Monday, 16 July 2012

Back on the straight and narrow

Shortly before the 2000 Register national in Dorset last month I had investigated a vagueness in the steering on HOE. What I found were signs of deterioration in the rubber coupling at the top of the steering shaft under the bonnet. This shaft joins the steering column to the steering rack and is bespoke to the PAS equipped cars. Chris Witor always attends the National and offers to bring parts orders to the event with him. So along with some other bits and pieces a new rubber coupling was ordered and duly picked up at the event. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I should have looked at the UJ at the bottom of the shaft too because as soon as I started to dismantle a couple of weeks ago the play was obvious.
This UJ is part of the shaft and unavailable, Chris Witor sells a new version of the shaft complete with a new style of rubber coupling at the top. So this was ordered instead.
Removal is simple enough, two pinch bolts are undone and removed from either end of the shaft and the steering column height adjustment handle is loosened off. I then pulled the column up through the bulkhead using the steering wheel. The first picture shows the rubber coupling with a screwdriver stretching the splits, there were more than I realised as this is the unseen underside of the coupling. 

The next picture shows the old and new improved shafts next to each other.

One plus of the column being out of the bulkhead was that the perished rubber bush that the column passes through could be replaced with a Superflex item. Wear in the old bush is obvious to see in the picture below.

So with the new bush installed and care taken aligning the steering column indicator self-cancelling mechanism (I had set the steering rack dead ahead before dismantling) the top of the shaft was slid on to the coumn and the UJ end slid on to the rack. A bit of pushing and shoving backwards and forwards of the column to allow the pinch bolts to be installed and NEW nylock nuts tightened, the engine was started and the lack of vagueness was obvious. Not a bad hour's work.

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