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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading in the archives about this "ghost grab" steering thing. This 94 Fleetwood seems to be having this exact problem and I've read about disconnecting the VES sensor plug. However, I'm not entirely sure where this plug is and there doesn't seem to be any pictures of the area posted - at least not any linked pictures where the link is still live. Could someone please direct me to this sensor so it can be unplugged - preferably with a picture?
 

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Connector right at the firewall. I believe.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Read every post in this. It'll reward you with valuable insight / intelligence - unplugging, cleaning, difference plugged/unplugged, replacing fluid, resister bypass..........all of it:

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/261893-variable-effort-steering-ves-has-erratic-boost.html

If it ever starts acting up on my new FWB, then I'll just change out fluid and do Sherlock's bypass - the VES is rather useless IMO.

Yes, I saw that thread - it's why I was asking to confirm which connector and where it was. :)

I disagree that the idea of the VES is useless, it's just GM's implementation of it that's pretty bad. >:)
 

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I shoulda' clarified and expounded. If anywhere near approaching Cady's past owner's demographic of at least 90 years of age - and palsied and demential, why then of course being able to steer by coughing on the wheel would be of definite value. For someone whose first 8 cars were manual steering the whole premise of even basic power steering struck me as 'very strange' with my first family car.

Having the baseline 'Cadillac Drive' of non-descript and vague roadfeel further compounded by FE-1 floaty suspension is outright unnerving and physically draining trying to figure where the car is going any given moment. Sure, it's great for the Mr. Burnes and Dr. Ruths of the world to maneuver a 5,000# lunk around. But, for anyone younger and more fit it's just wasted dollars.

I defy any fit American to be able to tell the difference between normal vacuum assist and fulltime full boost with the plug unconnected. I hope to be pleased with a more responsive and direct feel with the resistors bypassing the VES altogether.

So there. ;P

And x1,000 on customary fun with GM harebrained design compromise sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I defy any fit American to be able to tell the difference between normal vacuum assist and fulltime full boost with the plug unconnected. I hope to be pleased with a more responsive and direct feel with the resistors bypassing the VES altogether.

So there. ;P

And x1,000 on customary fun with GM harebrained design compromise sometimes.
The first problem with the above is that pretty much nobody's used vacuum for power steering assist in the last 50 years or so. :p

Second, the idea that Cadillac was trying to compete with and exceed is mostly known as 'speed sensitive power steering assist' or similar. Basically, it would be a system to ensure that steering effort remained the same no matter whether you were just changing lanes or were trying to park in close quarters with lots of backing and filling. As you know from having manual unassisted steering cars, steering effort is quite different between the two scenarios; these systems tried to make sure that the effort needed in parking was as close as possible to the effort needed to change lanes at highway speed. This was accomplished by various mechanical or electromechanical methods, often involving engine RPM referenced pressure relief valves in the hydraulic system. This sort of system was actually coming into wide use when the last B and D bodies were being developed and GM tried to make their own version of it (so they wouldn't have to pay royalties) and improve upon what was then the common system capability. So what we got was Caddy's VES combined with the variable ratio steering box.

The idea of speed sensitive steering assist is a good one - in fact, that and variable ratio steering gears/racks are now extremely common (often standard) fitments on current new cars and trucks - even the very cheapest crapboxes. The problem for these GMs vice modern or even contemporary implementations of speed sensitive steering (IMHO) seems to be how rapidly and abruptly the steering box's ratio changes and how the steering boost levels change. You have the problem of inconsistent boost combined with inconsistent steering action based on how far you've turned the wheel. The steering box ratio changes need to be far more gradual/less abrupt than it is, and the variable boost needed to be better referenced to speed. The steering-angle based boost system is completely unnecessary and unique to VES. Only GM ever significantly implemented this.

Fortunately most other makers figured this out long ago; their systems were developed to the point that shortly after the D-body exited production such systems became damn near transparent in operation and you have to pay extremely close attention to notice ratio or boost level changes - if you can even detect them at all from behind the wheel.

While I haven't disabled VES yet on this car, I suspect that I'll be able to tell the difference between some VES modes and full-time full-boost operation as it will probably feel grossly overboosted to me - this particular car actually sometimes had reasonable good steering feel when VES had reduced the amount of boost to the system. Other times it seemed classically overboosted 'pinky finger' American steering.
 

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The first problem with the above is that pretty much nobody's used vacuum for power steering assist in the last 50 years or so. :p

Second,..... (not all copied to save space)
First, big brain fart referring at all to vacuum. I was hunting ways to differentiate normal and full, but no plausible explanation why/how that word got typed. Ignore at will.

Second, thanks for the growth of thought on VES. I don't want to turn this into a perpetual rant, only that it strikes me as one more of too many indications of compromise and cost cutting - again good to hear the background. I've related before how I inadvertently "fixed" the wonky pot. on my old FWB. It was an incredibly lo-tech and purely accidental fix, which makes it even more discouraging. I had the car on stands and cycling stop-to-stop about 50-70x in total during a full turkey baster fluid change. I never noticed ghost grab again after that and figured (at first) that I must have cleared all the silt out of a valve or something. I think I learned about the pot. thing later and guessed that perhaps I had "cleaned the contacts" with so much back and forth. It's painful thinking such an expensive complicated system could be serviced and 'repaired' using such a rudimentary (and undisclosed) procedure. I read even later that the pot. can be disassembled and cleaned.

There's no Radio Shacks around here anymore, but I'm gonna go get those resistors now and try that bypass experiment. Might be fun to have more direct steering without 'added' or 'any' boost if I'm reading Sherlock right.
 
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