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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Steering precision   Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:26 pm

Guys,
the steering of my BRW is the only thing what I´m feeling a bit helpless. When going straight ahead, the steering wheel can be moved appr. 3 inches to the right and left without causing any response of the car. I really don´t expect a response as a racing car or a current modern car, but the absence of accuracy is always present. I`m German and once I´m overtaking other cars on the Autobahn, I have really to concentrate to get the car under control with this behaviour. You have to balance the car with moving the wheel right to left all along the way. I have checked all ball joints on the front axle, today again when my wife was moving the steering wheel to find out  a relative movement between both joint housing and pin. I checked the upper and lower joints of the control arms, the inner and outer tie rods and the centerlink joints as well as the pivot points of the idler arm and the steering gear lever. It may be difficult to judge about, but I didn´t find any issues. Could it be that the summary of minimal joint clearances makes the difference?  
To my opinion, it´s also no point of the tires which are all weather **** SUV ones, but all around new and no reason for the behaviour of the steering. I have a complete set of all joints fo the front axle stored in my garage, but I wouldn´t replace them just for no reason to make myself busy for a day. Please don´t tell me that the behaviour is usual and has to be accepted  Evil or Very Mad ......your experiences ar strongly appreciated anyway  Smile

Thanks a lot

Udo
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:13 pm

Could it be the steering box? I haven't had any problems with any steering boxes on Roadmasters that I have had, but I have had steering box problems on another car, and that was the symptom.

Tom
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:35 pm

precision steering is an oxymoron when used to describe buick steering,.

the usual suspect on B-body wagons is the idler arm closely followed by the centre link,...

lots of people change the steering shaft for a jeep shaft, eliminating the rag joint,.and they swear by their results,.

I,m not sure how much pressure you run in your front tires,. or how many ply the sidewalls are,. but crap tires will squirm with the centrifugal effect when you try to turn,.
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Bert Slater

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:18 pm

overtaking other vehicles on the autobahn? Hope you have speed rated tires sway bars front AND rear and stiffer shocks. Eighty for most of us might be max for cruising speed. What are you hitting passing? Cruising? I do not know how comfy I'd be passing at over 110 with the stock brakes either. Especially with only two lanes.
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sherlock9c1



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:57 pm

I would do two things before ball joints:
1. tighten up the steering box.  All the B-bodies I ever owned had slightly loose steering boxes and I could notice the improvement after I adjusted them.  You will have to get proper tools and an inch-pound dial-style torque wrench though, so you can measure drag.
2. Buy and install this:  http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/1281642-sway-bar-brace-pro-touring-f-body-com-works-great-lotsa-pics.html

If you really want to get fancy, you can trick the variable assist power steering into staying at minimum boost at all times by  bypassing the steering shaft sensor with two 10K ohm resistors in series.  I detailed how to do it on the Impala SS forum.   But, it might already be at minimum boost at the speeds you're traveling.
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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:02 am

Thanks a lot for your responses.
I´m not sure  if my car has a variable power steering at all, does all BR have it?
However, I will check the fixing of the steering box and as well the centerlink and the idler.
How much effort is it to switch to the Jeep shaft, is it available yet? Remember, in Germany there´s no scrapyard to find such parts....
What means the rag joint, is it a elastic (rubber?) connection inside the shaft?

Again, thanks for your advices !

Udo
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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:26 pm

Today I went to my brother -in -law on his pit (?? big hole to work underneath the car Question ) to check all things we have discussed about ( all joints, steering box, shafts a.s.o.)
The result was :  no issues at all. All joints are looking perfect, I greased them on this occasion. The steering box ist fixed as a rock, no play on the idler or pitman lever.

