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Rx300 - Any Experience Of Power Steering Problems

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Having recently spent almost £1000 getting a new front suspension leg to cure a worsening knocking noise. I got a message from the wife the other day worrying about a new noise she could hear. Now this indeed worried me. As it really must be a noise if the wife can hear it. She was oblivious to the previous suspension problem and resulting noise....

Anyway, it appears to have just started, but its worse with a cold engine. Basically there is a loud, high pitched whining sound on start up. It doesnt alter with a blip of throttle, and worsens when you move the steering wheel slightly whilst stood. It to me suggests something along lines of power steering pump? I drove the car when she first mentioned it and it had been warmed up so was not as noticeable. I could hear a faint whine in the background. Just started the car after a few days of it being stood, unused and the noise is quite loud and noticeable. Due to the plastic coverings under the bonnet I cant really get a good look, but the noise is definately coming from behind the dashboard/ steering wheel/ steering rack area.

Any ideas or experience of power steering issues? Based on the last huge bill only about 8 weeks ago, is it likely I can expect another if it was to be the pump. Are there any other components that should be checked out?

Many thanks.

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Is the sound a high pitched whine/squeal? If so it could be the tension on the alternator belt - easy enough job for any mechanic to do. Good luck.

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The sound is a high pitched whine, but would the alternator belt cause the noise to increase in volume as you engage the power steering mechanism slightly?

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Sounds weird but yes. It puts tension on the alternator mount. I had this on one of my old cars albeit I only got it on full lock. The techies simply slackened the alternator and no problems. I could be wrong. See what other members say, but the only way to find out for sure is to take it to a garage. From what I can tell though you shouldn't need to worry too much.

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my local garage has identified one of the power steering pipes corroded and leaking. Being fixed tomorrow for about £170. Relieved...

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Hi - I am having exactly the same problem!!I didn't hear a whine, but more of a fuzzy blowing, at first it was really faint and I thought it was feed back from the speaker. It was coming from the driver side, behind the steering column and was louder when turning the wheel at slow speed or when stationary. It gradually got louder and it was taken to a garage where they suspected the belt was slipping.

The day after collecting it from the garage, I heard a pop and my power steering went!! The power steering specialist garage I took it to said the hose had become corroded and needed replacing. The snag was only a Lexus part would fit costing over £400 with VAT. Unfortunately this did not fix the problem, the steering was still not right. After recovering it to a Lexus garage, to get a Lexus specialist diagnosis, I was told my rack and pump have also gone..!

The car is a 53 plate BUT has only done 48K miles..!! It's serviced annually and never driven hard, looked after and loved! Should a rack and pump both be worn out? I expected more from Lexus to be honest!

Whilst researching the fault I discovered some identical instances in the UK and U.S. Could there be a problem with the seal on the rack/piston (as there was with the Brake Master Cylinder)?? Its seems more then coincidence that the same fault has happened at the same mileage globally?? Obviously not enough for a recall! It's has left me with some reservations on getting another RX.

So I am now waiting for the rack and pump to be refurbished. A new set of each plus labour was going to cost over £3k - not economically viable on a nearly 10 year old car that is due to be traded in.

I LOVE my car - I feel safe in it, I feel safe with my family in it, but what a head ache when it goes wrong!!

Glad you have got your's fixed though - such a relief!

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The garage told me the power steering fluid had been leaking, so they have also steam cleaned the underside. I had been discussing with the wife, prior to the relief, that if it was a huge bill then we may have to look at something else. I hope.... that having spent £900 on a new shocker 8 weeks ago we can enjoy some trouble free motoring for several months... Thankfully we ve been able to not use it until fixed, because if theres no fluid in and we'd have been driving. At some point it may have gone bang and been much more expensive as you point out. Our car is a 53 having done 58k. We also really like the car, just the low mpg is a pain, as the wife does only very short journeys. About 220 from a tank.... Its ended up costing £183 to fix, inc part, labour & fluid.

Seems fine and now no noise. Prior to the fix I did ring lexus to sound them out on the price of a pump. They said in their experience its the hoses and not the pump, so didnt give me a price, but the £3 k mark is huge...

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