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'93 Subaru Power Steering Died and Battery light is on

Hi all… My old and often very reliable '93 Subaru’s power steering died the other day. I was driving and my engine suddenly started making a deep ticking sound. I pulled over and with it running, popped the hood. The sound was coming from the front of the engine near the visible belts. I decided to keep driving. After about 10 miles that’s when the power steering died. Then my battery light and break light came on (which in the past has usually indicated that something is up with the battery or something is drawing from the battery more than it should). THEN I began to smell burnt rubber.

What I want to know is this: my boyfriend says that it’s probably the surpentine (sp?) belt or the pump thingy that runs the steering. First, I want to know if I can drive it to the shop or if that is a dangerous thing to do. The steering is really hard but I can still make it work. I’m a grad student and I don’t have the money to get a tow, but will will find the money if I have to. Second, is my boyfriend right and will it cost a lot? Again, poor grad student. :o)

Any input would be GREATLY appreciated!

The serpentine belt came apart. It maybe fairly easy to repair but I am not familiar with this car. Some are easier than others.

If this belt runs the water pump, then you cannot drive it to the shop. The engine will overheat and you will blow your head gaskets, and that will get very expensive.

If the water pump is driven by the timing belt or a different drive belt, then you can. Your mention of “visible belts” indicates more than one belt, which means that you might not have a serpentine belt. Usually when a vehicle uses a serpentine belt, it is the only drive belt, but not always.

The trouble you describe is most certainly due to a broken belt, like the others stated. You didn’t state which model Soob you have. If it is the Loyale model then it uses a standard V-belt. Your boyfriend should be able to fix this himself by just installing a new one. Check the idler wheel while in there and make sure the bearings are ok as they do wear out.

If you have a Legacy model then that may have a single serpentine belt. Either way, don’t drive the car unless the water pump is working.

I assume you are up to date on the timing belt replacement so that won’t be an issue later on.

The serpentine belt may have shredded because one of the accessories seized. Try to spin all the pulleys by hand. Check if one of the pulleys is especially tight or loose.
How many miles have you driven the car since you lost the belt?
If you’re planning to drive the car to the shop, try to charge the battery beforehand, as you’ll be draining the battery.
As for the battery light, it’s on because the battery’s discharging (versus getting charged) because the alternator isn’t functioning (because it’s no longer getting driven by the belt).

What model? If it is a non-loyale, it is likely a more modern SOHC engine so the water pump may be run off the timing belt. The temperature needle stayed in the normal position, I take it?

If it is a more modern Subie engine, it is just the belt from the alternator and steering. It can be replaced in 10 minutes, start to finish, with simple tools.
Let me see if I can find a simple procedure for you… (one sec)

Look for the alternator/power steering belt and see if yours is similar. I think most 93 subarus were SOHC engines, not unlike the more modern ones. If so, their belt layout is all very similar.
The procedure to actually replace the belt takes the loosening of a couple of bolts, loosening an adjusting bolt, slipping a new belt on and tightening the whole mess back up.
Since you’ve never done this before, it may take you a bit longer than 10 minutes but there’ no doubt in my mind you can do it.

Wow, you guys are awesome. It’s a legacy. I’m guessing since I smelled a burning rubber smell when I drove it home - about 10 miles - that something is overheating and that I probably don’t want to drive it to the shop then. My bf lives too far away and isn’t car-savvy.

If it can be replaced in 10 minutes, than perhaps the cost won’t be killer. I’d rather not do it myself - I’m good with computers but would probably do more damage with a car.

Cougar - I’ve got 120 thousand miles on her and I replaced all of my belts at 70 thousand so I may have something else to replace now. :confused:

Don’t know if this helps also, but there was a low-sounding clicking sound at the front of the engine and I could feel a vibration when I was driving. It almost sounded like something was loose…

If the timing belt was replaced at 70k miles you should be good there. I think they are good for about 100K miles.

Since you have a Legacy then I think you do have a serpentine belt and it drives all the pulleys on the engine, including the water pump. To replace the belt it really isn’t too hard of a job. You need a small wrench (13mm perhaps) to adjust the bolt on the idler tension pulley. To help save you some money I suggest you purchase a replacement belt from a parts store. Then perhaps you could find someone from school to help you install the belt.