Tex Gore

Steering Box

14 posts in this topic

Aye up,

I have a bit of a problem with the steering on my Series 3. There is play in the relay, no doubt about it as I can rattle the thing about so that has to be replaced (along with a meatier bottom collar) but there is also too much play in the steering wheel where turning it does nothing at all. The box was tightened up so much that it won't self-centre, and there's still some play, so I suspect both relay and box need sorting.

The relay I will just replace, but the box costs more than I want to pay. I will replace it if that's the thing to do, but what about reconditioning it myself - is that a job for a home workshop? Does that work out cheaper?

Advice gratefully received,

TG

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You can strip and rebuild them - I've done it. Gaskets, etc are available from the usual suppliers, and the rest is just ball bearings. The only problem you may have is the end of the steering shaft, which has the upper bearing track as part of it. If this is excessively worn or pitted, then it will have to be replaced, and is probably the most expensive part of a rebuild.

Les.

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Steering boxes last well which means there's a plentiful supply of second hand ones - especially for S3 with the locking tongue. First I'd have a look for a good used one - just be a little careful over the type which means looking at wheel fastening (secured by pinch bolt or nut, securing bolt size (old ones are smaller) and column length (again older ones can vary.)

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The bearings and gaskets are cheap, but the inner column and rocker shaft are pretty expensive new. It's also quite a fiddly job reaming the bush for the rocker shaft and fitting its o-ring retainer (have a look on my blog for the steering box build up). I used the old rocker shaft as a reaming tool, which seemed to work pretty well.

You may find, though, that the steering box is OK and the drop arm is slightly loose on the rocker shaft splines, remedied by tightening the big nut as much as you can. I find the relay arms become loose too, especially the lower one, and that can be taken up with tightening the pinch bolts. You would be amazed at how much slop a small amount of spline play causes. Check the rod ends and swivel pins/bearings, and also look for differential movement between the steering arms and their swivel housings - I had to replace the four studs for the steering arms as they had a small amount of movement relative to the swivel housing. It all adds up very quickly to a lot of play and might save refurbishing a box that may actually be alright.

Also be aware that steering boxes are sloppy when off centre - the way their internal mechanism works creates increasing free play towards each lend of the lock, so only look at the play and adjustment when you know the steering box is at its midpoint (not necessarily the point where the steering wheel or road wheels are straight ahead) - you need to disconnect the longitudinal link to the relay and rotate the steering wheel from lock to lock, counting the turns, and then rotate it back half the turns to find the mid position; set the adjustment from there and reset the rods and steering wheel to suit.

You have my number, so call me if you want to talk through it. I also have a spare box, but it's missing the outer column and feels gritty inside, so I can't vouch for its condition.

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Thanks everyone - and especially Snagger for the offer of the chat/part.

BiosBill kindly gave me a box to use, however when I came to do the job I noted that even the smallest movement of the steering wheel moved the drop arm etc. however this did not translate to the wheels. I decided to start with the relay, which although it came out easily (just lifted out - the joys of a galv chassis) was a bit antagonistic about going back in, anyway it's solved the problem. Even with the steering box loosened off again (it was a tight as it would go) the steering is much improved. No 'dead' zone, and no changing direction - the combination of which was somewhat unnerving.

Thanks again

TG

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Tex hope you dont mind me butting in here...I have a question for Snagger,

Snagger I am in the process of getting around to re-building my S111 box but I am worried about the quality of replacement parts,

Just spoke to a well known parts supplier in the Midlands to see where his are from...could be anywhere he said even brit part,

I dont know what worn in mine yet, but my mate has lent me his spare to fit to mine to keep me mobile whilst I do mne,

My symptoms are..needing constant correction when driving, feedback through the steering wheel from potholes...rough surfaces...its a kind of bang/thump,

I have been all through the rest of the sys...track rods are all good swivel are fine with the correct pre-load, the rely is nice and secure,

I can get rid or the wandering and feedback simply by slightly over tightening the steering box adjuster...ie by finger till just snugg as per the book...which still give me my probs and 25mm play at the steering wheel...or if I just tighten the adjuster a bit more with a spanner no more that a 1/8 turn all my probs are gone and the steering is no heavier and the clonking is gone...but I dont want to run it like that in case I increase the wear rate and bugger the box...it is tempting though,

From what I have said what part of my box would you say is worn...and what do we do about getting good parts.

Nick.

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Now I'm confused, I had it in my head that to adjust the steering box you set the wheel straight ahead and turn the square adjuster by hand only till it just nips up,

I got out my green bible today...well it the older one grey ring binder type but a LR book...to make sure and it doesn't say that,

It says..."Screw in the adjuster until the steering wheel backlash is taken up...screw it a further one half flat maximum to allow for lock nut tightening...then tighten the locknut without disturbing the adjusting nut".

Mmmmm how do you guys set them.

Nick.

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Adjust a small amount, turn from lock to lock, adjust again, and so-on until the steering is smooth and there's no play.

Les/

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I agree with what's been said about adjustment - but be a little careful - the worm is cut so that its tight in the centre and slack at the ends - to assist with light steering. This means that there's a slight 'peak' at the centre of the worm and so over adjustment could cause a high spot - which means that the thing won't settle with the wheel in that position.

Just check that all is smooth after adjustment before lowering the vehicle is all that's needed.

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Ok guys so have I got this right...nip up finger tight...then the req amount with a spanner to get rid of the free play.

Nick.

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Interesting thing - I dismantled the old steering relay yesterday to see why it was so bad. Given that I've read posts about how they're full of bullets and plutonium (or something) I did so carefully, however nothing came out - no spring ejecting at approximately the speed of light to blast a hole in my garage roof or anything. I took the plate off both ends, played football with it etc. and nothing at all - carefully looking in I couldn't even see a spring.

I guess this explains why I had very little in the way of steering?

TG

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There should be the steel shaft through the centre, a pair of half-cone shaped 'brake pads' at either end, then in the centre of the shaft is the spring. The centre assembly can be removed by using a jubilee clip to keep one pair of brake cones on the shaft, then tap the assembly out from the other end. The spring isn't mental strong, but it is quite long and will fly off if you just release it, so care is needed as the assembly comes clear of the housing. If the spring, etc isn't there, then I'm not surprised you have a problem with the steering box - the spring presses on the brake cones, which in tun grip the casing - both centreing the shaft and giving steering resistance.

Les.

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There should be the steel shaft through the centre, a pair of half-cone shaped 'brake pads' at either end, then in the centre of the shaft is the spring. The centre assembly can be removed by using a jubilee clip to keep one pair of brake cones on the shaft, then tap the assembly out from the other end. The spring isn't mental strong, but it is quite long and will fly off if you just release it, so care is needed as the assembly comes clear of the housing. If the spring, etc isn't there, then I'm not surprised you have a problem with the steering box - the spring presses on the brake cones, which in tun grip the casing - both centreing the shaft and giving steering resistance.

Les.

Cheers Les - so removing the plates from the ends doesn't automatically release the spring then? I'll have a go at that which you suggested as if I can recondition the box, I guess I can pass it on the keep the LR karma good.

TG

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Tap the shaft from one end until there's enough room to get a jubilee clip on the brake cones that are emerging. You can then tap the shaft further, but once the lower brake cones clear the housing, then the spring will expand, so keep a firm pressure on the shaft as it's anout to leave the housing. The usual faults with this is lack of lubrication, and/or corrosion. All parts needed to rebuild the unit are available seperately.

The first time I did one - the spring whistled past my ear and landed 3-doors away :)

Les.

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