Why did I fix Power Steering Myself?!@#$

A week ago I replaced a leeking Power Steering pump on 05 Chevy Colorado. I was so proud of myself. It went really smoothly, albeit a wee messy. Well, Murphy’s Law kicked in and although I have no leaks now, the steering is not as assisted as it once was. I definately have some power steering, but not enough.

I did flush the PS before I removed the old pump but not after. Could this have something to do with it? Also, the belt appears to be good and the fluid is topped off. Additionally, I did bleed this thing like 10 -15 times.

I don’t know if this is pertinent, but the check engine light came on a few days later and there is a new sound coming from what appears to be the PS pump area.

Dang it. I thought I had it made in the shade. I spent $40 on a remanufactured part from Advance Auto and used free loaner tools. The estimate I got was $360.

Any ideas on why my power steering could be so difficult? My forearms are sore.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or musings.


How messy was it, exactly? When you were done did you thoroughly clean all of the spilled PS fluid from the belt pulleys? Not just the pump pulley, but all of the others as well? That belt needs to stay very clean & dry - any ps fluid will have it slipping.

Why did you replace the pump to begin with?

The check engine light - to the best of my knowledge - will be completely unrelated although its possible that you disturbed something else during the pump work (vacuum line; electrical connector). Take the truck to any major auto parts chain and ask them to ready your error codes. Write down the exact codes (e.g. “P1234”) and post them.

My guess is that the rebuilt PS pump is defective. I suppose, however, that crud from the old system could be affecting the system by creating a restriction in the spool valve section of the rack.

Power steering is unique in that the pump constantly circulates the fluid, and only when the spool valve directs the pressure to one side of the rack piston does it assist.

A defective rebuilt PS pump is not unheard of. But it’d be worth flushing the system out and seeing of that helps before making any assumptions.

The CEL is a different issue. The OBD system only monitors those systems and items that are related to emissions. The EPA doesn’t care about your steering.

Turn the AC on and test how difficult it is to steer. Belt slip needs to be totally eliminated as the cause before going further. Cigroller’s intuition might save you a lot of work.And along with an oily belt the tensioner may be getting weak.

And also. I once had a re-man pump that the pulley slipped on. It seemed that the pulley had too much metal polished off by the rebuilder.

That should be the pump shaft, not the pulley. And from that day on I used loc-tite on power steering pulleys.

Well, Thanks for the advice guys.

Cigroller, the original pump was leaking. It was messier than it should have been. I cleaned everything off with engine degreaser and then washed off (bad idea?)

Engine light is off now. One day after gas fillup. This happened once before. Maybe cap not on tight enough.

Oddly, yesterday morning the pressure seemed to be perfect. I hadn’t used the truck all weekend, and it was relatively cool out (7am). Later in the day it seemed to get worse.

Red Knox, the AC on/of didn’t seem to affect anything detectable to me. With the engine running and the hood open though, I still notice a sound coming from either the pump or the tensioner. I’ve read that these tensioners are sometimes not so good so I guess I should replace it and the belt. It has 119k miles on it and never changed.

You guys think replacing the belt and the tensioner sounds like a good start?

I’ve tried to attached a clip of the sound, but the it says the file type (tried both wma and mp3) isn’t allowed.

To me it sounds like a wheel (tensioner) spinning but I wouldn’t think it’s supposed to make this noise - which is new by the way since replacing the PS pump.