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Steering Wheel Side to Side Movement Question

stever

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What is the "normal" movement of the steering wheel in a BJ8 before actualization occurs? In other words, how much "slop" in side to side movement is acceptable? I have owned my BJ8 since 1971 or so and over the years it appears to me that the steering has gotten less precise. I have recently replaced the ball joints, etc. All that is left is the steering gearbox. I suspect the steering gearbox is worn and should probably be rebuilt. But, I thought I would ask first as what I have may be perfectly fine.
 

John Turney

Yoda
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About 3/4" play in the steering wheel rim is about normal. There is an adjustment screw on the top of the steering gearbox. The best way to adjust the play is to clean off the top of the steering box, open the filler plug and check the fluid level. Also check if any roughness in the steering. If OK, proceed.

Put 2" high blocks under the upper A-arms and lift the car by the frame until the wheels are clear of the ground. The blocks keep the suspension at the normal ride height. Center the steering. The steering has a "tight spot" at the center. You might not feel it if the steering gear is worn.

The adjustment screw on the top of the box has a locking nut. Back off the locking nut and adjust the screw to minimize play in the steering, but so the tight spot in the center is barely noticable. Back off slightly so the tight spot is no longer felt. Tighten the locking nut and check again.
 
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stever

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Hello, John,
Thank you very much. I will check how much play I have. I think it is within the 3/4 inch play amount you mention. I just don't feel comfortable driving it at speed anymore as I have to constantly be moving the steering wheel. I haven't driven the car much the last few years and my daily drive is a BMW with very solid feeling steering. It may just be me at my age not having the comfort level I used to have! I will do what you suggest. Thanks again, Steve
 

steveg

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Steve,
With the car jacked up per John above...

If you haven't done so, you might want to observe if there's any up and down play in your idler as the steering wheel is operated. That happened to me a while back and removing a shim from the top cover fixed that.

Also observe the steering arm itself as an assistant turns the wheel back and forth. Look for any play there. Check the wheel bearings for excess play by rocking the road wheel in and out.

3/4" at the steering wheel doesn't sound too bad for a Healey, but your driving experience sounds a little worse than that.
 

John Turney

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Hello, John,
Thank you very much. I will check how much play I have. I think it is within the 3/4 inch play amount you mention. I just don't feel comfortable driving it at speed anymore as I have to constantly be moving the steering wheel. I haven't driven the car much the last few years and my daily drive is a BMW with very solid feeling steering. It may just be me at my age not having the comfort level I used to have! I will do what you suggest. Thanks again, Steve
I found that constant moving of the steering wheel was because my toe-in was off, as in none. Suggest you check that.
 

gonzo

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Agree with starting with steering peg adjustment as described but consider also checking the date code on your tires. Diminished ride quality could be attributed to old(er) tires. I replaced "perfectly good looking tires" when they were 12 years old...gulp. Good luck.
 
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stever

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Hello, All! thank you so very much for your suggestions! I have done the adjustment but may not have had the wooden blocks in place - I forget. But the tires are pretty new. I am really looking forward to checking the toe-n adjustment. I could easily have messed that up when I replaced those parts! Thanks again!
 
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