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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Alfabb,
I was driving my alfa romeo 164 LS automatic in the rain today. I had issues when turning the steering wheel it would grind. This was odd because the steering rack, front brakes, and front struts are all new. After fueling up and getting new power steering fluid put in the car. I pulled out of the gas station and things got downright scary. I was not going over any serious bumps and all of a sudden I heard a huge explosion. I felt as if the front end of the car had blown off. I had been having problems with the front brake on one side for a week or so. I immediately pulled the car over into a dry section of a parking lot. To my amazement the engine was immaculate, but, there was a white smokey cloud coming from where there is a space between the struts and the tires. The car drove back to the school low on power and the RPM's were out of whack. When I put my nose to the brakes there was a burning sort of smell but no smoke anymore. Also, the belt that turns around the engine whenever the car moves makes a horrible high pitched squeak sometimes like a whistle.
 

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You didn't say which side of the car all this took place at. Which brake was causing you problems?

Also sounds like one of the serp belt idler pulley bearings is bad, or at least something is causing problems with the serp belt? With the steering pump probably making noise, and the serp belt setup making noise, maybe something is wrong with the pump.

Did the steering suddenly get very heavy? Did you have enough steering fluid? Did you use AFT fluid in the steering, as you should?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You didn't say which side of the car all this took place at. Which brake was causing you problems?

Also sounds like one of the serp belt idler pulley bearings is bad, or at least something is causing problems with the serp belt? With the steering pump probably making noise, and the serp belt setup making noise, maybe something is wrong with the pump.

Did the steering suddenly get very heavy? Did you have enough steering fluid? Did you use AFT fluid in the steering, as you should?
Dear Del,
Yes the steering did get suddenly heavy. My brake that i had problems with previous was the front passengers side brake. After I pulled over both brakes on the front sides were bellowing this smoky melty smell and white cloud. The steering fluid was a little low so I filled it up at the gas station. The gas station fill up for fuel and power steering fluid was several minutes before the "Explosion" sound.
 

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Does sound like there is a problem with the steering or serp belt setup if the steering suddenly got heavy, meaning that there was no/little assist for some reason. I would remove the serp belt and check all pulleys for ease of turning, esp the pump pulley. First check anyway.

Could be the pump or steering hose blew, or hose disconnected, or the serp belt got partially seized on an accessory or idler pulley.

Don't know about the brakes at this time.

Start checking the above for first step. It might be something else, but check the above first.
 

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I am sure the belt is done and or the A/C idler bearing seized. This belt runs it all so if that failed or A/C bearing did it would cause a thunk as the pump and everything but the motor would stop.
 

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If in fact the a/c pump bearing seized, he can probably bypass it by removing the upper idler pulley, and using a shorter belt to bypass the a/c pump entirely, going straight to the alternator and the other accessories such as the steering pump and water pump. That way he can drive the car, but without the a/c pump in the meantime.

It does sound, though that perhaps something else may have gone. Won't know until he has a chance to check all the accessory pulleys for free play.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks both of you for your fast replies.
I find it very odd but I've been driving the car now for almost an entire month after I first told you guys of this. All I have now are squeaky brakes and the belt is still squeaking. The pulleys all seem to be fine. One odd issue that I cannot describe well is when I brake the front passenger's side tire only skids and I feel a vibration going through the underneath of the car when it occurs. Car isn't running well on super cold days and when there is a lot of condensation. Any tips on how to get the car to run better on frigid or damp days?
 

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I'd be concerned as to why the right front tire skids when you apply the brakes compared to the left front tire. Something wrong with the rf brake? I'd sure get that sorted out pronto.

Also, sounds like the serp belt needs to be tightened a little if it squeals/squeaks on occasion, esp if you turn on the a/c since it can take 5-8 hp to run the pump. A lot of pulley drag on the belt.

Another thing you need to do is clean (use spray electronics cleaner) and protect with dielectric grease every electrical connection under the hood, esp those two multiconnection ignition plugs under the air cleaner box, and the big round connector at the top rear of the engine. Those two ignition connectors are in a bad location for spray and dirt. Had this problem sometimes when the weather was wet in Seattle, lol (when is it not), with my LS, and cleaning those connections with spray electronics cleaner and then using plenty of dielectric grease on the pins cleared all that up. No problems since for years later. The dirty connections act up when the contamination gets damp or wet due to their bad location, shorting out the various ignition signals, IMO.
 

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Brake hub / antilock sensor not working as it should most likely. Jack up the front pass side put car in neutral and spin the wheel. Should spin easily. Visually inspect the hub/ABS sensor and the wiring going to the connector in the wheelwell. I don't recall but might be possible to plug the brake pad sensor wire into the ABS sensor connector.

Either way I think you are over your head already on this. Suggest you get this car to a mechanic ASAP since brake problems are nothing to fool around with
 
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