1997 Subaru Outback



March, 29, 2009 AT 3:42 PM

Steering problem
1997 Subaru Outback 4 cyl All Wheel Drive Automatic 79,900 miles

Last week I had my car in the shop for an oil leak. The mechanic suggested that I have the timing belt replaced at the same time and I agreed. The car ran ok for about a week, but today, while I was driving, the windshield wipers became very slow. Then I noticed that the brake light and the charging light were on on the dash. Then I lost my power steering. I have left the car at the repair shop with a note. This is too coincidental not to have beeb caused by something they did, but I am anticipating an argument. What could have caused this? Could improper installation of the timing belt cause this type of problem?


3 Answers



March, 29, 2009 AT 4:33 PM

I bet you the mechanic didn't tighten the serpentine belt enough. It is the same belt driving the alternator and power steering pump. As the belt is too loose, the alternator has not been charging the battery causing the battery and brake light to turn on on the dash, and wiper too slow due to not enough electricity. Power steering operation is also affected as the P/S pulley is not being properly run by the belt.



March, 29, 2009 AT 5:13 PM

What is a serpentine belt? Is that the timing belt. These mechanics really have me at a disadvantage since I know nothing about cars. I read another entry hear that suggested the problemn could be improper belt shroud installation. Is that the same thing?



March, 30, 2009 AT 9:09 PM

It is not. Timing belt is the belt that drives the engine internal pulleys. You don't see this belt as it is hidden behind the timing cover.


Now, serpentine belt is the belt that drives all the accessory pulleys such as the alternator, power steering, and air conditioning. In your case, you have two serpentine belts. If you open your hood, looking at the engine, you will see two belts under the belt cover.



The belt going towards the right (passenger side) is the one that drives your alternator and power steering. That is the one that your mechanic needs to check and make sure that it is tight, and still in good condition. The one on the driver side drives your air conditioning.

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