AWD Steering Problems

AWD Steering Problems

Postby c.zhou57 [OP] » February 24th 2013, 4:15pm

Hey guys,

Got an Astro AWD with steering problems that leaves me stumped. I had issues with the steering during braking and turning, like slow speed maneuvering in a parking lot or parallel parking. At higher speeds greater than 10mph it works normally. The issue is the steering will bind and becomes stiff with the brakes pressed. If I let off the brakes the response comes back, stiffer than normal, but managable to get me into the turn. It's almost like the pump isn't pushing enough fluid through the system. My brake response is fine and I have no issues there.

Thought it was air in the lines, so I jacked it up and turned it lock to lock 20 times while pumping on the brakes to bleed the system. That didn't work.

Then I replaced the pump with an A1 cardone reman with the resevoir. Flushed out and bled the lines while I was at it using the same method. No change. Feeling stumped, I left it alone and just drove it.

3000 miles later, I'm ready to tackle it again. Did the method of bleeding the lines again this morning, and still, no change. Took the serpentine belt off and free wheeled the pump and everything seems normal. No drag or noises coming from the pump.

At this point I don't know what to do. Take out the pump and replace with another one? Are there other areas I can check? I'm truly stumped.. I've replaced the pump on my other Safari RWD and it steers like it's on ice. Don't know what the issue is on this one..

Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks, Charles
Original Poster [OP]
c.zhou57
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: c.zhou57 has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 123
Topics: 4
Joined: February 2013
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

  • Similar topics
    Replies
    Views
    Author

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby chevymaherchevymaher is online! » February 24th 2013, 4:56pm

Sounds like you solved it already. Pump isn't for whatever reason putting out enough volume to keep the.pressure up. When your using both steering and brakes at the same time.
User avatar
chevymaherchevymaher is online!
Team Leader
Team Leader
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L7)
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L7)
Years of Membership: chevymaher has been a member for 4 full yearschevymaher has been a member for 4 full yearschevymaher has been a member for 4 full yearschevymaher has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 9382
Topics: 62
Images: 93
Joined: November 2010
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): chevymaher
Year: 1994
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: SLE RWD cam ported

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby c.zhou57 [OP] » February 24th 2013, 6:06pm

Thanks for your response. What are possible areas for the restriction? I flushed the system when the new pump was put in. Replacing the pump with a reman didn't make any difference.
Original Poster [OP]
c.zhou57
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: c.zhou57 has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 123
Topics: 4
Joined: February 2013
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby redfury » February 24th 2013, 8:40pm

Could be the valve in the steering gearbox. That's what I suspect in mine. I replaced both idler arms, lower ball joints, checked the uppers and the tie rod ends for play/movement. I need to replace my whining PS pump, but my van pulls to whichever side of the road I'm on with a bias towards the left.
A temporary fix usually becomes a permanent solution, therefore it does not exist.
doghouse removal by me!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIJ0kuROlbU
User avatar
redfury
U.S. Armed Forces
U.S. Armed Forces
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Years of Membership: redfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 2305
Topics: 44
Images: 13
Joined: December 2010
Location: isanti, mn
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Mike
Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT 5.7L 4wd

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby mervchapman » March 13th 2013, 5:10am

I have the same issue on my 01 AWD. Don;t get me wrong, I love my van but the design of the suspension and steering drives me nuts. It's just not good.

I have a similar binding issue on mine. It is really prominent when trying to parallel park on the steep streets of San Francisco when you really have to get on the brakes and turn. I rekon it's just a fundamental issue with the crappy design. If you have someone sit in the driver seat and have em turn the steering from full lock - lock. Watch as the wheels actually have to rotate as the wheels turn. this happens on the AWD because the ball joints on the control arms are way inboard of the wheel. Ideally, they would have used a properly offset rim, and inboard bakes so the turning axis would be right mid-width of the tire so that the wheel can turn without having to also counter-rotate.

