1999 GMC Savana 1500 - Hard steering

Had to turn around in a narrow driveway by pulling forward then back then forward and back again and finally got my GMC van turned around but as I was doing it, the steering became very hard. I managed to get to a mechanic who suspected it was a problem with the shafts. But when he removed them found there was no problem there or anywhere else that he could identify. When the car was on the lift, the wheels turned freely, but on the ground the steering was again very difficult. He is mystified, but his attention is now on the steering box because he can think of nothing else. Any suggestions? We think it’s a 1500.

We think it is a 1500 what? A GMC 1500 van? First off, what “shafts” did your mechanic suspect?

The shafts, we think, had u joints on each end. We have a Savanna conversion van and are not sure whether it is 1500 or not–there was a drop-down list to choose from. We don’t know much but these were shafts that had a u-joint at each end which turned out to be turning freely.

By the way, we found the bill of sale for our GMC Savana and it is a cargo van with 31 gallon fuel tank. Hope that’s of some use.


If your mechanic’s first go-to is the steering shaft, I question their competence. Considering he is mystified, I doubly question competence. Find a new mechanic.

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We are in a town of 1200. What would your first response be?

Find a new mechanic in a nearby town. What do you want me to say? Walk you throught the diagnosis so you can de-mysify your mechanic? Ok;

Then van is 20 years old with unknown (you never said) number of miles. I’d check the power steering fluid level, the belt that drives the pump, consider a new pump as well as a rebiilt steering box and I’d take a glance at the steering shaft u joints just for giggles. Depending on what I find, I’d replace or repair what I find wrong.

Thanks. Of course they did look (giggle)at the steering shaft wheel joints of course. The mileage is about 110,000 miles. They did check the steering fluid level. They’re looking for a rebuilt steering box. We’re good at grammar and spelling and can fix run-on sentences and unsplice commas but when it comes to cars we’re idiots. I’ll ask about the belt that drives the pump.

Thanks again.