R8 steering

dauphproto

New member
I think everyone is missing the obvious point here. The rack spring is not centring the steering, every car I had with one did just that and pronto too, If the new joints are tight enough to defeat the spring then they are tight enough to cause a bit of wander. The repro parts available at the present are really poor quality. It may be a good idea to pop a track rod end off and see if it is one side only that is tight.
 

Frans

1000+ Posts
I think everyone is missing the obvious point here. The rack spring is not centring the steering, every car I had with one did just that and pronto too, If the new joints are tight enough to defeat the spring then they are tight enough to cause a bit of wander. The repro parts available at the present are really poor quality. It may be a good idea to pop a track rod end off and see if it is one side only that is tight.
I agree, as I said before, the ball joints are too tight/stiff and there are 6 of them that are new and all 6 have to be rotated at every small movement. Or the rack is too tight but I think that was eliminated in a thread before.
Regards, Frans.
 
I gave up on the centering spring years ago and there's plenty of self-centering without it. Ditto on the 4CV.
Hmm! I love the self centring effect of the springs. They provide a lovely party trick: automatic hands off slide correction.
Learning of their demise in the 2.5 LHD pinion route to quicker steering, I am pleased that I chose the alternative route for the R8 & 4CVG: standard rack & steering column reduction gearbox "steering quickener" (thanks to Frans for apprising me of their existence).

cheers! Peter
 

BobG

New member
Today I put the front end up on jackstands, removed the wheels and unbolted the tie rod ends. The ball joints and rod ends are very tight. The ball joints on the ends of the new tie rods that attach to the rack are even tighter. The centering spring in the rack will bring it close to center when turned either way. So the source of my steering behavior seems to be the tight joints as Frans, Steve and others suspected. I'll add some ballast up front tomorrow and see if that improves things. Otherwise, I'll just drive it as is and hope it loosens up over time, unless somebody knows how to soften ball joints.
Bob
 

jaahn

1000+ Posts
Hi Bob :)
When I put new joints in I always lift the boots off and look at the grease. Usually they just have one blob nowadays put randomly there relying on the movement to spread it where it is needed. So i top it up with similar grease and work the joint around by moving to the extremes and turning it also, to spread it into the rubbing area. A few drops of oil might help too! I suggest you do that to yours. You might need to lock two nuts together to be able to turn it. Possibly giving them a bit of light hammer therapy also might help to bed them in. ;)
Jaahn
 

JohnW

Too many posts!
Today I put the front end up on jackstands, removed the wheels and unbolted the tie rod ends. The ball joints and rod ends are very tight. The ball joints on the ends of the new tie rods that attach to the rack are even tighter. The centering spring in the rack will bring it close to center when turned either way. So the source of my steering behavior seems to be the tight joints as Frans, Steve and others suspected. I'll add some ballast up front tomorrow and see if that improves things. Otherwise, I'll just drive it as is and hope it loosens up over time, unless somebody knows how to soften ball joints.
Bob
How interesting. I rebuilt the R8 front end last year to replace the wishbone pivot bushes and had no experience like yours. Hadn't thought of Jaahn's prelubrication idea. My old balljoints were OK actually but I had the new ones with their new boots so fitted them.
 

simca1100

Member
M y first car was an Austin 1800. You adjusted each ball joint - the ball was retained by a screw-in collar, from very vague memory you could use shims to give more clearance?? Gee it was a good idea. You could adjust it to be just loose enough but no slop.

If they are tight enough to stop self-centring and cause wandering, I'd be thinking of returning them and seeking another supplier. (If one exists...)
 

geckoeng

1000+ Posts
If I can make another comment here. I would believe that he ball joins were changed as a mater of course. And that they were still quite service able. Just the boots were perished. ???
If I have serviceable ball joints I clamp it in the vice pushing the pin into the socket a bit and fill the socket with fresh grease. Use a large tie rod end dust cover to cover it again. (Pedders)

Ray
 

BobG

New member
Following Jaahns advice, I removed one of the ball joints so I could lubricate it. I used a torque wrench to measure the torque required to turn the spindle. It measured about 40 in-lb. I remove the boot. There was very little grease so I added some and tried to work it into the joint. This didn't help. Then I tried some oil, and that didn't help either. Finally I tried gently heating the housing with a propane torch while working the spindle. I quit heating as soon as the spindle loosened up. I measured the torque again it had dropped to about 8 in-lb. Success! I assume that the heat was softening the plastic (?) bearing surface in the joint. I used the heating process on the remaining ball joints and tie rod ends. After reassembly, the centering spring in the rack could move the wheels from full lock most of the way to center. This was done with the front wheels on 2 pieces of vinyl floor tile with a thin film of oil in between. I took a test drive and the improvement in centering was noticeable. I then added 100 lb of sand in the front and took another drive. The centering was even better. It was especially noticeable on a sweeping curve. I still need to reset the toe, but I call this a success. Many thanks to all the Froggers who helped with this. As someone said above, you can't beat experience. You guys are great!
Bob
 

schlitzaugen

1000+ Posts
Your experiment with the weight up front proves that it is the weight of the car that pushes the wheels back to straight ahead.

