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Thread: Steering seal replacement on the car

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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Steering seal replacement on the car

    Has anyone experience with pulling the pittman arm and replacing the seal(s) while keeping the steering box in place?
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
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    Yoda
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    I've done it on a BJ8. It was a pain pulling the pittman arm but, after that, seal replacement was typical. You have to work around the rocker shaft; I used foot-long lengths of 1/8" rod flattened into small, hooked screwdrivers to work around it. The replacement seal should be thick, about 3/8" IIRC, and the ones I've seen were silver metal. Some vendors sell a thinner seal, which won't work well if at all--stacking a couple works for some--and the ones I've seen were painted green.

    Regarding pulling the pittman, later whilst working on my BN2's box it occurred to me that it might work, and if it did, it would be easier to pull the mounting bolts for the box, loosen the bracket under the fascia, and rotate the whole assembly 90deg counter-clockwise to get to the pittman and seal (after you get the linkage off, of course).

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    Jedi Knight DerekJ's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    I have done it but it is a bit of a struggle. The key is to find a suitably shaped and sized puller for the arm as there is very little space to work with.

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    Luke Skywalker RAC68's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    Hi All,

    Steve, how bad is the seal? Although I appreciate that you want the job done correctly, is the seal so bad that John Deere Corn Head grease (or the like) would not suffice?

    Did the job in the late 1980s but don't remember the extent of task you and Derek are describing. Am I missing something?

    Just wondering,
    Ray(64BJ8P1)

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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    Quote Originally Posted by RAC68 View Post
    Hi All,

    Steve, how bad is the seal? Although I appreciate that you want the job done correctly, is the seal so bad that John Deere Corn Head grease (or the like) would not suffice?

    Did the job in the late 1980s but don't remember the extent of task you and Derek are describing. Am I missing something? Just wondering,

    Ray(64BJ8P1)


    Ray,
    I have Penrite steering box lube in there, which is leaking.
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
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    Jedi Warrior
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    British Car Specialists offer a steering box grease in their Rare and Hard to find parts catalog, under Oil/additives Other. They say it has a self sealing agent. I would try that before taking it apart.
    Dale

    BJ7 frame up restoration of "the car that would not be restored"; began Dec. 2005, est. complete 2023

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    Darth Vader John Turney's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    The Moss seals are the half-height ones. I just replaced mine with two of them (but out of the car). When refilling the box I used half Penrite, a NGLI grade 00 grease, and half John Deer Corn Head grease, a NGLI grade 0 grease. The grade 0 viscosity is about like mustard, which I thought would be a bit too thick in cold weather, and the grade 00 is about like applesauce. For a description of the grades, look at: https://www.thelubricantstore.com/la...to-nlgi-grades. Since I had the box open, I could use the steering shaft worm to mix them and judge the consistency.

    I had put Penrite in my box, but the gear oil that was already in there let most of it leak out. I had about half a bottle left. Penrite is a bit difficult to obtain now in the US now that Moss doesn't carry it. Restoration Supply, https://www.restorationstuff.com/eco...&cPath=111_112, lists it on their website, but it is not cheap. Another NGLI grade 00 steering box lube is by Champion, https://www.amazon.com/Premier-Quality-Products-33-376792-Champion/dp/B06ZY4F5CD/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?,s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1513189 756&sr=1-2-fkmr1&keywords=Champion+steering+box+lube, available from Amazon and other sources for somewhat less. It seems to recommended for American manual steering boxes.
    John, BN4

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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    Taking another look at the situation:
    Rocker shaft is not noticeably sloppy.

    Plan A - drain out the rest of the Penrite and fill with the slightly thicker JD Corn Head grease.

    Plan B - (The Spidell Plan) probably have to remove radiator, detach steering box from frame and rotate enough to pull the pittman arm with my HF pittman puller. New seals etc.

    Will follow up when results are in.

