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First, and foremost, nice job with the site. Looks much better than the last time I had been here.

Anyways, I was hoping that someone might be able to provide some info.

This morning, when driving on the highway, some ninny cuts into my lane, about two cars ahead of me, and slams on the brakes, causing the people in front of me to end up in an accident.

I was able to slam on the brakes, and had stopped about a couple feet from hitting the car in front of me, thankfully. After I had slammed on the brakes, though, the power steering failure warning light came on, and my power steering was gone for the next 20 seconds, or so. I was able to continue driving normally, although with a lot more effort.

After 20 seconds, the light turned off, and power steering was restored. I've since fired up my 2004 3i a couple times today, and drove for a while, and didn't see this recurrance.

Has anyone else had this happen?

On another note, this is where I'm grateful that Mazda gave us 4 wheel disc brakes. Had those been drums in the back, I would have certainly hit the car in front of me.
 

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Is this a manual transmission or automatic? I noticed sometimes if I bog the engine just a bit the light pops on but goes away almost instantly.

[quote author=Unabomber link=topic=67280.msg1156419#msg1156419 date=1169155284]
On another note, this is where I'm grateful that Mazda gave us 4 wheel disc brakes. Had those been drums in the back, I would have certainly hit the car in front of me.
[/quote]

I don't think the rear brakes were helping much in this case. When you're hard on the brakes, as you were, all the weight transfers forward to the front, leaving little work for the rears to do. On top of that, contrary to popular belief, discs do not offer more braking power than drums. Discs are merely easier to modulate so you don't throw yourself through the windshield when you try to stop normally. Don't believe me? Look at big rigs. They can carry 10,000lbs or more in some cases and use drums on all wheels, yet can stop almost as easily as a heavy car.
 

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Well, disks are also faster to cool...so repeated braking has less fade and wear then drums do (and yes easier to modulate). It is actually harder to brake with disks. Drums basically wedge the shoe against the drum increasing the force of braking without that much force required.

Anyway, if you have a manual you might have briefly stalled the car when coming to a stop or lugged the engine enough coming to a stop it poped the power steering light. If you are brave enough on an empty road (and drive a manual), you can try putting the clutch in, turning the car off, and then back on and poping the clutch out. The power steering light will come back on for a little while and you will have no power steering (or at least I didn't in my car). In my case it was off for about a minute. I am not sure if it a was a time thing or what, but I tried it on a fairly empty highway and the car started right back up, but zero power steering and there was actually a significant amount of steering drag (I had to seriously force the steering) so I pulled over to the shoulder and as I slowed down to about 30mph my light went off and my P/S came back. I have no clue if it was that my speed was reduced or a time thing...probably a time thing as it was 30-60s before the P/S came back.
-Matt
 

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Same thing happened to me a couple days ago. It was icy out and a truck in front of me slammed on the brakes to try to make a turn. I slammed on mine and started sliding all over the place. Tha car started to lug a bit then stalled while i was still sliding. I popped the car into neutral, clutched in and started it back up while sliding, popped it into second and started to go again and the same thing happened to me, the powersteering light was on and i have no power steering. Luckly i came to a light about 30 seconds later and i shut off the car after i stopped and started it back up again and it seemed to be fine. Still kind of wondering what happened though.
 

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Yeah I haven't figured out the lack of powersteering after shutoff. Maybe it is a safety measure (somehow??? No clue how it would be a safety measure) if the car isn't started using the starter. Mine came back on, but I was pulling over to try to turn it off and restart it...so maybe it just stays off for a bit before it restarts.
-Matt

PS maybe it is something to do with not damaging the P/S pump by restarting it immediately. Dunno.
 

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The power steering on our cars is electrical. What happened was that your car stalled and it lost power for a sec and that means the power steering shuts down and then it just takes time for it to kick back on.
 
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