Archive for the ‘steering’ Category

Bushes, suspension and steering

Rubber bushes are used nowadays on the majority of vehicles to isolate and dampen road noise whilst at the same time allowing suspension and steering components some flexibility and movement.

Problems begin when the bushes deteriorate or become unbonded, when this happens the suspension component is no longer retained in its correct position, excessive movement occurs and noise increases.

The above are all examples from the front suspension, the rear suspension can also have rubber bushes and mountings, again when the bush deteriorates excessive movement and noise occurs. Laguna-rear- subframe

The above image is that of a Laguna rear arm mounting bush.

Also subject to checking for excessive movement  are the rubber bushes that steering racks can be mounted with, again the criteria when being checked is is there excessive movement or is the component insecure. The image below is of a pair of new steering rack mounting bushes beside a pair of worn bushes, two pairs are needed to mount the rack in this case a 54 reg mercedes c class.c-class_steering

In the above case the steering rack was moving enough to cause the ESP light to illuminate and for the ECU to limit the power produced by the engine.

Since the 20th of this month the ESP light being illuminated is a reason for rejection (failure)


steering, brakes and suspension

We’ve had a number of items crop up this week, the first was on a ‘w’ reg Ford Ka, quite a bit  of corrosion reared it’s ugly head, not really surprising bearing in mind it’s age, but we also found a steering issue

the universal joint at the bottom of the steering column was excessively worn, allowing ecess free play at the sterring wheel, approx 30mm rather than the allowable 13mm. As it was a vehicle with power steering the joint was not available as a separate item, necessitating a replacement steering column, fortunately we were able to source a second unit rather than having to pay the main dealer price 0f £300+ for a new unit.

Friday afternoon we had a rather worried young lady in as her brakes were making a funny noise, a visual check through the wheels revealed one of the pads  breaking up, once the parts were ordered and on their way a stripdown revealed 3 of the 4 pads friction material had separated from the backing plate.

The pads were about 2/3rds worn but the vehicle had been relatively unused for a month or two .

Saturday brought a different problem in. An 06 Astra  for test had a badly worn tyre showing the cords.

  Once I began to check the steering and suspension on the ramp the reason for the inner edge wearing so badly became apparent.

The ball joint in suspension arm was badly worn, when it was driven into the brake tester to check the brakes a loud clunk from the front suspension was heard, had the vehicle come into the workshop when the clunk was 1st apparent the tyre may have lasted a few months more.

CV joint troubles

Worn Cv Joints

A Peugeot 106 had been in recently with a clicking sound from the nearside cv joint when turning, to repair it a replacement driveshaft was necessary.  At the time the customer couldn’t leave the vehicle for repair,  however a day or two later the vehicle returned on tow, as the joint had broken up enough to affect the steering and with a heavy knocking even when driven in a straight straight line on a light throttle.

as can be seen from the image above one of the rollers and bearings had broken up, he’d have saved himself  a towing in bill if he’d had the repair done when it was first in.

Steering and brake pipes

Steering rack gaiters

One of the common reasons for rejection with regards to steering is a split steering rack gaiter, to check these thoroughly the gaiter needs to be fully extended with the steering on full lock, as sometimes without it being extended a small split may not be noticeable.

Once the boot is split water can enter and cause wear and corrosion to the ball joint at the inner end of the rack. In the past these rack end joints were not readily available other than from main dealers (at main dealer prices) so often the cheapest option was to have a reconditioned rack fitted.

Brake Pipes

I’ve written about brake pipe corrosion as a reason for rejection, another reason for rejection is if the brake pipe is kinked, such as this one 

found on the offside front of a 52 reg jaguar, this also caused brake imbalance as the fluid flow was so restricted.

Below is an image of how it ought to have been.

Excessive wheel bearing play

A Ford Mondeo  (P reg) arrived for an MOT today with the usual problems for it’s age, some corrosion to the outer sill, worn bushes in a suspension arm. What wasn’t immediately visible was a corroded brake pipe, but the leak was visible dripping off of the fuel tank.

Then when checking the front suspension some play was detected in the wheel bearing.

I’d been expecting to find a problem with the suspension as when turning the steering wheel to drive onto  the ramp I had heard a clunk and had thought perhaps a broken spring.

With the brake pipe problem and this bearing play I abandoned the test as I couldn’t continue and complete  the brake test.

On explaining the reasons for abandoning the test to the vehicle owner, he told me the knocking sound had been there since hitting a stone when the snow was around ! He’s been driving it like this for 6 weeks !!

Even after explaining it was dangerous to drive and should only be taken away on a suspended tow or on a low loader he disregarded the advice and drove it away!

Corrosion, do look a gift horse in the mouth.

The lad who is my assistant for Mots on saturdays was given a vehicle for him to “do up”, so just to check it over it came in and onto the ramp. the immediately obvious visible things on the topside checked out ok, then we raised  the ramp to inspect the underside which is when things became rather different.

Corrosion of brake pipes at the rear

Further forward

Also around suspension components, at the front suspension arm

Outer sill and inner sill by the front of the rear spring

At the rear of the rear spring at the rear crossmember.

At this point it became obvious that the vehicle was beyond economical repair and beyond his current skills.
Normally I would have checked the brakes in the roller brake tester but owing to the hole at the front suspension mounting, this was not carried out in order to prevent damage making the vehicle immobile.

A mixed bag

Vauxhall front coil springs

Had a couple of these this week, both on  astras, the front coils springs break at the bottom end where they sit in the spring seat, not easy to see if you are checking them on the floor for yourself, as the edge of the spring seat obscures your vision of the bottom of the spring, however you can just get your hand in there to feel the bottom of the spring.

With the strut removed a clearer view of the end of the broken spring is available.Corroded brake pipe

Also found on an astra (y reg) the brake pipe from the rear brake compensator to the offside rear brake hose, it isn’t a common fault found on the astra, however after the test I saw the advisory notice (vt32) from last year when it had been advised, if it had been cleaned and treated it would have been a pass and advise this year too. Regular servicing would also have spotted the fault and it would have been cured ahead of the MOT.

Accident damage

A peugeot 307 didn’t even get onto the ramp for test, the customer had kerbed it during the recent icy weather, hadn’t used it for a couple of weeks, then brought it in for a pre mot, moving it in the workshop when driving through the brake tester, there was a sharp bang and steering was lost. Investigation revealed the track rod end had snapped, leaving only one wheel being steered. I hate to think what would have happened if the vehicle had hit a pothole at speed on it’s way to us.

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