Mechanics

STEERING PROBLEM

2000 Pontiac Grand Am

Steering problem
2000 Pontiac Grand Am 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 118000 miles

The steering wheel does not seem to return to center after I take a left hand turn. At that time, it also pulls very hard to the left. If I stop, turn the wheel all the way to the right and then back to center, it will not pull to the left until or unless I make another left hand turn. I have had four different people look at the front end. They said the ball joints, the struts, the tie rod ends are O.K. Only one found that the left side of the stabilizer bar (where the link bolt goes thru it) is cracked.
Can a cracked stabilizer bar cause this type of problem or would it tend to be an indication of something else, such as, a problem with the rack & pinion?
Please help.
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Pirate!!
August 6, 2008.




It's either the rack bearing preload adjustment, or the flexible coupling at the end of the steering column. POWER CENTER-LINKED RACK & PINION -2000 Pontiac Grand Am SE
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RACK BEARING PRELOAD
1.Raise and support front of vehicle. Center steering wheel. Loosen adjusting plug lock nut. Turn adjusting plug clockwise until it bottoms in housing. Back off adjusting plug 50-70 degrees. 2.While holding adjusting plug stationary, tighten lock nut to 50 ft. lbs. (68 N.m). Test drive vehicle, ensuring steering wheel returns to center after turning.

8/6/2008


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/62217_Coupling_1.jpg


Merlin2021
Aug 6, 2008.
Thanks for the info regarding adjusting the rack bearing preload adjustment. What I am curious about is; the adjusting plug lock nut you are refering to is right on the outside of the adjusting plug in plain view when you look under the car, right? Or do you have to actually remove the the flexible coupling to get at the lock nut?

Also, if this adustment does not work, how do I install a new flexible coupling? Do you have instructions for that?

Please help.

Tiny
Pirate!!
Aug 7, 2008.
The plug is on the outside of the rack, You don't have to remove the coupling. That is for you to inspect for damage, if it's ok leave it alone. If it binds during turns and there is visible defects, replace it.

Merlin2021
Aug 7, 2008.
Do you have a diagram that shows the location of the plug on the rack?

Tiny
Pirate!!
Aug 7, 2008.
Yes it's the verticle portion that connects to the column.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/62217_Rack_3.jpg


Merlin2021
Aug 7, 2008.
Is the adjuster plug in plain view when you get under the car or do you have to remove something to get at it?

Tiny
Pirate!!
Aug 7, 2008.
No, you will see it.

Merlin2021
Aug 7, 2008.
I have had a lot of people tell me that if the rack and pinion is having a problem it should be replaced because as it wears it puts metal flakes into the power steering fluid and the flakes ruin the power steeering pump. Is this true? If I adjust the rack bearing preload, and it solves the steering problem, will the rack put metal flakes into the power steering fluid that will destroy the power steering pump?

Tiny
Pirate!!
Aug 8, 2008.
If you are worried about flakes, flush the system, disconnect the return line, have enough power steering fluid ready and a bucket to catch the flushed out fluid, start the car and add to the pump as the level goes down.A few quarts should do it. I have seen a few rack failures and havent seen the flake problem!
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Merlin2021
Aug 8, 2008.
I tried adjusting the rack preload bearing but it did not solve the problem of the car pulling to the left and the steering wheel not comming all the way back to center so I put the setting on the bearing adjustment back to what it was before I changed it. Every now and then the " Low Trac" light comes on for a few minutes and then goes off.
Could this problelm have something to do with the Traction Control System not working properly on this car?

Tiny
Pirate!!
Aug 13, 2008.

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