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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I have some questions about my power steering problems. First, I have new control valve, hoses, and ram. The pump is working because I tried to adjust the control valve with the cap off and got sprayed. (only did that once!:) ). The steering is smooth when I turn in one direction but choppy in the other. I think I have bled the system enough and there is plenty of fluid. My biggest concern is that the wheel will not return to center. In last months mustangs and fords, It talked about toe-in and the alignment and that each ford has some degree of toe-in to help the steering return. Is there anyway to check this myself? The suspension seems to be ok and I did have the car aligned at a local american or discount tire shop, I can't remember which. Or is there anyone that can suggest someone in the southern california inland empire area to help. I try to do most of the work myself or with the help of my father-in-law. This is the last real major probelm with my car before she is back on the road. I would really like to give my wife's 69 camaro ss :mad: a run for her money. Any help would be greaty appreciated. It seems like this is the best source for information and the best site I have found yet since my tccn membership expired.
Thankx for any help
Rick & Katherine-68 cougar
 

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There could be a few different thing causing the problem. First look at the hyd ram. If the rod is bent slightly this could cause the problem. The other would be the gear box it's self. The box is setup so the steering will return (w/ proper align) I suggest pulling the pitman arm off the box. Then slowly turn the wheel side to side. It should get tighter at center. Approx. 2 turns each way. The adjustment is critical.

Hope this helps, Cougar Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. I thought about the steering box. I am running out of things to replace. when I drove her, the steering was tighter when going straight. would this be the result I should be looking for? Also, I have a 67 parts car that had power steering. Is the steering box the same/how would I check to see.
Thanks for the quick response
Rick
 

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The box should have a tag w/ SMB-K on it (16:1). This would be the standard gear box put into most Cougars & Mustangs. The boxes are designed to have slight resistance at or near center. There are 2 adjustments on these. The only one easily reached, is the sector shaft adjustment. I strongly suggest caution here. Typical thinking is, "tighten and it gets rid if slop" Not true. A quick and easy adjustment follows. First, note where the shaft is now, and exactly how much you turn, & which direction. The jam nut is 11/16? loosen and use a big screwdriver to turn the center. Then do the following, with wheels forward/centered, unscrew 3 turns. Then reverse, & tighten till slight resistance is felt. Then turn1/4 to 1/2 more.
After this, test drive. If the car returns to center after a 90 degree turn your in good shape, but the box still may have slop. let me know the results, and we'll go from there.
 

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Rick,
The Cougar steering system is a recirculating ball type unit. It does not have the strong return to center like a more modern rack and pinion steering sytem and will never feel as tight as a modern system. Once everything is perfect and adjusted properly it will never be as good as the steering on a late model Mustang for example.

The choppiness to the one direction might indicate low idle speed, incorrect pulley size or a loose / slipping belt. Another possibility is an improperly rebuilt pump that has low output pressure or a power ram cylinder leaking internally.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info Royce. Right now if I turn right and take my hands off the wheel, I can spin myself dizzy. I have to physically turn the wheel to get it to return to center. I guess I will start checking the idle speed, steering box, and pump this weekend. Is there anyway to check the pump or tell if it is going bad without replacing it? The power ram and control valve are new from california mustang with probably less than 300 miles on them. I realize that they could still be bad but I don't think so.
Thanks again,
Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I also forgot to thank you cougar bill !!!!!
 

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If the idle speed needs to be higher than normal to get the system to operate correctly then it is likely the pump is not producing enough pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
could the pump pressure affect the return also? I would think so but I'm not sure. Better to ask the experts.
Thanks
Rick
 

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Rick,

You mentioned you tried to adjust the control valve. Somehow you determined you needed to do this, but was it before or after you identified a steering return problem? That adjustment is really only there to center the valve. I'm left to wonder if something went wrong here.

Presuming what you've already replaced is good, my .02 is to check the steering box. Usually when they go bad you'll notice poor behavior whether turning to the left or the right. Next, does the steering linkage travel an unequal amount in either direction (lock to lock), or does the linkage bind in either direction?

Did the alignment shop adjust the caster? I doubt it could be off bad enough to cause what you're seeing, particularly if it just got out of the alignment shop, but I've seen mistakes before. BTW, I usually have the shop add in a bit of extra caster over what is specified to help center the steering and contribute to steering stablility at speed.

Steve C.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was adjusting the control valve because it was easier to turn in one direction than another. I posted this question on another site and was given the suggestion. I will have to check the travel lock to lock. I think they are the same. The linkage doesn't bind anymore. It used to. Previous owner had wrong idler arm on it and the linkage would hit the starter. This car is/was a true basket case. Thanks for the help.
Rick
 

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Caster

I assume you know this but just in case. The caster sets the natural return to center.

Also, as mentioned, if you over-tighten the sector shaft adjustment it will cause the wheel to "stick" to one side.

The remainder of the posts all indicate the other possible problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have to thank everyone for all the great responses. I am going to try the pump first. After that I will probably be at a loss. Is there anyplace I can take the car for diagnosis. Is there anyone who specializes in this sort of thing? For example I don't want to mess with the steering boxy like cougar bill says because I have no experience with this and my idea of a little resistance could be a lot different than somebody elses. Any help from Southern California would be helpful.
Thanks
Rick
 

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Mustang Country in Paramount, CA will fix the problem for you. Talk to Karl Ratkovich and he can set up a service appointment for you. I don't have contact info with me as I am travelling.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
well, this weekend it rained ( in southern california the world comes to a stop) so I didn't get the pump replaced. I purchased a new pump but can't seem to get the pulley off the old one.
Any special tricks to get it off. I bought a new one from mustang village but it is the 5 13/16 size. I think this is for a car with a/c. Mine is not. Would this make a difference? The guy at mustang village said it would work. I think he just wanted to make a sale.
I just can't seem to catch a break. Thanks for any help
Rick
 

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Removal of the pulley requires a special puller. I bet someone on the list will have the exact size pulley for your application. Smaller = faster, so parking will be easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok, replaced the pump today. The car seemed to work better in the garage but when I took her out around the block, the first corner there was no assist at all. Brought the car back and found the pump, and both the pressure and return hoses were hot to the touch. I mean HOT!!!!!. what went wrong? could I have fried the pump? could belt tension do it? Father in law thinks we ran it dry when filling it but it was only low about a teaspoon. I can't believe that little amount could kill it. Any ideas? I am going see what it does when the pump cools down.
Thanks. Rick
 

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You probably need to bleed the system some more. With the engine idling and in park with the parking brake on, run the steering wheel back and forth from lock to lock about ten times. Then shut off the engine and check the fluid.

The lines do get and stay hot, that is probably normal.

Are you sure the belt is tight enough?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Royce, I will try that this morning. I hope that is all it is. It seemed to work pretty good with the wheels off the ground and then with them on the ground in the garage. I think the pump made a real difference. I hope that will do the trick. If not I think it is time to check out mustange country in paramount. I will let you know how it comes out. Thanks again for the help. I hope to get some photos of my baby cat soon.
Rick
 
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