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Stiff Steering


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the steering has been getting gradually worse on my 200tdi, 4 bolt box. turning left is not as bad, but turning right seems produces two points of high resistance.

the pas res. has been leaking which to me suggests pump etc is working hard to overcome the resistance and excess fluid is coming out of the top due to the greater than expected resistance.

jacking it up and removing the wheels i cant turn the wheels from lock to lock (but i am only little!)

remove the front drag link(?) and wheels turn fine lock to lock by hand, with the expected resistance suggesting the preload is fine.

pushing or pulling on the drag link (or which ever one it is) difficult.

damper has been changed - no difference.

i have checked the UJs on the column and they 'seem' fine, that is they seem to rotate no problem, but i havent disconnected them totally to check.

which leaves the box. anyway to test it? can you loosen it off? whats that big nut on the top do?

my intial thoughts were the steering column UJs as the stiffness seems to be in the same place per steering wheel revolution when turning right.

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It may be be a pain, but consider disconnecting all the drag link ball joints and checking that all the joints are free to move. My series steering went very heavy because of a siezed ball joint. I was *very* lucky in that I decided to fix it and it on axle stands working the wheel when the ball joint thread snapped. It would have been a disaster if it had gone while driving.

The steering felt stiff and springy, but easier at some points, the ball joint was turning in the taper on the hub, rather than the socket.

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i have tried it with the drag link disconnected from the passenger side wheel and the wheel is still difficult (or harder than it should be) to turn lock to lock, as the drag link is disconnected i feel this eliminates the ball joint option as that ball joint (the one in the drop arm) is not actually connected to anything other than the drag link with a free end.

i tried taking the damper off (again) which as expected made it easier, but still too stiff

next i tried lossening all the UJ in the steering column which again made it easier but still too stiff.

any other ideas?

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loosen it off? whats that big nut on the top do?

There should be a hex key [screwdriver on older boxes although possibly doesn't overlap with power assist] plus a locknut.

The basic steering adjustment is to make it so that there's less than 5 degrees of free movement on the steering wheel. So, tighter than that could be overtight; as you slacken it you should notice free movement on the steering wheel once it's definitely not tight.

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dont think i need totouch that then if it just does the free play as it was ok before so no reason that it would have got tighter here.

had another play with the column UJ, with them all slack (eg all nuts undone) the steering is def lighter. tomorrow i will try and get them off to check properly.

is there an easy way to do, move them all towards the steering wheel end was the latest i had heard as the PAS box has the shortest spline so best one to remove first.


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Just give the U/Js a good soak in light oil, like 3-in-1, leave it over night, give it another soak in the morning and start turning from lock to lock. You should feel them loosening up.

You don't need the nuts loosened off!

Aso, if your going to the look at the free-play adjustment then make sure the wheels and steering are in the dead-ahead position if you alter it at all. ;)

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pulled the UJ apart this morning and bottom one was kanckered, only moved in one plan, new one duly fitted (£25 blo**dy h*ll) seems better - i say seems as havent taken it out yet.

so now just an alternator bracket to make up, leaks to stop, front suspension to sort out and some dampers for the rear and it will be half finished.

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If you take the pump feed into the box out and redrill the small hole inside the box making it a bit(a few milimeters) bigger then refit the hose that will make the steering much lighter.

I would not recommend it on a road car because the steering on the motorway would be too light but racers do it all the time.


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