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1998 Chevrolet Malibu Power Steering

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Nov 15, 2012, 2:58 PM

Post #1 of 2 (1626 views)
1998 Chevrolet Malibu Power Steering Sign In

2.4L Engine
160,000 Mil (Est)

I got this car in January of 2012 from a friend who was deploying. In the weeks before, the alternator was replaced and the person replacing it was only moderately skilled in changing alternators.

In the past 2 weeks, strange smells similar to burnt oil and burning electric wires while and after driving up steep hills. In the past 6 months, the belts would squeal in first few moments of motion, especially when accelerating from stopped position at stopped position. I attributed the squeal of the belts to the person who changed the alternator not tightening up the belt enough. I did so about 2 weeks ago and I haven't heard the issue again.

When I took the car in to a professional to change the oil, they also checked the power steering fluid and said it was dirty and wanted to charge $250 to change it. I refused thinking the price was too high and figured I would have time to get that issue fixed on my own since I am an aspiring do-it-yourselfer. In the hours before the steering was affected, all seemed fine. After the steering was affected, I checked the resevoir and it was empty. I found the proper PS fluid for a 1998 Chevy Malibu and purchased and put it in. I started the car and turned the wheel 2-3 times and the steering drastically improved and failed. There was a whining and slight cracking noise. I checked the resevoir and it was a half full tan color. I looked under the car and saw a severe leak just behind my oil pan.

MarineGrunt profile image

Nov 15, 2012, 3:21 PM

Post #2 of 2 (1604 views)
Re: 1998 Chevrolet Malibu Power Steering [In reply to] Sign In

Sound like you have a leak which isn't uncommon for an older car. You first need to find the leak. Clean up the pump and the area real good, fill it back up with power steering fluid, and then see if you can tell where it's leaking from. It may just be the hoses and the pump could be fine. If ran dry for awhile it could've burned the pump up though. The first thing you need to do is repair the leak and then you can go from there.

I don't believe you can tighten the belt. It has a tensioner which keeps constant tension on the belt. If the belt is old that could cause squeaking. If the belt isn't tight enough you'll need to replace the tensioner.

I'm just a diy guy so the real mechanics will be along shortly to give better advice.

1998 Chevrolet Malibu Power Steering

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