Heavy steering

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dustrat
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Heavy steering

Post by dustrat » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:04 pm

I have 73 RHD Ghia with standard suspension and ride hight,fitted with 165 x 15 80 profile tyres and running 20 psi and the steering is very heavy. Anyone else come accross this problem and if so how did you cure it . I have checked alinement and very thing seems OK.
Robert

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FJCamper
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by FJCamper » Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:17 pm

Hi Dustrat,

Check to see if your steering dampner is moving freely.

Check that you don't have a tie rod rubbing across the frame horn.

Check that your steering box is bolted down properly and in correct alignment on the upper axle tube.

Last, check the adjustment of the steering box itself. This is done with the front wheels off the ground and the steering wheel turned completely to one side. Move the steering wheel gently back and forth with your fingers to check play. It's possible someone tried to tighten the steering (consult a VW repair manual) and left it binding.

FJC

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Re: Heavy steering

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:24 pm

I you try to adjust a worn worm and selector steering box when it is in the center/straight ahead location, where the most wear is you will get binding. If it is too tight outside of the center location you could possibly end up breaking the steering box casting itself.

dustrat
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by dustrat » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:43 am

First of all thanks for replies. The steering damper is moving freely and nothing is catching frame horn. When front of car is jacked and clear of ground streering goes from side to side whith steering wheel no problems.When I got the car in 2003 the steering box was badley worn and replaced it with a unit supplied by a reputable supplier. The old unit was not economical to repair so I was given a refurbished unit. Yes it is fitted properly and there are no tight spots and camber ajusting nuts are fitted with mark pointing forward.I thought about fitting 155x15 tyres to see if would solve problem. No problem when driving although steering wheel wants to fight back and trying to manoeuvre steering very heavy
Robert

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Re: Heavy steering

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:29 am

What about the alignment? Caster being off can cause some of that. Besides the steering being heavy is it "twitchy"/sensitive as you go straight ahead or just plain heavy?

Hold it.... I just reread your last post and caught something I had missed during the first couple of readings: "... and camber adjusting [sic] nuts are fitted with mark pointing forward...". That alignment mark, it is a starting point and not necessarily the final position it will be at after a proper alignment. Get a 4-way (all four corners) aligned and see if that helps. Also check to see if there are any wear patterns on your tyres.

Also, try jacking the frontend off the ground then rotating the tyres. Do you feel a drag there, do they rotate easily? Bad front brakes can cause heavy steering.

Under inflated tyres can cause this also.
Lee

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dustrat
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by dustrat » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:39 am

Thanks again for reply Lee. I have had a 4 way lazer alignment but I had to use standard wheels and 155 tyres as could not get clamps over wheels with wheels and tyres that I have fitted. Wheels rotate freely ,no drag on wheels when rotating at all and no abnornal tyre wear. I must admit when I had standard wheels on for alignment steering was lighter. Maybe I should find a company that can do alignment with the wheels that I use.
Robert

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Re: Heavy steering

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:58 pm

"... Maybe I should find a company that can do alignment with the wheels that I use."

I agree, a very good idea Robert. A home alignment, while it can be good isn't usually as "good" 4-corner pro-alignment for the average person; a racer doing the alignment corrections for racing... that might be a different matter all together.

Also, the width, tread pattern and sidewall (too stiff?) plus the rim itself (in-set/off-set for example) have been known to cause problems.

I run oversized wheels and rims too but it doesn't sound the same as your using. I did find a big difference in dune climbing when changing (in the rear) from a 15" X 15" steel rim to a 15" X 12" AL rim with the same paddle tires; I didn't run out of engine quite as quick even when having a run at a 80 to 100 foot high dunes. The front spindle mounts and oversize Razorback steering tyres don't even compare to what you are running :wink: .

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Marc
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by Marc » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:57 pm

I've never had a stock RHD VW, although I did drive one for a few years that I'd converted myself. One thing I noticed was that the short tierod is even shorter for RHD, which affects the Ackermann a bit and causes more scrub at full lock, but that didn't really make a noticeable difference in steering effort other than at low-speed full-lock. Excess caster would be a suspect, but with the eccentrics facing forward and no caster shims that shouldn't be an issue.
If your non-stock rims have less backspace, that'll increase the scrub radius and raise low-speed effort, but within the restrictions of a 'Ghia body it's hard to envision the fitment of rims which could cause much of a problem.

