1/29/2017 Steering Rack, Steering Column, Safety Wire

It's been a long time since the last update. Life gets in the way. This year I started off with a to-do list, and we're off to a good start. The to-do list contains the following items:

We started off making good progress. The first and easiest project was the safety wire. I found a YouTube video published by University Motors, discussing aftermarket shocks setups, and the dangers of the bolts backing out, causing the lever shock to come lose. This causes loss of control and possible loss of braking. As such, I wanted to ensure these bolts wouldnât back out. With the car off of the ground and front wheels removed, a tiny hole was drilled into the head of each of the four outer bolts holding the front shock mounts, and a wire was fed through each and twisted to ensure that these bolts stay put.

Last year I bought a steering rack from the junkyard. The steering rack in the car was not original, and the internal bronze bushing that holds the rack in place was worn, causing a clunking sound and play when the steering wheel changed directions. The junkyard rack was no better. When the rack was disassembled, I found that the bronze bushing was in good shape, but came loose from its mounting. The rack was cleaned up, painted, the bronze bushing re-installed with the retaining screws, and reassembled. New bellow boots were installed with new clamps. A new seal was purchased and installed for the shaft. Should be good as new.

When the old rack was removed, the lower part of the steering column pulled out with the rack. It seemed to slide back in easy enough. However, when it came time to install the replacement rack, the rack holes wouldn't line up with the cross member. As it turns out, when the steering column shaft that came out, the nylon or plastic bushings inside of the steering column got jammed inside. As a result, the steering column had to be removed. This happened before as well, but went back together with no issue. This time, I was not so lucky. I researched the problem and found that the plastic inserts were injection molded and not serviceable. There were two repair options I found. The first was to bolt or pin the two shafts together, eliminating the slip joint safety feature of the column, but also eliminating any play. The second was to align the two shafts, heat them with a torch, and use a hot glue gun to inject hot glue into the slots. This was the option I chose. I disassembled the entire steering column, cleaned it up, aligned and heated the shafts and injected hot glue in each of the two holes until it came out the other side. After it cooled, I checked for play. There was none. The column was then reassembled and re-installed in the car without issue. The steering has very little play now, although it feels slightly stiff. The rack may require slight re-alignment.

Next project: FLOORS

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