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October 2013 Homepage
(U.S.A./Canada)


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Classic Series Land Rover: Steering Too Loose

This is a most common problem with Series I's and least common with Series III's. Basically it's caused by general wear and tear somewhere in the steering system - the older the parts in the system the more likely we are of finding loose steering.

Steering box
Most standard steering boxes have an adjustment screw on the side that is there to accommodate for some degree of wear within the steering box components. Very little adjustment is required and if the screw is over-adjusted then the steering may become too tight.

Ball joints
To check if this is the case, jack up the front of the Land Rover and support it safely on axles stands. Hold the tyre at each side and then try to wiggle the wheel horizontally. If any slack movement is felt, it will probably be due to a loose steering ball joint. It will be difficult to establish which ball joint{s) are at fault however. You will need an assistant to wiggle the wheel whilst gripping it mid-height whilst you look for looseness in the ball joints.
If an assistant is available ask them to turn the steering wheel a little bit from side to side and you look for looseness in the joints as the steering is turned. Replace faulty joints.

Swivel pins/bearings
The swivel pins/bearings could be worn. To check if this is the case, jack up the front of the Land Rover and support it safely on axles stands. Then, if there is a steering damper fitted disconnect it. Whilst an assistant turns the steering wheel from side to side, check for movement between the swivel pin bracket and the swivel hub housing. If any movement is seen, it may be that the swivel pin mounting bolts need tightening, but it is more likely that replacement swivel pins and/or bearings are required.

Wheel bearings
It may be that the wheel bearings are too loose. To check if this is the case, jack up the front of the Land Rover and support it safely on axles stands. Hold the tyre top at bottom and then try to wiggle the wheel vertically. If any movement is felt, it will probably be due to a loose wheel bearing. The problem will be that the bearing adjustment nut inside wheel hub needs tightening to remove any slack. Care should be taken not to tighten too much and so apply stress to the bearing.

 

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