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Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

 
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Old 29 May 2014, 02:22 pm
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Default [SOLVED] Heavy Steering + High Pitched Squeaking = What???

NOTE: I AM 99% CERTAIN THAT MY PROBLEMS ARE FROM A POWER STEERING FLUID LEAK. I HAVE STARTED A NEW THREAD HERE CONCERNING THE LEAK:

How To Find Power Steering Fluid Leak Location?

Thanks everyone for your help in this thread. Your help led me to recognize the PSF leak.

~~~~~~~~~

[ORIGINAL POST: KEPT FOR POSTERITY'S SAKE]

This morning on the way to work I started to hear a high-pitched squeaking coming from the passenger side of the engine compartment, and the steering became heavy. any ideas what it is? (I am guessing something to do with the power steering.)

The squeaking becomes louder at higher revs. It is present when stopped at a light (but the pitch is lower). It is louder when I have the engine on and lift the hood. It SEEMS to be coming more from the passenger side than the driver's side, but I am not 100% sure about that.

The steering is extremely heavy at low speeds. Since I don't try to make sharp turns at high speeds, I don't really know if the steering improves at higher revs.

My car has about 90,000 miles on it. I don't think i have ever changed any belts on it (nor fluids - I cahnge the oil regularly, but that's about it for maintenance.)

Also, if I remember correctly, the plasticky splash guard around the front passenger-side wheel is missing in action. I removed it when I had to replace the mounting bolt thingy on the right side, and I couldn't for the life of me get that plasticky thingy back on. So I have been driving about 10K miles without it.

It has been REALLY DRY out here in Northern California, where we are in the middle of a drought. The weather is normal today (about mid-70s), so it is neither exceptionally hot nor cold.

~~~~

Also, one more thing that may or may not be related:

My car normally makes a low groaning sound when it first starts up. It sounds like a low pitched whale sound. It's a low pitched moan, and it seems to go away after it warms up.

Are these related in anyway?

~~~~~

2005 PT Cruiser GT Normally Aspirated
Stock Components
About 90K miles

Last edited by myjeephatesme; 30 May 2014 at 11:19 am. Reason: I can't spell.
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Old 29 May 2014, 02:53 pm
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Default Re: Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

Sounds like the serpentine belt is about go bad or the belt tensioner has gone bad and isn't keeping the belt at the right tension especially around the power steering pump. Both pretty easy fixes but I'd have it looked at sooner than later.
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Old 29 May 2014, 03:41 pm
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Default Re: Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

Thanks for the suggestion on where to look.

1) Is this something one could fix themselves relatively painlessly? What special tools might I need besides the standard socket set (mine is metric) and a couple of crescent wrenches I have lying around?

2) How is the best way to test whether it is the belt or the tensioner?

3) Is there anything else that I should look at / change while I am working on the serpintine belt / tensioner? I know at 90K miles it is probably a good idea to change the timing belt, right? Only thing is, I don't know if I have the where-with-all to do it myself, and I certainly don't have the $$$s to pay someone to do it

Thanks in advance.
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Old 29 May 2014, 03:55 pm
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Default Re: Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

The big thing the PT needs at 100,000 is the changing of the timing belt, timing belt tensioner and water pump. It's probably the hardest job there is taking about 7 hours of labor. Parts are only about $150.00 or less but it's the time consuming labor that's a killer. The job by the dealer or mechanic is anywhere between $900 and $1200 depending on the labor charge.

If you want to try the serpentine belt the first thing is to take the passenger front wheel off and the inner fender. Then you look at both the tensioner and belt.

Number #1 is the tensioner


Here's a video that shows part of the job of replacing the tensioner for the serpentine belt.




The problem comes in diagnosing if your problem IS the tensioner or belt or both. BUT, at 90,000 it won't hurt to change both. The belt(s) have to come off anyway when it's time to do the timing belt but I don't think you want to wait that long
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Old 29 May 2014, 04:04 pm
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Default Re: Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

Thanks for the diagram and the video. they are a big help to me.

Just so I understand, you are saying:

Do BOTH the serpentine belt AND tensioner NOW, then do timing belt and water pump later when financially possible.

Is that right? Or am I misinterpreting what you are saying?
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Old 29 May 2014, 04:10 pm
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Default Re: Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

And one more thing:

In the video you included, is that the right way to place the stands and the floor jack???

Exactly where does he have them? He said that floor jack is under the back of the transmission, but I don't know where he has the stands located? (They are certainly NOT under the frame where I thought they were supposed to go.)

Thanks in advance.
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Old 29 May 2014, 04:17 pm
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Default Re: Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

I'm saying take a look at both the belt and tensioner and see if you can determine if one or the other is bad (belt in bad shape, tensioner not turning).

He's lifting the transmission (which is on the driver side of the car to give a little rake to the side of the tensioner so it will come down just a bit to give clearance to come out. Looks like the jack is just a support on the frame that goes across from side to side in case the whole thing comes crashing down.
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Old 29 May 2014, 04:46 pm
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Default Re: Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

I happened to watch a video about this a few hours ago.
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Old 29 May 2014, 07:03 pm
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Default Re: Heavy steering + High Pitched Squaking = What???

Quote:
I'm saying take a look at both the belt and tensioner and see if you can determine if one or the other is bad (belt in bad shape, tensioner not turning).
Ok, I can try tht. I am worried that I won't be able to tell the difference, but that is on me, I guess.
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Old 29 May 2014, 07:14 pm
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Default Re: Heavy Steering + High Pitched Squeaking = What???

Is it more of a sqeaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeek?
Or a sqeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaak?

Is the groan more of a groooooooooooan or a sharp groaaaaaaaaaan?

Answering these will really help with my diagnosis




Quote:
Originally Posted by myjeephatesme View Post
This morning on the way to work I started to hear a high-pitched squeaking coming from the passenger side of the engine compartment, and the steering became heavy. any ideas what it is? (I am guessing something to do with the power steering.)

The squeaking becomes louder at higher revs. It is present when stopped at a light (but the pitch is lower). It is louder when I have the engine on and lift the hood. It SEEMS to be coming more from the passenger side than the driver's side, but I am not 100% sure about that.

The steering is extremely heavy at low speeds. Since I don't try to make sharp turns at high speeds, I don't really know if the steering improves at higher revs.

My car has about 90,000 miles on it. I don't think i have ever changed any belts on it (nor fluids - I cahnge the oil regularly, but that's about it for maintenance.)

Also, if I remember correctly, the plasticky splash guard around the front passenger-side wheel is missing in action. I removed it when I had to replace the mounting bolt thingy on the right side, and I couldn't for the life of me get that plasticky thingy back on. So I have been driving about 10K miles without it.

It has been REALLY DRY out here in Northern California, where we are in the middle of a drought. The weather is normal today (about mid-70s), so it is neither exceptionally hot nor cold.

~~~~

Also, one more thing that may or may not be related:

My car normally makes a low groaning sound when it first starts up. It sounds like a low pitched whale sound. It's a low pitched moan, and it seems to go away after it warms up.

Are these related in anyway?

~~~~~

2005 PT Cruiser GT Normally Aspirated
Stock Components
About 90K miles
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