Freeeeeky Steering
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Cadillac Catera and Cimarron Forum Discussion, Freeeeeky Steering in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Hello All: I know there's a lot of brain power out there, and I'm really hoping someone has come across ...
  1. #1
    libbysman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Freeeeeky Steering

    Hello All: I know there's a lot of brain power out there, and I'm really hoping someone has come across my problem before. My right wheel wants to go to the right when I'm driving straight ahead. I just had an idler arm replaced, but it didn't cure it. I also replaced the speed sensor on the same wheel. Where it happens most is on wet pavement and manhole covers. At freeway speeds I get lots of shimmy when I apply the brakes. The struts were replaced a couple of years ago, as were the control arms. Also, I recently replaced all the wheels (badly rusted beads), also new tires. On uneven pavement its as though I have a ton of bricks in the trunk, really weird, very light steering. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Cheers, Brian

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    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    How do you know the right wheelis the problem?

    Have you had an alignment since the suspension/steering parts were changed?

  4. #3
    elvin315's Avatar
    elvin315 is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Freeeeeky Steering

    In my experience all the symptoms point to worn/torn control arm bushings. My car did the same things and the cure was polyurethane front/horizontal and OEM rear/vertical bushings. Powerflex makes them in poly for the F/H and sway bar bushings but the only source for the R/V is GM. Read more than you want to know at:

    http://cateraowners.forumotion.com/t...pgrades-part-1

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    JohnJJO's Avatar
    JohnJJO is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    If right wheel want to go right u will see marks on the tire, on side of the tire will be warp more then another, alignment will fix it, if u never replaced your control arm bushing its time to do it, then u do alignment. Warp control arm bushing will not make car go right or left, it will bring u bad shaking of steering wheel when u stop, when u drive over 50mph and even vibration of whole car. My personal recommendation, DO NOT buy Dorman brand of control arms with bushings in then....., if u want just replace your bushing, u need to take control arms to the shop and pay them to press old ones out, its not that easy to do it... rental tools not gonna work, u need expensive shop press and rings/sokets to do it. To remove ball joint from knuckle u need to buy special tool, not regular fork, none of other tools worked for me.
    Read my thread , just search "Control arms" by me Johnjjo

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    libbysman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Freeeeeky Steering

    Thanks for the replies. No, I didn't have alignment done after replacing the idler arm. I'm loathe to have one done only to find out there is something else that needs replacing. I do however still have the original control arms that came off it. So far I've installed new ball joints on them, and the polyurethane bushings sound like a good bet. Any ideas where I can get them (Powerflex) for the horiz. and vert. bushings? I did notice however that the vertical bushings have some abrasion marks that don't appear to be serious, but I'm not adverse about changing all of them to make sure it's the last time I have to do work on them. Cheers, Brian

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    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by libbysman
    Thanks for the replies. No, I didn't have alignment done after replacing the idler arm. I'm loathe to have one done only to find out there is something else that needs replacing.
    Well if you're having steering issues, finding and fixing problems is the only way it's going to get fixed...

  8. #7
    JohnJJO's Avatar
    JohnJJO is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    PowerFlex can be find on there UK web site or on ebay, they all coming from Uk takes about month, horizontal they do not make so u have to get localy

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    elvin315's Avatar
    elvin315 is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Freeeeeky Steering

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJJO View Post
    PowerFlex can be find on there UK web site or on ebay, they all coming from Uk takes about month, horizontal they do not make so u gave to by localy
    Powerflex does make the front/horizontal bushing in Polyurethane. The rear/vertical is only available through GM parts vendors. I had this exact problem and replacing these bushings plus the strut top mounts successfully fixed it.

    I had earlier bought Koni struts, installing them at the same time, and went the extra mile replacing everything else I could to refresh the front end including new swaybar bushings and drop-links, steering rod ends, and ball joints. The bushings fixed the main problem but the other bits tightened handling and improved steering response.


