04 Buick Century Steering. (stiff)

Just bought an 04 century for a daily driver after my 99 century crapped out after a billion miles…

Car runs and drives near perfect with 120k miles.
However the steering is really stiff.

Ive driven several centurys differing in years and none have felt like this.
gotta have a little muscle to drive it.

Doesnt make any squealing noises or anything like that.
Where should i start?
-checked fluid and its at the correct level.

*also…does anyone know if 1999 century seats (front and back ) will fit in a 2004?
It looks like someone just poured a 2liter of pepsi on the seats LOL

Possibilities for the stiff steering include
a weak pump,
binding power steering rack piston,
leaking/failing proportional (“spool”) valve that directs the pressurized fluid to the appropriate side of the steering rack piston, or
binding ball joints/tie rod ends/steering link ends,
a slipping but not squealing serpentine belt.

I’d check the belt by having someone steer the vehicle while you watch for evidence of the belt slipping. If it is, you’ll see it. Focus on the articulated joints next. IMHO a binding joint is far more likely than the other suggestions. The first ideas are possible but improbable.

There is also a possibility that the alignment is out badly due to an accident and subsequent damaged steering or suspension component. A badly misaligned front end can manifest itself as stiff steering. Was the car checked out on a rack before purchase? Does the front end have new tires (a possible clue) or tires worn very abnormally (a definite clue)?

NOTE: I don’t have access to the '04 Buick’s system, and am assuming that it’s hydraulic assist. If it’s one of those newfangled electric systems, start by checking with the local dealer as to whether there’s been a recall on the system.

GM rack issues? Sounds familiar.

Nah i didnt get it checked out…this is a $900 car. Something to scoot around in when winter hits.

I was switching the rims off my 99 century over to the 04 and found the driver side sway bar link was snapped.
I replaced it but haven’t driven it yyet to see if steering improved.
All my lug studs snapped on the passenger side so im replacing all those today n then test driving.

Were the lugs rusted on?

Yep…the studs didnt look to be in all that bad of shape but they didnt budge…didnt even try to turn…

I thought itd be easier to just switch the whole hub assembly out with one from my parts car.
But the axle nut was just like the lugs…rust welded on…had to throw the whole kitchen sink at it.
Tried standing on the ratchet…wrench on ratchet…breaker bars…3foot pipe for leverage…impact wrench…just didnt want to move.
Finally heated it up with a torch + impact wrench and it came off…fought the whole way.

Putting the new one on went a lot smoother. Just gotta put my caliper back on n itll be mobile again.

Well that WAS the issue…the sway bar link was causing stiff steering. Much smoother and easy to turn now. Now once i replace that blower motor ill be in business for the winter.

Good for you for sticking with it and getting the stiff steering problem fixed. Thanks for posting back w/the update.

Congratulations on a job well done… and sincere thanks for the feedback.
Happy motoring,