Steering Box and Track Rod
Renovation of Austin Seven Steering box and Track Rod 1937 to 1939

Alan Gill and I both have Opal tourers, mine was registered in 1937 and Alan’s in 1939. Both vehicles suffered from steering play which was diagnosed as coming from the steering box bush. The drag link cups and springs were also suspect.

steering 1

This job is easier with a pit but we proved it is perfectly possible to do both jobs with the car up on axle stands.  Jack the car up and use axle stands at the front.  Remove the offside front wheel.

Remove the bonnet and disconnect the battery. Disconnect the horn/indicator wire from the junction box on the scuttle having first made a note of which wires go to which terminal. 

Slacken the clamp where the wire emerges from the steering box.  The horn button/indicator can now be pulled out from the steering column.  Remove the steering wheel.  Disconnect the bracket that holds the column to the scuttle.  We found to do this that we needed to pull out the dash an inch or so to get at the bolts.  It may be necessary to disconnect the oil pipe from the gauge although we obtained enough clearance without doing so.  Disconnect the speedo drive from the gear box to make access to the steering box easier.

Unscrew the ¼ BSF nut from the end of the drag link, with draw the bolt and release the drop arm ball from the drag link, disconnect the drag link from the other end by removing the split pin from the ¼ BSF bolt, press on the end-cap and withdraw the bolt (when we reassembled we used a Nylock).  Collect the spring and loose thrust blocks, ball pin and any shims from both ends of the drag link.

Slacken the foot brake adjustment, remove the split pin from the brake fulcrum pin and unscrew the nut.  Remove the foot brake pedal.  Bend back the tab washers on the brake fulcrum pin and the retaining bolt on the inside of the chassis frame.  Remove the nuts and wedge shaped spacer, withdraw the bolt and brake fulcrum pin.  Remove the steering column and hold it in a vice.

steering 2Unscrew and remove the three set screws securing the steering box cover.  Remove the steering box cover complete with the steering box arm.  Remove the steering arm.  Bend back the tab washers and remove the two set screws retaining the steering box end cover.  Remove the steering shaft and cork washer.

A piece of mild steel bar was turned down to use as an extractor to push out the phosphor bronze bush in the press.

We then hit a snag.  The new bush had a flange and had a larger external diameter than the old one which had a phosphor bronze washer rather than a fixed flange.. By phoning the supplier we discovered this part is different on the “hour glass” box fitted from 1936 on and is not available.  However it was possible to remove the flange and reduce the external diameter to a tight fit using his lathe.  We then drilled a hole 1/8 inch hole through the bush to line up with the internal groove to allow lubrication.  The bush can then be fitted either using a large vice or press.

Re-assembly is basically just a reversal of disconnection although fitting the drag link can be a problem.  Either a special tool for the job or a sash clamp can be used.

Parts required

Steering box bush and cork washer.

Track rod renovation kit.

Acknowledgement to “The Austin Seven Manual” by Doug Woodrow which has fuller descriptions and very good illustrations.

 

This article, written by Alan Moore, originally appeared in CA7C Seven Focus in February 2009 pp13-15.

See also:

Overhauling the Steering

Steering Box Overhaul

 

 

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