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Old 01-23-2011, 08:42 AM   #1
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1978 28' Argosy 28
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Power Steering Not Working - 310 Motorhome

The power steering is not working on my 1983 310 motorhome. It's extreemly difficult to turn the steering wheel left or right. I have inspected the power steering pump drive belt, hoses etc. and everything looks ok with no leaks. There is a little wobble in the power steering pump pully. I have jacked up the front to get the tires off of the ground and the steering works fine. Also tried the bleeding proceedure several times. I am guessing the problem is the power steering pump but I'm not sure how to get to it. I don't see any good access from outside. I'm thinking the best way is to remove the engine cover inside the motorhome and remove the AC compressor. This might give me enough room to get to the pump below. Has anyone replaced the ps pump before ? I very much appreciate any help.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:16 AM   #2
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Sounds like the pump has failed.

What about pulling the wheel and going at it from that angle?
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:26 AM   #3
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I agree with Garry. When I replaced the power steering pump in my old Dodge van, I had to do it from below. You really want to avoid opening the AC system.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:35 PM   #4
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Pulling the wheel sounds like a good option. There is a small access opening through the inner fenderwell panel. The side of power steering pump can be seen through this opening. I'm not sure if the opening is large enough to get a hand through and see what I'm doing. If not maybe the panel can be removed somehow. I'll check it and see....Thank you.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:58 PM   #5
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If I remember correctly, the power steering and the disc brakes are connected. Are you having any braking problems? Our reservoir is located inside left of the driver's side front wheel, front of the axle with an access port designed for triple-jointed forearms...you can access this by parking, turning your wheel all the way left, setting the emergency brake, and extending the left front 'leveler'...a real b-kitty to get to to uncap, but a lion kitty to replace that cap...I had noticed a co-relation to difficult steering and braking...have you checked the fluid level? m
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:44 AM   #6
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If you have a Hydro-Boost (and you probably do) you do not have a vacuum assist brake system power assist for brakes is from the power steering pump.

You might want to review this, not a big deal but you will have to bleed the power steering.

Operation, Diagnosis and Repair of HYDRO-BOOST
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:03 AM   #7
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The motorhome is a few miles away but I will get over there and check to see what kind of system it has ASAP. In the meantime does anyone out there know if a 1983 310 would have a brake booster or if they Have a Hydro-Boost system ? I checked the brake fluid recently but will do it again. I haven't owned this motorhome very long and have not driven it because of the steering problem. I know the brakes have pedal but do not know how well they work. Thanks to everyone for your replies.

Steve
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:03 AM   #8
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Hydro Boost

Quote:
Originally Posted by garry View Post
If you have a Hydro-Boost (and you probably do) you do not have a vacuum assist brake system power assist for brakes is from the power steering pump.
Quote:
Originally Posted by garry View Post

You might want to review this, not a big deal but you will have to bleed the power steering.

Operation, Diagnosis and Repair of HYDRO-BOOST
Garry:
Thanks for that excellent link.

Dave
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:46 PM   #9
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I may have missed it but is this coach a diesel or gas powered unit? I think both probably use the hydro-boost but they may use different pumps. My diesel uses a JIDOSHA KIKIKK pump that is mounted on the lower right front of the engine and gear driven. I would guess the gas 454 probably uses a belt driven GM type pump.

Just wondering, Dan
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:40 PM   #10
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Dan, This is a gas powered motorhome. The power steering pump is belt driven and is mounted on the lower left front of the engine. The only possible access that I see is through a small opening in the inner fenderwell panel that I believe is intended for adding brake fluid to the master cylinder. However It would be very difficult to see what you're doing with your hand and a wrench in there. This is why I'm wondering if it would be easier to remove the AC compressor and try to get to it from above. There has to be a way to access the pump for removal. Maybe the best way would be to pull the radiator. This would be alot of extra work but should make for easy access from the front.

Steve
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:22 PM   #11
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Must be the desert air, but I'm confused. My power steering canister is here, and easily checked. If I had a older coach, I'd have those hoses replaced before so much fluid is lost that the canister heats up, melts the wiring and the steering becomes much like my old '47 GMC ton and a half.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:33 PM   #12
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bkahler posted this a while back, might help yor visualization...
http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...9&d=1223077583

Swebster did it on the side of the road in this post...
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f159...les-19876.html

