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Second Generation Legend (1991-1995)

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Old 01-25-09, 03:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Steering wheel jerks violently

I have an issue that is described as follows:

While driving on the highway and going perfectly straight, I would randomly have the steering jerk hard about 5 - 10 degrees to the left enough to cause the car to move a couple of inches to the left in its lane. It would do this like 2 or 3 times in a 10 second span then just stop. The road surface is perfectly smooth so it's not anything to do with it. If I'm not holding on to that wheel I fear it would veer alot more.

The symptom is completely random and might go away for 5 - 10 minutes of driving then jerk about 5 to 12 times in a 3 - 4 minute span then go away again for awhile.

The first time this ever came up was 2 - 3 months ago and happened one morning in the way to work but never came back until a month later on the way home from work. It then disappeared and didn't come back until last week which it is now happening every day.

I had my mechanic inspect my ball joints, linkages, tie-rods and all the bolts on the steering rack. Everything is perfectly tight. When it is not doing this violent jerking action the steering works absolutely perfect and alignment is dead-on.

This also happens at slower speeds and notice that it will even happen when I'm slowing down for a red light but it's alot less violent and slower steering wheel movement. The speed and force of the steering wheel moving to the left is directly related to the speed of the vehicle. When I was once going 2 - 5 km/h (crawling) I felt the wheel trying to pull left suddenly so I let go to see how it behaves on its own without my intervention. It turned 90 degrees to the left and then slowly started returning to center.

I managed to once STOP the car as the wheel was pulling left. At a dead stop I tried turning the wheel to the right and couldn't do it! There was some crazy force working against me from turning it to the right, it just wanted to go left. As soon as I rolled another few feet the pressure stopped and all was normal.

When this jerking motion was happening on the road, I turned my engine off (rolling in Neutral) to see if it was related to the PS pump but I kept getting that jerking motion.

Any thoughts as to what this could be?? Perhaps my control valves in the steering gearbox are sticking causing irregular fluid pressure flow or pressure in the left and right rack hydraulic cylinders?

Maybe there's gunk or crap in my fluid getting stuck in the valves causing this? My fluid is as old as the car I think.. yeah yeah.. I change all my fluids but have neglected my PS fluid. Maybe a fluid change would help?

I noticed the fluid in my reservoir is about 2" above the "max" line.

I know most likely I'll need to be replacing the rack though.
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Old 01-25-09, 06:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like it is time for a rack replacement, if you don't want to bite on that yet you can always try changing out the fluid first.
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Old 01-25-09, 06:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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actually sounds like it could be an axle issue. i bet sr5guy can chine in and figure out the problem
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Old 01-26-09, 08:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Is there any noise accompanying the jerking?
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Old 01-26-09, 09:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There's a "CLANK" sound you hear but it might be the sudden hard force stress it puts on the wheel assembly.

I took the car to my mechanic which he test drove and had it happen to him. He said it's definitely a steering rack. I'm having it replaced with a re-built unit.

He said in all his 30 years in the business and all the racks he has had to replace, he's never felt one as bad and dangerous as this one. The valves in the gearbox must be malfunctioning.

Should have the car back on the road by the end of today and be $900 poorer
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1995 Legend Coupe 6-speed
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208 WHP @ 6250 RPM
189 FT/LB @ 5250 RPM
MUSTANG Dyno
260,000mi and counting

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Old 01-26-09, 09:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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$900? For replacing the rack??? AYKM? $150 max for a rebuilt unit, and it takes about 2 hours to put it in if you *don't* have any experience doing it.
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Old 01-26-09, 09:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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WOW 900!!! yikes.... they did however sound like a very serious problem which could have caused you a very bad accident. I hope changing the rack solves your problem. since you are changing your rack I hope your changing the inner and outter tie rods while its out.
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Old 01-26-09, 11:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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$900 CAD... so it's like ~$730 USD. I figure it's 3 hours of labour "by the book", and another 1 hour for wheel alignment. I'm estimating the rack to be $250 - $350. Then add our 13% taxes on top of it all.

Would I have put it in myself? Sure if it was spring/summer here, but trust me, you don't feel like working on your car in a garage rolling around on the cold concrete when it's 10 degrees F outside and slushy ground.

Gotta bite the bullet to keep it driving as it's my only daily driver.
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1995 Legend Coupe 6-speed
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208 WHP @ 6250 RPM
189 FT/LB @ 5250 RPM
MUSTANG Dyno
260,000mi and counting

WeaponR Secret Weapon Intake - Cold Air Box - Custom 2.5" stainless exhaust system - Remus Rev3 Universal muffler -SPEC Stage II clutch - 5speed flywheel - SR5GUY Chip - APEXi S-AFC - Pullies - MLS copy strut bar - Short Shifter -18" ICON W65 Wheels - KONI reds/Ground Controls - Slotted Brembo Rotors - SS Brake lines - Walbro 255 -ICE
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Old 01-26-09, 12:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theGodfather View Post
Gotta bite the bullet to keep it driving as it's my only daily driver.
Yeah, I hear that. As my interior hasn't been fully together in about 1.5 years, I understand what you mean *lol*
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Old 01-26-09, 04:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have the similar problems as my (sedan's) rack is on its way out as well. I've changed both lower ball joints, tie rod ends, right axle but the car still pulls to the right, really hard. Not to mention the frozen steering when the car is cold. I've been quoted 3-4 hours of labour by 3 different shops in the west end. It shouldn't cost you more $400, parts and labour included.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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My guy charges $95/hour but very well worth it. I wouldn't trust anyone else.

