I have a 1989 Bonneville that has become very hard to turn. Normal straight road or gentle curves are not a problem. Turning a corner at an intersection is the problem. It feels like a Universal Joint binding when I turn. That is, the resistance goes up and down as you turn. Or another way to describe it, resistance then break free over and over as you turn. If I put it up on jacks, it turns very freely in both directions, no binding. I don't feel any excessive play in any direction in the steering wheel or in the drive wheels. I have looked at the U-Joints in the steering column and visually appear to be in good shape. How do I determine if the problem is the U-Joints or farther down in the steering without tearing everything apart? Is anyone familiar with this problem?
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Re: 1989 Bonneville Hard to turn.
The problem u are discribing is a failing rack and penion sterring control, the symptoms fit 100%
a rebuilt unit is less than $150.00 there is a tag on the steering unit you will need the number off that tag to get the correct part, there were a number of diff ones used in your car.
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1. I would not be concerned because if there was a failure in the ABS you would definitely get an ABS warning light and the ABS and most likely the stability control/traction control systems (with added warning lights) will all switch off .
2. You can test if the ABS is operational. On a very quiet damp surface, straight, wide road( with NO other cars around), apply your brakes hard from a very low speed - up to 20 mph ONLY driving in a straight line - until the car stops. The front brakes should attempt to lock up under hard braking and if the ABS is operational you will feel it kick in and the brake pedal will pulsate as the ABS constantly allows brake pressure and then releases it to prevent the wheels from locking up on the damp road. If the ABS does not kick in be ready to release the brake pedal quickly to allow the wheels to rotate so you can steer the car safely. Without the ABS the front wheels should begin to lock up on the damp road surface due to the low level of tire grip. ONLY test this at very low speed and ONLY when driving in a straight line on a straight section of wide road with no other vehicles around.
you can't, it has to be changed. older steering boxes would turn fairly easy without p/s, but it is not a manual steering box a will be really hard to turn at low speeds, and be hard to keep going straight on the road at high speeds,let alone corners!
a bad idler arm/pitman arm,
You will have a hard time trying to keep the car going straight, it will wander all
over the road.
Road walking. When the vehicle wanders back and forth in the direction of travel and it is difficult to keep it straight.
When sitting still, there is considerable play in the steering wheel. It can be moved considerably with no resistance.
When sitting still, and with the front wheels off the ground, it is possible to move the wheels side to side without the steering wheel moving. If there is to much play in the steering wheel or side to side movement of the wheel when the vehicle is stopped could indicate there is a problem with the idler arm.
If the struts are shot as you say then they need to be changed. Continued driving will only worsen them. This will result in increasing problems controlling the cars movements especially when going over bumps. The car will start to wander all over the road and it will become increasingly difficult to maintain a straight line while driving. At some point they will probably break without warning. Worn shocks will greatly shorten the life of ball joints and tie rod ends, not to mention tires.
In the event that you are involved in an accident that causes serious injury or death, your car will be inspected by somebody and the problem will come to light. At that point you will likely become the responsible party and be held liable for all damages.
Cars need routine maintenance to stay roadworthy and struts wear out. They need to be repaired on a regular basis. Suit yourself but ignoring or putting off the repair will only cost you more money down the road. At this point in time you have control over what that cost will be, down the road you may not have that option. Hope this helps.
If it is the typical hydraulically assisted type, it will go from 'normal' to unassisted-heavy-truck steering.
If it dies in a curve, you will have to wrestle with it to make the curve and again to get the wheel straight again.
This can be very disconcerting, I can tell you that from personal experience.
The vehicle remains driveable but requires a great deal more muscle to make it go where you want and parallel parking becomes a real challenge.
I am having the same problem and also occasionally the cruise just shuts off when I am driving on dry, straight roads. Code C1288 was cleared, but it continues to happen. I was told that the electric brake module needs to be reprogrammed and that it will cost about $80.00. They are still looking into it.