, mechanic pointed out that they left 2 bolts off the timing belt cover and there are still multiple oil leaks. Now we are getting pretty ticked with this shop but they say they fired the original mechanic and want to make it right. We bring it back and make them go over the entire car. Leaks seem fixed, car running good for about a week. Last week had to be towed in, check engine light comes on, car bucking stalling etc. Found spark plug wire popped off?? Pretty strange right? Drove it for 2 more days and only made it a block and car started bucking very severely and stalling and would not go more than about 5 mph, limped back home and called a tow truck to take to Subaru dealer. Took them some time to get it to stall and buck again but they think it is the mass air flow sensor. Could any other damage have been done by these idiots that did all this work? Valves or any other major damage? $3000 original job was for clutch, valve cover gasket set, belts, oil change, camshaft seal, input shaft, alternator(which we don’t think it really needed)

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hello Barb,

      Sounds rough!

      Even the best of Techs can have a bad day, sounds like that may have been the initial issue, and maybe the shop owner or manager wasn’t aware of the whole set of circumstances. Any good shop can have a bad egg also, if the shop truly had to fire a tech he was probably having a lot of comebacks this can be because of a new hire or a long term guy with some new personal problems, I have seen it both ways its awful for everyone involved especially you!

      I don’t know any of this to be the case, just some possibilities.

      I will point out that the alternator is a common issue with the 1996 to 1999 Outback if that helps, Subaru has a reman component for $82.00 which is really inexpensive for a reman alternator from an O.E. , that is Subarus way of saying were sorry.

      To the rest, the timing belt installed one tooth off on a DOHC 2.5l will cause it to run poorly but wont damage the valves and yes it should have been caught before you were given the car back or the first trip back at the worst.

      The plug wire popping off thing while unfortunate can happen, and yes it means it wasnt installed properly or the wire is not fitting well anymore.

      The mass air flow sensor is pretty sensitive to vibration on that era Subaru and it could be that multiple removal of the air box and thus the mass air flow sensor may have accelerated the decay of the heated wire in the sensor. This is a tough one because we do replace e few of these with out someone doing any damage to it.

      I am sorry for the trouble you have had and hope that after the current situation is resolved you fair better, I would add that it may be a good time to seek out a good Subaru shop for any future issues and maybe have the entire repair you have had done evaluated before the warranty expires.

      Hope that helps

      Justin

  215. Mark says:

    Justin,

    I saw this today and had the same exact problem onmy car after a timing belt service. The mechanic said I needed to get a new pump.
    I did the work and it worked!
    You are the man, thank you!!!

    Mark

  216. [...] noise when she turns the wheel trying to maneuver when the car is cold. I tried this fix: Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback? – Seattle Subaru Repair but nothing changed. Even with that bracket off it still made noise. I can see the PS pulley slow [...]

  217. ken says:

    justin, i just had my 1996 legacy ls wagon cam shaft seals replaced along with timing belt and waterpump and the car is running worse that when i brought it in i ‘m experiencing rough idles and it pulls to the right on accelleration i was wondering if this problem is prevelent on the 96′ models too

  218. Harry says:

    Hi,

    I live in Canada where it is cold.
    In January my steering wheel was becoming very loud and hard to turn.
    I looked at some posts and got all worried so I went to my mechanic.
    He put some WD40 under the hood, behind the motor, on the driver side, right on the U shaped pieces that come together and make the rotation possible. He had me turn the steering wheel while he was applying the WD40. The car works like new!

    Good luck!

  219. Harry says:

    PS: the “U shaped pieces” are shown on the picture on the top left side of my previous post.

  220. Steve says:

    Sir, Would you happen to know the part number or actual size of the o-rings on the PS return line for a 2000 OB Wagon? I’m not sure why, but my local dealership (parts dept) says they don’t have a # or size…REALLY!?!

    • Steve says:

      I know this has been asked before but I had to take a stab at asking.

      Thank you for your time and efforts. It is very kind that you are helping people save money. You are setting a great example.

  221. Chris says:

    I have a 2003 2.5 Subaru Outback, and I drained the battery by leaving the lights on. I tried jumpstarting it and all the Subaru would do was choke and not start. One hour later I called a cop to jumpstart the car using some kind of kit. He charged the battery fine, but this time the car would not start, not choke, lights would not come on, nor would any of the indicators in the dashboard light except for the open door indicator. I checked my battery terminals, they are clean and tight (although before the cop came, one of my terminals were loosely put on – maybe that could of caused this problem, since I used a loose terminal when first jumpstarting).
    Prior to jumpstarting the car, I had to unlock it with the keys (instead of by remote), which sets off the alarm, which also means that the car will not lot let you start it until the alarm is disarmed. Maybe this could be the cause of the problem?
    I’m guessing one of the main circuits shorted? Any ideas?

    A day later I went back to the Subaru to try to start it again, of course it didn’t work. But I noticed my stereo periodically turn on for a split second (just the lights on my stereo) although my keys were not inserted.

    Another factor you may take in account to my problem is that the day of my battery dying, I installed a subwoofer. At first I mistakenly attached the power cord to the minus terminal. I realized my mistake and placed the power chord on the positive terminal of the battery. The subwoofer worked for about an hour. Then it stopped working and would make a short flat beeping tone for a second as soon as it receives power. Then after that my battery became dead (due to leaving on the lights).

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Chris,

      I unfortunately dont understand a lot of your post what do you mean by “choking” ?

      A vehicle either cranks and doest start or fails to crank.