If the effort seems lighter unladen there are a couple of basics that you should double-check, if only to rule them out. Make sure that all four balljoints are installed in the correct orientation (so that their slots are fore-and-aft) and that the tierod ends aren't binding. On the driver's side, the inboard end should have a slight (~20° IIRC) downward angle and the outer should be "straight". If that tierod were to be installed backwards, with the angled end outboard, it's conceivable that the ends might be binding at stock ride height. For a lowered car (not done with "drop" spindles) it's desirable to put the short tierod on backwards, but at stock height it could be a problem.

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Piledriver
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by Piledriver » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:55 pm

Smaller than stock steering wheel?
What, exactly, are you running for wheels/tires?

After checking all that put 24 PSI in the front tires and 28-32 in the rears and see how it feels.
(it will be a bit harder ride)
The factory air pressure settings were severely paranoid to induce severe understeer, although with near stock tires etc it really shouldn't be an issue, esp with modern tires.
As previously noted, you can't fit big enough rubber under a Ghia to cause what you are describing without a LOT of serious metal work.

If you want an "interesting" drive put 32 psi front and rear as tire shops might do... Just don't take it on the highway at speed like that. It will want to swap ends. Badly.
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dustrat
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by dustrat » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:06 pm

Thanks again for your comments guys. When I fitted new steering box I decided to overhaul front axle , bearings bushes and seals etc.and at same time changed ball joints. The new ones were put in correctly but they were very stiff.This may be problem and as they wear might be better. I'm no spring chicken being in my 70's and getting in my Ghia my knee's seem to catch standard steering wheel. I decided to fit smaller steering wheel. Big mistake, after less than 5 miles back into my garage and put origonal back on.I'm not sure what type of wheels are fitted to my Ghia, they were fitted when I imported her from Japan. Anyone reconise them from photo. Not much clearance at rear but they don't catch.I'm off to Slovakia untill middle of next month and when I get back will try and get 4 wheel lazer alinement done. No I'm not going in Ghia, flying to Bratislava and coming back by train. Bratislava to Vienna , overnight sleeper to Paris , Paris via Eurostar to London and then London to north east of England where I live. Looking forward to return journey.

Robert

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Re: Heavy steering

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:34 pm

One thing on some of the different companies' BJs, they come with a dab of grease inside under the rubber cover but not slathered over the BJs themselves. That might be at least part of your problem.
DSC04062.JPG
This is a new BJ before being pressed into place. In this one the grease has been smeared around a bit instead of a finger full on one side of the joint but not down the sides and into the ball and it's housing :oops: .

Give you any ideas? :wink:
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dustrat
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by dustrat » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:31 pm

I'll have a look when I get back. That could be the problem. :!: Pity they don't have grease nipples. :idea:
Robert

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FJCamper
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by FJCamper » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:25 pm

Image

You've got 5.5x15 EMPI 8-spoke alloy wheels. Kind of heavy for what they are, but still good enough for racing.

FJC

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Piledriver
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by Piledriver » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:07 pm

A better grease in the ball joins might help as well.
I suspect they could be added.

The EMPI wheels are ET15 IIRC, a little higher offset like ET23-35 would lighten the steering by reducing the scrub, but a LOT of cars have those 8 spokes. If you need lighter steering and all else fails some 914 rims would bring the tires closer to the steering pivot point, making it easier to turn the wheel when parking etc.

The 914 Mahles are ET35, the late ones fit the hubcentric rotors if you have those, are also some of the lightest rims available short of actual magnesium Minilites or such.
(The EMPI 8 spokes are somewhat similar looking to the Minilites)

IIRC the factory steel rims on the late Ghia were around ET30 like the Super Beetles..

Try tire pressure first, makes a big difference.

Electric power steering is also an option but is a bit of a project to DIY, and somewhat expensive to buy off the shelf.
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dustrat
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Re: Heavy steering

Post by dustrat » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:43 am

Looking at photo from FJC, they look the same wheels as the one's fitted my Ghia and as you can see there's not much clearance on back wheel arch, but they dont catch.

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