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Discussion Starter #1
My 94 RMLS with 70K miles has a steering problem. When turning right, especially long swooping turns you would encounter on the freeway, on/off ramp or simply long sweeping turns in general, I feel the car sway, or feel quite ambiguous. It is almost like when you try to straddle a groove on the road, or the feeling you get when you drive over grooved concrete bridges. Driving straight or turning left, it is as solid as a rock.

I discovered my idler arm was very worn and replaced it, and thought "well that will take care of it". It made no improvement. It seems that there is not any excessive play in the center link or tie rods. There is a bit of play in the steering box. Could that affect only right turns and not left or straight? I would think a worn or mal-adjusted steering box would feel ambiguous under any condition, in general.

I guess a bad ball joint could be the answer. What say any of you suspension experts?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I suspect a bad ball joint. Tires are not an issue. I will try tightening the steering box adjustment first, because it is easy. My dad has had many Roadmasters, some upwards of 200K miles and this is the first one between us that has and any hint of suspension/steering problems.
 

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Very very -

- common problem. aka Ghost Grab, Cloverleaf Jerkover. Numerous past threads on the issue shared by RMs and FWs. It's wear and/or intermittent over-sensitivity of the Variable Assist. Some get relief by unplugging the connector at the firewall and going to fulltime full boost, which is not much different than regular driving feel. I believe at least one enterprising guy rebuilt the rheostat.

Now that I've posted I'm guessing mine will come back. cwm4
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
So it looks like I have to figure out how to remove the sensor from the steering column from a junk yard FWB I know of. I think simply unplugging it will give me too light of a steer feel on the freeway. My other RMLS feels solid and tight (it has about 72K miles) and I love how it feels on the freeway.
 

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So it looks like I have to figure out how to remove the sensor from the steering column from a junk yard FWB I know of. I think simply unplugging it will give me too light of a steer feel on the freeway. My other RMLS feels solid and tight (it has about 72K miles) and I love how it feels on the freeway.
The sensor is held on by a clip ring. About a 5 minute job after you remove the intermediate shaft.

You should unplug the sensor and drive it a couple of times before you start swapping parts. None of my cars have variable steering, and I do not see any reason for it. Listen to 96 Black, sounds like he has been there, done that.

The rag joint is probably not one of your problems. If it is, you can get rebuild kits from you local parts store. You can check the rag joint while the intermediate shaft is out while adjusting the steering box.

The slack from the steering box can be adjusted out for the most part. Sometimes the box is worn enough that you can not get all of it out, so do what you can. It is a lot easier to work on when you have it on the bench, but can be done on the car. The FSM has instructions on how to adjust it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well I took one off a junkyard car, and after removing the clip, it did not simply slide off. It took quite a bit of coaxing. I cleaned the shaft as well as I could, but it was held on by friction and 20 years of never having been moved. There is a copper ring with barbs that are directly on the shaft that tends to make "just sliding it off" difficult. The rag joint looks like new. In fact the whole car looks showroom new. Which is ironic as I also have a junker which does not have this problem. I also have two other cars in very good to excellent condition which do not have this problem. My dad must have owned over a dozen 94-96 RML sedans ranging from 200,000 mile junkers to cream puff, and none have ever had this problem. I never even heard of this problem until I made this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
But yes, my plan is to unplug it to make sure that is what the problem is. And if it IS the problem, I will install another sensor. I am not one who unplugs things for a remedy. It is always my intention that EVERYTHING works properly on my cars as a matter of principle.
 

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ok thanks a freakin' lot there. I'm up early and you actually made me walk out just to check if mine's plugged in (in my underwear thanks again - and yes it's 40*).

It is. So no we're not fixated. Much.

Hey IDK how often this occurs for you, but at its worst it was only every 2-4 weeks, and then only on lefthand cloverleafs (-leaves?). That was 10 years ago, and now it's only like once in the past couple years. You get so used to it there's really no flinching anymore.

Did you find them old threads? It'll give some hints on the repair if you want the work.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have not driven that car much yet. But on a 130 mile trip it did it with every right turn. I found the old threads. Most people seem to just unplug it. One guy rebuilt his (which I may end up doing). But there is no way I could live with it like it is! No fun driving it, and it is very unnerving. I suspect that there are varying degrees of the effect. Some may be milder than others. Some may be intermittent etc.
 

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1995 SS steering box

Ok I'm looking for the best bang for my little buck on a new or reman. steering box. I have found so many but not sure which one to get. I just don't want to send $120 something and it still feels like crap. But I don't have $380 right now to buy from Summit. Any help would be great.
 

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ERRrrrr???

This here thread ain't got nothin' tadoo with the steering box. Only the electrical steering assist on select Buicks and Cadys.

You'll be a great deal more gratified doing a search specifically on replacement steering box options.
 

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.....on a 130 mile trip it did it with every right turn. .....
Yah, you got a bad one. Sounds like an actual break or hard resistance inside. It's been over a decade but I almost recall cycling the wheel up in the air stop-to-stop 50x thinking to bull through the "problem" before I learned what the real issue was. That may have been what originally prompted my purchase of an FSM. I almost also remember it helping to lessen the problem, if for no other reason to clear the cobwebs from whatever moving parts are inside there.

May be a temp fix for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Not familiar with the acronym "FSM". I have not gotten around to this car yet, as I have a couple of projects ahead of it. But my plan is to disconnect the potentiometer to make sure it is the culprit. I have obtained two other used potentiometers in the meantime, for replacements if it is the culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I finally got around to unplugging the rheostat on the steering shaft. It did not make one iota of difference. So, I have an appointment with a shop that will do a diagnostics and front end/suspension check for me.

So, it isn't the idler arm, and it isn't the rheostat. The fluid looks as clean as new. I wonder if it is the power steering pump, but if it is why only right turns? When I drive around town, at slower speeds, it feels like I am on ice when turning right. At faster speeds on highways and freeways, it rocks like a wheel is coming off. Yes, the wheel bearings are fine, and they are snug.
 

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I'm sure you've inspected with it on stands while someone cycled the wheel. If enough fluid is gone then you certainly could have a bound up and galled damper shock. As you say, simple enough to change out. For reference, I've read the damper was a tack-on after focus group complaints that they could detect even slight road feel through the wheel. God love blu-hairs. Most guys just remove it, but I opted for the all-oem way. If you do the center link and want the shock then be sure to get the Buick link. The shock mounts exactly opposite comparing Cady to a Buick, which also had the damper. Chevy links have no shock hole.

If your condition is a straight front-end wear/bind/broke item then lots cleaner than chasing a phantom electrical issue.

It's a pretty impressive change in ride doing the entire front-end at the same time.
 
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