MGB 76 – 80 Steering Shaft Lower Bearing UPDATED
Something that may be of interest to those of you who own rubber bumper MGBs.
I have had some creaking noises in the steering column of my “B” & I thought now is a good time to find out why. I removed the steering column & found the lower bearing was causing the issue. When I checked out the availability of parts what I found out was that the top bearing is available the bottom bearing isn’t. Apparently if the bottom bearing fails you are meant to replace the complete column which is no longer available, great news!
The research I carried out indicated that the lower bearing isn’t meant to come out of the column but I’m not prepared to accept this explanation. So I removed the steering shaft from the column & then found that the bearing does come out. On inspection of the bearing I found it was very dry & full of dirt & grit so I washed it out several times, blew out with compressed air & packed with a good quality grease. Reassembled the column, noise gone feels ok.
On refitting the column I checked the alignment of the steering column shaft & the steering rack shaft where the universal joint is & found it to be way out. This is just another problem as a result of a botched RH drive conversion done well before I owned the car. So I spent some time to rectify this issue. MG apparently had a tool to carry out the alignment.
The collapsible steering column in these cars, I think from 1976 to 1980, were apparently made in the USA by “Saginaw” a subsidiary company of “GM” & were sent to the UK to be fitted in the MGB’s. I am not sure if the British rubber bumper cars use the same column or not.
I think if this bearing totally fails that you could probably purchase a bearing from a bearing supplier & have a couple of spacers machined up or maybe have a bush machined to rectify the problem, I’m currently looking into this possibility. The original bearing is a strange looking design & I don’t think anybody makes anything similar.
Apparently there was a guy selling a repair kit which included both bearings, but that doesn’t seem to be available any more.
After my article in last months mag regarding the problem with the lower bearing in the late model MGB steering rack l had 2 responses from members who had encountered the problem & found a solution.
Both Ray Tolcher & John Ray used a machinable plastic material (which is available locally) to machine up a bush to do the job. Both say that the plastic bush is a permanent fix & will probably last the life of the car.
Thanks to both Ray & John for their feedback we appreciate it.