Power Steering: I had forgotten...

My power steering pump went out about 3 months ago. Maybe longer. Not going to pay a mechanic the extortionous amounts of cash they charge for something like that.
But, too intimidated to attempt it myself, immediately. I had to build up the courage because of my last two disasters in the auto repair realm. Went on Youtube and saw that it required some most bizarre tool (a crowsfoot?). Not to mention, the fact that I had to replace the pulley myself (Autozone just laughed at me when I asked if they would do it.)
So, I got a used one with the pulley attached! (By the time this one goes out, is my line of reasoning, I will have a different car.)

At any rate, today, my most excellent neighbor, Juan, helped me put this one in.
Wow! After using all of the muscles in my arms, back, and neck just to turn a corner, as was the case for the last three months, I can perform same with little more than a flick of the wrist! Phenomenal!

Life is good!

Glad you got your Armstrong steering fixed.

The last American vehicle I had without power steering was a 1987 S-10 pickup. Stupid thing had a dinky steering wheel, too. Is there a car sold in the U.S. without power steering these days?

Wait, wait let me see if I have this straight.
You don’t own the necessary tools, have the requisite knowledge, or ability to do the job yourself, and have failed in the past when attempting auto repairs, but the guy who does have the tools, knowledge, and abilities is extorting money from you? :rolleyes:
Forum rules prevent me from properly addressing you post, and you are not worth a pit thread, so I will just leave you with this. :dubious:

Oh, and that used pump could fail as soon as tomorrow, it probably won’t, but it could. This might mean you will be in the market for a new car much earlier than you had expected.

  1. I now own the necessary tools
  2. I now *have *the requisite knowledge, (I have had the *basic *knowledge all along, since rebuilding a '49 Ford in the 70s-it’s the specialized knowledge/tools that threw me) as proven by my post the ability to do the job myself (Juan helped, didn’t lead)
  3. I failed in the past twice, most recently, out of several dozen/hundred repairs
  4. The guy who does have the tools, knowledge, and abilities (aside from myself) is NOT extorting money from me. He is not getting anything from me.
  5. I blamed well know that the pump could go out tomorrow. I knew the instant that I called about it that it not only could have gone out the following day, but, it may well have been defective when I purchased it. It’s elementary. And, like yourself, I am guessing that it probably won’t. That’s why I added the part about ‘my line of reasoning’…It would have been superfluous in adding that part if I were expecting the pump to last the same amount of time that a brand new/reconditioned one would.
    Your post strikes me as odd. I’m not saying I’m not a contemptible person, but, you seem to have derived that entirely from my post, which I rather fail to see (again, from the post.)

**Thank you, california jobcase! ** I can’t even recall the last storebought car I was even in without power steering. Maybe a 66 Mustang??

It’s still optional on SMART cars. Power steering wasn’t available on the Lotus Elise and wasn’t standard on the Chevy Aveo, but both of those went away in 2011, so I think only the SMART carries the manual steering torch.

Why did Autozone laugh at you? (I have no idea who they are anyway).

I’ve been driving my '66 MGB. After years of driving a Prius and a Jeep, I always notice how large the MG’s steering wheel is. And I always notice the effort it takes to turn it. Not much effort, but more than the power steering I’ve been using. The other thing I notice is how responsive the MG’s non-power steering is compared to the other cars I have and had (except for the Porsches).

AutoZone is an auto parts store. They’ll change your battery and pull codes, and some of the more adventurous employees will help with somewhat minor repairs, but a power steering pump/pulley? Not a chance.

As far as the “extortionist” thing goes, Rick, it goes with auto mechanics like “greedy” goes with “business owner”. It doesn’t matter if it’s true, it goes hand-in-hand with it. Too many people have been taken by unscrupulous mechanics and there are too many stories out there. You can’t win, you can only build your own reputation with your own customers.

It’s not even that IMO. A decent mechanic is gonna cost serious money pretty fast. And there is nothing wrong with that. Between all the various forms of overhead costs before the guy even turns a wrench you are talking serious money. Then, tack on him making a wage and its even worse.

Its like every other form of DIY. It can be cheaper to DIY, but its probably gonna take you a lot more time to do it than a pro. And then there is always the chance you’ll really screw it up and that could either be a minor thing or a major disaster.

Hey, if you have more time than money (and in particular no extra money) DIY is kinda the default option. You just have know the difference between taking a small risk and being plum crazy.

An old story:

AD speaks the truth.

Rick, perhaps you can help me out here. If the OP’s power steering pump gives out tomorrow, seems to me he would be in the market for… a new power steering pump. Not a new car. I’m not a huge fan of buying used parts, but it’s hardly the end of the world. At worst it means the OP took a rather minor gamble to save a few bucks and will simply have to replace the PS pump again.

Allow me to address your :rolleyes: and :dubious:. If you think some mechanics are little more than extortionists than you are mistaken. Not all, mind you, but enough to give the industry a reputation. I took my wife’s 1999 Town & Country to the dealer to get an intermittent starting problem fixed (I knew enough to know it was a computer problem). They diagnosed it as a bad starter (bullshit), and wanted $500 to change the goddamn thing. And this was from the dealer.

The worst starter replacement job I ever did was a 1997 or 1998 Tacoma. Even with the pickup on ramps it involved either a) removing a motor mount or b) taking the starter apart in pieces. Assuming I was doing this for a living even in that scenario I wouldn’t charge $500 for the labor. You might want to save your ire for the mechanics that give your field a bad reputation.

As for the OP: Awesome job. Now you have the experience to do that again if you need to. And if you do, a decent machine shop can likely pull the pulley for you. Failing that most well-stocked hardware / tool shops have pulley pullers. The Haynes manual I had for my 86 Suburban even had a picture of the pulley puller that the authors used for the engine breakdown

The OP mentions that he rebuilt a '49 Ford as well as several dozen/hundred other repairs, all without incident. I’m willing to give OP the benefit of the doubt on this.

A decent mechanic will A) be upfront about diagnostic costs. B) give an honest estimate of the repair bill. C) NOT try to screw the owner out of big bucks by giving some bullshit explanation for the vehicle’s problem, and try to tack on extra services or overcharge for what’s being offered. D) charge for the actual hours worked, not the high-end estimate (something a lot of unscrupulous mechanics do).

The OP may not know how to change a power steering pump with confidence, but I’ll take him at his word that he had a run-in with a bad mechanic and feels like a bit of DIY car repair is a better alternative.

Congrats, OP! I’ve done a few repairs, where the cost for someone else to do it would have meant getting rid of the vehicle. Replacing the ball joints on an old Ford Escort with the Haynes Manual propped up next to me comes to mind. It’s an awesome feeling when you finish the job, test drive the car, and tada- it worked!