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Questions and Answers

Jeep Cherokee Loses Power Steering

Q. Dear Vincent, Sure do appreciate your availability through About.com. Hope you can help provide some useful suggestions. I have a:

  • 1998 Jeep Cherokee LTD
  • 4.0 liter fuel injected 6 cylinder
  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
  • ABS brakes
  • P/S, A/C, Cruise control
Jeep Cherokee Loses Power Steering

The problem: In wet weather, specifically after splashing through a puddle, the steering seems to "stick" trying to make a right turn. I haven't tested all possible scenarios, but here is specifically how I discovered the problem: driving in rain, the right side splashed through some puddles along the curb, for the, about, 100 feet or so coming up to an intersection where I slowed/stopped to make an immediate right turn.

The steering wheel felt "stuck", this was so surprising at first that I thought that it had completely locked up. Then with considerable effort I could turn the wheel, like a car without power steering. I drove a block and then made another right turn, there was a lot of resistance, but maybe it was a little easier. A few more blocks and a few more test turns later, steering seems normal.

Then went back along the same route where the problem started, thinking that something about the road conditions may have triggered the problem. Splashed through the puddles again, and sure enough, the steering wheel stuck at the same intersection. And again steering gradually returned to normal after driving a few blocks. Any idea what could be causing this?

Thanks!
Sincerely,
Scott

A. This is a good indication of a loose or damaged serpentine belt. I would check the belt tension and tighten it as required. Belt tension is adjusted at the power steering pump bracket and idler pulley assembly. Of course you need to replace the serpentine belt if it is torn, frayed or has chunks missing.

Jeep Cherokee Loses Power Steering

All you have to do is:

  1. Loosen idler pulley bolt at the power steering bracket.
  2. Loosen adjusting bolt until belt can be removed from pulleys.
  3. Remove belt.
  4. Reverse to install.

When installing an accessory drive belt, the belt MUST be routed correctly. If not, the engine may overheat due to water pump rotating in wrong direction.

Jeep Cherokee Loses Power Steering

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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