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Steering box overhaul

Lutz Kramer

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Since I've just bought a beautiful restored original steering wheel for my '67 BJ8 I thougt it would be a good idea to pull out the steering box to take a look at all inner parts for damages and wear. Because it is still fresh in my mind that my brother had a severe accident in a MG TD far back in the sixties, due to a failure in the steering system.

It turned out that for instance the bearing races in the worm gear (not the ones one can remove from steering housing) show scratches and wear (see foto), while the surface of the worm itself seems to be OK.

IMG_1248.jpg

Is there any chance to get the race remachined, since you cannot split the worm from the column and if so, what would be the right kind of machining (spray welding etc.?)

I still have some further questions, which I will come up with later!

Lutz
(Mainz, Germany)
 

Bob_Spidell

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Hi Lutz,

Yeah, that bearing race looks pretty bad. You have several options:

1) The worm IS replaceable. It is pressed on the shaft and then the end of the shaft is swaged over to retain it (the shaft and worm are splined). Removal involves pressing the shaft out of the worm; this can be done with a large bearing puller (or large press, perhaps). The new worm is pressed on the shaft, then a few tack welds are applied to retain it. Michael Salter in Canada sent me some instructions on how to do this (basically, what I just wrote, but with photos). British Car Specialists in Stockton, California, USA has worms; they may have both std. and quick ratio options, but I don't know: britishcarspecialists.com

2) Dennis Welch Racing in England has replacement worms+shafts, both quick ratio and std.: https://www.bighealey.co.uk/

3) DWR also sells complete steering boxes, which are upgraded and 'as close to rack-and-pinion' as you can get.

I might still have my email correspondence with Michael Salter, send me your email in a private message and I'll forward to you if I can find it.

Cheers,
Bob

ps. Any idea how that bearing race got worn so badly? Bad end play adjustment, lack of lubrication, or ? I just had the shaft out of my BN2 and the races were perfect.
 

stretchit2

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Lutz

I have a Denis Welch steering box in my BT7 and it is fantastic. I liked it so much I have bought a second one for my BN7; however, it is backordered since December. I have communicated several times with DWR and they can't give me any idea as to when they will be able to produce it. Back Orders go back as far as October.

I would be interested in another resource if one were available.

Jeff
 
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Lutz Kramer

Lutz Kramer

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Hi Bob,

interesting to hear that it is possible to seperate the worm from the shaft without damaging the parts. I also found out when I hit the homepage of AH Spares Limited. There you can order the worm separate from the shaft (s. foto).

3a74b13a-ca12-400a-bf1e-39fb9f2335de-1.jpg
But since reunifiying the worm and shaft is a safety-relevant work, I'd rather buy a completed column an cam, because it's not funny to hold a disconnected steering wheel in your hands while passing a curve.

But anyhow I'd aprreciate if you would send me the email correspondence with Michael Salter. At least I would try to seperate the worm from the shaft. I'll send you my email adress.

Cheers,
Lutz
 
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Lutz Kramer

Lutz Kramer

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Lutz

I have a Denis Welch steering box in my BT7 and it is fantastic. I liked it so much I have bought a second one for my BN7; however, it is backordered since December. I have communicated several times with DWR and they can't give me any idea as to when they will be able to produce it. Back Orders go back as far as October.

I would be interested in another resource if one were available.

Jeff

Hi Jeff,
in Germany we order parts either from suppliers in Gemany, like for instance:
Limora: https://www.limora.com/de/english-cars/austin-healey/austin-healey-bn1-bj8.html
Bastuck: https://www.bastuck.de/shop/index.php?cat=60000
Oldtimer-Zentrum: https://www.oldtimer-zentrum.com/Webshop/index.php?cat=c39_Big-Healey.html

or we use british suppliers, like the ones you already know:
Dennis Welsh Motorsport: https://www.bighealey.co.uk
A Head 4 Healeys: https://www.ahead4healeys.co.uk

On the German pages you can always swith to the english language!

Unfortunately Motor Moss Europe sells only parts for the Sprite but not for Big Healeys!

So may be you try your luck with the companies above. At least Limora should have steering boxes.

Lutz
 

John Turney

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I had my bearing races re-machined. Of course, neither I or the machine shop are anywhere near Germany. I recall it was a regular machine shop, not one that specializes in autos.
 
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Lutz Kramer

Lutz Kramer

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I had my bearing races re-machined. Of course, neither I or the machine shop are anywhere near Germany. I recall it was a regular machine shop, not one that specializes in autos.

