I usually check around the car monthly basis to see if anything obvious wrong. On this occasion I noticed that the power assisted steering ram rubber boot was split. Not this is not power steering as noted today, but more of power steering assist.
Total kit cost £24.00
Depending on your exhaust manifolds there are two types of bracket. The standard which has an opening that is close to the bodywork. The second is a drop bracket (which I have shown here) which allows the steering cyclinder to be seated lower down in order to clear large full length down pipes, in my case 3″ to the exhaust opening.
But, the principles of fitting are exactly the same, apart from one section which I will point out as I go along.
I am assuming that there is already a boot in place on your steering ram. If not you can jump to the next section ‘Refitting’.
The end of the ram pokes through the bracket and is held in place by two nuts, 9/16ths, a larger one for tightening and the outer one for locking both nuts in place.
There is a sequence for assembly so make a note as you go along. Undo the bolts to expose the end of the ram. Remove the outer plate making a note of which way it goes on.
You can either now remove the bushing which may be stuck to the bracket, or simply press the ram through the bushing as far as you can go.
If you manage to pull the ram through the bracket there may be the centre sleeve tube which fits over the ram end, but sits between the bushings as a location guide. If not the tube may still be in between the bushings. Mine came out with the ram and can be seen on the end.
Now remove the bushing which ever way you can, perhaps a flat blade screw driver to lever them off or just pull them out. I used a hook to simply pull them out.
Next slide the centre tube or sleeve of the steering ram, it may be rusted on so you may need to use penetrating oil or just twist it to loosen and pull it off.
This will now expose the end of the boot that has a wing hose clip, which has various names; single eared hose clamp, vapour clamp, single eared O clamp, or simply a pinch clip.
These are notorious for getting of without damaging the hose or what it is attached to. As this rubber boot is no good, get it off which ever way suits you, pair or big wire cutters to rip it open or just lever it off. Again my hook method works best for me.
Next part is to check the other end of the ram near the piston case. The boot might be held in place with a clamp or more likely a cable tie. These boots regularly slip of the mount as the flange to retain the boot is not very good at all should we say. If there is a clip or tie remove it so you can slid the rest of the boot off.
Clean the piston to remove any dirt and debris, check for any damage or leaks from the piston cylinder seals.
Take the new boot which can only be refitted in one particular way. Slide the larger end first over the piston all the way to the cylinder.
The larger end will need to be eased of the flange at the end of the cylinder. Here it is correctly located in place.
Next take the pinch clamp and slide it over the other end of the boot. If you don’t have the correct tool you could use another style of clip, or perhaps a substantial cable tie. The clips are just there to hold the rubber in place.
Slide the boot back over the ram. Next take an end plate and slide it over the end of the ram bar making sure its fitted the correct way. The picture here shows the way they should be fitted on the inner side of the bracket on the bar.
Take the bushing and slide it onto the bar with the lip facing the bracket in order to fit into the opening. Jump to ‘Continue Refitting’.
As this bracket is thicker than the normal mount you may need to cut the bushings down a bit. This is because there is not enough thread on the ram with the full sized bushings and end plates in place, the nuts have nothing to thread onto. I did this by using a pipe cutting tool to cut of around a third of the bushing. Leave the lip in place so that it can locate into the brackets hole. Do this to both bushings if you have to. Remember you can take of more off, but not add it back on again!
Simply reuse what you had there before if the bushings are in good enough shape.
As before, slide it onto the ram with the lip facing the bracket to locate into the bracket opening.
Next take the sleeve and slip it part way into the rear bushing. Next move the ram into place and push it through the bracket opening.
Repeat this on the outer side now and place the bushing on first, making sure the sleeve also goes inside the outer bushing. Place the outer plate onto the bushing. Note the back of my slightly cut down bushing the lighter grey. If you are cutting down the bushing, this should be flat and even thickness.
The order should be plate, busing, bracket, bushing, plate.
Make sure the ram is all the way through and place the larger nut of the two onto the thread of the piston and tighten up. The order should be plate, busing, bracket, bushing, plate.
Place the locking nut onto the thread and tighten up. With everything in place it should look like this.
Now we need to secure the boot in place from moving. Make sure the boot is not twisted and able to expand freely.
Take the pinch tool and nip into place. This is the special tool and how it would be used on the clip.
The tool being used in place. Make sure the tool does not damage the boot.
The tool nips the ‘ear’ tight and the centre of the tool pushes the centre of the ear back down into place to hold the shape and pressure.
If you are not using the pinch clip, tighten your own clip appropriately. Now with the other end of the boot near the piston cylinder check it is still in place. Then take a cable tie and tighten into place. Remove the excess cable tie.
A crucial cover to keep the piston ram clean from the elements and to stop debris causing damage to the cylinder seals. A fairly simple job and shouldn’t take to long with the right tools. Maybe an hour at most.
The only thing to be aware of is the type of bracket that is used, which in turn is determined by the exhaust you have. The dropped bracket has to be thicker as it sits further away from the standard mount so it needs to be strong. As the power steering ram is the same regardless of bracket, you may have to be creative on the bushing front and make a modification to the them.
You have a bracket opening that does not fit the bushings then you may have to rub the rubber lip slightly down for each busing to make it fit back into the hole.
Remove the lip from the bushings to make it flat as it will hold it away from the bracket. Wrap the sleeve with rubber self amalgamating tape to keep it centred in to bracket hole. This will stop the bushings sliding up and down the bracket. Not that they should move anyway if tightened correctly.
This is also a road legal requirement in the UK. If you are unsure of the process, seek professional help.