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Steering Column Failure Alert

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  • Steering Column Failure Alert

    Built my Caterham in '95, drive around town almost daily, probably a bit over 40.000 miles. Pulled into parking lot spot, went to get out and put hand on steering wheel and it spun around freely. Turns out upper column broke just above where the "yoke mechanism" begins at the end. Glad it did not happen on the PCH. The clamping system was still located just fine, so don't think it was an induced failure. Maybe a good idea for high mileage cars to examine for signs of metal fatigue at the juncture where rod becomes end yoke. Flat bedded to foot of long uphill driveway, fired it up and tow truck guy used bar in between spokes to make wheels straight and it drove straight up, phew
    Upper column removal a real nightmare, some uK website posts say put a winch between rollbar and steering wheel way to do it. Fortunately a fair amount of Blaster penetrating oil and good hard jerk outward on wheel got it out. One post said he wished he put a pillow on his face, ouch. Essential to have key turned to unlock wheel. A white plastic sleeve came out early on attempts that got it out about 4 Inches, assume that is "bushing" referred to when I built it long time ago and reading UK posts. It seems just fine. Working on getting new upper column.
    Fortunately last few years trouble free so no need for forum, does anyone know what happened to old USA forum that was active daily?
    Thanks all, Jay Glass, Laguna Beach, '95 classic
    P.S. In looking at threads about header heat and steering column, Mine was almost touching, marked it off, had welder heat it up and take a several inch diameter pipe, put it across mark and give it a whack, worked just fine. If racing would worry about disturbing back pressure, but for puttering around town just fine. Think I was a few degrees of steering rack rotation too cautious with U joint angle when building.