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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Does your steering rack self centre?

Just curious as to whether the rack on my 72 midget should self centre. Mine doesn't (and AFAIK never has in the time I've owned the car). I have tried re-alligning the rack but this hasn't seemed to make any difference. Everything moves freely with the front off the ground. Rack has plenty of grease in it and the front end is all greased up. The front wheels straighten most of the way after a roundabout for example, but not all the way. I've checked the trunions and nothing is too tight here.

Could the tracking being out cause this sort of behavior or is it normal? My local tyre place said the tracking was OK (front wheels came up as parallel on their equipment which is fine according to the book).

Self centre? Ha Ha. My '70 Midget centre's when I turn the wheel!!! Now my Euro box Passat is another story!!

PS Your car looks very nice by the way.
Neil K

Have the tracking set with a slight toe in say 1mm, it may help a little.
Tim Dalton

When you say that you re-aligned the steering rack, how did you go about doing that?

<<Now my Euro box Passat is another story>>

My last two Passats have centred OK, but I've just changed to a Mondeo and that doesn't!

The only time I've had this problem with a Midget was when one of the kingpins was tight and needed shimming.
Dave O'Neill 2

Hi re-aligned the rack following the instructions in the workshop manual. A short version of what I did follows:

1. The rack is loosely mounted in it's brackets that attach it to the front crossmember.
2. Since mine is a RHD, I loosely attached the rack to the front cross member on the NS.
3. Then I rotated the steering wheel turning left and right until the rack found its 'centre' position where the OS bracket no longer moves in relation to the front cross member.
4. Packing is then added between the front cross member and the bracket.

Then everything is tightened up and I made sure the column still moved freely on the splines before tightening up the column pinch bolt.

BTW, I don't think it has ever centred. It's just I had the rad out so I thought I should make sure everything was correctly aligned since this was not a job I had done myself before. Turns out everything was OK before I took it apart since I ended up putting the same shim back in.

Dave says that his Midget does self centre but I have checked the kingpins and nothing is too tight there. I will try toeing in slightly to see if that helps as per Tims suggestion.

Sounds about right to me! Was this before you connected the track rod ends, or just with the wheels jacked off the ground? You could disconnect each front wheel in turn at the TRE and see if our steering feels significantly lighter.

Guy, I did this with the front end jacked up, but I still had the TRE's attached. I like the idea of disconnecting the TRE's in turn. I won't have a chance to try this until next weekend but I will give it a go. Thanks!

The other point to make is that you jack the car under the wishbones, not under the chassis. This ensures that the suspension is compressed to its normal ride height and the tie rods are operating level, and not drooped down.


This thread was discussed between 29/10/2011 and 30/10/2011

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