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 Power steering fail puzzler

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designer1962
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designer1962

Name : Harvey
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PostSubject: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyWed Nov 25, 2015 5:07 pm

My 1995 Riviera was impossible to steer at low speed (ie: parking) but once the car started moving it worked fine. I had a new power steering pump installed and the steering went back to acting normal, working at all speeds.

The next morning I went to drive the car, and moved it about twenty feet to another parking spot. The next time I went to drive it later in the day, the power steering was not activating at parking speed again.

I could not figure out what was going on and after some thought, it occurred to me that the battery had been disconnected for a couple hours while the pump was being installed. After remembering that fact, I was wondering if having the battery disconnected caused something to occur with the "Magnasteer" computer (or whatever that thing is) such as a reset function making it function normally again.

Does any of this make sense to anyone out there in Riviera land? I welcome any input anyone might offer. Especially from anyone having a similar experience with their car.

I am no weakling, but I can't even turn the wheel when the power steering dies.

Thanks for any help.

Harvey C.
1995 Riv with 3800 SC engine.
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th3fr4nchi5e
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th3fr4nchi5e

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyWed Nov 25, 2015 11:14 pm

Looks like the FSM says that your symptoms could be an issue with the Magna Steer. I took screen shots of the pages with the tests for the Magna Steer system. Hope this helps! Let me know if you need a picture of another page from the book and Ill get it for you if Im on!

Power steering fail puzzler 149D4BE4-8CD8-41E5-8535-2FE281CED61F_zps3gj4fbd1

Power steering fail puzzler E3058087-1326-4F6C-B111-AB01CD0D2D7D_zpsih3maogt

Power steering fail puzzler A2956E56-F312-4346-9A9E-00517B01B6C1_zpsmxpplcfu

Power steering fail puzzler A5A71208-82C5-4D5D-8BF7-7710E4BE54BB_zpsob4m8lfv
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designer1962
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designer1962

Name : Harvey
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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyThu Nov 26, 2015 3:52 pm

Dave,

Thanks for the information. I have someone coming to look at the car tomorrow morning, and will forward it all to him.

This mornings surprise was the car cranking but not starting. I finally got it started but it is misfiring like mad and now I need to find out what the heck that is all about! When the mechanic worked on the power steering pump, he managed to break the wire to #6 cylinder so I put on a new one and the car ran fine for five minutes and then the misfire and backfiring started. Were Rivieras designed to create a new unexpected surprise every day? I believe mine was!!!!   bonk
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LARRY70GS
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LARRY70GS

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyThu Nov 26, 2015 5:16 pm

What kind of replacement wire did you use?

_________________
98 Riviera SC3800  All stock except gutted air box.
1970 Buick GS455 Stage1, TSP built 470BBB, 602HP/589TQ
Best MPH, 116.06 MPH, Best ET, 11.54
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHCda-t_Jls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfT2tEO4XcU
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designer1962
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designer1962

Name : Harvey
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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyThu Nov 26, 2015 9:16 pm

Larry,

The wire I put on is "'Federal" high temperature/custom tailored spark plug wire set, according to the box it came in. Box is labeled "original equipment replacement".
Assembled in Mexico.

I took what I could find as this was sort of an emergency.
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LARRY70GS
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LARRY70GS

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyFri Nov 27, 2015 8:36 am

The supercharged 3800 needs good wires as the ignition system is really worked in this engine.  IMO, you cannot do any better than the stock wires.  They are of great quality.  There are still carbon core wire sets out there, and they are garbage.  The stock wires are spiral core.  They are cheap on rockauto.com

_________________
98 Riviera SC3800  All stock except gutted air box.
1970 Buick GS455 Stage1, TSP built 470BBB, 602HP/589TQ
Best MPH, 116.06 MPH, Best ET, 11.54
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHCda-t_Jls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfT2tEO4XcU


Last edited by LARRY70GS on Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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Abaddon
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Abaddon

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyFri Nov 27, 2015 8:37 am

How in the hell the mechanic break the #6 wire doing a P/S pump??!! There's absolutely no reason to even touch any of the spark plug wires.

Magnasteer will NOT cause a loss of P/S assist. The "assist" that magnasteer provides is minimal, and most people will never even notice it. If the car is losing assist during parking lot speeds (engine near idle), and works off of idle, your P/S pump is failing.
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designer1962
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designer1962

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyFri Nov 27, 2015 12:34 pm

The mechanic putting in the power steering pump for some reason removed the alternator and the bracket for the serpentine belt pulleys and tensioners. (I have no idea why he felt they had to be moved to put in the pump)

When reinstalling the alternator he noticed the wire (actually to #4, not #6) was broken and claimed it had been that way for a while. I doubt that, since I had just driven the car to his location and it was running fine. He then installed the new wire. The car started and sat idling for about ten minutes and I didn't notice anything wrong. When I drove the car away, I had working power steering and no misfire. I went about two blocks and the car started to sputter and stalled. I got it started and it misfired and backfired all the way back to my house (1.8 miles) where it stalled again.

I managed to get the car started yesterday and it is misfiring. It acts as though the wires are crossed or something similar. I think the power steering pump is OK, but because of the misfire the car isn't idling correctly so the power steering isn't effective. The mechanic is coming to see what is going on later today.

