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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - 'Floaty' Steering

Having recently put the almost finishing touches to the conversion of a 1968 MG B GT with a Rover V8 engine, on its maiden voyage I noted that the steering was stiff and heavy with a little slop in the steering wheel. Above about 20 MPH the steering was floaty and erratic, the car wanted to wander and was difficult to keep straight. Blaming the slop in the wheel I changed the steering rack and installed new tie rods which were in bad shape. Now the steering does not have the slop and is not as stiff and heavy but the floaty feeling is still there. I am not sure where to look next. The suspension is all stock equipment. If anyone can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Thanks
Don Robinson

I am glad you got home safely. I am pretty sure you have one or more bad shocks, most likely up front. I had a similar problem, it was bad whenever hitting any bumps, the car would just go to the left. I found my driver's side shoch had 1"+ free play with no resistance.. VERY dangerous. I recommend you pull your shocks and put them on a bench. figure a way to hold the body down and then pump the lever, if there is any free play, it is time to get new ones. I refilled mine and it worked for about 50miles then back to square one again..
Larry Embrey

Larry, That helped a great deal. I pulled all four, topped them up and excercised them. They appeared to get stiffer, none had any free play. After replacing them the car handled much better although still not good enough. I guess I am on the right track. Maybe time to invest in new ones.
Don Robinson

How is your toe-in set. This can make the car dart around, especially during braking.


Glad I could help Don,
Shocks are not Cheap (nothign is anymore) I was very resistant to the thought of "just buy new ones" which 99% of people hold. I gave it a shot at repairing or refilling mine. It worked for a short while but now after sitting it is bad again. It could just be bad poppet valves (pretty sure it is in fact) but I am not sure if I want to buy the high perf ones yet and just replace them..
Larry Embrey

Thats for sure. New ones are pretty pricey but I may take a flyer on a set from ebay. After topping mine up,the steering definitely improved but still not as good as I would like. It is actually a little scary. As Pete suggested I may get the toe in checked and I also suspect that I may need additional front end work but am trying to get it on the road without spending a whole lot of cash at once, but I do want to be safe.It has taken a long time to get this far and am kind of anxious to get it on the road.
Don Robinson

With a 68 BGT means it was a chrome bumper car....what did you do about setting up the steering rack? I'm wondering if you might have a couple of combined problems. Have you checked to see that your steering arms are parallel to your wishbones (lower suspension arms)....and by any chance did you put on negative camber ones?

David Staines

Stainzy, Thanks for your input. However, I'm not sure that I understand your comment regarding the steering arms being parallel to the wishbones. They are not.The steering gear that I installed came off another 68 MGB GT. When removing and reinstalling the steering gear, I followed the "Complete Official MGB Workshop Manual" Section J.5 and everything seemed to go smoothly. In the next few days I am going to install different shocks to see if that helps.
Don R
Don Robinson

I think what Stainzy meant was how did you overcome the conflict between the steering gear and the V8 engine that is inevitable with a chrome bumper car? Did you move the rack, and if so, have you inadvertently upset the geometry? If the rack is in it's original position, and you modified the column, then that shouldn't be a problem.
Mike Howlett

Mike, The rack is in it's original position so hopefully the geometry han't changed.
Don Robinson

I believe you problem could be the alignment of the pinion on the rack. There must be absolutly no pressure imposed by the steering column at this point. A way to check this is to detach both steering rods and then pull them forward and by holding in each hand you should be able to rock them up and down ever so slightly which will indicate if there is binding. If there is, you will have to align with shimms as per the manual! It is worth checking anyway.
Ross Hannah

Thank you all for your input. As it turned out it was the toe in. The toe in was way off and after I got it close to where it should be according to Bentley the car handles pretty good. Still not perfect but at least now it is driveable.
Don Robinson

This thread was discussed between 19/01/2002 and 03/02/2002

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