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Steering Box

The steering box is notorious for being a really tricky item to overhaul, given it has something like 32 ball bearings that need to be held in place in open bearing races whilst inserting steering columns and twisting on recirculating ball worm nuts....! I watched all the YouTube videos, and read all the manuals, and frankly couldn't see what all the fuss was about!? So, I embarked on the task with some gay abandon....

Steering box components

After stripping the old box and column, I proceeded to re-spray all the steel parts and covers. As I was getting to know my new spray gun and glossy 2k automotive spray paint, I figured everything needed a covering of this highly reflective product.

Steering box side cover with new paint

The aluminium steering box casing I cleaned up using ScotchBrite, and it came out looking superb (which is important, as it gets covered by a sheet metal box under the wheel arch so no-one can see it!).

Steering box casing

Everyone recommended "gluing" the 32 balls in place using grease, before inserting the steering column, threading the worm gear and nut, etc. This was trundling along perfectly, and I was wondering what all the fuss was about, when disaster struck! One ball fell out and went missing! From that point on, nothing I did would keep the blasted balls in place (it was almost if they were saying "not a chance you wrapping this one up before our mate returns!" - I never did find the missing ball, and had to use an old one...). After hours of struggling and cursing, I eventually got everything in place, and could close the box up.

After shimming the end plate to get the right pre-load on the bearings (tested with a trusty fly-fishing scale), the box was complete and could be fitted to the chassis.

Assembled steering box
Steering box and column back on chassis

The steering tie rod and ball joints were looking a little crusty, but after another stint with the overly enthusiastic spray painter, the tie rod was gleaming gloss black again. The balls joints needed replacing, but as wewere in lockdown, and the balls were pretty solid, I cleaned them up, repacked them with grease as best I could given they didn't have grease nipples (naughty!), and gave them a coat of paint (you guessed it - 2k gloss finishing black!). The rubber boots will need replacing, but for now, I was very happy with the result.

Resprayed tie rod, and old ball joints
Refurbed ball joints

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