View Full Version : TR2/3/3A TR3A steering wheel

05-15-2005, 08:15 PM
I'm trying to remove the steering wheel and I have the 3 set screws out, yet the center cover on the steering wheel doesn't want to move. I believe I have to take the cap off to get to the bolt behind it. Am I missing something or does the center cap require some force to pop it off?

Geo Hahn
05-15-2005, 11:22 PM
No significant force should be required. Do you realize that you will be pulling the 3 control head wires up thru the stator tube as you withdraw the head?

Since it sounds like you intend to remove the steering wheel you are going to need to pull those wires all the way out. To do this you should tape them together with the bullet connectors staggered (won't go thru side-by-side). Some just remove the bullet connectors and put them back on later.

Attaching a strong string to the end of the wires and drawing it thru behind them may be helpful later as you can leave the string in the tube and use it to pull the wires back down to reinstall.

Important to not twist the head while trying to remove it.. the head has a tube with a tab or dimple that engages a slot in the stator tube -- you do not want to damage this with a twist.

My guess is the the wires are bound up down at the bottom. If the head is truly stuck to the stator tube you can remove head and the very long tube all together. To do this you loosen the olive nut at the front of the steering box -- BE AWARE that all the oil will dump out when this nut is loosen.

05-16-2005, 02:05 PM
I don't want to detach anything I don't have to. Ultimately I just want to get enough room to slide the steering box out the front and I thought with the steering wheel off I could do that.

So, the center cap on the steering wheel is only held on by the set screws? It doesn't want to come off with some tapping from behind. Since it is plastic I want to be careful not to break it.

Geo Hahn
05-16-2005, 06:55 PM
I don't know if removing the steering wheel is going to be much help... but I am not certain because I have never attempted what you're trying. Indeed, between the relative rarity of the solid steering column and the tendency for the manuals to say you have to remove the apron to service the steering box it's possible you will find no one who has been down this road.

Have you looked at the wires going into the stator tube (stick out of the front end of the steering box) to see if there is slack and they are free to be pulled up into the tube? There are three wires though they may be bundled in a cloth covering.

05-16-2005, 07:02 PM
No, I haven't looked to see where the wires are hooked up to the steering box. Tomorrow I'll get back out there and look into it.

I removed the bolts holding the apron- horizontal flat plate behind grill. This panel does not want to move easily and it looks like the main bumper bolts have to come off to give it room to move.

05-16-2005, 07:49 PM
Hi Sean yes you are going to need to get the control head out of the way to remove the steering wheel and it sounds like the wires are binding up. Unhook them and stager them by taping them and draw them out through the top. Then unbolt the steering wheel take it off. Pull the shaft out of the car from the bottom. You might be able to leave the nose on and just take the bumper off. I saw a picture in one of the books doing it that way, but I have always had the nose off. The one piece columns are kinda hard to move around because of their size, but no big deal. And because of the size you will need to lift the car accordingly. My experience is getting the pitman arm off can be a challenge.You will need a good puller and the force is impressive. I have done a couple and they actually POP when they come off. Yes replace the brass bushing and it will have to be honed to match the shaft. At this time the seal can be replaced. Either have an experienced machinist do the work or make sure you grease the shaft heavily when you put the shaft back in or you will tear the new seal. The pitman arm has sharp tapered splines. In addition, put a new pin on the shaft and check the end float of the worm gear. If that is bad I suggest another post.

