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Discussion Starter #1
My 2004 Crew Cab Z71 5.3L was purchased with 110,000 miles from a Craigslist ad and the previous owner warned me that it has had no power steering assist at parking manuevers and moans and groans only at low speeds (I said stupidly, "no problem"). I now have 116K miles, and I've decided enough of the "no assist and bitching and complaining by me and the truck". So far it has no leaks, and the fluid in the reservoir is full, but the fluid is dark and somewhat red (smelled like burnt transmission fluid). I checked the steering pump pulley (looked good) and even replaced the serpentine belt. I checked all the front end components and they checked out okay too, and I even greased all the zerk fittings. On Saturday May 31st, 2014, I decided to extract the old fluid from the pump reservoir with a hand pump type of fluid pump extactor and emptied the old fluid in a clean bucket. The fluid that came out was a blackish and dark red fluid resembling burnt ATF fluid, due to the smell and a little bit of black pasty residue. After this, I placed a plastic cup under the return line going to the reservoir, disconnected the return line and emptied even more of the nasty old fluid. I then put a 3/8 rubber plug vacuum cap to plug that metal tube off the pump, and with the return line I placed a barbed type of brass 5/16 two way connector union to connect a 5/16 fuel line that I got from Napa which was about four feet long. I then routed this hose under the truck and into the catch bucket. I then filled the reservoir full with new O'Reillys power steering fluid (GM equivalent) I then jacked the front end up and placed the truck on jack stands. At this time, I turned the ignition switch to the on position (not running), and turned the wheel left and right, lock to lock. When I first turned it, it was hard to turn, then I heard a loud gush of fluid enter the catch bucket with more of that black and burnt fluid. Then I immediately noticed the steering becoming easier to turn in either direction despite the front wheels off the ground. I check the reservoir and topped it off again with more fluid and turned the wheel to the left and right until I saw clear stream of power steering fluid exiting the hose going into the bucket. I also had the wife start the truck and turn the wheel both ways all the while looking at the reservoir to see if the reservoir was still full, and did so safely to flush it even more. Then I filled the reservoir to full cold and took it for a test drive, and wow what a difference. The steering felt so smooth and took only one finger to turn it while manuvering it at low speeds and best of all no groaning and moaning from me or the steering. All this went fine until about I drove it for a few miles. I checked the reservoir and it was still clean and was full (full hot). Now the steering is taking two hands to turn and there seems to be no power assist at low speed during parking lot manuevers or just low speed turning. This is why I decided to purchase a new AC Delco power steering pump (no hydroboost), and I also purchased a pulley installer and remover tool as well. I hope this rectifies the problem. I ordered the pump from Amazon as well as the tool. I haven't recieved it yet, but just from the fluid flush, there are no more moaning and groaning sounds when turning at low speeds, and the hard effort to turn is not as bad (still hard to turn) as it used to be. I did check for leaks at the cooler, and all the lines, and there are none visible. I used a lot of brake cleaner around the steering box, connections of the lines, and the pump, and all looks good without any trace of leaks. I will keep you all updated when I get the pump installed.
 

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Do you have a box or rack? My 04 was doing the same, problem was the steering box itself.
That is what I was thinking. If it is a Z71 then it has torsion bars with the box. I did not know the boxes could go bad like that? I thought they would just get sloppy or start to leak out the seals.

Mr. 960
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes I have a steering box. However, there is no hint of any play, sloppiness, or leaks from the box, no wear on the lines or fittings. I believe my pump is shot and needs to be replaced after a thorough flush comprised of 3 quarts of power steering fluid, and the result is no power assist. Granted there is no more groaning noises. I've changed pumps, boxes, and racks, etc. and adjusted boxes to make them tighter. No offense, this is what I think is the right way to rectify this no assist situation.
 

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Yes I have a steering box. However, there is no hint of any play, sloppiness, or leaks from the box, no wear on the lines or fittings. I believe my pump is shot and needs to be replaced after a thorough flush comprised of 3 quarts of power steering fluid, and the result is no power assist. Granted there is no more groaning noises. I've changed pumps, boxes, and racks, etc. and adjusted boxes to make them tighter. No offense, this is what I think is the right way to rectify this no assist situation.
My truck is an ecsb 2wd with torsion bars and a box. Mine made all sorts of noises like yours and lacked power steering any time, changed all the parts you did and last part to change was the box which was shot. Just saying, if you still have problems get a new box, bout $100 from a junkyard.
 

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lets hope it's just the pump. they do have a bypass valve in them that can go bad. If it is indeed the box I'd steer clear away from any of the major chain stores. Get one from Napa or carquest.

Mr. 960
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, I really hope it's just the pump with a bad internal bypass valve. It's feasible that the recirculating ball assisted box went bad too due to the nasty old steering fluid being circulated through it. I hate to do one thing and then have to do something related. It'll be sort of like doing it all over again since the box work together. I call it the old "process of the elimination method". Definitely, a big thanks for the replies. I sure miss my old Gmt 400 Z71 with Tbi. Never had any issues and it had 150k miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I just received the pulley remover/installer tool and the new pump. The pump is a very nice looking unit from AC Delco, but I didn't see any O-rings for the lines, granted I didn't open the sealed bag around the pump yet. I am gonna install it this week Wednesday when I'm off. I had to repair some drywall inside my house. That was task one, and the pump being the second. On a side note, after flushing the pump three times, and properly bleeding it, it really made a heck of a difference. Best part as I afformentioned earlier, there is absolutely no noise, and steering effort has improved about 60%. I will definately keep you posted on the pump change. Thanks.
 

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still wondering how it turned out. I need to flush the one on my Yukon, but I have hydro boost.....argh


Mr. 960
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was so ready to do it yesterday, but the wife felt sick and I had to take care of her and the kids. I did purchase some extra things like 3 cans of brake cleaner and some Prestone power steering fluid. For sure this Monday. After flushing the old and dirty fluid twice, I still cannot believe the improvement it made despite the fact that I will be changing the entire pump. I will keep you updated and try to post pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I installed the pump at last. However it was a breeze until I had to install the dam pulley with the performance tool gm pulley installer. I had to fabricate the bolt that goes into the pump shaft because it comes in two sizes. I actually had to cut the first inch and a half off to make it work. Anyway, it's raining pretty hard, and she's clean. So this means I will have to wait till it's clear before I can give anyone a consensus as to how the new ACDelco power steering pump performs. In addition, I greased every zero fitting on that front end. I used up every nitrile glove in the new package. I did flush the fluid twice before putting on the new pump. I added 2 bottles of royal purple power steering fluid. I went OCD on cleaning every bracket, skid plate, cleaned all pulleys, put ant-seize on every nut and bolt. I then assembled everything, bled the pump with the wheels off the ground, the checked the fluid level. So far it's as smooth as butter, no noise, no leaks. Still up for the real test though. Dang weather. I'm doing this while soaking in the tub because what was supposed to be a 3 hour job for me ended up being 14 hours. I'm aching all over. I just hope it paid off, but I'll keep you all updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Mission accomplished. I checked for leaks, proper fluid level, and for any unusual noise, but everything checked out great. Took it out for a test drive, and its like night and day. Let me elaborate. The power assist is definitely there, very smooth and easy to turn to maneuver in parking situations, and most of all no noise. I was quite skeptical about the steering box being the culprit, but not this time. Thumbs up to the ac delco new pump which on the box is stamped made in Canada. Definitely a happy man. Now, two more tasks. Change front differential fluid and the transfer case. Almost done.
 
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