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Old 06-24-2011, 07:07 PM   #1
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Steering problem

I have had two problems with the power steering on my 2004 RX-8.

The first problem occurred in Feb 2009 when the car had 62,860 miles. The power steering light was on and the steering was stiff both ways. My invoice says that the technician soldered the connection at the short cord and at the torque sensor. A fault code isnít listed on the invoice.

The second problem started occurring a few days ago, and the vehicle now has 87,292 miles. The steering wheel intermittently pulls sharply to the left by itself. It has done this while the vehicle is moving and when stopped at a traffic light. I have to keep a very firm hold on the steering wheel to maintain control of the car if it does this while moving. The movement while stopped isnít minor; the wheel turned what seemed like 180 degrees while stopped at a traffic light yesterday.

I took the car to the same dealer that worked on the first time. They found fault code B2278 but could not isolate the problem. They cleared the fault codes and said the steering was fine during their test drive. They said if it did it again they would have to replace the steering rack at a cost of over $2,000. I decided not to replace the rack to see if the problem went away, but it came back on my trip home from the dealer.

I started doing some research and came across this fine web site full of very helpful and knowledgeable folks. So here I am posting to see if anyone has any ideas. I also came across a site that describes the procedure that a technician should go through for fault code B2278. Here is a link. http://foxed.ca/rx7manual/2003mazdarx8/esicont/en/srvc/html/BHE060201038W06.html Surely the technician at the dealer did this. Is the steering gear and linkage described in the bulletin a $2,000+ job or maybe I heard the service advisor wrong. Or is the rack another name for the steering gear and linkage?

I should also note that the power steering did not work the other day when I started the car, and the power steering light came on. I restarted the car and it was fine. So I am also wondering if the B2278 code was stored because of that one incident and it isn't related to the pulling left issue.

Thanks very much.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:10 AM   #2
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Hi. There are a couple of threads about this issue with a lots of helpful fix-tips, although these seems to be more by trial and error. I have had trouble with my power steering for long time but it hasn't been with so huge effect. Tried a lot of stuff: changed the harness and installed a long small hose all the way down for the coolant reservoir drain, eliminated the sensor conector and soldered the wires, discarding what appears to be one of the biggest causes, eliminated also the power steering conector of the power wires doing a direct connection, cleaned and lubricated all other connectors, and so on. While for some people here this have been enough to solve the issue, in my case the problem still persist and so far, I have lived with it.

Anyway, have checked the prices of the parts (OEM) for reference in web sites such as mazda-parts.com and onlinemazdaparts.com and have found the rack and pinion in about $1,300 and the electronic module in about $750. Also checked remanufactured rack and pinion in about $600 (e-bay) and locally where I live in PR in about $400. In my opinion regarding the remanufactured option, the big issue is warranty and that it might be a little bit risky for an part critical to safe handling.

It would be good to know if someone has installed one of these remanufactured power steering rack & pinion and how has been the experience in terms of reliability.
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Old 07-02-2011, 12:02 AM   #3
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Steering issue resolved for $2,500

Thank you for the information and reply, japlaza787. The power steering light came on when I started the car earlier this week and it would not go out. I had no power assist at all so took the car back to the dealer. They said the only option was to replace the steering rack because they had previously soldered all the connectors and they looked good. The service advisor admitted that the torque sensor may have been bad, but said Mazda doesn't sell it as a stand alone part - you have to replace the entire steering gear and linkage. I thought about buying a remanufactured part on ebay, but in addition to the issue with the warranty that you mentioned, it was a problem finding someone to install it That type of job is way beyond my capability. So, I plunked down the $2,500 and had the dealer replace the rack. My car now has a new engine that was replaced under warranty and a new steering rack. The last major part that could go out is the transmission and I have been told that it isn't a high failure part in the RX-8. Let's hope they are right. I want to get at least 4 more years out of my car without another major repair bill. Thanks again and best wishes.
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Old 03-15-2014, 05:49 AM   #4
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i also have problems with my rx8 steering. It started as above pulling to the left and sometimes was difficult to steer.I have seen the thread on here about disconnecting cleaning and oiling the terminals.This was followed step by step and now i have no steering at all......any ideas ???
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Old 03-15-2014, 01:34 PM   #5
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Hi kazikay,

Where did you put the oil, and what type of oil did you use? It isn't a good idea to get oil on the electrical contacts. If you got oil on the contacts, I recommend cleaning them with alcohol and a brush. Oil could act as an insulator and create an open circuit, or at a minimum, limit the current flow through the connectors so they don't work properly.

Sadly, my RX-8 was retired due to an accident. I got sandwiched between two cars and my insurance company totaled it. Nothing got injured except my poor car, and I sure do miss it!
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:28 PM   #6
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just been informed i need a new steering rack.........i didnt mean oiled them....my mechanic used grease on them as stated in a previous post x
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:44 AM   #7
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oiled ? lol

ok grease ... but it will not help buddy ... I seen enough
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:44 AM
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