Interesting Observation Re: Steering

Neil Vonhof nhvonhof at
Mon May 13 15:54:33 EDT 2002

For the last 4 or 5 months I have noticed an audible groaning sound coming from
the steering (pump or rack, I'm not sure which) when turning the steering wheel a
couple of turns left or right while stopped (not the sound made when you turn the
steering wheel  until it stops and still keep pressure on it). Also, I began
noticing that sometimes the steering would seem extraordinarily stiff, kind of
like it might be if you tried to turn the wheel with the engine off, but not that
extreme. This was especially noticeable when slowing to a stop at an intersection,
then turning the wheel to make a left or right turn. I would occasionally check
the reservoir and the level seemed fine; somewhere between the Max. and Min.
level. I must have a very small leak because slowly over time I did notice the
level creeping toward the Min. mark. Another inspection this weekend revealed that
the level had finally reached the Min. mark so I decided it was time to add fluid.
I've had the car for two years and this is the first time I've added Pentosin. So,
I filled it to the Max. line and most unexpectedly and much to my surprise all of
the symptoms described above are gone. Totally smooth steering, no
groaning/moaning sounds (from the car guys, from the car) and no more hard
steering. I am surprised because I would assume that the system should function
normally at any fluid level between min & max. It's surprising that 2 to 3 inches
of fluid in the reservoir would make such a profound difference in functionality.
I guess the message here is to keep that reservoir filled to the Max. line for
best performance.
The one question this brings up:  is this whole thing an indicator of possible
serious failure in the near future? Any BTDT on this?
Neil Vonhof
'91 200q20v Sedan, 140,000 miles

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