Regards George

05-16-2005, 11:04 PM
Hi Sean you might be having trouble visualizing what we are telling you. The steering shaft is actually hollow with four wires running through the center, ending at the control head on one end, and going to the lights and horns on the other. The steering box contains the worm gear bathed in fluid that is connected to the end of the five foot steering shaft (in your case). You have to pull the wires out through the top that are connected to the head by a key way which is part of the stator tube that is also in the hollow center section of the steering shaft. You might be hung up in the key way that holds the stator tube and the plastic head together so do not panic is it looks like the center is coming out also. In fact, this just might happen so take off the brass nut at the end of the shaft. use a coffee can to catch the fluid. (I know pretty wild) Anyways you might try spraying some WD40 in the gap when the head starts to move and gently work it in and out dominantly pulling up. Making sure you have a clear path way (unhooked and free moving wires up the hollow center). You can do it- It is not that bad, and it was what makes you Jedi. It has been my experience that most of the tr3s are broken at the keyway between the stator and the head. Do not worry you get to fix that also. Remember grass hopper the vice and the virtue exist simultaneously.

Regards George (sp53)

05-17-2005, 01:42 PM
Okay, I see the wires coming out of the front of the steering box. I am going to see if I can wiggle the box to get enough room to pop off the pitman arm while it is in the car. I am afraid of damaging something in the control unit at the wheel since it does not want to move and I'd rather not remove the wiring if possible. I'll be back after I open up the steering box. I thought I had to leave it together until I got it out of the car, but I guess not.

05-17-2005, 02:45 PM
Top of the steering box is off, loosened front bolts, but no fluid came rushing out, oil started to seep out of top hole and I put bolts back in to prevent any parts from moving. Here are some pics. My next step is to remove the tubular crossbrace that will allow the steering box to move upward a little.
I need to get some room to detach the pitman arm.

05-17-2005, 07:57 PM
I made some progress today. I put some updated photos in my last post. The steering box is resting on the front apron and I am working on the pitman arm. I had to remove the crossbrace to allow room to swing the steering column up.

05-19-2005, 04:06 PM
Hi Sean you are so far along that I suggest you pull that steering column out of the car and do it right. The little brass bushing in the shaft is cheap and the new installation will give addition tightness in the steering. A machine shop at least out where I live would charge about 40:00 bucks to press it in and hone it. At this time they can pop the new seal in and put a new peg on the shaft. The peg is easy and so is the seal once you have the pitman arm off. In addition, putting the column back in is not that hard. You have already done the hard work. You should not be worried about breaking any of the steering stuff you are past that point. Resetting the shim pack is not hard. I have done a couple and learned the system and it is actually basic. Once you see it done you say that was not that hard. However, I would ask one of the other forum members if the adjustable control head is somehow different from standard.

Regards George

05-19-2005, 04:54 PM
George, thanks for the advice. Right now the steering box is resting on the apron and I've been working on the pitman arm for 2 days with pullers and heat. It has not come off yet. The nut on the front of the steering box is loose and I've disconnected the wires, but it also does not want to loosen and I'm not sure how to loosen it so the control head will pop off. Once I get the pitman arm off I will be okay, but the darn thing won't move. Any ideas?

Geo Hahn
05-19-2005, 05:30 PM
...The nut on the front of the steering box is loose and I've disconnected the wires, but it also does not want to loosen and I'm not sure how to loosen it so the control head will pop off... Any ideas?

[/ QUOTE ]

An alternate approach could be to withdraw the control head and stator tube as a unit since they seem reluctant to part ways. With that nut off the bottom of the stator tube there is really nothing holding it in there or keeping it from turning when the control head is turned (nothing other than old age that is). If you withdraw the stator tube you should encounter a couple of "Chinese Lantern" anti-rattle bushings placed along it. these are what keep the tube from knocking around inside the hollow steering column.

05-19-2005, 11:38 PM
Hi Sean when I look at the pictures it looked like you still had the nut on the pitman arm? But maybe it is the view? The times I have removed a pitman arm; I was impressed by the tight fit. I had the steering column on the bench. I removed the large nut with an impact gun then I used a lot of penetrating oil. I used a good quality puller. (The one you had looked kinda small, but yet strong). In addition to the puller, I put a heavy duty C clamp around the puller to keep the puller pinched together. I used a heavy duty breaker bar and a six point socket on the bolt of the puller. I am guessing, but I bet they are torqued at about 150 to175. Geo is right that head should come out with the startor tube. Then you could put that thing on the bench to get the pitman arm off and replace the little bushing. You will be glad you did.

