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603/Britannia ZF Steering Box Strange Noises

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Old 01-06-16, 12:57 PM
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Default 603/Britannia ZF Steering Box Strange Noises

Recently bought, but off the road for 4 years, I took the car for its 1st MOT under my ownership yesterday (only 8m each way) and noticed a loud ticking noise coming from the driverís side of the engine bay. Initially I thought it might have been the hydraulic lifters playing up after a long period of inactivity, but today on another short run, I noticed the noise (which is similar to the cch-cch-cch of a steam locomotive) only appears whilst applying left turn on the steering wheel. I am now thinking the source of the noise is the ZF steering box. Once home, I jacked up the front and with the engine running, turned the steering full lock, both ways, several times, but could not replicate the noise, presumably because the system was not under load. Any ideas??
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Old 01-06-16, 04:11 PM
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If the engine is running, then shouldn't the steering box be under the same load as if you were driving? The difference seems to be only that the wheels aren't rolling. Perhaps the problem is something rubbing repeatedly, such as a brake rotor touching the pad as it turns, if the calliper isn't fully returning to the open position or if one rotor is a tiny bit warped. It sounds like something I've experienced with other vehicles. And it might happen only when turning in one direction. Maybe you could try spinning each front tire separately with the front jacked up, but I don't know whether it would require the weight of the car to make the noise.

Last edited by guymd; 01-06-16 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 01-06-16, 07:01 PM
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Hi,
Thank you for the input. With the wheels in the air, there is no resistance from tyre/road contact so I would suggest the steering box doesn't have to work that hard. I have subsequently repeated the 'full lock' test (engine running) with the front wheel on the ground and the noise was not present, which does then lead one to consider, as you suggest, interference with the wheels/brakes when rolling. And agreed, these noises sometimes only happen on one lock, like a worn CV joint on a FWD car. I shall try your suggestion to spin the wheels with the front jacked up, but the noise is related to engine speed and not road speed, which is why I think it's not the wheels binding.
Thanks again.
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Old 02-06-16, 08:08 PM
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Default noises off

I assume you've checked for play in the wheel bearing?
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Old 04-06-16, 06:49 AM
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Hi,
Thank you for the suggestion. I don't think it's the bearings as the noise seems related to engine speed, rather than road speed. I've had the front in the air to double check for any binding, besides, it's only this week passed the MOT and my garage are really anal about front wheel bearings. It's been off the road for 4 years, so it's expected that bits seize, stick and make odd noises! More shakedown runs, I think :-)
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Old 05-06-16, 10:25 AM
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Result! Checked the power steering fluid and was quite dirty so the system was drained, flushed through and topped up with new. I can only assume there was an air lock or blockage/restriction due to less than spotless fluid. Thank you for the suggestions.
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