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Triumph TR3 - Trunnions

I'm having trouble getting grease into my lower trunnions on the 1960 TR3A. Given that I am replacing the upper A-arm bushings with Nylatrons (already done on one side!), is it possible and/or convenient to separate the trunnions from the vertical links to clean out any old, dried grease? When I try to add grease, it squirts out the bottom near the grease fitting, making me believe none is making its way up the trunnion. Or is there another trick to get grease into the trunnions?

By the way, my rubber A-arm bushings were completely trashed on both sides, and with the wheel off I could see the alarming amount of play on the right side as the bushings had completely given way on one side of the fulcrum pin. Can't wait to see what effect this has been having on my steering.


Bill Stagg
1960 TR3A
Bill Stagg

It's possible, not convenient to separate the trunnions from the vertical links. Pretty much a complete disassembly. The links screw in, you probably knew that. I'd remove the zerk and spray some solvent in. Maybe lift the seal on top of the trunnion and let some go in by gravity. Move the wheel back and forth a lot. Maybe just turning the wheels a different direction and tightening the zerk (maybe it's leaking around the steel thing on the bottom that the zerk screws into, tho) would let some grease pass. I think the purist would tell you to use gear oil in the trunnions, but it takes a marine grease gun and sounds messy (like what isn't on these cars). If you get that gun for lubing outboard motors, you could maybe inject solvent first, let it drip a while, then oil or grease. I'm sure if you fiddle around with it a while, you'll get some lube in there somehow.

You'll probably find the plastic bushings on the lower inner bushings to be worn, too. Gotta get or make a spring compressor for that job. Only about $4 for parts, tho. I didn't attempt to remove the steel bushings, they weren't worn yet, but they were stuck on pretty good. So I left 'em alone. A dremel with a cutoff wheel would probably work well to remove these. These inner plastic bushings were the source of a badly wandering front end on my early 4.

While you're down there, how's the idler arm? This has been the worst offender on my TR3's. And the silent block bushings..also a b**ch to get in and out.

Work, work, work.

Bill - If you have it all apart, (springs out & top ball joint off), you can unscrew the vertical link out the trunnion to look inside, to clean it and to re-grease it.

My first set of trunnions lasted 80,350 miles with about 30,000 miles of hard rally gravel road driving. In 1990 I put new ones in and since then have driven over 78,000 miles of high speed touring on paved roads.

They still grease nicely and I've had no problems. In fact I just greased them and the grease went in OK. I always used grease. Every 1,000 miles from 1958 to 1972.

Is your grease gun empty ? Is the vertical link "bottomed out" in the trunnion and this is blocking the new grease from getting in ?

Tom - I agree that people are saying that oil is what is best for trunnions. This is a topic that is debated without concensus among the TR6 owners. My original manual said to grease them. I believe the oil bit only came into effect with the introduction of the TR6.

I suggest you keep to greasing them. Today, I thought that the RHS was not accepting grease. But when I looked from the rear of the front disc brake with the wheel off, I could see where all the new grease had pushed out the old grease and lots of new grease too.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

where are the silent block bushings located?

One is at the front end of the lowest rod coming out the bottom of the steering gearbox and another is in the idler arm link on the passenger's front side. The silent bloc is a sort-of bolt with a rubber bushing on it and both are tightly holding the cross rod that connects the steering gearbox to the idler arm. If they are worn, they will feel or look loose if the rubber is worn out. To remove them, you remove the nut at the bottom of each. Then, using a forked ball-joint remover tool between the parts you want to saparate, take a few good blows with a hefty hammer. Otherwise drill them out or use a die grinder (like a Dremmel) till they come out in little pieces. To put in new silent bloc bushings, you may have to use a press.

Or you can disconnect the cross rod from the inner tie-rod ends using the same hammer and separator. Then you can remove and replace the silent bloc busings in a vice on the bench.

This task is a pain and would be a lot easier if your front end (valance, rad etc.) is all off or when you are doing a "body-off" restoration.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

thanks for the information,
i need to replace the silent bloc on the rod coming
out the bottom of the steering box.
with every thing still connected the drop arm can be moved up and down approx. 1/4" est.
the idler arm link is tight,no up and down movement.

Is it your silent bloc bushing that is loose or is the excess play in the vertical link that comes out the bottom of the steering box ?

If you are going to change one silent bloc bushing, you should do both of them at the same time.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

i will replace both silent bloc bushins.
i have the center tie rod removed and the vertical
link coming out the bottom of the steering box does
have play.
do you think the play could be taken out by the adj. nut on top of the steering box.
if the play is due to worn bushing inside the box,will
the steering box need to be removed from car to
last weekend i attended the vintage sports car races
at hallett,oklahoma.i was able to visit with susan kahler and watch her compete in her green spitfire.
i enjoyed talking to her.i remembered her from your
tape on the 50th anniversary all triumph race at
mid-ohio 2002.

The adjuster on the top of the steering box is not intended for that. You can try to tighten it to find out.

It is really intended to take slack out of your steering once you can assure yourself that all the ball joints, tie-rod ends and silent bloc units are tip-top. If after all that, you find your are steering straight on a straight wide road, but the car still wants to head towards the ditch, so you make a correction (like 1/4 turn) before it heads away from the ditch, then you find you are veering towards the center line etc. That's what I call loose. Screwing down on that adjuster will only make the inside end of the adjuster go deeper into the spiral worm in the steering box. If you go too far, or if the worm spiral groove is worn at the center, you will find later that you don't have enough muscle strength to turn the steering wheel at any speed. That might be dangerous ! If you find that this is your case, contact Herman van den Akker for his kit. This has a sping loaded device that will correct this. I bought one from England 12 years ago and have driven about 55,000 miles since. Some days over 600 miles with no fatique in my arms.

Herman is at :-

Mention my name.

Looking at the manuals and parts books (you have them I assume), the vertical movement you write about may also be a loose nut on the bottom or too much slack space between the nut and the bottom of the steering box.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A

Don Elliott

This thread was discussed between 06/04/2004 and 10/04/2004

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