Morgan has used only a few steering systems on their Classic (Trad) 4-wheelers.
In the very first cars (1936) they used a reduction gear mounted midway down the column. However, by the end of that year, they had adopted the Burman-Douglas cam and peg system. Two turns to lock. This system began the legend of the Malvern Dance.
In 1969, the Plus 4s were given another steering box made by Cam Gears (same company as Burman Douglas). It's design is very much the same as the earlier 4/4 box saving that it is stronger and a bit bigger. The 4/4s adopted this version in 1955. It has two turns to lock and continued the Legend of the Malvern Dance.
The early Plus 8s (1968- ) were a chore to steer with the Cam Gears box. In 1982, Maurice Owen, then the Morgan design chief approached Jack Knight Ltd, a specialty manufacturer in the UK and a rack and pinion systems was specifically designed for the car and first fitted in 1983. (An image of the original rack is posted.) It required a modification to the stub axles. From 1984-1986, the rack could only be ordered with the EFI option but it became a Plus 8 standard in 1987. Over the years, it was made with different turns to lock or they could be ordered as an option. (2.3, 2.7, 3.0 or 3.5 turns to lock). In 2007, Jack Knight went bankrupt but was later revived and is business today. Morgan steering racks (left or right) with a choice of ratios can be ordered. It was not made for any other car.
The 4/4s and Plus 4s stuck with Cam Gears until 1985. Morgan had concerns earlier in the 1980s about continuing with Cam Gears. A friend of the Works, in the farm equipment business, had a close relationship with the Gemmer company, a large French manufacturer. The story goes that a crew of unilingual engineers appeared in Malvern, and with many Gallic gestures, closely studied the Morgan Four Wheeler. They left in a cloud of dust and months later, a made-for-Morgan steering box arrived, a variation of a model they had been using for fork lifts. It was tried and fitted and proved to be a marvelous improvement for the cars. It is also retrofittable to the earlier Cam Gear cars..where the Rack & Pinion system is not. It is still purchased (when it is available) for retro-fits and it is capable of being refurbished completely, by Jack Knight or others.
B the mid-1990s all models had been fitted with Jack Knight systems.
Rubbing the Wings (1998 to 2008 et seq.) (updated May 2018..sad mystery solved!)
Many owners and dealers have reported that Superform winged cars (new or retro-fit) rub the wings at the crease. That crease was made so deep that the tyres hit it before they lock when turning to either side. If the diameter of the tyre is increased, it becomes worse, if the diameter of the tyre is decreased, there is an aesthetic price to pay with smaller wheel/tyres not filling the wheel wells, an inaccurate speedo, lower mileage, etc.
Of course, the tyres rubbing against wings cause damage, most commonly the paint bubbles at the contact point (on both sides of the wing) and the rubber on the tyres wear...which is less noticeable but definitely cause for concern and surveillance. Many people have attempted solutions, often quite expensive.
When I first replaced Humpty's 1990 wings with new Superforms in 2006, they created the problem. All sorts of expensive solutions have been attempted by frustrated owners, dealers and repair people to no avail.
My last new wing was retrofit in 2008..no change. So up to that point, from 1998 until 2008 we can be sure that the MMC had not addressed the problem. Assuming it is no longer a factor on new cars and they did not to alter the Superform mold (which would be very expensive they could increase the turning circle (limit the ability to turn sharply). If they did this when they switched to Quaife from Jack Knight in 2007, that element would not have cost them more. But decreasing the turning circle means reducing the effectiveness of the steering. This is easily done before the fact in the design of the rack or by placing stops within the rack that stop the turning at earlier point than previously.
|WHY IT HAPPENS AND THE ORIGINAL SOLUTION: It
was not the only the new design of the Superform wings that created this
problem. We must put this one down to Morgan management again, not Superform or Quaife or Jack Knight.
the advent of R&P steering, all Morgans were fit, by Law,
with steering stops on the frame (see image above left on the 1986). These prevented
wing rubbing. However, the Law was not the same for R&P steering. Accordingly, apparently as a saving the Company removed the
steering stops and never realizing the effect this
would have in the "real" world. Presumably lawmakers took it for granted that R&P steering would never be fit
if it allowed such over-steering. It
is such a simple matter to limit oversteering with R&P. Indeed, I
know a Morgan owner who had his rack adjusted to prevent rubbing,
something which cost him a lot. But such things are costless if Morgan had ordered
the racks with the correct specification, to match the new wings they
asked Superform for. In
a nutshell, between the rack specfications Morgan gave their R&P
suppliers, these newly designed wings and the removal of the steering
stops, Morgan created a serious and sad problem..very costly to the
uncounted owners afflicted. The GoMoG Law of the Deadly Domino Effect.
Of course, by the time the complaints started coming in, the total of
such warranty claims would have been enormous. As so often happens,
mentioning a simple fix would have been evidence of liability.
Alternatively, they simply couldn't figure it out.
The solution for those afflicted is merely to fit the earlier steering stops above or to design something with rollers, even better! If they were made adjustable, they could match the needs of each Morgan.
N.B. As Morgan gets further and further away from the original designers..more and more of such "cost savings" are plaguing the newer cars. Here is the effect of another similar production decision. When owners discover such things, write to GoMoG and they can passed on to the Company. We all have a vested interest in preventing the degrading of the original car designs. These issues can easily be cured at production but cause much owner misery later on.
From 2007 to date
In 2007, when Jack Knight fell into business difficulties, Morgan turned to Quaife, an excellent British manufacturer. To make the rack retrofittable to the early Jack Knight cars and to fit into Morgan current production, the Quaife unit is pretty much a copy of the Jack Knight system. It comes in a 3 turns lock version only and is not purchasable from Quaife directly but only through the Morgan Motor Company. It is not used on any other car. However, at least at first, the new Quaife was made so that when at lock, it rubs the wings and causes damage. See above.