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Magenta

'sticky' Power Steering When Cold

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My son's 2006 Mondeo estate has horrible steering when cold. It feels a little 'sticky' in the straighta head position until the engine warms up then its fine. Anyone have any ideas how to improve it ? It has done 116,000 miles and is a 2L diesel.

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Sometimes the power steering fluid goes a horrible colour and needs replacing with nice clean fuid. Probably should do mine, but it can wait for warmer weather...

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Thanks for those suggestions. The hydraulic fluid level looks ok although it is very black. The Mondeo had a new steering rack and pump a couple of years ago so I would hope that they used clean fluid. They did make a mess of the job as it lost all the fluid a few days later whilst the car was in Scotland and my son drove back to the midlands with hardly any steering !

I'm now a big fan of electrically assisted steering (as on my Fiesta) as you can imagine !

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If you pump the front tyres up to 41 PSI (the recommended pressure on some sites - mine are at 40 ) it will make the steering a lot lighter at low speeds

The way the car is driven also makes a difference (not "leaning" on the steering, not turning the wheel when stationary/ having the car "creeping" (moving, even very slowly) - the engine is very heavy and there is a lot of stress on the steering, if it is not used right/ sympathetically (even driving it with the front tyre pressures under 36 PSI/ turning the wheel when stationary or againstb the end stops on full lock ) it can get damaged

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If you pump the front tyres up to 41 PSI (the recommended pressure on some sites - mine are at 40 ) it will make the steering a lot lighter at low speeds

The way the car is driven also makes a difference (not "leaning" on the steering, not turning the wheel when stationary/ having the car "creeping" (moving, even very slowly) - the engine is very heavy and there is a lot of stress on the steering, if it is not used right/ sympathetically (even driving it with the front tyre pressures under 36 PSI/ turning the wheel when stationary or againstb the end stops on full lock ) it can get damaged

Is that the correct tyre pressure i thought it was around 34 front 31 rear?

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Is that the correct tyre pressure i thought it was around 34 front 31 rear?

off the top of my head it is 41 front and 35 rear (due to the weight of the engine) even at that, the front tyres can look underinflated/ soft

there are different pressures for "normal" use (whatever that is) and heavily laden / high speed

I run (it took a long time to arrive at these pressures) 40 rear 39 front on 205/55/16s this is for better economy (its a hypermiling technique) and i like the feel of them like that,(makes it predictable on the limit) i corner hard and i dont like motorways, so the middle part of the tyre does not wear out 1st - the ride is a bit harsher too at these pressures - it may not suit everyone

PS - i dont recommend 41 PSI in the front for normal use/ for most people - but the mk3 diesel really needs 36 + psi in the front in my opinion - i had a look around the net and many are recommending recommended + 3 PSI

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While I've tried higher pressures (previous Cougar and current Mk IV), I wouldn't be prepared to go that far. On slightly dubious surfaces, the Cougar had a tendency for the front end to skitter across the road as the pressure went up. Now, I could have probably got that under control, or at least a bit more under control, with adjustable Konis up front, but on standard dampers, there was a definite point at which putting up the pressures was potentially more trouble than it worth, particularly in the wet and on pock-marked roads. There was also an increased danger of axle !Removed!, and given that the ford trac control, while set to limit the static difference between front and rear quite closely, was a bit dynamically lazy (ok, ok, I'm faster than this trac control, but sometimes I'm lazy too, and just keep my foot in and wait for it to sort it out...after all, it is its job, and I'm only a part-timer).

To me, the Ford recommended pressures at the rear vary too much from 'min load, ordinary driving' to 'max load, fast driving' and I tend to keep those a little off the minimum, and for 'ordinary' driving I tend to keep the rear a couple of psi below the front.

All that said, the higher front pressures do tend to lighten the steering up a bit....but, for my taste, it is too light already. And, in quite a few circumstances, the steering is lighter because there is less grip.

@Magenta

The hydraulic fluid level looks ok although it is very black.

To me, that would be a sign that it needs changing.

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I run both my summer and winter tyres - 18" alloys and 16" steel wheels at the correct pressure as per the ford manual and never had any issues with steering of handling so I personally don't see the need to change it. Also my tyre wear is good.

I would start by changing the fluid, it's cheap and easy to do. I had to go to ford for the correct fluid for mine as nowhere could supply me with the stuff meeting the numbers in the manual.

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