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TheRecklessEngineer

What's wrong with my steering?

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For a while now I've been pondering the incredibly poor lock I have on my series.

At full lock, it is the steering box (not the relay, the thing from the column to the first arm) that gets to its limit of travel. The stops on the wheels have a good clearance.

So how can I adjust the steering box to give more movement? The manual makes no mention of any adjustment, and I can't see anything obvious either. Or have I got something bolted on backwards? :D

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Is it the same for right & left lock, or just one of them?

IIRC there is no adjustment in the box, just the lock stops at the wheels.

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If the upper & lower relay arms are different length and if you have them the wrong way round that will give a problem. The upper arm is straighter than the lower, which is offset.

If the track and steering rods are incorrectly set that would give unequal lock side to side.

Have you got the manual, send me a PM if not. ;)

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Just double checked everything.

It's all as the manual states, but the box is definitely the culprit. The manual doesn't show what's in the box - just the worm on the end of the column.

Is it possible for something to be set up incorrectly inside? How many turns should there be from lock-lock on the wheel?

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Not sure about number of turns.

Bear in mind the lock is poor anyway due to UJs being fitted in the swivels rather than CV joints. Could be it's not hitting the lockstops because they are maladjusted or missing?

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True, I'm not expecting anything great, but this is really quite shocking. Tackling a roundabout is difficult, and a mini one takes a 3 point turn - even with the most optimistic of entry angles.

The lock stops are present, but there's about 25mm between the end of the bolt and the flange on the axles.

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IIRC theres almost 2,5 turns from lock to lock, but I could well remember wrongly though! If you are not absolutely sure its the steering box, why not count the turns and compare it to another series? Bar a OneTon and the Series 1 they should all have the same count. Surely there must be another Series truck around, they seem to be everywhere in the UK :D

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..From memory its 4 turns lock to lock for a S111 . At centre the arm on the steering box should be at 6 o'clock, the top arm on the relay should be at 90deg to chassis rails and the angle between top and bottom arm is about 85deg.

It sounds like you may have a stray ball :ph34r: that has dropped out of the ball track ? :blink:

When its all good you should be able to rub tyres on the springs at the back of the spring and the lock stops wound back/cut off

Are the swivel brgs/bushs all good?

cheers

Steveb

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Thanks for the replies chaps.

How far away from the chassis is the rear edge of the wheel on full lock?

A long way - certainly no where near enough to start rubbing.

..From memory its 4 turns lock to lock for a S111 . At centre the arm on the steering box should be at 6 o'clock, the top arm on the relay should be at 90deg to chassis rails and the angle between top and bottom arm is about 85deg.

It sounds like you may have a stray ball :ph34r: that has dropped out of the ball track ? :blink:

Are the swivel brgs/bushs all good?

Yup - all set up correctly (81 degrees rather than 85 :P ) and yes, all bearings/bushes are good.

A stray ball sounds just like what this might be.

I think I'm going to be pulling the box apart. Just what I don't want to be doing in the snow - I might leave it a few months until it warms up. :angry:

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Three point turns on a mini-roundabout doesn't sound all that unusual, to be honest. With the steering rods removed, you should get about 3.5 turns on the steering wheel from lock to lock. That is enough on mine to get the swivels to hit the stop locks with the stop bolts removes and ordinary bolts fitted, so if you have less wheel turns available or can't get the swivels eal retaining bolts to hit the stops, you have a restriction somewhere. Incorrect rod lengths, like too short a longitudinal rod and too long a drag link (or vice versa) could cause the problems you have.

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Thanks for the replies chaps.

A long way - certainly no where near enough to start rubbing.

Yup - all set up correctly (81 degrees rather than 85 :P ) and yes, all bearings/bushes are good.

A stray ball sounds just like what this might be.

I think I'm going to be pulling the box apart. Just what I don't want to be doing in the snow - I might leave it a few months until it warms up. :angry:

You don't want to take the steering box apart....

