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Discussion Starter #1
For the past few weeks, my brother in-law was driving my 91 t-bird. I got it back this past Saturday and immediately had it checked out as it has a very loud and distinct binding noise when turning the wheel left or right that remains constant until the wheel is centered again. It sounds like a spring twisting or something twisting that's greasable but dry. The suspension checked out fine though?

I took it to pepboys and the only problem they found is it was overfilled with powersteering but nothing else wrong with the steering or suspension components? Much to my dismay, my brother-in-law put synthetic transmission fluid in the power steering fill to attempt to stop the noise, which I'm not sure 100% it's the same noise I'm hearing now. My fear is the synthetic transmission fluid has unclogged some gunk in the steering rack causing this noise.

The odd thing is it was quiet Sunday and Monday and after pepboys looked over it on Saturday? The power steering reservoir is full but it almost looks like it's leaking from the top? The car drives fine on the highway but seems to make noise anytime a low speed turn is done and the sound lingers longer when turning right. I noticed too that as soon as the weather turned to rain, it started making the noise and when I got the car back on Saturday it was raining too.

Does this sound like a bad steering rack or a bad power steering pump? I had a powersteering pump go out before on other cars and they usually leak copious amounts of fluid with a high pitch squeal. This one does not so far but seems like it's puking fluid from the reservior a bit, not enough to make a difference in the level though?

Thanks for your time and any help.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Most likely the lower ball joints, unless the noise persists with the car not moving and the steering wheel not being moved. LBJs make a creaking noise as the front spindles are rotated as the steering wheel is turned, and they also can creak as the front end gets compressed and reflexes.

Unless you know for certain they were replaced, I'd get new LCAs on it - or at the very least, have the suspension looked at by another (e.g. not a national budget chain) shop. Risk of a failed lower ball joint is nothing to fiddle around with.

If you're concerned about the PS fluid, drain it out completely and flush it with Mercon V - which is actually probably not a bad idea to do every several years anyway. It's recommended in place of plain PSF since it does help quiet the system down a tad.
 

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My 95 Bird did what you describe and it was the right lower control arm. Being the age of the car at that point in time (I had it 18 years at the time) I decided by advice on here from some of the guys to not screw around and get the front end redone.

Like the Terminator says, ball joints are nothing to mess around with. I copied the thread on here about parts to use to rebuild and ordered all the parts to replace the front suspension and had a buddy do the job. Did the rear as well.

I had forgotten how smooth this car rode when I first bought it new. So not only is it a safety factor but also gives you back that smooth ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the help, I dropped the car off at my mechanic (no time/space to fix it myself currently) to take a look at again. Definitely glad I have a set of Moog LCA's that I was planning on installing once they went bad, I did the UCA's over the summer and the strut rod bushings and tie-rods were done the year before.

Most likely it's the LCA's as it's quiet with the car not moving or going straight until the wheel is turned and they were never replaced as far as I know.
 

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The moog/trw arms that I put on the tbird when I bought if 5 years ago have already failed; I replaced them with the ACDelco Advanced ones, we'll see if that holds up any better.

They had maybe 40k miles on them... :zdunno:

These are the new ones:



 
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