Forums General Counties Cars Discussion Stiff steering on A40 Somerset

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    John Drew

    I have recently had an 1954 A40 Somerset restored and it is now back on the road for the first time since the mid 1980s.  It is running well but the steering is very stiff, taking a real effort at low speeds and creaks.  When the front wheels are jacked up it is light, so I wonder if there is something not right within the mechanism when it is loaded with the weight of the car, or whether I just need to get used to it.

    I own a 1970 Morris Minor pick up and have driven other classic cars and this does feel very different, which is why I wanted to check with others who know this car better.

    Many thanks for your help and advice.


    Hi there John,

    In addition to the things that David has covered, if your box is constructed the same as Atlantic boxes,   if the cam follower has been tightened a little too much,  even if eased off slightly, due to overtightening, the cam follower ground face that runs on the face of the main worm may have developed worn “flat” spot, making the steering harder. Also, having rebuilt a number  Atlantic boxes over the past 50 years, the small diameter ball races that are on either end of the worm have often been found to be split literally in half, and the bearing faces where these run can also be affected by “gawling”.  Whether or not the gawling of the surface commences with wear of the balls, resulting in the splitting, or the initial breaking up of the balls resulted in the bearing surface damage, I have not established.  Fortunately, the boxes I have done have all been able to be returned to active service,  having been able to obtain new balls for the the top and bottom of the main cam, and also new cam followers. A90 cam followers are getting a bit scarce,  and if yours are similar, they may also be.

    If you decide to dismantle, it would be interesting to read what you find.

    All the best-Peter.

    John Drew

    Many thanks Dave and Peter for your help.

    I will check the things that are easy to do and then will probably get it checked properly, which would mean taking it apart by the sounds of it.

    Would you suggest or recommend a steering specialist for this?


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