When I went to him, I just payed again attention to the behaviour of the steering and I have to admit that it might be the usual condition of the car. Whilst moving the steering wheel 2 inches one could think with a lot of goodwill that there´s a slightly movement at the front wheels. Maybe I´m spoiled with modern cars handling.....perhaps I try to readjust to more caster at the front wheels to make more response to the steering. I guess I can sell all my stored joints from the front axle. Anyway, thanks for your advices.
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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:41 pm

Bert Slater wrote:
overtaking other vehicles on the autobahn? Hope you have speed rated tires sway bars front AND rear and  stiffer shocks. Eighty for most of us might be max for cruising speed. What are you hitting passing? Cruising? I do not know how comfy I'd be passing at over 110 with the stock brakes either. Especially with only two lanes.

The stock brakes are not that bad. My cars ECU is open, makes 140 mph. I guess thats supposedly what you mean once you are talking about german Angst Shocked
My tires are rated to 130. But I´ve to admit that there´s a lot to do to get a feeling similar to nowadays cars.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:45 pm

Not all RMs have the variable steering rate. You can determine whether you have the variable by the sensor on the end of the column where the intermediate shaft attaches to it.

Getting new MOOG components will help if yours are worn.

The steering box is one of the culprits in sloppy steering. If it is too worn, you will only get a partial fix. The rag joint is supposed to be a big issue, and you can check it, and if it is bad, there are kits to repair them.

The Jeep shaft uses two universals instead of the rag joint and the POT joint. The rag joint is there for noise isolation, and is not designed to flex very much. You can also get expensive custom universal shafts from Borgeson. The Jeep shaft works fine, and you can get new ones on Amazon.com for about $100 plus shipping. You must use the one from the 89-91 for the best results. The ones after 91 have a different upper isolator, and it often disconnects from the shaft. That will give you REALLY sloppy steering, because it will slip until it contacts the tang between the upper universal joint fork.

The lower joint is the rag joint. It is riveted to the shaft and the connector for the steering box. The repair kit uses bolts and nuts to replace the rivets.
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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:08 pm

Fred,
as usual very helpful advices !
One more question: If you are talking about  worn steering boxes, do you think it might be worn out itself or do you think just the shafts are the reasons?
I have to fix the reason to find the parts I´ve to provide. Sounds to be lot of work.....
If the steering box is worn, do you know if there are aftermarket ones with  shorter ratio?
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sat Jun 25, 2016 5:03 pm

There are two ratios. I think they are 12.7:1 and 14:1. You can get rebuilt, remanufactured, and new ones. Remanufactured is like a new one.

The wear takes place on the bearings and the friction surfaces. At some point they wear more than the adjustments can compensate for. If you can not adjust the play out of the box, it is worn out, and needs new hard parts.

The OEM box will have a Z on the top if it is the quick ratio box. The slow ratio box will give you more accurate steering input, because you turn the wheel less for the amount of steering output. The slow ratio box does not have any marking on the top.

Suggested new units are a Delphi 670 or 700.

Here are a couple of threads on ISSF about steering boxes:

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/269978-steering-gear-box-recommendations.html

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/354649-ps-box.html

I made one error on the instructions...Check the torque for the input shaft before tightening, and it should be 6-10 lb. ft. MORE after tightening the shaft.
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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:46 pm

According to my understanding, usually the play of the steering has to be simply adjusted by turning the upper screw which is located on the tilt top of the steering box a bit deeper until the play decreases. The screw is secured with a locknut. Isn´t it that simple?
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:55 pm

I want to add my notes here, since I had (have?) a similar concern about sloppy steering and a German daily driver car to compare it to.

Short answer: I replaced the steering box with a Delco remanufactured unit and that improved the steering precision quite a bit. So read on for the needlessly verbose description of my impression of the process and what I got, and also hopefully get some feedback from others.

First off, of course, you're probably not going to get Italian sports car levels of steering precision out of a 90's Roadmaster. But that's not why you drive one of these things. It's for floating 8 people or cubic miles of stuff down the highway.

Since I got the car, the steering has been really weird. I would say there were 3 basic problems

First, the 'dead band' is too wide. It took a lot more turning of the wheel to get the car to start moving than felt reasonable.