Thank you, John!
I'm just wondering, how that could be done with the worm mounted on the steering shaft or did you remove the worm before?
 

red57

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I too had my races re-machined in a local shop about 20 years ago. It was a non automotive machine shop and they did not remove the worm from the shaft. I didn't see the operation but I know they used a large lathe with a grinding wheel on a cross slide. It did require shimming the top outer bearing race to keep the steering centered.
 

Bob_Spidell

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I too had my races re-machined in a local shop about 20 years ago. It was a non automotive machine shop and they did not remove the worm from the shaft. I didn't see the operation but I know they used a large lathe with a grinding wheel on a cross slide. It did require shimming the top outer bearing race to keep the steering centered.

'Top outer race?' Do you mean you had to have a/some circular shim/s on the top--towards the steering wheel--of the worm? Usually, you have to shim some on the bottom of the shaft to remove end play, but those shims are square--just a bit smaller than the end plate on the box--with a hole in the middle. They wouldn't fit above the worm.

Also, Lutz, make sure your box has the belleville washers under the rocker; they were missing in my box.
 

red57

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Yes, circular shims behind/above the upper outer race. The bearing races on the worm can't be reduced in diameter so the race is effectively moved closer to the worm, causing the worm to ride further up in the box, and I had both races re-ground so the distance between races was reduced. The bottom shims go between the end plate and the the box. After grinding the races I assembled the box end plate with no shins at all and still had end play. So I shimmed the upper race so the assembly protruded from the box enough to be able to set preload (and hopefully keep the steering wheel centered). This was 20 years ago so I don't remember exactly how thick the shims I used were.
 
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Lutz Kramer

Lutz Kramer

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Yes, circular shims behind/above the upper outer race. The bearing races on the worm can't be reduced in diameter so the race is effectively moved closer to the worm, causing the worm to ride further up in the box, and I had both races re-ground so the distance between races was reduced. The bottom shims go between the end plate and the the box. After grinding the races I assembled the box end plate with no shins at all and still had end play. So I shimmed the upper race so the assembly protruded from the box enough to be able to set preload (and hopefully keep the steering wheel centered). This was 20 years ago so I don't remember exactly how thick the shims I used were.

Excellent solution!!!
 

Dandare

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I have seen (albeit for power steering units) those kind of bearing tracks hard chromed and re-machined.

Danny
 

Bob_Spidell

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Weird ... I've never had a problem getting email from overseas (at least, not one I was expecting). Now, if it was from Mexico ...
 
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Lutz Kramer

Lutz Kramer

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My rocker shaft is already back. Looks good. It just had to be polished. The two ball bearings on the cam are just re-machined. They will be back next week and hopefully in good condition. If not, I gonna buy a separate cam and use the old steering column.

Next question:
1. How do I get the busch back in the steering box? It is cut through on one side (s. Foto). So do I have to sqeeze and just push it in or will the gap be automatically closed while it's hammered in with may be a piece of wood or rubber in between?
Sorry, I may use the wrong words and terms but I hope you understand what I mean!?

image1.jpg

2. What direction does the bush go in the steering box? There is a small channel running diagonally form one side to almost the other side. I guess this is an oil channel that lubricates the rocker shaft. Since you don't want too much oil running to the oil-seal (simmering) I think the part of the bush with the open channel should point towards the top of the steering box???

IMG_6205.jpg
 
Last edited:
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Lutz Kramer

Lutz Kramer

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My rocker shaft is already back. Looks good. It just had to be polished. The two ball bearings on the cam are just re-machined. They will be back next week and hopefully in good condition. If not, I gonna buy a separate cam and use the old steering column.

Next question:
1. How do I get the busch back in the steering box? It is cut through on one side (s. Foto). So do I have to sqeeze and just push it in or will the gap be automatically closed while it's hammered in with may be a piece of wood or rubber in between?
Sorry, I may use the wrong words and terms but I hope you understand what I mean!?

View attachment 47339

2. What direction does the bush go in the steering box? There is a small channel running diagonally form one side to almost the other side. I guess this is an oil channel that lubricates the rocker shaft. Since you don't want too much oil running to the oil-seal (simmering) I think the part of the bush with the open channel should point towards the top of the steering box???

View attachment 47340

I stop the thread and open a new one for the two questions: https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/showthread.php?108859-Steering-box-and-idler-bush
 

Wrovert

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on the subject of the steering bush how do you get the old one out. Mine ,is suck fast and any amount of drifting will not shift it?
 
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