View Full Version : Spitfire Spitfire Steering Column Movement

09-30-2009, 10:15 AM
Hello all,

I have a 76 spit and I have an issue where the whole steering column moves up and down about 3/8 of an inch. So if you pull up on the wheel (like when getting in or out of the car) it clunks.

I figured out that the play comes from the flexible coupling. If you watch the column next to the engine, the shaft comes out of the coupling that 3/8" distance and all moves as one piece from that point back. But I don't know enough about how the coupling works to know if there's something I need to tighten up, or if I need a new coupling or some other part. Any tips would be appreciated.


Andrew Mace
09-30-2009, 10:34 AM
Bill, go to this page from Spitbits (https://www.spitbits.com/1500/1500suspension.htm), scroll down to "Steering Column 1971-76" and take a look at #26. Worst case scenario is that the pinch bolt is missing, but hopefully it's just loose? If that's ok, chances are the rubber bushings in the flex joint are shot. They can be replaced, or you can replace the entire flex joint (#27).

09-30-2009, 10:42 AM
Andy helped me with flex joint issues earlier this month.

Rebuilding the joint (if necessary) using "real" rubber bushings is prohibitively expensive. You can rebuild with improvised parts but that involves modifying 8 plumbing washers to fit. If you want the challenge of rebuilding the joint, search for my old threads going back about 30 days and you'll find the info. If you'd rather just replace the joint, I think SpitBits had the best price on the assembly.

Hopefully it will just be the pinch bolt as Andy said. Also check the column inside the car near the firewall. The column has an inner rod (going to the flex joint) inside a tube (that goes up through the column shell). There is a clamp block securing these two parts together. That block needs to be in place and tight.

Andrew Mace
09-30-2009, 10:59 AM
Yeah...sadly, it's almost not worth the effort and energy to rebush the flex joint. Each of eight rubber bushes costs $3.00-3.50 from vendors who stock them, or you can go to a lot of effort to locate and modify faucet washers...or just buy a new original-type flex joint for about $35.00 or so (Spitbits price).

09-30-2009, 01:00 PM
Thanks guys. I'll look for the pinch bolt. I'd already priced out the coupling assembly and yes, spitbits does have the best price going.

09-30-2009, 09:50 PM
Update: I got under the bonnet and found the pinch bolts on both sides of the joint. They were both in place, with no visible problems. I proceeded to tighten the pinch bolts up (with a certain amount of cursing...tight spot).

That did it. I had to tighten both of them to eliminate the movement altogether, but it worked. (Also had to have a buddy hold the steering wheel to keep the column shaft from turning while I pulled on the wrench.

So thanks for the pointers.

Andrew Mace
10-01-2009, 08:25 AM
Nice when it's an easy, quick fix, huh? Glad to hear it was so simple!