I am not a regular subscriber to your magazine, but thought the following might be of interest to your readers.
Shortly after reading your letter concerning steering joint failures, I experienced just the sort of conditions envisaged in my 1960 Land Rover.
Whilst travelling at some 50 odd miles per hour in very wet conditions, late at night, the car seemed to be drifting wide on corners and understeering very badly. However, it did remain essentially in control and because of the adverse weather conditions I decided to press on. Going through a built-up-area, and slowing to about 5-10 miles per hour, I experienced severe front wheel judder and decided to have a look. An inspection of the front end revealed that the near side balljoint of the track rod had disintegrated, leaving the steering mechanism effectively only connected to the off-side wheel.
I carried on my journey for the last mile as fast as I could (no judder), relative to my ability to negotiate corners, and on trying to reverse into the garage, found that both wheels splayed in opposite directions, thus rendering the car immobile.
The moral seems to be that so long as speed is maintained in a forward direction, the free wheel will follow that wheel which is still under control, but reversing is out of the question.
A. S. Holden.
[At Brooklands the 10-litre Fiat and other cars ran straight with trailing track-rods on occasions. But it is alarming to think of steering failing on public roads.—ED.]