I still don't remember where the springs are and how they act on the rack, but I would hazard a guess they are there just like a sort of pretensioner to take up whatever slack there may be in the rack to pinion assembly. My car had a spring loaded skate opposite the end of the steering shaft to push the rack against the pinion.
 

JohnW

Too many posts!
Following Jaahns advice, I removed one of the ball joints so I could lubricate it. I used a torque wrench to measure the torque required to turn the spindle. It measured about 40 in-lb. I remove the boot. There was very little grease so I added some and tried to work it into the joint. This didn't help. Then I tried some oil, and that didn't help either. Finally I tried gently heating the housing with a propane torch while working the spindle. I quit heating as soon as the spindle loosened up. I measured the torque again it had dropped to about 8 in-lb. Success! I assume that the heat was softening the plastic (?) bearing surface in the joint. I used the heating process on the remaining ball joints and tie rod ends. After reassembly, the centering spring in the rack could move the wheels from full lock most of the way to center. This was done with the front wheels on 2 pieces of vinyl floor tile with a thin film of oil in between. I took a test drive and the improvement in centering was noticeable. I then added 100 lb of sand in the front and took another drive. The centering was even better. It was especially noticeable on a sweeping curve. I still need to reset the toe, but I call this a success. Many thanks to all the Froggers who helped with this. As someone said above, you can't beat experience. You guys are great!
Bob
We all learn from these situations! Nice result. You have confirmed that the caster isn't fully adjusted the wrong way, haven't you?
 

JohnW

Too many posts!
Your experiment with the weight up front proves that it is the weight of the car that pushes the wheels back to straight ahead.

I still don't remember where the springs are and how they act on the rack, but I would hazard a guess they are there just like a sort of pretensioner to take up whatever slack there may be in the rack to pinion assembly. My car had a spring loaded skate opposite the end of the steering shaft to push the rack against the pinion.
There is a single internal coil spring that returns the steering almost to centre from lock applied in either direction. There's also a way of taking up slack from pinion to rack but that's quite different. The early 4CVs had two such springs, mounted external to the rack (smells of an afterthought after they started learning about the handling of the early cars with swing axles and positive camber).
 

Bustamif

Member
Following Jaahns advice, I removed one of the ball joints so I could lubricate it. I used a torque wrench to measure the torque required to turn the spindle. It measured about 40 in-lb. I remove the boot. There was very little grease so I added some and tried to work it into the joint. This didn't help. Then I tried some oil, and that didn't help either. Finally I tried gently heating the housing with a propane torch while working the spindle. I quit heating as soon as the spindle loosened up. I measured the torque again it had dropped to about 8 in-lb. Success! I assume that the heat was softening the plastic (?) bearing surface in the joint. I used the heating process on the remaining ball joints and tie rod ends. After reassembly, the centering spring in the rack could move the wheels from full lock most of the way to center. This was done with the front wheels on 2 pieces of vinyl floor tile with a thin film of oil in between. I took a test drive and the improvement in centering was noticeable. I then added 100 lb of sand in the front and took another drive. The centering was even better. It was especially noticeable on a sweeping curve. I still need to reset the toe, but I call this a success. Many thanks to all the Froggers who helped with this. As someone said above, you can't beat experience. You guys are great!
Bob
Interesting technique of heating the ball joint to "loosen" it. I worked for a large company which was a world wide manufacturer of ball joints. Also made turbochargers and some parts for the Lunar landing project. I was an engineering student while working for TRW.
Some ball joints do not need grease to lubricate them, they have a high pressure injected non ferrous material which will wear at a rated determined by the required life of the part. Similar to the really expensive heim or rose joints used in aircraft and race cars. They are monitored for wear and replaced.
It would seem that you may have turned a new ball joint into one that has travelled 300,000 miles. If the mod has improved the steering problem then the desired outcome has been achieved.
 

JohnW

Too many posts!
John, would you please expand on the technique for taking up slack from pinion to rack?

cheers! Peter
Hi Peter,

On the 4CV rack there is an adjuster, an external screw and locknut, that presses the rack towards the pinion.

On our 16TS, there was something similar - I had the slightest rack click when parked and the local Transport folk failed a roadworth when the tester could "hear something", so we dismantled the same sort of system and added a shim, removing the rattle. Today I'll go and pull out a spare R10 rack and have a look at it - I can't remember exactly - and see what I can photograph.
 

Frans

1000+ Posts
John. That spring that pushes the rack down is the one that I remove and replace with a piston or call it a spacer as I mentioned in my thread #10 on the previous page.
 

JohnW

Too many posts!
John. That spring that pushes the rack down is the one that I remove and replace with a piston or call it a spacer as I mentioned in my thread #10 on the previous page.
Thanks Frans. I checked my manual this afternoon and at one stage they changed the material of the plunger and strengthened up the spring. I reckon your plunger, with a precise length, is a good approach.
 
Hi Peter,

On the 4CV rack there is an adjuster, an external screw and locknut, that presses the rack towards the pinion.

On our 16TS, there was something similar - I had the slightest rack click when parked and the local Transport folk failed a roadworth when the tester could "hear something", so we dismantled the same sort of system and added a shim, removing the rattle. Today I'll go and pull out a spare R10 rack and have a look at it - I can't remember exactly - and see what I can photograph.
Thanks.
 
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