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Bob, Auto Tech
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 4087
Experience:  Plus 40 years GM, over 30 certified with Chevrolet, ASE certified Master Tech. (Expired, Retired)
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I have a 96 Chevy Suburban. The power steering suddenly ...

Customer Question

I have a 96 Chevy Suburban. The power steering suddenly went out. How do I know if the problem is with the power steering pump, or the power steering gear, or something else?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Bob replied 9 years ago.
Hello, wondering if the truck has a hydro boost brake system too? If so did the brake booster also stop working? You might want to try putting a pry bar behind the pulley on the PS pump and put pressure on it and see if it will slide forward or not. Don't even need to remove the belt. If the pulley will slide forward at all, the shaft is broken inside the PS pump, GM has been having lots of problems with these shafts breaking off. They look fine, but keep the pump from working. Thanks
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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I'm not sure if the truck has a hydro boost brake system (how can I tell?). Your answer sounds helpful, but I need to know if there is a way to tell if my power steering gear needs to be replaced. I just don't want my mechanic to fix something that wasn't broken.
Expert:  Bob replied 9 years ago.
Look behind the master cylinder, if the power booster has one rubber vacuum hose to it, it is not a hydro booster. If it has more than one hose going to it, that are hydralic lines with metal fittings on them, then it is. If you do the test I gave you and the pulley moves, it will need a new PS pump. That is the first test. Also if it has the hydro boost and the power brakes do not work, that means the pump has failed too. Thanks
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you for your help. I will try that right now, and check to see about the braking system. If I have more questions I'll be back later. Once again, thanks!
Expert:  Bob replied 9 years ago.

Vacuum booster below. Thanks for the accept, if you need me, just drop a note. Thanks

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
You were right! The shaft is broken. From your description I think I do have the hydro boost brake system. I feel a woble when I'm braking, I though my roters needed to be turned, but could it be because of the bad PS pump?
Expert:  Bob replied 9 years ago.
Nice to know what the problem is. You will need a new PS pump, but that is NOT the reason for the wobble. You may well need the rotors turned to cure that part. The PS pump would not cause that problem. Thanks