Secondly, when you turned the wheel and the car did actually start turning, often it would be too much and you had to go back and forth to get where you wanted to be.

Lastly, the car would not self-center properly. You had to really undo your turning when you started to go straight.

All in all it took a lot of attention and effort to drive the car, which wasn't the case when I drove the B bodies of yesteryear. They really should be effortless cruisers, right?

I had replaced the power steering pump and lines last year, and the entire front end is brand new Moog stuff. Everything mechanically is tight and the only significant thing in the chain left was the steering box.

Also when I had gotten the car, I noticed during initial servicing that the power steering fluid was black as night and had golden metal bits all throughout. This was very pretty to look at, but suggested (at least to me) that there were serious issues afoot with the system as a whole.

Jay's link above pushed me in the direction of replacing the box rather than trying to properly adjust it, since the cost of the box versus the time and effort expended in trying to readjust something that may just be worn out didn't seem worth it. I'd rather just go through the process once.

With the new box inbound, I decided to do what all the shadetree guys suggest and tighten down the adjustment to see what happens. I did this in a few steps, very slowly, but I did manage to get the slop reduced quite a bit. However tightening the box up also made it significantly harder to turn, and the self-centering problem was way worse. It was interesting to try, anyway.

Swapping the box is a straightforward thing and I won't go into details unless anyone has a question, but I flushed the lines out, made a huge mess and got everything back together and the steering wheel is even almost straight, so I think I got everything back together correctly.

Steering precision is definitely on the money now. No complaints there. However I feel that the effort required to steer is higher than expected. Self-centering is better but not great. I'm not sure if the box needs to break in a bit, or if there's other steering or alignment issues, or perhaps the cheap Hankook tires are to blame... but while it's a big improvement I'm not blown away nor do I think it drives like it did when it was new 20 years ago, despite the whole steering and suspension being replaced. The only original part left is the Pitman arm, and the loose nut behind the wheel which may be the biggest problem of all.

What a Face
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:29 pm

If you add some caster to the alignment, it will self center a lot better. The cars lack caster to make them easier to steer. With power steering, you should not notice the difference. There should be tapered shims to allow for the angular alignment of the upper suspension arm shaft.

The Pittman arm is not a wear item, so you should never have to replace it. The only time you remove it is when you swap steering boxes.
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:10 pm

Fred, how much caster would you suggest adding? There were shims up there, and I transferred them over when I swapped out the upper control arms.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention- the car always had an extremely noisy power steering pump. It was the loudest thing in the engine compartment when the motor was running. Even when I changed the pump, the groaning persisted.

With the new power steering box, the pump is quiet. I have no idea why, but it's a welcome improvement.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:37 am

The book calls for 3.5 deg. of positive caster. You could easily go more positive and not hurt anything. There is an alignment suggestion on the ISSF somewhere (maybe in the suspension section). To change just the caster .4 degrees positive (provided you had a good alignment done) move one 0.030" (1/32 of and inch) shim from the back to the front. For .8 degrees positive caster, move one 0.060 (1/16 of an inch) shim from the back to the front. You should have a good alignment done before any changes are made. You can even have the guy doing the alignment make the adjustment for you. If that person does not want to do it, you can do it after the fact.

There must have been something that caused the pump to cavitate, or cause the fluid to aerate within the old steering box. Maybe one of the passages was partially clogged, and the shape of the clog caused the fluid to set up a harmonic vibration.
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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:45 pm

Some info to update you:

I removed the steering shaft, the steering box and the whole linkage ( center tie bar with idler and damper) off the car and checked all joints for play. The box was fixed as a rock.All joints are beyond any doubts perfect, no play at all. The idler is perfect as well, it pivots without any clearance. I checked the box by putting a dial gauge to the pitman and turned the Input shaft by just one degree, I tried to turn the smallest amount I´m able to do. The dial gauge showed immediately some 1/100 mm of travel. The response couldn´t really be better.
The only thing I found was the shaft with the rag joint. I put the steering box side into the vice and tried to twist the input side a bit, there´s estimated 3 or 4 degrees what might be possible to twist. The movement might happen inside the rag joint - hopefully. I couldn´t exclude that a tiny fracture of movement takes place within the upper universal joint.

