Random losses of Power Steering

In my '93 Camry we’ve had for a while the Power steering will occasionally go out for a little while for no particular reason we can find, the fluid level is fine I have checked it several times, any suggestions or ideas? I don’t really want to take it in for something as random and infrequent as that.

It doesn’t go out in any specific situation the car is in either, but usually when the car has been recently started.

You may have slipping belts. They often won’t work correctly until warm, because they get set into one shape overnight. Check it for being too loose, and check for cracks, too.

You might try a simple “Belt Conditioner”, which comes in a spray can from any auto supply, where they keep power steering fluids, etc. This will keep the belt limber if it has dried out over time.

You could also have an intermittent problem with the power steering pump itself, or from the your description, a possible problem with the spool valve. The spool valve controls the direction that the power steering fluid goes within the rack-and-pinion assembly, determined by which way you turn the wheel.

IIRC, there are teflon seals on the spool valve, and as the vehicle ages, sometimes the seals begin to wear out. The rings can also start to dig grooves in the rack housing if it’s made from aluminum instead of iron - I’m not sure what a Camry uses. Sometimes fluid leaks past, making steering more difficult. In most cases, the problem is noticeable when first driving, and as the fluid heats up, the rings and housing expand enough to compensate for the problem.

Anyway, you should have it checked on, and you might need to have the rack replaced.

I think Dire Wolf might have it. The suggestion by tshirts to check your belts is always sound advice too.

Anyhow - I have seen bad power steering pumps behave in this manner.

What kind of vehicle are we talking about here? If it has a steering box (as opposed to Rack and Pinion steering) it sounds like the box may possible be one the way out too…even if it is rack and pinion, the rack could be shot as well. Something to check.