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steering rods , drag link and tracking ..

Discussion in 'Defender 90 / 110 / 130' started by aevans692, Nov 2, 2019.

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  1. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    Hi all ..

    so this week Im swapping out my steering rod and drag link for some HD ones , my tracking is out and my tyres are wearing on the inside ..

    Seems like an easy job , watched a few vids , .. I do have a few questions , If I keep the car on the ground and not move the steering wheel , and refit the new drag link the same length then im guessing I won't have to recenter the steering box , as its straight now .. ??

    I was going to fit the steering rod the same length as the one im taking off , and was going to take her to get tracked at the garage .. or is there an easy / cheap way of setting the tracking myself .. string/ mops / bits of wood ... lol. have heard of many ways ..

    Anything else I should keep an eye out for , any tips ..

    cheers all ..
     
  2. lynall

    lynall Well-Known Member

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    Tape measure, rod joint centre to centre then refit then drive for tracking.
    I do loads of ball joints at work and even though I measure to the millimetre they are always slightly out afterwards.

    Once tracking is reset the tyes will still wear at the same rate, ie the low bits will always be low.
     
  3. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    surething .. with the drag link is that pretty straight forward , since Ive owned the defender I have found even the simplest of jobs have a habit of getting to be a bit of a faff...
     
  4. seanlandy

    seanlandy Active Member

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    Just done this on mine, in addition to fitting a new drop arm. I swapped the track rods for a whole new bar which included them. This was the most economical and then removed front drag link and loosened all threads on drop arm end and fit new joint on wheel end. All easy enough to do, if a bit tight in the bar. Just waiting for my mate to turn up with his tracking gauges.
    I sort of wished I had fit the HD options as they are locked with a nut rather than clamps, but copper eased up the clamps so they should stay loose.
     
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  5. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    I opted for the HD steering bar and drag link , I got a new ome steering dampener and a new ball joint for the drop arm .. Thought as I’m doing it ...

    I was just a bit concerned about keeping the steering straight when I take off the drag link , Did you have any issues with that ?
     
  6. lynall

    lynall Well-Known Member

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    Unless you take off the pas box drop arm off you cant mess the steering up.
     
  7. seanlandy

    seanlandy Active Member

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    No, even the drop arm can only be off by 90 or 180 degree which is not likely unless you turn the wheel but you're not doing the drop arm. Yes, it will need tracking but should be close ish. The steering wheel will probably need realigning.
     
  8. flat

    flat Well-Known Member

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    You can be certain the steering box is centre by inserting a drill bit or similar at the back in the slot to a hole in the pas box. This locks the box central and means you can the track everything with the box central, that was you don’t end up with more turns left than to the right.
    I didn’t know this when I first got mine and pointed the arm on the box straight forward which is actually biased right,

    THis photo shows the bit you insert the dril bit through and locate into a hole in the box

    903F0794-1E9C-47D6-80A5-1019DA8F2D8B.jpeg
     
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  9. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    I will have a look tomorrow ...

    my plan was to do each set of rods one at a time , was going to make sure the wheels were straight first , then was going to strap the steering wheel so not to move ... I was going to leave the car on the ground and not jack it up , then i think ill take the drop link off first and set the new bar to the same length as the old one .. so when I refit it there shouldn't be any need to re-center the steering box as nothing would have changed/ or moved ...

    Then the track rod , I will just set the new one to the same length as the old , ball joint to ball joint ... and that should much the same as what id taken off .....

    im going to try to keep the car on the ground , my thinking it will help keep everything centre ... thats my plan ... lol ... then I will set the tracking myself as close as before i pop it to the tyre place to get them to finish up ...
     
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  10. Retroanaconda

    Retroanaconda Well-Known Member

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    Best way to I’ve found do it from scratch is:
    1. Tie string from the towbar right around all four wheels, crossing each tyre at the mid point.
    2. Centre the steering box as above with a bolt or drill bit.
    3. Fit drag link and adjust length to put LH wheel in straight ahead position (i.e. string in a straight line from rear tyre to front).
    4. Fit track rod and adjust length to do the same for the RH wheel.
    5. Secure all clamps/locknuts and remove string.
    6. Adjust steering wheel position on column if necessary, and remove bolt from steering box arm.
    The above assumes your chassis is not bet and bushes are not excessively worn.
     
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  11. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    if the drag link I put on is the same length as the one I take off , then everything should remain centre anyway ??
     
  12. lynall

    lynall Well-Known Member

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    Thats what I do at work, but quite often its not quite right.
     
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  13. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    if its not right , maybe you measured wrong ... Im prob going to just replace the cross rod eye I have seen a few at good prices .. this way I can marry everything up without too much drama , and if something goes a miss , Ill have all the original as a reference ..

    Thought I might as well , as im replacing everything else .. lol ...
     
  14. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    bit of an update to this ..

    fitted the new drag link and damper today , all was straight forward .. but , im guessing the length of the drag link was slightly out as the steering wheel is just off to the left a little bit , I fitted everything with the car on the ground so im guessing im pretty close , I just need to know if I have to increase the length or reduce the length of the drag link slightly ... I thinking that I may need to increase it ... can anyone confirm this ..

    Cheers ..
     
  15. Brown

    Brown Well-Known Member

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    Yes, make it a bit longer, because it sounds like you're having to turn the wheel to the left to keep the wheels straight ahead.
     
  16. mick the builder

    mick the builder Well-Known Member

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    We'll there's something I've learned today. I did the same as you and my steering wheel is now a touch off.
     
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  17. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    Tbh I forgot to put the drill bit in the slot ... I did leave the car on the floor so not to move anything too much .. I was pretty close .... I will extend the drag link a little tomorrow :)

    Cheers guys ..
     
  18. ogb

    ogb Active Member

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    Well done for persevering and Doing-It-Yourself. I was short of time and took mine to a well known tyre 'n tracking franchise to do it. They couldn't undo the pinch clamps so heated up the whole area, both sides, with a torch, melted the nylon out of the nuts and annealed the rod. Then "tightened" everything up as it was, saying nothing to me. The post-job inspection was a surprise.:eek:
     
  19. seanlandy

    seanlandy Active Member

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    That's a poor service. Most things I will tackle myself, especially on something like a 90. It's all good practise and experience for the next time around. The more jobs you try the better. :)
     
  20. aevans692

    aevans692 Active Member

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    sorry yo hear that ...

    My tracking is / was out and I knew that the clamps and the ball joints would be either seized or a real pain to free up ... so I thought id just replace the lot with the heavy duty stuff ..

    so today I straightened up the steering wheel , I had to come out 1and half turns or the drop link bar , that put everything to centre ... I might fit he track rod tomorrow , as I ended up working on my daughters little car which needed a wheel bearing and a drive shaft ..
     
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