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George H.
George H., Subaru Certified Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 18304
Experience:  ASE Master Tech 15 + Years
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Subaru 2001 Outback (70k miles, yup, previous owner barely

Customer Question

Subaru 2001 Outback (70k miles, yup, previous owner barely drove it). Power assist steering working correctly until a few days ago. It feels stiff turning, compared to before. This started occurring right after the battery was drained during a day where I left the trunk hood open all day and evening. I charged the battery the next morning, reset the clock and pre-sets on my radio. Everything good, except the steering felt stiff during turning movement. Power steering fluid is correct level (on max line, cold). The power steering return hose seems still supple and connection is good to the power steering pump. No 'whinning' sound from the PS pump. Is it possible that there is an electrical problem with the sensor on the top of the PS pump? Is so, how would I check it?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  George H. replied 4 months ago.

Hello I will help you with your question,

The sensor is to let the computer know you are at full lock and the computer ups the idle speed a little so the engine is not bogged down.

Odd that this would happen all of a sudden, the belt is tight on the pump? Really tight?

No oil on the belt?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Just checked. Belt is tight and looks new ( I got the car at the beginning of last year with 50k miles). No evidence of oil on the belt.
Expert:  George H. replied 4 months ago.

It would be a failing pump if the circulation is good but as I say it is odd for it to happen all at once.

With it running can you see circulation in the reservoir?

Expert:  George H. replied 4 months ago.

I am unable to speak on the phone, we can continue here if you wish

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The fluid is circulating
Expert:  George H. replied 4 months ago.

Ok, a shop can put a pressure gauge on it and check the output of the pump but it is probably just the pump and the diagnostic charge would be as much as the cost of the pump.

If you raise the front end the wheels turn smooth and easy side to side with the engine off?