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Old 02-08-2013, 06:59 AM   #1
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Stiff steering wheel and car slows

Thank you so much for reading my post and taking the time to respond.

I don't know where to start. I've fixed a slew of problems with my 2002 zx5. Including the fuel filter. I have a ztec engine.

As stated the steering wheel will become stiff and the car starts to slow. It can be pulled over and started up again. but lately I've been too worried to drive it. I'm not sure if it could be the fuel filter, altanator, or possibly the timing belt.

Any help would be needed


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Old 02-08-2013, 10:47 AM   #2
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Is the engine stalling? As far as the steering being stiff your belt could be slipping or not be holding enough tension. Which wouldnt drive the pulley as well making it stiff.

Can you give us more description on what happens, when it started, and how many miles are on the car.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:27 AM   #3
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Sorry for the late reply. My wife usually drives the car, so the information I have is not really complete. She said that she wasn't sure if it was stalling, so I think I'll have to take it out for a test drive.

A bit more info that I can offer is that: I do recall that when I was changing the belt tennsioner one of the pulleys looked a bit worn. But I don't recall which one.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:25 AM   #4
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Steering wheel going stiff, and then car needing to be restarted- sounds like a stall to me.

If you're over 120k miles, then the timing belt is suspect, but stalling could be related to multiple problems. We have problems with the PCV vacuum line collapsing and causing low idle which might cause stalling. The IACV can also cause stalling if it sticks in the closed position. Old spark plugs can cause stalling, as well as cracked coil problems. The fuel pump can also cause stalling- for example- if the stall occurs after a turn, that would be a sign of a fuel pump going bad.

Use your intuition, and get a better description of when and how it stalls, and that will help with diagnosis. Remember, you must be able to recreate the problem in order to diagnose it- otherwise you're just throwing parts at the car until you fix it. That can be costly and inefficient.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:46 AM   #5
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I finally took it out for a test drive. I first let it sit in idle for about 10 min. No stall. I then took it out for a short test drive. No stall. I let it sit in idle for a few more minutes and took it out for a longer test drive. This time, just as I was making a turn it stalled. All my warning lights came on at once, with a flash, and then the whole car abruptly died. I tried to start it again, but had no power.

I saw the same thing a couple of years ago when my alternator went bad. I put a lot of miles in the car, roughly 500 a week. I probably could look up how to test the alternator, but I don't have any equipment for that. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:53 AM   #6
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You can have the alternator tested at any auto parts store. The alternator is not your problem. As for the hard steering, check your accessory belt and power steering pump. If the pump is having trouble it will make a lot of noise when you try to steer the wheel. But I would check the belt first to make sure it isn't slipping.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:09 AM   #7
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@zetecDon - Thanks for the reply. I believe the hard steering was because the car was stalling and loosing power. My wife didn't give me much info to go on, so that's what I originally posted. I noticed when it stalled on me, it did the same thing. But it was an abrupt stall, and the steering wheel was impossible to move after that. There was no whining noise either. For now, I think I'm going to have to look up how to take the alternator out and have it tested. Again, much thanks for the reply.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:22 AM   #8
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Don't take it out, most parts stores should be able to test it while it's on the car.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:42 AM   #9
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One odd possibility, if it ONLY stalls with a lot of steering input & NO throttle input at the time.

There is a pressure sensor on the P.S. pump. At high steering loads it tells the computer to increase idle speed to prevent stalling (rpm might not actually go up, the idea is to give it a bit more throttle with the IAC to prevent stalling)

So, if that connection is unplugged by chance, or the sensor isn't working right anymore, you would get a stall when steering sharply with no throttle applied - as in tight turns or parking lot maneuvers...

Of course any OTHER issues that cause low idle or poor running may be the REAL problem - just wanted to throw in this possible direct cause if all else is OK.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:50 AM   #10
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Check the alternator pig tail. The wires are know to become brittle and break. It may be temporary loosing the connection to the alternator and stalling the car. If it happened while you were turning, you changed the forces on the car which could have shifted the wires just enough.

When I changed mine, they felt secured when the plug was still in the car but as soon as I clipped it and pulled the connector, the middle wire literally fell out.
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