1995 Buick Roadmaster steering tug

I drive a 1995 Buick Roadmaster that I purchased from my

father-in-law seven years ago. From the first, driving it

from his home in Florida to my home in New York City, I

was a little uncomfortable with the steering at highway

speeds. It just seemed I had to make almost imperceptible

adjustments constantly to keep it tracking.

I took it to my shop and the mechanic said there was

nothing wrong. I drive the car about 6,000 miles a year on

out-of-town trips about twice a month almost exclusively.

it is perfect for the kind of loads I carry, taking my kids

and their things back and forth to colleges, hauling

provisions to housebound relatives. But I have never been

completely comfortable with the steering at highway


About a year ago on one of those trips, on the New York/New Jersey Palisades Parkway, which has a number of relatively high speed, long curves, the steering wheel seemed to give a little tug

now and then in the middle of some of those curves. I

couldn’t even be sure the car’s steering direction changed,

but I sure could feel the tug as if someone had grabbed

the steering wheel and given it a little yank. I got a good

local mechanic to ride with me and he felt the same thing,

which started a process of changing steering parts that

continues to this day.

I have replaced the serpentine belt, changed out the

steering box, flushed and replaced the power steering,

replaced the tires, replaced the rear shocks. Every

mechanic who looks at it swears the ball joints are not the

problem. The most recent shop to take it on is a Buick

dealer here in Brooklyn who decided that the problem is

the steering dampener, which leaks or sticks or something.

He ordered a replacement but it came in as the wrong part

for my car. Two different steering dampeners were

installed on the 1995 Roadmaster, he said. One is longer

than the other. The part that came in was the long

version, part #88946549. My car needs the short version,

which Buick has discontinued. He couldn’t even give me

the part number. So I went to NAPA and Pep Boys and

auto parts shops on the web and have been told the part

does not exist on my car. My Haynes manual doesn’t show

it, although I can see it clearly and also see it on an

exploded diagram I got from the Buick dealership.

I hate to dump the beautiful and otherwise fine car

because I can’t replace the steering dampener, but I can’t

seem to find anyone who can even identify the part, much

less get a replacement and put it on. Any