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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to replace the center link on my '95 RMW. It has the factory steering damper attached. My question is, should I replace the steering damper along with the center link? Or should I just eliminate the damper altogether?
 

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It wouldn't hurt to replace the steering damper, in fact it will probably help. The steering damper is basically a mini shock absorber and they do wear out. If I didn't already buy a replacement stock Caprice/Impala center link I would probably upgrade to the Roadmaster/Fleetwood setup. - Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is for a Roadmaster wagon, so I wouldn't be upgrading, just replacing. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a steering damper? I don't have one on my Sedan, and I can't tell the difference.
 

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Its put it there to supposedly remove some of the slop in the steering system and making it feel tighter especially on the highway. It probably feels about the same as everything in the steering system is worn out after 15 years. - Peter
 

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....... There are no disadvantages to the damper.
.........
Perfectly worded ScottLC. Not much in the way of advantages either. It may be urban legend but I read the strut was GM's $20 patch to answer some Fleetwood drivers' complaints on interstates regarding either vibrations, sloppy road feel, or just the normal over-boosted and vague steering effort.

I recently replaced the strut as part of the entire front suspension and noticed no difference at all. The strut itself was likely original and of course rather sacked out compared to the new one.

I personally wondered if a much stiffer strut might actually benefit steering effort. Like maybe a Jeep or other type of legitimate off-road shock that would induce some real firmness into the steering wheel. Then again, the pump might sense the added resistance and just turn up the boost to compensate. :(
 

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Its put it there to supposedly remove some of the slop in the steering system and making it feel tighter especially on the highway.
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/showpost.php?p=2350504&postcount=4

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/showpost.php?p=2286975&postcount=7

Quoting the TSB, issued 5/6/93:

Title: Steering Wheel Oscillation/Vibration

Condition:
Some 1992 B-car sedans (ie. Buick) with variable effort power steering (RPO NV7) may exhibit a slight steering wheel oscillation/viabration apparent when operated over irregular/rough road surfaces.

Cause:
Reduced power assist requirements result in greater road feel inputs being transmitted through the steering system.

Correction:
Install a steering damper and required attaching components noted below, following service procedure indicated. (see http://www.gofasst.us/sterring_damper.htm for parts list and illustrations/templates)

TRANSLATION: The steering was too "sporty" for the typical Roadmaster sedan customer, and this was the "fix".

All NV7 cars from 1993 to 1996 had the damper installed in production.

Go back and look at the (2nd generation) 1973 Monte Carlo....it, too, used the same steering damper, and had the same basic front end as the B-body! The transition to radial tires was underway, and the MC with the sport setup (F41 & 15x7 wheels with GR70-15 radial tires) employed a "high caster" alignment setting, and a decision was made to install a steering damper (in production) to help "calm" the front end. The caster settings were probably no different than what was called for on later models, and once the transition to radials was complete, GM discovered there was no need to use the damper, since people had become used to the changes in driving behavior--so why spend the money on the damper? That's alot of $$ saved over a million cars....

1973 CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
STEERING / STEERING DAMPER
509-608 DAMPENER,STRG SHF SPECIALTY
 

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No,you don't.
 

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I disagree. Alignments are required when replacing tie-rods,not center-links.
 

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Always good to at least have the alignment checked anytime a suspension or steering part is replaced. The previous align may have been done with a already worn or out of spec part. Installing any new part might alter some adjustment, albeit slightly.

The bigger question here might be, why just replace the center link? If its worn out, most likely a lot of other parts in the system are as well. Maybe this was all being done to begin with as his question was around the damper/centerlink replace.
 

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Changing center link, definitely at least check the toe.
The various manufacturers don't seem to hold the center to center dimensions of the two inner tie rods very close.
I have seen toe and steering wheel position change noticeably when changing this one part on numerous cars.
How many cars ? can't remember as I have been aligning cars at the same shop for 36 years .
Used to be full time , still do 5-10 a month.

Have seen direct "before and after" as the gauges go on during the check.
Lots of GM cars get a sloppy pitman joint and nothing else is loose
 

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I'm chasing a slight wondering (steering wheel play) with my 96 RMW while cruising down the highway.
I tightened the steering box adjustment screw about 3/8 of a turn and that helped some.
I read that the center link & damper could also help as well.

I don't have the tools or knowledge to change out anything else my self.
So I'm trying to do what I can with out paying a shop to do it.

I can get the link & damper for under $100 and do that myself, so that's were I'm starting.
Moog center link
Gabriel damper
 

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Idler arms are often heavily worn,but easily replaced. A re-alignment is not typically required. However,if you needed one before changing either the idler arm,or the center-link. Guess what? You still need one.
 

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I inspected the tires and they appear to be wearing very well.
I'll have to get under the front end again and see if I can find where the (2?) idler arms go and if I think I can replace them.
 

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There is only one idler arm,and it's located on the passenger side frame rail. The bolts are accessed through holes in the other side of the frame rail. Though it is practically impossible to install one wrong. I still recommend consulting the service manual to familiarize yourself with the procedure,and torque values for the hardware.
 

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Itll be worth to get your alignment right after u replace your centerlink bro, but i had also changed my idler arm and after that I noticed a major difference, especially bein a 15 year old car
 
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