Multipla power steering pump and drive belt

I've got a problem with my Fiat Multipla ELX JTD - just out of 3-year warranty! Strange noises; steering feeling funny; no, not a flat tyre! The multi-groove belt which drives the power-steering hydraulic pump has
shred most of itself and there's fluid splashed all around. Garage man thinks the shredding belt has fouled the oil seal of the pump. I'm told I need a new (260) or a service exchange (140) pump. Apparently this problem is not unique to Fiat - the garage man says he had the same troupble with a Renault. Even with a service exchange it looks like costing me 300+. I must say I'm surprised as I would have thought the oil seal was contained within the pump housing. Heigh ho! Any comments? Mike
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Well I can't comment regarding the power steering pump and oil seal damage. Anything is possible.
In my Fiat Coupe, the double sisded Poly-V failed. No damage was done to the power steering pump but the belt entrails were dragged and wrapped round the crank shaft pulley, ingested into the cambelt area and threw the cam belt timing out. Very fortunately no valve or piston damage was done but the bill still came to 850.
If I were you, for the sake of an extra half hours labour, I would get the garage to check for belt debris/damage in the cam belt drive system/area.
Nick /////

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