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 Should I keep or disable the variable assist power steering?

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BigBlackBeaSSt

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PostSubject: Should I keep or disable the variable assist power steering?   Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:12 pm

replacing pump, lines and steering box (with an AGR 12:1 box)  Should I re-install variable assist or go directly into the pump with the line?
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PostSubject: Re: Should I keep or disable the variable assist power steering?   Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:06 pm

After driving my 91 OCC and then jumping into the 95 RMW there is a noticeable difference.I actually prefer the
variable assist steering to the standard boosted steering but thats just me.With a 12:1 steering box maybe you
better keep it for more comfortable feel at road speed when a lot of boost isnt needed or desired with that quick
steering box.Might get a little touchy otherwise.
My 2 Cents
Jim Gordon
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JaySS
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PostSubject: Re: Should I keep or disable the variable assist power steering?   Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:53 am

BigBlackBeaSSt wrote:
replacing pump, lines and steering box (with an AGR 12:1 box) Should I re-install variable assist or go directly into the pump with the line?

As Jim says, if it is working, then keep it. The control method is valid no matter how fast the box ratio or how stiff the torsion bar is. All it does is to back off on the pressure applied to the box at higher speeds and low steering angles.

The system is pretty reliable, any problems can usually be traced to the steering angle sensor. The contacts can become worn or dirty, and then may give spurious signals to the control unit. If the system should start to act up and you don't want to spend the $ to fix it, then just disconnect the electrical connection, it's cheaper than removing the valve and replacing the high pressure hose with the Caprice specific line. All that will happen is that in effect the system will apply full pressure at all times, as the Caprices already do. Should one find that the system is too numb to run in that mode all of the time, then there is a fix for that too.

An easy way to improve the road feel on any of our boxes is to shim the pressure relief valve in order to lower the line pressure to the box. The only caveat is that the low speed assist will drop off as the pressure is reduced, but as long as you don't go too low, then the increased effort trade off shouldn't be objectionable. GM had to provide some level of minimum assist which usually is quite a bit less than the enthusiast type person is willing to tolerate in exchange for better road feel.

You can do this with nothing more than some properly sized washers, but it is easier just to buy the kits that are already put there to do this. They are marketed towards the street rod guys that are running Mustang II style steering racks that require less pressure that the GM pumps are set up to produce.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/BRG-899001/

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/MCH-P306/?rtype=1

http://static.summitracing.com/global/images/instructions/mch-p306.pdf

Why more people don't do this I don't know. It's not like it is a big secret, but it doesn't get much ink when compared to all the threads over on the ISSF about replacing the box with a high end unit.

The road racers and autocrossers complain about boiling the fluid and melting the plastic parts begin by adding band aids like coolers and metal reservoirs, when the first place to start should be understand that the fluid power formula is HP = PSI x GPM / 1714. If we cut back on the unneeded pressure by say 30% - 40%, then the heat generation will be reduced correspondingly.

Reducing the pressure first at least approaches the problem with some understanding of what is happening and spending the least amount of coin first, rather than just pulling out the credit card and throwing money at the situation.

- J

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BigBlackBeaSSt

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PostSubject: Re: Should I keep or disable the variable assist power steering?   Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:26 am

Mike, Joel, Rick, please sticky this!!!!

Thanks J..... your knowledge of all things car amazes me!!!
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sherlock9c1



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PostSubject: Re: Should I keep or disable the variable assist power steering?   Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:08 pm

Jay, my steering angle sensor is giving spurious signals. It's most pronounced at significant, steady steering angles such as highway offramps where the wheel twitches back and forth. Can I repair this myself or should I just replace it?
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JaySS
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PostSubject: Re: Should I keep or disable the variable assist power steering?   Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:08 am

sherlock9c1 wrote:
Jay, my steering angle sensor is giving spurious signals. It's most pronounced at significant, steady steering angles such as highway offramps where the wheel twitches back and forth. Can I repair this myself or should I just replace it?

Those symptoms follow what others have said the steering was doing when the sensors began to fail.

The Buick sensor - part number 26060653 - is discontinued.

Even worse, GM list was $268.42, so even if one could be located, I wouldn't be rushing off to try and buy it.

A used one from the J/Y is probably the best bet, but if that doesn't pan out then there doesn't seem to be much to lose by opening it up and cleaning the contacts. It's been awhile since I held one in my hands, but I do recall a two piece housing that was glued or seam welded together. I dunno how hard it will be to actually get one apart and still have anything left when you're done.

That was about what I expected, what to do next is the real question.

The option code index showed NV7 available 1991-2010, so on a educated guess I looked up some Escalade columns to see if there might be an alternate solution.

Some digging revealed that they are out there.

http://www.compnine.com/index.php?u=1&year=1999&artnbr=TC06-031&artsfx=NULL&supplgroup=NULL&catcode=54C&modelcode=K&makecode=LK&modelseries=NULL&uid=1&modelid=6765&capuid=1&majorgroup=06&grouptype=B

Of the few I looked at, the 1999-2000 Escalade diagram showed a lower shaft arrangement that is most similar to the B-body. That particular sensor is still available as part number 26064468 - List $81.64 / Trade $57.61.

Would seem worth a second look to see if one could be used in place of the Buick unit.

- J
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