I have provided a rebuild kit from a german dealer which includes a new rubber disc ( in Germany called "Hardyscheibe"), I hope it will result a similar feeling as the Jeep shaft
(which takes too much time for me to provide from US).

In the meantime I´m worried I have to accept that the steering is as it is, hopefully it will be a bit better with replacing the rag joint with a new rubber disc. I 8 weeks, I will get my new control arm bushes from US and once I replace them, i will increase the caster angle as much as possible in this course.

BTW: Does anyone know if there are "short ratio Pitmans" available for the car? They might be longer as the stock ones, and consequently the idlers has to be extended as well to get the stuff symmetrical. Optional the steering knuckle arms of the uprights could be shortend with the same result, but those parts would be very expensive to produce.
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:52 pm

BuickRM wrote:
Some info to update you:




BTW: Does anyone know if there are "short ratio Pitmans" available for the car? They might be longer as the stock ones, and consequently the idlers has to be extended as well to get the stuff symmetrical. Optional the steering knuckle arms of the uprights could be shortend with the same result, but those parts would be very expensive to produce.

You can change the steering box for a quicker ratio box,.

you can order one with 10:1 ratio,.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:53 pm

The Pittman arm and idler arm are designed to place the inner pivot of the tierods in line with the pivot centerline of the lower arm bushings. If you move the relationship, you will induce bump steer. If you get the steering box with the Z on top you will have approximately 2.7 turns lock to lock.
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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:00 am

Fred,
you are right,  I just didn´t mention that the steering box might have to be shifted (theroretically) more to the front to get the pitman / idler pivot point as it was before to avoid bumpsteer. I didn´t think about if this can be realised or not. It would be difficult to get a considerable improvement of the ratio because the box could not be shifted as needed.
A shorter  box would be the better solution....
Apart from that, my box ist the "Z" box ! I couldn´t believe that ist just 2,7 turns, I didn´t try it before, but will do it asap. I wouldn´t think about what the steering does if it´s even less accurate as my one is......
@Phantom 309. Where can  I source a 10:1 box?
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:59 am

Even shifting the box to another position can still cause problems. The idler arm would have to be re-engineered to match the throw and articulation of the Pittman arm.

There is a company that makes a rack and pinion that fits the Caprice (I believe the distance between centers for the tierods is 18 1/4"): https://sweetmfg.biz/home.php. They are "for racing use only", but I would consider using it on the street.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:26 pm

BuickRM wrote:

@Phantom 309. Where can  I source a 10:1 box?

lee manufacturing,.

i can tell you from my experience these boxes are not cheap,.

I can also tell you from my personal experience these cars. respond much better with lower profile wider tires and a rear sway bar,.

think of it as a dog wagging it's tail,. if the tail is too big,. it'll wag the dog,.
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:46 pm

Update on this side; I took the car for alignment and the toe and camber were out of spec. Got that fixed up.

Returnability is still non-existent. Since the original steering box also exhibited this behavior (along with extra slop) I'd think it's not the box. Is there any way to check the pump for proper pressure at home? Or is there anything else that may be to blame for this?
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:03 pm

lamune wrote:
Update on this side; I took the car for alignment and the toe and camber were out of spec. Got that fixed up.

Returnability is still non-existent. Since the original steering box also exhibited this behavior (along with extra slop) I'd think it's not the box. Is there any way to check the pump for proper pressure at home? Or is there anything else that may be to blame for this?

dry idler or a dry tie rod,.,..or the shock/steering dampner is too tight or not factory,.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:41 pm

phantom 309 wrote:
dry idler or a dry tie rod,.,..or the shock/steering dampner is too tight or not factory,.

