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 Post subject: Difficult Steering
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:01 pm 
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Location: Greensboro NC
Year and Trim: 1996 Oldsmobile 88 LS
3.8 NA
Parking lot steering has gotten difficult lately. This is my daughter's car (1996 Olds 88 with 201k miles) so it needs to get fixed. I checked the fluid and it was nasty, so I replaced what's in the reservoir with fresh fluid a couple times, but it hasn't helped. Has anybody had this issue? Any ideas what might be the most likely culprit? Am I looking at a new pump (hopefully it's not the rack and pinion)? Is there a reliable way to test it to make sure that's what's wrong? How big of a job is it to replace it? About how much would it be to have someone else do it? Thanks in advance.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficult Steering
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:54 pm 
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Location: Las Cruces, NM
Year and Trim: 1993 Buick Park Avenue
1994 Buick Regal Custom
How hard is the steering? Still somewhat assisted, but still feels as it should at speeds above 20mph? Hard all around? Was this a gradual change or sudden?

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1993 Buick Park Avenue - 197k - Some odds and ends done - Simply won't die
1994 Buick Regal - 78k - Bone stock - Always ready for a good kicking
1990 Oldsmobile 88 - Gone to a better place


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 Post subject: Re: Difficult Steering
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:46 am 
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Location: Greensboro NC
Year and Trim: 1996 Oldsmobile 88 LS
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RJolly87 wrote:
How hard is the steering? Still somewhat assisted, but still feels as it should at speeds above 20mph? Hard all around? Was this a gradual change or sudden?

I would say still somewhat assisted and feels okay above 20 mph. The change has been gradual. FYI - serpentine belt was replaced not long ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficult Steering
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 8:53 am
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Location: Las Cruces, NM
Year and Trim: 1993 Buick Park Avenue
1994 Buick Regal Custom
I'll have to look at my FSM to confirm the details, but my Park Avenue is configured with a baseline power steering level, and then there is a solenoid that kicks in below 17mph that gives additional assistance for low speed maneuvering that is controlled by the chime module. It's GM's variant of variable effort power steering so to speak. I can't recall how hard the steering is without the extra boost, but it does make a difference, especially when I feel it kick in during a curve while slowing down.

Has anything else cropped up recently?

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~Randall~
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1993 Buick Park Avenue - 197k - Some odds and ends done - Simply won't die
1994 Buick Regal - 78k - Bone stock - Always ready for a good kicking
1990 Oldsmobile 88 - Gone to a better place


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 Post subject: Re: Difficult Steering
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 9:27 pm
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Location: Greensboro NC
Year and Trim: 1996 Oldsmobile 88 LS
3.8 NA
RJolly87 wrote:
I'll have to look at my FSM to confirm the details, but my Park Avenue is configured with a baseline power steering level, and then there is a solenoid that kicks in below 17mph that gives additional assistance for low speed maneuvering that is controlled by the chime module. It's GM's variant of variable effort power steering so to speak. I can't recall how hard the steering is without the extra boost, but it does make a difference, especially when I feel it kick in during a curve while slowing down.

Has anything else cropped up recently?

I don't know if mine has the additional solenoid - not sure how to check that.

The last thing I had to do (other than maintenance) was a coolant elbow and the serpentine belt.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficult Steering
PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:06 pm 
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Location: Greensboro NC
Year and Trim: 1996 Oldsmobile 88 LS
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I've been driving the car and it's not related to speed (under 20 mph) as much as it is revs. I'm continuing to get complaints from family members that have driven it and nobody wants to drive it any more. I think I'll check the belt tensioner to make sure it's okay and try jacking up the front wheels and try steering left to right, back and forth without the engine running. That should tell me if it's something other than the pump. Then maybe I'll try having somebody else steer it while the engine is running to see if I hear or see anything unusual.

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 Post subject: Re: Difficult Steering
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:50 pm 
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Location: Greensboro NC
Year and Trim: 1996 Oldsmobile 88 LS
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I jacked the front of the car up and steered the wheels back and forth both with the engine running and without. There is a distinct clicking noise under both conditions that you don't hear when you drive the car. It's not just one or two clicks, but a series of evenly spaced clicks as you turn it. I hope that doesn't mean I need a new rack. :sad:

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 Post subject: Re: Difficult Steering
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:28 pm 
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Location: Las Cruces, NM
Year and Trim: 1993 Buick Park Avenue
1994 Buick Regal Custom
Check the intermediate steering shaft (the bit before the rack). That is exactly how many would describe an ISS failure on a later generation.

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1993 Buick Park Avenue - 197k - Some odds and ends done - Simply won't die
1994 Buick Regal - 78k - Bone stock - Always ready for a good kicking
1990 Oldsmobile 88 - Gone to a better place


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