Sunday, April 10, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Steering Rack Final Assembly

Finally finished up the steering rack assembly today. I never did get the measurements figured out completely, but I'll get into that. Essentially all I had to do was get the rubber boot on that I had ripped and then get the measurements for initial fit as close as I could. Of course, I totally tore it apart to get this done. Glutton, I know.

If you remember from my last post on this subject, I was confused about some measurements that workshop manual called out. Because I really didn't understand how the measurements were working, I pulled the whole thing back apart to measure on the rack itself. In support of this and for measuring some "before" body points to make sure I keep her as square as possible when I tear into those repairs, I bought myself a Singer Pro Series Retractable Pocket Tape Measure 96". This is like my Harbor Freight Professional Series angle grinder...because, you know, I'm a professional. Oh, and it's pink.

Measuring between the inner faces of the lock nuts.
First thing I did was screw both inner ties rods in until they bottomed out. The distance between the inner faces of the sleeve nuts was about 635 mm (metric was easier for figuring this stuff out instead of fractions of an inch). I then measured the width of the locknuts at about 7 mm. If my math is correct, that puts the inner faces of the locknuts at about 621 mm if they are just touching the sleeve nuts. Now, here's what the manual says:

"1. Screw the locknut (33) on to the end of  the rack (32) so that its position corresponds with dimensions  3  +  4  +  5  +  3  on  Fig.  1, i.e.,  24.40"  (619.76  mm.)  between  inner locknut  faces. 
2.  Insert  the  spring  (36)  into  the  end  of  the rack  and  screw  the  ball  joint  assembly as far as possible up to the locknut  (33)."

I read this to mean that the ball joint assembly should reach the locknut before it bottoms out. My favorite forum was in agreement. Obviously, doing the math, that just isn't enough extra mm's to let this work. So, I set the spacing between the inner locknut faces at about 625 mm and went from there.

I put it all back together, including the new tie rod ends while observing their measurement settings and without all of the confusion.

Tie rod end attached. I used teflon tape, like for water pipes, to mark the approximate measurement position, though this turned out to be unnecessary.
I took another shot at the new rubber boots. There are two, obviously. Both have a small opening at one end that gets clamped to the inner tie rod and the other two ends are of different sizes. The larger of the two ends clamps to the rack housing while the other clamps to the rack tube. The larger one was pretty easy, but the small one is tough to get over the inner tie rod nuts. Using a recommendation from the forum, I used the upper end of a water bottle, cut off about 3 inches down from the opening. I then cut this so I could overlap the plastic. I put the bottle on, bottom first, so that the opening went up to the nuts and the remaining plastic covered them. This provided for a relatively smooth transition up and over the nuts to hopefully allow me to stretch the rubber over them.

I then put the boot on, positioned the rack assembly on the workbench so I could push on it, and pushed and pulled the boot up the plastic and over the nuts. Damn if it didn't work!

Not the best picture, but you can see the opening flaring up over the plastic bottle which is covering the nuts.
Unfortunately, however, the boot "ate" the bottle. Couldn't leave that inside there, so, I left the end over the nuts to let it stretch out for a while. I then quickly pulled it off, got the bottle out of there, and jammed the boot back over the nuts. Thankfully the rubber stayed stretched enough to allow this (it was chilly in the garage and the rubber was a bit stiff...probably helped).

Rubber boot end covering the nuts. I left it this way to let it stretch out a bit.
After I high-fived myself for getting that done, I clamped the boot ends down, made sure they would take full motion of the rack and gazed upon my success! Now if only the rest of the car looked this good! At least the steering rack will be waiting when she's ready.

Looks just like the last picture in my previous post, but this thing is actually done this time (the u-bolts were attached after this picture, so I guess not done-done).
I have another post coming soon about the anti-sway bars that I pulled off both cars and the fact that they are bent...I think. Also the cool curly-cue u-bolts that attached it on Dorothy.

Curly-cue attachment u-bolts from the '66 (Dorothy). The '64, and the workshop manual, just show standard u-bolts.

1 comment:

  1. You can also use a soda/pop can to get the gaiters on. I saw it on Elin Yakov's YT channel. HIGHLY recommended!

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