97 Lincoln Continental- check steering assist message

97 Lincoln Continental, “Check Steering Assist” message comes on sometimes and steering becomes very stiff. Can stop , turn off car and restart and it may steer great for a good while, then stop and make a turn , steering gets stiff and “check steering assist” message comes back on until it is started again. Any idea as to what is the problem?

Check that the power steering fluid is up to the full mark.

Check for a loose drive belt. Any chirping or slight squealing noises?

You MAY have a worn steering rack or a leaking one.

I don’t know that much about the Conti power steering, but it has to have variable power steering assist (lots of assist at low speed for parking and tapering off to no assist at highway speed). The error message indicates that there is a bad sensor input to the steering control system. I am guessing that there is connection to the speed sensor and a steering rate sensor. What confuses me is that it is hard to turn. I think it should default to full assist if there is a problem.

I am blowing smoke, however. If no one here can give you a good answer, go to linconsonline.com. I am sure that some one there can get your started with trouble-shooting the problem.

If it’s like the electronic assist that’s on the Mark VIII / Thunderbirds, the system is comprised of a few different components: a steering wheel angle sensor, an electronic variable orifice on the power steering pump, and a control module that takes speed input as well as the angle of the steering wheel (and the speed at which the angle is changing) and determines how much effort should be used.

Had and have the problem again.
At first it was the tensioner arm for the alternator and it was going through alternators. Had to have the tensioner arm fabricated since none was available there is now though. The battery symbol light comes on in the dash, low voltage, power asssist, ac, radio, dash flashes off and on.

Battery symbol light, power assist warning. It is Oil on the belt. That belt runs everything.
turn the car off and on gives the belt a new grip so the problem seems to go away. had the engine degreased the problem went away for 6 months
I run the car 1/2 quart low and wipe the belt down sometimes and the problem is at bay. I really need to get it to the shop though just afraid I won’t get it back for awhile again like before. its a Blinkin Linkin