Squealing when wheel is all the way turned left or right, tight steering after

Tiny
JSLIGH34
  • MEMBER
  • 2006 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 87,000 MILES
2006 Chevrolet Impala SS 5.3L - 103,000 miles

When turning the steering wheel all the way or close to all the way in either direction while moving, I hear a loud squealing noise, and then immediately steering becomes hard, tight. After flooring the gas pedal and a few normal turns while on the gas, steering becomes relieved. Also, steering is normal when on the gas like that.

I have had the power steering pump, rack & pinion, and the return hose all replaced. Could this be an issue with the serpentine belt or something with the suspension?
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Monday, May 6th, 2013 AT 1:57 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
This would be typical of a slipping belt. It could be worn but usually it is due to a weak or sticking spring-loaded tensioner pulley. Belt dressings will make flat serpentine belts squeal too. No dressings should ever be used on them.
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Monday, May 6th, 2013 AT 2:45 PM
Tiny
JSLIGH34
  • MEMBER
Thank you so much for your reply. I never have used any dressing on the belt. Would I be better off just getting a belt and the pulley at the same time since it is all relative to one another?

Also, I notice the pulley on the alternator makes a squeaking noise when the car is on. Could this cause any issue or would I just simply need to tighten or replace that pulley?
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Monday, May 6th, 2013 AT 2:59 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First you have to be sure the belt is tight. They don't stretch much so almost all engines use spring-loaded tensioner pulleys. Tug on the belt and watch for a pulley that moves, then goes back when you release the belt. (I recommend doing that with the engine off)! If the squeal started right after the power steering pump was replaced, the belt would have been removed by moving that tensioner, and if it's rusting tight it may have never sprung back all the way.

GM has had a real big problem with their generators failing since they were redesigned for the '87 model year, and besides the rash of electrical failures they also have had some trouble with the front bearings. There is very little clearance between the "stator" coil of wire and the "field winding" which rotates. When a little play develops in the bearings the rotor can catch on the stator and lock up the assembly. You might be hearing that bearing just starting to fail, or you might be hearing the belt slip over its pulley.

If the belt has more cracks on the ribbed side than about one per inch it's time to replace it anyway. Wear can make the belt not make full contact between the ribs and the grooves in the pulleys, but it is much more common for the belt to just be loose.
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Monday, May 6th, 2013 AT 8:37 PM
Tiny
JSLIGH34
  • MEMBER
I will be sure to check the belt more closely tomorrow. By looking, it is visually ok. I will try to see if a pulley moves, with the engine off of course! Hopefully I won't have to get a whole new tensioner because my model is expensive. The pulley itself is cheap.

My generator is good according to the test but you can hear the squeak while the belt is moving and the bearing or pulley on it doesn't seem on right, kind of crooked if you look closely. Also, I had both of my front bearings replaced a few months back. I got the error code for one so I just had both changed. They should be good.

This morning as I was turning I heard the screech and then steering was rough all day until a little while ago I was making a turn, I put a lot of pressure on the wheel and hit the gas and it jerked back to normal, and it will be until I make another sharp turn and hear the screech/squeal. Doesn't make sense to me! When jacked off the ground, steering is also easier after it becomes rough. Somebody also suggested the belt tensioner, along with checking ball joints and making sure strut mounts are free.

I really appreciate your help. If you have anything further from this please let me know!
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Monday, May 6th, 2013 AT 9:47 PM

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