      A fails to crank means the starter does not engage and the engine does not “turn over”

      A cranks but doesn’t start means the starter engages and the engine turns over but it doesn’t start and run kind of like when you pull on the the lawn mower cord and the engine turs but doesn’t run on its own, in that case you pulling the cord is the same as the starter engaging.

      If the car has a good battery and fails to CRANK then there is a power loss to the starter or it has a defective starer or worn contacts.

      There is little I can do from here to help as it doesnt sound like you would be able to perform the proper tests your self.

      You need at a minimum a test light and really should have a DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Meter).

      Lastly you may have damaged something by incorrectly wiring something aftermarket into the car.

      Justin

      • Chris says:

        At the first attempted jumpstart, the car cranks, but failed to start. The second attempt to jumpstart (with a DVOM) the battery was reading at a good level, but it failed to crank. None of the electric devices in the car like the headlights and the dashboard did not work either.

        Thank you by helping me with my terminology and with the car. Obviously I do not know much, but I am trying to learn. I am in college, and I have no one else to help, so any help is much appreciated!

        I have checked the fuses in the main fuse box to the right of the engine, they were all good. But I haven’t checked the the bigger fuses with the label SBF No. 1 because I do not know how, but I am trying to look it up at the moment.

        I heard I should also check the wiring harnesses of the car as well. And the ECU codes too. I will also try using the test light and DVOM.

  222. [...] Car Doctor: Air stuck in Subaru power steering pump – Boston.com Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback? – Seattle Subaru Repair http://www.scoobymods.com/attachment…9&d=1161905180 __________________ Time Flies Like [...]

  223. Jeff C. says:

    Justin,

    Awesome. I haven’t performed this fix yet, but I’m almost 100% certain this is what’s going on! I just had the belts replaced and the problem started within 24 hours of VERY MINIMAL driving.

    I had the work done at a local Subaru shop, and I plan to let them have a look at your article even if I do the adjustment myself. I will DEFINITELY recommend you to people I know if Seattle!

    Jeff

  224. kevin says:

    i had my subaru in the workshop for few months due to accident.everything is nearly complete and i am going to collect my car. the workshop worker called me and inform me the brake is not function. need to press very hard with few pumps only the car stop slowly. after this he called again then said the power steering is not function as well. may i know any possibilities that cause this problems.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Not sure what to offer here, some basic model of Subaru would have been helpful also what year, what kind of accident.

      Do you mean to tell me that your Subaru has been out of service for a few MONTHS because of an accident?

      Justin

  225. craig dunkel says:

    Would this remedy also apply to a 2005 outback 2.5l? I had some belts replaced in january and have notied this noise of the last month or so. I thought it was just low power steeting fluid. I had the car in for rear brake work and asked for them to check power steering. he came back and told me there was a leak in the PWS fluid and that I would be looking at a rack and pinion replacrement odwn the road. The car has 115,000 miles on it and I have had not major issues with the chasis or struts or anything. Rack and PInion replacemetn seems severe.
    Guess I’ll che3ck that shourd and power steering line.

    Thanks.

    • craig dunkel says:

      I was also told worse case scenario would be having to replace the steering column but that I could put of future repairs by watching the level of power steering fluid and keep topping it off.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      No Craig,

      The article pertains to a specific issue with the 2000 to 2004, yours is a 2005 and has its own set of possibilities mainly a rock hard return line house allowing air into the system where its clamped as it can no longer seal properly.

      Justin

  226. craig dunkel says:

    Darn!! I had high hopes for this solution.

  227. Joe says:

    Thanks a million Justin. I had my alternator out (2000 Outback) for bearing replacement yesterday. I put it all back together and all seemed fine. This morning my wife told me that the car was making a ton of noise as she was pulling out of the driveway. My assumption was that I had mis-diagnosed the alternator and that I needed a PS pump. I was ready to purchase one on the way home today before stumbling across your article. Thanks again for posting. You probably just saved me a bunch of time, money and grief.

  228. James says:

    Hey Justin,
    I am working on a 2001 Legacy GT. It has a steering shudder at low speed turning. The rack was leaking so I put a rack in in and the problem persists. I replaced the o’rings at the pump inlet as described here and even left the shrouds off. Still have the shudder. I found a tsb that says remove clamps from pressure line and if no change, replace the hose which I just found out has been updated again. Part #34610ae09c. The C at the end means its been updated for the third time. Have you had any luck with this? It also states if that doesn’t fix it replace the pump? I am just not trying to throw this customers money out the window being I just replaced his leaking rack and still have the problem. No bubbles seen in the reservoir and it seems as though I can only make the car do it while moving slowly. Not in the air and not always noticeable when sitting still and if it seems noticeable it is very slight unless I am moving. Thanks in advance!
    James
    Master ASE Technician

    • Justin Stobb says:

      I would look into either a transfer clutch issue if an Automatic, or Viscous Coupler issue if a manual transmission.

      The TSB for Steering lines doesn’t really resolve anything, I suspect you have a drive train bind on tight turns, which is common.

