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Thread: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Obi Wan Bayless's Avatar
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    What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    The last part of assembling the front suspension and steering was the steering column. It works all right but just feels a little stiffer than I expected. The car is still on jack stands but everything else is connected. We have tried to follow the instructions in the Haynes manual but nothing seems to make any difference. This is the rack that was in the car before and the alignment seems right without shims. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. thanks
    Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.
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    Darth Vader Rut's Avatar
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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    Once on the ground it will probably be fine...they don’t like to turn just hanging there.
    Rut
    Rut, '60 Bugeye, '70 MGB, '62 TR4, '66 TR4a IRS, '67 TR4a IRS, '68 TR4a IRS, '72 TR6

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    Thanks for relieving my worry with that Rut. I also had a moment of brilliance in the middle of the night last night. It occurred that the rack just needs to be "adjusted" so the rigid column fits through the center of the hole in the foot well. DUH! And the Haynes manual wasted nearly half a page of gobble-de-gook trying to avoid explaining that.
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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    If you mess with the shims that are inside of the rack itself and they aren't right I can attest to the fact that you can lock up the rack. If you did not take that apart, leave well enough alone.

    Also the rack clamp bolts need to be of a specific length, I tried replacing those bolts with some Grade 8 bolts that were really close in length and tightened down. However the tightness I felt were the bolts bottoming out on the bottom of the blind hole. Scary to turn the wheel only to see the rack slide from side to side. Use a tap to clean out all of the swarf that is in there and I glued a piece of bicycle inner tube to the inside of the rack clamps. Problem solved.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    In my opinion the Spridget rack is very sensitive. The decision was made during design to not spend the money on a shaft U joint. I'm sure cost was the consideration.

    Loosen the mounting bolts and see if there is a difference. If there is some experimentation may be in order. As mentioned a little driving will likely loosen things some and maybe require more experimentation.

    Kurt
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    Kurt, I have tried loosening the bolts and other experimenting. Nothing seems to make any difference. It just feels a little stiffer than I expected, not bad but just a little stiff. Maybe Rut is right and all will work out on the ground. You may or may not remember, I got this car in boxes. No two parts were connected, except the rack. It was still in one piece. The only change I have made is to replace the tie rod ends. I think I have figured out that the rack has not rotated in the retainers because the shaft hit the vertical center of the foot well hole. It is a tiny bit to the outside of the horizontal center. That leads me to believe it could use a little shim at the right side bracket. It looks like still several weeks before I can test drive as the next step is to order a 5-speed kit. Don't know how long it might take to get that installed. Hey, I really appreciate all the advice and the encouragement. This is starting to get exciting.
    Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    '73 MB 450SE
    '04 Saab Arc
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    There is supposed to be a shin underneath the rack mount bracket on the PS of your car. Same thickness as the rack mount and fits between rack mount and frame rail. If missing that could be a problem. Parts are all over at my Sisters house. If I get over there will try and remember to take a picture for you.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    As Jim said...shim on the passenger side and I have had to make up an extra shim on that side of about a 1/16 to improve the steering on my white car. The frame rail was dented in on the drivers side so maybe because of accident damage. Never did a really accurate check for damage but nothing that is apparent with diagonal measurement.

    Kurt
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    I'm not completely finished with it yet but as of now I have a washer under the PS and that seems to center the column in the foot well hole.
    Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    '73 MB 450SE
    '04 Saab Arc
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    Here’s a picture of the shim. And yes I have two extras. Need one? F21D3D53-F06B-4442-AD35-F0E7D814A894.jpg
    "Age considers; youth ventures." Rabindranth Tagore
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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    Thats a whole lot better than a couple of washers. A fair amount of stress on that mounting point.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Yoda
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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    The steering shaft was likely bending a little which is why it wasn't centered through the foot well. You may have to loosen the column when the shim's are fitted. Hard to tell with the rack attached to everything up front but you should have virtually no resistance with no load.

    Kurt
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    Rhody's shim looks a lot thicker than my washers. I think the column is now centered in the hole but will be back at the shop later today and get a close up shot with the camera to be sure. Also, the resistance seems to be all in the rack. It feels the same with the column removed and just turning the pinion. There doesn't seem to be any slack or looseness so I am hoping it just needs oil. I'll report back what I find.
    Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    '73 MB 450SE
    '04 Saab Arc
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    There are addition shims and adjustments for the rack. Next to where the steering column attached there is a big nut with shins underneath that adjusts rack friction back and forth. There is a procedure in the manual that calls for adding shins in either .010 or .005” increments. They are oval shaped and could be duplicated from hobby copper sheet if needed. And that big nut IIRC also adjusts rack tension. I know I played with it on Bugsy I and got it out of adjustment so the rack actually locked up on me. Not something you want to have happen while driving. Look at the manual, it’s in there.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: What are symptoms of steering rack not shimmed right?

    I finally managed to get a photo good enough to see that the column appears to be pretty well centered. I think any more shim would move it too far right. I have plenty of scraps around to make a proper shim to replace the washers.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    '73 MB 450SE
    '04 Saab Arc
    http://enfoprefect.org

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