The final chapter…

When I had Gracie (Series 3 109) in the UK, I had the steering box replaced by the local Land Rover specialist in the next village. I asked for him to keep the old steering box so I had a “spare”. But when I went to collect the vehicle, after the work was done, he said it was such a hassle to get out he just cut it to pieces whilst it was still mounted in the vehicle allowing it to be removed in bite sized chunks.

Having now changed my own steering box, I’m inclined to see the garage owners point of view. At least I wasn’t trying to turn a profit on doing the work.

The workshop manual covers the removal and re-fitment very well if you have a RHD vehicle. On the LHD model, some things simply don’t work.

For example, the drop arm puller won’t fit on the drop arm when instructed. It fouls the exhaust manifold. The ball joint on the end of the drop arm, can’t be removed when instructed as this fouls the inner wing and collectively, the steering box, stiffener and chassis mount is almost impossible remove with the mud shield in place.

With my skinned knuckles healing well, it was back into the garage on a drab Sunday morning to install the new steering box!

First the stiffener and chassis bracket need to be fixed to the steering box
Loctite is applied to the threads (non required in the manual, simply belt and braces)
Fixing are torqued down to 30 lb ft (41Nm)
What I’d forgotten to fit was the accelerator assembly bracket. This was done once the unit was installed.
Mudshield to be removed. An easy enough job
Everything ready to go back on. I gave most things a bit of a refresh with a new coat of smooth hammerite
With the mud shield removed, there was plenty more room to work with. Less chance of scratching the newly painted steering column.
With the mud shield removed, the unit slid straight in. No skinned knuckles this time 🙂
Some fresh stainless UNF nuts and bolts should the need arise.

All fixings from this point forwards are only tightened finger tight until the steering column bracket (in the cab) is fitted. This aligns the whole unit. If the fixings under the bonnet were tightened now, the steering column wouldn’t be where it needed to be.

Steering column bracket and sundry bits and pieces. The long piece with a hole at either end fits under the left hand side of the steering column bracket. This ensures the steering column is angled into the vehicle slightly. Why this is, I have not idea, but that’s why it’s important to only finger tighten the fixings under the bonnet until this lot is in place.
Steering column bracket ready to be fitted to the steering column
This is the spacer piece… LHS only.
Original rubber buffer re-installed around the steering column

With the steering column bracket installed, it was time to dive back into the engine bay to tighten everything up…

Due to vagaries during production, the steering box stiffener has some shims that fit between it and the toe box. These get new fixings.
Whilst I was down there, I replaced a pop rivet that had found its way out.
Shims and bolts in place.
My wife kindly leant a hand with holding the spanner on the inside of the toe box

Some time later…

It should be noted that the drop arm and lower ball joint must be attached before anything gets tightened . With everything loose, theres just enough wiggle room to fit the drop arm to the rocker shaft… likewise with the ball joint.
Next comes the throttle relay assembly. (once I’d remounted its bracket)
Everything back where it should be and tighten down correctly.
The mud shield was then refitted.

One of the final jobs was to align the driving wheels and refit the steering wheel. The manual says to point the driving wheels in the straight head position. I jacked up the other wheel (the other already having been removed) and turned it to face straight ahead. Given the very slight toe-in, it’s very hard to say when the driving wheels are actually pointing dead ahead but I gave it a try.

With the wind shot in the dark complete, I then fitted the steering wheel in the “intermediate” (straight on) position.

End of the steering rod…
Some teflon grease was applied to the splines of the shaft
Next the horn contact and spring were dropped into place…
…then the steering wheel slipped onto the end of the splined shaft and torqued down to 40 lb ft (54Nm)
The indicator switch box was also fitted
The near side front driving wheel was then refitted (I love my new breaker bar)
Axle stand removed (and wheel nuts tightened fully once on the ground)
Bonnet can now come back down…
…and the prop reconnected to the wing and radiator panel
Hey presto 🙂

Before I finally shut the bonnet, all nuts and bolts in the steering linkage were checked to ensure I hadn’t overlooked anything. It’s good practice to do this on the whole steering assembly from time to time but especially if parts have been removed and refitted.

Happy everything was located where it should be, I went for a quick test drive.

Theres something about driving a Landy in the rain…

WOW! What a tremendous difference in driving the new steering box has made. No more wandering around and much more positive feedback through the steering. Everything felt tight and secure, not like a Series Land Rover at all. It honestly steers like a new vehicle.

My guess at what constituted “straight ahead” when aligning the driving wheels in the garage was absolutely rubbish.

The steering wheel was a 1/4 turn out! Whilst this doesn’t effect the driving experience at all, it looks utterly wrong. It’s a quick job to fix and one for another day.