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Author: Subject: Very scary
JeffHs

posted on 3/5/21 at 08:49 AM Reply With Quote
Very scary

I took the car out yesterday. I noticed something 'sticky' about the steering when I was manoeuvring out of the garage but the problem seemed to go away so ! drove to get some petrol. As I pulled left into the petrol station the steering locked up just as if the ignition lock had engaged. I stopped, took out the key, hauled the wheel to the right. It moved with a bang and I felt the lock engage where it should, in the straight ahead position. I unlocked and waggled the wheel with no issue, so I put some petrol in and decided to risk driving the 2 miles back home. The shortest route involves a right turn across fast traffic so I opted for the longer, safer option of the roundabout a mile further down the road. Half way there at about 35 mph the wheel locked up again.
That is not a good feeling! Luckily, a violent tug on the wheel unstuck it again, but the guy behind must have thought I was crazy. A slow drive home led to 3 more jams, all unstuck by a violent wheel input. It's back in the garage and I can't reproduce the symptom.
I've concluded it's not the steering lock because it seems to happen with some left lock, not straight ahead.
Could it be the direction indicator cancelling cam? I had the switch off the column just before the drive. It all appears to be working fine now
Sierra column with Escort switches have given me no problems for years.

I'm not keen to drive it again unless I can solve the mystery!

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Slater

posted on 3/5/21 at 09:13 AM Reply With Quote
That is very scary indeed! Have you checked the steering rack gaitors? might be split and some debris has got into the rack.

Or a fault with the rack?

I'd jack up the front axle and try lock to lock a good few times, and then drive in circles round a vacant car park before being confident to get back on the road.





Why do they call Port Harcourt "The Garden City"?...... Becauase they can't spell Stramash.

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macc man

posted on 3/5/21 at 10:57 AM Reply With Quote
I had a similar experience in my Vectra b. It was quite scary. I took the steering cowl off and found a piece of plastic had come adrift and was jamming the wheel.
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rusty nuts

posted on 3/5/21 at 01:57 PM Reply With Quote
Steering column UJ? although I would expect it to be the same in both directions. I think stripping off the switches etc and a slow road test might be in order?
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jacko

posted on 3/5/21 at 05:58 PM Reply With Quote
Has the steering rack been altered in any way ie stops fitted that has come loose and sliding inside the rack jamming it up
Graham

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Mr Whippy

posted on 4/5/21 at 11:34 AM Reply With Quote
seems to indicate something in the rack is coming apart, I think I'd just buy another one.
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Schrodinger

posted on 4/5/21 at 04:05 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy
seems to indicate something in the rack is coming apart, I think I'd just buy another one.


But could be in the steering column





Keith

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JeffHs

posted on 4/5/21 at 04:40 PM Reply With Quote
I've found and fixed the problem. Took the cowls off and saw swarf in the bottom one, then found a mangled tubular spacer on the floor of the car.
Took off the wheel and the column switches and realised what had happened. To fit Escort switches to a Sierra column I had used 4 small spacers made from 10 mm tube to step the switches out. When I took the switches off the column the first time I was working blind behind the wheel, with no visibility I dropped the spacers and heard them hit the floor. I had to take the seat out to find the dropped spacers but there were only 2. At the back of my mind I seemed to remember 4 but refitted with just 2 spacers on the top screws. Switches went on fine and worked as they should have done.
Looking at the scoring and scraping, it's obvious that one of the spacers had dropped inside the Mountney boss where it fouled between the inner ridges of the boss and the nose of the column casting that holds the ignition switch. On the last jam up it must have finally dislodged the spacer.

Everything is now back together and safe.. but I can't find the 4th spacer!

Lots of lessons to be learned from a series of careless actions.

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HowardB

posted on 4/5/21 at 05:12 PM Reply With Quote
It is rarely a single action that leads to a failure of a system.

