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Unread 07-19-2009   #1 (permalink)
Mustangsallye is offline Rookie

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Default 1996 Mustang GT loss of power steering & power brakes

Hi all. I'm new to the forum. Although I've checked it out in the past, I've joined tonight because I'm having trouble with my Mustang, a 1996 GT convertible with around 108,000k. It's all factory stock with no modifications.

Today, it was running fine but after being parked for about 5 hours I came out to start it up and the battery light was on. The battery is relatively new. I then discovered I have no power steering, brakes, etc. To be upfront, I have zero mechanical experience. What I'm looking for are any educated guesses as to what it may be so I will be better equipped when I talk to a mechanic. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Unread 07-19-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustangsallye View Post
Hi all. I'm new to the forum. Although I've checked it out in the past, I've joined tonight because I'm having trouble with my Mustang, a 1996 GT convertible with around 108,000k. It's all factory stock with no modifications.

Today, it was running fine but after being parked for about 5 hours I came out to start it up and the battery light was on. The battery is relatively new. I then discovered I have no power steering, brakes, etc. To be upfront, I have zero mechanical experience. What I'm looking for are any educated guesses as to what it may be so I will be better equipped when I talk to a mechanic. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Battery light... OK, first thing to check under the hood is your serpentine belt. If it broke, this would explain the battery light (your alternator runs off this belt, and no alternator will soon mean no battery). This would also explain the lack of power steering, since this ALSO runs off the serpentine belt. Finally, your brake hydro booster uses the power steering pump.

Let us know what you find, but that would be my immediate guess as to the primary source of that particular set of 3 problems.
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Unread 07-19-2009   #3 (permalink)
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I agree Serpentine belt, That is the only thing that would explain losing 3 systems at one time.
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Unread 07-19-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the hint. This has pinged my brain that awhile back I noticed fraying on the belt and someone mentioned it would need to be replaced soon. Am off this afternoon, to where the car is located to verify it and will post the results.
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Unread 07-19-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, best of luck.

If its NOT the belt, you may just have a coincidence on your hands. Start by checking the fluid level in the Power Steering (it being low - actually more like out - might explain the lack of steering and brakes). If its gone, you might be able to get it running again just by topping it up, but it does not "use" fluid, it "loses" fluid, so you will need to get some leaks fixed or the pump replaced, though it MIGHT also be the hydro booster doing the leaking.

In this scenario, the battery might just be coincidentally getting weak, old, or low on water at the same time, or even the alternator doing the same thing.

All things considered, the serpentine belt would be the cheapest and easiest solution, so I hope that's it.

Best of luck!
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Unread 07-19-2009   #6 (permalink)
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Y'all rock! It was the Serpentine belt. Opened the hood to find bits of belt everywhere and part of the hood insulation gone from where the belt had whipped up and hit it.

All of the pieces to the puzzle now fit. Yesterday, I made a stop prior to my final destination. Upon starting up the car there was a brief burning odor. I wrote it off to another car next to me (being a convertible it was easy to mistake it for another source). It must have given out just as I was getting to my final stop.

Lesson learned, next time there is even minute fraying on a belt I'm getting it changed. Tomorrow, I'll have my mechanic fix the belt, do some brake work it needs and check out a suspicious looking hose and another rubber gasket that look like they're starting to crack.

Will update further after I get the final resolution. Many thanks!

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Unread 07-19-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Wunderbar!

I know this will cost some money, but the other alternative would have cost more!

Make sure he checks all your fluid levels at the same time. And brakes are ALWAYS a priority.

Glad it worked out.
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Unread 08-03-2009   #8 (permalink)
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Here's the final resolution. The serpentine belt was replaced and while the car was in the shop it also got new struts and shocks, brake fluid changed and flushed, oil change, air filter, and a new radiator cap. She now purrs wonderfully and the ride is sooo much smoother. I was pleased the brakes were in tip top shape. The next step is Costco coverking neoprene seat covers since the leather front buckets are in bad shape due to being a convertible and tires.

Thanks all!
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