When you prevent the necessary turngin of the wheels by applying the brakes, there is tremendous stress on the steering system including the idler arms. I wish they had spent a few more bucks and used a decent steering and suspension design.
mervchapman
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: mervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 294
Topics: 10
Images: 0
Joined: January 2010
Year: 2001
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT AWD 5.7L V8

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby redfury » March 14th 2013, 5:26am

Yeah, that's the inherent problem with the AWD system, no room to mount a rack and pinion, so we get a Geometry teachers nightmare.
A temporary fix usually becomes a permanent solution, therefore it does not exist.
doghouse removal by me!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIJ0kuROlbU
User avatar
redfury
U.S. Armed Forces
U.S. Armed Forces
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Years of Membership: redfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 2305
Topics: 44
Images: 13
Joined: December 2010
Location: isanti, mn
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Mike
Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT 5.7L 4wd

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby howiez » March 15th 2013, 3:56pm

I hate to say it, but have you tried a new GM pump? I know, that will run big $$$, but we had a 1995 AWD that blew a pump. We put an aftermarket in for half the price of GM, and it never worked the same again. It was always grinding, never enough power for both brakes and steering. Since then, both my 2000 AWD and 2002 AWD with factory pumps have worked like a dream.
howiez
Fueling (Empty tank)
Fueling (Empty tank)
Years of Membership: howiez has been a member for 6 full yearshowiez has been a member for 6 full yearshowiez has been a member for 6 full yearshowiez has been a member for 6 full yearshowiez has been a member for 6 full yearshowiez has been a member for 6 full years
Posts: 5
Topics: 2
Joined: February 2008

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby c.zhou57 [OP] » January 9th 2014, 10:24pm

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to put an update out there and see if there are others out there with the same problem.

10k miles later after my original post. I've replaced the PS pump again, new hoses just in case, hydroboost unit (old one was leaking), idler arms, and center/drag link. The steering is very tight now (no play). I still have the same binding issue at very low speeds and at idle.

Here's what happens on my van: When sitting parked at idle with the foot on the brake, my steering wheel can only turn about a 1/8-1/4 turn before it won't turn anymore. During this time the pump sounds like the steering is turned fully locked (but it isn't). Let go of the brake and the car shakes a little, then continues steering with very little assist (like i'm powering through a manual rack). But while sitting in idle while parked, without the foot on the brake, the van steers lock to lock like normal with plenty of assist.

Mervchapman has a similar problem and says it's a bad design from the factory. I also live in CA, where I frequently have to parallel park that involves brake while turning the wheel to get into a tight spot. I know if I cannot get into a spot on the flat areas, it is even more difficult in hilly San Francisco.

I'm beginning to think that this is the best I can get it. Only thing left in the steering system is the gearbox. Will adjusting the screw help? I have no leaks or excessive play in the box. I have a 96, so no evo at the pump to worry about.

Can others with the AWD chime in on here? Do you have the same issues? I can't believe the steering came like this out of the factory.
Original Poster [OP]
c.zhou57
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: c.zhou57 has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 123
Topics: 4
Joined: February 2013
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby mervchapman » February 11th 2014, 6:53am

Hi all,

I've been through my steering again. I replaced the cardone reman box with one from redhead which is much better. However, hard to turn while stationary issue remains. If I'm on the breaks there is no way to turn lock-lock. I have to let off the brakes and get at least some movement forward or backward to get close to full lock. I have slightly oversize tires on which does not help. It's just a bad design. Not much can be done.
mervchapman
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: mervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 294
Topics: 10
Images: 0
Joined: January 2010
Year: 2001
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT AWD 5.7L V8

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby c.zhou57 [OP] » February 11th 2014, 7:38am

Hey Merv, thanks for the reply. I'm pretty convinced this may just be a bad design as you mentioned. I've played with the steering box adjustment some.. dialing the screw in and out until it felt just "right". I still can't turn lock to lock with foot on the brakes, but now it is a lot more manageable when parallel parking. Surprisingly, I was actually able to squeeze into a tight spot in SF North Beach .. something I didn't dare to even try before the adjustment.

Thanks for your help bud.
Original Poster [OP]
c.zhou57
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: c.zhou57 has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 123
Topics: 4
Joined: February 2013
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby redfury » February 12th 2014, 1:47am

I replaced my PS pump this fall and the steering gearbox with a used unit. My problem is my steering is loose and still likes to pull, but it seems like it pulls to whichever side of the road I'm on. I'm thinking of replacing the draglink since it's relatively cheap anyway.

