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Drop arm position on a 1989 110


reb78
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The vehicle was originally a 1989 110 TD and the steering is original. Now, when driving in a straight line, the steering wheel is slightly (45 degrees) to the right. The indicator stalk has been changed in the past (this may matter). I am going to get a Moto Lita steering wheel (xmas pressie) and want to work out how to install it so that it sits centrally in the straight ahead position, so i need to know how to work out if the steering wheel is currently out because it was put back on wonky when the indicator stalk was changed or if someone has fiddled with the length of the drag link in the past. Can i tell this from the direction the drop arm points in at the straight ahead position? Should the drop arm be facing forward at exactly 90 degrees to the front of the truck. The other option is to work out number of turns lock to lock and halve it, but i wondered if there was another way of doing it.

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If I remember - the drop arm will have a slot in the back which lines up with a hole in the body of the steering box - its threaded so that it can be locked with a bolt. I replaced my 'swan' arm with the straight discovery one and that definitely has the locating tabs.

Some of the steering shafts / columns can be split and rotated on their splines - others seems to have only one position due to either a large locating spline or the locking bolt cut out.

I'd centre the steering arm and see how the wheels line up at that - if they are out centre them with the drag link. If the steering wheel isn't then square, check to see if you can adjust it with the steering shafts - if not then take the wheel off and centre it that way.

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If I remember - the drop arm will have a slot in the back which lines up with a hole in the body of the steering box - its threaded so that it can be locked with a bolt

Correct But I didn't realise it is threaded, recently replaced my leaking 6 bolt with a 4 bolt/drop arm, in the steering section of workshop manual it gives info on centralising the steering box, then with it set at central/straight ahead, reset the steering column/wheel, my steering wheel upper column is about 40degree off to the right, must reset soon.

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Thanks both. I dont think the drop arm has not been off the truck, so AFAIK its position is correct. My guess is that the wheel was not replaced in to original position when the indicator stalk was changed, so i was just wondering how best to confirm that before replacing the steering wheel. I.e. do i replace the wheel in its current off centre position or do i put the steering straight ahead, remove the old wheel and place the new wheen on centred?

Ralph, i had a look in my manual last night, but couldnt find the section. Do you have a page number?

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Reb

The bottom paragraph on my post details how I'd go about determining if your wheel needs aligning and what adjustments I'd make.

When you say centre the steering arm, do you mean have the arm pointing straight ahead from the vehicle?

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Newer steering boxs and arms have a hole & slot that align when at the straight-ahead position. The drop arm will be sllightly to the right as it has to be parallel to the steering arm on the LHS knuckle. IIRC the manual says to centre and older steering box you drop the drag link off, turn all the way to the left then put the wheel on. 2 turns to the right is the centre of the box, even though it doesn't go 4 turns lock to lock.

With the drag link back on it won't go anywhere near as far.

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Well, had a look this weekend. No slot in the arm or box unfortunately, so i'll use the method described by Range Rover Blues to centre it. I cant find that in my manual anywhere - i'm not questioning it, i'm just wondering why its not in my manual! I'll do it whan i get the new steering wheel so i can remove the old one and fit the new one in the same process. The steering box is one of the six bolt ones IIRC.

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Found a couple of links after having a search. Effectivley the same as Range Rover Blues above, except, Les has said that the drop arm should point straight ahead when the wheels are straight ahead. My drop arm does sit a little to the right and the wheel is also to the right.

Are there any markings on the steering column UJs for alignment purposes? Or master splines preventing misalignment?

Sorry for all the questions, i just want to make sure i set it up correctly.

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Are there any markings on the steering column UJs for alignment purposes? Or master splines preventing misalignment?

I haven't found any, I just disconnect the column UJ's & with steering box set straight ahead & steering wheel set straight, reconnect as you go, the column sections & steering box input shaft have flats for the bolts to pass over/through the UJ's so get those right too.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry to raise this again, but i'm struggling to get this setup correctly!

There is no slot on the drop arm and no alignment marks or tabs on the column at all.

Lock to lock, the wheel turns 3 3/4 turns (not the 3 1/2 mentioned elsewhere in the forum). Setting the mid point at 1 7/8 from either lock leaves the wheels pointing to the left side. I thought, ok, i'll adjust (shorten) the drag link, but on looking, there are virtually no threads left to screw it in. It is 923mm in length (TRE centre point - to TRE centre point) and Ralphs guide elsewhere says that 924mm is the length to set to to get it roughly right. I need to shorten it further if the wheel is centred, so the wheel cant be centred as it is!

Next step will be to check the centre point as Range Rover Blues suggests above, but just a quick question - do you just drop the drag link off, or do you need to disconnect the steering damper to do this properly? I cant find any reference to it in my manual!

I suspect after all this faffing, i will find that the centre point is just straight ahead and removing and replacing the steering wheel will sort it, and i never needed to hassle anyone on here about it in the first place!!

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Based on your original post about the position of the wheel and the results of your lock-to-lock/2 exercise, I'd wager the drop arm is installed off center. As I recall the centering slot is on the hub of the arm, a couple of little "ears" poke off the rear side of the hub. Are you certain the arm on your truck hasn't got that?

