Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

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ultra magnus
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Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by ultra magnus » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:35 pm

2000 4wd Chevy Tracker. It doesn't really feel like I have NO power steering, but it feels more difficutl to turn the wheel. This wasn't a gradual thing. One night it was fine, the next day I noticed it was harder to turn. Still easily done with hand but I'm definetly feeling a bit more resistance than usual. Power sterring fluid level looks fine, but I'm not sure when it was last changed. Thanks for any ideas.

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by Gingerbread Man » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:34 pm

Do you have a leak? Is it cool when it's sluggish? Any different noise?
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by ultra magnus » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:41 pm

No leak that I can see. Power steering fluid is right at the max fill line. Ambient temp or engine? Ambient has been around 35-40 F engine temp has been low just driving about a mile. No different noise I could notice from inside the vehicle with the door open.

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by Gingerbread Man » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:47 pm

Tire pressure ok? PS fluid doesn't normally ever need to be changed unless it just craps out. Is the fuse ok?
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by Braxton » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:43 pm

Bad pump or bad steering rack.
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by Gingerbread Man » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:52 pm

Braxton wrote:Bad pump or bad steering rack.
That's what I'm thinking but I don't want to be pessimistic.
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by Regulator » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:53 pm

Regular Guy wrote:Tire pressure ok? PS fluid doesn't normally ever need to be changed unless it just craps out. Is the fuse ok?
Where is the power steering fuse?

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by Gingerbread Man » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:55 pm

Regulator wrote:
Regular Guy wrote:Tire pressure ok? PS fluid doesn't normally ever need to be changed unless it just craps out. Is the fuse ok?
Where is the power steering fuse?
No fuse per say just check the panel. I had a friend who lost brakes, it was a fuse. Weird.
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by Regulator » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:58 pm

Regular Guy wrote:
Regulator wrote:
Regular Guy wrote:Tire pressure ok? PS fluid doesn't normally ever need to be changed unless it just craps out. Is the fuse ok?
Where is the power steering fuse?
No fuse per say just check the panel. I had a friend who lost brakes, it was a fuse. Weird.
I drive an 81 Chevy, and I know they keep makin vehicles more complicated, but I just couldn't think of how a fuse would be connected to PS. :lol:

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by xLionx » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:53 pm

Regulator wrote:
Regular Guy wrote:
Regulator wrote:
Regular Guy wrote:Tire pressure ok? PS fluid doesn't normally ever need to be changed unless it just craps out. Is the fuse ok?
Where is the power steering fuse?
No fuse per say just check the panel. I had a friend who lost brakes, it was a fuse. Weird.
I drive an 81 Chevy, and I know they keep makin vehicles more complicated, but I just couldn't think of how a fuse would be connected to PS. :lol:

I'm glad you had a :lol: after that,cuz it's not like Power is in the name or anything :mrgreen:

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by ultra magnus » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:22 pm

Tire pressure is kinda low on the back drivers side, will fill it on the way home from work. Would the back being low effect the steering much? Going to check all the fuses and connections on Friday (weather permiting.) Seems like an elctrical problem could be likely since I'm having a http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... t problem. What is the proper method of cleaning the battery contacts without electrocuting myself? What about other small contacts that may need cleaning what tools/formulas work well?

Thanks.

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by MI-1Honkey » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:10 pm

I've never seen a fuse for power steering, its not electrical, its mechanically powered. Usually by a belt.

As i see it, first order of business here is to completely flush the power steering fluid. This may cure the sluggishness your feeling.

If it doesn't, can you hear the pump groan if you turn the wheel from lock to lock? Are there any dead spots in the power steering?
If these are both negative, there is a pressure sensor on the steering rack. You should be able to confirm sensor malfunction with a scan tool if you have access to one.

BTW Power steering fluid should be flushed every 24,000 miles or 2 years, just like brake fluid.

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by ultra magnus » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:04 pm

No groan that I can hear while turning it myself, but don't have access to someone else to do it while I listen yet. Some spots feel more difficult that others.

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by MI-1Honkey » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:24 pm

If its groaning you can hear it plainly from the driver's seat, no need for somebody else to turn the wheel.

I checked a couple service books toady, the pressure sensor may be on the rear of the PS pump, and will be a single wire connector, apparently this connection often gets be corroded, check the connector, clean if necessary.

