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 Steering goes from loose to tight to loose

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ZEP
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PostSubject: Steering goes from loose to tight to loose   Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:55 pm

For a couple months and out of the blue, my 98 was going through some old age pains (arthritis?) wherein I would spin the steering wheel and the steering was tight as hell. I had been so used to it being insanely loose ever since I first got the car, so the difference in effort needed to turn was really obvious. This happened totally spontaneously, and it seems like my pump, rack and pinion, and steering fluid were all okay during that time.

Just a couple days ago, I left the car in a bus parking lot for a few days, got in and went to spin the wheel. Magically, I could turn it with almost zero effort like usual (something I love about Rivs) and it's been fine for the past few days. The thing is, I have no idea why I can suddenly steer so easily again. Any ideas?

Also, as an aside, I've been hearing a mild clunking/rubbing sound from the front end whenever I turn left or right and have the wheel almost to its full range of motion. This happens whether the car is sitting or it is in motion. Anybody have this happen before?
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PostSubject: Re: Steering goes from loose to tight to loose   Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:09 pm

I have the same issue. I drained and refilled with fresh fluid and most of the tightness went away but,it still does it occasionally.I hope it's not my rack? ( if I were a chick that would be funny) It looks like a huge job to replace! Maybe it's the pump?
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PostSubject: Re: Steering goes from loose to tight to loose   Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:12 pm

Check the wiring to the "manga steer" feature.

You may simply have a failing ps pump, ,after all it is a 98.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Steering goes from loose to tight to loose   Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:38 am

It could be the pump. I haven't seen many pumps go good/bad/good though. A lot of times, it's the rack that is failing when the steering starts to act like that. I can't say exactly why. More often than not, a good symptom of a rack fail is easy turning one way, hard turning the other...not intermittently both.
I like Albert's idea of the Magnasteer concern.
Personally, I don't think I've ever had to deal with a Magnasteer concern. It's rare, but certainly plausible. There are quite a few electrical checks you can do to verify its operation. A good DMM can diagnose the system. Although, intermittent problems suck because if it's working ok, it will check out ok.
The very first step in the Diagnostic Flow Chart is to "inspect the wiring and connectors for damage".
I might start there (as Albert has suggested).

Is your pump whining at all?
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PostSubject: Re: Steering goes from loose to tight to loose   Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:07 pm

Sorry I didn't respond for like 9 days, but the tightness has returned and reared its ugly tight face again. It's not as bad as it was before (maybe halfway between perfect and where it was before).

robotennis61 wrote:
I have the same issue. I drained and refilled with fresh fluid and most of the tightness went away but,it still does it occasionally.I hope it's not my rack? ( if I were a chick that would be funny)  It looks like a huge job to replace! Maybe it's the pump?
Lol Robo, it's funny anyway! So much talk of tightness, racks, flui... okay I'll stop lol, but yeah, I wouldn't doubt it's the pump. I had it checked out recently and was told it looked totally fine, so I'm leaning toward a Magnasteer issue.

albertj wrote:
Check the wiring to the "manga steer" feature.

You may simply have a failing ps pump, ,after all it is a 98.

Albertj
Hey Albert, where is the wiring to the Magnasteer? I've heard about it, but I'm just not sure what wires I'm looking for.

Abaddon wrote:
It could be the pump. I haven't seen many pumps go good/bad/good though. A lot of times, it's the rack that is failing when the steering starts to act like that. I can't say exactly why. More often than not, a good symptom of a rack fail is easy turning one way, hard turning the other...not intermittently both.
I like Albert's idea of the Magnasteer concern.
Personally, I don't think I've ever had to deal with a Magnasteer concern. It's rare, but certainly plausible. There are quite a few electrical checks you can do to verify its operation. A good DMM can diagnose the system. Although, intermittent problems suck because if it's working ok, it will check out ok.
The very first step in the Diagnostic Flow Chart is to "inspect the wiring and connectors for damage".
I might start there (as Albert has suggested).

Is your pump whining at all?
It looks like I'll check connections out. I had to replace a wire in the past, I believe from the PCM to the ignition harness, that had severed inside the insulation. So, this car is no stranger to wiring issues. I don't hear the pump whining, though there is a very slight whine when I turn the wheel to near its max range one way or the other. The rack has been replaced in the past and before it was replaced, there was a really loud whine when turning. My problem doesn't sound anything like that. All I hear is the SC whining and a very high pitched whistle when I accelerate (not sure what that is but I've heard it for years).
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PostSubject: Re: Steering goes from loose to tight to loose   Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:31 pm

If you get underneath the car on the driver side, look up at the rack near where the Intermediate shaft from the column hooks to it. There is a 2 wire connector that drops down from the harness above it and connects to the rack. That is the Magnasteer connector.

If you want to tackle checking for resistance and what-not, let me know and I can post or send you the flow chart with all the proper values....aside from the obvious wire damage.
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PostSubject: Re: Steering goes from loose to tight to loose   Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:47 pm

start on the rack, at the rack servo you will find wires, get the greasy dirt off then check for bad connector and - or broken wires.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Steering goes from loose to tight to loose   Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:33 pm

Okay, thanks guys - I'll get to it when I can (could very well be a month from now). Abaddon I'll let you know... I wouldn't doubt that I'll need that flowchart lol
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