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 Posted: 07-27-2009 12:57 pm
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sjensen24
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I experienced a problem with my steering this weekend.  The steering locked short of a full turn while trying  to make a corner at low speed (fortunately).  It happened a number of times, both left and right turns while getting the car home.  A little working of the wheel back and forth seems to return thing to normal.  I assume this means a problem inside the rack.  Any other possibilities I should examine?  I have a second rack I can swap out.  How difficult is this?  Thanks much for all advice.

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 Posted: 07-27-2009 02:14 pm
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JodyKerr
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How are your engine mounts? Have you shifted the position of the engine at all recently?

If the engine is flexing too much or is angled incorrectly the upper steering knuckle and the exhaust manifold will interfere with each other. Is it reproduceable only in cornering?

 

Jody

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 Posted: 07-27-2009 02:17 pm
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sjensen24
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I just had someone replace the engine mounts, so yes, the engine position has changed.  It seems like there is only one way for the mount to be installed.  Is there an adjustment to the steering shaft that compensates?

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 Posted: 07-27-2009 02:29 pm
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JodyKerr
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Well, first thing you need to do is determine if it's hitting on the upper knuckle. You'll require an assistant to turn the wheel while you watch fron underneath (there's only one spot where if you lay just right you can watch). If it *is* hitting, then you just need to adjust the angle of the motor. The front engine mounts have slots in them that allow the engine to be rotates ~10 to 25 degrees.

very carefully get a jack underneat the oil pan on the driver's side of the car. Support the block, loosen the front mounts and raise the car a little bit. This will lift it on the driver's side. Test the steering. When it clears correctly tighten down the Driver's side mount first, then the passenger side. Retest to ensure there's still no clearance issue (because the engine will settle a little bit once it's down).

I learned this recently while helping a friend replace his exhaust manifold while in the car (blech, what a pita job that is). It took us two or three adjustmens to get it just right.

Jody

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 Posted: 07-27-2009 05:54 pm
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sjensen24
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Thanks.  just to make sure I understand, you say put a jack underneath the oil pan, loosen the mounts and raise the car a little bit.  Do you mean raise the engine a little bit or am I really raising the car itself?  I too, have done the dirty job of disconnecting the exhaust header while in the car.  A truly thankless job.

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 Posted: 07-27-2009 05:56 pm
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JodyKerr
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With the jack under the engine and the motor mounts loose it'll life the engine, not the car. The whole intent is to add a couple degrees of cant to the motor so that the steering clears the manifold.

 

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 Posted: 07-27-2009 08:54 pm
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Dan (Florida)
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You might check to see if the bushing on the lower end of the steering shaft hasn't slipped out of the column. It's right behind the engine where the steering column comes out of the firewall. If it has you need to remove the column and steering shaft  and repair the lower steering shaft so it won't slip oit of the upper steering shaft. Jensen Healey has a collapsible column and a telescopic steering shaft. The shaft is held together by a nylon button on one side of the shaft that sort of holds pressure on the other shaft.  Once it wears out the shafts slide apart and there is nothing to hold the lower shaft from sliding downward and locking up the upper steering joint. I fixed mine by taking the shaft out of the car and drilling through both shafts at once and putting in a cotter pin to hold both shafts together to the proper length. Otherwise the shafts will telescope downward and the bushing will come out of the column and lock up the joint.

While you are in there check that plastic bushing on the end of the steering column tube,  Mine was worn out and was causing about a quarter inch of steering wheel play. shake the lower end of the shaft and if it wobbles, get a new bushing either at Delta Motorsports or have one made  at a local machine shop. It will steer much better.  

You will probably have to remove the lower  joint from the steering box to get it all back together but it is possible.  A definite four beer job.  I hope it is a simpler job than that , but it remains in the future for all of us.

Dan

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 Posted: 07-28-2009 01:31 pm
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sjensen24
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I checked it out last night.  I was able to use a small mirror from above the engine to observe the upper steering u joint as it turns.  It comes very close to hitting a projection on the exhaust cam cover twice per revolution; once just as you begin a left turn and again just as you begin a right turn.  It did not actually hit, but I can imagine that it would under certain circumstances.  It appears that I need to rotate the engine ccw ( as you look at it from the front of the car).

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 Posted: 08-01-2009 04:40 pm
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Arvin Appelman
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If the steering shaft was removed when the new motor mounts were installed, the knuckle may have flipped.  I had the steering knuckle flip over on me once while autocrossing, locking me in to a continous right turn.  Once it popped back past the exhaust cam cover, I could turn left and right very little before hitting the cover.  Make sure that knuckle is together properly. 

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 Posted: 08-07-2009 01:22 pm
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sjensen24
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There seems to be a fair amount of slack in the steering shaft, which is contributing to the problem.  I tightened up the fit as much as I could at the lower u joint.  It seems like there is still excessive slack, but no more adjustment available.  A big part of the problem is the small projection on the cam cover.  I am thinking of grinding that off.  Does anyone know what this is for?

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 Posted: 08-07-2009 01:59 pm
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JodyKerr
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*Please* don't go grinding on your motor!

Is the slack vertical or rotational? The steering shafts have a bunch of crap rubber bits in them that break down over time because of age, oil, heat, etc.

You may need a rebuilt steering shaft (http://www.jhps.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=jhps&Product_Code=STRS&Category_Code=SUS)

Outside of that, if it's still not clearing the rear cam area, then the engine is still not quite set correctly. The front motor mounts have ~3/4" or more "vertical" alignment possibilities. It sounds like the driver's front side is still not high enough.

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 Posted: 08-07-2009 01:59 pm
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Judson Manning
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As Jody and Dan have pointed out, the usual suspects are the deteriorated rubber bushings in the upper shaft joint (the fix is bronze) and the nylon/delrin bushing at the bottom of the column where it extends through the firewall (a pain to get to).  The lower shaft joint is solid and the steering rack has minimal shimming ability.

On a totally different subject, the engine mounts can be adjusted slightly as Jody said, and they do droop with age.  Especially with aftermarket headers it is common to put a 1/8" shimming washer under the driver's side engine mount.  My 910/907 hybrid conversion w/ 4>1 header required an almost 1" lift to clear everything - but that was an extreme case.

Try slipping a few fender washers under that mount before you start grinding and have someone jiggle the wheel while you look at the upper joint from under the car.

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 Posted: 08-07-2009 02:59 pm
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sjensen24
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I took the car back to the shop and got them to adjust the motor position to provide more clearance for the shaft.  They did add a metal shim to mount on the driver side.

I confess to being puzzled by the number of links in the upper connection.  The various connections within the u joint seem to be tight.  What is meant by the joint 'collapsing'?

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 Posted: 08-17-2009 04:57 pm
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sjensen24
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I have solved the problem.  Thanks for all of the helpful tips.  The mechanism that prevents the upper steering shaft from telescoping had failed.  The shaft had actually shortened which allowed the upper links to unfold.  This allowed enough play in the lower steering shaft that it occasionally interfered with various objects.  I installed a shear pin as Dan did.  What a job!  I only wish I had documented with photos so I could share with others, but I wasn't thinking about that at 11:30 at night.  It's very difficult to really understand until you tear the whole thing apart.

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