: Power Steering Assist Intermittent

11-18-04, 11:18 AM
My 97 Deville D'Elegance has been acting strange lately. The power steering assist has been working intermittently during low speed maneuvers, i.e. backing out of a parking space, turning a corner from a stop, etc. This happens about 50% of the time now and started about 3 weeks ago on a 12 hour drive. I checked the power steering fluid level which is fine but I do hear a slight moan when I turn the wheel back and forth when idling. Do you think I need a new pump? If so, is this very difficult to replace myself. I can see it on top and looks easy enough to get to. In addition, back in 2/04 I had the accessory drive belt replaced because of a squeal. That squeal has returned again when the engine is cold and does stop once it warms up. I can't imagine the belt would be bad again after only 10k but maybe the belt tensioner? Maybe all this is related? Any suggestions or experience with this? Thanks guys!

11-18-04, 03:53 PM
I wouldn't think the power steering pump is bad.

You note a belt squeal; this can easily be part or the entire problem.

1. Examine the belt closely for any fluids on it. This would cause the belt to slip at low speeds but would still work at higher speeds (until there is more wear). Some people have sprayed Armor All or similar products on their engines drive belts, this WILL cause the belt to slip.

a. If any fluid is found find the source and stop it.

b. Check the clamps on the power steering return line that is right next to the belt.

c. Use a 1/2" breaker bar to relax the tension against the belt. Slip the belt off of just the tensioner pulley. Spin the tensioner pulley; it should spin easily and quietly. Rock the tensioner to be sure it can move its full travel. If the pulley is noisy or doesn't move freely, I would replace it. An easy job. (Tensioner is about $45)

d. If pulley checks out OK, slip the belt back on.

e. Get some Wesley's Bleche-Wite Whitewall cleaner. I recommend this product because it will degrease very quickly, it is virtually odorless, non-flammable and will leave a very clean dry surface, without any damage to your cars paint.

With the engine OFF, spray the entire serpentine belt, all of the pulleys and engine area near the belt, thoroughly. Allow to stand for a minute or two. Using a garden hose spray and flush the entire area. Allow to drip for a few minutes and then repeat.

Start the engine and let idle to throw off the excess water, you may hear a squeal for a moment or two until the belt dries off.

2. Check your tire pressures; I recommend 30 PSI in a cold tire. Excess tire pressure just makes the car ride hard and under inflated will cause tire “drag” at low speed maneuvers.

3. Change the power steering filter. I believe it is located just forward of the right front tire, behind the bumper; it looks like a fuel filter. Easy access; cut the crimped clamps off and replace with stainless screw type clamps or spring clamps. (Filter is about $8 or so.)