You'll want to disconnect the drag link and then remove the drop arm. Removing the drop arm can be a bugger; they are tight under the best of circumstances and a few years of road salt and rust will make it seem like welding it on would be redundant. If it's really stuck, pick up a replacement drop arm/ball joint and use a cutting wheel to trim the existing arm at the hub to the point that you can split it with a chisel.

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Dont bother removing the drop arm-it can only be fitted in one of 4 ways-the splines on the steering box ouput shaft have 4 thicker splines set at 90 degrees to each other so you can only fit the drop arm in 4 positions-only one of which will be pointing anywhere near correct-the other 3 are 90,180, 270 degrees out if you know what I mean.

The 4 bolt/Discovery drop arm I fitted to my Defender have the two small 'ears' on the rear of the drop arm which does indeed line up with a hole in the steering box casing, however my original 6 bolt box and Defender arm dont have anything to help alignment.

I used the 2turns from full lock setting with the drag link centres at roughly 924mm IIRC as per the manual. The steering shaft sorts itself out as you can only fit the UJ's where the fixing bolt hole corresponds with the flats on the steering box/shaft. Remove the steering wheel and fit so its central whilst driving in a straight line. Worked for me.

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It's been a while since I did any steering work, but I don't think the drop arm does point straight ahead when the steering is centered.

I may be a bit thick on this, but from what I read in the OP's info, when the steering box is centered (halfway between L and R lock), his wheels point left. This means when the wheels point straight, he has fewer turns to right lock than to left lock. If the drag link is fully shortened (which pulls the left front wheel to the right, and through the tie rod the right front wheel follows), then the only thing that can be causing the wheels to point left with the steering centered is the drop arm is in the wrong position. Correct?

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assuming that when you drive in a straight line the vehicle doesn't pull to either side,and that you have an equal amount of turn both left and right,I would say your steering is aligned...on the drop arm(RTC6398 on your vehicle),there are master splines which prevent you from putting it on the steering box threaded shaft wrongly.As you can see on mine,the drop arm faces the offside of the vehicle,yet it is perfectly centred and my steering is properly aligned.

P1010845.jpg

P1010844.jpg

As rangeroverblues said,it will face to the right as it sits parallel to the steering knuckle joint.If the total measurement for the draglink is accurate(ish),point the roadwheels straight ahead,take off yer steering wheel and put it back on straight... :)

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I may be a bit thick on this, but from what I read in the OP's info, when the steering box is centered (halfway between L and R lock), his wheels point left.

Sorry TS888, you arent being thick, my description was poor. My wheels point marginally to the left (i.e. just off straight ahead) when i have the wheel 'centred' by setting halfway between lock to lock. I re-read my post and it was a bit misleading and read like they were almost on left lock.

From reading everyone elses posts above, it sounds most likely that the wheel has been removed and not replaced quite right (i know the indicator arm/switch was changed when my mother owned the landy). It is not far off and i'm probably making a fuss about nothing, but just wanted to check it was centred properly! My drop arm is almost exactly in the same position as voevods when at straight ahead.

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Checked the wheel with the drag link disconnected at the weekend. It looks like it has been centred at two turns from full right lock. If i do it from the left lock as described above, i would be unable to shorten the drag link enough to be travelling straight at that wheel setting.

I'm now going to remove the wheel and replace central as others have said to do! Wish i'd done that in the first place!!

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the most important thing is the drag link length-this ensures the worm and sector arrangement within the PAS box is in the centre of its stroke where the free play is at the minimum, and also the 2 tuns back from full lock setting-providing the lock stops are set as per the manual. The steering shaft/steering wheel positions are of secondary concern as the wheel can be removed and reset to suit.

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At the risk of peeing everyone off with my incessant questions on this thread, i've been having a read and i'm still stuck so please bear with me!!

From this thread and having a read, I understand that the correct way to centre the steering box on a RH drive vehicle is to disconnect the drag link from the drop arm and turn the wheel full to the left lock. Two turns back from this is the centre point. However, at this point, I cannot shorten the drag link enough to re-fit it at this position and keep the wheels in the straight ahead position - there is about 1/2 a thread showing at the TRE (where it joins the swivel housing) and none at all showing at the steering damper/drop arm end. The length of the drag link is 923mm from the centres of the TREs (nominal setting for initial setup is 924mm in Rave).

Strangely, 2 turns back from full right lock seems to be exactly where the wheels are in the straight ahead position, but this is the method to centre the box for a left hand drive system!

What am i doing wrong?! The drag link is original as far as i know, although i hear that the disco ones are longer, but with the length of 923mm above this seems like it should be correct. Any ideas on how to proceed to centralise the box properly? Does anyone know what the standard length of the 110 drag link tube is (- the one fitted with the swan neck drop arm)? With the drag link disconnected from the drop arm (so this includes disconnecting the steering damper), i seem to have about 4 1/2 turns lock to lock however, my manual suggests this should be nearer 3 3/4 turns - so is there something wrong here? Its a 6 bolt Gemmer box i beleive.

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