Forums General Counties Cars Discussion A40 Somerset steering idler Reply To: A40 Somerset steering idler


Hi Robin,

The Atlantic derived its suspension from the A70, which used the A40 components, and this was then used on the BN1 Healey, and I am sure on the BN2.  Some time ago, one of the Healey parts suppliers, not sure who, developed a new bearing ass’y to replace the upper stainless and bronze washers that are in the top of the fulcrum.

This consists of a ring that has small diameter balls around it, and mating top and bottom ball caps. I think it also is supplied with shims for adjustment, though not positive about that.  It was designed to make the steering lighter, and  comments I have heard would tend to verify this.  I would think that the Somerset would also have the same arrangement as the ones mentioned.  If your steering is quite heavy, the use of the ball bearings in the upper fulcrum nshould help. Whilst I would have an Atlantic cap I could measure the inner diameter of, I don’t have a Somerset one.

With my  convertible, as mentioned, the steering is extremely light, and can be driven easily with just one finger to do the turning. This particular car is the 5th prototype Atlantic made, though the steering box is identical to the later production cars. The coupe models were altered slightly to discard the adjustable thrust on the peg, by using shims under the cap, which I think is what the Somerset has.  On my coupe, there was a verys slight “glitch” when turning the wheel, and I found that when I dismantled it, there was was some gaulling on the top and bottom bearing balls. As the rball running surfaces were still good, with a light linishing on these, as well the peg ball surfaces, all new bearings were fitted, and it was all good.

However, looking into the future, I fitted a convertible one I had rebuilt that has the adjustable peg.  Whilst it is the same as the proto one, I hope that once on the road it will be just as light to steer. Just at this time, I can only drive it for a few meters in my driveway.

As for self centering, yes, they should tend to straighten , though I have found that with cross ply tyres, not to the same extent as with radials fitted. I have 175/70 on the convertible, and 185/70 on the coupe, as it has 4 inch wide rims.

So, check out the ball races for the top of the King Pins, it could be the answer to your problem.  Apart from the need to jack under the spring to take the weight off the shocker, there is no significant dismantling to undertake.

All the best-Peter.