Steering wheel wobble in right hand turns - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2015, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Steering wheel wobble in right hand turns

My Mark VIII has exhibited some weird behavior ever since I bought it.

On long sweeping right hand turns (think freeway offramp) the steering wheel slowly wobbles as if it's trying to turn back to centre. It visibly moves back and forth about 1/2" on right hand turns. It doesn't seem to do it on left hand turns however. The steering almost feels tighter during turns, but not uncontrollable by any means, just firmer.

It's not a vibration either, and I haven't found any other threads with symptoms like this.

I've done the following to the car:

UCA and LCA both sides (driver's side was done by previous owner with brands unknown)

Passenger side arms were done by me with Moog arms.

Front tires replaced by previous owner (have some wear on the inner edges due to bad alignment - now corrected)

Inner tie rod on passenger side.

Wheel bearing on passenger side.

Strut rod bushings frame and arm side.

Power steering fluid change to Mercon (previous owner had ps fluid in there).

Wheels feel tight when checking for play, rack bushings seem ok. Car doesn't have any flat spots when 'dry steering.'

Otherwise the car drives great, tracks straight and doesn't seem to have any vibrations.

The steering does feel a bit looser at higher speeds (70-80mph) than at 60mph. but overall the car does drive pretty well.

I'm thinking the rack might be worn? Man I hope not.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2015, 04:57 PM
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Swap the front wheel to the back, and repeat the test.

It could easily be a slightly bent wheel; One good curb check will do it to an aluminum wheel.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2015, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
Swap the front wheel to the back, and repeat the test.

It could easily be a slightly bent wheel; One good curb check will do it to an aluminum wheel.
Interesting... the left front does have some curb rash on it... Never understood how people can manage to bash a curb lol.

That makes a lot of sense. I forgot to mention that the symptoms improved very slightly after a wheel balance, but I thought that was in my head.

Off to the garage and then road test!
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2015, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Swapped out both front wheels for known good ones.... no difference.

I should mention that the rack does not leak at all and when turning from lock to lock at idle, it's effortless. I've also never noticed any tighter spots when steering.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2015, 11:57 PM
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I had similar symptoms with my driver side ball joint went out. Before it started making noise, hard right turns it felt a little wobbly almost in parking lots. On the highway it felt like there was almost a dead spot when turning slightly to change lanes or big curves. Jack it up and try to shake the tire and nothing - very firm. I even had firestone (God I hate firestone) check the suspension twice to see if the ball joints or anything else was wrong and they said everything is very stiff... So I kept driving it and then a couple weeks ago it started making noise and I could pin point where it was coming from. The boot was also completely ripped by then. Oh and the lower control arms were Moogs and they only lasted a little over a year.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2015, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tbird1997 View Post
I had similar symptoms with my driver side ball joint went out. Before it started making noise, hard right turns it felt a little wobbly almost in parking lots. On the highway it felt like there was almost a dead spot when turning slightly to change lanes or big curves. Jack it up and try to shake the tire and nothing - very firm. I even had firestone (God I hate firestone) check the suspension twice to see if the ball joints or anything else was wrong and they said everything is very stiff... So I kept driving it and then a couple weeks ago it started making noise and I could pin point where it was coming from. The boot was also completely ripped by then. Oh and the lower control arms were Moogs and they only lasted a little over a year.
Yikes, tough break on the Moogs. WTF is up with their quality recently?

