Hard to steer followed with engine overheating

Tiny
LINNEX MILES
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 3.4L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 200,000 MILES
First and foremost, I wish to give a quick shout-out to the community with my previous issues. Keep up the great work.

New issue on hand. Was driving home and have made it to the last mile. All of the sudden, it got incredibly hard to steer. At the onset of the problem, I did a mental check of previous troubleshooting steps. I have already have replaced the power steering pump and inspected the pressure line (I can come back to replace it later on if need be). As I was wrestling the car back in the driveway, the engine started to overheat.

I began to research the problem. From what I gather, the issue of the hard steering was deducted to a bad rack. I have the part on order already. However, I need to investigate the overheating aspect as well. Could it be due to the rack's malfunction, or could it be another issue entirely?

Hard steering:
Replaced power steering pump.
Inspected power steering pressure line on both ends.

Engine overheating
Replaced radiator reservoir and hose as it was cracked. And that did resolve the issue. However, with it overheating due to the steering issue, I have to cover my apples.

I look forward to hearing your wise words.


Thanks!
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Saturday, July 1st, 2017 AT 6:12 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First clear up my confusion. It sounds like you replaced the power steering pump previously for some other problem. Is that right?

The rack and pinion steering gear can cause loss of power assist when the Teflon rings on the spool valve leak, but that never comes on suddenly as you described. In fact, GM had a real big problem with what we call "morning sickness", in the late 1980's and early 1990's. The symptom always is the same. No power assist first thing in the morning for the first ten to twenty seconds, but only when turning in one direction. Over the next few weeks or months, it will take longer and longer for the assist to come back, and eventually turning the other way will be affected too.

Given the overheating at the same time, I would suspect a belt problem, specifically a rusted spring-loaded tension-er that is not keeping the belt tight.

Another thing to look at is the vibration damper. On many engines, the outer ring is the drive pulley for the serpentine belt. If the gel that is bonding that ring to the hub lets go, it can spin and not drive the belt.
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Saturday, July 1st, 2017 AT 9:24 PM
Tiny
LINNEX MILES
  • MEMBER
I will gladly clear up any confusion for you. In the regard to the hard steering, it began with upon start-up as it would be difficult to turn when getting out of the drive way. I first checked the power steering levels as they were low. I replaced the power steering fluid accordingly. For a time, it worked. However, I soon find myself having to put it in more often. Also, there was a leak now that you mentioned. After researching the issue, and going through my Haynes repair manual. I was advised to inspect the power steering pressure hose and replace the power steering pump. And for a while, it worked as it no longer leaked as well. When the full-blown issue happened I was starting up the car as I was leaving post office which is less than a mile home. As I was backing out, that is when the difficulty in steering came back. Did some research, reached out to a few mechanic friends they stated that it could possibly be a bad rack. It is my hope that this clears up any confusion for you.
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Saturday, July 1st, 2017 AT 10:35 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yes, thank you. Anything is possible, but this does not sound like a bad rack. If it is, you would have had hard steering in just one direction. I am still leaning toward a belt issue. After that, a recently-replaced part, (the pump), has a better chance of failing. I have run into pulleys with center holes wobbled out and the pulley was not turning the pump's shaft, and I have had two with a shaft that snapped. The pulley appeared to spinning normally, but with the engine stopped, it and half of the shaft could be pulled out by hand. Both of those were permanent failures, meaning the power assist never came back.
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Saturday, July 1st, 2017 AT 10:49 PM
Tiny
LINNEX MILES
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your advice. Okay, I will take your angle at this. Besides, trial and error, right? As I am taking the DIY approach, please direct as in the regards to what to look for, the parts, and links to any correspondence with instructions as to how to go about performing this task. Having replaced the belt before, this will be familiar territory. By no means am I an engineer as I am a computer geek, but I have to give credit to the GM engineers. I like the modularity of their design of the 3.4L engines as to how easy it is to get to some of these parts compared to other engine layouts. I am really enjoying being in control of my vehicle's maintenance. I humbly await your instruction.
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Saturday, July 1st, 2017 AT 11:12 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Here is a photo of what your vibration damper looks like. The green arrow is pointing to the outer ring, which is the pulley. The blue arrow is pointing to the bonding material that holds the ring to the hub. Sometimes you will see that bonding material looks like it melted and/or sprayed around the area. Sometimes they look perfectly fine, even when the ring is broken loose.

To check for that elusive cause, put a chalk mark or piece of tape on the center hub by the red arrow, and another one on the outer ring, by the green arrow. Now run the engine for a least a minute or two. When you stop the engine and inspect those two marks, they should still be lined up like they were when you planted them. If they have move in relation to each other, that bonding material has let go and the assembly must be replaced.
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Saturday, July 1st, 2017 AT 11:50 PM

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