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High pitched grinding noise and smoking

I’ve got a 2007 pontiac grand prix that I picked up off a guy for $900 and so far it’s been a head ache. So far, I’ve had to replace the power steering pump, pump lining, there’s a hole in the radiator, and now a mystery problem that me and my lack of car knowledge can’t diagnose.

Smoke/steam (smells burned) is coming from behind the engine and when the wheels are turned, it sounds like a high pitched grinding noise. I checked the oil, its fine. I filled the radiator with water as a temporary fix until I can afford to get the radiator fixed or repaired. Air conditioning only works on max setting. Before the problem occurred, I was pouring water into the extra reservoir when my friend started the car. Maybe the radiator sucked up some air while I was filling the reservoir.

Once again, I am a very beginner car owner and half the things I don’t know anything about. So please excuse my lack of vocabulary. Any help would be great. Thanks!

What is a “pump lining”? The high pitched grinding noise when the wheels are turned sounds like you’re low on power steering fluid. The air working on max only (you mean the fan only running on max, right?) is likely the resistor block for the blower motor.

How much “smoke/steam” is coming from behind the engine? Does it only do this when you turn the wheels? If it’s dripping, what color is it? Where exactly is it coming from?

Is there any fluid in the power steering reservoir?

No one sells a 2007 Grand Prix for $900 unless they know it’s junk. Get rid of this car before you waste any more money. You could potentially spend thousands of dollars and still have nothing.

“Smoke/steam (smells burned) is coming from behind the engine and when the wheels are turned, it sounds like a high pitched grinding noise.”

Are linings the hoses/lines to/from the power steering pump ? Could be that one or both are leaking fluid onto hot exhaust components and burning off.

It could be that a coolant line running to the heater core behind the engine is leaking and creating steam, for example.

How much has the vehicle been operated after the pump replacement ? Was it quiet at first and then noisy or noisy from the git-go ?

You will have air in the system after refilling with power steering fluid and it will be noisy. The steering has to be cycled a few times and the vehicle allowed to sit a half hour or so, making sure the fluid is up to “full” mark and the process possibly repeated a few times to get the foam and bubbles out of the system.

You shouldn’t be running water in the car. Water boils at a lower temperature than coolant/antifreeze mix. You shouldn’t be operating this vehicle until the source of the steam/smoke is found and fixed. It could totally damage the engine (if it’s not already) and/or cause a fire or burn somebody.


My apologies, the power steering pump lining was replaced. It’s actually a 1997, not a 2007. I only take the car on short trips since I can’t afford to be filling the radiator with coolant every time I drive it. It’s been 2 weeks since the pump replacement, I have no idea where I would find the power steering fluid reservoir, and I couldn’t tell what color it was.