It wouldn't surprise me if the driver's side lca was bad. The last owner had it done by a shop about a year ago and the control arm is stamped 'made in taiwan' One year sounds like the life expectancy of taiwanese lcas

I can actually get a Moog lca for $47 locally, so I might just try it. Can't hurt right? I'll buy two... one for this year, one for next
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2015, 11:10 PM
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96beaterbird - Try Raybestos, the more expensive version. Or ACDelco, again the more expensive version (Raybestos is moving from "Service Grade" which is the cheap chinee crap and "Professional Grade" which is the old Spicer Pro quality stuff, to "Professional Grade" being the cheap chinee crap and "Advanced Technology" being the old Spicer Pro stuff ... guargh!!) ACDelco seems to be using a lot of the Spicer Pro parts also, with their names on them.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2015, 11:48 PM
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Yup I got the Raybestos prograde for $38 a piece on rockauto. Visually much better quality. The Moogs that I bought last year had different color and shape ball joints for each side. The bigger lighter blue was the one that ripped on the drivers side, the darker smaller blue ball joint on the passenger side is still good. I still bought two Raybestos just in case the other moog decides to go.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2015, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbird1997 View Post
Yup I got the Raybestos prograde for $38 a piece on rockauto. Visually much better quality. The Moogs that I bought last year had different color and shape ball joints for each side. The bigger lighter blue was the one that ripped on the drivers side, the darker smaller blue ball joint on the passenger side is still good. I still bought two Raybestos just in case the other moog decides to go.
Well, I guess you bought the last Raybestos ones from Rockauto. All they're listing for Raybestos is passenger side lca - only one remaining. They only list AC Delco for the passenger side as well.

The only driver's side arms I can buy are Moog or Mevotech lol.

I'm searching under a 96 T-bird btw.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2015, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Update: I tried some different freeway onramps today and it does the wobble on left hand turns too

I tried wiggling the tires again at 3 and 9 and while I didn't really notice any play, I noticed a 'clunk' when I pulled really hard.

Is this a symptom of the rack going bad or something else?
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2015, 11:07 PM
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96beaterbird - It could be the rack bushings failing also.

Just something to keep in mind.

RwP

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-18-2015, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphP View Post
96beaterbird - It could be the rack bushings failing also.

Just something to keep in mind.

RwP
I can't see any movement in the bushings when I pry on the rack, is there a better way to check?
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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I can't see any movement in the bushings when I pry on the rack, is there a better way to check?
Okay well this is weird. I was driving the car today and turned the wheel slightly while stopped and guess what - it did the weird wobble back and forth! While the car was stopped and idling!

The power assist works just fine turning from lock to lock, but if I hold the wheel slightly turned while stopped it will do this.

It's almost the same feeling you get when you're holding the wheel and turn the engine off and it slightly returns the opposite way, except this is doing it in an 'oscillating' way so to speak, basically it's wobbling back and forth a bit.

The engine isn't idling erratically while it does this, it's nice and smooth. Fluid level is good and I recently changed it using the turkey baster method and about 2 quarts of new mercon.

Could this be the EVO module? Where else should I check? The ps pump's pretty quiet, no belt squeal or anything.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 06:57 PM
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I'd do a fluid swap on the power steering, and while it's drained, pull the EVO valve and make sure it's clean.

Could also be the pump's about to die, so you're getting pulses from the pump motor.

RwP

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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I'd do a fluid swap on the power steering, and while it's drained, pull the EVO valve and make sure it's clean.

Could also be the pump's about to die, so you're getting pulses from the pump motor.

RwP
What's the easiest (or least difficult) way to remove the EVO valve? I thought it was threaded on the pump between the pressure line and the pump or am I mistaken?
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Didn't manage to remove or unplug the EVO valve, but I did remove the underhood fuse which controls the EVO and air ride. Made ZERO difference.

I also didn't feel like crawling under the wet and slushy car to undo the return line and flush the system, but I did run another half-quart or so through the reservoir and pumped it out (after turning the wheels lock to lock several times).

One thing I did notice since the hood was up while I was turning the wheels was that when the wheel was wobbling, the pump almost made a hissing/whooshing sound, as though it was cavitating or had air in the pump. Really strange. Definitely not belt slippage.

It mostly does it when turning the wheel right and holding it in one position, but it will do it on a left turn, however not as pronounced.

