2000 Oldsmobile Alero 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 120000 miles
When I first start my Alero the steering seems fine, it turns at slow speeds and all though the speed range. When the car warms up it steers VERY hard at low speeds. Downshifting and reving the engine slightly fixes the impossible steering event. No noise from the pump. I bought a belt but since it's a big deal to replace it I was wondering about the tensioner (it seems to have not a great tention on it, I cheched it against the tention on the long run of my wifes 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis and even on the long run it seems to hold a higher amount of tention [her belt looks worse than mine and I have to DEFINATELY replace it]).
Wayne " KOOLDADDY" McDowell
It would seem if it was the belt, that would make some noise due to slippage. If the steering becomes stiff, especially in both directions, I would initially suspect a pump. If it only does it in one direction, then I would lean towards a gear. The only way to confirm the pump, would be a power steering pressure test. That would require special tools, and procedures. If the belt seems excessively loose, I would replace it first, and assuming it is the correct belt, determine what is causing the loss of tension.