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by cauldron » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:44 pm

The belt might be loose and slipping when the pump needs to make pressure.

BATTERY: 7/16 or 1/2 wrench for top post batteries (older style) or a 3/8 wrench for the smaller bolts on a side terminal.

ACID. wear safety glasses or goggles

Remove the Negative - terminal. Don't touch the wrench to the other terminal on the battery. Then tuck the wire away from the battery terminal. It can touch anything else.

Remove the Positive + terminal. Same rules for the other wire.

Clean the terminals on the battery with a wire brush, there is one just for the battery posts available at most parts stores and wally world. clean the inside of the wire terminals.

Connect and tighten the Positive terminal to the batttery. Connect and tighten the negative terminal.

cover the bare metal with Vasoline or special grease from the parts store. This keeps the terminals from corroding as fast. Nothing where the terminal touches the post, just smeared over the surface after all else is reconnected.

The order is important. Touching the wrench to the frame and the Positive will weld the wrench to the battery. It's a small spot weld, and you can break it free. (as soon as it happens) after a couple seconds, the wrench is too hot to touch, and the battery could explode. Most of the time it will just spark loudly and startle you.

Touching the wrench to the negative terminal and the frame does nothing. After the negative is removed, touching the positive to the frame with the wrench does nothing. This is why the order is important. If you are worried, cover one end of the wrench and the handle with duck tape.

a 12 volt battery won't shock you at all, and touching both posts with your fingers will do nothing.


While the battery is disconnected, (or even just the Negative terminal) is a great time to clean other terminals and wire connectors.
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by ultra magnus » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:52 pm

Going to clean terminals and connections today. Anything else I should look into while I'm under the hood?

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by cauldron » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:07 am

ultra magnus wrote:Going to clean terminals and connections today. Anything else I should look into while I'm under the hood?
Any vacuum lines and hoses that crack when bent. There are about four sizes available, and they are all sold by the foot. Go buy 10 feet of each size, or have another vehicle, as a hot engine will burn your hands when replacing the lines in tight spots.

Replace lines one at a time...

Belts have a maximum number of cracks per inch.

clean out all the dead leaves from the vents.

Battery tie down? strap or a bracket?

If any of the coolant hoses are soft, check when cold, replace them.

Spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor should be fairly new.
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by ultra magnus » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:23 pm

MI-1Honkey wrote:If its groaning you can hear it plainly from the driver's seat, no need for somebody else to turn the wheel.

I checked a couple service books toady, the pressure sensor may be on the rear of the PS pump, and will be a single wire connector, apparently this connection often gets be corroded, check the connector, clean if necessary.
Pulled that wire and cleaned it up a bit (didn't even look very bad) and that seemed to fix it. Just took it for a little 5 min spin and it was fine then anyways.

Thanks for the help guys.

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:58 pm

I would still check the belt and the pulley on the power steering pump. I have seen belts slip and worn pulleys cause the symptoms you are describing.
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by ultra magnus » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:30 pm

What would I look into on the pully? I think my Haynes manual tells me how to check the belt. How difficult is changing out the belt?

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:40 pm

Look for traces of belt rubber on the pulley, or highly polished wear marks. These are signs of slipping. Also, look at the belt itself. If it looks badly weather checked and has cracks and tiny chunks missing, it's time for a new belt.

Changing the belt can be a hassle, unfortunately. If you have a Haynes manual, then it should have a routing diagram. You might have to buy or rent a idler pulley wrench, which is worth every penny. These help you take the tension off the belt by putting leverage on the spring loaded idler assembly if this truck has a one piece "serpentine" belt.
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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by rome_rod » Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:01 pm

Not a leaking hose then? Or a bad power steering pump? There are several chevrolet car parts you will have to check then. How do you determine if the pump is good or not?

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Re: Sluggish steering. Power steering not doing it's part.

Post by aa1pr » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:21 pm

Regular Guy wrote:
Regulator wrote:
Regular Guy wrote:Tire pressure ok? PS fluid doesn't normally ever need to be changed unless it just craps out. Is the fuse ok?
Where is the power steering fuse?
No fuse per say just check the panel. I had a friend who lost brakes, it was a fuse. Weird.
I lost my power steering pump almos t2 weeks ago and that as a by product made my 04 Yukon to have no brakes. not sure about yours so be careful.

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