Just a side comment......Is there a mechanics code that states they will never admit responsibility for something that they are responsible for?, such as mysteriously breaking wires? When a car is running perfectly when the hood is lifted for a repair, but isn't when the work is done, why can't they ever admit, maybe they caused it?
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Abaddon
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Abaddon

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyFri Nov 27, 2015 12:46 pm

Well, I'm a technician, and I cannot speak for any other techs. I fully admit when something goes wrong in the process. Older cars break, and other things not related will break while trying to fix the first thing. It happens.
I always admit when I, or something on the car screws up. There's no sense in lying to a customer about what happened, or what didn't happen. However, shit DOES happen. Admit the fault, fix it, and move on to the next.

That's how I operate.

And it's a damn shame that there's so many hacks on this planet fixing cars (this is a general statement).
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyFri Nov 27, 2015 5:21 pm

We've all been through inexpensive wires causing misfiring problems on supercharged 3800s. They are very sensitive to weak or old wires and need to be replaced with very good quality wires. In theory Federal Mogul is an okay brand but I would look for (at minimum) a new set of AC Delco wires specifically for the supercharged engine.
It's also possible to crack a spark plug, I've done that before and had it stay in place so that it looked like everything was connected normally, but it would misfire badly under load.
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designer1962
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designer1962

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptySun Nov 29, 2015 9:50 pm

I am reaching maximum frustration!!!  I had a new set of Champion spark plugs put in today, after replacing the ignition wires yesterday. The car started but is still misfiring and running rough. Eventually the car stalled and wouldn't restart. It cranked but would not fire. (acted as though it was flooded) After sitting for a while, I moved the throttle  manually under the hood a few times, and the car again started, but still was running rough and eventually stalled again.

The old wires were cracked and falling apart, the old plugs were pretty loaded with carbon. This really pissed me off since the remanufactured engine was recently installed and has been driven less than 1000 miles. Apparently the installer didn't put new plugs and wires in when he put the engine in. He reused the old stuff.

Before all this started, the car was driving fine, and I had no indication of anything being wrong until the spark plug wire broke while the power steering pump work was being done.

Anyone have any ideas? I hope nothing internal is the problem, like valve issues.
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LARRY70GS
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LARRY70GS

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyMon Nov 30, 2015 8:10 am

Check your fuel pressure.

_________________
98 Riviera SC3800  All stock except gutted air box.
1970 Buick GS455 Stage1, TSP built 470BBB, 602HP/589TQ
Best MPH, 116.06 MPH, Best ET, 11.54
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHCda-t_Jls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfT2tEO4XcU
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designer1962
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designer1962

Name : Harvey
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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyTue Dec 08, 2015 7:03 pm

OK, the non starting mystery was resolved today. It turned out to be wires in the loom shorting out where they made contact with metal parts of the engine. This apparently was a result of the "mechanic" installing the broken #4 wire leaning on the wire looms and exposing some wires that were protruding through the plastic cover. With the closeness of everything in the area between the side of the engine and firewall, some of the original wiring had become exposed and was shorting.

Now for the continuance of the original puzzle. The car is starting and running very nicely, but the power steering is not functioning again.

After installing the pump, and replacing the #4 ignition wire the car was idling very nicely and the steering seemed to be fine as I turned the wheel a number of times lock to lock to help get the fluid circulating and get any air in the system moving. I then drove the car about two blocks when the ignition wire apparently dropped off the plug and the car stalled. Upon restart I had no power steering again.

Today after getting the car running the power steering was gone. The pump I had installed is a Cardone remanufactured one from Rock Auto. What are the odds of it failing almost immediately? The tech who worked on the car today ran a load of diagnostics on the car but couldn't come up with anything solid. He had a hard time determining whether the car even had magna steer since everything he had in the way of reference material failed to show anything that looked like what is on my car. The question here is how many versions of power steering were there in 1995?

He even ran electrical tests reversing polarity or something like that too get the pump to run in different directions, but that didn't change anything.

The only thing that was beyond ordinary in this entire process was having the battery disconnected during the pump installation. As I asked in the original post, could that have in any way somehow reset the magnasteer module? I haven't tried disconnecting the battery for any length of time yet.  

The people working on the car today both suggested that if any dirt managed to get into the pump it would cause it to fail. I can't see how that could happen, but what do I know?

Any more ideas?
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Abaddon
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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyTue Dec 08, 2015 8:59 pm

The pump is mechanical, not electric. It only turns one way....With the engine drive belt. If your steering has no pressure, the pump is shot. It happens. I've had them fail right out of the box.
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designer1962
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designer1962

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyTue Dec 08, 2015 9:21 pm

I may have mispoken regarding the "electric" test. I wasn't sure what he was explaining to me but it had to do with some sort of part adjacent to the pump. He was going by a pro computer data base that techs use. (AllData or something like that)

He also said he's had immediate failures and won't install rebuilt pumps for that reason.
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designer1962
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designer1962

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyFri Dec 25, 2015 6:52 pm

Puzzle solved. Apparently the new pump failed. Sent it back for refund and put another one on and it's working just fine. Don't know that it mattered, but original installer left off a bolt that caused the pump to go out of alignment. That caused serpentine belt to shred longitudinally.
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designer1962
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designer1962

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyFri Dec 25, 2015 6:53 pm

Puzzle solved. Apparently the new pump failed. Sent it back for refund and put another one on and it's working just fine. Don't know that it mattered, but original installer left off a bolt that caused the pump to go out of alignment. That caused serpentine belt to shred longitudinally.
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Abaddon
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Abaddon

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PostSubject: Re: Power steering fail puzzler   Power steering fail puzzler EmptyMon Dec 28, 2015 10:31 am

Glad you got it fixed. It was no puzzle. We said the pump was shot wink

And, it sounds like you need to find a new mechanic.....
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