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Author Topic: humming noise in steering column  (Read 21452 times, 36 Replies)
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tanya102599
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« on: November 03, 2007, 09:49:32 PM »

Our Outlook makes a humming noise when we are driving at low speeds. It sounds as if it is coming from the steering column. It begins at acceleration and stops after hitting over 30 mph or so. We took it to the dealership and they said all large SUVs do it and it is nothing. We drove in the Saturn with a family member who has a large SUV and she said her SUV surely does nothing like it...Anyone have any ideas or does anyone else's do this?
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The Plainsman
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 08:08:43 PM »

I just joined this forum but I've been an Outlook owner since February.  I've been on the OTHER Saturn message board ever since. 

The sound you're hearing is the power steering pump.  It seems to have problems between 10,000 and 15,000 miles.  It makes a hell of a loud noise, which will get worse.   When the engine is cold you don't hear it.  As soon as the engine gets warm, that's when it starts.  It'll drive you crazy. 

On the other Saturn board, several people have talked about the problem.   With every one of us it was the power steering pump.  Some Outlook owners' dealers tried to claim that wasn't the problem.  That's because they want to have to replace it.  I made my dealer believe it and they replaced it with a new one.  That was about 5,000 miles ago.  I haven't had the problem since.

Here's what I did:  I took my Saturn in first thing in the morning when the service center  opened. I kept the engine running because it was nice and hot and that godawful noise was going.  I made the service manager send a tech out and we hopped it in for a ride around the block.  He couldn't deny the noise was there. It was a matter of identifying the cause.  Every time he made a slow turn of the steering wheel the noise became even louder.   I looked at him; he looked at me.    I smiled.   I got a brand new power steering pump.
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tanya102599
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 09:44:40 AM »

Thanks so much for the information on the power steering pump. My husband thought it was the same thing. Now when I called the dealership they said they just replaced several other power steering pumps on other Outlooks and will take care of mine on Tues. I am a happy camper!!!

I just joined this forum but I've been an Outlook owner since February.  I've been on the OTHER Saturn message board ever since. 

The sound you're hearing is the power steering pump.  It seems to have problems between 10,000 and 15,000 miles.  It makes a hell of a loud noise, which will get worse.   When the engine is cold you don't hear it.  As soon as the engine gets warm, that's when it starts.  It'll drive you crazy. 

On the other Saturn board, several people have talked about the problem.   With every one of us it was the power steering pump.  Some Outlook owners' dealers tried to claim that wasn't the problem.  That's because they want to have to replace it.  I made my dealer believe it and they replaced it with a new one.  That was about 5,000 miles ago.  I haven't had the problem since.

Here's what I did:  I took my Saturn in first thing in the morning when the service center  opened. I kept the engine running because it was nice and hot and that godawful noise was going.  I made the service manager send a tech out and we hopped it in for a ride around the block.  He couldn't deny the noise was there. It was a matter of identifying the cause.  Every time he made a slow turn of the steering wheel the noise became even louder.   I looked at him; he looked at me.    I smiled.   I got a brand new power steering pump.
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2007, 06:24:48 PM »

 Are there certain VIN's with these power steering pumps going bad or is it just a random thing? Mine is an 07 XR with 7,500 miles on it made in March of 2007.
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2007, 07:13:44 PM »

This is one Outlook problem that may not be VIN related.   All you can is keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best over the next 5,000 miles.  Somewhere around 11,000 miles, give or take a thousand, it's when it's happened to a lot of 2007 Outlook owners.  Don't know yet about the 2008's because few people have put that kind of mileage on a 2008 up to this point.
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2007, 09:53:24 PM »

I have an early '07 Outlook that we bought in January of '07.  For us, the power steering sort of noise started about 6 weeks ago and the vehicle had just less than 5000 miles on it at the time.  So, I've got it at the dealer now for this and some other stuff.  At first, they said they couldn't hear it.  I questioned that and later they said that they could hear it and there was a maintenance bulletin that they would perform, keeping it another night.  That's fine if they fix it.  However, the service guy read off what I guess was the title of the bulletin and it only referred to flushing the power steering fluid.  I'm a bit skeptical but we'll see.   
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2007, 11:40:17 AM »

Sorry not to  hijacked whats the other forum you guys are on?
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2007, 05:59:44 PM »

Sorry not to  hijacked whats the other forum you guys are on?
probably..

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=62
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2007, 01:04:34 PM »

Just a thought.

Did the dealer make sure you had enough fluid in the power steering pump reservoir?

