A steering damper, also known as a steering stabilizer or spirit damper is installed in a car between the center link and the chassis. Its purpose is to act like a shock absorber and inhibit movement and vibration from the vehicle’s travel over bumps and ruts from translating to the steering wheel. If your car is hard to steer or if the steering wheel jerks around when you go over bumps, it is a good idea to install or replace a steering damper. Like your shock absorbers, the steering damper will lose effectiveness with long term use and will eventually fail. Driving your car, even in normal everyday conditions could be uncomfortable without a working steering damper. Check your car’s instruction manual for the proper damper to use as they will vary. Below are step-by-step instructions how to install a steering damper.
Step 1 – Prepare the Vehicle
Your car will need to be elevated so that you can access the underside as you work. You can lift the vehicle on stands, a lift, or on car ramps, being sure it was stable and can not roll or fall. Keep the front wheels straight. It will make for easier work.
For some cars, the damper can be removed and replaced without raising the car. You may be able to access it through your engine compartment. Check your car’s manual for its location. No matter where it is installed, the basic installation remains pretty much the same.
Step 2 – Remove Existing Damper
The existing damper will likely be located on the passenger side near the coil spring. Remove the bolts holding it and remove it on both ends. There may be a cotter pin as well. If there is a collection of dirt and grime around the area, it can’t hurt to wipe this away before installing your new damper.
Step 3 – Installing the Damper
The new damper will be installed just as the old one was removed. Place the damper on the mounting bracket near the coil spring and tighten the mounting bolt. Tighten loosely until the other side is attached. You can use the same bolt you took out when you removed the old damper or a new one if it was included in the damper kit. You will need a torque wrench for the final tightening.
Install the bolt on the other end into the hole in the center of the drag link. Once it is installed you can tighten fully. Be sure to use a torque wrench to tighten as well.
Always check the instruction guidelines for proper torque settings. They will vary between the two bolts.
Step 4 – Cotter Pin
You will see a hole in the bolt and a slot in the nut. Turn the nut just far enough that these two align: the first hole in the nut and the hole in the bolt. Take the cotter pin that was provided in your kit and insert it into this opening. Using pliers, open the cotter pin and wrap around out of the way if necessary.
Your new steering stabilizer should now be fully installed. You will now regain lost control and your steering wheel will not jerk when you go over bumps and into holes.