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Old 04-22-2014, 08:38 PM   #1
foggyjames
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Default Steering null around centre

Long time no new thread, Turbobricks! It's good to be back. I'm seeking your collective wisdom on a steering / suspension issue, as I know there are some pretty wise types on this subject lurking in these parts.

I have a 343, but for the purposes of this thread, think of it as having a front suspension / steering layout very much like that of a 740...just with the connection from tie rod to control arm being rigid, rather than bushed. The front end is lowered, with stiffer springs and suitably capable shocks. The tie rod and control arm sit roughly parallel to the ground, and there is visual negative camber now.

The behaviour I'm getting is a null in the steering around the centre point before anything happens. The wheels do turn, but there's a limited change of direction until you pass a 'tipping point', and it turns sharply. Once you have everything loaded up, mid corner, it turns very nicely, but getting it to that point does not feel great. At all. Or to put it another way, turn-in is super-sloppy. The other behaviour I noticed recently is that the straight-ahead steering wheel position on the motorway changes from nearly 12 o'clock (i.e. straight up) to nearly 11 o'clock, depending on which way the wind is blowing (not literally...!). I realised recently that I had never had the front end aligned since reassembly (since it drove in a straight line, I kinda forgot...), but that didn't make much of a difference.

At this point, I should declare that the control arm inner (i.e. to subframe) bushes and the tie rod to body bushes are 33 years old, so they are probably favourite (and I have polyurethane replacements ready to go in)...but...I am concerned that it didn't feel this sloppy before I swapped the springs, shocks, and top mounts for "performance" items. Maybe the slop is now obvious, as everything else is so tight.

My question is, is there anything else I should be considering while I get around to sorting those bushings out. I am a self-confessed newbie when it comes to suspension geometry, but something I read recently got me thinking - namely that to maintain sharpness of turn-in after adding negative camber, you may need to toe-out a little.

I am almost certainly over-thinking this, and should just swap out those bushes and see what happens. What do you think, good people of Turbobricks?

For the newbies, this is the car:
http://youtu.be/_YfiXIavdV4?t=25s
Powered by a B200 (2.0 version of a B230) on carbs. Original R-Sport engine kit. Circa 150bhp crank in a 2400lb shell. Just a bit of low-tech noisy fun...but will stick with a lightly modified Tbrick in a straight line.

cheers

James
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:44 AM   #2
mikep
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Check for play in the column, rack, etc. first. The control arm bushings can let the suspension move around when you turn the wheel, too.
Then verify the toe is near zero. Toe-out generally makes it feel vague compared to toe-in, but toe-out in the rear makes it "rotate" nicely, and toe-out in front can make it better getting into tight turns.
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:49 AM   #3
Lando
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I was gonna say toe out or caster or both. Or bushing/joint mayhem.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:23 AM   #4
icwbmx
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Sounds like inner tie rods in the steering rack or a combination of that and worn bushings. had similar issues with my 240. My experience is with 240s though so I could be wrong.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:14 PM   #5
classicswede
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I have found once you stiffen up the suspension any unwanted play in any of the suspension joints will make the handling/steering feel terrible. I would try the bushes as a first step and check the steering rack for any play. If there is no play and the bushes do not fix it then next thing is get the steering angles checked to see if anything is out
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:33 PM   #6
benski
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+1 to all of the above. My culprit list would be ;
1. Worn bushings
2.Worn steering rack
3. Alignment
as already mentioned above.
If you've got worn components, performance parts enhance the feel of them..
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Old 04-23-2014, 03:53 PM   #7
smokeyfan1000
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also check the steering shaft u joints. Especially the lower one that slides on splines of the rack's shaft

Sounds like after 33 years it's time torebuild the entire front & rear suspension bushings..... All of them
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Old 04-23-2014, 04:05 PM   #8
TestPoint
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Just replaced the rack on a 240 for the same 'wander' reason . . . plus it leaked a lot. Rest of front end was all new and once off it was obvious that the rack end play was seriously out of specs. And it only had 180k miles on it.
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:14 PM   #9
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Just replaced the rack on a 240 for the same 'wander' reason . . . plus it leaked a lot. Rest of front end was all new and once off it was obvious that the rack end play was seriously out of specs. And it only had 180k miles on it.
agree. 33 year old rack and pinion steering assembly has seen better days.......seals leaking, worn parts and seals and the constant puddles....

If you want it to drive like new...it takes new parts when they're 20+ years old
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Old 04-27-2014, 05:37 PM   #10
foggyjames
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Hi gang!

Many thanks for your input. I should add a few further notes...

Ball joints have all been recently inspected and are tight. The car had PAS swapped onto it around 6k miles ago. The rack was new around 30-40k miles ago, and is tight. It's a few years old now, but I see mileage as being the key factor. The column UJs were tight when inspected during the PAS swap. The only components left which are original are the wishbones, tie rods, and their bushings. If anything's worn, it'll be those...and they may well be! It only has 60k on it, but the rubber may well have ended up in a real mess by now.

I had it aligned around a week ago, but I suspect that was a waste of time, as it made no difference, and the alignment no doubt wandered out the moment it rolled backwards. It makes me hopping mad that wheel alignment is a borderline scam here in the UK. I would pay good money for no adjustments to be made, but to be told that I have a dead balljoint, but I've never had that happen if there's money to be made from alignment...only when I've had tyres fitted (i.e. after replacement there was the chance of getting an alignment done), or at an MOT.

In other words, you've all convinced me that I've not overlooked anything with the alignment maths, and the best thing to do is to swap out the bushes (which I already have, even...I've just not got around to it) and see if that changes things.

cheers

James
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:20 PM   #11
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In the middle of rectifying this. Bushes actually looked pretty good, but on close inspection the rack was slightly lose on its mounts. You wouldn't notice with it in the air with everything unloaded...I only spotted it because I was heaving on things to get the torque rods back into line.

Egg / face interface...

cheers

James
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:35 AM   #12
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I had a similar feel in my 740. At 12 o'clock steering felt like it was sticking. Like you, I described it as a break-over point. It make cruising straight a constant battle. I had my car aligned and it made no difference. I did a completed flush of the power steering 2 times and installed an inline filter and that cured the issue.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:24 AM   #13
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Hey Noz! Good to hear from you. Good info on the PAS situation. I had something similar with my old V70R.

This is the car that's wearing the carbs you put me onto back in 2004. There's a video up in the first post, if you want to hear it in action.

cheers

James
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