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steering seizing up

  #1  
Old 10-21-2018, 12:28 AM
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Default steering seizing up

Okay, so I tried flushing the system, but sadly that did not solve the problem. Originally, the steering would only seize up briefly on first start from cold, while backing up out of my parking space. Lately, the problem has become much worse. FWIW, she is an 02 LX convertible with a 2.7.
The symptoms are that the steering seizes briefly, then releases when trying to turn at low engine speeds. I do not sense a problem while driving at highway speeds, just while making a corner. At times, when turning, it feels like the steering is pushing back the other way. It is not a complete lack of power steering where I just have to manhandle the wheel, but more that she goes through a cycle: locks up, then I have power steering briefly. then locks up, then "releases,"

So my questions are:
1. Is the problem more likely the rack or the pump?
2. If the rack, is trying to reseal worth the extra time to save the cost of replacing the rack as a unit?
3. If the rack, how do I know whether to order a standard rack or one with "firm feel" steering?
4. If the rack, how much time should I budget for the repair?
5. What type of fluid do I use to replenish the system?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
 
  #2  
Old 10-21-2018, 05:47 AM
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Try checking and lubricating the universal steering coupler between the bottom of the steering column and the rack and pinion.. It was not designed for lubing(like with a grease fitting), but get under the car, move the covering rubber boot away and spray away at the coupler with a good penetrating oil and let it soak into it.
 
  #3  
Old 11-02-2018, 01:31 AM
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Thank you for the response, Rebel59. I tried that. but the problem persists. I'm really thinking that it is the rack, because now sometimes I feel a pulsing in the steering when it is locking up. It seems to me that if it was the pump, I would not get the "push back" that I am feeling. So my questions now are:

Do y'all agree that the rack is the most likely culprit?
Is it worth the effort to try to reseal this rack?
Rock Auto lists both a "standard" and "firm feel" replacement. How do I tell which one I need?
What fluid should I use to refill the system.
 

Last edited by Bythepond88; 11-02-2018 at 01:35 AM.
  #4  
Old 11-02-2018, 10:21 AM
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Personally, I'd only get into the rack as a last resort. Replacement of the rack is a piece of major surgery. If the pump fails intermittently for whatever reason (loose belt, air in the system, whatever) you'll get a loss of boost and a feeling in the wheel of resistance. Make sure you've eliminated everything else before you tackle rack replacement. Remember the fundamental rule of auto repair: When in doubt, fix the cheap stuff first.
As to whether to go with "standard" or "firm feel", it's not a question of "need" but is a matter of personal preference.
Re-build vs replace? The major work is getting the thing out and back in again. Your talent and toolbox will dictate whether you want to fuss around with rebuilding it.
Refill with ATF. Pretty much any ATF will do.
 

Last edited by dcotter0579; 11-02-2018 at 10:25 AM.
  #5  
Old 11-03-2018, 01:05 AM
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Thank you, dcotter, especially for the fluid info. It's not really intermittent, it happens every day. If I understand you correctly, if the pump is bad, I won't have any power steering at all. I know it's not a loose belt, because I just replaced it a couple months ago.
Also if I understand correctly, the "standard" versus "firm feel" is just the rack, and not matched with the pump, so I can go either way. I was happy with the steering before this happened, so I'd like to stay with what's on her now. Is there an easy way to tell which she came with?
 
  #6  
Old 11-03-2018, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bythepond88 View Post
Thank you, dcotter, especially for the fluid info. It's not really intermittent, it happens every day. If I understand you correctly, if the pump is bad, I won't have any power steering at all. I know it's not a loose belt, because I just replaced it a couple months ago.
Also if I understand correctly, the "standard" versus "firm feel" is just the rack, and not matched with the pump, so I can go either way. I was happy with the steering before this happened, so I'd like to stay with what's on her now. Is there an easy way to tell which she came with?
That is incorrect. The pump can still partially function when it has gone bad.
My fathers car had the same problem that you are experiencing, and it was the power steering pump that was the problem. As soon at it was replaced, the problem was gone.
 
  #7  
Old 11-03-2018, 11:11 AM
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Thank you, BiliTheAxe. I will try the pump first, then.
 
  #8  
Old 11-07-2018, 12:07 PM
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Do not buy my recommendation! !!
Bought car used. After 3 months transmission failed. Replaced transmission, a month later brain went out in engine.
 
  #9  
Old 11-08-2018, 12:07 AM
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That's not very helpful, Mustapha.
 
  #10  
Old 11-26-2018, 01:19 AM
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Boy do I feel silly! It turned out that the belt needed tightening. Dcotter, you were so right about checking the simple things first.

I ordered the new pump, and time off and weather finally aligned yesterday. Tried to get the old pump off, but could not figure out how to get to the upper mounting bolts for the mounting bracket, so I buttoned everything back up, and as I was bleeding the system, I noticed that there was no resistance. Drove to my fiancee's and back yesterday, and to work and back today, and no problems so far (touch wood).

The belt didn't occur to me because I just replaced it in June, shortly after I got her, Two lessons learned: 1) Check the simple things first; and 2) don't go cheap on belts (this one must have stretched).

Just wanted to post back, on the off chance that my experience may help someone down the road.
 
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