There is nothing that makes the steering wet. It is a damper.

You can still add caster by moving a 1/32 or 1/16 inch shim from the back stack to the front on each side. Do the same to both sides. (subtract the same amount from each rear, and add that same amount to the front of both sides). You can use thinner shims in the rear stack, and thicker shims in the front stack if you do not have a single shim that is the correct thickness in the rear stack. It will not upset the camber, or toe, and will add some return feel to the steering.

Pump pressure will not make a difference. There is nothing else that will affect the return feel within the scope of parts applied. Caster is what gives the centering feel.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:33 pm

Fred Kiehl wrote:


There is nothing that makes the steering wet. It is a damper

well Fedd,. its a canadian thing i guess,. up here in the real world we say if something
(that swivels or carries weight in a bearing like enviroment) is 'dry',..
we aren't really referring to moisture, so much as we are referring to the lack of grease,.

If the 'damper' is too stiff,. the steering will not return to center very well either,.

In the north country here, there is the possibilty of things to seize after they have been worked 'dry' then compromised with road salt and other de-icing chemicals,.then sit for a while,.

Universal joints can get 'dry' and squeak,. but when it rains they become wet,. or when they get greased,.

Do people in florida grease their cars? or is it just a canadian thing,.?

When it rains the steering gets wet tho,. even in florida right? although it probably dries much quicker,. cyclops
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:19 pm

That had nothing to do with the grease on the ball joints, it only has to do with getting wet with water. A dampner makes thing wet. A damper stops unwanted oscillations. A damper that is too stiff can cause the steering to return slowly. His car may not even have the steering damper. Either way there is no dampner on the front end. BTW something that makes an item get damp is a dampener.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:22 am

Fred Kiehl wrote:
That had nothing to do with the grease on the ball joints, it only has to do with getting wet with water. A dampner makes thing wet. A damper stops unwanted oscillations. A damper that is too stiff can cause the steering to return slowly. His car may not even have the steering damper. Either way there is no dampner on the front end. BTW something that makes an item get damp is a dampener.

I see,. you are just being obtuse,.

Hows the big block coming along,.? keeping the honey oil topped up?
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:27 pm

I do have the damper installed, and it's a replacement one. I can disconnect it and see if that's the cause of the trouble. I hadn't considered that, and it it's easy enough to do.

Beyond that though my steering problems may have to wait. We took the wagon on a trip and 12 miles from home I lost third and fourth gear.

We went up Hurricane Ridge with it, which is basically 17 miles up the side of the mountain. Had the car in OD the whole time not thinking about it until the car started vibrating and jerking every time it went in an out of 4th and/or torque converter lockup. Went down the mountain 17 miles in 3rd and sometimes 2nd after I noticed the brakes smoking.

Anyway, getting off topic. The car will probably be sitting for a few months while I save up some money and figure out what to do. I can at least drive it to a local transmission shop, if that's any consolation.

I'm going to stay out of the damper/dampener debate too. Smile

Added 7/7:

I disconnected the steering damper and it made no significant difference, though I can only drive it around the neighborhood.

I will re-grease all the suspension and steering components and see what that does.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:38 pm

I had a chance to re-grease every joint under there, and it made no difference.

As far as topic goes, though, steering precision is great. It goes where you point it and stays going in that direction!
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:12 pm

lamune wrote:


As far as topic goes, though, steering precision is great. It goes where you point it and stays going in that direction!

did you adjust your steering box,.??
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:25 pm

The box is a Delco reman unit, which I would hope is properly adjusted. However I can't say for sure that it is.

I can also tell you that the old steering box did exactly the same thing as this one, but was more sloppy in doing it.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:39 pm

well you certainly do get some unique interesting problems,.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:14 am

phantom 309 wrote:
well you certainly do get some unique interesting problems,.

