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Old 12-02-2002, 08:33 PM   #1
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What is VES?

Had a question for you tech guys. What is Variable Effect Steering (VES) and does it apply to our GAs? I've been having problems with my power steering lately and can't seem to figure out the problem. No leaks, cracks or drips in any of the hoses, power steering pump is full and is pumping correct as far as I could tell, rack and pinion are a-okay but at low speeds occasionally the power steering will go out on me. From what I gather VES is a mechanism controlled by the PCM? I will be replacing the power steering pump within the next 2 weeks even though it seems to be fine but I don't really think that's the problem.

And yes- I checked the tire pressure as well and they're fine.

And no my blinker fluid isn't low.
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Old 12-02-2002, 09:00 PM   #2
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Is VES when you're sliding or whatever and one of the sides starts to brake while the other doesn't to help get the car under control? I think that may be what it does... or that may be something else.
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Old 12-02-2002, 09:03 PM   #3
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Originally posted by Macleod52
Is VES when you're sliding or whatever and one of the sides starts to brake while the other doesn't to help get the car under control? I think that may be what it does... or that may be something else.
No, VES has less steering resistance, or more steering assist, if you will, at slow speeds and more steering resistence or less steering assistance at higher speeds. It is to allow easier manueverability at slow speeds while not having hyper-sensitive steering at high speeds.
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Old 12-03-2002, 03:16 AM   #4
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Thank you peeps! But onto analyzation; could this be the cause of my steering problems at low speeds? And if so- how would I correct it? Is it a mechanical problem or an eletrical PCM problem?
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Old 12-03-2002, 06:15 AM   #5
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If you're still under warranty you should take it to a dealer. They might have to reflash your PCM or maybe change the power steering control module.
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Old 12-03-2002, 12:12 PM   #6
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So it is a mechanical valve controlled by the PCM then? I'm not under warrany anymore (57K+ miles now) so I'd rather not take it to the dealer right away.
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Old 12-03-2002, 12:38 PM   #7
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There are two article in the service manual with respect to the VES:
Variable Effort Steering Actuator Replacement
Steering Wheel Position Sensor Replacement

In the diagnostic information and procedures all they talk about is codes from the system check tool so can't help you here.

Email me if you want more information...

Here's the description of the VES form the Service manual:

Variable Effort Steering Description
The Variable Effort Steering (VES) system varies the driver effort required to steer as vehicle speed changes. At low speeds, the system provides maximum power assist for easy turning and parking maneuvers. At higher speeds, steering assist is decreased to provide the driver with firmer steering (road feel) and directional stability.

The VES system accomplishes this by reducing power steering fluid flow from the pump as vehicle speed increases. When the vehicle is stationary, the system provides maximum flow. As vehicle speed increases, fluid flow is decreased.

Component Description
The VES system is made up of the following special power steering components:

Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM)
Power Steering Pump Actuator
Steering Wheel Position Sensor
Power Rack and Pinion
Power Steering Pump
Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM)


The VES steering system has software contained in the Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM). It processes vehicle speed information from the ABS wheel speed sensors and uses the steering wheel position sensor to provide a control signal to the power steering pump actuator on the power steering pump.

Power Steering Pump Actuator
The power steering pump actuator assembly at the power steering pump discharge fitting contains an electronic variable orifice (EVO) solenoid-operated pintle valve. Fluid leaving the pump passes through an orifice in the actuator tip. When the solenoid is grounded by the EBCM, it moves the pintle into the orifice, reducing power steering fluid flow. As vehicle speed increases, the pintle restricts the orifice proportional to the speed of the vehicle.

(1) Discharge Fitting
(2) O-Ring Seal (Small)
(3) O-Ring Seal (Large)
(4) Power Steering Pump Actuator
(5) Power Steering Pump Actuator Connector Position Clip

Other power steering system components, while specially modified for use with the VES system, are similar to non-VES power steering components.

Steering Wheel Position Sensor
The steering wheel position sensor is an input to the EBCM. The sensor monitors the steering shaft position and the rotational speed.

(1) Lower Spring Retainer
(2) Steering Wheel Speed Sensor
(3) Lower Bearing Spring
(4) Lower Bearing Seat
(5) Adapter and Bearing Assembly
(6) Steering Column Jacket Assembly

Power Rack and Pinion
Except for differences in valve machining, the design of the VES power rack and pinion assembly is the same as a non-VES system. As with non-VES steering, the steering wheel movement is transferred to the pinion; the pinion moves the rack left or right through meshing pinion and rack teeth; the force is then transmitted through the tie rod ends and steering knuckles to steer the wheels.

