View Full Version : TR4/4A TR4A HARD STEERING

07-10-2005, 01:50 PM
I just got my resently purchased TR4A running and the steering seems to be hard and sticks once in awhile, not to the point that is dangerous, but I'd like to try and make it a little smoother. I don't want to do a rebuild until this winter, so my question is "What minor things can I do to try and make the steering a little smoother" (Greasing, adjustments, etc. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Geo Hahn
07-10-2005, 02:10 PM
There is a provision for greasing the rack... don't know that this is your problem but the technique is too remove that bolt in the top of the rack and thread in a zerk, then grease per manual. I remove the zerk & replace the bolt when done cause that is what the manual says... possibly because that bolt also holds one end of the ground strap for the steering column.

You might check the condition of the rack boots -- if these are split they could have allowed dirt into the rack. If so, rack should be cleaned up, greased and boot replaced.

Of course there are the usual other lube points... tie rods, trunnions, etc. that should also be attended to. Trunnions on 4As may require oil... do not remember the exact point at which the change from 'grease' to 'oil' occurred.

07-11-2005, 12:12 AM

Geo is right. If those boots crack, dirt and moisture can get inside and ruin the rack & pinion, inner tie-rod ends, etc.

The manual instructs every 12 months or 12,000 miles to remove the brass plug in the top of the large nut, on the R&P unit, replace with a zerk and then pump *five* strokes with a grease gun. If the car has been sitting a really long time and grease is dried out, a couple extra strokes wouldn't hurt, IMHO. That takes care of both the R&P and the inner tie-rod ends.

As Geo suggests, if the R&P is stiff from sitting, likely the outer tie-rod ends, horizontal trunnions and vertical links all need lubrication too. Depending upon how long your car sat, there might be dried up, stiff grease in there.

I strongly suggest you get a workshop manual because there are many other important lubrication points around the car, that likely all need attention if the steering and front suspension needs it.

I also strongly suggest you take the car to a pro just to get their opinon about the steering (brakes and steering are safety items!). Really heavy steering *might* indicate a serious problem and has been known to break vertical links (which are partially brass). I'd suggest having a knowledgeable suspension and alignment shop check it out. Get the oldest guy there to look at it and give you his opinion, hopefully someone who experienced it first hand and remembers the feel of older cars' steering!

If the front suspension continues to be really heavy after greasing and lubricating, and the alignment pro is confident there isn't a problem with binding or accident damage, here are some other possibilities...

1. First of all, TR steering is simply not as easy as modern power-assisted cars, if that's what you are accustomed to driving.
2. The bias ply tires original to these cars were easier to turn at slow speeds (as in parallel parking) than most modern radial tires. Since bias bly tires are rare now, you likely have some sort of radials.
3. The front steering geometry of TRs originally had positive camber (top of the tire tilts out slightly) to compliment bias ply tires. Modern radials work better with some 0 or slightly negative camber (tire is perfectly vertical or tilts slightly in). Perhaps the previous owner had this adjusted (correctly) to better work with modern tires, it will make slow speed steering slightly heavier.
4. Front tire pressures called for in TR manuals are pretty low by today's tire standards, 20 psi for some tires. You might try higher pressure, up to as much as 30 psi. It sort of depends upon the tire.
5. By any chance, did the previous owner install a small steering wheel? Sometimes people do that to improve leg room, etc., but a 14 to 15" wheel is generally better in terms of steering.

Have fun with your car and be safe!


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif.
'62 TR4 CT17602L