I do. This one has me totally baffled. (I'm not implying that's necessarily hard)

Since it comes with support, I'll call ACDelco support and see what they say.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:27 am

If you have a pick and pull yard near you, you could possibly get a trans out of a 94 or 95 RM or Caprice.
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:29 pm

Fred, B bodies are pretty rare up here in the northwest, unfortunately.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:40 pm

A good rebuild should be less than $1300 installed.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:20 pm

After dealing with my annoying steering problems for what seems like forever, and chatting with Fred about it I decided to try a few things. I already eliminated likely problems with the VES, suspension and steering components seem free to move as expected, that sort of thing.

First thing I tried was loosening up the steering box play (after marking where it was before I started)

That made the wheel easier to turn, didn't really impact the self-centering much, but it was noticeably sloppier. Basically, a negative result.

The pump is a remanufactured unit. I think Nick would agree that it doesn't 100% mean it's good. I picked up a pull off a 96 Fleetwood for some Caddy effect and swapped it in, since a $30 working junkyard pump is way cheaper than investing in some hydraulic testing equipment.

Result of this is positive. Steering seems way lighter, it self-centers better and the pump is significantly quieter as well. My next step would be to take it to a more specialized shop I know where they will add more caster than the machine says is "green".
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:55 pm

You can do the caster yourself. Remove equal amounts from the front stacks, and add them to the rear stacks. You can remove .030 in the front, and add .030 to the rear. That should give you about .4 deg. of caster. If you want to get a lot more, use .060 for .8 deg. It only costs your the time for labor. You do not change the camber if you change equal amounts in front and rear stacks.
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:02 pm

Fred Kiehl wrote:
You can do the caster yourself. Remove equal amounts from the front stacks, and add them to the rear stacks. You can remove .030 in the front, and add .030 to the rear. That should give you about .4 deg. of caster. If you want to get a lot more, use .060 for .8 deg. It only costs your the time for labor. You do not change the camber if you change equal amounts in front and rear stacks.

Oh, interesting. I didn't realize the same shim stacks adjust both caster and camber. Well, that seems easy enough to try. Very Happy

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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:21 pm

You may have to buy some shims. The OEM stack may be only large shims. You can swap out what ever set of shims measures to the dimensions you want. Do not let your stacks get mixed up. Keep a record of what is in it originally. You do not have to remove the nut completely. Just back it off enough to change the stack.
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:40 pm

Helpful diagram is helpful. Thanks Fred, I had never even looked at this...

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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:43 pm

@Fred:
If I swap the shims front to rear fixing to alter the caster in the way you adviced, are you sure that the toe doesn´t  change not at all? Wouldn´t it be good to check it or stays it due to your experiences?
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:45 pm

The toe should not change. Depending on the location of the spindle arm in relation to the end of the cross link end, it could cause an infinitesimal change, but it should be near 0. The outer end of the tierod will be just a little higher, because the spindle rotates around the lower ball joint, and the tierod end will rise slightly...maybe about 1/32~1/16 of an inch. If the outer tierod end is below the cross link, the toe will increase, and if it is above the end of the cross link it will decrease. Either way it is minimal. If you want to have it checked, take it to a shop, but they will probably try to "fix" your caster.

You may be remaking the stack instead of just swapping them. The original shims are the largest they could use to get the alignment right.
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:39 am

The manual says the toe needs to be checked after caster adjustment, but as Fred mentioned, the amount it changes the toe is probably not all that much, probably less than spinning the tie rod end around one thread-length which is the smallest amount you could adjust it anyway.



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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:48 am

You would be amazed at how much turning the tierod one turn changes the toe. If you have the steering wheel off center by one inch in its circumference, it will only take about a 45 deg. turn (opposite on both sides) of the adjusters to return it to center.

As the manual says, the toe needs to be checked. That does not mean that it will change, but do check it just in case.

