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What exactly makes up "Magnasteer"?


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So one of my items on the "need to fix" board is the 2004 Grand Prix GTP, which is currently sidelined due to a pinhole leak in one of the power steering lines. Not the lines to the rack, but one of the steel lines ON the rack... which I have found that nobody actually makes replacements for.

Not wanting to pay for a new rack when this one is otherwise fine, and not wanting to drop the frame to swap out a rack, I have been investigating other ideas...

The 2004 apparently has "Magnasteer II". Earlier models had just "Magnasteer". However, when I source parts (from Rock Auto, for example) the note that RPO NV8 (Magnasteer) and NV7 (variable assist) use the same rack unit. I have also found that some racks replace just "Magnasteer II" cars, but others replace all Magnasteer cars.

From my understanding of what Magnasteer is, all the magic is happening in the rack unit, with a pigtail that connects to some sort of computer. But if all the special parts are in the rack, then why would both RPO NV8 (Magnasteer) and NV7 (variable assist) use the same part?

In the meantime, I'd just like to get my hands on a broken rack that has a leak free line to swap onto my rack, as I believe the line is the same regardless if the rack is NV7, NV8 or just standard power steering.

Anyone here have a busted W-body steering rack they wouldn't mind parting out?

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My experience with JB Weld is that it is basically a very tempermental product. If you get the mix just right.... and surface just clean enough.... and shake a dead chicken over it during a full moon, it will work perfectly, outlasting the part it fixes. Otherwise, it will just pop off as some as soon as you start the car.

In this case, I fear that the JB Weld would get too far into the patch and block the line... or the pressure would be too much.

What I really want to do is either put a bit of rubber tubing over it and a hose clamp directly over the area, or cut the line and put a compression fitting in. The problem is that where it has leaked in on the inside of a bend, making it really hard to fit a patch to it.

The big problem is that on a W-body, the rack is just plain old inaccessible. So far, I have not even been able to figure out the size of the nuts holding the line on, as getting a wrench properly on the lines is a no-go. I have stopped at the j-yard several times in search of a line, but have not gotten lucky enough to catch one in a car that was pulled apart.

Plus weather and time have really conspired against me for this repair. Last time I did a full rack swap was back in 1992 (the FWD A-bods were identical to the W-bods in this aspect) and it was awful dropping the subframe. I dread doing this on the Grand Prix, as it lacks really good places to put jackstands... and if you jack it too high/too far back, it likes to see-saw.

I still believe I can swap/repair the line without actually dropping the frame.

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Prep would be key. Pressure should not pop JBW off- they claim you can drill & tap it (I've not tried that claim out).

Not having seen your leak, I would put any sort of chemical mix (like JBW) in a 360-band around that elbow so it adheres to itself.

My problem will be prep, though I suppose I could use some long brushes to clean it up, followed by compressed air. Then application of JB with chop sticks. ;-)

I'm not worried about the strength of the JB Weld itself, I'm worried about the pressure of the power steering breaking the bond between the line and JBW. Power Steering is one of the highest pressure lines on the car... after brakes and possible fuel. Any leakage makes this repair a fail.

Sometimes I wish the rack would have just broken like a normal rack. I would have just gotten a new replacement and dropped frame and felt good about it.

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