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Old 04-22-2012, 05:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Powersteering feedback/VAPS testing

First off I have a 93 vulcan GL sedan which is currently being completely gone through for mail route duty. Seems I'm a "lucky one" who got the variable assist steering option...yay? The drivetrain and cradle are out along with all suspension components at this time(have to put some K8737s on to fix front strut rod bushing surface, 1 cause it fell off and the other preventative). It's got its share of minor issues but will basically be brand new by the time I'm done, even por-15'd the frame and engine bay(not 100% pleased with results on por15 so far though).
Okay the question, before it was torn down I'd get an annoying(dangerous if your not expecting, but not super violent) feedback in the steering wheel while holding around a corner(constant pressure, left or right didn't matter). Almost seemed to pressure spike at the peak of the curve and then send the pressure back the wrong direction... In my other automotive experience it's acting as though a ps hose is bad or partially ruptured internally, explaining the "spike" as it swells out and resulting jerk of the steering wheel itself back in the opposite direction when it returns to shape. I already plan on replacing the rack, both hoses and have 2 different ps pumps to swap if I have issues. I'm not familiar with the VAPS system but research tells me it only reduces pressure(50% max) at speed, nothing else. I figure the hoses will solve my problem but would like to know if there is anyway to test the solenoid/valve mounted to the rack...off the vehicle(ohm it out perhaps?). I'm just trying to avoid having to pull the drivetrain or dropping the cradle again if possible. I'm under the impression even bad the VAPS motor wouldn't cause my issue. Prob worth mentioning PO had the system full of regular power steering fluid, not ATF like I expected to find also. Rack had no leaks on disassembly, in bellows etc.
Is VAPS delete as simple as getting the non-assist parts or even simpler, leaving the motor off the rack on install and using adapters for the lines? What (if any) issues would this cause the ECM?
Thanks for looking everyone, I know how difficult a "theoretical" diagnosis can be so I'm just looking for some ideas/opinions. Not a huge rush either, I've had the car apart for about a year and a half by now. Went a little deeper than originally planned and it's doing a great job of taking care of spare funds so that's held me up a bit hehe. Thanks again for your input and look forward to being a TCCA member!

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Old 04-22-2012, 09:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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From what I've read and heard that pushback from the steering system is caused by air in the lines. Just need to get the air out, whether by using a vacuum source at the reservoir or by sucking the out a bit at a time and replenishing the PS fluid as you go.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Our '93 has done this since it was six months old, probably since new. I didnt think ours has vaps, but it has a round piece sticking up from the rack by the firewall. It has, I think, four small wires going into it with a rubber boot. The hoses were changed about a year and a half ago due to leaking and the "bucking back" in turns is still there. I never tried to find out what was causing it, just got used to it.
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This one has done it since I got it, had 120k+ then. I for the most part got used to it too, problem is other people in my family used it occasionally. Grandma thought the car was trying to kill her . Cracked drum in the trans solved the problem for a bit(not the fix I was looking for...grrr), but now its going back together I would rather it didn't return. One of my main concerns was what it was doing to everything else or possibly causing issues elsewhere. Glad to know it's not gonna be a huge problem long term if I don't sort it out though regl404. I don't want to have to replace stuff over and over again, gets old real quick for sure.
Like minds Lgbpop, like minds. I should have mentioned it was flushed, my fault. I watched for awhile checking the reservoir for foaming or air bubbles and eventually the burnt up nasty fluid got to me so I flushed it with atf. I flushed it with an assistant in the car using the engine/pump. No change though I suppose there's always still the possibility it was trapped somewhere, or a small leak introducing air say by a fitting. I even went as far as pulling the vent tube for the rack boots and blowing it out with the air compressor for obstructions(too much free time). You got me thinking now though, I know correct procedure for some Ford power steering bleeding involves applying vacuum to release trapped air. Never had to do this, they always seem to work themselves out over time as the reservoir usually ends up being a high point in the system. The special tool just speeds up the process from what I've been told, doesn't mean I have accurate info there, just what I've heard and can't verify because I've never used it personally(cost vs applications/uses).
I ultimately have to just wait and see if my gremlin returns. Like I said it's mostly apart now, I managed to get some pics in the gallery today. I should look to see if I was smart and labeled each pump for the car it came from. Do a little experiment on reassembly perhaps. This is a one gives so one may live situation. RIP silver 93 GL(also w/VAPS, seems more common than led to believe). The pressure switch is located on the solenoid or actuator mounted to the rack but as far as I know only functions at idle speeds and only boosts idle rpm under load...correct?
I attached a pic of the VAPS actuator off the car, on the rack, in case anyone has a question identifying what they have. Mine is in rough shape, the top where the wires go into the boot is missing some rubber and the wire ends exposed are fuzzy green with corrosion(why I questioned it). If I figure it out after assembly/break-in period I'll post the results or an explanation of what I find. Gonna be a bit before that happens, still shopping around for AX4S rebuild kits and doing research on beefing it up some. Thanks for the comments people!
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