      Justin

  229. James says:

    Thanks for the quick reply! I was suspecting a viscous(however it is an automatic) coupling at first and also the diff seems overfilled. Being a Toyota tech for a long time I have experienced some bad ones but the way this one shudders through the steering wheel instead of up through the body and it doesn’t have to be on really sharp turns made me start to think different. I can make it do it even swaying the car as in checking for wheel bearing noise but it seems it has to be under 10 mph (Pretty much the way the bulletin says which made me think I might be on to something…lol). I did drive it without the P.S. belt too just to see what it did and I felt it a little but didn’t quite have the frequency it does with the belt on (maybe eliminating the pump?) So trying to justify getting a hose thinking if it were partially collapsed inside maybe….grasping straws…lol…Also I installed the fwd fuse to see how it acted because of another article I read. No change and not quite sure exactly what it does or if it takes the coupling out of the loop. I think it’s worth a try to at least change the fluid in the diff to see if it changes before I go ordering an $80 hose though. Sometimes it can be a temporary fix to just verify that’s where the problem is. Do you recommend any fluids/additives for Subaru diffs? Or do the Subaru’s respond to the fluid change like some other manufacture’s? Feel free to comment on anything I did here right or wrong. I am a one man show here in Va and don’t know any expert Subaru techs to pick their brain…lol…

    Thanks Again!
    James

    • Justin Stobb says:

      If its an Auto an the Transfer clutches are binding, you can put the Fuse in the AWD holder underhood until the Cows come home and it wont do you any good.

      Putting the Fuse in cuts the transfer clutch Solenoid’s ability to activate trans fluid under pressure to the Clutches in the Transfer Housing not the front Diff, that is a common misconception.

      If the Auto Temp light isn’t flashing then its not electrical in nature. If it has an aftermarket right front axle you could have a judder at low speeds as well, see the Cv axle article.

      If the transfer clutches are binding, I would start with a Transmission Flush and go from there. Subaru are not known for having power steering issues that are not obvious.

      Because you mention it comes up through the steering wheel have you loosened the front axle nuts and then checked the hubs for play?

      Justin

  230. UK Paul says:

    Hi

    I’m a uk 2004 3.0 outback owner. No problems when the car is cold, but when it warms up I get a vibration and a groaning noise from the steering at low speed manouvers. It goes away if you put a few more revs on. I have had a new pump and no change. No bubbles in resevoir though. I am told belt is ok. Any advice? I love this car but can’t stand it any more, and can’t afford any more big costs. It may have to go.

  231. Kevin Groves says:

    Hello.. My power steering on my 2000 Subaru Outback has recently felt like it is working intermittently when turning and if I take my hands off the wheel when completing a turn the wheels are not returning to a neutral position, like it always has, it continues in the turn until I turn it to neutral. I have 165,000 miles and have been told by a few that I need to flush the system. My reservoir is at an acceptable level, but I did notice that I don’t have a upper alternator/ power steering belt shroud retaining bolt. Do you have any videos online that shows the process of flush the system.. Thanks, Kevin

  232. Lee says:

    Justin, just read many of the posts and I’m impressed not only with your technical savy but your patience. There is much posted elsewhere about a problem with Outback “front end clunk”. Apparently Subaru does not have a fix. I’ve been a year not with them refusing to acknowledge the problem since they can’t reproduce the symptoms. Here’s a link that describes the situation perfectly but no consensus on a solution
    http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/13806-2008-front-end-knock.html
    I know I’m way off topic here and you’d be right to chastise me but I’m desperate. Good site. Thanks for what you do. Lee

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Lee,

      There are many different items that can cause a noise, and even though the noise can seem to be the same over the internet from one forum poster to another the outcome of repairs can differ greatly. I have seen the “fluid knock” in both the steering and braking systems in the 2010 to 2012 models, end links, and control arm bushings in the 2005 to 2009 models, as well as internal rack and pinion issues causing the same type of noises, I actually could go on for quite a bit.

      Whenever there is a challenging issue it takes a patent owner/driver either attempting repairs their self or a good relationship with a great shop willing to work with you one something where some trial and error may be involved. Noises are very difficult sometimes to get to the bottom of, and I know the expectation is if you take your car to a shop that we will know what it is after driving it, but its just not always the case.

      Through the years I have had these challenges and if the Owner is as committed to it as we are we will fix it, but it will come at a cost if its not extremely obvious whats wrong. An end link that has play may make noise in Subaru A, but make none in Subaru B and C. Conversely, play felt in the rack on B and C may cause a noise that wouldn’t happen on car A even though the amount of movement measured in the component is the same.

      Sorry I cant offer specifics, there is just to much grey area.

      Justin

  233. Paul says:

    Wow, i found this while looking on the web to see how difficult it would be to change my growling 03 Outback power steering pump myself. I adjusted the shroud after watching your video and now my power steering pump is quiet for the first time in weeks. Thank you Justin!! You saved me time and money.

  234. Alex Kostenko says:

    Hi Justin,

    I have a 2003 Subaru Outback on which i replaced the engine.
    The engine i installed has only 40k miles on it.(or atleast that is what they told me)

    engine runs smooth but it felt under powered.so i performed a compression test on all cylinders. cylinder #2 is reading 130psi and the rest read 145psi. Is that low?!??

  235. Kurt Mitchell says:

    Justin after the problem arose due to adjustments to the A/C BELT
    I slackened the bolt as illustrated in your YouTube
    Video and that stopped the problem for just about a week.
    Due to the age of my vehicle I think some other components
    of the Power Steering system may need to/should be changed.
    I have a 2002 non-turbo legacy wagon with chrome letters TX stuck
    on the rear hatch ( if that’s of any relevance ). I live in Trinidad
    and would like to make arrangements for you’ll to ship me
    the repair kit. My Chassis # is BH5 225-166.

    Keep up the great work,
    Kurt.

  236. Shane says:

    This is only for the 00-04 because i am having a similar problem with my 06. I have gone through 2 pumps (refurbished) and both start to whine just after install.. All O-rings are brand new.

