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Steering Diagnostics Please

08-28-2007, 11:16 AM
My 1999 Alero (3.4 V6; 100,000 kms) has just developed a squeaking / groaning noise with the steering -- especially noticable at low speeds. The sound is noticeable on both front wheels. I recently changed the alternator so I wonder if it is just improper belt tension failing to drive the power steering pump. Alternately, is it time to replace the power steering pump or do I have another problem?

Thoughts and opinions?

08-28-2007, 12:39 PM
Have you checked the Power Steering Resevoir fluid level to be certain your system is full? Low fluid level can cause these types of noises.

08-28-2007, 01:25 PM
I believe the Power Steering fluid level is OK. Within minutes of the noise starting I went to a Mr. Lube (or whatever) and was informed the level was OK and that the problem could be bushings. I am not sure what the bushings are, but I am not convinced the casual diagnosis was correct.

08-29-2007, 05:48 PM
Welcome to AF pjb2.

When the car is at higher RPMs does the noise go away ?
While steering that is.....
And does it do it when you first start it in the morning ?

Though, if its coming from the "'wheels" then it could be your brake wear indicators telling you they need changed.

08-30-2007, 10:24 AM
Thanks xeroinfinity

Funny thing that steering noise.... A trip to the mechanic yesterday and he could not hear any noise. Anyway, here is more information:

Obviously, the noise is somewhat intermittent. It is very pronounced on some mornings when manouvering out of the driveway. At higher speeds with far less turning required on the wheel and more engine noise, it is difficult to hear any steering problems. Even after extensive driving, however, the sound can be very noticeable at low speeds -- especially on turns.

The sound started with both wheels at the same time. The power steering was flushed in August 2004. Tires and the alternator are brand new. Front axle seals were replaced last summer. New front struts and a complete rebuild of the brakes (pads, rotors, calipers) was completed in the spring of 2005. The left front hub bearings were replaced last fall.


08-30-2007, 05:36 PM
So at highway speeds is it realy super easy(more the usual) to steer ?

Sometimes the Variable Assist steering sensor can go out and cause problems.
You can replace the VAS sensor on the bottom of the pump, but I usually just replace the whole pump much easier and quicker. That area is bad about leaking afterwards :disappoin

Thier is also a fitler on the high pressure power steering line down by the rack & pinion. If its clogged from the flush you'll hav simular problems with pump whine/niose.

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