05-20-2005, 02:12 PM
The odd part is that the huge nut that holds the pitman arm on is loose, I was able to put a large combo wrench on it while it was still in the car and loosen it easily. I left it on and loose to catch the pitman arm if it popped off so it wouldn't fall on the floor.

The nut which surrounds the wiring is loose and I am going to tap on the copper colored center tube as I think it is the one that should come out.

I have two pullers. The smaller one is a tie rod end puller. I am using it because the pitman arm puller is too large and slips off the pitman arm. Even with the small puller I can't get a solid grasp on both sides. It looks like one side grabs and the other is cocked at an angle.

The rocker shaft has some movement, it will slide 1/8 of an inch or so up and down.

You can see how the steering wheel is pushed forward and the seat is removed. This allows enough room to pull the steering box up and out a little.

Here are some more photos in the updated album:

Update, I finally understand about the olive bushing. I was able to tap the end of the column in and the olive bushing moved. I pulled it back out and removed the olive bushing. 10 minutes later the steering wheel is off and the steering box is out. For anyone who is interested, there was no center nut holding the steering wheel on as it is an adjustable column. It has a nut as part of the outer plastic/metal pieces on the column.

Now, on to the pitman arm. I am learning, although it goes slowly.

05-20-2005, 04:09 PM
I have the steering box outside and I'm working on the pitman arm, it really is on there tight like everyone mentioned. I may need to get a larger puller. Will a pickle fork work? I would think that might damage the internal steering box parts with the shock. However, I have a few forks and they seem to be too large to fit into that small space.

05-20-2005, 06:26 PM
I found a solution for the pitman arm. I brought it to my local mechanic and paid them $10 heat up the pitman arm with acetylene and use a large 2 jaw puller and an air impact wrench to get it off. It took several tries and I'm glad I went this route. I don't think I would have gotten it off here with the basic tools I have.

I added more pics of the rocker shaft, the peg looks fine. Now to find a machine shop to press in the new bushing. The old one has just a tiny bit of play.

Thanks again for the help and encouragement. I hope the pics help someone else see what is involved.

Geo Hahn
05-20-2005, 08:59 PM
Thanks for the update & photo essay. I too have used outside help for stuck parts, broken studs etc as they have the stuff to get it much hotter than my feeble propane torch.

Does that new bushing need to be reamed to size? That's my understanding though I have not been there.

05-20-2005, 11:18 PM
Yes, George-sp53 stated that it should be honed to size and that makes sense to ensure a proper fit. It also looks like the bushing has a top and bottom end as there is a swoosh pattern inside the bushing that I assume allows for lubrication to get down along the rocker shaft.

Does the peg on the rocker shaft look good to people? It still has the little point and after only 1,200 miles I would guess it to be okay.

By the way, if anyone has any photo requests now that I have everything torn apart, just ask and I'll snap some shots and post them to my yahoo link.

05-23-2005, 06:02 PM
Good job Sean I am glad to see you got it apart and shared your experiences. I have never owned a tr3 with the adjustable column and was curious how they worked. Anyways I would suggest you replace the peg, seal, and bushing and use the old shaft. Now check the drag on the steering bearing cages by turning the worm gear by hand. Turn the steering column slowly with the shaft in and out. Run it down and up and see how much play there is in it by applying pressure with your thumb back and fourth as you move it. There should be NONE. If there is take the four bolts off the end of the steering box that hold the shims in place and draw the steering column out about a foot. Check the two bearing cages and races that are on each end of the worm gear for pits. If you take them off, try and not mix them up because they have wore in together, just put a tie on them to keep them together. Next check the end of the worm gear for pits it has a race built into the end of the worm. Hopeful it is good if not let me know. Be careful with worm gear it is hard steel and will chip EASY when bumped against something equally as hard, brittle stuff (the voice of experience). IF and When you set the end float in the column of the worm gear just think of it as working on something like the front wheel bearing of an old Ford or Chev. You are just basically either putting shims in or taking them out to get a very slight drag on the inner and outer bearing as you squeeze the two bearing together against the worm gear. It is an in place pinch fit. If you work on the shim pack and you should. Make sure as you put it back together you use what is called Indian Head Gasket Shellac it goes on watery and will seal the end of the column and between the shims.

