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Old 04-17-2007, 12:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Battery light on and hard steering

I hope someone can help me out. My daughter came home tonight with car trouble. She has a 94 Corolla.

When it's running, the battery light stays on and it is very hard to turn the steering wheel. Almost like there is no power steering. Her headlights seem to be as bright as usual.

I can see 3 belts on the passenger side of the engine. The 2 upper ones are not moving, with or without the AC on.

Is power steering tied into the battery/altenator?

I'm far from being a mechanic (very very minor skills available here) Please be gentle.

Thanks
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Old 04-17-2007, 01:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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With engine on, do you hear any squealing as if a belt is slipping?

Not sure of the layout on this model or what engine you have. With engine off and flashlight in hand, look at each belt and see what pulleys they run too. The engine crankshaft pulley (a ganged set of pulleys) powers all the other pulleys via a belt(s).

If a belt(s) is broken or off the pulley, look down at the pulleys and see which pulleys align with each other and the crank. The installed belt should not be curving forward or back (for lack of words) as it runs to other pulleys.

Sometimes the A/C and alternator are on the same belt, PS on a separate belt. The water pump could also be turned by an exposed belt, don’t know. Make sure the engine is not overheating because the water pump is not turning.

If the PS is not working and the alternator light (battery light is on) chances are this or these belts are the ones affected.

The A/C pulley should turn with A/C on or off. Turning the A/C on engages a magnetic clutch with connects the turning pulley to the A/C compressor.

If the belts are on the pulleys check the belts for tension. The belts need to have tension on them to be able to grip the other pulleys and turn them.

If the problem is not obvious start the engine and see if the crank pulley(s) are turning and if so why the other pulley(s) are not moving. Suggest wearing safely glasses as belts can and have flown off and hit people.

If the alternator light is on, the battery is not being charged. The headlights and every other electrical item such as fuel pump and ignition system is being powered by the battery. Sooner or later the battery will discharge to a point nothing will work. If you are going to have a shop fix the car, drive it straight there with the lights off and minimize electrical power usage such as heater fan, radio, etc.

Replacing belts is a straightforward job any mechanic (shop) should be able to do. If you have the time, you can do this yourself.
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Question

maybe the water pump has seized, and broke a belt?

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Old 04-17-2007, 02:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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battery and steering

Thanks for that quick reply and the suggestion to check the belts with the engine off.

I think I found the problem. The upper belt is loose because the front pulley (and the part it's attached too) is loose. When I lift the part up it puts tension back on the belt. There is a large bolt in the top of it that is missing the nut. AND when I lifted the part I heard something drop. I found that a smaller bolt had fallen on the ground from somewhere. AND under that pulley part is a long thin bolt. (I can't see it but I can feel it) I thinkit still has the nut on it, butthe bolt is loose too.

I'm gonna take it buy our dealership to show them and ask a couple of questions. The bolt that fell out looked mighty clean and new, for a 1994 car. In December, according to the invoice, they replaced the timing belt, cam and crank seals and valve cover gasket. I'm thinking they didn't tighten everything correctly. They've done that on oil changes.

Thanks again. At least I know which direction I'm going.

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Old 04-17-2007, 02:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like you are talking about the belt tensioner system. Yes, this normally does NOT uninstall itself. Would be looking at the shop for failing to tighten it up properly when doing the other work. They would have needed to remove all the other belts to get to the timing belt and in the process need to loosen the tensioner. These things do happen, only human.

Bring in all the old parts so they can reuse them.

Given what you stated, in my opinion this is a dealer caused issue. A good dealer will make it right for you on their dime, this would be a extremely low cost and easy repair.
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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took it to dealer

Took the car to the dealer this afternoon.

Well the shop guy agreed about theconnection with the loose bolt and the timing belt install in December.
Only thing is that the other bolt that I showed him (which had fallen out) he feels is sheered..so it didn't just fall out. It broke. I looked at it closer and I agree that it broke. He also agreed that it looked like a ne bolt, so that should be on my side.
But he didn't know exactly where it came from on initial inspection.

(The part that was loose, by the way, was the altenator.)

They kept the car to work on it tomorrow. I think this should go well, I mean, low cost or no cost.

Thanks all.


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