  237. Diane says:

    A few years ago my daughter gifted me her 2000 Subaru Legacy Outback as a Christmas gift. This past February 2012, the alternator went out, but electrically, not the bearing. Last week this replacement alternator had the bearing freeze, and the drive belt snapped. After replacing the alternator and both drive belts, suddenly the problem with air entering the power steering pump was created by improperly re-installing the shrouds. Yet, after correcting that problem, the power steering air leak problem persisted. In hopes of minimizing the delay in completing the repair and chances of needing more $$ input, I took my rubber mallet and gently tapped the PS pump input tube, twice. Then I started the car — bingo, problem solved.

  238. Jeffrey says:

    I have a 2001 Outback Wagon with 280,000 km on it.

    Since about 60,000 km I have had a knocking in the rack, and its not the fluid issue. I have slack in the rack itself. From below I can feel the slack between the rack and the pinion by peeling back the boot and grabbing the rack, and with the other hand grabbing and rotating the rack input shaft (pinion).

    The left side of the rack also has fore and aft play. With this play I am assuming that the internal bushings are shot and adjusting the backlash is likely not going to work. My mechanic also suggests backlash adjustment is always problematic (I can’t see why it would be).

    I have put up with the resulting noise for years because three mechanics could not find any issue, and two mechanics that know Subaru’s quite well told me to live with the issue because the car is now 12 years old.

    The sound can be made with the engine off by turning the steering wheel back and forth, it gets worse with the engine on and power steering boost, and its really bad hitting bumps in particular when turning, but also when going straight.

    Since everything else up front has been replaced over the last two years (struts, springs, strut mounts, sway bar links and bushings, ball joints, the control arm rear bushings (front bushings have zero play)) its definitely the steering rack causing all the noise.

    Since I now have an inner tie rod starting to go (it has a small amount of play) I now need to do work on the rack.

    I can get a low mileage (44,000 km) used rack complete with tie-rods. Would swapping to a used part be suggested? or getting a new or rebuilt rack with new tie rods?

    My steering coupler (the twin U joints which join the rack to the steering column) seems tight. Should I swap this part too? I can get this part from the same donor car.

    As for head gaskets causing issues with the rack bushings, yes I did have the cold weather external coolant leak. The head gaskets were changed twice, once for the leak issue, and the second time when the two pistons were swapped at 70,000KM. The head gaskets are leaking a small amount of oil, so little I can’t even measure it on the dipstick. So far this oil is not getting onto the steering rack, its getting to the oil filter and oil pan. Its not leaving any oil drops on the driveway (yet…).

    Thanks

    • Justin Stobb says:

      I would only install a new Subaru Rack or used Subaru rack, never an aftermarket Reman.

      I would replace the rack bushings new rack or used, and inner and out tie rod ends if used, outers if new.

      The coupler should be just fine, dont forget about an alignment. Backlash wont make up for worn internal bushings.

      Justin

  239. Tracey says:

    First off, thank you Justin for the article and many answers. It is so nice to have a willing sounding board “out there” – especially for those of us who are not car experts and can easily be taken advantage of. The help it seems others have gained from your posts shows that “community service” comes in many forms. My 2003 Outback LLBean (200k miles) developed the (famous) whine after the serpentine belt and radiator hoses were changed. The shop explained about the air in the power steering issue and said it would clear up. When it didn’t clear up, they replaced the fluid (no charge) and the whining was better, but still not gone. Their answer of “that just sometimes happens” isn’t sitting well with me. I know that the article and majority of post responses are for the other Outback engine, but it seems several note that the o-ring is a related problem after the fluid change. It sounds like your shop is on the other side of the country, so I need to go elsewhere – if you’d be willing to make any suggestions on what I should ensure that the shop check for, they would be appreciated. Thank you!!

    • Justin Stobb says:

      On the H6 models the o-rings can get dry, the return hose no longer seal as it becomes rock hard and no longer like rubber. But we also end up replacing a few 2001 to 2004 H6 pumps as well because of the following.

      A new belt can put more tension on the Power steering shaft, and as a result a worn shaft and shaft seal will reveal them selves, it doesn’t have to be anyones fault, but I venture to guess there might have been some power steering fluid residue that went unnoticed.

      Subaru just like every other car company has omitted the power steering fluid service interval from the services, it does get just nasty after about 30,000 miles ans should be changed, we just like every other shop struggle to convey this to customers as its unpopular to try and add $ to a 30k service as such this kind of thing happens a lot. Sorry it has happened to you but I want you to understand going forward the after the situation is resolved remember the importance of a power steering fluid service every 30,000 miles. Old fluid cases the hoses and seals to harden at an accelerated rate.

      Hope that helps

      Justin

      • Tracey says:

        Thanks for the reply. I will certainly keep your advice on the power steering fluid service in mind (I think you are right – I don’t know if anyone has every recommended this – or if so, it has been quite awhile). Since the shop was who had recommended that the belt and other hoses be replaced (I had gone in for an oil change and tire rotation), I’m surprised they wouldn’t have checked this too — especially when I took it back the second time when the noise didn’t clear up. I guess I’ll need to go back and get them to check these other things – I fear being stranded on the side of road. Thanks again – finding this thread was big help. You clearly know your stuff.

  240. Neville says:

    Hi Justin, 2004 Subaru wrx wagon 2.0 engine. Bought used needed engine, just replaced . After about 15 miles steering stiff and makes noise. Can see some fluid near (below)reservoir and somw on sides, lots of air bubbles in reservoir . When engine running level checked and slightly over max line. Is it bad to drive car ? Is it possible that air got into system during the engine replacement and will evacuate itself ? Is it more likely that air is being constantly drawn in as per your original description or some variant like loose clamps ?
    thanks, neville

  241. Scott Lewandowski says:

    Thank you so much for the info, I had my wife’s car fixed in 5 minutes… Saved a fortune.

