98 Cadillac Seville L/PwrStr/Rough Frt/End/Struts Go Way Up

  • V8
  • FWD
  • 70,000 MILES
In park, reverse, and taking off, when turning the steering wheel to the left causes the front/end/air shocks to fill al the way up with the whole front end going way up, or jumping up off the ground on acceleration. With alot of racket and crunching sounds too.

In park with the tires straight forward, if you turn the steering wheel to the left their is major resistence at 45% and you have to force the steering wheel with a crunching and grinding noise, to get past this resisatence and be able to turn the steering wheel all the way to the left.

If you back up and turn the steering wheel to the left the same thing happens, but as you then go forward and take off the car jumps and sounds like it's stalling and then lurches forward with alot of noise, rattling, and shaking.

In park as you turn the steering wheel back to the center with the wheels going straight or to the right, the shocks let out the extra air, and the front end goes down to normal.

Message display: speed limited to 90 mph

The car is not driven much. The problem started around 2 weeks ago. 1 week ago the message display started to say: speed limited to 90 mph.

So far no other messages like this are on the display while the car is running.

Also the whining noise and racket from the power steering pump or belt seems to be alot louder when turning all the way to the left, than even the usual loud sound some cars have, when turning the steering wheel all the way to the right or left.

Once you get going and go straight the symptoms subside are not that noticeable and the engine power is full.

The power steering pump seems to be ok, but I'm not sure, and it is filled, but the fluid might be too hot.

Which part of the power steering systen, assembly, steering gear, pump, etc is loose, needs adjusting, is worn, malfunctioning, needs replacing?

Why is is the power steering problem causing the front/end/air shocks to fill all the way up with air?

Is the pcm sensing rough road conditions because of the very rough running power steering system and adding lots of air in response?

I ran a scan tool and all 8 readiness tests are checked and there is only 1 code: P0103 mass airflow.

I need a reply by tues morning because this car which is not my car but I have an interest in and I drive it alot, is going to a repair shop that a friend (who has nothing to say about cars) of the owner uses. All they can say about the mechanic is that he's ok and that's it.

But we've never spoke with that mechanic before. We are very low on $ and I realize that this can be a moderate $ or costly $ repair and want to have as many facts about what's wrong with this car.

Before getting an estimate and/or the owner just letting them go ahead and fix it without us being sure that that the estimate and repairs are only what was needed ro be repaired.

I can read diagrams, can work on cars, have alot of tools but no place to to really work on a car.

I have done lots of work on my 76 and 77 plymouth v8 318 cars that I used to own.

So I can handle a full review of this question and use it to do alot better when dealing with this new mechanic that we have never even spoke to yet.

I said to the owner of the car that this repair can cost any where from $300-$500 if it's just a loose part or adjustments are needed.

Or $500-$1500 if it's just a part or parts that need to be replaced.

Or up to $2500 if the whole steering system needs replacing and for other related repairs.

The owner of the car said to me not too happily because she can't afford to pay more than $700 max,

"Well, we have no choice but to just trust this new mechanic that we've never met before, because I need my car fixed right away. I don't have a regular mechanic to go to who has worked on my car and also can handle this kind of involved repair".

"So whatever this new mechaniic says and does, it's up to him. I need my car fixed and I can't tell if his diagnosis and estimate is correct, and the repairs that he'll be doing is just what needed to be done".

"Or if he not on purpose went and did more than what was needed, or if he went and did more than what was needed to get a better profit for his time".

I said to "get an itemized estimate first, don't just tell them to go ahead and fix it because they may do a bigger job when only a lesser repair is needed, and that I could do a good job of oking or not oking his estimate".

We're having money problems now and can't afford to pay alot more than is needed.

I'm adding on some more to my donation now, I wish I could give you more. I'm sure that the advice you'll give me is worth 10x or more.

Thank you,
Do you
have the same problem?
Saturday, September 5th, 2009 AT 7:45 PM

7 Replies

First of all, you do not have an air suspension system. You have a automatic level control system in the rear that makes adjustments to maintain rear ride height. If you have noise and the front end is raising, check to see that the rh steering gear mount is not broken away from the gear, and/or mounting bolts aren't missing. The speed limited to 90 may be unrelated to the mechanical problem, you have a fault in the stabilitrak system that would set a code.
Was this
Sunday, September 6th, 2009 AT 9:53 PM
98 Cadillac Seville SLS - Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension - CVRSS

Thanks for your answer.

Can I easily check the rh steering gear mount by just opening the hood or do I have to remove anything, or move something out of the way etc, etc, or do I have to check it out from under the car?

With this problem why does the front end stay level when you turn the steering wheel from the center position to the right, why doesn't it also cause the front end to go way up too like turning the steering wheel to the left does?

