Steering Pump Problems? Turn One Tech Tips Provides Some Answers

to01Let’s face it, if you’re driving your numbers-matching, completely stock, classic car to and from church every other week, you probably don’t run into many issues with your steering pump. Keep the fluid fresh, you can even add a cooler, and you’re good to make the infrequent trips.

But these days we like to drive our cars, and we like horsepower (insert Tim Taylor man-grunt here). Turn One’s Jeff Roethlisberger says, “When you start driving your car faster and you’re revving the engine higher, your steering pump works harder and the temperatures can rise.” That’s when you find out that your off-the-shelf fluid starts to bubble up, or squeeze out of the reservoir and leave a slick coating on the rest of the pump.

to05So why is it that cars back in the 1960s and 1970s were “just fine” and today we notice fluid leaks and overheating? While technology for fluids and pumps have changed over the years, staying with a factory replacement-style pump might mean that you’re pushing your car too hard for the pump’s intended purpose.

Turn One provides high performance steering solutions for the street and the track, and has roots in Saginaw, Michigan, where founder Jeff Roethlisberger spent 14 years with GM’s steering division. This family owned and operated business started in 1997 and has been building steering systems for some of the top NASCAR teams, as well as steering systems and solutions for street rods and musclecars.

Rather than re-engineering the wheel, Turn One starts with a new, OEM pump and modifies the internals. By reducing the horsepower required to operate the steering pump, Turn One helps to reduce fluid temperatures in the process. You may have noticed the last time you went out and got a little carried away, or participated in a track event, that your steering pump weeped a little resistance to your spirited driving.

Turn One says that this is caused by over heating the pump, because when the fluid reaches a certain temperature it expands. The stock pump is not designed to be driven hard, and the reservoir can’t compensate for the additional volume necessary when that fluid expands from overheating. Roethlisberger told us, “We can drop your fluid temperatures considerably because we modify the pump to be more efficient for the way you’re driving the car.”

Depending on how you drive, whether you’re a weekend warrior or a weekly cruiser, Turn One can put you into a better pump and help keep the fluid in the reservoir by alleviating over heating problems. For those who like some adjustability in the pump pressure, they have a number of flow restrictors, as well as an adjustable flow valve for GM power steering pumps.

If you’re looking for a softer feel for street driving, or a firmer feel for track day events, Roethlisberger said there really isn’t one pump that accommodates both styles of driving. But if you like to push your car at the track, he recommends the performance pump vs the street pump. You might notice a little resistance when parallel parking with fat front tires, but that’s the trade off for a performance pump. The street pump would not perform as well on the track, so you can choose a pump designed for the way you drive your car.

Visit the Turn One website to see what they have for your musclecar or street rod, and check out the tech section to get more information about steering pumps and overheating problems.

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About the author

Michael Harding

Michael is a Power Automedia contributor and automotive enthusiast who doesn’t discriminate. Although Mopar is in his blood, he loves any car that looks great and drives even faster.
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