Steering, Suspension, & Brakes

tips, technology, tools and techniques related to non-driveline mechanical components

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302GT
Larry Shimp

(203 posts)

Registered:
11/17/2007 01:13PM

Main British Car:
1968 MGB GT Ford 302 crate engine

Steering Damper
Posted by: 302GT
Date: July 26, 2010 02:36PM

Steering kick-back is a common problem, especially with wider tires and different wheel off-sets (this is not the same as bump-steer). I thought that a steering damper might reduce kick-back somewhat so I made brackets to fit the very common Mercedes steering damper to my MGB steering rack. This damper was used on most Mercedes models from about 1977 through about 1995. Another common damper was fitted to VW beetles (pre Super Beetle models).

I have attached pictires showing the brackets and how the assembly is fitted to the steering assembly. One bracket clamps to the tie rod witrh a plate and U-bolts, the other clamps to the rack tube. The rack tube is fairly thin and can be crushed so I made brackets that spread out the contact area and come together with a positive stop to limit the maximum amount of crush possible.

Driving with the damper seems to make only a small difference, and it probably is not worth the effort. But I thought that I would at least share my experience in case anyone else was thinking of trying it (or not).
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Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: Moderator
Date: July 26, 2010 07:10PM

Larry, is this something you've been working on since our conversation at Indy? You almost convinced me to lubricate my steering rack... and now this.




;o)




Are these dampeners adjustable? I think the ones made for motorcycles are. I've never looked closely at one.


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3790 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: July 26, 2010 10:02PM

Interesting.

Thanks for sharing, Larry.


302GT
Larry Shimp

(203 posts)

Registered:
11/17/2007 01:13PM

Main British Car:
1968 MGB GT Ford 302 crate engine

Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: 302GT
Date: July 27, 2010 12:10PM

Curtis; I was inspired by your comments at Indy. It seemed that adding a damper made more sense than gaining damping by a lack of lubrication. Of course, no grease is the way to go for damping with maximum weight savings.

The damper is not adjustable, and it does not appear that car dampers, as a rule, are adjustable. Most motorcycle dampers are adjustable, but I doubt that their stroke is sufficient for an automotoive application.

I might actually see a benefit from the damper but right now my steering column rattle has come back and I have to fix that first as the rattle is too distracting. The good news is that the damper does not seem to increase steerting effort, which makes sense because the damper's resistance increases with speed of movement. The Mercedes models that used this damper had recirculating ball steering with some free play. The damper prevented (or reduced) movement of the the wheels in the free play arc of the steering. For VW beetles, the damper was more critical. With a missing or failed damper, VW beetles could develop a rapid oscillation of the steering that could only be controlled by applying the brakes and slowing down.


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2636 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: rficalora
Date: July 27, 2010 01:25PM

Larry, if your column needs to be rebuilt to address the rattle, check w/Gerry Masterman. He's very active on the stock MG MG Experience board & rebuilds columns as a side business. Great guy. And, I'm explicitely giving him a plug because when I posted there for someone to to provide a pic of the disk & gasket that goes at the bottom of the column (I'd misplaced mine), he did one better & offered/sent me one in great condition at no charge. I wanted to pay him & he wouldn't accept.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: Moderator
Date: July 27, 2010 03:46PM

I've been paying more attention to steering lately too. Perhaps less steering friction might have helped me in that LONG slalom in the autocross at Indy. Car sure is running great... so I'm inclined to "just drive it" for awhile yet. However, I noticed yesterday that it's starting to pull a little to the left under braking, so I guess it's due for a little maintenance.


302GT
Larry Shimp

(203 posts)

Registered:
11/17/2007 01:13PM

Main British Car:
1968 MGB GT Ford 302 crate engine

Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: 302GT
Date: July 28, 2010 07:32AM

I fixed the column rattle (I have to do the "fix" every few thousand miles). With the rattle gone, the benefits of the damper are much more obvious. Kick-back is gone on small bumps and is significantly reduced on larger bumps. So, overall I would now say that the damper is worth installing. My only concern is if the rack tube will become distorted over time. I will monitor this closely.



MG four six eight
Bill Jacobson
Wa state
(299 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 02:15AM

Main British Car:
73 MGB Buick 215, Eaton/GM supercharger

Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: MG four six eight
Date: July 29, 2010 01:33AM

I have a steering dampener on mine as well. It does reduce road kick-back quite a bit. I would recommend one on a car with wide wheels and tires!
I ended up machining a sleeve that fits over the right inner tie rod end and locks into place. On the sleeve there is a stud that is routed though the bellows boot for the "moveable end" of the dampener to attach to. There is a sleeve that fits over the stud, to seal the bellows boot and keep water/dirt out of the rack.
The "fixed end" of the dampener is attached to a mounting bracket on the crossmember. The steering dampener is from a Pontiac Fiero.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5833 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: May 24, 2011 10:34AM

Guys, is this a stock off-the-shelf damper that includes the mounting brackets? If so who sells it and how much does it cost?

