Hey, Thanx for all the responses!
This is a great board!
1) Yep, if it were a balljoint, strut bearing or another suspension component, it'd be stiff both ways.
2) Lucas P/S Restorer IS great stuff, helped a lot in my van..but not in this car..not so far.
My van's P/S fluid was also grey (before I drained, flushed, refilled & bled). I asked the former owner what fluid he put in it & he said "The bottle said "Power Steering Fluid- works in all cars". Well, one size does NOT fit all- Both my van AND this Fairmont call for Type F Trans Fluid in the Power Steering systems.
3) '81 Fairmonts are indeed Rack & Pinion Steering-
there's no conventional steering box.
Seems I will need a Rack.
You know, I've had 4 cars so far w/ Rack & Pinion Steering (3 power, 1 manual). TWO of them (both w/ P/S) have needed new racks.
Conversely, I've had over 30 cars w/ conventional, old-style (non-rack) Power Steering..
NONE of them ever needed a box or pump replaced, and MOST of 'em were AT LEAST 20 OR MORE years old and had well over 100K on 'em when I got 'em.
Rack and Pinions are JUNK! Cheap, weak and generally inferior designs, much like the cars equipped with them.
There's a very good reason cars used essentially the same Power Steering systems (designed in the 1950's) for over 30 years..THEY WORK WELL AND THEY LAST DAMN NEAR FOREVER!
Long live old-school Detroit Iron!
[ November 04, 2002: Message edited by: Hot Roddin' Rocko ]</p>