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scottyfum, Chevy Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 118
Experience:  Factory trained General Motors Grand Master Technician with 12 years experience
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2001 Chevy Suburban 1500 5.3 L 4wd, Power Steering pump shears

Customer Question

2001 Chevy Suburban 1500 5.3 L 4wd, Power Steering pump shears Power Steering pulley shaft twice in a week. Runs fine for about three days then repeat problem. Vacuum Boost NOT Hydro. What is causing repeat failure?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  scottyfum replied 8 years ago.
How is your belt wear? Sounds like an alignment issue. Has there been any other work done to the truck?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Brand new serpentine belt. I aligned the PS pulley surface with a straight edge to match to the other pulleys. It ran fine for about three days with no issues. I could turn full right to left with no hesitation spots.

It failed when I was backing out and making a left turn, It failed instantly. I could here the pump making clunking noises.

I did have to transfer an electronic flow regulator from the old pump to the new that was on the high pressure line.

I was trying to think of what could cause the second failure before I install and third pump.

Bad new pump, Contaminated fluid? ( How can I do a full flush? and maybe add an in line filter to the return. Bad Flow regulator ( not even sure what that does that would cause trouble). Bad steering box, the only other part I can think off is the steering sensor on the column but not sure what that would cause if that went out.

Expert:  scottyfum replied 8 years ago.
Very strange, I have been a tech at a GM dealer for 13 years and I have seen them break but never a repeat. Is it an aftermarket pump or GM? I will have to log on to my database and see what I can find.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.


It is an AUTOZONE ATSCO remanufactured pump. I did a little research on the Internet and had a few people talking about the same problem but there was no replies that resolved it that was posted. Someone had stated that if the flow in the pump gets restricted that pressure could build up rapidly and that could cause the pump to seize, but I just listing everything I have seen, not sure if any of these are valid.

I DID NOT flush the system though before replacing the pump. Is it possible that when the old pump siezed it could have introduced contaminant into the fluid that made its way into the new pump?

Expert:  scottyfum replied 8 years ago.
It defentaly would not hurt to flush it out the best you can. Un hook the lines and flush them out with brakeclean. Make sure you blled it properly as well. If you need the bleed procedure let me know.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.


Yes, if you could send me the bleed instructions that would be great, In the flushing procedure how can I clear the fluid that is in the steering gear box?



Expert:  scottyfum replied 8 years ago.

ya for sure. Here you are. Good luck.


Power Steering System Flushing

Important: Do not reuse any drained power steering fluid regardless of appearance or condition.

  1. Turn OFF the engine.
  2. Raise the front end of the vehicle off the ground until the tires and wheels turn freely. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle.
  3. Place a large container under the fluid return hose in order to collect the draining fluid.
  4. Remove the fluid return hose at the power steering pump reservoir inlet connection.
  5. Plug the reservoir return hose inlet connection on the power steering pump.

    Important: This step may require 4 L (4 qt) of power steering fluid until the draining fluid appears clear.

  6. With the key on engine off, turn the steering wheel fully to the left and to the right while an assistant maintains the minimum fluid level in the reservoir using new approved power steering fluid. Continue until the fluid from the return hose runs clear.
  7. Remove the plug from the pump reservoir inlet connection and install the fluid return hose to the pump reservoir.

    Important: Do NOT run the engine without the power steering fluid at a minimum system level.

  8. Bleed the power steering system. Refer to Power Steering System Bleeding.
  9. Inspect the power steering fluid for the following indications of contamination:
    Milky fluid - water
    Brown fluid - burnt
    Plastic debris or dirt chunks
  10. If the fluid is contaminated, repeat steps 2-9.
  11. Lower the vehicle and check the Power Steering system for leaks.


Power Steering System Bleeding


    Use clean, new power steering fluid type only. See the Maintenance and Lubrication subsection for fluid specifications. Refer to Fluid and Lubricant Recommendations .
    Hoses touching the frame, body or engine may cause system noise. Verify that the hoses do not touch any other part of the vehicle.
    Loose connections may not leak, but could allow air into the steering system. Verify that all hose connections are tight.


    Important: Power steering fluid level must be maintained throughout bleed procedure.

  1. Fill pump reservoir with fluid to minimum system level, FULL COLD level, or middle of hash mark on cap stick fluid level indicator.

    Important: With hydro-boost only, the oil level will appear falsely high if the hydro-boost accumulator is not fully charged. Do not apply the brake pedal with the engine OFF. This will discharge the hydro-boost accumulator.

  2. If equipped with hydro-boost, fully charge the hydro-boost accumulator using the following procedure:
    2.1. Start the engine.
    2.2. Firmly apply the brake pedal 10-15 times.
    2.3. Turn the engine OFF.
  3. Raise the vehicle until the front wheels are off the ground. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle in General Information.
  4. Key on engine OFF, turn the steering wheel from stop to stop 12 times.

    Vehicles equipped with hydro-boost systems or longer length power steering hoses may require turns up to 15 to 20 stop to stops.

  5. Verify power steering fluid level per operating specification. Refer to Checking and Adding Power Steering Fluid .
  6. Start the engine. Rotate steering wheel from left to right. Check for sign of cavitation or fluid aeration (pump noise/whining).
  7. Verify the fluid level. Repeat the bleed procedure if necessary.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.



Will try it this weekend and see what happens, I have the new pump just need to get more PS fluid for the flushing and bleeding.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.


Yes , Thanks for your help.


Sorry first time user here and forgot to hit Accept, just hit reply. One quick follow up. What do you think of an In-Line filter on the return side? Overkill and not needed? Good idea, couldn't hurt. May cause trouble ( maybe if it get's clogged).





Expert:  scottyfum replied 8 years ago.
Hmm, good question. I would really think it would just be waisting your time. Like I said before, we rarely see any p.s. problems other then the odd pump and hoses. I do recomend GM parts though. I do occasionally buy aftermarket due to the price but I have suffered on a few occations. If you have any further questions feel free to ask. Thanks alot. Scott