Caused by worn carbon brushes in the motor its a commont fault you can take it off remove three screws holdin the back end on
blow it out with an air line and refit it but realy needs brushes replacing
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Take the car to another mechanic. The steering is likely going stiff because the belt is loose, that's why it's squeaking and slipping on the power steering pump pulley. The mechanic should have checked and tightened the belt. The pumps rarely fail. If you have a gas leak, it must be repaired immediately and it depends what is wrong that will determine cost. Go to a smaller shop that has been around along time or get a referral from friends that have had good luck with a shop that does repairs, not just oil changes.
i've had a similar issue with a 99 M3. really stiff steering. i thought i was getting old and weak.
I was chasing another problem when i discovered a solution for my stiff steering issue.
Most of these vehicles have a valve that helps control steering pump fluid flow at various speeds.
i.e at higher speed you want stiffer steering. at low speeds easier steering. however, how does the pump known your going faster?
Note: all bmw steering hoses leak...
As your car ages, so do electrical contacts, especially in harser climates.
I used eletrical contact cleaner and di-electric grease to solve an intermittemt ASC problem.
This also cleared up the steering issue.
get some electrical contact cleaner and some di-electric grease. pop your hood and clean as many electrical connections as you can and apply a little di-electric grease after the contact cleaner drys.
even do the dme.
Note: I have replaced the power steering rack twice before i discovered this fix. You may also fix some other issues in the meantime.
electrical contacts may be the biggest problem source for most newer vehocles since they tie everything together.
If the steering is noisy as well as stiff then the steering fluid is low. If it is not noisy then the fault is most likely the pressure control valve inside the power steering pump sticking open. The Pump would need need to be re-conditioned. Also check steering rack boots are not twisted as well as tyre pressures.
There are 2 things that cause power steering to go stiff. The power steering pump itself either from failure or "lack of fluid" and the rack and pinion assy under the car.
Most of the time the failure is the power steering pump itself. The teflon rollers fail inside the pump and it either stops providing an output pressure or it seizes up. You can loosen the power steering pump belt then try to rotate the pump by hand. It should move by hand. If it feels like it is intermittently locking up as you rotate, it the teflon rollers have failed and the pump will need to be replaced.
bad electrical signal to the pump. pumps thinks its going fast. the valve that controls the fluid flow to make steeering stiffer at higher speeds is confused.
use electrical contact cleaner and d-electric grease to fix contact problems.
pop the hood and cleans as many connections as possible, let dry and apply a small amount of di-electric grease to those connections, then re-connect the plugs. even do the dme connections to the main wiring harness.
this will solve many electrical contact problems seen in older cars.
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.
I have researched this issue and it seems the problem may be the power steering pump, it seems it causes these kinds of loose of power assist and the resulting stiff/hard steering effort, the 1st thing to do is have the fluid checked in the pump, is it full? does it look discolored? if it is low you have a leak, if it is discolored or smells burnt then you may have steering rack issues as well, on occasion a flush of the fluid will help, many shops will flush the power steering for you at a reasonable cost compared to parts like the steering rack and pinion and the steering pump.