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TexasJohn55

New problem: Loses power assist steering after hot.

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Not a Reatta but similar systems. '98 Olds 88 w/3800.

Rebuilt power rack and pinion steering unit after developing a leak past the input shaft seal on top. This was early 2014 and it worked fine. Had a small leak at pump or pressure line couple months later that I had put off fixing. June of 2014 I installed a rebuilt pump and new pressure line, still ok.A couple weeks ago the car lost steering at idle, was 1 pint low on fluid. It had not started whining any more than usual like is normal when low. Topped off fluid and regained steering assist but it didn't feel quite right. A couple times on the way home it tried to lose assist at idle but would free up with a little rpm. Wife has been driving 2 weeks. Today it was fine when she left for errands but after it warmed up she lost steering at idle again. I checked it as soon as she wrestled it into the driveway. You could not turn it at idle, was better when revved up but still hard to turn. I let it cool down for 3 hrs and rechecked, seemed ok cold but loses assist after it's hot.

Pump has lifetime warranty so I am going to replace pump first, then steering box if that doesn't fix it. I will keep you updated after I determine whether it was low pump capacity or steering rack bypassing.

It does not slip the belt, it has no pressure switch or cooler, it is still full.If anyone has experienced this, I would be glad to hear about it.

The only other symptom I had noticed was that when turning hard either direction while backing up I would feel a "shift" or tug on the steering wheel as I was close to steering stop/max turn. I felt it again when easing forward as I started to straighten up. I checked for loose suspension, steering mounting,tie rods etc. I felt like the whole subframe was shifting when wheels were dragging each other sideways. I don't know when this started, just something I had noticed. It may have been after resealing the steering rack..?

I have always had what I consider abnormal shoulder wear on front tires and it is not driven aggressively. I usually have to junk tires with 50% tread because the shoulders wear thru from front end. Alignment did not help.

Edited by TexasJohn55 (see edit history)

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Installed new rebuilt pump this morning, still ok cold, haven't driven enough to get good and hot yet. Will update in a few days.

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This sounds suspiciously like a condition called 'morning sickness'. Common on GM products of this era.

Something about seals loosing their effectiveness inside the rack.

Try some 'power steering tune-up' in a can.

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Bet you got it with the pump.

We had a Kent Moore tool for testing pressure and flow and a system that lost assist at idle was usually a weak pump.

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This sounds suspiciously like a condition called 'morning sickness'. Common on GM products of this era.

Something about seals loosing their effectiveness inside the rack.

Try some 'power steering tune-up' in a can.    Works fine cold, was weak after getting hot.

 

 

Have you changed the idle sensor on the power steering unit.?   This unit has no pressure sensor on rack or pump.

 

 

Bet you got it with the pump.

We had a Kent Moore tool for testing pressure and flow and a system that lost assist at idle was usually a weak pump.    Thanks

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Sorry to tell you folks but there is an idle sensor on the power steering. When you turn the wheel at an ide it picks up the idle a little. It could be causing the problem.

It is on the power steering next to the exhaust down pipe.

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No need to be sorry , we know it exists but it doesn't sound like the problem at hand.

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Drove around town yesterday, OK. 150 mile trip today, still OK. Looks like the pump may have fixed it for now.

 

Just a reminder, this is not a Reatta, it is a 1998 Olds 88 3800. I cannot find a pressure switch and O'Reilly does not list a switch for this model.

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