JB


MG four six eight
Bill Jacobson
Wa state
(299 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 02:15AM

Main British Car:
73 MGB Buick 215, Eaton/GM supercharger

Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: MG four six eight
Date: May 26, 2011 02:20AM

Jim

I had to fab both mounts, the stationary mount bolts to the cross-member just below the rack. The moveable end mount was more envolved, but should be no problem with your machining skills.
It works well, however I have a Borgeson vibration ujoint/isolator ordered as well. I think that Larry had a post showing one mounted on a B from a couple of years ago.

We'll be making the long road trip to Reno and my hands have gotten pretty sensitive to shock/vibration the last few years. Due to 30+ years of abuse from impact tools. The car drives ok, just looking to make the long days behind the wheel as comfortable as possible. Kind of a PIA this getting old stuff!

Bill


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5833 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: May 26, 2011 05:14PM

I hear you. The damper cam in today, looks just like a shock absorber. I'll try to do something with it in a few days.

JB


302GT
Larry Shimp

(203 posts)

Registered:
11/17/2007 01:13PM

Main British Car:
1968 MGB GT Ford 302 crate engine

Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: 302GT
Date: May 27, 2011 12:36PM

I used a stock Mercedes damper which was used on many models from the late 70s to the mid 90s. But I had to make the brackets which clamp to the rack tube and to the tie rod. The rack tube bracket is round internally to put minimal force on the thin-walled rack housing tube.


cgill
Chris Gill
Salmon Arm, British Columbia
(129 posts)

Registered:
08/13/2009 12:06AM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB roadster Buick 300 stroker with EFI

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: cgill
Date: November 13, 2011 09:28PM

Very interesting guys.

I picked up a Mercedes dampener over the weekend but my issue is that my radiator outlet (?) is on the passenger side so that prevents it from being mounted like it is in the photos above. Has anyone mounted it on the driver's side? If so, photos would be hugely appreciated!

Cheers,
Chris


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2636 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: rficalora
Date: November 13, 2011 10:12PM

Are you having kick-back Chris?


cgill
Chris Gill
Salmon Arm, British Columbia
(129 posts)

Registered:
08/13/2009 12:06AM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB roadster Buick 300 stroker with EFI

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: cgill
Date: November 14, 2011 05:24PM

Mostly just the steering wheel jitters when I drive over slightly bumpy roads and small pot holes (almost like a reverberation if you know what I mean). It is enough that you have to pay attention with both hands on the wheels when driving on less than perfect roads.

I am not experiencing bump steer and the front wheels have been balanced and aligned properly.



MGB-FV8
Jacques Mathieu
Alexandria, VA
(299 posts)

Registered:
09/11/2009 08:55PM

Main British Car:
1977 MGB Small Block Ford, 331 Stroker

Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: MGB-FV8
Date: November 15, 2011 12:03AM

Chris, what seize tires do you run and what do you have the alignment toe set at?

Jacques


cgill
Chris Gill
Salmon Arm, British Columbia
(129 posts)

Registered:
08/13/2009 12:06AM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB roadster Buick 300 stroker with EFI

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: cgill
Date: November 15, 2011 12:17AM

Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack this thread! I like the idea of a steering dampener but can't fit it on the passenger side tie rod because of the location of my lower radiator inlet.

I am running 225/50/15 tires. I set the toe in to 1/16".

Cheers
Chris


MGB-FV8
Jacques Mathieu
Alexandria, VA
(299 posts)

Registered:
09/11/2009 08:55PM

Main British Car:
1977 MGB Small Block Ford, 331 Stroker

Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: MGB-FV8
Date: November 15, 2011 01:40AM

Chris, your answer confirms that the tires and toe are definitely not the problem. It's rather puzzling (to me) to see a car that seize have wheel shimming and I don't think that installing a steering damper would be helpful in finding the real cause of the problem. I've worked on an alignment rack for 5 years and saw many strange things and, soon or later a cause to the problem would surface.

The heavier the tires and wheel assembly are, the more prone to shimming it becomes, mostly on 4X4. Try tightening/adjusting the input shaft on the rack and pinion, it may help; also, check for wheel run out or a bad tire. Good luck and keep us informed on any fix you may find to the problem.

Jacques


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5833 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: November 15, 2011 09:52AM

Another possibility, the further to the outside the wheel is located the more trouble. How close is your tie rod end to the wheel/tire?

JB


cgill
Chris Gill
Salmon Arm, British Columbia
(129 posts)

Registered:
08/13/2009 12:06AM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB roadster Buick 300 stroker with EFI

authors avatar
Re: Steering Damper
Posted by: cgill
Date: November 15, 2011 12:51PM

Hmmm, I do have spacers on the front wheels. Maybe I should try running without them to see if that makes a difference. The tires are new so there is no sign of wear.

It really isn't that bad but I definitely notice a difference driving the GT (stock wheels, etc) vs the roadster.

Again, sorry for hijacking! I thought a dampener would possibly solve my jittery steering!
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