Good Job, sp53

05-23-2005, 08:11 PM
sp53- Thanks, I read your post and you have good suggestions. I'm sure I would be able to learn how to do the work, but since the new bushing needs to be honed I took your advice and took it to a Professional.

British Auto is about 40 minutes away from me so I drove out there and dropped off the steering column, old parts, and new parts today. They have a lot more experience than I do and they will go through the entire steering box to check specs and make adjustments as needed. One of the tips I learned today is that the peg on the rocker shaft wears down on 2 sides and if it is only worn slightly it can be removed, rotated 90 degrees, and pressed back in. If it is too worn they replace the peg.

They will install the parts I received from Moss and make sure it operates smoothly. They should have time to work on it this week and when I get it back it will be a tight rebuilt steering box. I've been thinking of how to install the new oil seal without damaging it and I feel better having a pro install it.

An hour or two of labor that it might take to do everything is well worth it. I'm looking forward to reassembling the car and driving it again. With new front brakes and new steering components it should drive nicely.

I have received great advice here on this site and if other TR3 owners have any questions about the steering that I can help with, let me know.

Finally, if anyone wants more pictures, ask now as the car is going back together soon. The other pics will be accessible for a while as a reference.

05-28-2005, 04:06 PM
I picked up the steering column from Mark yesterday and it looks great and feels tight. Today I started to reassemble the steering components in the car. I put the column, crossmember, and other braces in.

I have a question about the steering wheel/stator/control head junction. I slid the control head and stator tube into the column and fished the wires out through the steering box. At the steering wheel there are 3 set screws. One of these would not come out during disassembly and I wound up drilling it out. So, my question is: if the one set screw that goes in the hole that aligns with the dimple is the main locator, what do I do if that hole has been drilled out? Tap it with a larger diameter set screw? The other two set screw holes would appear to come point to edge with a metal disc that is part of the stator tube/control head.

I am asking because I can line everything up and tighten the nut and olive and it will hold the control head from spinning, but there is some resistance when I turn the steering wheel and it wants to move the control head. I can feel the pressure build up during the turning and it is not the normal stiffness when the steering wheel is dead center left to right. If I remember how it felt before disassembly, the steering wheel turned smoothly and did not put pressure as it rotated around the static control head. The control head remains in one position during normal operation, correct?

If you view the TR3 update album and look at the last 2 pictures of the steering control head you will see the parts. There is a v shaped cut into the large metal disc of the stator tube just behind the control head. Is this v groove supposed to be there or is it from my drilling out the set screw? It looks like it is supposed to be there to retain a set screw and stop the disc from rotating.

05-29-2005, 06:11 PM
I've been thinking about teh set screws and their purpose. They hold the metal disc (that is part of the self-cancelling turn signals) tight to the steering wheel so the turn signals work correctly. Right now I am waiting for some new set screws to come from Moss. The steering column is back together and once the new set screws are in the steering should work well.

Can anyone answer my question about the v shaped cut-out on the edge of the metal disc/plate that is held to the steering wheel by the set screws?

Geo Hahn
05-29-2005, 10:51 PM
Well I don't think there is supposed to be a notch there nor can I think what purpose it would serve. If the location of that notch corresponds with where the set-screw meets the disc then 1) perhaps it occured when you drilled out the set screw and 2) you might need a slightly longer set screw in that spot to grip the disc.

