1990 Electra park Ave Steering Issue - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 07-24-2013, 01:43 AM   #1
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Default 1990 Electra park Ave Steering Issue

Well it'* really good to be back on here after all of this time. I got the car, was on here posting then I disappeared. I'm really sorry about that
Alright.. SO..
I got new struts for the baby weekend before last. Got them from the dealership, but not what they wanted. Helps to have friends that work there.
I got the Monroe Sensi-trac'* and I think I got the FE2 (is that the softer ones right under the standard ones?) So I got them off Friday night, in 96 degree heat, took them up to a friendí* shop on Saturday and he did all the grunt work of taking the springs off etc etc. Everything still looked good and nothing was in need of replacing.
Sunday morning I got up at 4 am (and 86 degree heat) and got them put back on by 7:30. Was a little bit of a pain in the rear to put them in, but I still got them in. The car sat until Tuesday though because I knew better than to just drive it out of alignment. Took it to a shop about a mile away. They told me they could do the alignment. Next day they call and tell me all 4 wheel bearings are loose, the ball joint on the right side is loose but still functional. Serp belt has cracks in it, right front tire has "steel showing", and the rack and pinion is leaking. Brakes are 75% gone in the front and 50% gone in the back. They ended up doing the alignment but with no warranty.
As a side note to everything they found: the bearings might be loose, they are almost 25 years old and the car sat for most of its life. The ball joint might be in need of replacement, but I'm sure that it'* just in need of a lube job. The serp belt was changed when I got the car, along with the alternator, a week after I got the car. The tire that USED to be on the front since they did a tire rotation needed to be replaced. Thatí* what told me I needed new struts and an alignment. The rack and pinion isn't leaking, thatí* oil that spilled out when the valve cover gaskets were leaking. I never power washed it off the engine. The brakes couldn't have gone down that much in 10 months. I don't ride the brakes and I don't hit the brakes hard. I drive very smooth. They said nothing about the small coolant leak I can't find, or that the oil needed to be changed. HHmmm.
Alright back to the story. They did the alignment. The front end was all up in the air like new struts are supposed to be and it rode perfectly. I drove it to and from work the rest of the week. 2 days later the steering wheel is now 45 degrees off (to the left) and it pulls to the right. I checked the tire and I got a nail, so it lost pressure. Took the car in and got the tire fixed (Thank you Discount Tire!) The steering wheel is still off by 45 degrees but the car tracks down the road with just a little pull to the right.
What did the shop do? I'm half scared to look under there and find the tie rod almost ready to fall off or bolts finger tight. Any suggestions?
As a side note, with VW'* the lower bolt for the strut is offset so that'* how you do an alignment. Turn the bolt until it'* right on, and then tighten the nut on the other side. These Buicks seem to have a mind of their own.
Thanks for your time and I'm glad to be back!

P.*. I have 325 miles to go until I am at my 100k mark!

John
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:44 AM   #2
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something might have loosened back up, i would take it back to the shop that did the alighnment
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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something might have loosened back up, i would take it back to the shop that did the alighnment
That'* another $50, because they wouldn't guarantee the work. I'm not sure that I like this shop though. Telling me things are going out when they really arent. HHmmm..
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:03 PM   #4
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why wouldnt they guarantee it. thats pretty fishy. they should have torqued it better
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:46 PM   #5
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Did this change to the steering wheel position happen all of a sudden, or gradually over the last two weeks?
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:03 PM   #6
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why wouldnt they guarantee it. thats pretty fishy. they should have torqued it better
They listed all this stuff that supposedly needs to be done. They said that since the wheel bearings are loose and the ball joint is loose as well, they can't get the exact alignment, so they can't guarantee the alignment. it is fishy, I know. it was done at ::wait for it... wait for it...:: Brakes Plus! Now you can grown.
Only reason I took it there was because it was a mile away. With the car being that much out of alignment I didn't want to chance it.

