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Old 08-01-2005   #1
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Power steering aaaaaaaargh and cold/damp screech!

Hello be kind to me, I'm as much use with a toolkit as a condom machine in the Vatican! I've got a 2000 Seicento SX, and have owned it for a couple of years now, so I know kinda what should be happening! No customisation or anything, I wouldn't know where to start...

Problem 1

The power steering seems to have decided it hates me today. Got in the car, started it up, all was fine. A few metres down the street and the steering light popped back on and it was like trying to steer my mum's old Vauxhall Victor estate. Stopped, and restarted the car, and again things were fine for a few metres, then I could hear the click of a relay, the light came on again, and the heavy steering was back.

Dropped the missus off back at home and popped the bonnet, and couldn't find anything that looks like a steering fluid reservoir, so, what with it being late on a Saturday, decided to brave Kwik Fit (not my choice, it's just the only place open) and piloted my miniature battleship down to them. Halfway there, the warning light goes off and I have steering back again. They had no space for any more work today so I was dispatched home, and the steering behaved all the way back.

WTF is going on? My normal independent garage is near where I work in Cardiff, and as such is a twenty mile drive, which I don't fancy with suspect steering. And now I get the impression that the PAS is just an electric motor, so there wouldn't be any fluid to check!

Problem 2

In cold and/or damp conditions my Sei has developed a squeal when I'm pulling away which goes when I push the clutch down or when I get up into fourth. Again, WTF?

Thanks for any help anybody can give.

Steve
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Old 08-01-2005   #2
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Re: Power steering aaaaaaaargh and cold/damp screech!

i have a similar thing as problem 2 on cold mornings, but i can't tell you what causes it.

When the mechanics get on they will be able to tell you whats going on.

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Old 08-01-2005   #3
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Re: Power steering aaaaaaaargh and cold/damp screech!

Hi,
Yeah your right its an electric power assist system, which is part of the steering column.
Are you getting any water leaking into the car, the ecu for the pas is in the passenger footwell I think and can suffer from corrosion of the connectors, sometimes a blast of wd40 can do wonders.
As for the squeal noise, could be the clutch release bearing missbehaving, is the inspection cover for the clutch still in place, could be letting moisture in if its missing.

Paul T
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Old 09-01-2005   #4
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Re: Power steering aaaaaaaargh and cold/damp screech!

Reading this again I think they could be related. The skweeeeling could be the alternator belt or bearings, leading to a shortage of electrickery, hence the power steering switching itself off.

Just a thought

Cheers

D
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Old 09-01-2005   #5
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Re: Power steering aaaaaaaargh and cold/damp screech!

Thanks everybody for your input. It's been valuable, even if you've baffled me a bit by crediting me with knowing more than I do!

I had a snoot around in the passenger footwell and found some sort of connector that was flopping about - a three pin thing with a sort of lime-green colour. Feeling under the edge of the carpet trim I found something that felt like it ought to be plugged into, but without a torch and mirror I can't be sure... so I pushed it in to see. but have no idea if it's in properly or what it even does.

Anyway, the problem persisted after this. But I noticed all the electrics seem to be a bit flakey, not just the steering. As if to prove this to me, when I pressed the rear demister button, the steering popped back into life. As the light was fading as well, I noticed that the instrument lighting was dimming when the engine was idling and the windscreen wipers were also changing speed depending on the revs. Is it possible that the power's just coming from the alternator and not the battery, or something?

Well, the car was in for an MOT last week and this seems to have only happened afterward, so I'll go back to my garage tomorrow and see if they'll look over it for nothing...

Steve
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Old 10-01-2005   #6
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Re: Power steering aaaaaaaargh and cold/damp screech!

In case anyone's interested, here's the latest. It seems the alternator is playing silly buggers, or some part of the circuitry to do with it. It's kicking out more power than the system can use, and instead of letting it fry the PAS, it's getting switched off to protect it. So, to drive with power steering at the moment, I have to turn on loads of things to mop up the spare electrickery. It's odd that the only way I can drive safely is to have music playing loudly =)

Back to the garage tomorrow to figure out which bit of the circuitry is knackered. Joy.

Steve
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