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track rod end gaiter replacement

Hi there. We only have govt MOT stations here in NI so perhaps less room for 'reasonableness', and since the start of the year a split gaiter is a fail. i think this new regulation is perhaps uk wide?

anyway, i have a track rod end with minimal play but a split gaiter. it would have been a pass last year but not now. to fit a new gaiter i have to open the ball/cup assembly. i recall hearing that the 2cv track rod end needs set up when new and should not be adjusted thereafter, otherwise one risks the (slightly worn, no longer quite spherical) ball snapping off. is this correct?

if i carefully note the position of the castellated nut (distance or number of turns required to remove), and put it back the way it was once the new gaiter is fitted, is this a safe method of replacing the gaiter?

and what if i were to replace the original castellated with one of those with a grease nipple? how would one get the assembly back to the same tension as before without tightening the cups more than they were immediately prior to disassembly?

Grateful for any pointers.

Thanks

Membership No. 1611

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

i think i've found the answer to my question on the pembleton forum, compliments of the ever helpful Ken Hanna. The only bit I don't understand is the very last sentence:

".....Watch out for one of Haynes' more notorious clangers, where they mention backing off the castle nut by 1/16 of a turn.
That should be 1/6 of a turn.

Also, if 'used but serviceable' steering arms are being fitted, adjustment of that setting should be made at the position of least wear on the ball.
This is at 'full lock left' for the nearside assembly and vice versa for the other side.
If adjustment is made at the 'straight ahead' position, the assembly may bind at full lock.

Finally, centralising of the ball in its housing is essential and should be made with the wheels on the ground and the vehicle at its normal ride height.

Ken
"

Membership No. 1611

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

Cye,
to clarify that bit of advice, if you apply some Mole grips to the track rod housing and twist it in either direction, you'll find that it has a certain arc of movement before it contacts the 'stalk' on which the steering ball sits.

Since the relative positions of these parts are affected by the ride height of the vehicle, that's why it should be resting on its wheels before the housing is centralised in that arc of movement and the tracking adjuster clamps tightened.

Ken

Membership No. 724

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

I've never had gaiters on my trackrod ends - and have never missed them. There is no MoT requirement to have gaiters and if you haven't got them they can't fail you!

Membership No. 1159

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

Ken, Once again thanks. i also have to adjust the tracking, is there a technique to holding the housing at the right alignment (to allow equal freedom of movement around the ball), whilst adjusting the tracking, without damaging the new gaiter? I can't see anywhere 'rubber free' i could grip with moles.

also, i note that ECAS recommend (on their invoice for a new steering arm) backing off half a turn rather than the 1/6th turn.



Dave, not sure about this. Have you been to a govt test centre since April?

Per 2cvgb it seems the new NI regs are actually UK wide. Advisory until april, failures thereafter:

http://www.2cvgb.co.uk/index.php/news/111-mot-changes-from-2012.html

"Track rod end dust covers, again, fitted and not cracked."

Membership No. 1611

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

Cye,
I usually put the Mole grips just inboard of the housing, on the part of the track rod before the thread starts.
If they're fitted hanging vertically when the housing is centralised on the ball/stalk, that's a useful indicator.

Mind you, most the cars I work on don't have their steering mechanism on view, but if yours are plated or painted, rubber pads between the jaws and the rod should minimise any chance of damage.

I cannot comment about the 1/6 turn vs 1/2 turn question, as it's been so long since I fitted any new steering arms.
However, with a grease nipple fitted to the inner end of the housing the wear rate seems to be very slow and as I always adjust the castle nut on the tightest part of the arc of movement anyway, there's usually more than a 1/6 of a turn play at the slackest point...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30132857@N06/3366176858/

Ken

Membership No. 724

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

I see your point - the notes now say:

Missing, or split/damaged dust covers on steering and suspension ball-joints will result in failure if they will allow dirt to enter the joint..

As far as I know my car has never had trackrod end gaiters since it was buit by Which Kit in 1994. The question is - who is to say that a Lomax 223 needs gaiters? It's not a 2CV, so you can't argue that it needs gaiters because 2CVs have them. I am not saying that gaiters are not a good idea but I don't fancy having to fit them from scratch.

My MoT is now overdue so we will see what happens when I take it in (as soon as the rain stops).

Anyone else in the same position?

Membership No. 1159

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

When I bought my 223 one end had a very tired gaiter, the other nothing. I used Screwfix Self amalgamating tape on both ends, achieving I believe, a more effective seal against dirt ingress than new gaiters would, no need to dismantle anything,and the car has now passed 2 MOTs without any comment being made by either examiner. At £3.49 for a roll 10 metres long, it's a pretty cheap fix too. I think I probably used less than a metre on each end.

Membership No. 1865

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

Hi

A couple of comments of the track rod ends

- gaiter, makes sense to fit them unless a fair weather user, and its not too fiddly just needs a bit of practice, once fitted they last for years

- to adjust tighten nut then back off 1/6th turn. Not that critical just to release tension on spring and minimse slack in steering. More critical if track rod ball oval

- if you want to spend the money on types with grease nipples then do so, if greased properly, all adjusted OK and dust cover intact I don't see the need

- i've got an Acadiane van and these bits are not available (different geometry to the cars). To overcome this I've filed the ball ends circular, polished them and 30k km later no problems in use or with MOT;s

Hope his helps

Membership No. 1821

Re: track rod end gaiter replacement

The sun is shining so the Flyer has been prepared and taken for MoT this morning sans trackrod end gaiters. Passed - no problem. It's not that they haven't heard of the new rules in this neck of the woods. I got an advisory about a deteriorated outer driveshaft gaiter quoting the new rules. It is showing some distress along on of the grooves. Is there any point reinforcing it with some self amalgamating tape, do you think?

Anyway, the MoT guy has done my last 10 MoTs so he knows that it hasn't had tracckrod end gaiters for at least that length of time. Pre-war cars don't have gaiters so the requirement must depend on how they were when they were originally constructed. My Lomax was constructed without gaiters.

Membership No. 1159