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Deadly loose steering...crazy U joints  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 06-06-2015 04:23 am
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Frank Schwartz
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Fellow Jensenites, as you know, there is always something that comes up that you have never encountered before on your beloved Jensen Healey...and this one is confusing. The steering is quite loose and I thought it might be needing shims at the bottom of the steering gear box, as I have previously run into.

However, even a casual inspection has shown me that the crazy triple U joint business, right at the firewall is quite loose and shows obvious great wear. I have consulted the service manual (always a source of overly simplistic instructions that never work) and cannot find really informative instructions as to how to remove it for replacement or servicing..

I think, I can temporarily remove the steering rack allowing withdrawal of the shaft with the triple u joints...but maybe not.

Has anyone replaced these U joints, or does the unit come as an assembly...or do I have to take the car apart to do this??

Any suggestions will be most gratefully received.

Thank you,
Frank Schwartz

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 Posted: 06-06-2015 06:55 am
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Screenplay
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Hi Frank,
I have changed the steering shaft on mine so I hope I can offer some help; I don't know if this is the most common way but it worked for me and was relatively painless.

Loosen and remove the bolts on both U-joints: the one up near the fire wall, and the one at the bottom just above the steering rack. Be sure to remove them as the splined shaft that they affix to has a groove in it and the joints will not slide off the splines if the bolts are still there.

Next, loosen the two bolts holding the steering rack to the K-frame. I don't think it needs to be removed completely, but loose enough to move it forward and give some space to work with (I removed my rack completely - no other reason than I wanted to inspect it but it's not necessary).

Now with that rack loose, slide the loosened U-joints off of the splined shaft on both ends. IIRC one of mine moved right away but the other needed some persuasion by putting a large flat blade screwdriver in the joint where it pinches the shaft and spreading it a bit with a twisting motion. You should be able to pull it straight out of the front of the car through the headers.

The upper joint is an integral part of the shaft; I got mine from the club store refurbished with exchange for about $200+/-. Delta also has them. The bottom joint is separate and I believe is about $60. There is also a bushing on the shaft at the firewall that could be causing problems as well and should be dealt with while this is all apart. I didn't do mine at the time so I cannot advise but I hear it is not difficult.

I've experienced both brake failure and steering failure (as a kid driving jalopies) and if I had to choose I'd rather lose the brakes-steering is too important!)

Best of luck and let us know how it goes.

Clinton

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 Posted: 06-06-2015 07:27 am
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Frank Schwartz
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As the British say...Brilliant !!
Thank you Clinton...this is exactly the information I needed

Frank

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 Posted: 06-06-2015 10:19 am
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subwoofer
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The lower bushing on the steering column is usually the first to go, thankfully it is easy to replace once you have things apart. Don't buy new joints until you have checked them.

--
Joachim

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 Posted: 06-06-2015 04:41 pm
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LambandAndy
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Frank,

I removed mine by the same method Clinton used below. A little tricky but doable. I rebushed my own U joints using bronze bushings instead nylon and also replaced the bulkhead bushing with bronze. I think that the exhaust header area gets too hot for nylon.

Andy

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 Posted: 06-06-2015 04:45 pm
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Frank Schwartz
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Interesting...I can see that the U joint right at the top of the assembly is badly worn...have replaced U joints on drive shafts, but this one might be something I can't do..will have to check with suppliers locally to see if I can get these units apart to repair them rather than purchase a rebuilt one.

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 Posted: 06-06-2015 04:47 pm
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Frank Schwartz
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Andy, re reading you post above, since you did the job yourself, I 'd like to know where you obtained the parts..
I see you are located not too far south of me in Middle Tennessee..
Frank

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 Posted: 06-07-2015 03:55 pm
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LambandAndy
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Frank,

I have the luxury of having a lathe in my shop so made them myself. You should be able to find a local machine shop to knock them out for you if you wanted to go that route. The little discs that push in over the top of the bushings I punched out of a piece of stove pipe.
By the way I am in NE Georgia not Tennessee.

Andy

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 Posted: 06-09-2015 04:47 am
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Frank Schwartz
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Andy...I thought you were in the Atlanta area...I am in the Nashville area, not too far from you. I do have a lathe (Harbor Freight special) and can do some simple work...and I would appreciate knowing just what you have done...or a "How to do it 101"
My first guess is that it has bushings, not needle bearings as in a U joint..and that you replaced the bushings with bronze..or oilite or..??

Perhaps we can chat off line and I am at mfsjr2@att.net if you please.

Thanks,'Frank

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 Posted: 06-19-2015 07:12 pm
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Frank Schwartz
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Clinton...nd anyone else reading the thread.....I followed your instructions and the rack definitely needed to be removed or loosened...see my comments on the bolt head shaped as in a D rather than six sided in this web site under Suspension. I have the shaft out now and am ready to replace it with a good one...I drew the old one out from under the car, through the manifold pipes towards the rear rather than through front..
Now to install the good shaft....

Your help was invaluable..never realized that the steering rack had to be moved to remove the shaft....
Live and learn....

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 Posted: 06-21-2015 08:21 pm
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Screenplay
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Hi Frank,
Great to hear it's coming together. And I'd like to second Joachim's point about the importance of the lower bushing on the steering column. I just checked my own and there is a definite lateral play in the splined shaft where it exits the firewall. I don't know what the acceptable play is, but common sense dictates it's too much. With that done much of the steering would be covered - well, except the rack itself and that's maybe for another time.
Clinton

Last edited on 06-21-2015 08:21 pm by Screenplay

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 Posted: 06-23-2015 01:14 am
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Frank Schwartz
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I will check that bushing...but it seems to be fairly tight..that is the remaining steering shaft seemed to be solid and tight in situ..

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