There is no way of reassembling it and getting the balls back in the upper and lower bearings (they are not caged balls) with the box on the vehicle. You can remove the side plate - it is doweled to the ally case so does just lift off - to see inside. Under no circumstances remove the small square cover at the end of the box or the casting that the steering tube fits into at the top of the box. If you remove either of them the balls will come out of the upper and lower races.

I would jack up the front axle and disconnect the lower arm from the steering relay. That way you can see if the track rod linking the 2 swivels and the swivels themseleves move over full travel and that you don't have a siezed track rod at that end.

With the lower arm on the relay still disconnected, turn the steering wheel from lock to lock to check the steering box arm moves over full travel and that the track rod ends on the steering rod that runs above the RHS chassis rail are all ok.

Next slacken the lock nut on the side plate of the steering box and adjust the square shaft so that there is free and smooth travel over the entire movement range of the box.

That should sort it out - only start dismantling the steerbox as a last resort - I have rebuilt one but it is not easy and will test your patience.

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Incorrect rod lengths, like too short a longitudinal rod and too long a drag link (or vice versa) could cause the problems you have.

Could you explain this a little more? I'm trying to imagine it, but in my head, if I was to lengthen the longitudinal rod then the effect will be to move the drop arm rather than anything else.

You don't want to take the steering box apart....

I would jack up the front axle and disconnect the lower arm from the steering relay. That way you can see if the track rod linking the 2 swivels and the swivels themseleves move over full travel and that you don't have a siezed track rod at that end.

With the lower arm on the relay still disconnected, turn the steering wheel from lock to lock to check the steering box arm moves over full travel and that the track rod ends on the steering rod that runs above the RHS chassis rail are all ok.

Next slacken the lock nut on the side plate of the steering box and adjust the square shaft so that there is free and smooth travel over the entire movement range of the box.

That should sort it out - only start dismantling the steerbox as a last resort - I have rebuilt one but it is not easy and will test your patience.

Thanks for that Simon. I can confirm that without the drop arm connected, the wheels will turn to the lock stops on the swivel without restriction.

I have adjusted the box for backlash too.

When I first got the vehicle (£50 and in horrendous shape) the steering was *very* lopsided. She'd turn left to the lock stops, but not very far to the right at all.

Since then, she's had a rebuild - when I set up the steering, I roughly set the tracking then centred everything and then adjusted the box/relay link, and longitudinal link to suit. All with new TREs. The tracking was then checked and found to be spot on.

This makes me think along the lines of a lost ball in the box as I think this would initially cause lopsided steering - since straightened up during the rebuild, but of course lacking the full range of travel.

I still haven't counted the turns on the wheel, but I have a feeling its less than 3.5.

I'm looking with increasing eagerness at the Discovery steering box/column assembly sat in the corner of my workshop... :ph34r:

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Is it a Series 3? I ask as if its a Series 1 with the worm and nut box it may be possible that the relay top arm and the steering box drop arm have been swapped. This CANNOT happen on a S3 as the S3 drop arm is secured by a nut and the S1 drop arm by a pinch bolt which fits into a groove in the splined shaft like the relay arm.

Series 2 and I think S1 88 / 109in or with the recirculating ball box will be the same as S3.

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This probaly a pointless question but it did happen to me :unsure:

Do you have swivel gaiters fitted?

I once put gaiters on my swivels, then took them off as I lost my steering lock due to the gaiters bunching up.

Marc.

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Drop the side plate off the s/box to check that there is not a foriegn body lurking inside that is limiting the nut travel on the worm, as that would explain the original lop sided steering.

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check the pittman arm has been put on the steering box correctly, with road wheels straight ahead remove pittman arm from steering box, turn steering box tillit stops then count turns back to other stop then at the halfway point refit pittman arm

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If you wind out the longitudinal link this will create a lop sided steering, you will have to compensate for this by recentering the drop arm and/or idler arm this will give you more travel and may restore your turning radius. It is possible that a bodger tried to sort the steering by winding in the link to try to allign the steering instead of setting up the drop or idler arm.