I'm going to try a proper flush on the weekend with some Mercon V this time and maybe some conditioner. I was really really tempted to put in some of my Kubota hydrostatic fluid (amazing fluid BTW), but didn't have the nerve to lol.
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 06:34 AM
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Then I'd bet the pump itself is wearing out internally.

I'd pick up a new pump and plan on a swap when the weather gets better.

Yes, you'd have to pull the pressure line from the EVO then the EVO from the pump to clean it, but the sound you're describing IS probably fluid leaking past the seals in the pump itself.

RwP

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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 08:15 AM
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet..

Your Rag Joint could be toast if you're getting a lot of wobble out of your steering wheel..

Here's what the stock Rag-Joint looks like:
MN12 Rag Joint.JPG

Jay 98mark8lsc offers a Stainless Steel steering u-joint and stub shaft for $150 shipped..

The piece he offers replaces the factory Rag-Joint, and offers a much better steering wheel "feel" for your car..

Here's a picture of the piece he offers:
Jay's Stainless Rag-Joint.JPG





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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet..

Your Rag Joint could be toast if you're getting a lot of wobble out of your steering wheel..
I really don't think it's the rag joint. It feels tight and looks ok. Keep in mind, the wobble also happens when the car is stationary and idling.

Otherwise the steering feels tight and responsive.

I'll probably just yank the ps pump from my tbird parts car and try it.

I'm guessing I need a puller to remove the pulley before I can get the pump off?

Will a jaw type puller work, or will it wreck the pulley?
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 01:35 PM
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I have that stainless steel u-joint and like it, although it took a little time to get used to how the steering reacts instantaneously.

For removing the power steering pump pulley, you need a specialized puller. They can be rented cheaply at auto parts stores.

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post #21 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
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I have that stainless steel u-joint and like it, although it took a little time to get used to how the steering reacts instantaneously.

...
This is true; I bought one a few years ago, and it almost makes me want the evo activated all the time.

To the guy replacing the pump: Don't forget to take the EVO valve off the old pump and put it on the new pump.
You do not want a pump without evo; you will hate the way it drives.

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post #22 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-26-2015, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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This is true; I bought one a few years ago, and it almost makes me want the evo activated all the time.

To the guy replacing the pump: Don't forget to take the EVO valve off the old pump and put it on the new pump.
You do not want a pump without evo; you will hate the way it drives.
Well this is cool... I siphoned out some more ps fluid and exchanged it for Mercon V this time (yes I know I should remove the return hose, but they've been on there for 22 years and don't want to risk cracking a possibly brittle hose, or worse, the reservoir) and the wobble is substantially improved. Not gone, but a lot less.

Oddly enough the steering is heavier at idle with Mercon V in it.

I'm going to continue to siphon out and refill the ps pump over the next few days until all of the fluid's exchanged.
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post #23 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-27-2015, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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Well this is cool... I siphoned out some more ps fluid and exchanged it for Mercon V this time (yes I know I should remove the return hose, but they've been on there for 22 years and don't want to risk cracking a possibly brittle hose, or worse, the reservoir) and the wobble is substantially improved. Not gone, but a lot less.

Oddly enough the steering is heavier at idle with Mercon V in it.

I'm going to continue to siphon out and refill the ps pump over the next few days until all of the fluid's exchanged.
Okay well now I'm kinda worried. I bought Valvoline MaxLife ATF D/M which says compatible with Mercon, Mercon V, Mercon LV and Mercon SP.

Apparently this stuff is no longer listed on Valvoline's website, and they have a separate MaxLife fluid that meets Mercon, Mercon LV, and Mercon SP specs all in one bottle, but doesn't meet Mercon V specs.

I've done a bunch of reading on BITOG and apparently Mercon LV and Mercon V are NOT backwards compatible and can cause damage if interchanged.

So how the hell did this magical fluid meet all these specs? I'm worried that it might have been old stock since I can't find this stuff listed on Valvoline's website anymore.

Anyone have any experience with this? Should I be worried?
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