Appetite for Power Steering Pumps. *burp*
It's been a while since I last posted here, but I think my 146ti (~120k miles on the clock) overheard me being smug about reliability:
I took it in for a cambelt service last month, and the auxiliary belt was replaced as well.
A few miles afterwards (maybe 30) the power steering pump self-destructed. My dad was using the car at the time, so I don't have all the details to hand, but there was smoke, noise, and dumped PS fluid. :-)
Trailered back to the shop, where they fitted a used PS pump.
I started to drive the car back home, again about 30 miles later, this time cruising on a dual carriageway, the pulley sheared off the PS pump with very little warning. Bang. Fluid everywhere. Pulley and pump fortunately remained sitting in the engine bay rather than bouncing off down the road into someone's car!
Drove back to the shop, where they fitted another PS pump at no cost.
This pump perhaps a little growlier than the other two, but no more so than I've seen in e.g. a healthy VW Golf, i.e. acceptable to my ear.
I drove the car back to my house (70-odd miles), no problems at all. "Fixed!" I thought.
The car must've heard me, as on an outing the other day after accelerating briskly up a sliproad, all assistance disappeared on the steering. No odd noises, though, and no dumped fluid. So I took the slow route home, driving very gently, and the assistance returned after a couple of miles! Took the car out again yesterday (including some spirited acceleration to see if that was the issue), no problems at all.
I'd be very grateful if anyone has any ideas ;-). I'm guessing perhaps something is intermittently interfering with the pump's oil flow and causing it to seize or otherwise fail unless the car is driven gently until the problem clears? I will of course have a chat with the shop in question as well, and see if they have any suggestions...