Well,

I thought it was all going splendidly when, after properly rigging the steering box and column, the steering wheel was ending up somewhere other than where I was expecting it. The immediate remedial action involved cutting a hole in the wood stiffener in the chassis rail to move the steering box further out to the offside of the car. I was going to slip the offside engine mount off, remove the wood and do the cutting on the bench but unfortunately, I’ve welded the engine mount plates in a couple of now inconvenient places and I’d have to remove the engine to get the whole mount out before I could get at the wood. In the end, I just managed to get my best spoon blade chisel in the gap between the crankcase and the wood. It was a bit of a slow process (2 hours) and it looks a bit messy at the moment but a bit more time and a good dollop of the black preserving stuff will tidy it up.

Hole

Re the chisel; about 25 years ago I did some design work for a marquetry company and in lieu of payment I elected to have a set of 3 what were then, very expensive chisels. In all those years of use, I’ve never had to sharpen any of the 3 blades; they’re still as sharp as the day I was given them. Mind you, I’ve never lent them to anyone – that helps.

Re-assembly

And on re-assembly…. the steering wheel is now in front of the driver. That’s good then…. but the sector shaft is a bit short one end and the drop arm will go on only about 1/4 the way it should and I notice that I can’t get full right lock as the tyre clangs up against the drag link. Hmm.

If I remove the angled spacers, that resolves the length problem but then the box is pointing towards the middle of the dash. Does that matter? I’m putting a universal in the column so that would take care of that. This will also have the effect of sweeping the sector shaft backwards a bit and the drop arm won’t be parallel to the direction of travel. Does that matter? The good bit is that if I turn the drop arm round so that the bias is inboard, the drag link will easily clear the tyre on full right lock.

Steering box

I’ll have to run this by Assembled Cleverchaps and see what they think; the set-up’s probably perfectly alright, it’s just a tad out of line – so to speak – but there could be a couple of ‘gotcha’s’ lurking that I’m not seeing. Of course, the other way round all this and to bring the box back into line would be to take an inch out of the middle of the casting that carries the cross shaft, put the spacers back and that would give me the correct length on the outside of the chassis for the drop arm…. but I’d still need to reverse the arm to prevent the tyre and the drag link getting involved with each other on full right lock (which means a bit of re-engineering on the tapered pin and ball). So, a couple of options to keep me awake in the small hours.

Just when I thought it was all going so swimmingly.

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