Driving a power steering Neon with no power steering. Safe?

Have some questions about how to achive better handling and stopping power using different springs, upgrading to coilovers, questions on swaybars, bushings, different rotors, pads, ect... Having any steering problems or questions about steering racks, tie rods, tie rod ends, ect... ask these questions here.
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timk225
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Driving a power steering Neon with no power steering. Safe?

Post by timk225 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:13 pm

My 5 Neon SXT ATX lost the power steering a few days ago. I knew the power steering pump had bad bearings, but then the power steering belt tensioner pulley went and locked up on me. Threw the belt right off.

Today I changed the pump, not realizing the pulley was lunched. After throwing the belt 4 times in a row as soon as the engine cranked over, I figured it out. Much swearing was involved. :owned:

So until I change the tensioner assembly, how bad is it to drive a power steering car with no power assist? I know the extra steering effort is a pain in the ass, but I am more concerned with breaking something in the steering linkage due to the greatly increased torque load to steer the car, especially in parking lots.

I try not to crank on the steering wheel any more than necessary, but it is loaded a lot more than when the power steering is working.

occasional demons
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Post by occasional demons » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:44 pm

If you loop the lines, it will be easier to steer. About the easiest way will be to remove the pressure line from the pump, and somehow connect it to the return line to the reservoir. You may want to remove the o ring and keep it in a zip lock bag.
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timk225
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Post by timk225 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:50 pm

Everything is reassembled, it'd be hard to get in there and get the pressure line off, I think.

What if I were to take the return hose off and direct it into a jug and drive for a while with lots of steering wheel turns to get the excess fluid out of the system, and just refill it all once I can get it fixed? Would that be ok?

NickKo
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Post by NickKo » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:50 am

timk225 wrote:...just refill it all once I can get it fixed? Would that be ok?
Yes.

I drove one of my Neons for a few months with no P/S, and cut the lines.

Eventually, I went back to P/S and reinstalled replacement lines.
The P/S system showed no ill effects, and it works fine to this day. :)


- Nick
-1998 2-dr SOHC MTX= 57mm TB; Maddog STS
-2000 Ply.LX w/MTX = Maddog STS; CAI; 2.5 exh.; 60mm T/B
-2001 ATX w/Syked PCM + Magnum header
-2001 ACR w/SRT T/B bored out to 55mm

Official "I'm Going to Drive My Neon till it Dies" Club #000009

occasional demons
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Post by occasional demons » Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:02 am

As far as ease of steering, it may still be harder with the pressure line connected to the pump. It depends on how easily air can be sucked through the pump.

The thing with removing/cutting the lines, is it lets air/fluid move freely. The pump will still be a restriction, if it has a good enough seal to keep air from passing through.

The pressure line isn't too bad to get to from underneath. Much easier that the lines at the steering gear.

When you changed the pump, did it come with a reservoir attached? If not, did you make sure you got the reservoir o ring and the white o ring backer out of the old pump?

If you didn't get the backer, the pump will suck air, and you will have foaming issues, and the fluid will come spewing out of the fill cap. Nobody sells the backer separately either.
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timk225
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Post by timk225 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:02 am

I got a junkyard pump out of a 2003 Neon SXT, it had the tank on it and I didn't disturb it or try to remove it.

I'll be going out to my car shortly, I will look at it. Maybe I can loosen the pressure line nut and pull it down a fraction of an inch, just enough to let the fluid and air pass through but closed off enough to keep it clean.

The more I think about it, maybe my old pump wasn't bad. I was able to move its pulley side to side a good 1/8", which is more than the replacement pump, but maybe all the bearing noise I was hearing for a couple months was coming from the tensioner idler pulley? Don't know. Seems like it was a lot of noise for that one thing to make.

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Post by occasional demons » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:43 am

Oh, those idler pulleys can become quite loud, a bad bearing is a bad bearing.
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timk225
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Post by timk225 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:16 pm

Great, maybe I just spent $48 on a junkyard PS pump for nothing then. :owned:

I'll have to unbolt the pump to get that pressure line off, no way can I reach it with the pump in place.

timk225
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Post by timk225 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:36 pm

I took the pump out today and looped the lines together. It made it a lot easier to steer, but not as good as power steering.

The idler wheel on the tensioner is definitely locked up, but the tensioner swings up enough to make me think I could get that damn bolt loose without taking the mounting plate off the front of the engine. I will have to look at it more closely and see if it'll work.

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Post by INVUJerry » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:06 pm

I remember when I did the timing belt on my 01 looking at that tensioner and thinking it didn't look possible to change that bearing without removing the side plate.

But to add on its fine. I drove my old 1gn for years with the lines cut and open to the wind. Next owner used the same rack and hooked it up. No issues. I enjoyed it more and got to the point I could Palm the wheel in a parking lot with street tires. Drag radials was a whole new story.
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timk225
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Post by timk225 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:57 pm

After the first day of driving with the lines looped, the steering has gotten harder to steer again, now it is almost as bad as when the pump was in the loop. What the hell?

NickKo
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Post by NickKo » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:52 pm

timk225 wrote:After the first day of driving with the lines looped, the steering has gotten harder to steer again, now it is almost as bad as when the pump was in the loop. What the hell?
You might want to try 'unlooping' the lines ?? Run them open, and see if it helps.

If you try this ^, be aware that you will get some 'drippage' for a while, until most of the fluid is pushed out during turns, etc.


- Nick
-1998 2-dr SOHC MTX= 57mm TB; Maddog STS
-2000 Ply.LX w/MTX = Maddog STS; CAI; 2.5 exh.; 60mm T/B
-2001 ATX w/Syked PCM + Magnum header
-2001 ACR w/SRT T/B bored out to 55mm

Official "I'm Going to Drive My Neon till it Dies" Club #000009

timk225
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Posts: 207
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:29 pm

Post by timk225 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:07 pm

Got it all changed today, the replacement junkyard pump seems to work better than the original, as the steering feels lighter than it used to now.

Posting the story in General 2nd gen discussion of the ordeal of getting this part changed.

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