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6 cyl Bristol cars Type 400 to 406 - restoration, repair, maintenance etc

403 steering questions

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 21-05-20, 09:10 PM
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Aberdeenshire Scotland UK
Posts: 111
Default 403 steering questions

I've now got the steering rack and stub axles off the car and have a few questions. Note I do have the service manual and the parts book.

1. The steering rack rubber gaiters had quite a lot of Enots oil in them. Is this by design? There don't seem to be anything like oil seals at either end of the rack.

2. With the rack off the car it is possible to unthread the tie rod from the rack. The service manual diagram and the parts book show a locknut. Should the lock nut stop this happening?

3. The Enots system doesn't seem to lubricate either the top or bottom swivels on the stub axles - it only seems to lubricate the steering swivel. Yet neither of the top or bottom swivels have grease nipples, nor does the service manual tell me how to lubricate them. Have I missed something?

4. Anyone know where I can get new steering swivel bushes, and who has the special reamer necessary to fit them?

5. Any recommendations for a modern oil to use in the Enots system? I know some people prefer to change to grease nipples, but I would like to try to keep the Enots system working.

Thanks in advance.

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 27-05-20, 03:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 408

Mike ,
I'm a little surprised that someone has not replied earlier to your post.
My thoughts and experience on the one shot system are ..

The overall design is floored as the oil will leak externally at the point which has the greatest clearance . With the suspension lubrication, if the top pin has excessive clearance the king pin bushes and lower pin often are completely dry
and wear quickly.
If the clearances are correct ,the theory is that the oil SHOULD pass from the top pin into the centre of the king pin lubricating both king pin bushes, down to the bottom spring bracket , through that bracket and into the bottom pin . But in practice it is doomed for failure. I have never seen this system working correctly long term.
I recommend that you fit grease nipples to the the top pins and made new lower pins to use a grease nipple . I also fit a grease nipple in the stub axle between the two king pin bushes . I did this to my 400 over 35 years ago and have covered well over 120,000 miles . It has always been well packed with grease there is no noticeable wear and moisture cannot enter.

2. The lubrication of the steering rack and pinion is a separate issue .
When I restored my 400 I fitted a brand new rack& pinion assembly and lubricated with grease nipples . The steering was always a little firm compared to well worn 400s using oil . I converted the rack & pinion back to oil lubrication and it has freed up quite a bit.
The oil enters the rack housing at the pinion bush and on top of the rack and feeds into the centre of the rack through to the tie tubes to lubricate the steering joints/ball on both ends of the tie tube .If this is working correctly there should be oil leaking from the steering arm ball joint on each side lubricating the brake backing plate , wheel and garage floor.
Any excess oil around the outside of the rack leaks into the rubber rack bellows, so that is usual .
I also fit a grease nipple into the tie tubes to positively lubricate both ball joints . But this does push more excess oil from the rack into the bellows.
The rack and pinion does not need constant oiling just an occasional press of the Enots pedal.

3. The Enots oiling system still only works if the distribution block is working correctly . That has its problems as well.

4. The locknut on the inner ball joint has to be loosened to remove the tie tube .

I would certainly not consider oil lubrication to the suspension in favour of grease.
There will no doubt be others who want to keep their cars totally original that will disagree.

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Old 09-06-20, 09:27 PM
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Aberdeenshire Scotland UK
Posts: 111

Thanks Geoff for your comprehensive post. I understand the lubrication system much better now. My next question is on the king pin bushes. Should they be plain or should they have a spiral oil groove in their bore? The ones fitted are plain, but I'm being told they are not original.
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