Power Steering & Brakes Failed At Same Time

Power Steering & Brakes Failed At Same Time

Postby Rein [OP] » June 1st 2021, 10:09pm

NEXT DAY ADDENDUM: I kept researching last night and this morning and found much more information so I think I’m good for now, meaning no one needs to respond to this post unless they really think there’s an important hint or trick I should know. Thanks a lot for reading! RC

Hey folks!

First of all, I’ve done the research and found multiple posts where power steering and brakes fail at the same time and it usually is the power steering pump. I think that’s my issue as well, but I just wanted to try and confirm that before I start diving in. Also want to get some helpful hints so I’m prepared beforehand.

I was driving normally in a parking lot and all of sudden my steering went manual and my brakes barely functioned, having to pretty much stand on them and they reacted agonizingly slowly and just enough to come to a full stop. Needless to say I drove the 3-4 miles home VERY carefully! I still had brakes, but not enough for emergency stopping so I left miles between me and the vehicle in front. Home in one piece. :)

When steering and brakes failed, at the same time I heard new noises I’d never heard before. Hard to describe but mostly something like metal pieces clanging on other metal pieces that weren’t as solid or heavy. After getting out my Haynes and Chilton manuals I deduced it is most likely the power steering pump shaft that has broken inside the pump itself. I’ve listened to the engine running and watched everything every carefully and now it’s a more or less constant fairly loud noise coming from the area of the pump.

I’ve checked all the usual things first: brake fluid, power steering fluid, serpentine belt, power steering lines for leaks and all are fine, which pretty much confirms the PS pump is gonzo. My big question is this - is there a way to confirm this is the issue prior to starting? I’ve taken a prybar to the pump pulley to see if it would pull away from the pump but was unable to budge it (with the serpentine belt still on, although it’s not so tight that the amount of force I applied wouldn’t work if the shaft was broken towards the outside rather than deep inside). Hope that makes sense. I can see that the shaft is known to break fairly often.

From researching online I can see I’ll at the least need a PS pulley removal/installer kit, a new pump and more fluid to top off after losing some during the transition.

Will I need any other tools? Is it possible to do this without removing the fan (but removing air intake and upper and lower shrouds). The manual says I need to remove the hood latch, but for the life of me I can’t see why.

Any suggestions as to best source for a quality PS pump would be appreciated. My first place to go would usually be my local AutoZone but that’s only because if they have it in stock I wouldn’t have to wait on shipping and could rent the puller there if they have one. If I have to order online I’d to to RockAuto first and probably get a $50 Gearwrench puller set at the time.

I can see that lubricating all moving parts of the puller set as well as the pump shaft would make things easier. Any other helpful hints?

Thanks!
Last edited by Rein on June 2nd 2021, 1:44pm, edited 1 time in total.
2004 RWD Astro Base purchased late 2018 - 3rd time’s a charm?
2000 AWD Safari SLE purchased 2011 - hanging onto for parts and possible rebuild.
1988 AWD Safari purchased very used; replaced engine w/rebuilt; scrapped at 23 years.

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Re: Power Steering & Brakes Failed At Same Time

Postby Rein [OP] » June 1st 2021, 10:53pm

Actually, now that I think about it, it’s probably NOT the shaft that’s broken but more likely internal parts, because otherwise I should have been able to lever the pulley outwards with the pry bar.
2004 RWD Astro Base purchased late 2018 - 3rd time’s a charm?
2000 AWD Safari SLE purchased 2011 - hanging onto for parts and possible rebuild.
1988 AWD Safari purchased very used; replaced engine w/rebuilt; scrapped at 23 years.

Falmouth, Cape Cod, USA
Original Poster [OP]
Rein
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Rein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full years
Posts: 97
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Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts (rust belt USA)
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Van Model Year: 2004
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3 V6 RWD

Re: Power Steering & Brakes Failed At Same Time

Postby Mmusicman » June 2nd 2021, 11:01am

Rein wrote:The manual says I need to remove the hood latch, but for the life of me I can’t see why.

LOL... probably because you'll be leaning over the support to reach the pump.
Easy to do, I pull mine all the time. But be sure to mark it first to get it back in same place.
I don't know if you need to pull the fan.. maybe not. (Mine are both electric and not in the way)

Yes brakes and steering share same power assist. Sounds like a bad pump. Not aware of any actual way to "test" it. Hopefully the noises you heard did not send metal though the system. Just to be on the safe side, you can pick up an in-line filter to put on the return line... I've got them on both of my pump replacements.

Different variations for removal.. some pull the pump, I prefer to pull the entire accy bracket with pump attached (pull compressor aside), but that is most likely because mine is AWD. It also allows me to pull and reinstall the pulley from my workbench. Yes, you'll need a pulley puller... that's about it off the top of my head. RWD is pretty straight forward job.
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 0#p1577730

Sticking with ACDelco is preferred, but going with what the local store sells may be a matter of convenience and necessity... I'm sure it would be fine too.

You'll need to bleed the steering system properly when completed.

Have fun
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Re: Power Steering & Brakes Failed At Same Time

Postby Rein [OP] » June 3rd 2021, 3:42pm

Thanks, Scott!

Your information from previous posts was the best I found on this forum. I did find a lot more on YouTube, of course, including much more on draining the system cleanly and bleeding. Also found some suggestions about attaching a magnet to the reservoir to catch ferrous particulate in the future - I’ll be doing that for sure.

Ordered both Lisle puller kit and least expensive pump from Rockauto (pump should arrive today and puller tomorrow, exact opposite of what I was hoping for. Van needed a good wash so I did that yesterday and then managed to manhandle the van into the garage (which is a really tight shoehorn fit) because it’s supposed to rain today and tomorrow. Since steering and braking are all but gone I got a good upper body and right leg workout! ;-)

Found a YT video (3, actually) from 1ROAD, with his most recent of the three being the best and most complete. He has three Suburbans, I think, and used a system for bleeding completely without the engine running and just going lock-to-lock multiple times, which seems like a good way to prevent new pump damage until the entire system has been flushed. Found another video that eliminated 1ROAD’s draining down into a container on the ground with long tubing by doing it all up in the engine bay - much cleaner and faster - still using the KOEOff method if I recall, so I’ll try to combine the best of several methods to hopefully make this as painless and clean as possible.

Since I won’t have the puller until tomorrow, today I thought I’d remove air intake, fan shrouds and serpentine belt, Brakleen the working area and PBlaster all fasteners now to get a headstart on breaking free all in one shot tomorrow. Front end will go up on jackstands when I need to start turning the wheel, although I did see one professional that simply grabs a wheel 9 and 3 and rotates that way. That does seem like a much better way than having to go back and forth into the cabin each time after adding more fluid.

I also plan on removing and cleaning out completely the reservoir. One question - does the 2004 reservoir have a built in filter screen in the bottom? Can’t see it yet even with a powerful inspection light because it’s still full.
2004 RWD Astro Base purchased late 2018 - 3rd time’s a charm?
2000 AWD Safari SLE purchased 2011 - hanging onto for parts and possible rebuild.
1988 AWD Safari purchased very used; replaced engine w/rebuilt; scrapped at 23 years.

Falmouth, Cape Cod, USA
Original Poster [OP]
Rein
Fueling (7/8 tank)
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Years of Membership: Rein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full yearsRein has been a member for 9 full years
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Extra Info: 4.3 V6 RWD


 
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