My wandering and intermittent power steering loss issue is back with a vengeance. I was getting on the highway yesterday, and felt as though I had no control of the front wheels. I pulled over and checked everything and all is still tight. The feel I'm getting in the steering wheel is like the wheels are being pushed back and forth left to right. I felt the PS problem first, and then the wandering started. I had PS'ing, but I had to use more effort to make it turn and then it was all over the place. I got back in and had no issues the rest of the day.
My question is, what am I going to feel if the PS box, (not the pump), is going bad? Is there a valve in the box that could be going bad, not opening or not closing that would move the wheels?
-I've done nothing to the front suspension or steering. Tie rods are probably original, but tight, and the wheel bearings are nice and tight with no play, and the steering box isn't loose.
No, I'm not sure what those are. When this happened the first time, I jacked up the front and inspected tie rods, wheels, etc. Everything seemed tight. I did pull on the steering rod coming out of the firewall down to the box, and it doesn't have any excess play in it. I've always had a PS leak, and I think it is coming from where the steering rod connects to the box. I can take a look at my service manuals to try and figure out what the two items are you mentioned.
The only thing I did on the steering shaft was to rock it back and forth to see if there is excess play. I kind of got tunnel vision when I though it was the PS pump or steering box.
Should there be any play in the steering shaft? Also, if the ujoints are going bad, could you have intermittent issues? This only happens sometimes, and at others I have very responsive, tight steering control.
If the U joint up top or the bell where it connects to the bottom are bad it could create binding. The bell is where I would look from what you describe it has a couple nylon bushings in there. I would look there first before the box especially if it has been leaking a long time. It sounds as if something is binding up. To change out the bell joint is pretty inexpensive and you'll want to do that anyway if it's the box or something else.
I took a quick look at my steering shaft, and didn't see anything out of ordinary. I'm not able to lift the front end up right now, but sitting on the ground, I rocked the shaft and have very little, if any, play. It doesn't feel like anything is loose at the Ujoint, but the bell at the gear box does have quite a bit of play. I tried to spin the shaft as if I was turning the wheel, and it didn't appear to slip anywhere. I'll see if there are any issues when I can lift the front end off the ground.
Tomorrow I'll see if that bell coupling can be tightened and if not order a new one.
I ordered a replacement bell coupling kit, and am waiting on it to get here. I wanted to go ahead and get a replacement Ujoint for the steering shaft also, but can't find the right part. Morris has one on their site, but its for '75 and older; when I called OR, they didn't have anything on their computers for a replacement Ujoint on the steering shaft of an '85. I know it has one, but is it not able to be replaced? Do you have to replace the whole steering shaft?