No one in the GTA has a rebuilt rack for a 95 legend so mine had to be sent out to be rebuilt.
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1995 Legend Coupe 6-speed
Carbon Black Metallic

208 WHP @ 6250 RPM
189 FT/LB @ 5250 RPM
MUSTANG Dyno
260,000mi and counting

WeaponR Secret Weapon Intake - Cold Air Box - Custom 2.5" stainless exhaust system - Remus Rev3 Universal muffler -SPEC Stage II clutch - 5speed flywheel - SR5GUY Chip - APEXi S-AFC - Pullies - MLS copy strut bar - Short Shifter -18" ICON W65 Wheels - KONI reds/Ground Controls - Slotted Brembo Rotors - SS Brake lines - Walbro 255 -ICE
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Old 01-29-09, 12:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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UPDATE

My steering rack was rebuilt and re-installed. Unfortuately the problem has not disappeared. It seems less violent than before, perhaps due to a less stiffer and rebuilt rack, however it's still there. My mechanic is now on the hook for this as this now falls under warranty work. He believes it's still the steering rack and blames the shop for not building properly. That shop is going to credit back their services for the rack and my mechanic now has to spend his own labour to fix this. He is trying to source and entierely different rack.

I myself am thinking it's not the rack at this point and is axle or differential for the following reasons:

A) Problem still exists.
B) Direct relationship of intensity and speed and movement of jerk vs. speed of front wheels turning.
C) I notice it doesn't do this on breaking or acceleration (under any load). I usually get the jerks when coasting or as soon as I touch the clutch to change gear. I tried releasing drivetrain and let the car coast in neutral and various speeds and it was doing it ALOT. As soon as I put it in gear and accelerate, the jerks go away.

How would I determine if it's either the axle or differential? What would be something I can do to test or something specific I should look for?

I'm going ot give my mechanic guidance, but ultimately now it's his responsibility to resolve this. If he puts in another steering rack and the issue continues, I'm sure he won't be happy.
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1995 Legend Coupe 6-speed
Carbon Black Metallic

208 WHP @ 6250 RPM
189 FT/LB @ 5250 RPM
MUSTANG Dyno
260,000mi and counting

WeaponR Secret Weapon Intake - Cold Air Box - Custom 2.5" stainless exhaust system - Remus Rev3 Universal muffler -SPEC Stage II clutch - 5speed flywheel - SR5GUY Chip - APEXi S-AFC - Pullies - MLS copy strut bar - Short Shifter -18" ICON W65 Wheels - KONI reds/Ground Controls - Slotted Brembo Rotors - SS Brake lines - Walbro 255 -ICE
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Old 01-29-09, 01:36 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
I noticed the fluid in my reservoir is about 2" above the "max" line.
This would mean the fluid-reservoir is completely fully?
It is possible, that the fluid going back to the reservoir through the backflow-hose gets some pressure, specially that one coming from the modulator. When the backflow has pressure, some valves cannot control or switch properly to the correct position.
I would first try the correct oillevel.
The other possibility: In front of your diff the modulator, controlling the strength of the powersteering depending to speed is mounted. It is possible, that there is something wrong with this modulator. (This modulator controls from max powersteering when parking and ranging the car with lowest speed down to no power when driving high speed.)
When the modulator makes shit, you have no powerhelp when you want to turn, or the power is coming at the wrong moment.
Modulator is plugged into the diff, at the front of it. Inside the Modulator is the VSS-Sensor too. Maybe you can have a secondhand modulator to check this.
The changing is easy: Take away the plastic covers from the front under, then you can see it. Disconnect the hoses, don't forget to clamp something to them to close them, for not oil flowing out. Unplug the connector from VSS-Sensor.
Then open the screw spannersize 10mm at the diff and pull the modulator out. After mounting the new modulator, please sometimes turn the steering from left to right and back, until air is out anywhere.
But at first go sure, you don't have an oillevel over max!
Regards, Michael
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Old 01-29-09, 01:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whats77inaname View Post
$900? For replacing the rack??? AYKM? $150 max for a rebuilt unit, and it takes about 2 hours to put it in if you *don't* have any experience doing it.
dyi has saved me over and over. and over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theGodfather View Post
My steering rack was rebuilt and re-installed. Unfortuately the problem has not disappeared. It seems less violent than before, perhaps due to a less stiffer and rebuilt rack, however it's still there. My mechanic is now on the hook for this as this now falls under warranty work. He believes it's still the steering rack and blames the shop for not building properly. That shop is going to credit back their services for the rack and my mechanic now has to spend his own labour to fix this. He is trying to source and entierely different rack.

I myself am thinking it's not the rack at this point and is axle or differential for the following reasons:

A) Problem still exists.
B) Direct relationship of intensity and speed and movement of jerk vs. speed of front wheels turning.
C) I notice it doesn't do this on breaking or acceleration (under any load). I usually get the jerks when coasting or as soon as I touch the clutch to change gear. I tried releasing drivetrain and let the car coast in neutral and various speeds and it was doing it ALOT. As soon as I put it in gear and accelerate, the jerks go away.

How would I determine if it's either the axle or differential? What would be something I can do to test or something specific I should look for?

I'm going ot give my mechanic guidance, but ultimately now it's his responsibility to resolve this. If he puts in another steering rack and the issue continues, I'm sure he won't be happy.

try a yard rack or a new rack. most cars that go to the yard have specific problems, the rest is good.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Definetly an axle problem there bro. Legends, because of their high angle outer C.V. joints are prone to this problem. We have to pay somehow for having such a tight turning radius on a big car. I would believe a story of pigs sprouting wings and flying before I believed 2 steering racks had the exact same problem one after another. Usually when valves in rack and pinions go bad you will come to stop and notice the steering wheel turning one way or another by itself. A bad rack shouldn't affect the wheel much when the car is moving.

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