You can measure the with a couple of tape measures and some tire chalk. Lift the tire, and make a mark around the tread by spinning the tires while holding the chalk against them (preferably a smoother part of the tread so they are not wobbly...those who have bald eagles can mark it anywhere). Move the car back and forth about 3 feet to allow the suspension to settle. Measure the front and back of the tires between the lines (you need a helper). The difference is the toe. If the front is a larger measurement, you need to adjust the turnbuckles to bring the front in until it matches the back (the back will increase as the front decrease), and vice versa for a smaller front measurement. Mark the position of the turnbuckles before you move anything, so that you can go back to the original position if necessary. The turnbuckle movement is multiplied at the outside of the tire by about 2 to 2 1/2 times, so you do not have to move it a lot. You do have to move the car back and forth, every time you make a change, to allow the tires to relax, and not affect the reading. It is better to have a little toe-in than toe-out. Maximum is 1/16 of and inch, and 1/32 of an inch in is probably fine. If you are happy with the position of your steering wheel turn them equally on both sides, so they both go in or out.

Make sure your steering wheel is centered, and the car goes straight with the steering wheel centered. The best way to do that is to drive into a flat area, and go straight...stop, and check everything. If you have camber correction for a crowned road, take that into account when you are adjusting the toe. Your steering wheel may point slightly away from the crowned side (right for US, left for UK) when you are on a flat surface. Do not adjust the wheel centering for that.

I never took notes on how much I had to turn the turnbuckles per 1/16 of an inch of toe, so I do not have that figure. It would be a nice number to have. I also do not remember if the turnbuckles turn the same way, or opposite directions from side to side. I just look at the threads and watch the measurements. You can tell which way the threads run by carefully looking at them.
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lamune

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:33 pm

Silly me, I forgot you can turn the turnbuckles any arbitrary amount and lock them in place. I guess I should not be an alignment tech. Smile

I can't think of a good spot I could do something like that, but I'd be curious to give it a try. I'd guess the amount you'd have to adjust it would be very small in this case. I'm pretty certain if I asked, I could get a shop to do a quick "toe 'n go" alignment for me.

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BuickRM



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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:14 pm

Guys, I would recommend a really helpful device to adjust the toe:

http://www.trackace.co.uk/

I admit it´s not a high end device but with a bit of feeling and skills it provides absolutely correct, repeatable values. I bought it 3 years ago  and I do all my cars with success. It was just 90 € in Germany. Before adjusting, make sure that all turnbuckles and tie rods are moving on the threads.
The car has to be located on a flat surface, tire pressure correct, steering wheel straight.
If you go to a shop, quite often the tie rods are sticking and you have first to pay to make them loose what might be more expensive as the actually adjustment. Furthermore, some shops are adjusting bull**** and you realise it once your tires are ruined. So be confident to your own work and know what you do Cool With the track ace you can measure and adjust toe changements of 5 angle minutes !
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:55 pm

You can adjust your toe in any parking lot that is level, or at least measure it, and adjust it at home, then go back to the parking lot to check it again. It would be a little bit of a PITA, but possible. You could even get away doing it all in the parking lot, if you use the far corner.
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Steering precision   Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:55 am

Quote :
The stock brakes are not that bad. My cars ECU is open, makes 140 mph. I guess that's supposedly what you mean once you are talking about german Angst.  My tires are rated to 130. But I have to admit that there´s a lot to do to get a feeling similar to nowadays cars.

Warum hast du es so eilig?

Am I the only one here that thinks the problem might be a loose nut behind the steering wheel?

BuickRM: Are you really driving that car at over 100 mph on SUV tires, stock suspension, and brakes???  If so, please send me your personal details.  I'd like to take out a life insurance policy in your name with me as the sole beneficiary.  I'm thinking it would be a solid investment.

Seriously now: As others have observed here and elsewhere, that's way too fast for one of these whales without some substantial modifications to the brakes, suspension, and tires; even on the Autobahn.  Some slop in the steering is not the only issue here.
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