p/s questions & more wagon - First Generation Forum

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p/s questions & more wagon
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 4:46 AM
First my questions, then an overall wagon update if anyone cares to read it.

So I've been battling memory steer for a while with the wagon. About all of my front end parts are new and I've pretty much narrowed it down to the steering rack. I dug up some old posts on here saying it's common for them to go bad, especially losing power assist etc. So, anyone else had this problem particularly? Second question of course, is what is the easiest way to replace it? It almost looks like the whole thing can slide out one of the side holes where the tie rods go in, because it's a little trapped by the brake booster, heater box, and so on going vertical. Also, is it attached to the steering column by just that one bolt that can be seen by pulling back the rubber shroud, or is there more to it? And finally, my 93 bird 2 door has become a parts car because I do not have the interest or time to fix all of the rust issues, so I will probably use the rack from it ... unless someone tells me otherwise (maybe there is an aftermarket one that's worth the money, or ?) Of all the Js I've had, this is the first that has had a rack problem .. the 91 had 230+k and never missed a beat.

To the update. I love driving this thing despite the rather measly 85hp and all the updated parts really make it handle nice, but I'm worried about wearing out yet another set of tires with the steering issue, so it's been doing minimal duty lately. I've done new (junkyard, but very nice) control arms with poly bushings (ordered 2 sets for 2nd gen J and used both the smaller bushings) and new ball joints, Canuck lowering springs which improved the ride and looks immensely. Also tie rod ends, new o2, replaced the p/s fluid to see if it would help, Viper remote start, belts, hard wired GPS, VDO Tach (fits perfectly in a tomtom GPS mount for easy mounting!) and have been hosing everything underneath with eastwood rust wax stuff, it's pretty nice underneath and I am determined to not lose this one to rust. I like it too much and it's too rare. I'm also planning on having a shop replace the rocker panels very soon, the driver side is rather ugly, but other than that the rest of the car is in surprisingly good shape. That's it for now, many more plans in the works, but I need to get my rust and steering patched up .. runs great so that's all that's holding it back right now.

The wagon a few days ago.



86 Skyhawk wagon 1.8SOHC 93 Sunbird two door 2.0SOHC 93 Sunbird four door 2.0SOHC

Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 6:18 PM
If you are talking about stiffness in the steering when cold. This was a very common problem on 80's GM products. I believe it was called morning sickness. The only thing to cure it is to replace the steering rack. I have never done it but I know Orlen has. I would just get a replacement from Auto Zone as they will generally warranty it for life.







Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 6:26 PM
Nice wagon! The rack is going bad on my 86 Z24, the symptoms I get are when i go to make a right turn it feels like there is no power steering for a few seconds then it will all the sudden like pop loose and turn normal, only happens when its cold and then kinda randomly after driving. It doesn't stick coming back to center though, just when I go to make a turn. There are additives out there that are suppose to help this but i have not tried any, waiting to flush the system first and see of that helps, the fluid in mine is very dark, and changing the rack out looks like a real pain on my car ( V6 engine).
Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 7:05 PM
What is memory steer?

Here is a thread I made up many moons ago. Have replaced racks in both the Wagon and the Sunbird. Wagon simply died and the Sunbird leaked and finally died too.


http://www.j-body.org/forums/read.php?f=28&i=16277&t=16277




.



Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 7:21 PM
Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Thursday, April 14, 2016 4:23 AM
Memory steer is when after turning one direction, the car will continue to pull in that direction after the turn. I turn right, it continues to pull to the right when I'm now trying to go straight. It seems to eventually catch up and carry on straight, but it will want to pull in that direction for a while after turning. It never really seems sluggish when cold, it actually steers and responds well and works normally other than this; no lack of power.

Thanks for the compliment Roger. It's not too pretty but I like it . My fluid was also very dark and smelled bad. The steering response seemed to improve after I changed it out.

Thanks very much for the posts Orlen! I like the SOHC starter motor comment haha. I've been there.



