Try to turn steering wheel sticks, stiff, feels like something is binding. after warming up is ok. could it be power steering hoses or pump or rack?? do you know if general motors had any call back for this problem with there steering.
You'll probably need to get the Rack replaced, like I did. It does cost about $800 dollars, depending on the shop you go to. For the time being, you can refill the power steering reservoir with a power steering fluid with Stop Leak (example of what I used) . That should ward off the leaks until you get it replaced. (Access to the reservoir is on the left hand side, right behind the alternator. You'll need a funnel, and be careful... That alternator can be hot.)
I should warn you, there may be a small cooler under there as well that will leak the fluid. It's most likely very corroded and also part of the problem. They add a bit to the cost to get a new or used one, but if you're comfortable with it, ask them to bypass it, it's much cheaper and easier.
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Sounds like an intermediate shaft. The universal joint on the shaft is partially seized up and when turning it, it binds up in certain spots. Usually evidence of this is seen on the u-joint in the form of red rust dust but not always. To make sure disconnect the shaft at the steering rack and articulate the u joint and check for binding.
this problem indicates a bad steering rack. the bushings in the rack are worn and have caused groves in the housing causing the binding. the only solution is to replace the steering rack. if a problem was the power steering pump it would not get easy when you turn the steering wheel further the problem would be there all the time.
Does kind of buzz at an idle and it whine when you try to turn? You could be low on power steering fluid. Sometimes people put the wrong fluid un it pump instead of power steering fluid which will cause problem because the fluid is too thick.
You could possibly have a pump going out on you.
Jack the car up to get the front wheels off the ground. With the engine off, turn the steering wheel lock to lock. If you feel any binding as you turn you may have a bent steering rack.
YOU HAVE AIR IN THE POWER STEERING SYSTEM.YOU NEED TO BLEED POWER STEERING PUMP FIRST BEFORE DRIVING VECHICLE.CHECK POWER STEERING FLUID LEVEL ADD MORE POWER STEERING UNTIL REACH FULL COLD MARK..RAISE VECHICLE FRONT WHEELS OFF THE GROUND.START ENGINE LET IT IDLE WHILE TURNING STEERING WHEEL LEFT TO RIGHT NON STOP DONT LOCK OR STOP STEERING WHEEL KEEP TURNING IT SEVERAL TIMES CHECK POWER STEERING FLUID IF LOW ADD UNTIL YOU GET COLD MARK ON DIP STICK DONT OVER FILL POWER STEERING PUMP BLOW A SEAL.IF POWER STEERING FLUID LOOK TAN COLOR SYSTEM FULL OF AIR.TURN OFF IGNITION LET CAR SET FOR A WHILE CHECK FLUID LEVEL.IF STEERING WHEEL FEEL STIFF HARD TURNING DONT DRIVE CAR UNTIL YOU HAVE NORMAL STEERING.IF STILL HAVE AIR IN SYSTEM BLEED SYSTEM UNTIL AIR IS OUT.
If the wheel binds up or you encounter harder steering in one direction but not the other, it's your rack. Check for leaks, is it from the connecting hose or the rack itself. Can't find it? It's usually on the bottom rear of your engine,a tie rod on either side will attach to your steering knuckle. If your steering is stiff while wheel is centered or at maximum lock it's your pump.
Never worked on a mini in particular. Doing a quick google search and pumps (minus labour) seem to be 350-450$ depending where you go, unless there's some crazy book time i'm unaware of, 1300$ seems pretty steep.
Is there a noise when you turn? If there is, jack up the front end and remove the cap off your power steering resevoir. Slowly turn the wheel from lock to lock, while the engine is running, to bleed any air out of the system If you replace one or the other, don't forget to do the above step.
Hey. What I would do first is to raise the front end up, and check to see if the wheels turn left and right manually; engine off.
Wheels turn free, prob the rack
Second, start it up and feel the P/S hoses. Feel for pressure flow when the wheels are being turned. if there is no obvious feeling of pressure change, then I would think that the rack was bypassing thru the spool valve. Replace the rack.
Actually, $890.00 ain't bad...make sure they do an alignment when they are done.