2009 Subaru Legacy 2.5 EJ253 SOHC engine

My power steering pump began to squeal a few months ago and progressively increased in volume. I purchased a new pump and installed it, squealing immediatly and noticed power steering fluid oozing from the power steering pump casing where the pump is put together in two pieces from the factory. This one was obvious that something was wrong with it. Exchanged it for another pump of a different remanufacture company. This second pump ran fine for about 3 mins then started squealing but only for a few minutes. After the car runs the squealing stops. I also replaced the power steering belt and torqued it properly according to the service manual.

I can tell that the squealing is coming from the belt as the pump stops or struggles to pump it freezes momentarily causing the belt to slip and squeal across the pulley. I'm unsure how to proceed next.

Could old power steering fluid cause the pump to seize up momentarily? Could the rack and pinion cause the pump to momentarily seize up under high pressure?

  • What does the service manual say about tensioning the belt?
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 19:11
  • Does it have a spring loaded tensioner? If so, does it work ? Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 19:26
  • You're correct, the belt is slipping at the pump. That is because the pump is creating more drag than belt can handle at its tightness and with the current condition of the belt pulley. However belts are not cogs, and tension matters. Is the alternator on the same belt? That would explain it "stopping squealing" after a few minutes when the battery regains its charge. Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 23:24

2 Answers 2


It's pretty clear that your issue is not the pump itself. I'd check the following:

  1. Fluid for contamination. In fact you should flush the system whenever you change the pump.
  2. Hoses and tubes for blockages. A blocked hose will prevent fluid from flowing and cause the pump to have difficulty pumping and may damage it very quickly.
  3. Problems with the steering gear or rack including the recirculating valve system. If the valve is not allowing fluid to return to the pump, you have effectively a blocked sytem.

Apparently the belt was not tightened enough. I tightened the belt according to the Subaru service manual but the garage I took it too tightened it way beyond the spec up to the point where the tightening bracket just touches the belt! This level of tightness has wore the belt slightly on one of the serpentine grooves but there is no longer any squealing whatsoever.

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