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Charge light comes on when turning the steering wheel

Charge light comes on when turning the steering wheel. Ok, so I have a 1991 Mazda 626 DX. Over the past few months, I noticed my charge light would come on when making turns or turning the wheel but it was random and hard to reproduce on demand. but in the last week, things have gone crazy. the charge light started coming on every time I turned the wheel. then I started to lose power steering only when turning the wheel. I thought it was the belts so I replaced both. problems only got worse. so I decided to test things out by removing one belt at a time I started by removing the alternator belt and my power steering was back so I assumed the alternator was bad. I have a fresh one rebuilt pulled the old one off popped the new one on and now I have power steering but my charge lights still come on when turning the wheel.

While looking at the Alternator belt and having someone turn the wheel I can see the belt slow down even stop for a moment then start moving again. It’s like it under a massive load. IDK for sure. I am not sure what is causing this but I need some help. it is either a short or something I not sure about.

Thank you to anyone and everyone that helps guide me through this.

If you didn’t also replace the belt tensioners, then you didn’t complete the job–IMHO.

Make a chalk mark on the harmonic balancer between the pulley and the hub.

Start the engine and turn the steering wheel back and forth until the steering gets hard.

Shut the engine off and look if the chalk marks are still lined up.

If not, the pulley part of the balancer is slipping on the hub because the rubber strip between the pulley and hub has become delaminated.



the tensioner for this car is not like most its manual. you just tighten a bolt that pulls the alternator, tightening the belt. someone suggested that the IAC could cause this i am not sure

When you turn the steering wheel the engine rpm is probably supposed to speed up, to compensate for the add’l engine load caused by the PS pump doing its thing. If that function wasn’t working the engine rpm could be going too low, and that might cause the alternator warning light to appear. On my similar vintage Corolla the way it works is the PS pump has a valve in it that opens when the PS pressure is high (when turning the steering wheel), and that allows more air into the engine, which increases the rpm. If that valve in the PS pump failed this could happen.

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How can anyone ignore such an important clue?


Belt is not yet torn… so why to waste a perfectly good belt if it still holds on the pulleys :slight_smile:

I am leaning to what you said. I was out there looking at it to day and could see both belt slowing down but the motor never really bogged down while turning the wheel. this leads me to believe the Harmonic Balancer is free spinning when enough force is put on it. but now i cant seem to find a parts store that has one. no even rockauto has one. i guess is could be dealer only kinda part.

Cox Mazda Parts Online came up for me with a Google search.


that says 88 to 89 will that work on a 91 2.2l? i have searched and searched and cant find a single place that has a 91 or 92 harmonic balancer. smh

? still needing confirmation that an 89 harmonic balancer will work on the 91. I found this but just dont want to destroy my engine having something not right. according to mazda the part number for mine is F262-11-401 its $300 smh. I need a solution thats not gonna cost me that kind of money lol. thanks again everyone.

There may not be an aftermarket alternative available for a 91 626. You might be able to find a used one at a auto-recycler or pick a part place. Are you sure the HM is the problem ? Did you do the witness marking test suggested above to confirm your HM is actually broken?

no i didnt mark it but i could see the outer pulley stop spinning and the motor never bogged down. the only way those conditions could exist is if that part is free spinning when enough load is put on it. Its been raining for days to so as soon as that stops i plan to double check it by doing the marks just to be sure.

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Ya know what I did when the harmonic balancer failed on my 91 Mazda GT?

And I found out what it was going to cost to replace it?

I removed it. And spot welded the pulley to the hub at every 90 degrees.

I drove that car another year or so until the son-in-law needed a vehicle which I gave him.

He drove it another year until the tranny gave out.



it turned out to be the Crankpulley/harmonic balancer for sure. super easy to change no need to remove the center bolt just the 6 10mm bolts around it. came right off and slapped a $15 used one from the junkyard on. woot woot.


Gold star for @Tester Didn’t even have to weld it.