  242. Murat Dymov says:

    Justin,

    thank you so much for sharing this info. We have 3 Subarus in the family and I consider myself a seasoned tree-shade mechanic but even I thought we were up for a new steering pump when after oil change my son’s 2005 Outback 2.5i started pumping pink foam from steering fluid reservior, pump started leaking fluid and making all kinds of metal noises. All that on Friday night too. Then I came across your article while looking for Subaru steering pumps online.
    O-ring it was. I ordered Subaru OEM o-ring but while it was coming from warehouse we found identical one at Toyota dealership. Replaced the o-ring, pumped the system as prescribed with the wheels in the air and car runs like new – no foam, no leaks, not even that groaning noise when turning.
    I replace the steering fluid in reservior every oil change – this keeps it fresh and does not force me to flush the system.

    Thank you again!

  243. Aaron in Alaska says:

    Justin,

    I own a 2001 Subaru Outback H6. Over the past 25K miles the power steering pump began making a louder and louder whirring noise. Recently the alternator died, so I replaced it. The power steering pump noise was worse after I replaced the alternator.

    I decided I had better replace the power steering pump, so I ordered a reman pump. The parts supplier contacted me a couple days later to let me know they would need to reman the actual power steering pump from my car because there were no pumps available, so I had to send my pump away. $220 and 2 weeks later my reman pump arrived.

    I installed the pump tonight and found the noise was worse and air was bubbling in the power steering fluid reservoir! I thought the reman folks had failed me, but I decided I would check on-line to see if anyone else had encountered this problem with their subaru. I found your blog within minutes and began reading this thread.

    I had checked the orignal o-ring as I installed the reman pump, but since it was not broken I did not bother to replace it. Based on your recommendation in this thread, I obtained a new o-ring, installed it, and the power steering system now works flawlessly!

    I wish I had found your blog before tonight to save me $220 and 2 weeks without a car, but I am simply thankful the power steering is finally fixed.

    I cannot thank you enough!

  244. JKH says:

    Justin,
    Finally, I saved up enough money and was able to purchase a 2006 Outback 4H 2.5i with 89K miles from a lady that had the vehicle regularly serviced at a local dealership. I noticed the steering noise when cold, however, did not think it would be a big issue. She told me that two weeks prior to sale she went to the dealer complaining about steering noise. They replaced the suction hose (reservoir to pump) and the o-ring (for total invoice of $128.53, no flush) and told her the remaining noise will disappear over next few days.
    I inspected the o-ring and found that it was not the same as OE (green color) I had purchased from another dealer.
    I replaced the O-ring and all clamps, disconnected the return hose from the reservoir and removed the PS belt. I then flushed old fluid out by manually turning the steering pump making sure the fluid level never went below MIN (used about 2.5qts of ATF). After connecting the return hose to the reservoir, I manually turned the wheels back and forth to make sure there is no more air trapped in the system. When I started the engine, the steering wheel was still noisy and also jerked for the first few turns (with wheels still in the air). Even though, it all went away when it warmed up, the noise problem still persists when cold.
    I see a few air bubbles when steering is still cold and noisy; however, it all disappears when it warms up.
    I now wonder that by manually turning the steering pump, I may not have created enough flow in the system to push all the trapped air out. My other suspicion is that possibly air is entering the pump from the seal around the shaft? I am ready to rebuild the pump and replace the inlet elbow (34431FG200) as well as the relive valve (34441AG040).
    I understand that it is very hard for you to give advice without actually seeing the vehicle, however, I would appreciate any advice you can give me regarding my vehicle. Am I on the right track? What have I done wrong? What else should I do?
    Thank you for providing the public with selfless help and advice.
    Jerry,

    • JKH says:

      Update…
      Got a used pump for $50.00 and all is good now. I will rebuild the old pump and keep for next time…

    • Justin Stobb says:

      There is still something in the system that is not sealing when cold as the system expands with temperature the air leak is sealed temporarily, find what it is and the noise will subside.

      Justin

  245. Rob Bronson says:

    Happy New Year

    Thanks to your website I just got rid of the terrible squeal. I heard it when I left the mechanic’s shop but thought it was the new AC belt they put on my 2004 Legacy. Being busy over the holidays and mostly driving my wife’s car I didn’t think about it much. I woke up New Years wondering about it and found your website. 30 minutes later it sounds great. Hopefully there is no long term damage.

    Thanks for helping to start off the New Year with a win
    Rob

  246. Earl Koskie says:

    Justin,

    Sounds like this is related. Bought a 2005 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5 L with about 145,000 miles in Texas last summer and moved it to Utah. No rponlems up to now with about 6000 miles + driven.

    We have had a cold snap here, almost two weeks below freezing and single digits at night. In the last week or ten days, started to hear power steering noise. It has been getting progressively worse, and when I checked we did have an overflowing PS reservoir with foamy fluid. There has been no alternator, shroud, belt or other work done.

    Is it likely a stiff o-ring (loss of sealing) problem?

    If so, where and how many o-rings to replace, and where to buy them/or what specs (ID/OD/durometer/material)?

    THANKS

  247. Mark says:

    Justin,
    I just found this site. Spent 30 min reading. Yesterday, the tech told me a new pump. With labor $490. I went to Subaru, pump $435. I went to all the parts stores and prices from $120-160, plus $40-60 for reservior. I have a 2000 sub outback wagon.

    Question. Does anyone sell the o-rings on the intake line? Any idea on the part number? Subaru oes not sell kits. Saw a kit on a forum. http://www.pskits.com/catalog/pumpkitslegacy000125lsohc-p-937.html , but don’t know/believe I need to rebuild. I think I only need the intake o-ring. Was thinking that maybe the reservior was full of junk, but can’t tell. There is likely a filter inside, but can’t get to it. Fluid is not red, not brown, but between. Should I replace that? Thoughts?

