How did you get so lucky? Charging system problems can be expensive to repair, but in your case, you provided the dandy observation about the hard steering. Without that clue we would have sent you totally down the wrong road.
The drive belt broke or fell off for the generator and power steeing pump. Unless it's really hard to access, this is less than a 100 dollar job. Depending on the type of belt, a V-belt generally costs less than 20 bucks, and a flat, ribbed serpentine belt is usually less than 50 bucks. Time to install them can get up to an hour if other belts must be removed first or if it's hard to get to some of the pullies.
Watch that the engine doesn't overheat on the way to the repair shop or home. The water pump might be driven by the same belt.
Saturday, March 13th, 2010 AT 4:21 PM