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Hi all,


I have an R18 FD1 Civic (JDM) which comes with hydraulic power steering. Recently my tire dealer / mechanic pointed out that my power steering had a possible issue. What he did was turn the steering wheel left and right briskly (until you feel some resistance) whilst the engine was running. There was a loud knocking sound (steering rack?) whilst he did that. Can anyone tell me if this sound is normal? Even you if are travelling at a low speed (say like 10 miles an hour) and you do that, the sound is still there. I'm concerned as I never noticed that sound before.


When the car was new (with standard 15" wheels), the power steering was very light and responsive. Soon after, I changed to some 17" wheels for better vehicle handling. With the larger wheels, the steering feel and responsiveness changed (stiffer and heavier steering wheel) which was expected. However, I recently put the 15" wheels and tyres back on and the stiffness in the steering wheel is still there (although the wheel feel slightly lighter). The wheel alignment was also redone just to make sure.

Questions:

1) Has the power steering pump somehow been overloaded with the big wheels and is now weakened? I say that because the power steering vibrates/chatters a LOT more than it used to whilst in a parking lot. I've never deliberately held the steering wheel at full lock as I know this can damage the pump. I've checked the power steering fluid and it appears dark.
2) Will replacing the power steering fluid fix the knocking sound and lighten the power steering?
3) Is it possible the steering rack may need to be replaced?


Please help thanks.
 
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