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Power Steering problems

Old 03-07-2009, 06:55 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: United States
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I have a 1998 V6 Sable that the steering is randomly hard to turn. This started happening last year,and for the first time this year today.When this happens the steering is very difficult to turn ,but with out doing anything will be OK the next turn.When this happens the steering is the only thing that is notice.Thanks
Old 03-07-2009, 09:48 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: United States
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Which v6 do you have? 3.0 Overhead valve or dual overhead cam (Says duratec right on top for the DOHC) Does it only do this at low speeds or at a stop, in reverse,or will it do this at any time?

A few things to check would be the condition and tension of the accessory belt,the fluid level, and the condition of the fluid (does it look cruddy?).. IS the power steering pump extremely noisy (usually makes a groaning noise when turning or all the time)? The duratec engine did have issues with the accessory belt slipping, usually when wet.. There is also a service bulletin about a short in the transmission range sensor that can cause this.. Do the windows or radio ever quit working when the car is in reverse?

Some of these cars had electronic variable assist steering, however when that fails it NORMALLY allows full power assist.. Stranger things have happened though.. If it would be a failue with the vairable assist it may have set a trouble code in the body computer.. This won;t turn on a check engine light, and unfortunatly the free scans they do at places like Autozone will only get you the engine and maybe some transmission codes....

It may also pay to inspect the steering &suspension itself to make sure nothing is binding or rubbing.. IT could also be a good idea to inspect the motor mounts and make sure a power steering hose is not somehow being pinched off...

Normally a bad steering rack & pinion unit will either leak or have a shudder when turning.. A failed pump will leak, make noise, or there will be no assist at all. Being that it is n intermittant problem it could be something simple like dirt in the system requiring a flush and some new fluid... However it may require some diagnosis, which will be somewhat difficult with it being an intermittant problem...Edited by: maxfax3
Old 03-11-2009, 12:58 PM
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I've also seen the rear engine torque absorber (little shock absorber or engine mount) cratered and allowing the motor to lean far enough to actually stop the pulley from turning on the power steering pump. now this one on a 93? tarus wagon with the 3.0 SOHC engine. after fixing that top mount, the problem stopped.
Old 03-12-2009, 02:44 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 859

A slipping belt would be the logical cause for temporary p. steering loss, but it would be accompanied with very loud belt squeal that you could not miss. Do you hear any pump whine regularly? I imagine you have checked the fluid level and it was good. Let me know.
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