However, I'll see what my van is like trying to steer lock to lock in park with the brakes engaged and report back to you guys. I have the variable effort steering in my van and as far as I know, that was only on the 97-98 models? Perhaps that's why they put them on those two years, but took them off on subsequent years...hard to say specifically.
A temporary fix usually becomes a permanent solution, therefore it does not exist.
doghouse removal by me!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIJ0kuROlbU
User avatar
redfury
U.S. Armed Forces
U.S. Armed Forces
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Years of Membership: redfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 2305
Topics: 44
Images: 13
Joined: December 2010
Location: isanti, mn
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Mike
Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT 5.7L 4wd

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby c.zhou57 [OP] » February 13th 2014, 4:31am

Hey Redfury,

I'm interested in seeing if your van exhibits the same behavior as ours. One thing I've noticed when replacing the steering components is that the Duralast brand from Autozone and Masterpro brand from Oreilly are simply rebranded MOOG components. It says so right on the package, with exact part numbers to match. They are the same Moog components for 1/3 the price. Can't beat that.
Original Poster [OP]
c.zhou57
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: c.zhou57 has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 123
Topics: 4
Joined: February 2013
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby redfury » February 13th 2014, 6:17am

Didn't know that, glad I bought mine from Autozone!
A temporary fix usually becomes a permanent solution, therefore it does not exist.
doghouse removal by me!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIJ0kuROlbU
User avatar
redfury
U.S. Armed Forces
U.S. Armed Forces
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Years of Membership: redfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 2305
Topics: 44
Images: 13
Joined: December 2010
Location: isanti, mn
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Mike
Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT 5.7L 4wd

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby redfury » February 15th 2014, 1:45am

Well, I finally remembered to check the van today. I tried it with the front dif disengaged and with the front dif engaged ( I have 4wd ) I could turn the steering wheel lock to lock with one finger.
A temporary fix usually becomes a permanent solution, therefore it does not exist.
doghouse removal by me!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIJ0kuROlbU
User avatar
redfury
U.S. Armed Forces
U.S. Armed Forces
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Years of Membership: redfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 2305
Topics: 44
Images: 13
Joined: December 2010
Location: isanti, mn
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Mike
Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT 5.7L 4wd

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby mervchapman » February 27th 2014, 5:07am

I am wondering if any AWD owners have come across an upgraded steering pump. I've had hissing from mine since upgrading the steering gear.

I've done some more experiments with the help of a pal around the R&D of the steering.

I parked the van parallel right up agains the curb so the curb prevents a wheel from turning. Had my pal lightly turn side to side while I looked at the steering components. Seem the fundamental issue (aside from the recirculating ball $#@^) is the geometry of the tie rods, tierod-idler-arm-centerlink angles. I have moog idler arms on and I can see the steel arm flex as the side-side push is translated into vertical give in the idler arms. This explains the mush, play and general lurching around in the corners. With the flexing I'm seeing with light static load on steering input, it's clear the relative steering angles are changing with any dynamic load / steering angle changes. This is alarmingly evident at speeds much over 70. By 80 I'm confident any emergency maneuver will likely result in a complete loss of control -and I consider myself an experienced and decent driver.

I reckon the only way to improve it would be to machine idler arms that drop the tie rod end link as low as possible (while accommodating control arm excursion etc) to reduce the 'tangent force. Or, new links to the hub that raise where the tie rods attach at the wheel, also to level out the forces. I'd like just to be able to drop the front with the torsion keys but am already low enough that bottoming out on travel is pretty easy.

This would explain why the oem idler arms wear out. It's asking a lot for any idler arm to handle these forces.

