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Series 3 Problems


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Bought my first Series 3 1977 88" last weekend.

Restored as a truck cab and looks the part.

Has a 200tdi fitted without the turbo and fan etc

Engine is a sweet as... Wish I could say the same for the steering...

Over 1/4 of a turn of nothing its dangerous to drive at the moment only because of the steering.

I had a look last night in workshop and the was movement of the 2 bolts on the top of the steering relay where it bolts to the cross member.

I packed these out with shims and tightened up this stopped a lot of the movement but not all

I then tried to tighten the steering box at the top but this just made the steering very stiff

So all now points to the relay. I have managed to get hold of a new one for £45.00 coming Monday.

Are these hard to fit and take out anything to watch out for?

Will this solve my problem?

Then its onto - Turbo and Brakes..

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Sounds like a good truck. Get some pics up!

Have you checked all the track rod ends/links and made sure all of the bolts on the arms are done up properly. Mine failed its MOT last year with similar and it was just a case of going over everything and tightening it all up.

I think the relay is pretty easy to get out once you get to it. You may find it easier to get to if you remove the radiator/grill panel. You probably also want some kind of puller to get the arms off (unless they're loose, which may be the problem :) ). I have taken mine out but all of the body work was off so it was quite easy

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one method tried successfully is to remove lower arm , and relay fixing bolts use bottle jack to lift front end of vehicle on bottom of centre shaft of relay . Then get big blowtorch and heat area of relay so its all good and hot , if it doesnt let go even when really hot , then leave it to cool down whilst jacked up , return when cold, and it usually has separated HTSH Sand is quite often the cause , it egts in and packs hard to jam it . I fitted new relay , allows a higher level of heat input , as long as you dont go too mad you should be able to rebuild the old unit .

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Mine has come out OK... yes a bit muddy/rusty was only took a few awkward swings of the sledge to get it moving, then it was jack up, hammer down, jack up hammer down until it was out.

Mine is ex-MoD, so perhaps had better rust proofing...

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The relay is very sensitive to oil - it can go very stiff if its dry. Its oiled through the bolts securing the top cover on - take out 2 - dribble oil in through one - can take ages. Bottom seal can be replaced without taking it out.

Steering arms to the top and bottom of the relay are often loose. Try tightening them. If you're taking the arms off - take the bolts out - they fit in grooves in the relay shaft.

Check the swivels aren't tight. Can sieze or even be assembled too tight.

Whole lot can fail - but its important to find what is wrong as you can end up doing loads of work and speending loads of money and its no better. I bought a LWB (with new MOT) and was so frightened I abandoned it and drove it to my workshop at 6am the next day when no one was around. Ended up with it steering really nicely at all speeds and being surprisingly light - and it cost nothing! except some oil and grease.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a very similar problem with my 1972 88" petrol when i bought it in April this year.

Stiff to steer with a fair amount of freeplay

Steering relay was easy to diagnose, drop the drag link off from the bottom arm and get someone to turn the steering wheel while it is disconnected, if its stiff or lots of play then that narrows it down to the relay or steering box, you can remove the steering box to relay link from the top arm on the steering relay and try again, if its still stiff or there is a fair amount of movement on the wheel without the steering box drop arm moving then the steering box is at fault.

If it all moves freely without any freeplay then drag link or tie rod change required, but do remember dried out or knackered swivel hubs will make it stiff also

I found that the relay was stiff so changed that, removed the top and bottom arms from the relay, lots of wd40 a few persuading tickles with a big hammer and then lifting the vehicle by the bottom shaft of the relay with a trolley jack and further shocking with a hammer and it came out eventually!!

Once replaced it was better, but whilst removing the drag link i found the ball joints were stiff, so I replace the drag link and the steering tie rod with complete heavy duty items from Paddocks, problem solved!

Reset the tracking with a tape measure but found that the steering was reluctant to self centre, so while it was being MOT'd got the garage to set the wheel alignment and its great now..

hopefully you can sort it easily and enjoy the driving experience as it should be..


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If you have tightened the steering box adjustment, loosen it off again before you cause damage - the inner adjustment stud should only be done up finger tight or you'll damage a lot of internal components. This should be set with the steering in the straight-ahead position, as the mechanism become slacker the nearer to full lock you get, and adjusting there would result in it being too tight in the straight position.

Slop occurs in the box, the relay, loose steering arms (from loose pinch bolts or worn splines), worn rod ends, worn swivel pins/bearings and worn studs securing the bottom pin/steering arm assembly to the swivel housings (allowing the arm to move in relation to the swivel housing).

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Steering relay on mine was a piggy to get out!

Jacked front wheels off the ground, with a strop around the jack and cross member also and pumped the jack till I could no longer move the handle. Used the head of a pick axe shoved into a 6 foot scaff bar as a really big pry bar, and beat the **** out of the relay with a sledge hammer. After two days of fighting it finally came out.

It would actually have been an easier job to replace the front crossmember and leave the relay in it!


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So all now points to the relay. I have managed to get hold of a new one for £45.00 coming Monday.

If it's £45 and is either no brand or comes in a blue box, I would be quite wary - I've read some horror stories about cheap pattern part steering components..

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