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Rebuilding a steering relay


Retroanaconda
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As part of the ongoing round of jobs I am currently undertaking on my 88" post original rebuild (basically doing the things properly which I rushed beforehand) I decided to oil the steering relay. I poured EP90 in to the top only for it to appear on the workshop floor again the next day :(

I decided to take the relay out and strip it down with a view to re-sealing it. Luckily the chassis only being five years old it came out no problem:

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With the relay on the bench the cause of the leak was clear, the lower plate bolts have obviously come loose at some point and the gap has filled with rust/gunk, allowing the oil to escape. I removed the lower and upper plates, tied an old glove over the bottom end of the relay and drifted the shaft and innard out - the glove catching it all. This was the state of the shaft:

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I am not too concerned about the pitting on the tapers that run on the bushings, but the seal lands are knackered. I believe some shafts (perhaps earlier ones?) had removable distance pieces similar to early stub axles, meaning the seal land could be replaced independently of the shaft. Unfortunately mine is the other type. This leads me to the problem, while I could no doubt restore this shaft with the installation of a couple of speedi-sleeves or similar I do quite like the idea of replacing it with a new one - however Land Rover no longer supply either the shaft (562875) or the relay complete (NRC1269). Aftermarket offerings have a dubious reputation with many reports of shafts shearing off so I have discounted those. Luckily a bit of phoning around has located a new old stock shaft at P.A. Blanchard and I have duly ordered one. It seems the rest of the components inside the relay are still available so I will be able to effect a rebuild.

Looking forward to getting the spring in place, have seen a couple of methods online with home-made tools etc. so we will see how I get on :)

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Looking forward to getting the spring in place, have seen a couple of methods online with home-made tools etc. so we will see how I get on :)

You may have already seen this James, but here's a link to an image of a tool I made http://forums.lr4x4.com/index.php?showtopic=45650&p=422486

Blimey, I just checked, that was 5½ years ago!

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Thanks Mickey. I have seen that thread yes, looks like it would do the job admirably. There is another method detailed here: http://ollr.createaforum.com/technical-archive/how-to-rebuild-a-steering-relay/

The new shaft arrived today, looks OK from inspection on my desk but will have a detailed look at home this evening. I have ordered the rest of the innards for the rebuild which should also hopefully arrive this week.

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Got the rest of the bits for the innards of the relay today:

post-10578-0-40611400-1433522592_thumb.jpg

Reminds me why I dislike mail order; these are all supposed to be genuine Land Rover parts, yet only the seals are in LR bags. The rest could well be genuine, but could quite as easily be aftermarket bits. Still, not a great deal I can do about it now but boy I miss having a local dealer!

These bushes do not have the groove in them that the old ones do, I understand this is to aid lubrication so I may use the old ones instead of these when the time comes to put it back together.

Will hopefully have a go at assembling it this weekend.

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Okay, so the spring compression method in the above link worked fine, I still wore a welding mask while doing it though in case it decided to let go with a bang.

post-10578-0-50149400-1433685281_thumb.jpg post-10578-0-12170300-1433685325_thumb.jpg

Treat compressed spring as a live grenade!

Got the shaft in (took some serious bashing), used the old bushes in the end as I think they're going to let more oil into the surface with that groove in them.

post-10578-0-02447900-1433685462_thumb.jpg post-10578-0-04232600-1433685638_thumb.jpg

Now trying to get lower plate to seal. The "Genuine" (yeah right...) gaskets are so paper thin they are not doing the job, so I'll have to supplement them with some RTV I think.

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Thanks Soren, I'll give that a try.

I can't seem to get the turning force down anywhere near the range required in the manual, seems bloody stiff at the moment which I am hoping is just because of the new parts. It's all full of fresh oil, so ince I've got this bottom plate sealing properly I'll put it in the car and with any luck it will free up as time goes on.

The new spring was a good 3/4" longer than the old one, the latter being too short to meet the acceptable length given in the manual for re-use.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to wrap this up, I used a bit of tube and a hammer to compress the lower bushings inward slightly against the spring which allowed oil onto them and that did the trick for the resistance. It's gone up a bit now I've out the bottom plate on (I presume due to friction with the bronze thrust washer) but still seems OK.

So now back in the car and the steering seems fine - lighter than it was anyway! Will see what it is like once the rest of the body panels are back on and the car is once again mobile.

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Glad you reached a successful conclusion James.

I also recall when I rebuilt my relay (long time since a had a series) it made a huge difference to steering feel, and I was running 265 all terrains.

On reflection, when assembling, it would be beneficial to liberally oil each part as it goes in, especially the cones and their mating faces. Maybe you did this anyway?

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Indeed it was all oiled on assembly, but it took me a good while of faffing about in order to get it assembled and I suppose in that time it probably dried out a bit or the oil drained off while I messed with the spring etc. on the bench.

Looking forward to having a test drive once the wings and rear door are put back on :)

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  • 4 years later...

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