Anyway, if anyone has achieved halfway decent response out of their AWD steering clankery, please advise on how you did it!!
mervchapman
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: mervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 294
Topics: 10
Images: 0
Joined: January 2010
Year: 2001
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT AWD 5.7L V8

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby redfury » February 28th 2014, 2:21am

yeah, I've been waiting for an answer to that since I've had my van. I love having the drive system, but the steering mechanics leave a lot to be desired.
A temporary fix usually becomes a permanent solution, therefore it does not exist.
doghouse removal by me!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIJ0kuROlbU
User avatar
redfury
U.S. Armed Forces
U.S. Armed Forces
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L3)
Years of Membership: redfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full yearsredfury has been a member for 3 full years
Posts: 2305
Topics: 44
Images: 13
Joined: December 2010
Location: isanti, mn
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Mike
Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT 5.7L 4wd

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby c.zhou57 [OP] » March 19th 2014, 5:30am

Merv, I've noticed that too with the Idlers .. I've got newer Autozone (moog) idlers installed, and when turning the wheels on the driveway, they move in the way that you described...

I'm still having the same issues as before. My steering fades out when doing maneuvers during slow speed.. parking lots, 3 point turns, parallel parking... I've replaced almost everything on the steering (pump, pressure hoses, hydroboost, blew out the cooler line, drag link, idlers), but still no dice.

I'm wondering what your experience is with the updated gearbox? How would you say it compares to the stock one you had? Is it worth the upgrade (vs getting a stock reman)?
Original Poster [OP]
c.zhou57
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: c.zhou57 has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 123
Topics: 4
Joined: February 2013
Gender: Male
Year: 1996
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby mervchapman » March 19th 2014, 6:19am

Well, overall I'd say yes if your current gear is worn. The RedHead box is certianly better than stock but - it did start hissing through the hydraulics right after installing it. I've got about 5000 miles on it and no signs of a bleeding issue. I still have power fade at idle.

I noticed a couple of things after installing it. One was the shot control arm bushings. and the other was that there's not much that can be done to improve the poor steering.

Evan after raising pressure to 41psi it still wanders around like a old buick.
mervchapman
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: mervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full yearsmervchapman has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 294
Topics: 10
Images: 0
Joined: January 2010
Year: 2001
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LT AWD 5.7L V8

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby kenk » March 19th 2014, 3:44pm

I have to comment on this, driving a 90 astro 2 wheeler for the last 8 years, then going to an 2004 Safari AWD, big differance, been a long time since I have driven anything with a live front axle, had to get use to it, checked everything under it, all is right and tight and it does seems to want to wander a bit,, my 2 cents its just a bad design, drove the 2 wheeler yesterday, and it was like someone disconnected the gear box compared to the AWD, regardless I do love my AWD
23217
User avatar
kenk
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: kenk has been a member for 2 full yearskenk has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 161
Topics: 24
Images: 5
Joined: June 2012
Gender: Male
Year: 2004
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: SLT AWD

Re: AWD Steering Problems

Postby Silverhawk » March 19th 2014, 4:01pm

16769 Just a thought but it is possible that air is trapped in the fluid system. I can't recall where it's located but there is a way to bleed the air out!
Silverhawk
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Posts: 215
Topics: 24
Images: 1
Joined: February 2014

Next

 
  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Steering

It is currently December 18th 2014, 9:54pm

Steering Forum
SteeringSteering, Components, Linkages, Power Steering, Rack And Pinion, Tie Rods, Track Rod, Turning Radius, EPS, Ball & Socket Joints, Camber, Tilt Wheel, Steering Column
Moderator: chevy57bert
To create a new topic in Steering, click this button:
Previous topic Next topic
Recent Image Attachments
Attached by:
Attached by: Astroecho
Astroecho
in Steering
Views: 237
Comments: 5
Date: Dec 04 '14
Time: 3:46am
» Read last comment
Attached by:
Attached by: Astroecho
Astroecho
in Steering
Views: 237
Comments: 5
Date: Dec 04 '14
Time: 2:44am
» Read last comment
Attached by:
valley
in Steering
Views: 361
Comments: 9
Date: Oct 19 '14
Time: 4:42am
» Read last comment
Attached by:
Attached by: hebert
hebert
in Steering
Views: 907
Comments: 16
Date: Sep 21 '14
Time: 3:52pm
» Read last comment
Attached by:
Attached by: icebrrg3rd
icebrrg3rd
in Steering
Views: 907
Comments: 16
Date: Sep 19 '14
Time: 4:09pm
» Read last comment
Sponsors
 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests