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Thread: Steering Dampener - Need it?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    SF Bay Area

    Default Steering Dampener - Need it?

    So, as part of a (never ending) front end rebuild on my Series 3 - I had to take an angle grinder to my rusted Sway Bar/Tie Rod, Track Rod and Tie Rod Ends. I just couldn't get them off and they were a rusted mess. Looked like something salvaged off the Titanic after 60 years of being at the bottom of the ocean. Anyway, I purchased this kit from our hosts:

    I'm pretty pleased with the build quality. The kit comes with 2 bars, in anodized bronze kind of finish, and the tie-rods are pre-installed. The mechanism for camber adjustment is two opposing nuts that you tighten to lock it - so that does away with the "pinch" style clamps. It's also about 20% thicker and heavier than the stock one, which feels great because my old track rod also had a slight bend/bow in it!! I would recommend them. They also look great, right out in front of your suspension a slight aesthetic gain as well as performance gain. The tie rods that come installed don't have castle nuts, though. They are large nyloc nuts. So, that is kind of an unknown (better? worse?).

    But here's the catch:
    I noticed that they don't have an eye loop for a steering dampener. Luckily (or unluckily?) I noticed the previous owner removed the steering dampener on this Series 3. Either that, or it never had one? I DO have the frame mount for it (albeit rusted and would need replacing).

    After searching online and back in this forum - I can't get a solid answer if a Steering Dampener is a good idea?
    Our host seems to sell a kit to add one:
    I'm not thrilled about the "friction clamp" fitting to retro-fit on the new tie rod, but I could live with it.

    What I can't seem to pin down is:
    Is this a safety issue for driving on the road? I use the Rover mostly on city streets. And I'd like to eventually get an overdrive unit and try to take her on the highway. It's never going to be a commuter vehicle. But where I live, you HAVE to get on a highway to just get out of town. So, every forum thread I read about Steering Dampeners on Land Rovers seems to fall into two camps: A) "If you are off-roading, and only going 20mph, you don't need it." B) If you're going over 20mph on a city road and hit a pothole, it may rip your thumbs off and send you into a ditch!". Also some anecdotal stories "It actually steers nicer without it!".

    Full disclosure, I will have completely new front end by the time I do this (new swivel balls, bearings, railco bushes, brakes, axle U-joints, etc). So I'm not trying to fix a bad setup. Just make it safe and reliable. And I'm not a rock crawler or 4x4 sadist. Just like cruising around in a classic car on weekends. And want a setup that I could feel comfortable letting my wife drive from time to time. What do you folks think about Steering Dampeners?
    ...d ..__ ......... |... | ..__....p
    └/ | \────┴──┴/ | \─┘≡

    1973 Series 3, 109

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Mountains of Western Pennsy.


    Here we go... Back to terminology. Drag link (goes to steering box), Track rod (runs from hub to hub), Ball joint (tie rod end). Be sure to put anti-seize on ball joint threads going into the rods, not on the tapers. The Ny-loks work fine, they are the new way to lock down ball joints and are found on most newer cars. The steering damper is helpful when you hit a bump (or learn to hold the steering wheel as an off-roader with thumbs not wrapped around the wheel). The clamp on set up for the steering damper is fine. I have clamp on Terrafirma on my wife's '99 Disco II and I have Procomp on my '76 Series III (it however has an early Range Rover drive train with 3.5L V-8, LT-95 trans, Fairy overdrive, Salisbury rear diff, and full time 4WD with Diff lock). That nice finish on the HD rods will last only a short time before they turn rusty.

  3. #3


    Looking at at " A guide to Land -Rover Expeditions" published by in 1975 by Land Rover , has the following comment . "A hydraulic Steering damper is available to reduce 'steering kick' This is however not necessary for normal road use". It also advises "Never to wrap ones thumbs around the steering wheel" , as one wheel hitting an obstacle can jerk the wheel sufficient to dislocate. My own view is that the damping available on properly set up swivels on Series vehicles is more than adequate for most uses. Land Rover initially only fitted the telescopic damper as standard to the Forward Control and 1 Ton 109s with the larger 9.00 x 16 tyres . A hydraulic steering damper was standard on Range Rovers , Discoveries One , 90's & 110's because they have no steering damping built into the swivels, using taper roller bearings both top and bottom.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    killingworth CT


    I do not have one on my ex MOD 2A. I think it steers just fine without one, do be careful off road of rocks and roots knocking wheel around, everyone is right keep thumbs "up" and out of the spokes. carry on, cheers,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010


    I'm taking my damper off. I also beat hell out of my hands but lately my series 3 has been a bear to steer. I haven't looked at the cause yet but maybe the damper is the culprit. I drove my 2a the other day and it steers like it has power steering! ......... i think it may have a damper on it.

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