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Hi Paul, How is the condition of your front tires? If the pump is whining at higher rpms that will change pressure down at the rack, is the rack a variable assist? My advise would be to get the pump replaced or rebuilt asap, If the pump is whiny or grinding it will send small metal particles through the system and contaminate the rack and pinon etc. Did you flush the system when you replaced the rack? Let me know a little more info, Hope this helps, Good Luck Randy.
jack up the front of the car and see how difficult it is to turn the steering wheels from lock to lock. Allowing for the steering box resistance they should turn freely once you have established movement. If you have power steering you may have to disconnect from the box. What you are looking for here is binding ball joints or king pin bearings . If you are happy that there is no appreciable resistance then have a wheel alignment done paying attention to castor settings as this is what gives the self centring affect to steering. The bigger the angle the harder to turn but the quicker it returns . AS the wheels are turned the vehicle is lifted up because of the angle and when the wheel is let go the vehicle drops back down and so spins the wheel back to centre.. If you have leaf springs in the front I would be checking out the spring camber AS this problem comes from sagging leaf springs turning the axle forward and so putting the castor in negative territory.
Not sure if this helps, but I've seen cases where the steering wheel and tilt assembly loosen up from the steering column. When this happens, the linkage that activates the ignition switch becomes "too short". That's why if you lift the wheel, it "lengthens" the linkage and activates the switch. If this is your problem, the steering wheel has to come off to tighten the tilt assembly bolts. I don't recommend messing with it personally due to the complexity buried inside modern steering wheels (air bag, horn, tilt, cruise controls, audio controls, etc.). Take it somewhere you trust.
to chk the sensor on the calibration unplug the wheel from the usb port and plug back in if the wheel turns left then right and centers the sensor is fine. go to the control panel>game controller>properties and test the wheel if everything is working there it is a problem with the game. look for a profiler or calibration utility in the game itself to bring back to center.
Section 11-02C: Steering Gear, Power Rack and Pinion, Explorer
1996 Explorer with Power Rack and Pinion Steering Workshop Manual
REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION
SPECIAL SERVICE TOOL(S) REQUIRED
Pitman Arm Puller
Rotate steering wheel from lock-to-lock (entire gear travel). Record n umber of rotations.
Divide the number of rotations by two. This gives the required number of turns to place system in the on-center position.
NOTE: Verify the front wheels and steering wheel are in the straight-ahead position.
From the lock position, rotate steering wheel the number of turns determined in Step 3. This places the gear in the on-center position.
Steering Gear, Explorer
NOTE: Do not rotate steering column when intermediate shaft is disconnected or DAMAGE TO CLOCKSPRING will result.
Remove bolt retaining the lower steering column shaft to the steering gear input shaft.
Disconnect the lower steering column shaft from the steering gear.
Remove stabilizer bar attachment from frame for clearance to remove gear.
Unscrew the quick connect fittings for the power steering pressure hose (3A719) and power steering return hoses (3A713) at the steering gear housing (3548).
Power Steering Hose Connections
Power Steering Pump
Power Steering Pressure Hose
Power Steering Cooler and Hose Assembly
Plug ends of fluid lines removed and ports in gear to prevent damage and entry of dirt.
Remove two (2) nuts from P/S cooler.
Remove P/S cooler from vehicle.
Remove and discard the cotter pin retaining the nut to tie rod end (3A130) and remove nut.
Separate tie rod ends from front wheel spindle (3105) using Pitman Arm Puller T64P-3590-F.
Remove the two nuts, bolts, and washer assemblies retaining steering gear (3504) to front crossmember (5019).
Remove steering gear from vehicle. If required, remove steering gear mounting bracket housing insulators (3F640) and steering gear insulators (3C716) from steering gear housing.
If removed, install steering gear mounting insulators into the steering gear housing.
Push the steering gear mounting insulator and steering gear insulator in until there is no space between the lip on the insulator and steering gear housing.
Position steering gear on front crossmember. Install nuts, bolts and washers retaining steering gear to front crossmember. Tighten to 128-172 Nm (94-127 lb-ft).
Position power steering cooler onto bolts and install nuts. Tighten nuts to 68-92 Nm (50-68 lb-ft).
NOTE: The fittings design allows the power steering pressure hose and power steering return hose to swivel when properly tightened. Do not attempt to eliminate looseness by overtightening, since this can cause damage to fittings.
Connect power steering pressure hose and power steering return hose to appropriate ports on steering gear housing. Tighten fittings to 27-34 Nm (20-25 lb-ft).
NOTE: Make sure the tie rod ends (3A131) are seated in the tapered spindle holes to prevent rotation while tightening nut.
With the steering gear, steering wheel (3600) and wheel (1007) in the on-center position, attach the tie rod end to front wheel spindle and tighten to 56-76 Nm (77-103 lb-ft).
If necessary, advance tie rod nuts to the next slot. Install cotter pins.
NOTE: Verify that no rotation from the on-center position has occurred.
Position steering column lower intermediate shaft over steering gear input shaft. Outer input shaft dust shield must be in place. Replace pinch bolt and tighten to 41-56 Nm (30-42 lb-ft).
Replace the front wheel and tire assemblies. Refer to Section 04-04 .
Replace wheel covers.
Refill power steering oil reservoir (3A697) with Premium Power Steering Fluid E6AZ-19582-AA or equivalent meeting Ford specification ESW-M2C33-F.
Purge air from steering system. Refer to Section 11-00 . Verify absence of any unusual power steering noise.
Check and adjust toe alignment specifications. Refer to Section 04-00 .
Make sure steering gear operates correctly and is not leaking.
Check and adjust fluid level in power steering oil reservoir.
sounds like either the camber or caster is off on your alignment or possable you got your steering gear box adjustment too tight .. this will cause it to not return to center.. thanks and holler if you have more..