86 Skyhawk wagon 1.8SOHC 93 Sunbird two door 2.0SOHC 93 Sunbird four door 2.0SOHC
Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Thursday, April 14, 2016 5:59 AM
I would lean more towards an alignment issue or steering geometry issue, if it turns with no difficulty or hard spots in the steering.
Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Sunday, April 17, 2016 11:15 AM
Hey Roger, do you have any more thoughts on that? I'm not really sure what's going on with it and need to figure it out. I haven't had a lot of time to really sit down and diagnose what is going on. It is out of alignment right now because I did the control arms etc, but it has had this issue for a while, even after I had it aligned. It does turn fine, but after doing a hard left or right, it wants to continue, even when going straight. It doesn't seem to bind anywhere, and the reason I suspected the rack is that one of its functions is supposed to be helping the car return to straight and I had read they are prone to going bad .. but apparently not in this way. Also, it doesn't seem to be binding or having any other issues than this. I do need to look closer, but any thoughs are certainly appreciated. As far as the geometry, all I can think is I did switch to 2nd gen struts, which the only difference appeared to be the spring perch heights. This meant if I reused the original springs the front would be very high, but with the 2nd gen lowering springs, it sits just fine.


86 Skyhawk wagon 1.8SOHC 93 Sunbird two door 2.0SOHC 93 Sunbird four door 2.0SOHC
Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Sunday, April 17, 2016 8:10 PM
drivesa5 wrote:

Hey Roger, do you have any more thoughts on that? I'm not really sure what's going on with it and need to figure it out. I haven't had a lot of time to really sit down and diagnose what is going on. It is out of alignment right now because I did the control arms etc, but it has had this issue for a while, even after I had it aligned. It does turn fine, but after doing a hard left or right, it wants to continue, even when going straight. It doesn't seem to bind anywhere, and the reason I suspected the rack is that one of its functions is supposed to be helping the car return to straight and I had read they are prone to going bad .. but apparently not in this way. Also, it doesn't seem to be binding or having any other issues than this. I do need to look closer, but any thoughs are certainly appreciated. As far as the geometry, all I can think is I did switch to 2nd gen struts, which the only difference appeared to be the spring perch heights. This meant if I reused the original springs the front would be very high, but with the 2nd gen lowering springs, it sits just fine.



Yes, I was thinking about this and I did have an 89 Cavalier that had the same problem you are talking about now that I think about it, what was wrong with mine was the bushings that actually held the rack and pinion to the firewall we're letting the rack move back and forth as I would turn the wheel, when I would come out of a turn the car would still want to aim that same direction. I figured out the problem one day by watching the rack and pinion on the car while having my son turn the wheel back and forth sitting in the driveway, I noticed The Rock was sliding back and forth inside of the rubber bushings. Have someone turn the wheel while you have the car in the driveway and you can watch the rack under the hood, I'll bet you ten to one that the rack is sliding back and forth in the rubber bushings that hold it to the firewall.
Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Monday, April 18, 2016 3:43 PM
Hey Roger, I appreciate you taking the time to think about my issues .. I do not have as much time to devote to them as I once did! So I did a few minutes of investigation today and watched while I had my wife turn the wheel back and forth for a while. I watched the rack and bushings and those are all solid and good.
However, it appears to be something in the strut mounts. I heard a spring twang sound (not sure what else you'd call it haha) and saw it seemed to catch on the passenger side and then let go when turned all the way (right I think.) So something is holding it up in there. I'm not really sure what would be catching .. I could see the spring and the part of the mount that is directly above the spring turning with the steering (these 2 are what I saw "let go" after getting past whatever is catching,) and also watched the top of the mounts flex as it turns (Although it seems like a sloppy system, I never realized the flex that much.) The mounts are new, but I don't remember if the other part is. Which means I am going to have to take them apart again, but not a huge deal.


86 Skyhawk wagon 1.8SOHC 93 Sunbird two door 2.0SOHC 93 Sunbird four door 2.0SOHC
Re: p/s questions & more wagon
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:02 AM
Thought I'd update since I fixed the original problem in question... It was the upper strut mounts. I replaced everything and it turns great now (finally.)

Now I'm in the process of swapping on my entire stainless exhaust from my (now-parts-car) two door. Turns out the 1.8 oil pan is different from the 2.0 (deeper and wider) which didn't leave enough space between the frame and pan for the big header (like here), so I had to swap on the 2.0 and its windage tray. Thanks to Ron for his writeup on how to seal everything up. It's a little different because of the detached tray (more of a pain,) but the same principles apply.

Then in a week and a half it's off to get some new rocker panels!


86 Skyhawk wagon 1.8SOHC 93 Sunbird two door 2.0SOHC 93 Sunbird four door 2.0SOHC

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