2kg4u: It was straight Wednesday evening when I drove it home. Thursday was straight going to work and sort of off on the way back home. Friday it was a little more going and 45 degrees to the left when I got home. It doesn't pull hard to either side. It'* pretty straight but the steering wheel is off. I'm guessing something came loose and I just need to brave the heat and go out and see what. But that'* the problem. I don't know what I'm looking for.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:40 AM   #7
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Ok, I THINK I know what'* going on.
I got a chance to look at it tonight (Thank you for the heavy rain today, and keeping it below 100). As I look on the passengers side, and the steering wheel is straight. I see the hub cap and tire straight up and down and pointing straight. If I look on the drivers side I see the tire leaning inwards at the top and also pointing a little inwards towards the center of the car. I'm thinking they messed with the tie rod and it loosened while I was driving. Also the alignment on that side went out. I'm thinking someone didn't tighten things down in hopes I would come bacn and complain. Although nothing has ever been replaced in front, except now the struts, I'm guessing they gave me a bunch of garbage on paper telling me all this stuff was wrong, when in reality it was shoddy work and just a gimmick to get me to buy their parts. So.. I bet anything that IF I took the car back after tightening everything up they would tell me that the bearings have been replaced and if I cleaned up the ball joint they would "see" it was replaced as well. I never trusted Brakes Plus, even if this one just happened to be under "new Management", and like I said, the only reason why I took it there, was because it was a mile and a half from the house (minimal tire wear).
has anyone had any GOOD luck with alignment shops (Even if it'* only a local shop to you)?
Thanks.. and this story isn't finished yet. Saturday I'm getting under there and seeing what'* going on for sure.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:09 AM   #8
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leaning in is likely the upper strut mount loose. as far as the commercial places i never go there they always find things wrong even if they are minimally worn. when i HAVE to take the car in basically alignments and inspections, i found a local guy who owns a small(two or three bays with one or two guys working) local owned shop. not saying thats always going to be good but he was the only one i found that new what i was talking about when i said i needed the timing set on my yukon too.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:51 PM   #9
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Awesome! thanks!
I don't believe there are any good shops left here in the Valley of the Sun. if there are, I'd like them to step up and prove to me they are good. There are 3 VW shops I trust my VW'* to but this is the Buick. A WHOLE different beast, I'm learning.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:19 AM   #10
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**SHOCKING UPDATE**
Woke up about 2 a.m. this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. Kept thinking about this issue and how I was going to get it resolved.
Ended up calling the shop about 1 p.m. this afternoon and ironically enough, I got the new shop manager named Craig, Very nice man. I told him I knew that the work wasn't under warranty because of old parts being loose and all, and that the alignment went out 2 days after I got the car back from there. At first I thought I wasn't getting anywhere because I got a lot of "huh" '* out of him. Out of the blue he says "Can you bring the car in today so I can have a look at it? We're open until 5. Sure!
So I drive the car down there, and met him at the counter. I also took all of my paperwork with him. He looked up the order number and said there would be a little bit of a wait and asked if he should call me on my cell. I told him I would be waiting since this was my only car and I wasn't about to walk back to the house in 100+ degree heat. he laughed a little, agreeing with me and asked me to have a seat in the small waiting area.
Got to watch 3 Amigos while he got through the waiting list and got my car up on the rack. He called for me and asked if I'd like to see what he was seeing. I said sure.
He showed me that the wheel bearings were in fact loose, and that the ball joint was a little loose but not as bad as the previous tech had stated. He also pointed out that the control arm bushings were just starting to crack a little and told me that he would get those fixed soon, although not immediately necessary. He went down the previous list and found no leak in the rack and pinion and agreed it was old oil that had leaked down from when the valve cover gaskets were leaking. He also showed me where the previous tech had pried the A-Arm too much and caused a little damage. He said that he was finding a lot of this lately, and said not only would he replace this part, but since they were in there they would replace the A-arm and cracking bushings. He said if I had a wheel bearing and a ball joint they would put the parts in on that side (passengers side) plus re-align the car again on the house. He said he wanted me back as a customer but wanted me to be satisfied. (WOW!)
Car goes in Monday evening and they will do all this on Tuesday. He said he was going to work on the car since he knew what was going on, and said the alignment would be a few hours. (Since the drivers side still needs a wheel bearing because it is slightly loose, and I would need to have the part and pay for the labor to have it put in since no damage was on that side) Lastly he said that the alignment going out so quickly was not a parts issue, and although it could have been caused as hitting a pot hole or speed bump too quickly (Not from me, I avoid those things at all costs and drive like an old man over speed bumps), the alignment issue was in fact a labor defect and he would be happy to align it for me.
Maybe there are some good Brakes Plus shops still around.
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