1964 MK - Steering Box (non-Power steering)

Hi All,
Just finished a refurbish of the steering box, new seals, gaskets and 51 new ball bearings. The box has been repaired previously, all shims were on the lower casing and 1 ball bearing missing from the steering worm race ( 30 instead of 31).

Now for setting up the endfloat for both the Wormshaft and Rocker shaft.

My question, the WSM states Wormshaft pre-load of 002" to 003" achieved by means of shims and gaskets.

I am at a loss to understand what to measure, the how is easy I have a dial gauge. After assembly I measured the distance between the body and the distance piece, where it protrudes from the steering box body…before any shims or gaskets added. The distance was 0.027". Assuming pre-load is measured by the “squeeze” on the bearings then do I add shims and gaskets to a thickness of 0.025" to give a “pre-load” of 0.002? Or, do I add gaskets / shims to a thickness of 0.029, giving a “slack” of 0.002"

Thanks for any suggestions.

Sorry for derailing your thread, but where did you find gaskets? I can only find parts for power steering units.


It’s interesting that you have so much; it may be that it wasn’t done correctly last time. Removing it might well improve your steering a lot.

I’m not entirely sure how you allow for squish with the paper gasket; maybe install it and tighten it down before making your initial reading. Unfortunately I can’t remember what I did.

If you need it you can buy small bits of shim stock on EBay to make shims.

Preload means reducing the gap. Any slack equates to free play at the wheel. Ideally, a single shim with a thin gasket each side, with gasket cement, is the best result.

In this application I use a paper gasket which is no more than 10 thou. and they are not noticeably compressible. Never use a cork or composite material. Make sure you measure at several points around the cover to average the readings.

Constantly check the free turning of the shaft as you go. If the preload is correct, there should be only slightly more resistance to turning. Too much preload and the case hardening begins to break down.

Hi Joe, The gaskets are “home made” from thin Oil Jointing gasket paper which is 0.006 thick. Had to buy a whole sheet 1 meter long by 0.94 meters wide, only $9.00 Australian dollars…used less than an A4 sheet size, so enough paper to last many decades.

Thanks for the explanation regards pre-load. Fairly sure I can get away with the existing shims, two on the top + thin gasket either side and three shims on the bottom also with a thin gasket either side.

No mention of the shim size in the WSM, however the Haynes manual shows 0.005 as the shim size and 0.003" for the gasket paper. The shims on disassembly were five (5) in total and are 0.006" and 0.012", the gasket paper I have is 0.006"