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Can someone please help!

A couple of weeks ago, my husband thought the power steering belt on our 2005 pt cruiser broke, but upon further inspection, he noticed that the belt simply came off. Then, when trying to put the belt back on and figure out why it came off in the first place, he noticed a small critter stuck in the front of the power steering pump. After removing (what we determined to be a baby possum--still have no idea where it came from) the animal, my husband put the belt back on, but it was really loose. He then removed the tensioner and took it to the auto parts store. The auto parts people told him that there wasn't anything wrong with the tensioner and sold him a smaller belt. The smaller belt didn't work. So, my husband took it back and they sold him another belt of the same size. Well, that didn't work either. We noticed when the car is cranked, the power steering pulley turns, but it catches each time it rotates. Then, when you turn the wheel, the pulley completely stops and the car makes an awful griding noise---It doesn't chirp, or whine, just a loud grind. Does anyone think that the power steering pump needs to be replaced or would it be something else?
 

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*2 for bad pump

When you replace it, make sure you use Mopar Power Steering Fluid or equivalent as per the Service Manual. Many (like the parts guy who tried to sell you a shorter belt) will tell you to use Automatic Transmission Fluid, but this is a no-no.

If you haven't already done so, the alternator belt should be replace while you're under there. It shares a pulley with the PS pump, and the cost of the belt is small compared to the aggravation of replacing it later.

...edit... on second thought, that possum may have had more of an adventure that I thought. It might have bent the pulley axle or damaged the bearings. I'd be careful climbing under that pulley when you go to remove it (unless you accounted for 100% of the possum remains already).
 
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