Lotus Elan

Steering column universal joint

PostPost by: gordont » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:27 pm

Doing a bit of maintenance, found the steering column earth wire on the universal joint had broken - easy repair, but found a bit of play in the coupling due to the rubber and looking at options. I have heard mention of using a more modern coupling but has anyone alse done this and what do you use?
I noticed these on ebay but seem expensive (maybe it is just me) for what it is. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/TRIUMPH-Vitesse-T ... 2c5b06ff20

Thoughts?
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PostPost by: paddy » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:49 pm

There was some discussion here:

post115475.html

I fitted one, hoping to eliminate some play, but I it didn't make any difference :(

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:17 pm

I bought one from Spyder- I think it came from a Metro. Don't remember it being particularly expensive.
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:52 am

Yes, I fitted one and also have one on the Europa. The Elan was changed in the early 80s when I had the body off but the Europa had one fitted when I bought it in '88. No problems with either car, I bought a spare joint "just in case" and it's still in the cupboard ! Interesting that a metro joint is similar, I didn't know that. Anyone know if the landrover joint is the same spline/diameter ? That would make an even cheaper replacement and if it's strong enough for a landrover going off-road, it should do fine on an elan.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/LAND-ROVER-DEFEND ... 563c9b7e4c

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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:34 am

At the rebuild of my +2 last year, a new original steering joint was fitted. Over the year, the steering got more sloppy (you don't notice it over time). With Mrs D as a willing helper, wiggling the steering wheel it was clear how sha**ed out the joint was, so I purchased one of the joints from the supplier mentioned. The pictures show the difference between the old and new, the new one being chunkier and about half an inch longer.

Replacing the joint was straightforward as long as you have the collapsible steering column (another saftety mod carried out during resto last year). Slacken off the two steering column bolts (not the single pretensioned bolt) at the sliding joint; remove the two bolts on the existing UJ, slide the joint up and off the lower spline then slide it back down the steering column shaft and off. Inspect just how knackered the joint is (very). Slide on new joint, realise the old bolts are too short by about a quarter of an inch and spend the next half hour looking for new bolts. Fit the new bolts, tighten. Then, inside the car fiddle with the steering column to get the right length and tighten up the clamping bolts. Look back at your handiwork and realise that the steering wheel is no longer centralised.. Decide that it is easier to remove the wheel and reposition than fiddle with the joint. Spend time sorting that out and clean up. Job done. 20 minutes to change the joint, an hour sorting out the bolts and centralising the steering wheel.

Examining the old joint showed that the rubber was utterly perished - may be because the joint was exposed to oil and also may be due to the extra loading from the wider tyres - probably the oil..

On the road, the difference was profound. Much more precise. I will never go back to the old joint, in the same way that I will never go back to a none collapsible steering column..

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Oily Mess.jpg and
Last edited by JJDraper on Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: gordont » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:36 am

thanks guys, looks like I will be buying one of these then - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/TRIUMPH-Vitesse-T ... 2c5b06ff20
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:47 am

PS to my previous post

I have no connection with the ebayer, and also looked at the Spyder joint. The difference seems to be that Spyder charge tax, but supply two correct, new bolts. Ebay was up and running at 10pm on a Saturday night, whereas I would have to wait until Monday to contact Spyder by phone... Not a huge difference in price. There may well be cheaper options locally etc etc!
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:16 am

Gordon

Just a word to the wise,as well as having the right diameter/splines etc.,some of the u/j's are a lot heavier/wider than the others,try to get the slimmest you can as there is limited space down there next to the bottom radiator hose...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: gordont » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:48 am

thanks John, I was up to my elbows down there the other day and yes pretty tight.....
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PostPost by: Mark B » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:19 pm

Guys,
They are a fairly standard universal steering joint available from various kit/ classic car suppliers. One in particular is car builder solutions, here's a selection-

http://www.cbsonline.co.uk/search,b.htm ... rsal+joint

They fit on minis, land rovers and various other marques...

hth

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