Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Power steering

Hi! I have a 1993 Dodge Stealth that I have been having problems with. Whenever it rains (medium to heavy), I will lose the power steering at random. This has so far only happened while the car was moving, and the fluid level is fine. There are no lights popping up on my dash and my mechanic is stumped. Any ideas of what could be happening?

Water is splashing onto the power steering belt when you drive in the rain, thus leading to slippage of the belt that drives the PS pump. When the belt slips, the PS pump does not turn, hence–no power assist for the steering.

The problem is probably related to either (or both):

A missing splash shield underneath the engine compartment, which is not uncommon with older cars, especially if they have had accident damage.

A drive belt that is slightly loose. e.g–Not loose enough to make noise under dry conditions, but loose enough to slip when it is wet.

I have to say that if this simple problem stumps your mechanic, I would hate to see how he deals with a problem that is really difficult to diagnose. I am not impressed with your mechanic.

Thanks for your suggestions!
My mechanic isnt a professional, he only runs a one man car garage out of, well, his garage; but he is careful and a nice cheap alternitive for small problems and aftermarket projects.

Replace the serpentine belt, check its tensioner and replace any missing splash shields…

Gee, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Oh, that’s right, I did.

I suggest installing the new Goodyear “Gatorback” belt. It’s a good product that really grips the pulleys.

hello again, I just wanted to make sure I wasnt missing something. my PS pump drive pully is on the top of the engine, the belt is not lose and in good condition showing virtually no wear. none of the other parts attached to this belt are slipping, forgive me for asking but isnt it a little odd for this to be happening?

Have you had the tensioner checked?
Have you verified that all of the original splash shields are still in place?

No, this is not odd if you have a problem with belt tension/condition, or if there is a missing splash shield.

I installed one of these on my 97 Taurus when the car was 9 years old to replace the factory belt.

That brand new Goodyear Gatorback belt was stretched beyond specs within 2 months. I went back to Ford and got a Motorcraft belt and haven’t had to touch it since.

Needless to say, I do NOT consider Goodyear Gatorback belts to be good quality parts.

As it turns out, my problem lie with a bad harmonic balancer. I found out two days too late and my crankshaft pulley fell off as I drove to the repair shop.

The Problem Could Be In The Harmonic Balancer. Have It Checked As Soon As Possible. Sometimes The Rubber Part Of It Goes Bad Leading To Vibration, Slipping Belts, And Engine Damage.


Right. I bet you also believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.