2000TC Heavy steering and lots of effort required when cornering

#1
This is something that is hard to judge, since I've been driving cars with PAS for so many years.

I fully expect the car to be a bit heavy at parking speeds, but I've always been surprised how much effort is required to actually corner (especially when I think back to the manual steered cars I had, years ago). Also strange is the fact the car seems to require more effort on right hand, than left hand bends.

I've always wondered if one of the front suspension uprights is bent, although looking from the front the wheels camber doesn't look bad.

But having read various posts on this forum, I'm wondering if the upper bell crank arm bushes could be shot? If that were so then it could mess up the king pin axis inclination which would definitely impact steering force when corning. I can't detect play in any of the front suspension bushes and the ball joints seem good too - it's always passed an MOT without issue. Obviously I've checked the oil in the steering box, etc.

Another clue, there's a lot of road noise from the front, especially on the left hand side. And even with new brake pads fitted you can hear grinding under braking, even though the caliper pistons are free and the disk itself is mirror smooth.

Taking off those bell cranks doesn't exactly look like a fun-packed job, therefore before I bite the bullet I wondered if anyone else had experienced similar symptoms?

Many thanks

Rob
 

Tor

Active Member
#2
I don't have a ready suggestion except to jack the front of the car off the ground and turning the steering lock to lock by grabbing the wheels to see if anything is binding. I've had really rubbish tyres on a car affect the ease of turning the steering wheel, surprisingly so. I don't understand how the bell crank/top link assembly will affect this. My S1 V8 had manual steering and was lovely to steer with minimal effort except when creeping.
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
#3
The higher effort when cornering as well as it at rest suggests the castor angle is off. This can be caused by collapsed bushes on the bell crank, use genuine rubber bushes as the poly ones are known to cause a lot of squeaking after short period. once the bushes are replaced have the alignment checked, you can shim the bushing brackets at the bulkhead. Added shims on both brackets decreases camber angle (which in turn reduces steering effort) but at the cost of straight line stability and self centering. You can alter castor angle by shimming just one of the brackets.

The other thing is the excessive road and braking noise. That suggests the bushes but also the rubber bumper that acts against the spring seat. You can get poly replacements for those.
 
#4
mine is manual V8 series 2 and steering is ok once past 3-4mph. trying to turn at NO movement needs arms and strength of Popeye! so a three point turn in confined spaces tends to be aa 5 point shuffles.. with much ado as arms work away at steering wheel, heart soars with joy when can start rolling and steering gets a bit more 'normal'. checked and cannot see any issues and all MOT tests never mention steering or bushes.
 

colnerov

Well-Known Member
#5
Hi, Check the simple things first like tyre pressures and top and bottom ball joints. Worn ball may not be picked up on an MOT because of the way they test them, as Harvey will attest having mentioned it elsewhere on here. Try changing the tyres front to rear to see if that makes a difference. Try disconnecting the side rods and turning to see if you can isolate any differences in resistance either at the steering wheel or the strut rotation.

Colin
 
#6
Thanks for so many replies!

I can relate to classicalgreens "strength of popeye" comment. I had a power steering hose burst on an XJS once, and I'd say the Rover is giving that car a run for it's money on steering weight, when moving.

One of the upper ball joints was replaced a while back, but unfortunately it never reduced the steering effort. It's possible the other side is stiff although it looks like I may be able to get some oil down the gaiter.
It does highly likely one of those rubber bumper the sdibbers mentioned could be worn through, hence noise on that side.
The car is up on blocks at the moment and by grabbing the brake disk and caliper I can move the steering easily enough.
Am I right in thinking that I could experiment with shims simply by partially loosening the upper arm bracket securing bolts, from inside the car?

Looks like I may have to bite the bullet and get those bell cranks off :confused:
 

sdibbers

Well-Known Member
#8
The car is up on blocks at the moment and by grabbing the brake disk and caliper I can move the steering easily enough.
Again, that points to castor angle being off (I believe the upright should be around 8 degrees off the vertical when the car is on the ground)

Am I right in thinking that I could experiment with shims simply by partially loosening the upper arm bracket securing bolts, from inside the car?
Yes, remove the glove boxes and the bolt heads are on the bulkhead and can be loosened. I would only do the shims after you've done any other work, its part of the final adjustments.
 

chrisw

Well-Known Member
#9
Here's a simple question that I haven't seen an answer to.. what size tyres are you running, and what pressure are they at?
 
#10
Tyres are 165R14, I have them a bit harder than the book says to try and reduce steering effort - about 30 psi.

Tracking can't be far off as the tyres wear fairly evenly. Wheels are off at the moment so I can double check the tyre wear.
 
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jp928

Active Member
#11
Many years ago my manual steering TC did this, and in the end I found that the bellcrank mounts had depressed the bulkhead and lifted the caster. I had another car that drove well, so I knew something was amiss. I got some packing pieces with slots to the centre hole, loosened the bolts, dropped the packers in, tightened up. OOPS! too much - no self centering at all. Reduced the thickness, tried again, much better, easier to steer. These days I would get an alignment done so the actual caster is known, and work from there. With a bit of maths you can work out how much packing will change the caster the desired amount.
 
