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Thread: Found cause of play in steering

  1. #1
    Senior Member john 05141's Avatar
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    Found cause of play in steering

    I always had a very little play in steering, but during my last drive I noticed it had become a bit worse.
    I have opened the covers in the trunk and wanted to tighten those bolts at the connectors but they were very tight.
    Slightly wobbling the steering showed me nothing in there.
    So I removed the plastic cover directly behind the steering wheel (with the ignition inside) there I noticed the cause.
    There is a yellow-ish ring around the shaft. On 2 sides there is a groove where in each one a flat metal pin sits. This had about a millimeter play.
    I put a picture here.

    I hope to get 2 answers:
    That that part easy to get?

    The steering wheel moves Freely 3/4 of an inch. Is that still safe to drive?
    I have an appointment at DMC EU in 4 weeks. Should I leave the car in the garage or it it ok for a drive meanwhile as the season is ending?
    Or is is a risk to loose complete controll?

    Thanks,
    John
    Attached Images


    Steering with power

  2. #2
    Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech RamblinDMC's Avatar
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    That is for the turn signal cancel cam. It doesn't contribute to the actual steering mechanism.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    This may not help, but there's multiple causes of steering play. The most usual is the firewall bushing, which is a relatively easy thing to replace, and should be obvious
    if you can move the column around. Also the internal bushing can come loose/break and contribute to wear on the former; also relatively easy to replace (you probably
    want the Delrin one from DGo).

    Also, looseness in the bolts holding the universal - I didn't quite have these tight enough after last time I messed with things, and this tightened up about a degree
    of play I had. The universal itself can also go, and probably mine is on the way out, and will likely have to be replaced next year. Then of course, there's the
    steering rack itself, which is a whole other topic.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrChocky View Post
    This may not help, but there's multiple causes of steering play. The most usual is the firewall bushing, which is a relatively easy thing to replace, and should be obvious
    if you can move the column around. Also the internal bushing can come loose/break and contribute to wear on the former; also relatively easy to replace (you probably
    want the Delrin one from DGo).

    Also, looseness in the bolts holding the universal - I didn't quite have these tight enough after last time I messed with things, and this tightened up about a degree
    of play I had. The universal itself can also go, and probably mine is on the way out, and will likely have to be replaced next year. Then of course, there's the
    steering rack itself, which is a whole other topic.
    Ive previously found play in the column itself. the telescopic part. drilling the outer tube ( its D shaped with a flat side) and then tapping that hole, and inserting a allen head bolt, pinched the inner D shaped shaft, eliminating the play.

    there can also be play in the rack (the rack/pinion joint, or the inner tierods), in the joints, or in the tie rod ends.

    do some testing to see what moves with the wheel and where it doesnt.

  5. #5
    Senior Member john 05141's Avatar
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    The rack has been replaced not so long ago. The balljoints also.
    I also have to mention I have the electrical powersteering unit.
    But for what I can see, the play is inside the cabin, and for what I can see directly behind the steering wheel.
    Yesterday I checked if the bolt to tighten the steering wheel is tight and it is.

    But I guess many Deloreans have some play?
    Is 3/4 of an inch severe?

    Jaohn


    Steering with power

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    I've never really thought to check my play. So just checked it with it sitting in the garage. Using very light force it seems to be less than 1/8". I have stock steering.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john 05141 View Post
    ....But for what I can see, the play is inside the cabin, and for what I can see directly behind the steering wheel.
    Yesterday I checked if the bolt to tighten the steering wheel is tight and it is.

    But I guess many Deloreans have some play?
    Is 3/4 of an inch severe?
    3/4 of an inch is too much. Is it a safety issue? It makes the car more difficult to drive straight at any speed. At higher speeds or in narrow lanes with much traffic this would become stressful if not unsafe.

    You ask whether it is OK to drive the car in this condition. My vote is NO. Too risky for you as well as others on the road. You can of course ask DMC EU for advice, too.

    The car normally has little or no steering play. Now it has far too much play. Based on this trend (due to driving?) the problem will get worse with more driving. Maybe even to the point of loosing steering control. You have poor control already but not yet zero.

    See markw's description of the internal D-shaped telescoping rod-shaft issue. This is probably the problem your D has. It fits the symptoms you describe.
    Maybe the play is due to the power steering unit, especially if the play developed immediately after it was installed, but I doubt it.

    Good that you have an appointment with DMC EU to make a diagnosis. Unfortunate that it is a month from now. It is a risk one accepts with 40 year old cars...
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  8. #8
    Senior Member - Owner since 2003 Patrick C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark w View Post
    Ive previously found play in the column itself. the telescopic part. drilling the outer tube ( its D shaped with a flat side) and then tapping that hole, and inserting a allen head bolt, pinched the inner D shaped shaft, eliminating the play.
    Iíve contemplated doing this to mine. I have a small amount of play from this problem.
    Patrick C.
    VIN 1880
    Modifications done to my car can be seen in this video: https://youtu.be/ncMjW2pI2e4

  9. #9
    Senior Member john 05141's Avatar
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    I agree with you Rich.
    DMC EU asked me to check if the steering wheel nut was turning with the steering wheel. Luckily it did, otherwise the car was not drivable. But it is not the case
    The Delorean will stay in the garage, but it may be driven to DMC, especially since it is all highway at a slow 100km/h I still have my original shaft, I will take it with me and have the powersteering removed if necessary.

    I will post the results here later. I hardly drove the car this crappy wet summer, it is a bummer the only period with nice sunny weather, the D remains indoors.
    Safety first.


    Steering with power

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