thank for the symptoms of a dead power steering pump!!
over heating would be the first symptom
squeeling would be another
i was thinking you could watch the flow of the fluid, but we have z cars...
so i really have no idea how you would check that....... im sure someone will post it though. I belive a water pump is only like $40. When was the last time it was replaced? Do you have copies of the maintenance that was done? If you have more than 60k on it, then its probably time to do so, along with the thermostat, timming belt and tensioner. You should be able to do all that yourself for about $150 and a saturday.
A waterpump has a check hole on the side, sort of underneth it. Check that area to see if you have any water, or staining like it was wet. Water pumps may not give you any warning that it is bad untill the last minute. All of the above are sounds, and behaviors of a BROKEN waterpump, not one that is on its last leg, and sort of hanggin on. See if it is leaking first( signs of bad seal, and if the seal is bad it is most likely because the bearing is worn, and putting uneven pressure on the pump shaft. (Time to replace) You could pull the belt and feel the pulley by hand. See if the pulley spins freely, with no grabbing, or side to side movement. Any component that is bolted to our engines will make the SAME sounds when worn. IE: waterpump, air conditioning compressor, power steering, smog pump. These are all pumps that spin at high RPM, with bearings as the friction reducer. Z-ya
the water pump on my 86T failed pretty quick, which I found odd becuase I had a weeks notice for the water pump on my old toyota tercel.I had just gotten off the freeway and I started hearing the squeeling noise.I wasnt far from home so I thought Id try to limp her home.didnt work, like 2 blocks from my place the pumpjust locked up and the engine had a hard time staying running. had to call a tow truck.
Weeping (leaking) is a good sign but they can fail abruptly too. On my 280zxt the water pump went out driving down the street. Sounded like the engine was coming apart. No previous sign that it was about to go...