Mechanics

POWER STEERING? ALTERNATOR

1999 Nissan Altima • 220,000 miles

My son was drivin his car through some very muddy roads when he suddenly lost his power steering and the car died and would not start back up. Any idea on where we should start in regards to repairing it? My initial thougnt was alternator or serpintine belt. Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Many thanks
Joann
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Jgood925
June 14, 2013.



Obviously, you should inspect for any visible, physical damage first. I don't know if your steering failed first or if that was just a result of the engine stalling.

Once you start testing things, here's what you need to do.

All "crank, no start" conditions are approached in the same way. Every engine requires certain functions to be able to run. Some of these functions rely on specific components to work and some components are part of more than one function so it is important to see the whole picture to be able to conclude anything about what may have failed. Also, these functions can ONLY be tested during the failure. Any other time and they will simply test good because the problem isn't present at the moment.
If you approach this in any other way, you are merely guessing and that only serves to replace unnecessary parts and wastes money.

Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for.

These are the basics that need to be tested and will give us the info required to isolate a cause.

1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.

2) Test for injector pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injector with the key on.

3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.

4) If all of these things check good, then you would need to do a complete compression test.

Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out,
you will know which system is having the problem.

Wrenchtech
Jun 14, 2013.