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Steering Wheel very stiff when driving, help needed

godzilla Jan 7, 2018

  1. godzilla

    godzilla Member I am in scotland

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    HI Guys

    Happy new year to you all.

    The other day the wife drove the LC on the motorway and said the steering wheel was very stiff and difficult to move the car left and right.

    It did do it, but with a little effort.

    I checked and it seems turning the wheel right and left it was very stiff, but the car did respond with a little extra effort.

    I know in my MOT in November, my garage guy mentioned, I will need to anti roll bar bushes in a couple of months time.

    This was stated on the MOT

    Anti-roll bar has slight play in pin/bush nearside and offside
    suspension arm ball joint dust cover deteriorated, but preventing the ingress of dirt offside front upper


    Do you think the restricted movement in the steering wheel could be due to the bushes/arm??

    Any help or advice please
     
  2. MarkW

    MarkW Well-Known Member I am in morocco

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    Lower ball joints imho.

    One of mine went recently just before it happened steering was hard, didn’t recenter after turning a corner and felt notchy
     
  3. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Well-Known Member Guru I am in uk

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    Could also be lack of power steering.

    Check your power steering fluid and if belt driven (don't know but the 80s aren't) check the belt is still present and suitably tight.

    Jack the front of the car up with the front wheels off the ground and free to turn left and right. With engine off turn the steering wheel and note what force is needed, if tight could be tight ball joints. If free, try with the engine on and again feel if the steering is the same or easier. Try again, engine off, engine on with the front back down off the jack. If no different then the PAS has failed. Then it's a case of why.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
    Richard Turner and clivehorridge like this.
  4. godzilla

    godzilla Member I am in scotland

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    thanks guys,

    I got a feeling it might be the joints since the garage guy mentioned it will need doing soon, I will check the power steering fluid in the morning.
     
  5. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Well-Known Member Guru I am in uk

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    Anti roll bar bushes aren't ball joints nor are they steering related GZ.
     
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  6. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If there is suspicion that it's the ball joints you should stop driving it immediately - you don't want one of those breaking at high way speeds!
     
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  7. Shayne

    Shayne Well-Known Member Guru

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    I'd swap the fluid before i did anything else .
     
  8. godzilla

    godzilla Member I am in scotland

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    Checked the fluid, this morning and looks full. I booked it in with the garage just incase its something else. Still drives fine and no issuses elsewhere apart from the steerring wheel needing a extra amount of work.
     
  9. Shayne

    Shayne Well-Known Member Guru

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    Nobody replaces the fluid though , i did and it made a difference , its a half hour easy job and costs very little .

    To my mind worn joints result in very loose and easy steering but then i suppose its how it wears and if its binding . All the steering is done by the rack so there's not much to fail :think: maybe have a look inside the boots of the track rod ends see if they got rusty .
     
    clivehorridge likes this.
  10. BriComp

    BriComp New Member I am in uk

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    I think you will find that it is a siezed (or starting to sieze) steering column universal joint. Often feels like a thrupenny bit.
     
  11. Richard Turner

    Richard Turner Member I am in uk

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    I had a BMW E30 once and the balljoint seized... it broke and the whole strut went back and folded the wing. Luckily just as I was parking it.

    If you get someone else to steer lock to lock and listen for creaking noises at the balljoints you may be able to tell if they are in very bad shape or not. If the rubber has gone they will be very rusted with the salt on the roads recently.

    If you spray wd40 or similar onto the u/j couplings you can find the seized one if it is that, but the symptom for that is 'notchy' steering.

    Good luck!
     
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  12. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Well-Known Member Guru I am in uk

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    Jack it up. It's a 5 minute job and you'll know yourself what's going on. Sounds very much like seizing ball joints. Does it feel any different with engine off compared to engine on? Again, a simple check.
     
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  13. clivehorridge

    clivehorridge Well-Known Member Supporter Guru I am in romania

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    You can feel them too, if you have someone operate the steering wheel while you’re underneath with the car safely chocked.

    It should be a smooth action, but if it’s worn/rusty/binding it will vibrate as its forced to rotate.

    I had a seized track-control arm ball joint seize on my 80 to the point that the taper snapped off the ball, but I felt no noticeable extra effort on the steering wheel.

    But I can accept that a lower ball joint on an IFS suspension system would have more effect, they’re a much bigger ball for a start...
     
  14. godzilla

    godzilla Member I am in scotland

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    Thanks guys for all the advice, at the garage, they check all of the bits (rack, joints). Ruled out the bits like the PS fluid and the rack. But found a caliper that was sticking siezing on the steering wheel shaft.

    Chaps took it off checked and cleaned and regeased it all and put it back on and wheel is working again.

    I am going to keep a eye on the wheel as in about 2 months time I am going to change the arms/ball joint and brakes/discs as mentioned on MOT advisory list.

    Even the garage were stumped when they were going through all the usual joints and rack.

    Anybody had a siezing caliper before
     
  15. MarkW

    MarkW Well-Known Member I am in morocco

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    Had seized calipers last year. Caused a pull to one side when braking. Ended up getting then refurbed by Big Red.

    Then got more pull to the right on braking which turned out to be lower suspension arm bushes!!

    Glad you got it sorted
     
  16. godzilla

    godzilla Member I am in scotland

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    Thanks Mark

    I am due a couple of motorway trips starting from tomorrow.

    Will give me a chance to see how well the grease job works.
     
  17. Rob Cowell

    Rob Cowell Well-Known Member I am in wales

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    Oh yes. :cry:
    Got round to putting a new caliper on yesterday. Shame I stuffed up fitting a new hub bearing and am waiting on another!
     
  18. AndycruiserguyLomas

    AndycruiserguyLomas Well-Known Member I am in england

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    Do we mean universal joint?? I'd like to see a caliper on the steering column shaft and know its function.
     
  19. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Well-Known Member Guru I am in uk

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    That did have me thinking but I read it as a brake calliper on the front wheel. Being the one that steers.
     
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