In March 2021 the question was asked on the Triumph Dolomite Facebook site if anyone had tried one of the uprated steering column clamps. (See photograph Uprated clamp)
I looked in the Official Triumph Dolomite Parts catalogue and identified a part number 517480, which is described by Rimmers as being a Belle Villa washer, and I suspected that this was the item that the uprated steering column clamp has been designed to replace so I asked if this was the case. The answer came back that it was. (See Parts catalogue}
I had previously had a problem when a Belle Villa washer, moved slightly down the steering column and introducing endfloat slackness into the column. My assumption was that this had been caused by vibrations coming up the steering column. This must be over 20 years ago now and I cured the problem by tapping the Belle Villa washer back up the column until all the endplay had been removed.
I was surprised when I looked in the official Triumph 1500HL Dolomite workshop manual and could not find anything on overhauling the steering column mast. It does state “5 Remove the trafficator trip cam. 6 Remove the circlip and washer retaining the steering mast upper bearing. 7 Withdraw the steering mast downward from the column housing.” The Haynes manual does have some information and diagrams but these are not referred to in the associated text. It does state “ 10. Carefully press the lower bearing into the housing fully and evenly, ensuring that the upper bearing does not move. 11. Move the spire washer into contact with the lower bearing until all the endfloat of the column is eliminated. ( Rimmers call the spire washer, a Bella Ville washer and I have used that term earlier in the text.) 12 Fit the thrust washer to the lower end of the shaft and lightly stake it in position. “ The thrust washer is not shown is the associated diagrams and it is not shown in the official Triumph Dolomite Parts catalogue but I have noted that when I have removed a number of steering columns that there is normally a washer fitted at the end of the height adjustment splines. Sometimes it is spot welded in place and I believe this is the later build standard, but on others it is loose, and so will most likely be lost from steering columns that are being sold at auto jumbles etc. My assumption is that it is there to stop the end of the splines damaging the bulkhead steering column support bush Part number CRC360.
When I went onto the ebay link that was provided in the Triumph Dolomite Facebook discussion, it showed that the modified clamp came from Robsport International and it gave written details on how to fit the clamp which seems to indicate that the clamp is fitted at the top, steering wheel end of the steering column which also aligns with the sketch provided in the Facebook discussion. (See photograph of Robsport instructions).
Returning to the ebay site there is a photograph which clearly shows the modified clamp fitted at the bottom end of the steering column. (See photo Lower end of shaft)
This aligns with the item being titled steering column lower clamp also if you look at the details provided in the Official Parts catalogue the part has been designed to replace an item that is shown at the bottom end of the steering column, also the Part catalogue does not show a crinkle washer at the top, steering wheel, end of the steering column. It shows a part number 512140, a circlip and a part number 155560, a washer, fitted at the top. The circlip fits in a groove in the steering mast.
I believe Robsport has got a good reputation and I suspect that an end play could be removed by removing the circlip from the steering wheel end of the steering column and then fitting the uprated / modified steering column clamp as described by Robsport and in the facebook discussion. I consider this to be a fudge and that in due course the end play problem may well reappear when the Belle Villa washer slips further down the steering column. I believe it would be better to remove the play by knocking the Bella Villa washer up to remove all the play and then if it is possible to fit the modified clamp hard up against the Bella Villa washer to back it up and stop any slippage. I have not got an uprated clamp available to confirm this can be done and I would take the simple option first which is to just tap the Bella Villa washer up to remove the end float. It is a long time ago that I did this but I think I did it with the steering column still in place and I did not have to do it again. I do not know if the uprated clamp would be any better in service on its own than the Belle V washer as there are only three allen screws that will be in contact with the shaft when the Bella Vie washer has at a guess five or six.
If you have overhauled or had problems with endfloat do you agree with my response ?