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2002 Cougar 2.5L V6
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As the title suggests, I hear a whirring noise when making a brisk U-turn. That is the easiest way to produce it. It has a somewhat motorized, gear-driven, or pump-like element to it. Given that my car has three hydraulic pumps in it (steering, ABS, and auto transmission pumps), could it be one of those? I am really puzzled by this so there are some more bits of information below.

• the fluid levels are all where they should be.
• with reduced g-force or a gentler left or U-turn, the noise goes away or is not present
• as far as I can tell, I cannot produce the noise turning to the right
• heavy braking kind of brings on the precursor noise, which is just a milder, and shorter-lived version of the noise (I'm not absolutely certain of this because I don't like to intentionally cause the noise, so I have been driving rather gently.)

I'd like to try to describe it as best I can, but don't want to induce a bias in anyone offering possible causes, but here goes.

In most cars if you invoke the ABS feature, there is a oscillating, electrical pump sound. If you hold the power steering against one of the locks at the extreme left or right, the power steering pump will make an additional whining/whirring noise. Now, combine both of those sounds and this is about the best description I can come up with going by memory.

If anyone could shed some light on what it might be, I would be very grateful. I have heard bad wheel bearings in the past, and I really don't think it has anything to do with a wheel bearing. The best guess I can make is that a pump is momentarily starved of fluid, starts making a noise, but quits once fluid flow is re-established. The problem with this is that my fluids are all at their correct levels, but I guess an imminent pump failure could still have the symptoms I am having.
 

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Could be power steering pump. When steering wheel is turned full left or right {e.g., during U Turn) the pump is continuously at max pressure and may make noise. Try full turn while not moving to see if similar sound. Check fluid level and belt. Pump could just be getting old.
 

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As others say it probably the power steering pump. As my 2000 and 2001 dose this. Since it’s only when you are moving the steering wheel it’s most likely that. The wheel bearings will make a grinding noise. Axle makes another noise but usually you’ll hear that all the time and with the wheel bearings too. Good luck


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