    • Justin Stobb says:

      The o-ring part numbers are # 34439AE00A you will need two of them.

      Subaru does sell a power steering kit for the car, I am not here to just supply you with part numbers a good Subaru Dealer can.

      A common kit number is # 34490AE00A I dont know if it fits your car as I dont have the VIN even if I did, you still need to call a Subaru Parts Department.

      Hope that helps

      Justin

  248. John Tannock says:

    Justin, I went on-line yesterday to see if I could find any info on power steering problems with 2004 Outbacks and found your article. It seemed that I’d found the cure as what you describe is exactly how my wife’s car is acting. Sadly, when I checked it the shroud was as it should be with ‘wiggle room’. I watched your video and did the ‘fix’ anyway just in case. Nothing changed. The symptom is that when the car is not in motion the power steering is either frozen or jerky and stiff. I checked for leaks, low fluid, etc. but all seems visually correct. Can you suggest another cause that I can check for before taking it to the dealer? Sadly, you’re geographically undesirable for me to visit (I’m in NJ) and other than the local dealer (who’s service dept I’m not a fan of) is my only choice. I can’t find an independent service center that specializes as you do. Thanks for any thoughts you can provide.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hello John,

      The fix in the video is about a specific set of circumstances, and is not meant to be a fix for all power steering type symptoms. If the fluid is aerated, and someone just replaced the belts, an alternator etc. then the fix in the video most likely applies, if not then it most likely does not.

      Maybe the belt is loose, cracked or worn? Are the front tires low on air, hows the alignment? Is there a noise when turning?

      Id like to help, but there are so many things that I cant help with unless I have the car and can experience the issue my self., that is the case here.

      Justin

      • John Tannock says:

        Oh well, thanks anyway for the reply. I thought perhaps there was another fix that was relatively common with those symptoms. The tires are good, as is the inflation and the belt is tight. The tires are about 2 yrs old and have been rotated twice and wear is even. On to plan B… The garage down the street. I just don’t know how knowledgeable they are other than if it doesn’t work correctly, replace it. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
        Thanks again.
        jt

  249. Judy says:

    After replacing belts, alternators, etc on probably 100 or more Subarus in my business, this problem reared its ugly head on the 1st one, 15 min before closing time. I did the bleed procedure & by the time car was warmed up, noise was gone. Sho nuff, customer called next day w/ “OMG!! it’s so noisy!” Identifix research also has this posted, & customer found this for me as well… Problem solved! Stupid shroud! :o) Judy

  250. Chris says:

    Thanks!!!!

    About a week ago I replaced both drive belts and started to hear the groaning just a little bit. Last night I was leaving, started it up, and it sounded bad. Steering wheel was resisting when I turned it. I automatically thought the worst. So glad I found this site. Went out just a few minutes ago and checked my shroud. There was no movement at all. Readjusted it to give it some flex, so hopefully that does the trick. I remember when I replaced the belts and was putting the shrouds back on. I made sure I really torqued those bolts down….I guess in hindsight, I was a little too aggressive.

    Thanks again!

  251. John Tannock says:

    Justin,
    We “talked” here last week about my wife’s ’04 Outback power steering issue which appeared to be the same as the fix you describe above. When I checked the shroud, it was OK but did the loosen/tighten fix anyway with no change. Since we don’t have a local independent Subie specialist nearby (you’re geographically undesirable by about 3,000 miles (;>) )I took it to the dealer where it was purchased. The fix, in this case was to flush the PS fluid and refill with new and change the belt. All appears to be functioning properly now though they did mention a ‘slight’ head gasket leak. Read your lengthy and very informative narrative on that and am sadly guilty of not doing frequent cooling system flushes. Sigh… Will now though and also will be more vigilant with our ’11 Forester too. Thank you for providing so much valuable info to the public. We all benefit from it. Regards,
    jt

  252. Loc says:

    Hi Justin,

    I just finished my 2001 Subaru Outback 3.0 LL Bean head gasket job today. After I started the car, the power steering made loud noise and I turned the steering wheel, it made the horrible sounds. I think my problem is the same as above described.
    I also had another problem that the car started fine, but if I push the gas pedal to ramp up, the engine died immediately, I thought that something is wrong with my timing when I installed my timing chain. Is this problem caused by timing chain is off by one or two teeth. I followed service manual to install the timing chain as follows:

    When I install the LH chain, line up gray area with camshaft mark and gold area with crankshaft mark, here is my problem that couldn’t line up gold area of the chain with crankshaft mark at 12 o’clock position, the only way I make gold area of the chain lined up with crankshaft mark at 11 o’clock. Will my installation of timing chain cause the problem I described above or something else causes the engine die when pushing on gas pedal.
    Any advises would be appreciated.
    Loc

    Any ad

  253. Bob L. says:

    Hi Justin,
    2003 Outback H6. 115k miles. PS pump howls on cold start up. After warm, seems quiet however there is a slight bearing noise still heard. After reading all the posts here, it makes sense that the pump is sucking air. Just prior to buying the car, the serp belt was replaced. I suspect that something was jarred and air is now being introduced into the system. Possible that the belt is too tight? Tensioner pulley failing? I did replace the fluid and bleed with no improvement. On a side note, both front axles were also replaced however, when backing and turning, clicking noise is heard. I have inspected the axles myself as well as having a shop check them, nothing appears wrong. No vibration or anything either, just the annoying clicking sounds. I was originally looking online this morning for a replacement pump then came across your forum. Thanks for posting this, I think you saved me a good chunk of money here!
    Thanks!! Bob

  254. Christine Reed says:

    Yes I had my timing belt and serpentine belt replaced by the dealer and now my ps pump needs to be replaced. I didn’t take it back to the dealership when I first heard the noise so it is “my bad”. The dealership said it has nothing to do with the belt work and even if it did I waited to long (2 months). Since my steering is working fine I refused the $800+ repair and topped off the fluid. Now that I’m convinced there is a connection I’ll take it to another shop and have the pump replaced for a lot less.

