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Northy

Push/pull play in steering wheel

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I’ve been trying to resolve an occasional clunk back up through my steering wheel/dash when hitting bigger bumps. Sounds a bit like a spanner in the glove box but is on the driver side.  It’s also only occasionally and only on some bumps, not all. I think it’s u-joint related, perhaps the one behind the dash hitting the back of the column housing.  Playing with it all earlier I noticed that I probably have about 3mm movement if I push and pull the wheel (not up and down, backwards and forwards). I’ve not really noticed it before. Is this normal? Anyone else experienced this? 

I should add, this has got a bit more noticeable after fitting rack spacers.

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The backwards and forwards is unusual, normally the bearing goes loose up and down. However with the way the upper steering column is made,u joints can`t  cause this play. So upper bearing duff, or very,very unlikely upper steering column bolts loose.

 

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It's not the rack, I fitted a refurbed on less that 1,000 miles ago and it was there before anyway. 

I think it's probably a U-Joint play/adjustment thing, or it could be to do with the top bearing in relation to the retaining circlips.  I previously pushed the top bearing in further to fit one of those plastic sleeves, but it caused binding so took it out again. It might be because of that.  I'll get a helper to push and pull so I can see where the play is. 

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I'd back the rack bolts off a touch and spin the wheel left to right a few times with the front wheels off the ground to settle / locate everything into their natural plane then nip it back up and see if it has gone. 

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On 7/31/2019 at 4:20 PM, sopor said:

Did you ever get to the bottom of this?

Nope.

I’ve tried slackening off all the u-joints and driving it back and forwards a bit to see if it settles down - it’s a bit better, but on some really broken surfaces I’m still getting a clank back up through the dash.

I’ve read in Pelican that some people have  ground the shaft to give more clearance for the u-joint bolt (so the joints can be slid further down the shafts). I’m not sure I like the sound of that. I would rather take the rack spacers out and get the toe reset. I don’t think the bump steer was bad anyway. 

Do you have similar? @sopor I was reading your bearing thread and wondering if it would cure this for me. 

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No, my steering is now luverly. I just asked because the thread had no closure.

If you can move the wheel in and out in the same direction as the upper steering shaft/column then something deffo isn't as it should be. Do you have a standard wheel? And is the snap ring in place that the wheel "sits" on (26 in the PET diagram)? And the retaining ring (13 in the PET diagram)?

Screenshot 2019-08-01 at 20.56.32.png

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26 yes, 13 no, because the Mitch Leland sleeve is in it's place - unless I'm mistaken you can't fit both. 

So, to be clear on this. If you put your hands at two o'clock and ten o'clock and push the wheel (quite hard) towards the front of the car there is zero movement? 

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With the new bearings my wheel is now very secure; there's no move axially or radially.

I've attached a photo of the upper steering shaft. It's held in place radially by the upper and lower bearings. It's held in place axially by the lower bearing. The shaft slides into the lower bearing and is prevented from moving further towards the front of the car by the change in diameter of the shaft. It's prevented from moving backwards by an external circlip; you can see the groove for it. The lower bearing is in turn held in the steering column by internal circlips on either side. (all this is from my 88 3.2 but looking at the parts diagram the SC would appear to be identical).

I found that the lower bearing is a snug fit into the steering column and the upper shaft is a very snug fit into the lower bearing.

If you're getting axial play at the wheel I would offer the cause is one of the following:

  • loose bolts that hold the steering column to the car (seems unlikely)
  • a non-standard steering wheel that moves up and down on the upper steering shaft (also seems unlikely)
  • a lower bearing that is disintegrating (seems unlikely; it's not under much stress)
  • a missing circlip that is allowing the lower bearing to move in the column or the shaft to move in the bearing
  • it's not the UJs; they don't do anything to support/secure the upper steering shaft

Unfortunately the circlips can't be checked without removing the fresh air gubbins. You might be able to get a sight line at the upper UJ and how close it is to the steering column and then get someone to push and pull at the wheel. If axial movement can be seen there then I think you have a circlip issue. Would there be any reason for someone to have fiddled with those circlips in the past?

 

IMG_0806.JPG

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