And from that thread here is the best bit, on page 2...
For those that have the misfortune of replacing this pump yourself here is the trick to saving yourself two hours of work. If you need the following steps, I'm so sorry to hear it, but it it helps you out of a jam, use it well and pass it along to the next generation so that they may benefit from it as well:
  1. Remove the lower fan shroud and driver's side front wheel for access.
  2. Sitting in the wheel well, loosely bolt up the back of the pump in the bracket, this is tricky as the back bolt (stud actually) sits in a slot in the bracket so it wants to slide down and out.
  3. Loosely tighten the bolt that is used to hold the pump at tension (passes through a curved slot in the pump mount and bolts into the block)
  4. Now, position the pump so you can see the threads for the front bracket mount through the hold in the bracket. This is best accomplished when lying under the motorhome, looking up through where the lower fan shroud would normally be located.
  5. Once you can see it lined up, finger-tighten the bolt into the block to keep the pump from sliding around.
  6. Lastly, with one hand inside of the frame rail and the other outside (no kidding) slide the bolt that hold the front of the pump up behind the pulley sideways, then turn it slowly placing the threaded tip into the hole in the bracket. At this point use your other hand to catch the head of the bolt and using a finger from each hand (seriously) begin turning the bolt while praying to the almighty bolt gods over and over "let it catch a thread, let it catch a thread". It's important to pass the bolt up behind the pulley sideway because it won't fit any other way. The pulley actually covers the threads in the pump so you have to use the space behind the pulley like the inside of a bowl, then maneuver the bolt down and into the hole.
  7. One you catch a thread, stop immeadiately and celebrate as this is the high point of the installation.
  8. Grab your 1/2" wrench and tighten the bolt the rest of the way.
  9. Go back and tighten the rear nut.
  10. Lastly, hook up the high pressure line and the two low pressure return lines, install the belts, tension belts (using a breaker bar in the slot provided by the GM engineers ), tighten the last bolt, add fluid and check everything about ten times before starting up the engine.
Really, it took my 2 hours to figure out just how to get the bolt up in there, let alone lining up the thread and starting the bolt. I now understand how people can spontaneously self combust.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Leary View Post
Must be the desert air, but I'm confused. My power steering canister is here, and easily checked. If I had a older coach, I'd have those hoses replaced before so much fluid is lost that the canister heats up, melts the wiring and the steering becomes much like my old '47 GMC ton and a half.
Not to worry Mike, the 454 is an entirely different set up from what we have. Personally I don't think working on either one is that much fun.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:24 PM   #14
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If nothing else, I can at least add that the inner fender wall panel can be removed. May not make the ten steps keyair mentions a couple of posts ago any easier, but along with the wheel removed you'll be able to see a lot more of what your up against.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:59 PM   #15
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Before you replace anything, make sure you don't have an air bubble in the system. You will have to open the hard-to-find nipple on top of the emergency brake activator can back by the transmission to see. Then top up the reservoir fluid, follow the motor-off bleeding procedure which involves a lot of left-to-right and brake pedal stomping and repeat and I'll bet there's a 50% chance you don't need any parts at all.

My local Chevy dealer diagnosed my '92 30' as needing $2000 of hydroboost and power steering pumps and after I finished swearing, I took it home and bled everything I could find and it's been fine for 6 months. What happens is ... as the emergency brake shoes wear, the hydraulic slave has to move farther to engage them...thus removing enough fluid from the reservoir for the system to suck air.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:29 AM   #16
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Wow - you were wise to bleed the system yourself instead of going for the Chevy dealer recommended repairs. I will look for the emergency brake activator can and will try this. When I open the nipple do I just open it enough for air to purge and should it be left open during the bleeding proceedure ? I'm picturing something like a brake bleeder at the wheel. Also can you tell me what steps you followed for bleeding. I'm not sure what is correct for this motorhome and I would like to follow the steps you took and see what happens. Thank you very much for the info - I appreciate !

Steve
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:33 PM   #17
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To properly diag the failure of the pump and not the boost first remove the pressure hose from the end going in the boost then take a 4 foot section of hose big enough to go over the fitting place the hose in a catch pan start the engine and if fluid exits the hose at high rate you know your pump is not the problem, they all have Hydro boost on P chassis along with the fact you would have no room for a vacuum booster, it only takes 20 min and just have someone do the start and kill while you watch, Steve Note: you most always need line wrenches for power steering work because the fittings will be very tight and air in the system will self evacuate after work is complete
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:38 PM   #18
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This might help..
Operation, Diagnosis and Repair of Hydro-Boost Power Assist Systems
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturk View Post
Wow - you were wise to bleed the system yourself instead of going for the Chevy dealer recommended repairs. I will look for the emergency brake activator can and will try this. When I open the nipple do I just open it enough for air to purge and should it be left open during the bleeding proceedure ? I'm picturing something like a brake bleeder at the wheel. Also can you tell me what steps you followed for bleeding. I'm not sure what is correct for this motorhome and I would like to follow the steps you took and see what happens. Thank you very much for the info - I appreciate !
I'm pretty sure I just gravity bled it, as I don't remember the thing being turned on while I was under there. Yes, it looks like a brake bleeder at a wheel, but it's up on top of the can which - on mine - is on the passenger side of the transmission, sort of at the bellhousing.