Although when I read the first post it reminded me of my A reg Volvo steering failure.
It went right ok - but not left - left was terrible all vague and without any control

It took a bit of investigation but I found the vibration damper rubber ring in the steering column had split and so was in compression going right and opened up as I turned left, despite being a Volvo it wasn't a fail safe system either.

be safe out there





Howard

Fisher Fury was 2000 Zetec - now a 1600 (it Lives again and goes zoom)

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David Jenkins

posted on 4/5/21 at 05:28 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JeffHs

Looking at the scoring and scraping, it's obvious that one of the spacers had dropped inside the Mountney boss where it fouled between the inner ridges of the boss and the nose of the column casting that holds the ignition switch. On the last jam up it must have finally dislodged the spacer.



If you have spacers in places with difficult access then it's worth fixing them permanently to the major component. Solder (if appropriate) or epoxy resin them in place.





The older I get, the better I was...

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Schrodinger

posted on 4/5/21 at 05:29 PM Reply With Quote
Glad it's all safely fixed.





Keith

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craig1410

posted on 5/5/21 at 12:26 PM Reply With Quote
Glad you got it fixed.

This reminds me of one time I was being towed by my Dad and I hadn't turned the ignition key to position 1 so when we came to the first corner, I turned my wheel and the lock engaged and I was unable to follow him round the corner! It's really hard in that moment to engage your brain properly and not just yield to the instinct to turn the wheel harder which was futile. Anyway, I managed to unlock the steering moments before I would otherwise have hit the central reservation of the urban carriageway we were on.

Later in that same towing journey the tow rope snapped due to abrasion and left me temporarily stranded between two tight corners with nowhere to hide from approaching traffic. Believe it or not, the journey was a total of about 100 miles on a slightly elastic tow rope. I can't believe we actually did things like that back in the early 1990s and I can tell you I was absolutely exhausted by the time we got home. No power assistance to either brakes or steering for 100 miles in a Vauxhall Cavalier. Luckily Mr Darwin wasn't giving out awards that day!

[Edited on 5/5/2021 by craig1410]

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SteveWalker

posted on 5/5/21 at 10:43 PM Reply With Quote
I must say, having towed and having been towed using a rope, it is an awful experience. It costs little to buy a sectional bar, which makes it massively less worrying - some even have a spring and damper, allowing the towing vehicle to do the braking and accelerating away again, without the impact of the bar taking up the slack at the attachment points.

A friend was towed in his Fiesta after breaking down with electrical failure in heavy snow. His father towed him home. He soon found that he couldn't see anything, as the wipers wouldn't work and he couldn't attract his father's attention as the horn and lights wouldn't either. He tried braking, but was just dragged through the snow, all the way home, by his dad's Range Rover!

[Edited on 5/5/21 by SteveWalker]

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jps

posted on 6/5/21 at 01:33 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SteveWalker
It costs little to buy a sectional bar, which makes it massively less worrying - some even have a spring and damper, allowing the towing vehicle to do the braking and accelerating away again, without the impact of the bar taking up the slack at the attachment points.
[Edited on 5/5/21 by SteveWalker]

I was towed using a solid bar a few years ago - and no matter how hard I tried, any speed change caused a hell of a bang between me and the tow vehicle. Not a pleasant experience and, in hindsight it was just a blown fuse on the fuel pump in the end - so I could have got going if i'd done all my diagnostics properly instead of panicking when I couldn't bump it!

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craig1410

posted on 6/5/21 at 01:41 PM Reply With Quote
In my case I had experienced an engine bay fire which started down the back of the engine due to a broken alternator wire and oily deposits. It then melted the bottom of the carburettor which obviously accelerated the fire somewhat. Fortunately I had a radiator leak at the time and had enough water in containers in the boot that I was able to put the fire out but it took every drop of the 10L of water I had with me. I very nearly had to unzip the reserves!

There's no way I would use a tow rope for anything more than moving a car to a safe position these days. I don't think a solid bar would change my view on that either so for anything more than a few hundred metres I would suggest using a trailer or get a breakdown company involved.

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