Lotus Elan

Steering Gaiter Replacement

PostPost by: Vanden Perre » Tue May 20, 2008 8:06 pm

Hello,

I have just noticed that the driver side steering gaiter of my S3 is torn and I would like to replace it.
Can someone advice me the easiest way to do it?
I was thinking (see picture in attachement).
1. Remove the nut fixing the ball joint assembly on the steering arm. (Marked 1 on the photo).
2. Pull the ball joint assembly out of the steering arm. (Along the arrow marked 2 on the photo). But is this possible?
3. Unlocked the locknut (marked 3 on the photo)
4. Unscrew the ball joint assembly and remove it.
5. Slide the gaiter along 5 (see photo again).
Any comment?

Olivier.
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Gaiter removal.doc
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Tue May 20, 2008 8:29 pm

Yes, that pretty much sums it up although I dont see your #5
Just a couple of points, loosen the locknut befor disconnecting the ball joint as it will be held tightly.
The ball joint is a taper fit in the steering arm, you may need a tool to break it free from the taper.
COUNT THE NUMBER OF TURNS when taking off the track rod end (ball joint) or you will upset your wheel alignment (tow in) and refit the same.
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PostPost by: Vanden Perre » Wed May 21, 2008 4:58 am

Hello Brian,

Thanks for your answer. You are right n.5 is missing from the photo.
Now I don't really understand what you mean with "The ball joint is a taper fit in the steering arm, you may need a tool to break it free from the taper." What kind of tool are you speaking about?

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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed May 21, 2008 5:30 am

Ball-joint splitter

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed May 21, 2008 5:51 am

The track rod end is a taper fit into a corresponding tapered hole in the steering arm, this is a very good fit as it is pulled into the taper when the nut is tightened.
It can be quite difficult to remove without the use of a tool to "break" the fit.
Here are a couple of typical tools and a pic of a taper on a track rod end.
Attachments
rtc5869.jpg
rtc5869.jpg (5.77 KiB) Viewed 1972 times
klann0162-1.jpg
klann0162-1.jpg (9.53 KiB) Viewed 1969 times
st266h.jpg and
image014.jpg and
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed May 21, 2008 9:50 am

Why do you want to take the outer tie rod off the steering arm at all unless you are replacing it? If the inner tie isn't rusted to the outer tie rod just spin it off the 20 odd turns (best to count so you don't have to set the toe-in) either left hand or right hand depending on which end and take the jam nut off and slip (well more than slip on the passenger side) the new gaitor on? what am I missing here?

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed May 21, 2008 10:04 am

gary
I agree you dont need to remove the ball joint from the steering arm. You just loosen the clamp on the outer end of the gaiter and you can then unscrew the tie rod from the outer ball joint as it can rotate once the gaiter clamp is eleased, remove the gaiter, fit a new one and reconnect to outer ball joint by screwing back in the same number of turns to maintain wheel alignment.

cheers
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PostPost by: Vanden Perre » Wed May 21, 2008 3:23 pm

Brian, thanks for all the info. You are better than the workshop manual!
Rohan and Gary thanks also to you. But not sure it will work. If you do not remove the ball joint assembly from the steering arm how can you unscrew the tie rod? By doing so you will increase the length of the total assembly (from one ball joint to the other through the rack and both tie rods) and if the ball joint assembly are fixed on the steering arm I do not see how you can do it.
Anyway, I now go downstairs in the garage and have a look.

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PostPost by: andyhodg » Wed May 21, 2008 3:45 pm

Olivier

As you unscrew the track rod from a ball joint that is fixed to the steering arm you simply cause the tracking to go well out of adjustment. At the extreme the left hand wheel will point left and the right hand wheel will point right. As the other have said, it is important that you count the exact number of turns when removing so that your tracking is still correct when it is all re-assembled.

Good luck

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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed May 21, 2008 4:47 pm

Take a look at the photos, the inner tie rod is nothing more than a threaded stud with a ball welded on the end. as such if you rotate the stud it will untrhead the outer tie rod end. It is roughly 20 or so turns on so once you loosen the jam nut you shoud be able to spin the inner tie rod and remove it. Next take of the jam nut and you will see what is in the photos. Do one side at a time, you may need to turn the steering wheel to get the outer tie rod to drop off once you are near the end of the 20 turns as the wheels will be severly toed out. It is best to mark the original location of the tie rod with a perminate marker of a bit of paint to make sure you put it back in the original location. make sure you do indeed count the number of turns for a aanity check.

Gary

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed May 21, 2008 4:48 pm

I think all the talk about ball joints/track rod ends/steering arms/tie rods are getting you confused, you do not have to take the tie rod (#2) off the rack but you must remove the track rod end(tie rod end) from the tie rod(#2) in order to fit the gaiter, the track rod end screws onto the tie rod but if you refit it in a different position you will have lengthened or shortened the overall rack length thereby altering the track measurement.
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PostPost by: Vanden Perre » Wed May 21, 2008 4:59 pm

Andy (+Rohan +Gary).
Now that I am back from the garage, I realise you are right.
The only problem I have is to unscrew the tie rod. It's round (after all it's a rod!) and there is no way you can hold it with a spanner. I hope time and a lot of WD40 will allow me to unscrew it with two fingers.

Now comes another question. Here is what I found inside the torn gaiter. See picture. Very liquid and light brown grease.
Is it a normal aspect and color?
What would you recommend to use when putting back the new gaiter? Just normal grease from the supermarket or anything special?

Thanks
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Tie rod driver side.JPG and
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Wed May 21, 2008 8:26 pm

Vanden Perre wrote:Now comes another question. Here is what I found inside the torn gaiter. See picture. Very liquid and light brown grease.
Is it a normal aspect and color?


The light brown color suggests to me that water has been entering the rack and causing corrosion. I would wipe all of the grease off and inspect for rust and pitting. You might want to slip the boot off of the other end of the rack to inspect the grease there. You don't need to remove the other boot completely, simply release the clamp securing it to the rack body and pull the boot away. I have used molybdenum disulfide greases with good results. Remove the small hex plug opposite the point where the pinion engages the rack and install a grease fitting. The hex plug is shown in the diagram posted by Brian (seen between items 1 and 3). Run the rack to full lock on one side, then to center and finally to full lock in the opposite direction and add a few squirts of grease at each of these three rack positions.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed May 21, 2008 8:54 pm

I'd tend to agree it looks like water has been entering unless its a copper based lubricant? ........copperslip??
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu May 22, 2008 5:12 am

I agree it looks like water has got in through the torn gaiter.

I personally would pull the rack, dismatle it clean, it up properly and regrease. However that is a lot of work and requires a total rack dismantle and rebuild which is not a trivial exercise

You could probably get away with removing the other gaiter at the pinion end remove as much of the old contaminated grease as possble by wiping it off and cleaning up with solvent the bits of the rack that stick out when you crank the steering from one extreme to the other. Once you have done that pump new grease in through the nipple that should be on top of the rack where the streeing shaft goes in and also add more grease to either end of the rack to ensure the ball joints and the bearing at the non pinion end of the rack is well lubricated.

I use a normal lithium based EP chassis grease but you could also use a Moly Disulphide based grease - not really needed as loads in the rack bearings and gear are generally low but does not hurt.

regards
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