Search for the real bleeding procedure on this excellent site, but what I remember is to jack up the front and rack the steering all the way left and then all the way right about 4-5 times with the engine OFF, then stomp on the brake pedal 4-5 times hard, then check the fluid level in the tank up front and see if it went down. Repeat. If you do this with the engine running, there will be too much foam in the fluid to bleed properly. When the fluid level stops going down try it with the engine running. If you got lucky, all moaning, pulsing, funky steering and soft, low brake pedal stuff will be gone. Good luck!
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:09 PM   #20
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Sorry, I did not clarify... there is a PS bleeding section in my link above..

Here is a paste..


Bleed Technique 1:
  1. Replace any hydraulic line showing external damage. Install new seals for all disconnected fittings (as required) and install an in-line power steering filter. Tighten all hose fittings to OE specifications.
  2. Flush the entire power steering system using the vehicle manufacturer's recommended fluid. Fill pump reservoir to the proper level.
  3. Disable engine to allow cranking without starting. Block wheels, put transmission in neutral or park and set parking brake, then crank engine 5 to 10 seconds (avoid overheating starter motor).
  4. Refill pump reservoir as necessary. Repeat step 3 until level is correct.
  5. Enable the engine to allow starting. Start engine and let idle. Slowly turn steering wheel from lock-to-lock a number of times.
  6. Turn engine off and inspect fluid level and condition. Add or remove fluid as necessary. If fluid is foaming, wait one hour then recheck level. Repeat step 5 and 6 until fluid level is correct and shows no sign of air problem.
NOTE: Many of you are aware that Ford power steering systems are very prone to air-related problems. The most effective way to remove air in these systems is to apply a vacuum to the power steering pump reservoir. This technique can be used on most power steering systems.


Bleed Technique 2:
  1. Remove return line from hydro-boost and plug end with appropriate size plug or bolt.
  2. Connect two- to three-foot piece of clear hose to return port on hydro-boost unit. Place end of hose into empty container at least 1 gallon in capacity.
  3. Fill power steering pump reservoir with correct fluid.
  4. Disable engine to allow cranking without starting. Block wheels, put transmission in neutral or park and set parking brake, then crank engine 5 to 10 seconds (avoid overheating starter motor) while applying and releasing brake pedal slowly.
  5. Refill pump reservoir as necessary. Repeat step 4 until no air is seen in return line from hydro-boost.
  6. Remove clear hose from return port and reconnect return line from pump.
  7. Enable the engine to allow starting. Start engine and let idle. Slowly turn steering wheel from lock to lock a number of times.
  8. Turn engine off and inspect fluid level and condition. Add or remove fluid as necessary. If fluid is foaming, wait one hour then recheck level. Repeat step 7 and 8 until fluid level is correct and shows no sign of air problem.
Procedure
Use either of these bleeding procedures whenever replacing or servicing any component in a hydro-boost system. Normal driving conditions will remove air that remains trapped within the system when components are properly installed and there are no flow restrictions in the system. Always refer to the vehicle service manual for specific installation and testing procedures.

Power Steering Flush
In addition to requiring the correct pressure, it is also critical that the fluid be clean. The tolerances in the moving parts inside the hydro-boost are such that only a small amount of contaminates can cause a malfunction. This is especially true of the spool valve. The tolerances necessary to form a metal-to-metal seal are quite small and any contaminates or tarnish buildup can prevent smooth operation of the spool valve. Since the spool valve controls the flow of fluid into and out of the power chamber, it is critical it functions properly.
Any vehicle equipped with a hydro-boost power assist will benefit from a periodic power steering flush. The only thing is you have to perform an additional step to ensure the hydro-boost power chamber and internal parts are flushed. When performing the flush, apply and release the brake pedal slowly to allow the new fluid into the hydro-boost. If you skip this step you will have the large quantity of old fluid in the hydro-boost that will mix with the new fluid once the brake is applied and released a couple of times.
Hydro-boost diagnosis and service is not difficult especially when you know how the system works. Applying this knowledge with a systematic approach will enable fast and accurate diagnosis of these systems.
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