Steering column

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Steering column

Postby Mike Attew » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:13 pm

My steering wheel had always felt strange since I had the car, was doing something with the wheels and turning the steering wheel noticed from the side it wobbled badly. Finally found out why, the end of the shaft is bent?? :x
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Re: Steering column

Postby 1972nail » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:49 pm

That does not look good.

When replacing the column remember that the early HC single stalk column is different to the later (74 model year on) twin stalk column, and they are not interchangeable, in that the later switches won't fit on an early column and visa-versa.
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Re: Steering column

Postby Mike Attew » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:45 pm

Is it just the outer case that's different? If the centre shaft is the same that would be all I require.

I have seen a centre shaft on line part number 7981691 listed as 1970 to 79 .

I wanted to see whats about before I use a bit of heat on mine and try to straighten.
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Re: Steering column

Postby droopsnoot » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:54 pm

I seem to recall I had a bend in the lower section of one of mine - forget if it was the hatch or the Firenza - and I straightened it in a vice. I didn't fancy putting heat on it. Mine typically bent at the bottom end if I was removing the front subframe and forgot to undo the steering joint.

While on the subject, you've mentioned before David about using WD40 to lubricate the bearings on the steering column. Is that just because it's easier to get in if the column isn't removed? Would it be better to use grease if the column can come out? I've had complaints from my MOT tester about the heavy steering on my HPF for years, and I just figured it was the small wheel, no PAS, and tight layout of his MOT bay. But now I have the hatch to compare it with, that's much much lighter. So obviously something needs to be fixed there.
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Re: Steering column

Postby 1972nail » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:42 pm

Yes, bends in the lower half are common because it fouls on the subframe, gets forgotten about or whatever when the front subframe is dropped, I've bent some myself, and straightened them in a vice or whatever. Straightening the top bit should be OK but that bend looks very severe and localised in one place. i would be scared of creating a weak spot at the bend or a counter bend below the top bushing.

Like you Mike A, as far as I can make out from the parts book, the centre column is the same and only the outer casing is different. So getting any column may make it easy enough to build one good one out of the two if you had too.

As far as the WD40 fix is is concerned it is for ease of application with the car fully assembled. Possibly stripping the column out and greasing it may be more effective.

As far as the heavy steering is concerned, the HPF has slightly longer (or shorter, I'm not sure which!) steering arms and lower suspension giving more negative camber. Both will have an effect on the steering weight.

I doubt if a sticky column will have any significant effect. The thing that has most effect on steering weight is castor angle. A slightly steeper castor angle will add a lot of weight to the steering at low manoeuvring speeds but add quite a bit to straight line stability and stability on bumpy roads.

Somewhere between the recommended setting of 2 to 4 deg should give you the compromise you find acceptable. From memory Phil Dawson (the 1970's rally driver and CCC magazine contributor) wrote that he found 5 deg the most suitable for rally / racing work but it left the steering too heavy for everyday driving, with 3-4 degrees about the best compromise.
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Re: Steering column

Postby droopsnoot » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:04 am

Thanks for that, I'll try to have a look at it. My castor is set based on what stops the tyre fouling the bulkhead rather than any specific angle, as the MOT man sometimes gets upset. I do sometimes get the feel that something is not turning as smoothly as it should, though, so lubricating the bushes would probably be worthwhile, though maybe not to the extent of stripping it down.
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