    John - the Champion NLG 00 looks like a suitable direct replacement for Penrite at a reasonable price. Thank you for sourcing.
    Steve Gerow
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    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
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    Obi Wan Patrick67BJ8's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    I read recently somewhere that the original seals are now available.
    Patrick
    '67 Metallic Golden Beige/Red
    Owned since '72

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    Yoda
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    You sure you have to pull the radiator? I had to remove my steering shaft to replace the upper bearing cage and only had to unbolt the radiator and move it aside, per the manual (BN2). It's possible to get the pittman arm off without turning the box, but it's a PITA. I modified a HF ball joint puller, but you have to get it on 'just so.'

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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    Bob - I have this HF ball joint puller and would need to grind the opening larger to fit around the rocker shaft - is this the puller you used?

    HFjointPuller.jpg
    Steve Gerow
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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    An advantage of the thinner seals stacked is they bear on a different part of the rocker shaft than a replacement original which might bear on the worn groove.
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
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    Yoda
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    I misidentified it; it's actually more purpose-built:

    https://www.harborfreight.com/tie-ro...ler-62708.html

    I had to grind the opening larger and sharper to fit over the 'knuckle' of the pittman arm. Note these cheapies all have a fault: the fine thread on the screw usually strips the aluminum body eventually.

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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_Spidell View Post
    I misidentified it; it's actually more purpose-built:

    https://www.harborfreight.com/tie-ro...ler-62708.html

    I had to grind the opening larger and sharper to fit over the 'knuckle' of the pittman arm. Note these cheapies all have a fault: the fine thread on the screw usually strips the aluminum body eventually.
    Bob - thanks for the followup. I've got one of these, too. It Would work if box detached and rotated per above. If I grind the ball joint tool above enough to fit around the rocker shaft, it will fit without unmounting the box.
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
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    Yoda Randy Forbes's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    A little different approach, based on tools and material on hand...



    I made a wedge to drive between the lever and body of the box; a few knocks with a hammer, and it released like a Morse taper fit.











    I've been doing the two (2) thin seal thing for a while, and as Steve says, you're now acting on a previously unused portion of the shaft. What little oil that gets past the upper seal, will almost certainly be contained by the second.

    This particular BJ8 already had one (1) of the thin seals in it, but neither I nor the car's owner knew if or when it had been changed before (he'd had the car 10 years at that point).



    Using a guide to get the seal(s) started straight in the bore.







    With the second seal fitted.



    While I'm sure everyone here already knows this, but just in case: ALWAYS lubricate a rubber lip-type seal upon reassembly. Same goes for any O-ring.
    http://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/image.php
    57 Healey BN6L-942 Wine Red/Honey Tan
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    Yoda
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    Best solution yet (of course ) Bet you could sell a few of them wedges, Randy.

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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    I measured my seal - the 15/16" opening on this HF fork will work. I have a somewhat similar one from a discontinued 3-piece ball joint separator.

    Cut off the tines and shaft and it should be a pretty good approximation of Randy's wedge.

    screenshot.1064.jpg
    Steve Gerow
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    Yoda Randy Forbes's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    Quote Originally Posted by steveg View Post
    I measured my seal - the 15/16" opening on this HF fork will work. I have a somewhat similar one from a discontinued 3-piece ball joint separator.

    Cut off the tines and shaft and it should be a pretty good approximation of Randy's wedge.

    screenshot.1064.jpg
    Actually, using it WITH the pneumatic hammer would probably work like a treat!
    http://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/image.php
    57 Healey BN6L-942 Wine Red/Honey Tan
    99 BMW M Rdstr Cosmos Black Eurosport Twinscrew Supercharger
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    Darth Vader John Turney's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    If one puts anti-seize on the tapers when assembling, they come apart much easier.
    John, BN4

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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Steering seal replacement on the car

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
    Actually, using it WITH the pneumatic hammer would probably work like a treat!
    Would if I had it. Have to use the persuader instead.

    Randy - thank you for the pix. Very helpful!

    John - I may have done that 10 years ago when I installed the new bushing.
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
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