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Discussion Starter #1
I think I know what this is but wanted to run it by the forum b/c I leave tomorrow for camping 20 miles off the grid. A couple days ago I started to hear a hissing / shishing noise coming from the steering column. Sounds almost like hiss from the radio (but it's not). When the steering wheel is at rest you hear hissing, when you turn slightly left or right the noise changes or stops. There is no affect when I press the brake pedal. Power steering fluid level is fine. I suspect it's a valve issue with the power steering and worse case if that goes out during my trip I can still drive home (like the old days before P/S). Here's the only post I can find on this.
 

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I think I know what this is but wanted to run it by the forum b/c I leave tomorrow for camping 20 miles off the grid. A couple days ago I started to hear a hissing / shishing noise coming from the steering column. Sounds almost like hiss from the radio (but it's not). When the steering wheel is at rest you hear hissing, when you turn slightly left or right the noise changes or stops. There is no affect when I press the brake pedal. Power steering fluid level is fine. I suspect it's a valve issue with the power steering and worse case if that goes out during my trip I can still drive home (like the old days before P/S). Here's the only post I can find on this.
Is this happening when you are starting it cold - or is it happening all the time? This was in the other thread you posted in:
Mongo said:
There are tiny pilot valves in the power steering rack, they can make noise, that's the typical start on a cold morning, hiss/moan that come from the PS rack. So yea something could be wrong with the rack.

The hydraulic fan is controlled by the PCM, if you don't need it on, it won't turn on. I've seen posts about these going bad.
@zing;

Unfortunately, @Mongo has not been around on the forum lately and Tim the OP, has not been on the forum since June of 2015. Maybe @Flex or one of our other resident mechanics can chime in here.

I'd say that if you are not losing fluid and it doesn't seem to be having any kind of negative effect on your steering, I wouldn't be overly concerned about anything happening on your camping trip. You might want to bring an extra pint of power steering fluid with you - just in case.

Also, Tim mentioned that his power steering fluid was getting very hot, very quickly - have you checked to see if you have that same symptom?

If you do, I'd guess that your Hydraulic fan has failed and the extreme temperature that your power steering fluid is heating up to is causing a pressure build-up which is probably being forced out of one of those pilot valves in the power steering rack that @Mongo mentioned - causing the hissing noise that you're hearing.

Of course, this is all just speculation on my part - but it makes sense IF you have that same symptom of your power steering fluid getting hot very quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It does happen all the time, hot or cold, so I don't think it's the problem Mongo describes. I'm not losing fluid, levels is still good. Not sure how hot fluid typically gets, but mine gets hot to the point you can still touch it on the stick but barely.

Thanks, helpful to get a second opinion. When I get back I'll get it checked out and report back.
 

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It does happen all the time, hot or cold, so I don't think it's the problem Mongo describes. I'm not losing fluid, levels is still good. Not sure how hot fluid typically gets, but mine gets hot to the point you can still touch it on the stick but barely.

Thanks, helpful to get a second opinion. When I get back I'll get it checked out and report back.
Doesn't sound like the same symptom - this is how the OP described it:
super hot, super quick. Literally scalding hot after the car idles from cold for a couple of minutes.
Sounds good, have fun camping and post some pics when you get back.
 

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The brake booster is right behind that part of the dash. In many cases, the brake booster is leaking slightly causing the hiss.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Got the Commander fixed this week. Turns out I had 2 separate issues with my power steering, which appear to be unrelated. The hissing noise was not air (it sounded a lot like noise from the AC system) but rather harmonic noise resulting from wear in the steering column and associated fluid traveling through the values when the steering wheel was at rest. Turn left or right and the noise would stop. My mechanic hasn't run into this specific issue in his 20 years, but believes since most of your driving is done with the steering wheel in the neutral position and small adjustments left and right, that can wear on a column around the center position over time. Not typical especially with just 60k miles, but nevertheless we decided to replace the steering rack and that fixed it. The other issue was that the power steering pump was whining (I thought that noise was transmission pump starting to go, but I was wrong) so we had to replace that too. $1,200 in parts and $800 labor but I'm just glad it's fixed.
 

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Got the Commander fixed this week. Turns out I had 2 separate issues with my power steering, which appear to be unrelated. The hissing noise was not air (it sounded a lot like noise from the AC system) but rather harmonic noise resulting from wear in the steering column and associated fluid traveling through the values when the steering wheel was at rest. Turn left or right and the noise would stop. My mechanic hasn't run into this specific issue in his 20 years, but believes since most of your driving is done with the steering wheel in the neutral position and small adjustments left and right, that can wear on a column around the center position over time. Not typical especially with just 60k miles, but nevertheless we decided to replace the steering rack and that fixed it. The other issue was that the power steering pump was whining (I thought that noise was transmission pump starting to go, but I was wrong) so we had to replace that too. $1,200 in parts and $800 labor but I'm just glad it's fixed.
I've heard power steering pump whining many times on a few different types of vehicles, it happened to me personally once on a Mustang I had once upon a time - turns out one of the boots in the steering rack had a pinhole in it & was leaking power steering fluid - hence the whine.

The harmonic noise coming from the steering column is a new one that I haven't heard of previously - it's good to know the cause & the fix though, thanks for sharing @zing.
 
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