Power steering issue on my '96 GTS

VIPERIZED1

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I own a '96 GTS with 11,000 miles and have never had any issues with it until today. I drove it 10 miles and then stopped for an hour at my destination. As I slowly drove around a building at 5 mph I noticed that the power steering had gone out and it locked the steering wheel. I had to forcibly turn the steering wheel just to make the turn. I then started to drive home when the temperature light went off and the temperature was over 250 degrees for the first time. I was able to make it home and then the coolant overflowed onto my driveway. I let it sit for a couple of hours and then filled it up with coolant. My power steering fluid was just a little low so I topped it off. There was a quarter sized nonoil fluid stain under my car when I backed it out of the garage today. It was amber-colored. After the engine cooled off, I was able to determine that the power steering belt had come off the pulleys. I understand that this is a fairly common problem with '96 GTS's especially for loose pulleys. Is this a repair that an ASE Certified Mechanic can do or do I need to send it to the dealership? Any suggestions on whether this would be a good time to upgrade the pulleys etc?
 
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Steve-Indy

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The first place that I would consider as the root cause would be the plastic power steering pump pulley and its fragile bracket...both of which are known to break. Replace them with the IPSCO billet pulley and bracket. Note that the pulley can be tough to remove even with a puller. Next check tensioner and idler pulleys to be safe. A new belt would also be indicated.

Hopefully, your main bearings did not suffer with the overheating.

SAE Certification is good...but, outcome will depend on the technician's level of experience, common sense, and attention to detail. There are very few techs left in the dealer system with Viper experience...let alone the desire to deal with these cars.
 

Suregrip391

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Like Steve-Indy said, look at your PS pulley and bracket first. VERY common failure here. These cars are easy to work on and you can most likely do this yourself. I did mine in about an hour.
 

VIPERIZED1

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Like Steve-Indy said, look at your PS pulley and bracket first. VERY common failure here. These cars are easy to work on and you can most likely do this yourself. I did mine in about an hour.
Did you keep the stock PS pulley and bracket or did you decide to replace it with an IPSCO pair as a few YouTube posters have elected to do so? I believe the belt had been spinning loosely for the last 5 drives. Since it has now slipped off, does that mean that it was a loose pulley or can I just reattach the belt? Since I have never replaced a belt and my mechanic skills are limited to Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes, would it be best to hire a mobile mechanic to do the job? Do I need to order a new belt as well?
 

MrLighty

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If your familiar with Camaros and Mustangs you can complete this yourself. There's nothing special going on here.
Yes replace the belt. The pulley can be a pain to remove even with the proper tools i managed to destroy the oem plastic junk. i replaced the complete system while i was in there. I wanted to replace that high pressure hose anyway. i did use the IPSCO.
i would also investigate why you have ps fluid under the car.
 
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Suregrip391

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With the belt off, inspect your tensioner and idler pulliey. Spin them and see how they feel/sound. If you do not know how old the belt is, I would replace now. And get a new tensioner. Rock auto sells these. I used the Cardone PS pulley on mine, it’s black and looks stock. It’s also metal. The original looks to be a plastic material of some sorts and it’s common that they crack in the center around where it would spin on the shaft, throwing ones belt possibly. I’d start there. Rock auto also has the Cardone pulley for like $12 I think. I and others here have had no issues to date with it. I bought the ipsco updated bracket though for piece of mind.
 

Viperhunter

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Don't feel bad, dozens go thru the same thing every years.

As I have learned from others on "forums" change the idle, tensioner, and belt with the PS pulley. I was amazed at how tight the tensioner and idle were on a 2,600 mile 99 and 11,400 mile 98. Both factory. I will be changing every 4-5 years regardless of miles.

Pro tip - make sure the ground is reattached to the tensioner ***** / stud (I see that the metal shaft with threads on it is deemed inappropriate). And best tip - listen to Steve-Indy!
 
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VIPERIZED1

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With the belt off, inspect your tensioner and idler pulliey. Spin them and see how they feel/sound. If you do not know how old the belt is, I would replace now. And get a new tensioner. Rock auto sells these. I used the Cardone PS pulley on mine, it’s black and looks stock. It’s also metal. The original looks to be a plastic material of some sorts and it’s common that they crack in the center around where it would spin on the shaft, throwing ones belt possibly. I’d start there. Rock auto also has the Cardone pulley for like $12 I think. I and others here have had no issues to date with it. I bought the ipsco updated bracket though for piece of mind.
What brand of belt is the best? Gates, A/C Delco or Continental?
 

VIPERIZED1

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The first place that I would consider as the root cause would be the plastic power steering pump pulley and its fragile bracket...both of which are known to break. Replace them with the IPSCO billet pulley and bracket. Note that the pulley can be tough to remove even with a puller. Next check tensioner and idler pulleys to be safe. A new belt would also be indicated.

Hopefully, your main bearings did not suffer with the overheating.

SAE Certification is good...but, outcome will depend on the technician's level of experience, common sense, and attention to detail. There are very few techs left in the dealer system with Viper experience...let alone the desire to deal with these cars.
Hi Steve. I ordered the IPSCO pulley and bracket today and will be ordering the belt tomorrow. 1. What brand of belt is best and what is the part number for my 96 GTS with A/C? 2. I inspected my pulleys today (upper and lower) and noticed tiny spots of rust on them. I keep my car garaged and car covered here in sunny California where the garage temperature has never dipped below 60 degrees. Why would my pulleys have rust spots and how can I remove the rust spots safely without compromising their integrity?
 

Suregrip391

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Hopefully someone else can chime in , in regards to your belt # because I think I remember reading that in 96 it could be different from car to car due to early/later builds? The 96 listings may not be correct. I seem to recall reading that. Something to do with the possibility of having an early Gen 1 engine carry over to a first year Gen 2. I’ll pass on answering this and wait for a more experienced guy to jump in to confirm……if this is the case for 96’s….get a number off your old belt (always good practice) or measure it / count the ribs before ordering.
 

VIPERIZED1

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Hopefully someone else can chime in , in regards to your belt # because I think I remember reading that in 96 it could be different from car to car due to early/later builds? The 96 listings may not be correct. I seem to recall reading that. Something to do with the possibility of having an early Gen 1 engine carry over to a first year Gen 2. I’ll pass on answering this and wait for a more experienced guy to jump in to confirm……if this is the case for 96’s….get a number off your old belt (always good practice) or measure it / count the ribs before ordering.
I ordered the Dayco 5070810 which is the same one that I am replacing. I don't want to take a chance that the belt won't fit if I buy a different brand.
 

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