"If you have noise and the front end is raising, check to see that the rh steering gear mount is not broken away from the gear, and/or mounting bolts aren't missing."

What does the "rh" in "rh steering gear mount" stand for?

Is it rear housing stearing gear mount?

If the rh-sg-mount is broken, is that a costly repair or is it in the $300 range. Is there alot of labor or is it hard to work in or get to that area, is it a 1 hour or 2 hour or more job to fix?

If the mount is not broken but the bolts are missing or just loose, is that alot less of a job. Or is just setting up for and getting to the repair area where most of the time goes to?

Could this situation have caused other damage such as to the gear itself or even bent the steering shaft?

Because the PS gear is not being controlled or keptin place as the result of a loose or broken rh-sg-mount, etc, could any other close by or related component, or anything else have been damaged?

Could any steering, front end, wheel alignment, or suspension parts have been damaged by this situaition and from driving it this way around town the past 2 weeks, but not too much driving?

Are there any kind of adjustments that will need to be made after the rh-sg-mount is secured again?

This car is going to a new mechanic this Tuesday, I won't be there, but I am coaching the owner of the car so that they'll do alot better with this new mechanic, and get a more proper and fairer estimate than if you and I wasn't helping them this way.

He might be a the kind of mechanic we all wish for and I hope he is,

but the last time the person I'm coaching about this car went to a mechanic with this car, they tried to sell her 2 rear shocks for $2000. She actually signed the "go" on the work order and paid for it.

Don't ask me how I did it, but I called the guy the next morning and covinced him to not put in the 2 new rear shocks, which he was waiting to be delivered to his shop.

They gave a full refund on the credit card and gave us a bill for under $500 for brake work and some other things.

He had said the day before that the 2 rear shocks looked real bad.

Well 2 years later and they're still ok.

So it always helps to figure out what's actually wrong with your car as best as you can, before you take it to a new mechanic, or if you're unsure or weary about the outcome and/or the cost of the major repairs you've done with the mechanic you always go to.

I was sure that this car had 4 air struts/shocks, so that they could all react within the CVRSS system.

After your message I tried to get a clear answer on that.

Here is some info I found on this subject.

At a top Cadillac new parts website an air compressor was one of the oem replacement parts in the rear suspension parts section, so the rear shocks are definitely air shocks.

But the compressor was not one of the parts mentioned in the oem front suspension parts section. So I was unsure that the 1 compressor was for all 4 shocks/struts.

After alot of searching I found another site that sells conversion kits for the 98 Seville front air struts.
You end up with a passive non-air strut.

They say:

1998-2004 Cadillac Seville Front Air Suspension Conversion Kit with Resistor

Fits: 1998-2004 4.6L Cadillac Seville (Front)
Conversion to replace the front struts with dependable passive struts. Electronic bypass included to remove the service ride control message for your Northstar system.

This has to be a conversion kit to go from
air struts to non-air struts, because their is no mention of needing to buy an air crompressor.

After reading what this top suspension website is advertising, do you agree that the 98 Seville SLS with the CVRSS has 4 air shocks/struts and not just 2 air shocks in the rear?

They're not just saying to convert your electronically controlled front struts (CVRSS) to a non-electronic passive strut.

They are saying, to convert your electronically controlled front air struts (CVRSS) to non-electronic non-air passive struts.

If after reading what they are advertising, you still want me to accept that this car has 2 electronically controlled non-air front struts, can you tell me why they are saying what they're saying there at
srutmasters. Com, a very high profile Cadillac suspension parts website, about converting the front electronically controlled air struts to passive shocks?

This is from an article I was reading:

Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension CVRSS

Said our editor-in-chief in September '98 about the
Sevilles CVRSS, "It reacts strongly to broken or undulating pavement, stiffening suddenly, which feels unnatural. One minute you'll be enjoying a nice ride; the next it feels as though someone has stolen the tires and you're riding on the rims.I'd prefer a more conventional suspension set-up to this software-fueled and easily fuddled Cadillac CVRSS system.

I give you full compliments on this part of your reply:

"If you have noise and the front end is raising, check to see that the rh steering gear mount is not broken away from the gear, and/or mounting bolts aren't missing."

This is very helpfull and sounds like it mighht be the exact problem or very close to it.

It's probably not this but I just had to ask:
If the front has air struts is it possible that the front end rising way up is being triggered by the CVRSS system filling the front shocks with alot of air, because of the very rough power steering, which only happens when you turn the steering wheel from the center position to the left?

Why is the front end going all the way up when the steering wheel is turned to the left, what is the actual mechanical cause etc, etc.

Are the struts filling with extra air or is the front end being lifted because of the force of an out of control power steering gear pushing the front end up, caused by the possible loose or missing bolts not holding it in its place etc, etc.