#12
I had another car that drove well, so I knew something was amiss
Donkeys years ago I drove a series 1 v8 and I don't remember it being like this. That car was 10 years old and about 65k miles.

Did you put packers under both of the bell crank mounts, and can you remember how sensitive it was - e.g. how much effect did (say) a 1mm packing have? I do think a bit of experimentation might be worthwhile before going to the trouble of changing the bushes.

How come your bulkhead had given way - was it corrosion or just the metal bending over many years? The base unit on this one is incredibly solid and rot free - the main reason I've kept hold of the car really.
 
#13
OK so I'm getting myself psyched up for taking off these top links. I had a look at the drivers side and the bushes on that side look well-chewed up - I'd say its allowing the link to move forward a good 2-3mm.

Now the Rover manual shows these 3 retaining rods with flattened ends which hook in between the spring cups. Whilst this method looks a tad cringeworthy, I do think it might be feasible - everything is very rust free in that area. Therefore I just wondered if there was anyone reasonably local (North West) from whom I might be able to buy or borrow a set of these rods?

There's not much room to get normal spring compressors in, nor do I fancy the thought of a clamp-type strut compressor. Does anyone know what is the free length of one of those front springs, at all? (I'm wondering if you can just lower the link right down using a jack, once all ball joints are disconnected)

Thanks

Rob
 
#14
You can replace the bolts with lengths of studding held back by nuts then from inside the car undo the nuts evenly to release the spring tension. It will fall to the ground as meek as a lamb.
 
#15
This is something that is hard to judge, since I've been driving cars with PAS for so many years.

I fully expect the car to be a bit heavy at parking speeds, but I've always been surprised how much effort is required to actually corner (especially when I think back to the manual steered cars I had, years ago). Also strange is the fact the car seems to require more effort on right hand, than left hand bends.

I've always wondered if one of the front suspension uprights is bent, although looking from the front the wheels camber doesn't look bad.

But having read various posts on this forum, I'm wondering if the upper bell crank arm bushes could be shot? If that were so then it could mess up the king pin axis inclination which would definitely impact steering force when corning. I can't detect play in any of the front suspension bushes and the ball joints seem good too - it's always passed an MOT without issue. Obviously I've checked the oil in the steering box, etc.

Another clue, there's a lot of road noise from the front, especially on the left hand side. And even with new brake pads fitted you can hear grinding under braking, even though the caliper pistons are free and the disk itself is mirror smooth.

Taking off those bell cranks doesn't exactly look like a fun-packed job, therefore before I bite the bullet I wondered if anyone else had experienced similar symptoms?

Many thanks

Rob
What tyres are fitted? I think anything wider than the standard tyre would make the steering heavy. I needed to replace all four, so went back to 165's which to be honest in more in keeping with the period of the car. Only a suggestion.
 

chrisw

Well-Known Member
#16
What tyres are fitted? I think anything wider than the standard tyre would make the steering heavy. I needed to replace all four, so went back to 165's which to be honest in more in keeping with the period of the car. Only a suggestion.
Already asked and answered. Read the thread.
 
#17
Hi Dave, someone has already asked that and its on 165R14's standard size. I keep them pumped up a bit harder than the book says too, around 28psi or so. You are dead right though, even a small increase in tyre width could make the steering heavy - I remember that from the non-PAS car's I owned back in the day.

On this car its quite likely the camber is a bit out of whack, which I think explains the higher steering force when turning right. But at parking speeds it's truly muscle building stuff. I'll change these link bushes as soon as I get chance, but I'll wager the steering is still heavy, even after that. Like I first said though, you soon forget what some non PAS cars were like!

When its all jacked up off ground, you can grab a wheel and steer it left to right, albeit with quite a bit of resistance. Thing is I don't know how freely they are meant to move, with wheels up. The only other cars I've got here have power assisted rack and pinion, so are useless to compare with.

Interestingly I was watching a youtube video a few days ago, by a fella with a 2200TC who reckoned his steering was quite light, which made me think at some point it would be interesting to drive another car by way of comparison.

Incidentally I've found some slim spring compressors which look like they would do for getting the spring out, sealey ak3846 or possibly ak3841.

Thanks again for all the helpful replies, this forum really is a great community!
 
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harveyp6

Well-Known Member
#18
When its all jacked up off ground, you can grab a wheel and steer it left to right, albeit with quite a bit of resistance. Thing is I don't know how freely they are meant to move, with wheels up.
They shouldn't be noticeably tight when doing that, and doing it that way should eliminate the toplink bushes as the cause if it's still tight with the suspension hanging. With it jacked up I'd systematically disconnect the steering until I found the tight spot.
 
#19
Hi Harvey

I can try doing that - another idea I had was to lift up one wheel at a time and see if the steering effort is the same in both cases. So you don't think the steering damper has much effect when backsteering it via the wheels?

When I say stiff to turn, as I say its difficult to judge. But as an example I've just been doing some work on a jaguar XJS, and with that in the air the effort to backsteer via the wheels is very similar to the Rover. But there I'm having to overcome inactive power steering, plus its a more direct setup, being rack and pinion.

Thanks,
Rob
 
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