    Powerflex:
    http://www.powerflex.co.uk/road-series/
    Opel Omega B ('94-'03) part # PFF80-902 (POLYURETHANE) Omega/Catera front/horizontal bushing
    Opel Omega B ('94-'03) part # PFF80-901-26 (POLYURETHANE) Front SwayBar To Chassis Bushing (26mm)

    Pedders USA:
    http://www.peddersusa.com/
    GTO/G8 ('94-'96) part # 5851 Strut Mounts

    Shop for the drop-links, vertical bushings, and ball joints at the discount GM parts vendors.

  10. #9
    JohnJJO's Avatar
    JohnJJO is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    That what I said... Powerflex does not make horizontal only vertical that on rear of control arm, up front I replaces with Raybastos from rockauto.com
    Powerflex usa web site:
    http://powerflexusa.com/vauxhallopel...pff80-902.aspx

  11. #10
    elvin315's Avatar
    elvin315 is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Freeeeeky Steering

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJJO View Post
    That what I said... Powerflex does not make horizontal only vertical that on rear of control arm, up front I replaces with Raybastos from rockauto.com
    Powerflex usa web site:
    http://powerflexusa.com/vauxhallopel...pff80-902.aspx
    That is not what you said. You say Powerflex doesn't make the Horizontal bushings but then link to the site for their Horizontal bushings. It makes no sense. They DO make a polyurethane horizontal bushing. They definitely DO NOT make a vertical bushing for our control arms. The only manufacturer of those is General Motors.

    This is the Rear/Vertical Bushing
    45G9329_Primary.jpg

    This is the Front/Horizontal
    80902sWEB.jpg

  12. #11
    marko69 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Freeeeeky Steering

    It's a royal pain in the pooper to change the bushings yourself. You could always pay a shop to do it, which of course is more money on top of the bushings.
    You can get new Flennor front control arms, bushings and all, for just $58.79 right side, and $59.79 for the left side at Rockauto. Can't imagine why the left is a dollar more. MOOG and FAI are even cheaper.
    This is looking it up for the Omega instead of the Catera.

    http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,ca...parttype,10401

  13. #12
    elvin315's Avatar
    elvin315 is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Freeeeeky Steering

    Pressing bushings out and back in is not expensive. Why buy cheap control arms when the originals are probably of better quality? Any control arms costing less than $60 can't possibly be as good. The OEM arms' weakest points are the bushings. I think replacing the rubber front/horizontals with polyurethane ones is a better way to go. They are stiffer and last longer than the original rubber ones. There are Omega owners in Great Britain working on a polyurethane replacement for the rear/vertical bushings but they aren't quite right yet so the only option is the OEM originals. Still, the movement reduced by the poly horizontal bushings will extend the life of the OEM rubber verticals.

    The front suspension is designed to introduce toe-out at the tires under braking. In dry conditions both tires toe out equally. When one tire encounters dry pavement, and the other wet or frozen pavement, the tire with more traction toes out more supposedly improving directional stability. Whether it works or not this ability to flex in the fore/aft plane puts an extreme strain on the bushings.

    Polyurethane is "slipperier" than rubber so the control arms are freer to pivot vertically in response to bumps and dips. This reduces the shocks transmitted to the body and lets the struts absorb more. At the same time the horizontal poly bushings resist movement in the fore/aft plane when braking and ease the stress on the verticals. My Catera is so equipped and I can tell you that she slows and stops straight and true in all road conditions.

    Whatever you choose is up to you but if you ask me replacing the bushings on the original control arms is the way to go.

  14. #13
    libbysman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Freeeeeky Steering

    Good Morning All: I certainly appreciate all the input. This week I went to my local Goodyear shop and had them align the four corners, and learned that indeed the horizontal bushings were shot. They are only about 3 years old, but I kept the original control arms (just in case), and have contacted a small start up company in the Seattle area. Their specialty is Vanagon vans (VW), but have access to the Powerflex product line. Goodyear also informed me that my alignment was out by a full half inch, and if you think that makes the steering wierd, you should try driving it now!!!! I drove it to work 25km away and got the living _____ scared out of me. If you can imagine what it would be like to be given keys to an eighteen wheeler and told to drive to New York when you've never driven before. Bizarre to say the least. I nursed it home in the rain and was totally stressed the whole way. Its staying parked until I get the new arms put on. Cheers, Brian

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