Turning to the right causes the front end to go down.

About the 90 mph message

There are no codes set for the stabilitrack system showing up on my autoxray 1500 code scout.

The 90 mph message only started showing up when the power steering problem started to get worse, so there has to be a connection between the two even if not directly related.

Is it possible that the car rising or jumping up in the air when turning the steering wheel to the left and at the same time backing up could be upsetting the stabilitrack systems feedback to the ecm and causing that message to appear on the display?

It does the same thing again as you take off going forward right after you back up. It also starts to stall and then the engine goes back on as you take off.

This also has never happened before, so it's related to this power steering problem putting too much strain on the electrical system, fuel system,
and/or on the engine itself. It starts to stall for a second and then goes back on as your taking off forward.

Do the best you can replying to this reply. I just want as much good info on what's really happening now with this car, with a clearer picture about what is the actual cause of the front end going way up
when the steering wheel is turned to the left.

It seems that if it's the

"rh steering gear mount is not broken away from the gear, and/or mounting bolts aren't missing"

then it's not that the air shocks are filling up with air in response to the power steering problem.

It's the leverage of the powerful power steering system forcing the front end up because it's moving the whole car up as the gear is being turned to the left and not being bolted down etc, etc.

With this problem why does the front end stay level when you turn the steering wheel from the center position to the right?

What does this symptom tell you:

In park when turning the steering wheel to the left from the center position, as you get to 1/2 way towards full left, their is alot of very rough and grinding sound resistence, and you have to force the steering wheel past that point to get it to go any further to the left.

Once you get past that rough point you can turn all the way to the left without much resistence, but the power steering pump and/or the belt has a very overly loud whining sound all the way to the left.

The more info on this topic that you give me before Tuesday the better.

I wish I could donate more. You and all from your site certainly deserve it.

Thanks again,
Was this
Monday, September 7th, 2009 AT 3:05 AM
Road Sensing Suspension General Description
Important: The CVRSS module will remain powered for a short period of time (typically under 5 minutes) after the ignition has been turned off. This system-on period after ignition-off allows the system to level and perform other required functions.

The Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension (CVRSS) system consists of the following components: CVRSS module (3), four dampers contained in the two front struts (5 and 6) and the two rear shock absorbers (1 and 9), four positions sensors (2, 4, 7, and 8), ALC air compressor module (10), damper relay (not shown), and ALC relay (not shown).

The Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension (CVRSS) system with rear Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) controls damping forces in the front struts and rear shock absorbers in response to various road and driving conditions. The rear ALC portion of the system maintains a proper vehicle trim height under various vehicle load conditions.

The CVRSS module receives the following inputs: wheel-to-body position, vehicle speed, and lift/dive. The CVRSS module evaluates these inputs and controls actuators in each of the dampers independently to provide varied levels of suspension control.

Road Sensing Suspension (RSS) Dampers with Integral Actuators Description
A CVRSS damper is mounted at each corner of the vehicle. The four suspension dampers (two front struts and two rear shock absorbers) each contain an integral solenoid actuator that is controlled by the Electronic Suspension Control (ELC) module. The solenoid actuator provides a wide range of damping forces between soft and firm levels. Damping is controlled by the amount of current supplied to the actuator.

Automatic Level Control General Description

The Automatic Level Control (ALC) system automatically adjusts the rear height of the vehicle in response to changes in vehicle loading.

The ALC system consists of a height sensor, an air compressor assembly (5), an ALC compressor relay, an intake hose and filter, an air tube (2), and two rear shock absorbers (3). The air compressor assembly consists of an air compressor and an air dryer (1) mounted on a bracket. The air compressor head is a replaceable part of the air compressor. The exhaust solenoid is a non-replaceable part of the air compressor head.

The compressor is activated when the ignition is on, and weight is added to the vehicle. The exhaust solenoid is connected directly to the battery (+), enabling the system to exhaust with the ignition off when excess weight is removed.

Air Shock Absorber or Strut Description
The rear air adjustable shock absorbers are constructed with a rubber-like air sleeve attached to the dust tube and reservoir. This sleeve forms a flexible chamber which extends the shock absorber when pressure in the chamber is increased. When air pressure is reduced, the weight of the vehicle collapses the shock absorber. In order to maintain proper operation and reliability of the air adjustable shock absorbers, a system pressure from 48-97 kPa (7-14 psi) must be maintained at all times.

