Loss of power steering on right turns

My 97 Venture has developed intermittent sudden loss of power steering on right turns at low speed. Steering is normal to the left.
When I look at the gear box from under the car, I notice that the dust
cap is missing and the bearing is exposed. I don't know if this is important, the steering wheel is off center when the vehicle is going straight. The vehicle steering acts normal otherwise.
Can someone tell me if the off center wheel or the missing dust cap might have caused the loss of power steering on right turns ?
This car was recalled (safety) two years ago to fix a possible loose bearing in the steering gear assembly. So I wonder if the that has to do with the current problem that I have. GM dealers refuse to do anything unless I pay them a fee to look at it first.
Anyone know the likelihood that it is a problem with the steering rack ? or the pump ?
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wasnt there a recall on some venture vans for a very simmular complaint?

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oops it was...as i seen when i read the message again.
This car was recalled (safety) two years ago to fix a possible loose bearing in the steering gear assembly. So I wonder if the that has to do with the current problem that I have. GM dealers refuse to do anything unless I pay them a fee to look at it first.
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Since you don't have the expertise to analyze it take it to the dealer and pay them to do it before you kill yourself or someone else....

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The pump is not causing this, have it looked at before it really fails.

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I checked the steering with the engine off. All linkages are tight (no free play)and free to move in both left and right directions equally. I then bleed the power steering system by doing a number of end-to-end turns. Started the engine and the problem was still there (didn't really expect it to go away ..). With the vehicle at rest, right turn is like without any power steering and it happen regardless of the steering wheel position. I can rotate a bit to the left easily, then rotation to the right is always without power. Giving it some gas does not improve, so must not be the pump. I think that either the control valve is sticky or the power piston seal is broken. Most likely a new steering rack is in order. Does anyone know if it is possible to replace the steering rack on this vehicle (97 Venture) without dropping the subframe ? I read somewhere that the rack can be taken out from the driver side wheel well. Just by looking at it, I don't even know if I have the space to undo the mounting bolts without removing the anti-roll bar. Would someone who have experience give me some pointers on the best way to proceed ? Thanks.
Shep wrote:

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Here's a diagnostic table for a '98 Venture. Maybe it will help you.
Steering Effort Hard in One or Both Directions
The power steering fluid is low.
Fill the power steering system.
Refer to Refilling the Power Steering System .
The power steering fluid is too thick (ambient temperature is -12C (10F) or lower).
Drain the power steering system. Refer to Draining the Power Steering System .
Fill the power steering system with cold climate fluid. Refer to Fluid and Lubricant Recommendations in Maintenance and Lubrication and Refilling the Power Steering System .
The power steering pump pressure is too low.
Inspect the pump pressure. Refer to Power Steering Gear and Pump Leaks .
Repair the pump, as needed. Refer to Power Steering Pump Replacement .
The steering gear is binding.
Repair or replace the power steering gear as necessary. Refer to Power Steering Gear Replacement .
The steering intermediate shaft is not installed properly.
Repair or replace the intermediate shaft seal as necessary.
The intermediate shaft bolt torque is too high.
Install the intermediate shaft bolt to specification.
Refer to Lower/Upper Intermediate Steering Shaft Replacement in Steering Wheel and Column.
The power steering pump or the power steering gear has an internal leak.
Repair or replace the appropriate component as necessary. Refer to Power Steering Pump Replacement or Power Steering Gear Replacement .
The steering gear valve is sticking.
1. Drain the power steering system. Refer to Draining the Power Steering System .
2. Fill the power steering system. Refer to Refilling the Power Steering System .
3. Bleed the power steering system. Refer to Bleeding the Power Steering System .
4. Repair or replace the power steering gear if the symptoms persist. Refer to Power Steering Gear Replacement .
Document ID# 474924
1998 Chevrolet/Geo Venture

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Thanks.. Base on this, I will replace the PS fluid first. If that doesn't work, I will measure the pump pressure to make sure that the pump is not the problem.
Silver Surfer wrote:

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It also occurred to me that you might have a pinched or plugged line going to the cylinder on the end that turns the vehicle to the right. However, it seems like that would also affect left turns because it would restrict the fluid return out of the "right turn" chamber as the fluid is entering the "left turn" chamber. This thinking assumes that I have the correct mental picture of how the system functions.

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I think it is leakage more than blockage the cause of the problem. I don't know the design details. But there are definitely opportunities for the high pressure fluid to leak into the low pressure returns at the control valve as well as leakage past the piston in the rack. I notice when the steering loses power, it makes a hissing sound that seems to be coming from the valve.
Silver Surfer wrote:

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I found an excellent source of information on power steering (how it works including detailed drawings) http://www.woodwardsteering.com/powers4.htm
Silver Surfer wrote:

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Yes, indeed. That is a most impressive site. Very educational. Thanks for providing the link.

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DL wrote:

I wouldn't bother with the pump if the problem is only on right turns. This is a great indication that the problem lies inside the steering rack. Pump problems would show up in both directions. Problems with one direction usually point to a spool valve problem.
Ian
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Ian,
To replace the steering gear/rack, is it possible without lowering the subframe ? I hope there is enough clearance to take the rack out from the side. I am also thinking about unscrewing the inner tie rod from the outer instead of disconnecting at the steering knuckle. Is it possible ? Thanks for replying ..
Dennis shiden_kai wrote:

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