1997 Lincoln Town Car V8 Two Wheel Drive Automatic 98,000 miles
Steering is very firm and when turning left or right it is like it catches and turns very sharply for app. 1/8 turn of the Steering wheel. When turning either left or right, it takes considerable effort to turn it back to go straight. We checked all front suspension parts and they seemed fine. We sprayed BLASTER on the intermedete shaft u-joint because it seemed like it was binding. A little better, but no where close to normal. It is still bad. With this problem, in your opinion is it in the intermedete shaft or more likely to be in the gear-box? If neither, could you please help me with some advice on this problem. I would like to be able to only buy one of these, if only one is the problem, as neither of them are cheap. I am disabled and on limited funds, but I will not buy at a junk yard either. I would appreciate any and all help regarding this problem. Thank you very much, Nick
Hi Nick. Welcome to the forum. This sounds like a tight ball joint. As such, it will check fine when you're just looking for looseness. I would suggest disconnecting an outer tie rod end, then turn the spindle by hand. The way you're describing it, you should find it almost impossible to turn the bad side by hand. Tight ball joints were somewhat common on older Ford trucks but I don't remember hearing of anything common like that on the bigger cars.
A tight joint in the steering shaft should turn easy for 1/4 turn, then hard for the next 1/4 turn. If in doubt, you can disconnect that too to see how easily it swivels.
August, 28, 2010 AT 12:21 PM
Hey guys. When we were checking the steering problem we took the tires off and disconnected tie rods to see if we could easily turn the steering from left to right, turning the spindles by hand as far to the left and right as they would go. Everything turned freely. When we were Spraying BLASTER on the intermedate stering shaft u-joint and turning the steering shaft we noticed the u-joint was binding and actually buckling a small amount and making a poping noise when it would bind. That is why I figured it was a bad intermedate shaft u-joinat or problem with the gear box. Is there a way to isolate each of them seperatly to diagnose which one it is or if it could be any other problem besides a tight ball joint, as they have allready been inspected and are good All grease fittings, if avalible have been lubricated and spindles turn with very little effort. Or if there is anything else that could cause this problem. If you need more information, go back to my original question. The car steers in a very jerky manner and I can'not drive it until I can repair it. Your response and expert advice is very much appreciated. Thanks, Nick
August, 28, 2010 AT 4:10 PM
Boy, that's an unusual problem to have a tight joint in the steering shaft on a Ford. It's more common on other brands. I would head to a salvage yard to get a different steering shaft. That will let you see how it comes out, then you can disconnect yours on one end so you can swivel it to see which joint is binding. It really is irrelevant anyhow as you can't buy those u-joints for the shaft. You have to buy the whole shaft as an assembly.
August, 29, 2010 AT 9:48 AM
Thanks for responding 08-28-10 4: 10 PM to my problem with the steering problem. As we have eliminated the tight ball joints by disconnecting the tie rods to see if the spindles turn freely, and probably isolated it to a bad intermedeate steering shaft, if the shaft is not at fault, how do I check the gear box to see if it is defective. If there is anything else besides tight ball joints, bad intermedate shaft or gear box that could cause the steering problem I am having, info would be greatly appreciated. In closing, how do I check the gear box and if there is anything else could be the cullprit. Your reply is greatly appreciated. Thanks Nick
August, 29, 2010 AT 11:28 AM
I thought you found a tight joint in the steering shaft.
To test the steering gear, the service manuals usually have a test that involves removing the steering shaft and linkage, then using a torque wrench to measure turning torque on the input shaft. That is pretty hard to do in the car though.
August, 29, 2010 AT 1:58 PM
Thanks for the info. Will replace the steering shaft in the next 2 weeks. Will let you know if that was the problem for your info, as I know it is not common on a Ford product. Thanks, Nick
August, 31, 2010 AT 3:03 PM
Hey guys [Caradiodoc]. The problem was the intermedate upper steering shaft. The parts guy at the lincon dealer said if you put chain lube on the u-joint about every other oil change they will never freeze up due to corrision as there are no grease fittings on the u-joint and the chain lube will stick to the u-joint better than just trying to oil it for corrosion purposes. Just thought I would run this by you. Don't know if it is right or wrong. Just relaying the info. Thanks for your feedback. Nick
August, 31, 2010 AT 4:08 PM
Thank you for sharing that. I'll add it to my memory banks. Apparently this is a somewhat common problem on your model since the guy knew what to do about it.
September, 3, 2010 AT 5:37 AM
Caradiodoc, After replacing intermedete shaft, car developed a loud clicking noise in the dash. Sounds like it is coming from just right or behind the radio area. I know this has nothing to do with the int. Shaft, but was wondering if is a relay or something for the heater or radio. Sometimes it is clicking and the next time I drive the car the loud clicking noise is gone. Any idea what part I would need to replace. Your advice is appreciated. Thanks, Nick
September, 3, 2010 AT 6:34 PM
You're going to have to stick your head down there and look around. There could be a plastic shield that is mispositioned and rubbing. The clue is that would still make noise when the ignition switch is turned off. If it only occurs with the ignition switch turned on, it could be a relay but you'll have to poke around to try to feel what is clicking.