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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2007, 06:21:47 AM »

My 2007 Saturn Outlook started with the humming problem almost imediately. My wife took it in and was told that it was common to all Outlooks. We just returned from a 2000 mile plus trip and the noise is getting worse. Thanks for the heads up on the power steering information I'll make another appointment.
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2008, 02:07:04 PM »

 flaming mad
I bought my Outlook in Feb '07.  The noise in the steering started in the early summer.  I've taken it in a couple of times and nothing has been done.  My husband took it in again today and the service rep said nothing could be done because according to Saturn, the problem isn't the power steering pump!  Uggh!!!  I finally called Saturn's 800 customer service number and the rep called the dealership who denied not wanting to keep my truck there.  They did admit to not knowing what the problem is but they also said I'm going to have to wait until they figure it out.  I didn't go out and finance a brand new vehicle only be be driving around with noises like if I was driving something used and old! 
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2008, 09:22:08 AM »

flaming mad
I bought my Outlook in Feb '07.  The noise in the steering started in the early summer.  I've taken it in a couple of times and nothing has been done.  My husband took it in again today and the service rep said nothing could be done because according to Saturn, the problem isn't the power steering pump!  Uggh!!!  I finally called Saturn's 800 customer service number and the rep called the dealership who denied not wanting to keep my truck there.  They did admit to not knowing what the problem is but they also said I'm going to have to wait until they figure it out.  I didn't go out and finance a brand new vehicle only be be driving around with noises like if I was driving something used and old! 
How many miles did you have on it in early summer when you first noticed the noise?
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2008, 03:03:06 PM »

I just had my 08 XR Outlook towed in, power steering fluid all leaked out in my driveway, seems fluid cooler in front of radiator let go at 1500 miles and dumped.  Service said Saturn notified them that there is a problem with the supplier of the coolers and there are no parts. They are acquiring a new supplier and would notify me when parts are available. In the mean time I am driving a 08 Buick Lucerne rental waiting.
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2009, 11:52:05 AM »

Mine has developed this noise too over the past several monts. Noise gets lauder the more you drive the car. Most prominent at ~1500RPM. Sounds like the power steering pump. It is in the shop right now to have that checked. Hopefully it will be fixed properly...
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Kevin 07 XR
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2009, 10:08:02 AM »

It IS the power steering pump. I just had my 2007 pump replaced before it went out of warranty. My Saturn tech said the engineer on the Saturn suport line admitted the pumps weree undersized for the car.

Do you feel less than smooth steering as well? Thta also os a sign the pump is bad. Mine did that.

Also, it can be the intermediate shaft in the steering column. A local Buick dealer said they have replaced "a train car load" of them on Enclaves.
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2009, 05:49:11 PM »

I have the same problem on my Outlook. The Saturn dealership did not want to change the pump-they just kept adding fluid. They finally said they were going to change the pump but never ordered it- just kept making excuses. Now they are out of business and I go to the GMC dealership and they say its the steering gear leaking and its on a national backorder.
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2010, 11:32:51 PM »

I was just told today that they were going to have to replace my steering column today for the 2nd time in under one year. I have a 2008 Outlook. It does exactly what everyone has been saying...car heats up noise gets louder, humming and a clicking as well. Although I have enjoyed my vehicle since purchase, I am ready to trade for something else as of today. They covered it, but explained that is was outside of my 36,000 warranty. 
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2010, 03:56:52 PM »

I was just told today that they were going to have to replace my steering column today for the 2nd time in under one year. I have a 2008 Outlook. It does exactly what everyone has been saying...car heats up noise gets louder, humming and a clicking as well. Although I have enjoyed my vehicle since purchase, I am ready to trade for something else as of today. They covered it, but explained that is was outside of my 36,000 warranty. 
dh_2010,  Welcome That's good news that they covered it for you. Did you take it to your Saturn dealer or are they closed and you had to take it to a different GM dealer? What are you thinking for a trade? Has your OUTLOOK been good other than the steering column?
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2010, 12:17:36 PM »

flaming mad
I bought my Outlook in Feb '07.  The noise in the steering started in the early summer.  I've taken it in a couple of times and nothing has been done.  My husband took it in again today and the service rep said nothing could be done because according to Saturn, the problem isn't the power steering pump!  Uggh!!!  I finally called Saturn's 800 customer service number and the rep called the dealership who denied not wanting to keep my truck there.  They did admit to not knowing what the problem is but they also said I'm going to have to wait until they figure it out.  I didn't go out and finance a brand new vehicle only be be driving around with noises like if I was driving something used and old! 

