Tight steering

Am finally going to regrease the bushings and pin tomorrow. A scary descent today with more speed that I have had. Didn't touch brakes and that steering was tough. Looked for YouTube help and found none. By doing this repair am I going to have to square wheels to one another afterwards? Is it a tough repair?


  • Easy enough. Don't over tighten top set screw on cap. That makes steering tight. There are instructions here on forum
  • Used a Walmart brand high-temp red grease on the bushings & ball joints on tie rod.

    ¬ ITL
  • Been looking for previous posts and have struck out. Loosened the bolts and the steering seemed just as tight.
  • If I raise the Rover and place it on two sawhorses, the bushing/pin/wheel should slide out from below?? No wheel adjustment unless I loosen tierod
  • Ok both sides are greased. Used a HD blue grease I use on trailer bearings and on the Honda outboard in spots. Very little left on either when I pulled them apart. Right side needed some force to get it down. I didn't monkey with tie rod ends today as I want to ride again.
  • Shouldn't have to force them back together. Slide each side down evenly.
    It was fun; didn't have saw horses, though there was a bit of a balancing act.

    ¬ ITL
  • off-hand, if the left-side assembly didnt need persuasion to drop, probably best to install new bushings both sides. normal wear-items, replace if steering problems start.
  • Didn't use sawhorses. Locked brakes and rolled it up on side. I'm going riding in a bit. Bought panniers yesterday. Didn't notice the extra weight back there. Just a ride around the block showed steering wasn't sticking. We'll see how it does after 8-10 mi. Is this something that needs to be lubed annually? Should I use blue Thread
    Locker on the two cap screws?
  • edited June 2017
    i use loctite 242 on fasteners that dont use a nylock nut. good work on getting the steering better! worth investing in a trammel http://shop.terratrike.com/product-p/tt600328.htm for fine-tuning steering, figuring out how far from zero toe-in gives the best steering with the least tire scrub.

    the problem i see with the lbs doing steering and brake maintenance involves shop attitude towards quality control. question is: how many shops take a newly assembled trike or one having brake and steering work done, and ride it down the local hill at 15 mph to see if all is well?

    pretty obvious, that kinda stuff, when once upon, my brand new rambler did squirrel around 5-7 mph while riding it to its new home. that was the point when i decided the better option was buying a few park tools and fumbling my way through maintenance needs rather than paying for sub-optimal professional services.

    annual remove and replace of the steering bushings [normal wear-items] not a bad idea along with cleaning and re-greasing the axles and wheel bearing faces - surprising how gritty the old grease can become.
  • Well got my 10 mi ride in and didn't seem to improve that much. Got back to the truck and measured the alignment. Right side was dead on but left was toe out 1/2". Should have been the first thing I czeched. Dumas. Don't have
    any Loctite etc here at the moment. Can't wait to square things up and ride tomorrow. Different reasons were going thru my head as I rode. Like my seat too far forward. I weigh 190. Soft tires at 35-40 psi whereas my wife's
    Scwalbes can go to 65 psi. Worn bushings. Or a combo of diff things. I sure hope this is the fix to end all fixes, for 2017 anyway. ;)
  • edited June 2017
    Half inch is way too far out and will eat your tires up in no time. Barely had 110 miles on the originals and was showing awful signs of wear.

    Bike Tires Direct had a good sale a couple weeks ago. Got three Marathon Plus for $97 shipped. Have to watch them sales, or get lucky. https://www.biketiresdirect.com/search/20-inch-tires

    ¬ ITL
  • proper toe-in needs the wheels parallel to each other before starting any adjustment. doing it right, page 21 of http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/be9aca_d1e5e4a595304872b4f9cbe227aab1b0.pdf
  • Careful you don't over tighten those cap screws on the top of the king pins as too tight will make steering g too stiff. Have to loosen the clamping bolts on the steering arms to set the cap screw . It does not require lock tite as can be a regular adjust point. My bushings are still fine after 7000 K
  • I'm going to autozone tomorrow to look for a square drive, and some blue
    Threadlocker. I haven't taken a wheel off yet. Guess I'll try tomorrow. First
    for everything. Those tierod bolts, should I use a torque wrench?
  • edited June 2017
    I don't think so, just do them up snug and check on them that they stay tight. Here's the link to TerraTrike University that has a lot of related videos for maintenance, etc.
  • Very helpful. Thank you so much.
  • Have you considered that the seat may be too far forward. If there is too much of your weight on the front wheels, they will always be hard to turn. Try moving the seat back and the boom in. Or shorten the boom in front of the axel and lengthen it behind the axel. That way you won't need to take out chain links. Either way, the seat position will change.
  • Yes I was thinking of several things while riding yesterday. My wife's seat is further up than mine. She is lighter. Her 2016 Rover is very light on its feet. Going to keep adjusting til I find euphoria.
  • I seriously doubt you need a torque wrench to maintain these trikes or bikes. I have never used a torque wrench on mine and have yet to have anything come loose or break. Some common sense is needed when tightening fasteners obviously since all of those used are on the smaller size. Same goes for whatever form of locking compound you use, sometimes less is better. A rover/Rambler etc are intended to be simple platforms to ride and enjoy not some military fighting vehicle requiring PMCS before, during and after operations or significant service.
    Yes it does make sense to visually check for loose stuff periodically but if, and this is a big if, the trike or bike was assembled properly by the final seller or once it is riding OK it should run for many, many miles other than chain maintenance and tire pressure upkeep.

