Wednesday 1 September 2021

Steering box clean up and track rod teardown

Here is the steering box that I scrubbed and cleaned with petrol (such a great degreaser), a stiff nylon brush and some old rags;

It is an OE quality reproduction part made by 'TRW'. They seem to have a mixed reputation, but it worked perfectly fine for me in all the years that I had the car on the road and is still in a good mechanical order. Although this part appears to come from the manufacturer in a bare steel finish, I may well mask it up and paint the cast section as I can see this flash rusting again in no time and all that scrubbing would have been in vain;

Continuing the loose theme of dismantling front end chassis components, I decided to take apart the track rod ends. These had rusted up to the point that they had essentially bonded tightly into the track rods to become one fused unit. This turned out to be a bit of a time consuming process for what should have been a quick procedure. Essentially, my default approach is to scrub around the visible parts of the joint with a wire brush, drench with penetrating fluid (WD-40 in this case) and leave overnight. The next day one may be lucky enough to get the old stubborn nut to move; 

However, when this fails (which is it usually does) then its time to break out the blow torch and heat until the local area is glowing cherry red. This expands the metal and helps to ease things up; 

A good couple of heavy blows is then all that is usually needed to crack the bond and gets things turning. If not, then it is a case of lather, rise and repeat;

Here we have both the short and long tie rods (finally) dismantled. Yes, the tie rod ends are completely mangled now that they have been clamped in a vice, heated and hit carelessly with a hammer; but these elements are designed to be routinely replaced anyway, so were always sacrificial. I am just happy that the track rods themselves sustained no damage - they will just need blasting and repainting and will be good to go;

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