It should be a bottle amongst the engine block somewhere, usually it's near to the windscreen washer pump and brake fluid pumps. At the front of my engine I have a huge black box with a screw top which is for my power steering, i'd imagine it's fairly easy to find on any engine.
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You did a good job of recording the noise. Start with the easy first. Check the level of the power steering fluid. It should be up to the bottom of the neck, and at the proper level on the dipstick that is a part of the power steering cap. Low fluid can make the power steering pump "howl". Next, find a "mechanic's stethoscope". That is something like a long screwdriver (16" to 24") or a long slender stick. Put the business end of the screwdriver on the alternator, the power steering pump, or the idler pulley housing and put your ear to the handle end. One of those units, which is being driven by the serpentine belt, may have a bad bearing in it. You hould be quickly able to hear the offending=noise-making part. Understand that some parts like the idler pulley or the tensioning pulley may be difficult or impossible for you to reach with your improvised "stethoscope".
Start by checking your fluid level. Is the level between the cold/low line and the hot/high line on the dipstick?
If the level is ok, do you currently have power assisted steering? If not, or the pump whines, you may have a blockage in the power steering pump/and/or lines, and should go to the mechanic to fix.
Lastly, if both those above are not the problem, it could be simply that the power steering cap/dipstick doen not seal properly to the power steering housing. There is a rubber or plastic seal under the cap to prevent fluid from escaping. If it is damaged/split/chipped ... you will need a new cap/dipstick.
The power steering fluid reservoir is on the passenger side of the engine compartment. The cap should say power steering fluid.
If its shrieking it's not low on fluid. The belt is loose.
It will make more of a moan when the fluid is low.
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It's probally low on power steering fluid. If you open the hood, look on the left side right over the passenger tire. Theres a resivore there for power steering fluid. Unscrew the cap and wipe the dip stick clean. Then put it back in and pull it back out and see how far up the stick the fluid reaches. Make sure you put it in all the way so you get an accurate reading. If its low, add some until it says full on the dip stick. then put the cover back on, start the van and turn the steering all the way left and then all the way right a few times. The noise should stop as long as that was the problem. Windstars and known for having power steering leaks so I am going to bet that is the noise your hearing. It's a low toned, whining noise if it is low on power steering fluid. Hope that works for you. Good Luck.
Do you hear noises while turning the wheel at low speeds or stationary? If you hear a whining noise check the power steering fluid level. A low fluid level would make a whining noise as well as cause stiff steering. If you hear a squealing noise check the power steering belt tension. A slipping belt would cause stiff steering also. If you hear no abnormal noises check to make sure the power steering belt is there. If all of the above check out ok you may have a bad power steering pump, steering gear or a blockage in a pressure line.
Problems associated with low power steering fluid… Hard Vehicle Steering A low power steering fluid level can often times cause a vehicle's steering to become hard and labored. Adequate amounts of power steering fluid are necessary to enable a vehicle's power steering system to function and operate at optimum levels. A lack of power steering fluid in a vehicle's power steering system reduces the amount of hydraulic fluid pressure necessary to efficiently operating the various parts of the entire power steering system. Power steering fluid supplies the fluid force needed to operate the power steering gears and to enable power steering gearbox operation. Low power steering fluid levels reduce this hydraulic pressure, which commonly results in hard vehicle steering. Pump Noise It is very common for a low power steering fluid level to cause significant power steering pump noise. An adequate amount of power steering fluid is required to ensure the proper function and longevity of a power steering pump unit, which is a belt-driven pump responsible for housing and circulating power steering pump fluid. A low level of power steering fluid results in increased power steering pump friction, heat, and wear, all of which can significantly reduce the operational life of the power steering pump while at the same time cause excessive power steering pump noise. Fluid Boiling
Many times a low power steering fluid level can result in excessive heating of power steering fluid, a condition that can seriously degrade the fluid and cause it to boil. A low power steering fluid level results in less available fluid to both lubricate and cool a power steering pump unit. A lack of power steering pump lubrication and cooling leads to excessive heat being generated within the power steering pump unit itself, a condition that translates into the available level of power steering fluid becoming super-heated and degraded. When this happens it is common for the power steering fluid to boil and lose all of its lubricating and heat-reducing capabilities.
The power steering gearbox is a set of gears within a vehicle's power steering system designed to facilitate movement of a vehicle's front wheels. The power steering gearbox is connected to the power steering pump by hydraulic fluid lines that deliver a constant supply of power steering fluid to the power steering gearbox. A low power steering fluid level, especially a chronic and severe low power steering fluid level, can lead to increased friction and wear within the power steering gearbox assembly, a condition that can significantly shorten the operational life of the power steering gearbox and negatively affect its operation
When installing power steering pump you should lift front of car up. Fill reservour up with fluid and trun steering wheel with ignition off about 5 to 8 times full revolution. This will take air out of system. Also make sure that lines are connected correctly. It sounds like there is possiblilty of are in the system.
Might have low fluid, check that first, next if fluid is not a problem, its prolly the unit itself that needs replacing, if you are loosing fluid, check to see if its the lines or the housing. Lines are easy to replace and cheap