that's simply not true.  it is the power steering pump.   I had mine replaced at about 11,000 miles. I'm now at 49,000.  Problem hasn't returned.
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2010, 02:11:33 PM »

Mine had this problem last summer. Had it in just before the 36K warranty expires. Humming noise was gone, now I think sometimes it does popping noise, but not always. I have extended warranty purchased, so hopefully if this develops into something worse, they will take care of it. I am not sure how they fixed it last fall, I mean not sure if I got new PS pump or they did something else.
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« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2010, 02:13:30 PM »

Mine had this problem last summer. Had it in just before the 36K warranty expires. Humming noise was gone, now I think sometimes it does popping noise, but not always. I have extended warranty purchased, so hopefully if this develops into something worse, they will take care of it. I am not sure how they fixed it last fall, I mean not sure if I got new PS pump or they did something else.

It will say on your work order slip  thumbs up.
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« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2010, 08:27:13 PM »

Our 2008 XR FWD just started making the same sounds out of the pump.  We have 21K on it.  Whenever my wife gets around to making an appointment it will get fixed.  I know it is the pump, I can feel it when I drive.
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« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2010, 06:20:50 PM »


Hi,
Is it a 'humming' or a 'clunking' sound?

I ask because I noticed that mine started to do a 'clunking/thumping' sound after I start it and begin to drive/pull out of any parking place.


I will take at my power steering fluid level?  Is there anything else I should look at ?

(2008 Saturn Outlook XR FWD)

BL.
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« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2010, 08:05:20 AM »

BL, it could be your ABS doing checks, that happens at around 10-15 MPH and makes a clunk sound, or are hearing something from the steering wheel?
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« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2010, 08:12:58 PM »

+1.  The clunking/thumping sound you're hearing is the ABS system doing it's tests/checks.  This usually happens within a few hundred feet from pulling away under light acceleration.
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« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2010, 08:26:01 PM »



Hi,
I am sorry, but I don't think it's the ABS.  I am very familiar with the ABS 'noise' and when it happens.

I guess I should have described my 'noise' in more detail.  It happens when I turn the steering wheel to get into or out of parking spaces at 'low' speed.  So, when I am coming home from work and I turn into my driveway, I hear the sound as I try to maneuver into my space.

Again, I only started to hear this noise recently (about 2 weeks ago).


Anyways, I went to the dealer and told them my issue.  They took a quick look.  I asked them about the 'steering fluid levels' and they told me that it doesn't need it because it is 'electric steering'.  So the tech told me that these lambdas don't have a steering fluid reservoir.

I made an appointment for them to look at this issue this Saturday.


I will let you know what they find.

thanks,

BL.

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« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2010, 09:12:58 PM »


Hi,
I am sorry, but I don't think it's the ABS.  I am very familiar with the ABS 'noise' and when it happens.

I guess I should have described my 'noise' in more detail.  It happens when I turn the steering wheel to get into or out of parking spaces at 'low' speed.  So, when I am coming home from work and I turn into my driveway, I hear the sound as I try to maneuver into my space.

Again, I only started to hear this noise recently (about 2 weeks ago).


Anyways, I went to the dealer and told them my issue.  They took a quick look.  I asked them about the 'steering fluid levels' and they told me that it doesn't need it because it is 'electric steering'.  So the tech told me that these lambdas don't have a steering fluid reservoir.

I made an appointment for them to look at this issue this Saturday.


I will let you know what they find.

thanks,

BL.


BL, I replied to your other post. The only think I can think of is #1. low on PS fluid or #2. the PS pump is going bad. Please let us know what they find.
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« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2010, 03:20:24 PM »

+1.   Groan in steering at low speed (i.e. turn in/out of parking spot) could very well likely be air bubbles in the lines caused by fluid level dropping during use (i.e. articulating the steering all the way to lock).  Check if your power steering fluid is at the correct level.  I have seen other posts regarding purging air from the lines by idling the vehicle with the PS fluid cap off for approximately 40 minutes.  This may help isolate the cause.
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« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2010, 06:35:39 PM »


Thanks 6Sixathome for the picture and info.


I will check the ps fluid when I get a chance, and before I take it in to the dealer.


thanks,

BL
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« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2010, 04:47:39 PM »


Hi,
So I took my car to the dealer on Saturday morning to have them check the 'steering wheel' noise.

