Lotus Elan

dismantling a corroded steering rack

PostPost by: ill_will » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:48 pm

Hi all,

I've turned my attention to refurbing the steering rack. Near the rack/pinion interface, the pinion shaft emerges: it is a splined stub (which connects to the steering column via a u/j.) It looks like the pinion shaft is held in place by a (thick) washer and circlip.

From the workshop manual it looks like I need to remove the pinion before I will be able to take the rack out. I have removed the circlip but the washer won't come out. The alloy housing is corroded; I suspect this is what is jamming it in.

On the opposite end of the pinion shaft to the spline, there is a steel (?) disc that looks like it is probably sitting at the bottom of the hole the pinion sits in. I guess the pinion bears against one face of the disc (?)

My question is: can I press it out the pinion by pressing on this disc? I have tried penertrating oil, heat, slide hammer etc, to no avail.

Any advice would be appreciated.

will
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PostPost by: ill_will » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:54 pm

I should have said - it's for a type 36. I don't know if the racks are the same for +2s or not (with longer arms, perhaps.) I realise I've posted this in the wrong bit if they're not.

cheers

will
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PostPost by: RotoFlexible » Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:22 pm

This sounds familiar. I believe I reached the same point in the process as you, and realized that I lacked the firepower (literally) to finish the job. I handed it over to an automotive machine shop that possessed the necessary torches, presses, and knowledge of how to use them. They made quick work of the remaining disassembly, and replaced the worn rack bushing that was the cause of the exercise.

One thing I've learned is that a propane torch is no substitute for oxyacetylene gear (which I do not own). You can't get enough heat into an alloy casting with propane - the heat conducts away from the point of application too quickly.
Andrew Bodge
'66 Elan S2 26/4869
I love the sound of a torque wrench in the morning. Sounds like... progress.
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PostPost by: MartinD » Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:50 pm

Hi,
I have just done this job this afternoon, I've now got to get the bush out of the passenger side rack tube. To get the pinion out you are right, after the circlip the thick washer should just pull out with the pinion. Like you, the thick washer stuck and the assembly would not move. I ran a half round file round the inside of the hole taking off any lip and corrosion, this finally allowed the washer and pinion to pull out.
Good luck,
Martin
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PostPost by: ill_will » Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:33 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.

I have access to a machine shop - it's the information that's lacking. I will try oxy-acetylene, good idea.

Once the pinion is out, does the round metal plate (that you can see from the opposite side to the splined stub) come out easily too? If it does, i'm just going to press the whole thing from the back to get it started. I tried the file trick to no avail; even with a slide hammer attached to the splined stub it wouldn't come out.

This car has so much corrosion, everywhere. You can even snap bits of the chassis off. It's been sitting in a field for ten years... I'm dreading taking the rear struts apart. The brakes were a nightmare - one of the bleed valves sheared off: such a pain to get out.

Are there any more areas where disassembly will be very difficult?

thanks for you advice,

will
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PostPost by: ill_will » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:33 am

For the record, you can shift a corroded-in-place pinion top plate (with the seal in) by pressing lightly from the back. There is a small circular plate visible through a hole approx 10mm across on the opposite side to the pinion stub. A press can be used to push on this, which in turn pushes the whole pinion assembly out slightly.

However, do no press too far, as the bush/shim plates eventually contact the teeth of the rack. This could cause damage if you pressed too hard. Once the pinion seal is moving, it needs to be pulled out by pulling on the stub (rather than pressing from the back.) An old steering joint and a slide hammer can be used for this.

Before any pressing, clean the aluminium surface of the housing so the top plate can slide out. Emery cloth can be used to remove oxidation.

will
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