Hard and soft steering 2003 Lincoln Town Car

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May 3, 2015
Messages
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Make
Lincoln
Model
Town car
Year
2003
Miles
56000
Engine
4.6
Hi,
Get extremely hard steering, then soft, then somewhat hard, then really hard, etc.etc. on a 2003 Lincoln Town Car.
Fluid is fine, and at proper level. There are no warning lights on dash, air suspension is intact and works perfectly. Steering linkage is fine and is not subject to the Ford recall.
No leaks of power steering fluid.
But must turn wheel with two hands when steering gets hard. Only when it is rainy/damp out does the problem go away completely.
Thank you in advance
 
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If I unplug the vaps sensor, as a diagnosis to see if the steering improves, would that be a viable option?

If so, where is the plug for this sensor located?

Thank you
 

nickb2

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First off, hello newbie.

These cars were notorious for the universal joint on steering column.

They seized up and would do exactly what you describe

Check that out.
 

nickb2

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If the u joint look even a bit rusted around the cups, suspect that. Easy to check., remove the guide bolt from steering gear and check it as a normal u joint check on a drive shaft.
 

nickb2

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In that era, alot of things went wrong with the variable steering, but mostly that was in the crown vics of this vintage.

Have you tried reading the module for codes, and if so, what scanner did you use. Cuz it will have a code if lets say the solenoid is failing etc. Not a very complex system compared to today, but by just disconnecting, that would cause more codes and interupt trouble shoot chart.

So, my idea is to try to scan the car IF you are able. This will need a scanner that can read farther than just obd2 powertrain.

My first instinct is to suspect u joint, if ok, and as you say rest is good, then we go CAPS.

Question, does it do the prob at a stand still engine idling


If so, does it somewhat go away as rpm increase
 

nickb2

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I ask this question because the VAPS system is dependent not only on rpm but also speed of car and angle of turn, this helps determine how much the VAPS solenoid will allow fluid to ease or harden wheel assist in a curve or in a parking lot, so live data is also nice here to help see what is going on without even removing a bolt. ;)
 
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I ask this question because the VAPS system is dependent not only on rpm but also speed of car and angle of turn, this helps determine how much the VAPS solenoid will allow fluid to ease or harden wheel assist in a curve or in a parking lot, so live data is also nice here to help see what is going on without even removing a bolt. ;)
Hello and thanks for having me.

The problem is at idle (when in park, or when in gear) and when driving.

When Rpm increases problem is still there, but I would call it "consistently inconsistent"

As far as the rain is concerned, the day it did not happen at all ( but did happen the day before and day after when it was a sunny day) was a day that it rained overnight and the rest of the day was a overcast day, car wasn't driven in the rain, and sits under a carport at night, so no splashing of water would get up to the linkage.

I have an obd2 code scanner, but doesn't trouble shoot to the extent you are saying.

What scanner would you recommend for these Ford products? I would consider buying one if it helps diagnose my problem and possibly future ones down the line.
Perhaps something that a Ford dealer would use????

I will attempt to squirt some motor oil on the linkages and let it sit overnight to see if that helps.
 

nickb2

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If you own a laptop, you could try a china clone of what ford uses

Ford now uses the IDS system.

You can get a clone, many options open here.

What would be your budget and your skill set I think are viable questions before I steer you wrong.

Pun intended.

;)
 

nickb2

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also FORscan is also a very more solid platform, but way more expensive. But less glitchy if you know what I mean, so knowing your skill sey is key.

Have a good friday, I still another work day to go, so no party time for me yet.

 
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If you own a laptop, you could try a china clone of what ford uses

Ford now uses the IDS system.

You can get a clone, many options open here.

What would be your budget and your skill set I think are viable questions before I steer you wrong.

Pun intended.

;)
Thanks for the replies, I would say budget around $1,000 more or less.
Prefer something that tells me what needs to be changed, no cloak and dagger business.

So I guess Forscan is the best option? Does it work on Apple devices?

Skill set- I know my way around a car, I'm mechanically inclined. Not an expert by any means but, I can hold my own. If that helps.
 
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Update: Squirted some Motors oil in/around the lower intermediate shaft (the longer one) and steering was noticeably better, not perfect, but 80% better. The next day it seemed ok for a short while and seems to be getting harder again.

So I'm thinking the shaft is the culprit?

Unfortunately Ford only recalled 2005 and up model years, not 2003 model years, and I doubt this would be considered a "silent recall"???

If I have to do it myself, does it pay to change the upper shaft as well ( one that bolts To the firewall?)

Would this be able to be done without a lift?

And if the wheels never leave the ground, can I avoid a wheel alignment?

Thank you for your continued advice.

PS I hope you had time To party now that the weekends here. Lol
 
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