Edmunds Answers

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  • avatar karjunkie 08/13/10 9:39 am PST

    If it takes more effort to turn in one direction than in the other it's usually leaking seals in the steering gear spool valve. When high pressure fluid from the power steering pump enters a steering rack, it is routed through "spool valves" connected to the steering column. When the driver turns the steering wheel, the spool valves open ports that direct pressure to a hydraulic chamber around the rack. A piston on the rack bar divides the chamber into two halves, and pressure is channeled into one side or the other depending on which way the driver is turning. This provides power assist and helps push the rack bar in the desired direction. Before you tackle a major repair like that, I always suggest a change of PS fluid to a good synthetic that may help drain out any filings in the system and may restore proper operation to the spool valve. There has been instances where the problem turned out to be that the bolts that hold the steering column to the dash have become loose. This will cause the steering wheel to be at a slight angle, and the U-joint will bind in one direction. Make sure that the under dash bolts are tight and the U-joints are greased.

Answers

  • karjunkie 08/13/10 9:39 am PST

    If it takes more effort to turn in one direction than in the other it's usually leaking seals in the steering gear spool valve. When high pressure fluid from the power steering pump enters a steering rack, it is routed through "spool valves" connected to the steering column. When the driver turns the steering wheel, the spool valves open ports that direct pressure to a hydraulic chamber around the rack. A piston on the rack bar divides the chamber into two halves, and pressure is channeled into one side or the other depending on which way the driver is turning. This provides power assist and helps push the rack bar in the desired direction. Before you tackle a major repair like that, I always suggest a change of PS fluid to a good synthetic that may help drain out any filings in the system and may restore proper operation to the spool valve. There has been instances where the problem turned out to be that the bolts that hold the steering column to the dash have become loose. This will cause the steering wheel to be at a slight angle, and the U-joint will bind in one direction. Make sure that the under dash bolts are tight and the U-joints are greased.

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