Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

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Re: Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

Postby lotusflasherman » Thu 09.02.2017, 02:21

dapinky wrote: ....it appears that the outer balljoint is held in place with a screwed on collar - maybe it'll tighten up a bit, or can be easily replaced if worn - if it can't be shimmed out.

I would expect it to be accessible without removal of the rack, but don't know how much space there will be to get a spanner on the flats whilst it's in situ.


Yup. Correct as usual.. You can turn the steering to get it sticking out of the rack to work on but MUST grip the rack with 'soft jaws' (I use bits of lead flashing that came off a roof) and unscrew against that, and make sure no load is put on the pinion teeth because it can bugger them up. It's locked with an indent into a slot in the rack so easier to undo if that is first knocked out, or drilled out if you're fitting new.

I got an MOT advisory about a bit of slack so pulled apart a rack inner ball joint to remove shims, only to find there weren't any... as Simon mentioned. (Most UK cars with rack & pinion in 60's & 70's were supplied by Cam Gears of Hitchin who used shims to tighten the inner ball joint, so I was used to finding them on Mini, Elan, Elan+2, Europa etc). Can't remember if rack was on Eclat or my first M100 SE, which is annoying me, but was first I'd found without shims and when I then looked in the manual for how tight it should be I found it said they weren't serviceable. Should probably have guessed as cup was locked by indent in a groove rather than tightened against shims but I'd 'un-indented' it with a bradle I keep for that purpose so cleaned it up, inspected it, re-greased it and put it back together. When I tightened it, it went just past the indent so I could indent with new metal and rod moved OK without slack so reckoned I'd 'serviced' some thing supposedly 'not serviceable' :lol: ...

That rack had a sprung loaded seat under the ball so it had quite a bit of tolerance before it would be too tight. Can remember doing it at a house we moved from in '93 so if it was M100, I did another 40,000 miles in it and if Eclat - it's still in my garage! Now need somebody to post a picture of the Elan inner ball unscrewed from the rack to put my mind at rest ... :smt064
Phil

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Cars: Subaru Forester 2.5XTN, Eclat Riviera, brace of Pacific Blue SE's, Elan+"S.... and now a Collapso SE
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Re: Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

Postby chris.t » Thu 09.02.2017, 10:21

Wow thanks for your replies guys, I'm feeling a lot more confident about this now.

eta/ do the clips on the boot come off easily without damaging the boot or the clip?
Could the 'Hokey-Cokey' actually be what it's all about?
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Re: Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

Postby lotusflasherman » Thu 09.02.2017, 16:24

chris.t wrote:Wow thanks for your replies guys, I'm feeling a lot more confident about this now.

eta/ do the clips on the boot come off easily without damaging the boot or the clip?


Depends what tools you've got ... I've got a pair of long side cutters that were for crimping up 'use once' gas hose clips and, turned 90°, cutting them off. Those will cut through the OE boot clips quite easily and obstinate jubilee clips.

These aren't the same as mine but similar ...Neilsen-CV-Joint-Boot-Clamp-Ear-Type-Pliers

Not sure if those will cut them off but at that price I'd buy two and sharpen the jaws of one on a grindstone so it did.

Just been comparing the rack on the Elan to the Eclat and from the space inside the wheel arch I reckon it was more probably the Eclat inner ball joint I 'serviced' a few decades ago. Also looked at Elan Service Notes (Section HC Page 11) and says new track rod joints should be tightened onto the rack to 54 lbf.ft so expect them to be tight, grip the rack and don't let it load the pinion or you'll soon be changing the whole rack... a power steering pinion has a lot of delicate valves and sleeves and is easily damaged.

Anybody who wants to know in detail how rack & pinion power steering works may like to read the 1971 Patent application that I've just found - very interesting ...power assisted rack & pinion steering I'm amazed that I used to know a couple of engineers who worked for Cam Gears in Hitchin in the early 70's and they told me most UK cars used their racks but they never told me they'd got the worldwide patent....
Phil

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Cars: Subaru Forester 2.5XTN, Eclat Riviera, brace of Pacific Blue SE's, Elan+"S.... and now a Collapso SE
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Re: Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

Postby chris.t » Sat 11.02.2017, 11:39

Thanks LFM, I won't be doing work, but I will be printing this thread off and giving it to the chap who is.
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Re: Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

Postby kevinrooney » Wed 10.05.2017, 09:27

I had the same problem with mine and purchased a SH rack my local power steering company gave it a once over replaced teh boots and tightened up the inner track rod ends for €50.
the universal joints at the end of the steering column can lead to play and should be replaced when the rack is out
The UJ at the bottom of the steering column is identical to that fitted to Land Rover Defenders, Disco's etc.

Part number is : NRC7704
previous advice on the forum regarding outer track rod ends
The track rod ends are fitted to BMW 300 (E21) series, Fiat 131 Mirafiori, Porsche 924 & 944, VW Golf MkI, Jetta Mk I, Scirocco Mk I & II, Caddy pick up, Transporter Type 2 and Volvo 340s. They are non handed and commonly available from motor factors

I think this is really a rack out job. I would be inclined to take the rack out, get it pressure tested by power steering company adjust the track rod end Be advised that the power steering pipe can seize and shear off so be prepared - most cost effective route is to find a local pipe guy that can make up a new set. there are both low and high pressure o rings for these connections which are available from SJS (i think).
Not in my opinion a DIY job as it involves dropping sub frame exhaust etc to remove rack unless you have a hoist . My local garage regretted taking it on!

I have a spare rack ( my original) which I could arrange to have overhauled .
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Re: Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

Postby newtonlad » Tue 12.06.2018, 19:50

Hi guys,
So my car has passed the "new" MOT but with an advisory, "play on inner track rod ball joints" o/s and n/s. Having read the thread I am a little confused, is the outcome of the discussion saying that there is adjustment on the ball joints if you are able to access them with the rack in situ ? Has anybody actually done this job with success ? As Dapinky suggests, am I likely to have an oil/grease shower when removing the gaiter ? Any info gladly accepted, thanks, Newton lad.1991 SE with 122k on the clock.
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Re: Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

Postby lotusflasherman » Wed 13.06.2018, 23:26

Yes, I have but long time ago and not sure if it was on a Calypso M100 or red Eclat. Principle is same but Eclat has more room as no driveshaft in there.
First thing I'd say is 'it''s only advisory and not a fail' and power steering racks can have more play when the engine is off and no fluid pressure in the system.
Investigate what play there is engine off and check again with engine running and see if you've got a problem. Then drop the track rod ball joint out of the hub and check if there is play in the inner ball. If I remember correctly the seat is spring loaded. There should not be P/S fluid or oil in the bellows or it would burst when you went from lock to lock quickly. If there is then a seal in the rack has failed. The ball cup is staked into a groove so you need to prise it out and then turn the cup enough to remove the slack but not seize the track rod and restake it into the groove - probably only needs 1/8 of a turn.
Phil

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Cars: Subaru Forester 2.5XTN, Eclat Riviera, brace of Pacific Blue SE's, Elan+"S.... and now a Collapso SE
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Re: Steering Rack Track Rod Inner Ball Joints

Postby newtonlad » Thu 14.06.2018, 21:49

Hi Phil,
Thank you very much for the reply and valuable info. I have checked the play with engine off, wheel raised, but track rod still connected, and there is definitely some play in both inner joints, so I will try to remove the excess play as you suggested. Fingers crossed. Newton Lad
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