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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My steering wheel seems to be loose. It moves up and down and side to side about a quater of an inch. I Checked it out and the steering wheel is not moving ont he column it seems like the entire thing is moving. And also i have to add power steering fluid once a month from the add line to the full line so i have a slow leak. Any ideas on the steering column and the leak???
 

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the column is bolted to the dash with, i think, 4 bolts - only accessible with the lower dash pad removed. i strongly recommend taking care of this soon.

the leak is quite possibly the rack itself, or (much cheaper and easier) one of the pump feed / return lines.

do you get a drip after parking for a while, could help you locate the source of the leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I never notice a puddle or a small leak anywhere on the driveway when its parked for a while. But when i had it up on the lift doing the exhaust it started to drip a little. I couldnt trace it where it went but the steering functions normal.

The steering column what could be causing this just loose bolts or what? It isnt giving me any problems it is just slightly anoying. The steering wheel isnt jus tgoing to pop off when im driving down the road is it? That would really suck. lol. Is it hard to take the lower pad off and what else would i need??
 

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saab900turboguy said:
Is it hard to take the lower pad off and what else would i need??
No, once you have done it a few times! :D

If you need to top up PS fluid, you have a leak somewhere, most likely the rack (leaks from boot usually), but could be pipe or at the reservoir/pump.

Steering column should not move. Remove knee pad and find out what is moving. Check the universal joint pinch bolts.
 

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steering column bushings are the problem most likely !

What you've got is fairly commonplace on SRS/airbag cars.

The advice above applies to the cars pre-airbag, but in 1990, yours is a bit different. There are bushings (rubber) and bearings (roller on the top and needle on the bottom) within your steering column assembly. One on top just under the steering wheel that you can get to without pulling the knee bolster. The other's down at the bottom of the gold colored steering column assembly, right next to where the 2 return springs for clutch + brake connect. You can get to all without dropping the bolster, but the bottom one's a b%&ch.

What happens on these early SRS cars (90-93) is that the rubber bushings wear, or the bearings fail, and you get up/down/side/side movement of the wheel. You can replace them.. parts aren't that expensive. For mine I got:

UPPER PORTION (this is likely your problem, this is cut & paste from my worksheet - note the 4 different parts you need to order.
Noticed steering wheel vertical play. Diagnosed as worn out steering column bushings causing movement in steering column, and airbag clockspring to fail. Ordered: Ballbearing Upper 4903985, Bushing 8972374, Rubber Ring 8950172, Lock Ring 8954281. Replaced clockspring with known good unit. Need to have Saab shop reset SRS light.


LOWER PORTION (note: this I relized was bad b/c I found little needle bearing pieces on my drivers floormat one day, and heard crunching noises)
8936164 (rubber/metal needle bearing)
8947988 (plastic sleeve bearing)


And it completely fixed my problems (on my 90SPG, same car as you). Do a search for Clockspring on these boards... so you can learn how to safely remove and replace the airbag and the clockspring (basically a contact unit that allows both horn and airbag to work as you turn the wheel from side to side)

It's less likely, but possible, that the 2 bolts holding hte column up to the dash support are loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since the bushing are most likely worn, I don't have any risk of my steering wheel falling off do I? It doesn't seem to be that big of a problem; and I've never had an airbag light come on. I was just thinking, wouldn't that suck if my airbag deployed while driving down the road- that would end in a bad day.:confused:
 

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saab900turboguy said:
Since the bushing are most likely worn, I don't have any risk of my steering wheel falling off do I? It doesn't seem to be that big of a problem; and I've never had an airbag light come on. I was just thinking, wouldn't that suck if my airbag deployed while driving down the road- that would end in a bad day.:confused:
I doubt the steering wheel will fall off. If it does, simply put it back in place and push down. If you're worried about the airbag though, and possibly rightly so, pull the airbag fuse, that should mostly disable it.
 

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saab900turboguy said:
My steering wheel seems to be loose. It moves up and down and side to side about a quater of an inch. I Checked it out and the steering wheel is not moving ont he column it seems like the entire thing is moving. And also i have to add power steering fluid once a month from the add line to the full line so i have a slow leak. Any ideas on the steering column and the leak???
It could be the whole collapsible steering column assembly that's loose (rare!), or the steering rack mounting bushes worn (very likely given the environment they're in), or a bit less rare could be a loose/worn coupler between the pinion shaft of the steering rack and the steering column shaft. Before investigating any of that though check that the steering wheel itself is properly secured to the splined end of the steering column shaft.

Any significant play or movement in the steering column shaft should be investigated as it's a potential safety hazard. The collapsible steering column assembly (shaft and the metal 'cage') attaches to the car in two places - two bolts joining it to the big formed steel bar providing support for the dash and also bracing between the mid-point of each A-pillar, and two bolts at the firewall.

If the steering rack mounting bushes are worn/decayed they can be replaced (I think it can be done with the rack in the car but it migh tbe easier of the rack is removed to a bench first). To check for worn mounting bushes or a worn/loose coupler between pinion shaft and steering column, you need another person so someone can wiggle/move/pull/push on the steering wheel while the other person watches what the steering rack, etc. does down behind the engine.

As for the leak, that probably means the seals are in need of replacement. There are seals in the pinion housing itself, and at either end of the main horizontal chamber. The seals for the main chamber are replacable (kits often come up on Ebay) though I haven't tackled the job myself.

If the pinion housing seals are leaking, the rack needs to come out of the car. It could mean the rack has to be replaced with a remanufactured one or the rack from your car repaired. There are two versions of the racks - earlier ones have a cast aluminium pinion housing and later ones (1990+ I think) have a cast steel pinion housing. The earlier housings wear faster because the metal is softer. But that doesn't automatically mean an earlier-style rack will be worse off since it depends on how much use, how well the power steering system esp. the fluid has been looked after, etc.

Good luck solving the problem!

Craig.
 
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