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power steering weirdness

vkotis

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Hey all,
Ive got a 93 vr v6 calais and lately the power steering has been changing; that is the level of assistance it provides.

now ive read about the variable speed thing but speeding up doesnt have much of an effect.
Basicaly when i turn on the car sometimes the steering will feel heavy, and sometimes light. Ive realised that after applying the accelerator and brake at the same time... the steering will being very heavy later on in that driving period or when i start the car back up.

Then the steering kind of gets lighter each time u start back up again. Although, if the steering is light it doesnt do its normal 'unwind' when coming out some corners (i can let go of the wheel and it will continue to corner).

I have checked the power steering fluid and there are no noticable leaks and the fluid remains steady. There is a slight leak of oil that accumulate\s on the passenger side steering arm boot dust cover thing - not sure if its coming from the rack.

Is my pump rooted or the rack or what?
cheers if u can help
 

94 Stato V8

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Welcome to the world of Vari-tronic steering

Yep just been thru that with a '94 Stato V8.
Cant get any help from anyone on this stuff.
The parts counter said they sell a few of the solenoid valves, and thats what it turned out to be on ours. It's not a real hard job to do, just takes a while.
Our symptoms were that mainly when the car had warmed up the steering would get heavier and didn't change the assistance with revs. It even got so heavy on one occasion it was like something was jambing the rack solid. I even tried putting a trans cooler on the power steering return line just to see if it was temperature related, to no avail. I eventually bit the bullet and bought another solenoid ($180 something dollars, they tried me at $220 and I said you can do better than that :yeah: ). When I pulled the old one out it had a little bit of what looked like orange plastic jambed in its ports, stopping the solenoid plunger moving in and out. Not sure where it could have come from, because the Pump has a filter on the outlet, unless it was part of the solenoid itself. Anyway, changed it, got a wheel alignment (but didn't need to change anything) and everythings been great since.

Tim
 

immortality

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my missus complains about her steering also, recons it wouldn't turn the other day. stopped and started the car again(she was sitting in a car park) and it was fine??? where do you find this solenoid? if you try and turn the steering at idle the engine seems to struggle and wants to die and sometimes you can here the pump whine a little but i always thought the pump was just getting a little tired maybe. definitly going to look at this solenoid i think
 

vkotis

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yeah mechanic thinks its the solenoid valve but said the rack is basicaly stuffed. He said its preety expensive to fix up and they are prone to breakage.
Today my steering is always very heavy and very difficult to turn past a quarter turn either way - my arms are sore. Im just getting him to put in a standard commo rack without the variable speed adjust for 200 so hopefully i wont have any more problems.
Cheers guys i think your right about it being the solenoid thou.
 

Don Sutton

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yeah mechanic thinks its the solenoid valve but said the rack is basicaly stuffed. He said its preety expensive to fix up and they are prone to breakage.
Today my steering is always very heavy and very difficult to turn past a quarter turn either way - my arms are sore. Im just getting him to put in a standard commo rack without the variable speed adjust for 200 so hopefully i wont have any more problems.
Cheers guys i think your right about it being the solenoid thou.
Two main weaknesses with the variatronic steering gear.
1] Crap in the solenoid.
2] Broken wire on the solenoid.
Later Commodores had the variatronic on upmarket models only. Because of low volume the manufacturer of the solenoid wanted to get out of making them so no incentive to fix the wire connection problem. A gauze filter before the solenoid might have fixed the dirt problem. In any case if you are fitting a standard gear you should have no more problems.
 
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