If you suspect the steering has been messed with, it is worth taking down all the links, disassemble the ball joints from the shafts and check that they are the right ones for your axle. I remember (vaguely from 6 years ago when I sorted mine) that some ball joints have tapers on the L and R threads, they are not interchangeable and a taper to a parallel link can cause thread fretting. Not a good prospect if your ball joint drops out of the shaft.

PS I have found this method to set the tracking after work without the services of a special tool.

Get a length of plastic conduit about 15mm, insert a smaller diameter wooden dowel about a foot long into the plastic tube. Pack it out with a couple of rings of insulating tape if necessary to get a good sliding fit. Cut the plastic to length so that it will fit across the chassis between the fronts of the rims with the dowel free to move in and out. Nail a panel pin into the dowel about 2" from the end to stop it getting lost in the tube!! . Re set your tool at the front of the rims and mark the dowel with a pencil where it enters the conduit and note F (front) next to it. Now repeat at the rear of the rims. Mark again and compare the pencil marks this will give a pretty good indication of your starting point toe in/out. Now adjust the track link and do it again 'till you have got it right. Roll the landie forward a yard and repeat your measurements..... Simples! Now you have a working tool, remove the dowel, glue or nail another length of dowel onto the tube full length, less the length of the measuring dowel. Insert a light compression spring into the space between the two pieces of dowel. Cut a slot in the adjuster end of the plastic for about 2" stopping 1" from the end of the tube. Insert a screw/nail or some form of pin through the slot, into the sliding dowel so it cannot fly out across the workshop. Now you will have a spring loaded tracking tool which will stay in place while you set up the link.

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I've got a few spare days on my hands so I figured I'd fit the power steering box I've been meaning to fit for about a year now.

On disassembly, I found the problem:

post-1194-0-40300300-1295217157_thumb.jpg

I'm somewhat glad I've decided to ditch the lot!

Yet another 'Fitting power steering to a series' thread coming up...

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That's what massively oversized or offset tyres will do, eventually. Another cause is people over-tightening the adjuster when trying to remove slop.

Wouldn't replacing the rocker shaft be a lot quicker, easier and cheaper than fitting PAS? Remember to notify your insurers, as your policy will otherwise be void, and you can expect a higher premium. Some insurers won't touch even basic mods, so check with them first. Flux and NFU are very relaxed about mods, though.

Be warned that any changes to the chassis to accommodate PAS will void the VIN, requiring an SVA check, re-registration and a new VIN and Q plate. If you use a P38 box or a LHD Adwest type fitted outboard to avoid altering the chassis beyond a reinforcing plate and bolt tubes, then this would probably not be regarded as a sufficiently large alteration to lose the VIN.

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I would have thought removing the drop arm and replacing the broken follower would be far easier than trying to fit power steering. You should be able to push the broken idler out by hand once the drop arm is removed from the other end of the shaft. The steering box can remain in situ as can the nut containing the recirculating balls. I would also change the seal which the drop arm shaft passes through.

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Yes, it would be easier to replace the arm...but that means sourcing one.

I've got all the bits for PAS, and as I say, I've been meaning to do this for a while. Amongst other reasons (i.e. I've got several days to kill and need a challenge) my father drives this from time to time, and he has struggled with the series steering - PAS I think will be a worthwhile upgrade.

And yes, I'm well aware of the SVA/Q plate/insurance issues, but thanks for pointing them out. :D

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Hello hello, the SVA police have woken up :ph34r: fitting PAS does not mean a void VIN or a Q-plate or automatic kitten death. I'd also suggest that rantings about SVA etc. are best kicked off in a separate thread before it all descends into the usual bunfight, let's keep this as a technical thread eh?

Repairing it may be a little easier than fitting PAS but you end up with the same old steering afterwards as opposed to much nicer (and potentially safer) PAS.

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FF I think thats why so many of us hold onto our old series vehicles, we enjoy the challenge and at the end of the day we have a nicer vehicle that suites us as individuals.

I'm looking forward to further posts from the wrecklessengineer on how he gets along. .....Lots of technical pictures mate, I will be doing the same conversion this summer. ;)

Todd.

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