Well seeing how both my color carts died I ordered two new ones while we were trying to figure this problem out and today they showed up.
I put one of my old ones in the 960 mom gave me and exactly the same problem so now I figured maybe the carts have a issue. Put the new one in the 960 and printed a pretty nice test page so I put it in my 990 and now the black text is fine again. I guess the color carts DO overlay exactly with the black and if they are slightly messed up you get the wide text and offset color text I was getting.
I really didn't want to have to replace it because of all the working special features it has so a happy camper again. The cart I was using had worked just fine for a while, no text problems, and suddenly all these issues cropped up so I didn't think it could have been suddenly bad but it was.
I guess if you have a older HP printer that suddenly prints fat or off set color on the text try a known good cart first just in case.