The power rack and pinion steering system has a rotary control valve which directs hydraulic fluid (from the power steering pump) to one side or the other side of the rack piston. The piston is attached to the rack, and uses hydraulic pressure in order to assist the rack movement left or right. The rotary control valve regulates the degree of assist by responding to the driver's torque input.

If hydraulic assist is not available, manual control is maintained. However, under this condition, more driver steering effort is required.

Power Steering Pump
The standard vane-type pump, which provides hydraulic pressure for the system, incorporates a special discharge fitting to hold the EVO actuator.

Copyright General Motors Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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Old 12-03-2002, 12:39 PM   #8
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Here's something else that might be useful:

Variable Effort Steering System Operation
The variable effort steering (VES) system uses inputs from the ABS wheel speed sensors and steering wheel position sensor to the EBCM to determine the desired amount of power steering assist.

The power steering pump actuator has a pintle that moves in and out of an orifice, regulating power steering fluid flow. The EBCM can change the amount of current flowing through the actuator. If the actuator is disconnected, the pintle will retract out of the orifice for maximum power steering assist.

The EBCM has the ability to detect malfunctions in the steering wheel position sensor, the actuator or the circuitry to those components. Any malfunction detected will cause the power steering assist to remain at maximum with the pintle in its normally retracted position for all speeds.

When the system is operating normally, increasing the vehicle speed will decrease power steering assist, allowing the driver to have improved road feel and directional stability. When the EBCM steering wheel position sensor detects sudden steering maneuvers, the EBCM reduces the actuator current in order to provide maximum steering assist.

Copyright General Motors Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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Old 12-03-2002, 02:32 PM   #9
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Sweet! That's what I was looking for! Now to find out what's wrong with the stupid car...

Thanks a mil Gimli!
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That's why I keep a few black guys around. They really know how to fill my gaping holes. The mini tootsie rolls you asians carry around just come close.
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:09 PM   #10
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did you ever found out? was it the solenoid or the pump?
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:59 PM   #11
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Wow I congratulate you on use of the search function! Lets see if he remembers. My money says pump.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:07 PM   #12
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Wow, almost 7 years old.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:16 AM   #13
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Holy bajeezus.

Anyways, turned out to be a pump problem AFAIK thinking back.
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:18 PM   #14
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bringing up an old thread...I've replaced my power steering about three years ago and now its very tight to turn at low (parking lot) speeds without giving it some gas. I wanna say its the variable assist because i reused it from my old pump. Can anyone tell me if a 2000 grand am 3.4 uses a different pump? i've been looking on ebay and everything will list every year but 2000 The listings for '00 are really expensive compared to the rest. Is this a unique pump compared versus other years or can someone enlighten my on which pumps with variable assist will work for a 2000.

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Old 04-22-2010, 05:24 PM   #15
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or if anyone can give me an answer to removing the need for a fluid pump on my 3500
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:44 PM   #16
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where is aaron when you need him?
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:45 PM   #17
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and i'm pretty sure low blinker fluid is for surely your problem.
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:47 PM   #18
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Well, first off I wouldn't trust any PS pump bought off of ebay. Get one from gmpartsdirect.com. They list several different groupings of years, but it should be the same pump with variable assist for all 3400's from '97 to 2003. You can email them to confirm the correct part number before you order. New pumps are going for $172 shipped. Not too bad. Or you can get a reman from advance auto for $60.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:25 PM   #19
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Im more worried about just the evo part than the pump but I'll check out that website for some more research. Thanks!
Yes my blinker fluids is low, it's getting all over my external crank trigger causing my supercharger to boost more....anyway i was just saying why can't I be special and have drive by wire.
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SikMindz View Post
Had a question for you tech guys. What is Variable Effect Steering (VES) and does it apply to our GAs? I've been having problems with my power steering lately and can't seem to figure out the problem. No leaks, cracks or drips in any of the hoses, power steering pump is full and is pumping correct as far as I could tell, rack and pinion are a-okay but at low speeds occasionally the power steering will go out on me. From what I gather VES is a mechanism controlled by the PCM? I will be replacing the power steering pump within the next 2 weeks even though it seems to be fine but I don't really think that's the problem.

And yes- I checked the tire pressure as well and they're fine.

And no my blinker fluid isn't low.
Take something like a 97 Lumnia for a drive and you will completly understand what VES is.
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