Or... Sometimes the disc gets a bit of a dent where someone has tightened a set screw with too much enthusiasm -- this could also account for why that one screw was unwilling to come out. Does it look like it was formed by a screw pressing into the edge of the disc?

If it does not correspond with where a set screw meets the disc then I would think it doesn't matter.

05-30-2005, 12:53 AM
I think the screw may have been tightened with too much enthusiasm as you said, that would also explain the difficulty getting it out. I've looked at the indentation/notch and it doesn't have any fresh marks that would come from a drill bit. It looks like the notch was made a long time ago. Either way, once I get some new screws in those holes it should pin the plate and stop it from moving.

I put the new idler arm in and connected all the tie rod ends and other joints tonight. The grill and front body pieces went back on and the bummper will be back on soon.

I found some grade 8 nuts and bolts in 3/8-24 thread although the nyloc nuts in that size are still elusive. If I cannot find them locally I'll order them from the bolt depot mentioned in the other post.

Things are moving along now and I'll be in for an inspection soon.

05-31-2005, 05:28 PM
Aloha Sean,

The set screws are tapered at the end. As they are tightened they will engage the self canceling disk on the horn button side and press the disk down on the machined flat surface in the steering wheel hub. The friction is sufficient operate the self canceling mechanism. I believe your analysis is correct, the observed notch is the result over tightening or drilling in the past. The set screws also hold the control head in place on the steering wheel. In the past, I have replaced the mild steel set screws, aka grub screws, with stainless steel ones (found at Lowe's). The mild steel ones may rust in place and make them hard to remove.

Safety Fast,

05-31-2005, 10:04 PM
Hi Dave, thanks for the confirmation. Would you happen to remember the size of the set screws? I brought one with me to the store and could not find an exact match. They don't appear to be an English or Metric sized bolt, so are they machine screws?

05-31-2005, 11:50 PM
Aloha Sean,

I don't recall the exact size, but they are a standard machine screw thread, probably 10 gauge. I'll check when I get home. You mentioned that one of the holes was drilled out in the past. You can probably repair that with an epoxy thread repair kit and a long machine screw of the correct thread pattern.

Safety Fast,

06-01-2005, 12:53 AM
Aloha Sean,

The ones in my steering wheel are 10-32 machine screw thread. I thing the original set screws have a slotted head for use with a screw driver. The ones I've found in hard ware stores now tend to require an allen wrench.

Safety Fast,

06-02-2005, 12:58 PM
Hi Sean sounds like you are on the right track; good job. Anyways, I am just offering a word of caution that might not be necessary. Was the set screw adjusted that sits on top of the steering box? Often these screws are out of adjustment and will allow the peg to pop out of the worm gear, so make sure that the screw is turned in on the peg providing a small amount of drag on the shaft. You could probably just ask the shop if they set this. It is basically the only adjustment there is once the shaft is rebuilt. I only mention it because if they did not and you assumed that they did it could case problems.

Regards George

06-02-2005, 04:32 PM
Thanks for set screw size. I received my new ones from Moss and they require an allen wrench to install. I tapped the last hole and modified a 12-24 screw to screw into the opening.

I had British Auto rebuild the steering box and he did all the adjustments so I am confident that the steering box is all set. He specifically told me not to make any changes to it except for adding lube. Thanks for mentioning it.

After I screwed the control head in yesterday I put the bumpers and wheels on and tightened everything down. Then I started it up and drove it around the neighborhood. So far so good. Now, in for another inspection.

06-06-2005, 11:31 AM
George, I had British Auto rebuild the steering box and when he was finished he told me not to make any changes to the settings. I only added lube to the box.

I took the car for an inspection today and it passed! One major task is done, now on to selling it.

TR3 fans: shoot me a PM if you have an interest in buying a TR3A.

06-06-2005, 03:10 PM
The car is officially for sale. Please look for the ad in the classified forum if you are interested.