Olds Intrigue 3800 noise -- steering rack?

1998 Olds Intrigue 3800 makes a noise when steering wheel is turned more than a few degrees, a very low-frequency rumble, actually the best way to describe it is like a sub-woofer emitting a REALLY low freq noise.
I am inclined to think it's the belt slipping or scooting as the wheel is turned and the power steering system is taxed. It makes the noise when the a/c is off and not much taxing the alternator. The serpentine belt looks fine, no cracks and appears clean. Is it likely to be the power steering, since it does it upon turning, and if so, is it the pump or the steering rack?
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On Mon, 15 Oct 2012 20:17:48 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@msn.com (blowout preventer) wrote:

Does this happen only when the car is moving, or does it happen when sitting still and you turn the wheel?
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BP wrote: "1998 Olds Intrigue 3800 makes a noise when steering wheel is turned more than a few degrees, a very low-frequency rumble, actually the best way to describe it is like a sub-woofer emitting a REALLY low freq noise. I am inclined to think it's the belt slipping or scooting as the wheel is turned and the power steering system is taxed. It makes the noise when the a/c is off and not much taxing the alternator. The serpentine belt looks fine, no cracks and appears clean. Is it likely to be the power steering, since it does it upon turning, and if so, is it the pump or the steering rack?"
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Ed wrote: "Does this happen only when the car is moving, or does it happen when sitting still and you turn the wheel? "
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Both -- the car does it when sitting still, but also while moving. For example, while pulling up to drop someone off in the parking lot last night, I made about a 45 degree turn while still going probably 10 mph, and it made the noise described above. I was just returning from about a 30 mile trip. While it's making the noise, I THINK I detect a slight difference in the effort required to turn the steering wheel. I haven't noticed it making a difference if it's full operating temp or when I first start it up. It seems to do it pretty much any time I rotate the steering wheel any "appreciable" amount -- i.e. if I had my hand on the steering wheel at the 12 o'clock position, and rotated the wheel to where my hand was now at 10 o'clock.
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On Tue, 16 Oct 2012 20:58:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@msn.com (blowout preventer) wrote:

Unless the rack is known to commonly fail, like some in the late '80's (my '88 Celebrity was one) it's probably the pump. They can make all kinds of noises, including groaning. My '93 Grand Am PS pump mimicked a bad wrist pin or collapsing lifter. I was happy it was the pump. Put a good stethoscope on it and it should tell the tale. Look at this http://www.automotivehelper.com/topic203481.htm Here's a recall on the rack, but it's one of those "maybe" needs work deals. Go to http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/recallsearch.cfm and plug in 03V527000 as the campaign in the Quick Search. I've got a '97 Lumina that's included in that recall but it's given me no problems with 172k miles on it. Think it's the original pump, but not sure. They're a minor job to change out, so check that first with a steth.
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On Tue, 16 Oct 2012 20:58:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@msn.com (blowout preventer) wrote:

That leads me to believe it is probably the pump rather than the rack or some other "moving" part.
Best is to have someone hold the wheel over while you listen under the hood.
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