I have a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT (3.4L) with a little under 95k on her but pretty soon she prolly wont have any power steering. Which sucks because its my only vehicle and have do do a lot of city driving. I've been trying to figure out what's wrong on my own, but haven't had much luck. Her's everything I know about whats going on with it.
After having read about it I've have found that some Grand Ams were eqquiped with a speed sensitive steering system. One of my friends has a 99 SE model but his car has the easiest steering effort of any vehicle I've ever driven in my life. Both cars seem to have the same steering ratio, but his is just a lot easier to turn.
I guess I have more than one question, but to start, is mine equipped with the speed sensitive steering or no? My first thought was no, but the Haynes book shows a VSS (vehicle speed) input on the pump, and sure enough theres a wire clipped on the steering pump. This could also be another input though.
Many GM vehicles equipped with speed sensitive steering have another sensonr somewhere on the steering column monitering the speed of the steering wheel. Obviously, when the wheel is turned quickly, the pump provides full assist for help in emergency situations.
When I turn the steering wheel, aside from it being very hard to turn at low speeds, theres a noise coming from what sounds like just under the column cover (i guess thats what its called, between wheel and dash). The only way I can describe this noise is to say that it sounds much like a zipper being pulled rather quickly. Im thinking if it's a sensor of some kind, it could be broke and perhaps rubbing on something. But it happens whenever the steering wheel is being turned.
The power steering pump is rather noisy as well. Below 1500 rpm it doesnt seem to work at all. Here's the wierd thing: When I start my car in the morning or after letting it sitting for a while, the power steering seems to work fine for those first 20 seconds or so (during that time the steering actually feels the my friends steering in that it takes little effort to turn, but is only like that for a few seconds).
When the car first started acting up, I just thought the fluid was low so when I got home, I just went in the garage, found some power steering fluid and topped it off. When I went to put the bottle away, I realized I had made a careless error. The bottle wasnt power steering fluid, but rather DOT 3 brake fluid imstead.
The next day I lifted the front of the car off the ground, removed the return line from the pump and ran all the fluid out by repeatedly turning the steering wheel lock to lock with the engine running. After all the fluid was drained, I filll it with new power steeing fluid and kept running it through in the same manner until only clean power steering fluid was coming out of the hose.
Unfortunately, this hasnt fixed the problem (btw, yes the serpentine is good and tight). With the combined problems of interior steering wheel noise and a lot of pissing and moaning from the pump, I'm quite stumped at the moment, not to mention the fact that is seems to be getting worse.
If anyone has ever dealt with this or knows whats wrong please let me know. It would be sincerely appreciated.
I suggest if you know how to do this or if you dont take it to a shop and have the power steering tank and pump flushed out and cleaned. Your rack of pinion might be going bad as well. Have you checked that?