It does not have air shocks in the front, and the rear air shocks are for leveling/load control. The active portion of the system is control of the dampers to regulate hydraulic flow rate in the shock/strut for firmer or softer ride feel. The reason the front would lift with a broken right hand(passenger side) steering gear mount is this. When turning right, the gear is pulling the rh tie rod, and can keep relatively straight. When turning left, it is pushing the rh tie rod and causes the gear to raise from the broken mount, and the tie rod to buckle like an elbow. It would more than likely hit the body, and cause it to raise. This is purely hypothetical, not necessarily what you have occurring. Collateral damage is usually limited to soft parts, wiring, CV or tie rod boots, tire wear, etc. If you have the 'speed limited to 90' you have a code. Does your code reader read ABS, RSS codes? The passive struts that you mention will just disable the active portion of the system, and set the damping rate to a fixed value.
Was this
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 AT 10:26 PM
Thanks for all the great info on the CVRSS,

RH Steering Gear Mount

Does the rh steering gear mount stand for the right housing steering gear mount or the rear housing steering gear mount?

Is that the inner tie rod mount to the right side of the steering gear that you're referring to as being broken or missing bolts?

The mechanic said the car has to wait until Thursday to be checked out. So any new info helps.

I read all of the CVRSS info you sent me.

No air assist in the front struts is mentioned. The back shocks are mentioned for air assist.

But why does strutmasters. Com say that they are selling front passive (air assisted or is it not air assisted) struts to replace the original air assisted and electronically controlled struts for the 98-2004 seville?

Is that just because they have shock and strut conversion kit listings for so many Cadillac models and years that that's simply a typo?

Was this
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 AT 11:24 PM
Your last reply was very helpful with dealing with this cars current problem.

It's one of the best code scanners of the ones that don't do alot of kinds of readings such as ABS or RSS.

It's good for emissions codes and for inspection readiness. But it does read out alot of kinds of auto system codes related to engine performance and tune-up. New it's around $100 or more.

I quick checked the right tie rod area and the rubber boot looks really messed up, it looks like you were right about that area being the source of this problem.

I didn't take the boot off yet to check the mount and the bolts. I will do that Wednesday.

The only code that the Code Scout is reading now is a P0103 Mass Airflow.

Is there a way to get that code related to the 90 mph message to read out on the cars dashboard display?
Was this
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 AT 4:37 AM
I just wrote a large reply, and when I submitted, I had to log in, and it erased. So just bullet points this time.

The RH stands for right hand(passenger side). There are two 18mm headed bolts that secure the gear to the frame. The left is cast aluminum, and the rh is a bushing and bracket that is welded to the gear tube.

Press info up, and on/off to enter segment check, and the info center will display ALL. Info up or down will scroll the modules alphabetically, and on/off will select. When you get to ABS, press on/off, and ABS CODES? Will display, press on/off again and document the codes. As a rule on this vehicle, navigation through diagnostics requires two keys. Info up or down will scroll, on/off will select. To exit, any button on the left of IPC, or key off, will work.
Was this
Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 10:40 PM
Too bad you wrote such a good answer and lost it to the relogin.

They should give a 2 minute warning for relogin so you can just save your reply, go relogin, and just copy the saved message back into the box and finish the last few sentences, etc.

This is not my car, if it was I would have attempted to fix it myself or found the right person to fix it myself.

But it seems that this mechanic is being very cool about the whole thing. Cool as in good.

After some testing and then parking, the right inner tierod finnally gave way and fell out of the boot, it broke clean off.

As I was trying to park the car I was like uh oh, is it the tranny, is it the steering gear, eventually I went and checked, and the inner tierod was broken and the right wheel was floating on its own.

I didn't get to check out what was left in the boot or the condition of the rh gear mount and bolts.

The boot was very roughed up and looked worn out too.

He's charging $535 for a new stearing gear assembly. $200 for the labor. So he's getting around $400 for the labor.

Since I didn't get to see what was in the boot, I can't say it needed a new steering gear, but the car was driven for 3 or more weeks, with the tierod bending and twisting, it must have damaged the inner working of the rh steering gear mounting area, where it is attached.

If it was my car I would have been there to look at the steering gear rh which he said was damaged, just to confirm, that it needs to be replaced. That's the best way to do it, just go down there so they can show you that it has to be replaced.

I sawa rebuilt one online for $300 with a trade in, $480 without.

The mechanic was ok when asked about it, but I never spoke to him.

He said that it could be a hassle to exchange the broken one (send by usps) to an online co because they might not accept it, when they saw what was wrong with it.

I'll be reading the codes from the dash after the car is fixed.

It sounds like you could build one of these cars if you had to.

This car had alot of work done on it when it was under warranty and not much since, with very little repairs needed after that.

It's got a really powerful engine, with 70,000 miles on it.

Some people really like these cars for alot of good reasons and others don't, because they're expecting them to be alot better quality for the $ they cost, or they just ran into too many needed repairs along the way.

Was this
Friday, September 11th, 2009 AT 3:39 AM

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