Lotus Elan

Plus 2 Steering Rack Inner Column removal

PostPost by: nwbaxter66 » Thu May 27, 2021 1:47 am

I want to get the outer column powder coated and have the column out of the car and apart, but cannot get the inner column separated.

it would appear that the column is "stuck" or "impeded" by the bushings that are held in by two small "bullets".
I assume that one needs to drill out these nubs in order to remove the bushing and then the inner column.

Before I undertake this destructive action, are they readily available, or should I attempt to compress them with a screwdriver and push them out that way?

Should I remove the upper or lower bushing first?

My WSM suggests that one can just pull the inner column out from the Steering wheel end once the steering lock is removed - I have pulled and this seems difficult to believe?

thanks for the guidance, lots of posts on the topic, but this obvious tip was clearly obvious to those who have gone before, leaving me feeling dumber.

1970 Federal +2S, collapsible steering column - picture below.
Attachments
IMG_0007.jpeg and
IMG_0008.jpeg and
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PostPost by: Lotusian » Thu May 27, 2021 7:14 am

Your inner column has a welded lug which engages with the steering lock, so therefore cannot be pulled out without removing at least one of the bushes. In any case, powder coating would probably melt the rubber and nylon bushes, so you’ll have to remove them both.

In theory, the bushes can be removed by “bumping” them out using the lug on the column, probably breaking the bosses in the process. This didn’t work for me!

Alternatively, drill the bosses out first as you suggest and push the inner column out through the top of the outer column, bringing the top bush with it, otherwise you will have to remove the indicator cancelling clip, which may break in the process. You can then use the inner column, or something else of a suitable size, to push the bottom bush out.

By the way, Brian Buckland’s book covers all of this.

Whatever happens, you will have to replace the bushes, which are freely available from all the usual suppliers here in the UK. Don’t know about the US of course.

Final thought - you could forget about powder coating, and just get it painted instead.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Thu May 27, 2021 8:18 am

I would suggest you make a simple wooden clamp so you can hold the outer column in a vice while you work on it, it's very thin and flimsy and very easily damaged if you're not very careful.

Steering column clamp 003.jpg and
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PostPost by: nwbaxter66 » Thu May 27, 2021 9:55 am

Most helpful
The Buckland book is probably the one I don't have and should get.
Thanks
Nick Baxter
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1969 Plus 2 (UK) - sold
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Thu May 27, 2021 7:29 pm

Nick,

In my case, 1968 S4 Elan, I could push in the the little rubber pips to release the bush. My difficulty was that the replacement bushes inside diameter was too large. I couldn’t find a supplier that had a bush with a decent fit, my old bushes were not fit for use. If your existing bushes are ok then try to remove without damage. As someone said you could paint the column. I had my inner column hard chrome plated and ground to fit the bush.

Hope this helps,

Richard Hawkins
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PostPost by: smo17003 » Sat May 29, 2021 12:53 pm

Replacing the bushes is a job that I completed on my S4 quite recently. I removed the old bushes by cutting away the rubber "pip" with a sharp Stanley knife. I had tried drilling but the drill slipped on the rubber and started to cut the (very thin) tube. I then took a hacksaw blade and carefully cut through the bush lengthways inside the tube. The bushes could then be knocked out quite easily using a long drift from the opposite ends.
Trying to insert the new bushes using the Buckland method was a real pain. Even using rubber grease the rubber on the bushes aborbed all of the impact when I tried knocking them in using a socket and hammer.
My second, and very succesful, attempt was done by using a metre long length of 10mm studding (threaded bar) with suitable large diameter thick washers, three nuts and a socket to pull the bushes into the tube.

Slide the studding into the tube, fit a thick washer and two of the nuts at one end (using two nuts locks them to the theaded bar). At the other end, slide the new bush over the studding and line the pip up with the locating hole. A bit of rubber grease in the tube also helps. Another washer and a nut go onto the bar and you're ready to start pulling the bush into the tube by tightening the nut (holding the nuts at the other end with a spanner). When the pip reaches the tube it will probably need easing in by using a flat screwdriver to push it in. Once the bush is in and flush with the tube end remove the washer and replace with a socket just large enough to fit inside the tube. Continue tightening the nut until the pip appears in its locating hole. Dismantle and repeat at the other end.
I've probably made it sound complicated but it was really very easy.

Cheers

Mike
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PostPost by: nwbaxter66 » Sat May 29, 2021 4:22 pm

Thank you
Very helpful
Nick Baxter
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PostPost by: Bud English » Sat Jan 21, 2023 10:53 pm

For anyone referring to this thread for guidance, I just finished this job using the new uprated bushes. Here are a couple of things that I found useful when installing the new ones.

First, make sure that the "pips" on the outside of the rubber portion are lined up with the holes in the plastic portion. One came lined up, the other about fifteen degrees out. Just twist the rubber until they line up. Guess which bush I tried installing first.

Lube as suggested above and start pushing the bushing into the column. When the pip reaches the column apply a lubed hose clamp around the bush to compress the pip into the inner hole in the plastic portion. Continue pressing the bush home.

I have the column with the steering lock and I found that installing the upper bush first, then the steering shaft, followed by the lower bush worked well. I used a short length of 3/4", schedule 40, PVC pipe to drive the lower bush over the shaft and into the column.
Bud
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