Choosing the Steering

- Early January -

Not much to choose here. I want a quick rack, and a steering wheel about the same size as the 21 had. As for quick release or not? I'm not fussed, but I'll get one if it makes getting in and out of the car easier. Plus, it's always funny when Adam and Alex, to name just 2, leave the pub to get in their Caterhams and come back 2 minutes later because they've forgotten their steering wheel, and I feel sure that I'd like to be as funny as them.

- February 10 -

Yay! STM do a quick rack. That makes life easy (There's a theme here, that you can probably spot if you're reading these entries by date ). i need to supply STM with a down-link for them to convert - MkI Sierra, sort of tri-angular in shape apparently. I forgot to ask what exactly I'll get when they supply the steering colum - whether it'll be a quick release boss, or a normal one. We'll see.

Collection time

- April 30 -

Hmmm. Another little Craigy aberation - I thought that the steering column was included in the chassis pack price. It's not. I've ordered one now. At least I know that it'll have a quick release boss on it now.

Undressing the steering column

- June 20 -

I pulled everything off the steering column this evening (is it just me, or are steering columns by far the most intricate piece of engineering on a modern car?), and offered it up to the chassis. I haven't got the slightest idea how that's going to attach I'll need to take a visit over to Tim's place and see what his looks like.

On the upside, the QR boss looks like it should be pretty easy to attach - it fits perfectly over the end of the column.

And I'm looking forward to taking the angle grinder to the lock casting

Checking everything lines up

- September 3 -

And it doesn't quite. I bolted the steering rack in place, put the steering column and intermediate shaft in roughly the right place, and noticed 2 things. First, I don't know what the donor is for the UJ to join the 2 splines together, and second is that even if I did, I'm pretty sure that whatever it is I need to use isn't going to be able to make this angle! (It's hard to tell in the picture, but the two splines are aligned with each other in the vertical plane. The shaft is hard up against a chassis tube).

Comparing with pictures of Ian's car the steering rack angle is the same, so the only thing I can think of is that the chassis tube is in a different place on my car than on the earlier ones. Ian is giving it some thought.

Me too.

I guess one option is to get an extra UJ into the intermediate shaft, but I don't fancy the extra play that will introduce. I could chop out the chassis rail . I could get Ian to make up some steering rack mounts at a lower angle, but that would turn the whole steering column into something closely resembling a spear pointing at my chest, which neither I nor the SVA man are going to be very comforatable with!

Another quick visit to STM

- September 23 -

Whilst I was lurking around STM, the guy that builds Ian's chassis' turned up. He had with him my new rack mounts - turns out that there was nothing actually wrong with the angle of the old ones, but he'd drilled the mounting holes through the wrong face...

Steering rack in place. Again

- October 7 -

With the new mounts, I was able to get the steering rack bolted in. Oddly, the old nearside mounts fitted better than the new ones, so I kept them. Other than that, another easy job completed.

I dry fitted the other parts of the column, and everything looked good. For a while I thought that Ian had made the lower extension too short, but then I found you can just make the top bit longer by pulling on it, so that sorted that little problem out.

Gradually starting to assemble the steering

- October 12 -

Angle-grinding all the excess bits off the upper bit of the steering column turned out not to be as much fun as I had thought - it's (I think) cast zinc, so no sparky goodness - I just got peppered by lots of little bits of flying zinc. I realised that at some point in the long term I'm going to need a steering wheel - in the short term too, in order to set the column central. I remembered that Tim has a couple of Sierra ones lying around, so I called him and he brought me one around - what a nice man

Setting up the steering column

- October 13 -

The next thing was to get the upper part of the steering column set up in the right place. Now, until I actually drive this car (should that day come to pass), then I don't actually know where 'the right place' is. So, for now I've set it up using one of the original Sierra brackets and a bunch of bolts. It flexes a bit when you twiddle the gigantanormous Sierra wheel that Tim dropped off last night, so I'll need to make up something better, in time.

Fitting the steering quick release boss

- November 13 -

Super good news today. I'd been worrying about fitting the quick boss for quite some time. Tim kindly allowed himself to be volunteered to weld it on, but I was faced with the task of setting up a jig to get the boss perfectly central. In a flash of inspiration this morning, I found that the M10 bolts I had were an almost perfect fit (a teeny weeny slightly bit too big, actually) through the centre of the boss - so I put the boss on, put a bolt through it into the top of the column and welded the boss to the bolt. Finally, an M5 bolt through the bottom of the boss to stop any possible rotation of the M10 bolt in the top of the column, and Bob's your uncle - a perfectly central, solidly mounted boss.

As you can see, I had to do a fair amount of angle grinding after the welding - the quick release mechanism butts right up to the top of the column, so any weld material had to be removed. If I had to do it again, I'd round off the corners of the bolt head (with some emery paper) and arrange for the top of the head of the bolt to end up 1 or 2 mm inside the boss, so that all the welding was inside the boss.


This page last updated on: Sunday, Jul 16 2006