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Discussion Starter #1
On my 67 Super with a ZF steering box, the steering feels just fine every morning. Sharp turn-in, no play etc.

Then, in the evening, when it's warmer and I have to drive uphill for 10 miles and so everything gets hot, the steering just goes away...basically there seems to be a lot more play right at the center of the steering, which makes the car quite hard to drive up a twisty hill (17 for the Bay Area residents). It's pretty disconcerting, and when I get home I can move the steering wheel and look at the front wheel and there does seem to be a lot of extra play - this has vanished by the time of the next drive.

I got some advice on steering box play adjustment - tighten screw until very slight resistance is felt at the center of the steering. I did this, noticeably stiffer steering at parking speeds, but no problem above 10mph...but that evening the play returned. I wasn't sure what oild to use in the box so I used the ame Spirax I use in the transmission.

All steering ball-joints and linkages and all other suspension bushings are brand new. When it's cold, the car handles like a dream

any ideas?

Thanks,
-Richard
Scotts Valley, CA.
 

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That's odd.

In my opinion, ZF boxes suck compared to Burman. I had Norman Racing go through the ZF in my Super, making a good one out of two I had, and it's still sloppy on center, because they can't realistically machine the pieces without special tools they don't have. So they used the best races, balls, etc.

I don't have a good answer for the heat issue, unless something is greatly expanding due to the exhaust heat nearby. Do you have tube headers? Maybe craft a heat shield between the headers and the steering and see if that helps?

Any decent 90W oil ought to be OK in the box.

Andrew
 

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I also have a fair amount of play in the steering for my '67 and I hadn't noticed if it changed after heating up yet. I did notice it was pretty bad the other day and then the next morning when I looked a little closer it was much better.

Any progress on this issue (it has been quite a while).

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I also have a fair amount of play in the steering for my '67...
Any progress on this issue (it has been quite a while)
It has been a while, but it's still there - I did make a heat shield for the box as Andrew suggested - and I thought that had improved matters - but in a hot spell we had a week ago I dove the car home up hwy 17 and the problem returned. It also seemed improved shortly after beginning the descent after the summit - i.e. lots of airflow and no engine load.

I'm not sure what to try next - I guess retro-fitting a Burman box would be best - but, alas, not easy.

-Richard
 

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Hi Richard,

I never had any issue with ZF steering boxes on road or racing. I do prefer those boxes to burman which are proned to casing failures and lots of leaks. Even if they have play at limits.

Just check is the bottom lever is sufficently tightened to the spline shaft.

The top screw must not be tightened too much. If you do so the worm and roller will wear quickly at the center point.

If you have a hot engine with a sport exhaust , you can protect all the engine bay with heat material on the exhaust.

Bruno
 

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Hi Richard, I never had any issue with ZF steering boxes on road or racing. I do prefer those boxes to burman which are proned to casing failures and lots of leaks. Even if they have play at limits. Just check is the bottom lever is sufficently tightened to the spline shaft.
Thanks Bruno - Yes ok that sounds like a good idea - I've never either loosened or tightened one of those nuts on the lever (is that the "Pitman Arm"?...never understood that..) so I will give that a go. Hopefully it can be done in the car? Not sure how to block the arm from moving to tighten it? I'm guessing you shouldn't use the steering end-stops...

If you have a hot engine with a sport exhaust , you can protect all the engine bay with heat material on the exhaust. Bruno
The car has stock cast-iron headers, not tube headers, which always seem to be the big cause of excessive engine-bay heat. Maybe I could get them jet-coated - does that have benefits on cast manifolds? I really don't want to wrap them in that tape.

Thanks very much for the suggestions.

-Richard
 

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Hi Richard,

Best thing is to to take out the steering box of the car and dismantle and fully clean it.

may be the bronze bushes of the vertical arm are clogged with old grease/oil and it just loose up with heat when driving.

A long and nasty job but always useful.

If ALL the front suspension bushes and ball joints are new, please check for cracks on the side member where the steering box is bolted on. Very common.

bruno
 

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The car has stock cast-iron headers, not tube headers, which always seem to be the big cause of excessive engine-bay heat. Maybe I could get them jet-coated - does that have benefits on cast manifolds?
Yes, ceramic coating (one brand is called "Jet Hot") will reduce radiated heat. But honestly, it won't make a dramatic difference. I would think that the heat shield you have already fabricated would do a lot more to protect the steering box. If cooking the steering box was the only consideration, then I'd put my time and money into a larger/thicker heat shield, rather than ceramic coating my headers (there are other benefits of ceramic coating, including aesthetics and improved exhaust flow).
 

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These cars didn't come with heat shields, jet hot, etc., from the factory and they drove competently and safely. Don't treat the symptoms. Find the cause. Steering/safety isn't something to patch or fool around with.
 

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These cars didn't come with heat shields, jet hot, etc., from the factory and they drove competently and safely. Don't treat the symptoms. Find the cause. Steering/safety isn't something to patch or fool around with.
You're fully right.:) There is a problem somewhere. Richard you must find it.

Bruno
 

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You're fully right.:) There is a problem somewhere. Richard you must find it.
yes - I completely agree. That's why I started the thread - to get all these ideas. I also agree that these cars didn't come with heat-shields and jet-coat. They also didn't come with 45 year old steering boxes for which replacements or parts are unobtainable. (or 1750 engines that we all seem to have fitted...) There are times when a workaround is your only option - but in this case, Bruno has given me good ideas for real fixes that I will follow through on.

I have checked in the past for cracks in the panel that the box bolts to - but it's all very solid there. I've done everything else suggested to date with the exception of checking the tightness of the steering-box bottom nut.

-Richard
 
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