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Discussion Starter #1
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PLEASE HELP!!

I have had my 1998 Alfa 156 1.8 for just 4 months now and in that time have enjoyed the car immensely despite several trips to the garage.

A few months back I was driving the car (30mph) when i suddenly heard a large 'gas' noise (possibly the power steering pump?). Immediately the steering went. I could still steer sort of but it became incredibly light, vague and loose (i could practically turn the wheel with my little finger).

Took it to specialist, couldn't find a problem. Seemed to drive ok when i got it back though.

Same thing happened again on motorway doing 70mph (very scarey). Recovered by AA and to cut a long storey short told not safe to drive and being towed back to newcastle tom from liverpool.

Does anyone have any idea what the problem may be as I have been in contact with several dealers, none of which seem to have a clue?

Regards

Alex
 

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Hi Alex,
Sounds like a broken torsion bar in the valve that meters the assistance - is there some backlash when you turn the steering wheel with the engine off? Can't see how this could be fixed then return though.
Alternatively, perhaps the pressure relief valve in the pump is sticking so there's too much assistance.
I agree with the AA - don't drive it until it's fixed!
Cheers,
Simon_S
 

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Alex156 said:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PLEASE HELP!!

I have had my 1998 Alfa 156 1.8 for just 4 months now and in that time have enjoyed the car immensely despite several trips to the garage.

A few months back I was driving the car (30mph) when i suddenly heard a large 'gas' noise (possibly the power steering pump?). Immediately the steering went. I could still steer sort of but it became incredibly light, vague and loose (i could practically turn the wheel with my little finger).

Took it to specialist, couldn't find a problem. Seemed to drive ok when i got it back though.

Same thing happened again on motorway doing 70mph (very scarey). Recovered by AA and to cut a long storey short told not safe to drive and being towed back to newcastle tom from liverpool.

Does anyone have any idea what the problem may be as I have been in contact with several dealers, none of which seem to have a clue?

Regards

Alex
Firstly, need to diagnose the problem - based on my very limited experience, if the steering is constantly light this could be the pump or the rack. However, if it is sometimes light and sometimes normal, this could point to the valve.

My specialist fitted a new steering rack and only as part of fitting realised that the valve is seperate, and not part of the steering rack itself, hence it appears there was no need to have replaced the entire rack which was frustrating.

When you waggle the steering wheel with the engine off is there much play? If so, suggests the rack may be worn. There will be clunking with the engine on as the valve taked a sec to kick in if waggling. Also eliminate the track rod ends - the tie ends are sadly part of the rack so if it is that then new rack time.

Basically, could be a rack, valve or the pump. Valve is only around £20, but still needs a lot of stripping to change just this.

Take it to at least 2 respected places, ideally 3 and see if all come to the same conclusion. Guesswork elimination here is a costly business, as I have found out myself!

Good luck, and do reply to advise what the problem was.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your reply
Should hopefully get the car looked at tom so fingers crossed they will get to the bottom of the problem.

Unfortuanately I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to cars and so just hope they don't pull the wool over my eyes. The problem you described with the sticking valve sounds interesting. Is there any chance that such a problem would cause me to hear (what i can only describe as) gas escaping noises (like when the power steering is at full lock) but also when turning slightly and going in a straight line?

Regards

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thankyou for your help with my problem.

Should hopefuly be getting looked at tomorrow. Would like to take it to several places for verification but will struggle as cant really drive the car any distance and bit wary of incurring the costs necessary to get it towed.

Do you think it is worth mentioning the possibility of the valve to the specialist or am i likely to be wasting my time? (don't have much knowledge or experience of cars/garages).

Kind regards

Alex
 

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Alex156 said:
Thankyou for your help with my problem.

Should hopefuly be getting looked at tomorrow. Would like to take it to several places for verification but will struggle as cant really drive the car any distance and bit wary of incurring the costs necessary to get it towed.

Do you think it is worth mentioning the possibility of the valve to the specialist or am i likely to be wasting my time? (don't have much knowledge or experience of cars/garages).

Kind regards

Alex
Probably not worth saying anything - they are only likely to agree or get led in the wrong direction!

Name where you are, and hopefully somebosy will be able to reccomend a good local spacialist, or advise somewhere to avoid. Although you will probably stump up an hours labour or so, may even be worth going to a dealer for a proper diagnosis, then go elsewhere for the work unless they can do you a good deal.

Good luck!
 

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Welcome alex156 to alfa forum , i take it you have correct amount of oil in resovoir Also this is a biggy check the drive belt aint slippin it has been known.
 

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Alex156 said:
Is there any chance that such a problem would cause me to hear (what i can only describe as) gas escaping noises (like when the power steering is at full lock) but also when turning slightly and going in a straight line?
I think that confirms the torsion bar failure - you get full assist (as is needed at full lock) and hence the same noise as at full lock with the slightest input on the steering wheel.
HTH,
Simon_S
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thankyou to you all for your replies. At this point the garage have come back and said that it is the valve on the power steering pump and have sent the pump to be reconditioned. I really hope this sorts it and will let you know what the outcome is.

Thanks again!

Alex
 

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Alex156 said:
Thankyou to you all for your replies. At this point the garage have come back and said that it is the valve on the power steering pump and have sent the pump to be reconditioned. I really hope this sorts it and will let you know what the outcome is.

Thanks again!

Alex
Alex - on the 147 I am told that the valve is seperate to the power steering rack. Double check the rack needs stripping and sending off!

Also..... consider an exchange rack from Alfa instead of re-using yours, more guarantee if things go wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi

Well nearly 2 weeks on now and the steering problem appears fixed. At first they thought it was the pump so sent it away to be reconditioned. Couldnt find anything wrong however but were informed by the people who looked at the pumps the symptoms could also be the result of a hole in one of the power steering lines.

Sure enough when checking they did come across a hole and suggested that when the engine was on (and the pump operating) it was sucking in air? When first given back to me the steering was still pretty light and the power steering was very noisey but i was told that this was because air was still in the system and that it would eventually purge itself. Despite being sceptical at first it does seem a lot quieter now and touching plenty of wood, the steering seems ok.

Thanks

Alex
 
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