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1800 E steering column problem
I have a 1970 1800E coupe that I've had most of the front end steering components replaced on. Turning the steering wheel was tight and difficult before i did so, and was hoping this would fix it.
Upper and lower ball joints, idler arm bushings, tie rods etc. all replaced.
However, the shop figured my steering box and lower tube were part of the problem so I bought a good used unit, and had it put on.
Part of the problem prior to this was found to be that the column was actually rubbing on the frame rail area that the column runs close to when the steering wheel is turned...and with the new steering box it still is rubbing at that one point.
One source suggested to simply shim the steering box out a bit, but the mechanic says it would take too much to do so.
It was suggested by the mechanic that my frame may be bent a bit, but I've owned the car 30 years and never been in an accident with it myself, nor did the tracking going down the road ever look off.
He also found that the lower part of the steering shaft where it is to meet the upper part at the rubber bushing area, is not even. That is to say the brackets where they are to bolt together are closer to the bottom of the bushing than the top, so the shafts he says are not really in line on the same angle.
The steering box is fixed and the column at the lower dash area has a u bolt clamp to hold it in place, so doesn't seem to be any area for adjustment that they can see.
The only work I have done on the frame area is I did have the somewhat rusty end frame member that joins the frame side rails at the front, replaced with a good used one several years ago.
I have tried to get an appointment to have the frame checked out on a frame machine in case, but all the shops I have asked, are booked until spring with collision work.
The car is much older than what they are used to working on, thus a bit of a problem because it is a model some have never had in their shop and it appears some may think it will be trouble.
Any thoughts regarding the steering column lining up, adjustment, or the rubbing on the side when the wheel is turned, or any similar experiences would be appreciated.
Did you check all the mounting points under the dash. Sounds like the column is loose and shifted.
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Welcome to Swedespeed, Chris.
Originally Posted by Chris J
"...Turning the steering wheel was tight and difficult..."
This is normal for the Volvo manual steering when the car is not moving, the front tires are on a firm, rough surface and the tire pressure is at comfortable levels.
The two-piece steering column is designed to prevent the upper half from major intrusion into the interior during fontal impact and that is why the two columns appear to be out of alignment at their junction under the hood.
With both front tires/wheels safely off the ground turn the steering fully lock-to-lock. The steering wheel should turn almost effortlessly and you should not feel/hear any clunking, squeaking, etc. If the tires touch on full-lock make adjustments accordingly.
With the front tires on a firm surface and at about 32psi (wheels straight) wiggle the steering wheel vigorously while a helper watches the steering column, box and front suspension for movement. The steering arm should move a small but noticeable amount as the steering wheel is wiggled left and right. If the steering column rotates more than one quarter turn without moving the steering arm try adjusting the steering box tension screw. If this adjustment is maxed out the box may need a rebuild. If the observer notices any steering/suspension components shifting out of normal position determine the cause and repair/replace as needed.
It is possible that the lower steering column is not original to the car (came with a replacement steering box?) and the coupling at the center bush is a rigged up arrangement (one large bushing or two small doughnuts?)
As to the steering column rubbing on the frame rail - do you have a SawzAll with metal-cutting blade?
The car is at a shop on a hoist and I have been going by what the mechanic has told me.
Are there a few mounting points on the dash, and therefore some adjustment or positioning option?
I will look at the mounting points this week when i return to the shop. Thanks for your suggestion, I will follow it up.
Thanks for your thorough reply. It is helpful just being able to tell the mechanic why the upper and lower columns don't align, because that seemed to be a real sticking point for him.
Funny how sometimes I just think inside the box- I never even thought of creating a relief area where the column rubs on the frame rail,
but just this morning a fellow suggested it as you have done with your post...makes sense.
The column coupler bushing is the correct large one piece from an 1800 supplier, so that part should be good. I did indeed just get a good used steering box and lower column assembly, so you are correct in that it is a replacement from a 70-71 car. I will discuss these and your other points with the mechanic this week. Thanks for taking time to respond, your input is much appreciated.
Great of you to take these reference shots....must have had to do the Limbo to get them.
I will compare to mine. Thanks for your effort.