  255. [...] posting the fix here in case it happens to someone else. This may be a re-post but it helped me; Why Is The Power Steering Making Noise on My Subaru Outback? – Seattle Subaru Repair Redmon __________________ Others; 1986 Subaru GL wagon dual range 4X4. 2000 Subaru Outback [...]

  256. Rich B says:

    I too fit in with those that said, that foul power steering noice, is it really caused by aeration of the fluid? I doubted it was the case, until I loosened the belt shroud, then the Torx bolt, changed the fluid and the noise ended.

    Sub Outback 2003, and I just changed the belt prior to the noise starting.

    Think of the saved money.

    I did add real hose clamps to the fill line of the pump.

    rb

  257. Archie Dunbar says:

    2006 OutBack on finishing head gasket replacement. Power Steering foamed and overflowed on start, along with the noise from the pump. I had noticed that with the pump flipped to the side after removal, it was leaking fluid.
    Suspect the return seal in the top of the pump is leaking. On inspection it appears to be hard. The dealer doesn’t have any of the seals, actually a black rubber o-ring. So refilled and worked out the air with a few short run and refill cycles. It is now normal, until the next time it sucks some air.

  258. Jacqueline says:

    2000 Outback just had new timing belt and water pump installed. Now we have the whining sound on slower turns and while in park. My question is if we loosen the pivot bolt will it effect the belt tension or adjust anything it shouldnt? We tried and then the metal thing that stops against the alternator thats screws on the back of the long bolt moved some when we loosened it, so we retighten to avoid causing any more issues until I was able to claify. Sorry for descprsition since I do not know the name of the part.

    Thank you for any advise

  259. Jacqueline says:

    Showed your youtube video to my mechanic…problem is fixed, no more noise! thank you thank you!!

  260. ian says:

    Thank you for this! help so much!
    im in seattle, and have had work done with you guys, your awesome!

  261. Jennifer says:

    I was online shopping for a power steering pump for my 98 Subaru outback and came across this blog. Loosened the bolt. No more noise! Thank you!!!!!!!!

  262. Jim says:

    I have a 2005 Subaru WRX and my power steering is going out. I went to the dealer and they informed me I needed a new P/S pump, P/S line and belts. I went to another shop and they showed me my P/S was leaking on the P/S line on the bottom of the car where it connects on the drivers side on the bottom of the car. After filling the reservoir the P/S works fine until the fluid leaks out. Do you think I need to replace the P/S pump or just the P/S line?

    Thanks
    Jim

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Jim,

      Its always tough to say without seeing the car, but if the line is leaking and the pump is not I would replace the line and hope the pump did not suffer damage.

      Justin

  263. greg kurtz says:

    I have very similar symptoms on my 2005 Outback.These symptoms appeared after I had belts changed.
    This article addresses 2000-2004 models. Could your “fix” work on my 2005?

  264. Traicy says:

    Hi, I just had my Gaskets timing belt and water pump replaced, I also had a whole new exhaust put into my 2001 legacy wagon. I noticed that the steering was acting funny making noise. I checked the power steering fluid and it looked fine. Oil was changed when work was done. I checked the oil and it was very low to almost nonexistent. I noticed the belts for the first time because the cover was never put back…No shroud! Started it up to check the oil again and the power steering fluid started gushing out foaming! I am going to take it back tomorrow, I had the work done the end of Sept. 2013. Could the fact that they did not put the shroud back be the cause of this? My oil should be fine too, new gaskets right?

  265. Hey mate, have a 2002 subaru liberty it has steering shudder when stationary, have conducted power steer fluid flush 2 or 3 times and shudder is still there.
    any ideas??

    cheers Dave,

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hello David,

      How is the belt tension? Also if the belt is severely cracked or slipping it could cause that symptom. Lastly is the fluid becoming aerated? If so look for a air leak somewhere in the return hose or fitting.

      -Justin

  266. Mike O'Rourke says:

    Hi Justin,
    2001 Subaru outback in the morning after starting car the steering is hard to turn, but after a couple of turns it seems OK.
    What could it be?
    Mike

  267. Felix V says:

    Hi,

    I have a 04 impreza wagon ts. I recently broke the adjusment srcrew for the main belt and a/c belt. The belt wouldnt get enough tension so i went to tighten it more and it snap. The a/c belt was just a dumb mistake in the dark. My question was do you know the part number for both screws or assembly. I cannot find it anywhere online.

    Thank you Felix.

  268. Chip says:

    Justin:

    Thanks for your wonderful help all these years.

    I can’t stop air getting in the power steering pump of my 2002 Legacy 2.5L. It is a new aftermarket replacement pump to the replacement I put on last year. I removed the belt shroud years ago so I know nothing is stressing the power steering intake fitting. Most recently I used new subaru o-rings on the right-angle fitting and the squeal has been reduced. The intake hose from the reservoir is tight and I used gasket compound and new clamps for good measure. I have repeatedly tried to eliminate the squeal without sucess. After each fix I let the fluid settle 24 hours but it still squeals and the fluid has small bubbles.