    The three major issues that continually reappear seems to be the seat loosening, tight steering and misalignment of the front wheels. The seat probably is more of a design issue and does require some additional clamping especially if the rider is heavier. The front wheel misalignment and tight steering are assembly issues directly related to sloppy assembly by the manufacturer, seller or previous owner. Both conditions are easily corrected and shouldn't reoccur.
  • I new to this triking so I thought I needed a square bit and a torque but nope. Got the alignment squared away plus I loosen the caps and I have found Euphoria. Just around the block however. Now I am going to ventilate the seat and make up a Finnish flag. Thanks for all the tips and video help. Couldn't have done it without ya'll.
  • I had a friend of mine who designs aircraft mechanical assemblies look at the way the Rover steering is set up ( he is also a cyclist) a few days ago. This is basically what he said, after looking at it carefully.

    The cap screw on top of the steering arm is for tightening up the steering arm and the top of the king pin, which the cap screw screws into. That is why, the method I was told years ago to adjust the steering a brand new rover works. I copied and pasted this from my post on this forum back in July of 2010. Ben was the lead Tech at the time at terratrike.

    . Ben told me, not to sit on the Rover when adjusting the bolts holding the steering arms in place and the bolt on top ( top cap bolt they call it). When you sit on the trike, it compresses the steering assembly and makes it stiffer. Here is what he told me to do:

    1. Loosen the bolt holding the arm and the top cap bolt., on both sides and do not sit on the trike while making this adjustment
    2. Move the wheels back and forth a few times, while holding the trike up on one side. This loosens the steering assembly.
    3. Position the steering arm where you want it, and tightened that allen bolt
    4. Tighten the top cap bolt on that side.
    5. Do the same thing on the other side.

    Now back to my friend's explanation, He said the only purpose of the cap bolt is to press down on the steering arm while at the same time pulling up on the kingpin compressing the entire assembly all the way from the bottom washer to the top of the steering arm. Now at this stage, with the steering handle clamp bolt loose, you are putting pressure on the bushings and washers from both top and bottom because the entire assembly is compressed by the cap bolt. So if you loosen the cap bolt, lift up the trike, and run the steering from side to side, the compression of the headset will loosen and the entire assembly won't be as tight. Now you tighten the handlebar clamp bolt which locks the handlebar assembly to the top of the kingpin. At this point, with the handlebar locked to the kingpin, it doesn't matter what you do with the cap bolt. If you tighten it, all you are doing is tightening the cap bolt to the top of the steering arm, which accomplishes nothing. If you unscrew it all the way, same result,nothing changes because the steering arm is locked to the top of the kingpin and that is what determines the loosness or stiffness of the steering. The purpose of the cap bolt then is to set the original compression in the headset before you tighten the steering arms, to get the steering feel that you want.

    What I have discovered in the last week, is that much of the stiff steering we hear about is due to the compression of the steering bushings when you insert them in the frame. If you have accurate calipers, and measure the new steering bushing before inserting it into the frame, it should measure 20 mm. If you take the new bushing, it will easily slip over the end of the kingpin. Now once you insert the new bushing into the frame, you may ( not always) find that now when you try and insert the kingpin into the bushing, the fit is suddenly very tight sometimes requiring some force or tapping to insert it. My guess is if you now measure the bushing with calipers, you will find that the opening in the bushing is now less than 20 mm due to the compression of the bushing when inserted in the frame. If you have a straight ream, and ream the compressed bushing out to 20MM, the fit is then perfect, and following the setup instructions above, your steering should be perfect.

    Now when you put in the new bushing, and the kingpin easily slips into the bushings, then you don't have to ream anything, just set it up and it should be good to go.
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