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Steering

 
     
 

Steering column

What's in your steering column? To save you finding out the hard way, I can tell you.

The workshop manual clearly points out that the steering column is fitted with shear pins. They are designed to break in the event of a frontal collision, allowing the steering column to telescope and reduce the risk of chest injury. The manual advises that shock should not be imparted to the column during workshop repairs, so as not to break the shear pins.

For this reason, don't remove the steering wheel with a hammer, it is essential to use a puller. You can make one with a piece of 1" x 1/8" steel strip, into which three holes are drilled. The outer two allow M6 bolts to be inserted into the threaded holes in the steering wheel boss. The centre hole is tapped so that a bolt can be screwed in to extract the steering wheel, which fits onto splines and a taper.

As the result of a workshop accident (trying to remove the pinch clamp at the other end of the column, which needs to be opened up with a screwdriver or cold chisel) I accidentally broke the shear pins. What I found inside didn't exactly correspond with the information in my copy of the genuine workshop and parts manuals (as far as the upper bearing is concerned), so I suspect that my car had a "transitional model" column:

The bottom end of the steering shaft is a tube, with flattened sides at the top. There are two holes on each flattened face. At the bottom end is a spring-loaded washer with a sealed single use plastic screw adjuster, which sets the pre-load on the bottom bearing.

The upper (steering wheel) end of the shaft is a flattened rod, which fits inside the lower tubular section. It bears two recessed areas. I believe that, during manufacture, nylon is injected into the holes in the bottom tubular section. This fills the recesses and leaves projections into the four holes in the bottom tube. In the picture below, you can just see where the projecting pins have sheared off.

It is these pins which shear off in the event of an impact to the column, either in the workshop, or in a road traffic accident. It is intended that the column will then telescope, so as to reduce the risk of chest injury to the driver. The outer column tube is of a lattice construction, so that it will telescope as well.


mm scale

According to my workshop manual, you can change the upper (steering wheel) end bearing in the column tube, but my column had a completely different top bearing, which didn't look as though it could be replaced.

The workshop manual clearly states that the column tube, bottom bearing and steering shaft assembly is not permitted to be overhauled and must be replaced as a complete unit.

The good news is that my dealer discovered that Land Rover had 83 steering columns in stock. The bad news is that they cost £255.97 +VAT each!


Power steering box, drop arm and drag link

My power steering box developed a leak at the bottom seal, where the sector arm emerges and the drop arm is attached. I discovered a few things about PAS boxes as I worked through its replacement.

1) PAS boxes come in 3-bolt (imperial thread hose connection) or 4-bolt (metric hose thread connection) types. They have different ratios. My original one was a 3-bolt type.

2) Everyone I have spoken to told me not to have the box reconditioned, but rather buy a new replacement. Their experience seems to be that recon PAS boxes always leak fairly soon, even though guaranteed.

3) It is possible to obtain a hybrid 4-bolt box with imperial hose connections from Adwest Engineering and that's what I've used.

4) When the ball joint in the standard pattern drop arm needs replacing, it necessitates some serious effort to detach the drop arm from the PAS box as well as to extract and refit the ball joint.

 

5) Later models of the Range Rover Classic and Discovery were fitted with a different pattern of drop arm, which doesn't have the ball joint.

This is fitted in conjunction with the later pattern (longer) drag link, which has one right-hand and one left-hand thread track-rod end. Later replacement of the track rod ends is very much easier than changing the earlier type ball joint in the drop arm.

These track-rod ends even have grease nipples!


I bet you didn't know ...

Having followed the instructions in the manual for centering the steering setup, I was perplexed to find that there are 3 turns of the steering wheel to the left and only 2 turns to the right.

I have since learned from Paul Atkinson that this is a design feature, because a RHD vehicle turns left more often than right. LHD steering boxes are made the opposite way round.