    I would love your opinion on the following.

    Is it possible I no longer have a leak, but simply residual air somewhere in the system?
    How long does it take for the bubbles to settle, or do I need to replace all the fluid regardless?

    Ever grateful,

    Chip

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hello Chip,

      I would look at the possibility of the rubber return line becoming brittle and not sealing properly, try spraying some penetrating fluid around it and see if the aeration improves. I just filmed a video that should hopefully be up on our you tube channel by the end of next week going over this very thing that may help if you still have not pinpointed it.

      -Justin

  269. Matt says:

    Hi Justin, I have a 2009 Outback with a sqeel in the power steering only when its very cold out when you first start the car. it only squeels if you try to turn the wheel while in park. Does not make any noise while driving or after the car warms up. I just had the PS fluid replaced. Did not solve the problem. Any suggestions. Is there a seal kit for the 2009 Outback Steering Pump. Could it be a bad return hose. I noticed mine are very hard not flexable. They seem very hard and dry. Subaru says I need a new PS Pump. Whats your feeling.

    • Matt says:

      One more thing i have new belts on the car allready and timing belt.

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hello Matt,

      So a Squeal is most likely from the belt adjustment or condition of the belt. If air is in the system a Squeal is not the symptom you would have. In your other post you mentioned the belts are new, we see lots of low quality mis-adjusted belts cause lots of noises

      • Matt says:

        Funny you mention the belts as the the mechanic (Subaru Tech) says to me: “you got those aftermarket belts? I said yes”. Got new belts on for a good price at the local shop, but now I think maybe they used bad belts. Maybe I should have had them (Subaru) put OE belts on. They are only a few bucks each. Should I try that first.

        • Justin Stobb says:

          Matt,

          New belts regardless of who made them, who installed them, and who owns the car will stretch and need to be readjusted at times

          Here is the note we put on every invoice for every car we replace belts on.

          “BELTS MAY NEED TO BE ADJUSTED AFTER 500 MILES”

          We also verbally advise our customers that as soon as a couple of days the belts could stretch and squeal mostly when cold, in the event that occurs stop on by during business hours and we will quickly adjust at N/C while you wait.

          Any good shop should let you know this, Have you checked the belt tension?

          -Justin

          • Matt says:

            Hi Justin, The belts have been adjusted a few times. They have atleast 1500 miles on them if not more allready. Still with adjustments (not charged) still get the noise. I would love to just stop by your shop but it would be an awefully long drive from Nj to your shop! LOL I wish there was a trusted local independent suabru shop around the Northern NJ area that I could trust like a shop like yours. If you know any please let me know.

            Thanks

            Matt

  270. Nick says:

    Thanks from Fiji :-)

  271. Kelly Figiel says:

    Hello,
    I have a 2002 Outback H6 3.0 LLBean Edition. Last night the pressure sensor on the power steering blew out. Is it possible to just replace the sensor or do we have to replace the entire pump?

  272. Erik says:

    Hello Justin,

    I have a 2005 Outback wagon that “clunk-clunk-clunks”, rhythmically, during low speed right turns, and sounds like it’s coming from the right-front-tire area. I had the belts replaced a few months ago, but I don’t think I noticed the problem until maybe a month or two ago. I took the car back to the shop that did the belts and they found no cause. We also had a rear-wheel bearing and tie rod inspected by two places and they never mentioned the turning noise (I mistakenly did not mention it to them, either). We also had a CV boot and axel replacement on the right-front, but this seems power steering related. Any ideas? THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • Justin Stobb says:

      Hi Erik,

      Without hearing it its tough for me to know the cause, was the noise present before the axle work, and I am concerned why the shop cant figure out the noise if they can reproduce it?

      Unless the noise is there when turning and not moving I wouldn’t think its related to the power steering and instead is front wheel bearing or CV axle related.

      -Justin

  273. Erik says:

    Hey justin

    I have a 1999 subaru legacy outback. We are having a steering problem. When we turn the wheel when standing still it pulsates in both directions and is starting to do so while driving slow. Would you have any idea what would be causing this? I have seen a few YouTube vids that say to flush the steering fluid but it looks pretty clear. What do you suggest?

    Thank you

    Erik

  274. Bob Ray says:

    Hi Justin,

    First, thanks so much for the fantastic advice you’ve provided and for the video.

    I have a similar problem on my ’04 Legacy and am not sure how to proceed.

    The shroud has no play at all, but the car hasn’t been worked on. The car sits idle for 6-8 months over the winter. It makes a noise that sounds like a tire rubbing on something, but it’s definitely the power steering since it will make the noise when the car is stopped and I turn the wheel.

    The power steering fluid is about at least a half inch low and appears aerated.

    I will definitely loosen the shroud, but I’m wondering if I also need to drain and replace the fluid. Is it worth a try to just top up with Lucas PS stop leak and conditioner?

    Bob

  275. Justin,
    Thanks for the outstanding article and responses. I have been plagued with the whining and jerky steering for quite some time. After reading your article and reflecting on it, I remember this started shortly after I had the belts replaced on my 05 Baja. I checked the shroud and sure enough it was too tight. I did the adjustment and now the whine is mostly gone, but on a few occasions it will whine and jerk briefly. I figure the o-ring must not be sealing properly and would like to replace it. Can you provide the specs for the o-ring, or part number?
    Thank you.

  276. Justin,
    I found the part number at http://opposedforces.com/parts/, and it is
    34439AE00A, for anyone else who needs it.
    My Subaru dealer has them in stock.

    The diagram of the pump they showed had 2 O-rings at that location. Does that sound correct to you?

    Thank you.

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