Well, I got there and gave them my Outlook.  After 2 and 1/2 hours, they come back to me telling me that there was nothing they could do at that time because: "GM released a technical bulletin letting dealers know that they are aware of the 'issue' and that their engineers are looking for a 'fix'.  They ask dealers not to do anything at this time until the 'fix' is found."

Well, there goes 2.5 hours of my life down the drain.

By the way, before taking it to the dealer, I did check the power steering fluid levels.  It was just at the 'MIN' line.  It wasn't below it.

I did leave the cap off for a few minutes while the engine was 'on' and I turned the steering wheel to the right and left a few times.  The  "loud ticking noise" is still there.

I am now waiting for them to call me as soon as the 'fix' is released.


thanks,

BL.
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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2010, 02:09:16 PM »

I'm having a similar (yet different  Cheesy ) issue with my wifes 07 Outlook.  It sounds more like someone dragging their nails across a screen when you turn the steering wheel.  Very odd and only does it when the car is warm (but less noticeable in colder weather).  I've read where it could be the "boot" needs lubrication, but that Saturn/GM hasn't figured it out yet.  It certainly doesn't sound like the power steering pump on ours.
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« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2010, 02:40:58 PM »

I'm having a similar (yet different  Cheesy ) issue with my wifes 07 Outlook.  It sounds more like someone dragging their nails across a screen when you turn the steering wheel.  Very odd and only does it when the car is warm (but less noticeable in colder weather).

Like this noise?:

Video shown at the top of this page (reply #45):

http://www.traverseforum.com/index.php?topic=687.45
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« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2010, 03:25:15 PM »

Copper-

You just nailed it.  That video was spot on.  Now I'm reading through your thread to see what your result was (the Internet at my office is crawling for some reason today).  What a mess.  Sounds like you still have the same issue even with the new steering rack?  
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« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2010, 05:33:43 PM »

Copper-

You just nailed it.  That video was spot on.  Now I'm reading through your thread to see what your result was (the Internet at my office is crawling for some reason today).  What a mess.  Sounds like you still have the same issue even with the new steering rack?  

Actually I do not have that problem anymore. The replacement of the rack immediately negated the noise BUT maybe a month or two later a slightly different noise or feel (re)developed. This was solved when the dealer adjusted and lubricated an incorrectly positioned horn plate (inside the steering wheel).
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« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2010, 07:55:36 PM »

VERY helpful.  Once I resolve the roof leak  flaming mad , I'll move on to that.  You may have just single-handedly solved this steering wheel rubbing noise issue for the world!  Looks like the steering racks are available for a reasonable price, so time to fire my air tools back up.
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« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2010, 06:57:47 PM »

I would like to thank you all for posting comments on this issue I was able to fix this issue myself.  I was experiencing the humming noise after warm up and it was progressively getting worse.  Out of warranty I didn’t even bother having the dealer check for the noise, scared of what it will cost to replace the pump when I brought it in for service last week.   The service package included checking the power steering, and they didn’t even comment on how it was groaning, I heard it as the porter pulled the car back.  This past Friday I got fed up with the noise and knew it was talked about on this forum, looking for any info on recalls I came across a few that said they or the dealer added fluid and the noise stopped, so being curious I checked the power steering fluid level and it was below min level.  I checked my service papers were they checked “Fluid level, OK”.  I know they never checked the fluid because the cap and reservoir was filthy, even if they didn’t clean it, they would have left finger prints in the dust and there weren’t any.  After calling the service dept, and them wanting me to come down, I just decided to save the gas and add the power steering fluid myself.  Well the noise stopped, Thank you Jesus!  I am glad it was something simple.  So I guess my point is maybe you all should check you fluid level before you bring it to the dealer.  Here is the link to the Saturn Outlook owner’s manual, http://www.saturn.com/assets/en/pdf/owners/manuals/2008/442_2k08outlook.pdf look under Service and Appearance Care,  then under section 5-11 Checking Things Under the Hood, finally find How to Check Power Steering Fluid.  I hope this helps others.
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Bruce_Lee
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« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2010, 08:22:25 PM »


Although I was already told about the steering wheel fluid, I haven't bother to fill it past the MIN level.

I have an appointment with the Chevy dealer tomorrow to have them replace the small hose on the rear wiper.  I will have them take care of filling up the steering wheel reservoir.  Hopefully, this will take care of the noise I am still hearing.


thanks,


BL.
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No Brand Loyatly;  My loyalty is to my money

2008 Saturn Outllook XR FWD
Exteriror color: Silver
Interior color: Ebony
Options: Trailering Pkg
             Rear view camera with Park assist.
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