Steering Damper recommendations - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 4th, 2012, 12:23 PM
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Steering Damper recommendations

I'm looking to replace the steering damper on my 110 and am looking for recommendations. The one currently installed is made by 4WD. After reading there website, it seems that this is more suited for a truck with extra large tires. I believe the previous owner had installed it when it had 38 inch super swampers and a 6 inch lift. I have restored it to almost stock height with beilstein suspension and genuine springs. I hoping that replacing this with a more "standard" damper will correct some of the steering problems that I sometimes encounter (i.e. not correcting to center) or sometimes pulling to one side. The problem has pretty much gone away with the addition of the new shocks/springs/bushings but still rares it's head every now and then. Any suggestions, should I just got with Bilstein since I already have that suspension installed?

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Andy
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  #2  
Old January 4th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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Old Man Emu is probably your best bet
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  #3  
Old January 4th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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I have bilstein on my 95 classic, and it is fully stock with air ride, the steering tends to be a little heavy, my 87 classic has a 3 inch emu lift and it uses the factory damper with out issues. when it became damged by a rock while off roading I replaced it with factory again... I put my 95 on the road 3 yrs ago and the 87 has been under resto since then so I cannot compare classic to classic, I can tell you the customers cars using factory seem to have a softer steering than mine with bilstein damper.
as per centering, every so often (it could very well be the corwn of the road) I have a minimal pull to the right which when I correct it makes the truck wander on the lane, (I drive a jag and two honda civics as well so there is a big difference and all of them have a slight right pull but no tire wear and no discrepancies when alighment is checked once a yr).
if you are trying to solve steering issues the damper will simply mask the issue intill it wears or the issue becomes severe, if all is well and full stock I would go with the factory.
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  #4  
Old January 4th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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Most people will tell you ome for the dampener. The bilstein one screws with the steering.
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  #5  
Old January 4th, 2012, 03:15 PM
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I've used both the OME and Bilstein and would recommend the OME for a number of reasons. The primary and most important one is as mentioned above, Bilstein believes in pre-loading their products and in the case of a damper that means it will always be applying force to open (turn the wheels) but it's really more annoying when done with shocks/dampers since it makes installing them a real PITA since you need to keep pressure applied to get things together and for minor work it can be really annoying.

I'm trying the Britpart cellular dynamic damper on one project at the moment; they're massive compared to the OME/Bilstein and we're hoping the additional oil volume will help with fade but only time will tell on how durable they are in comparison.
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  #6  
Old January 4th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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  #7  
Old January 4th, 2012, 07:03 PM
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I seem to remember a conversation on here (or maybe the yahoo group it was that long ago) were it was agreed that if you actually needed a steering damper that there was something wrong with you steering/swivel preload/bushings etc.
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  #8  
Old January 5th, 2012, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrooks View Post
I seem to remember a conversation on here (or maybe the yahoo group it was that long ago) were it was agreed that if you actually needed a steering damper that there was something wrong with you steering/swivel preload/bushings etc.
Depends on how you define "need".
A steering damper serves a useful purpose, but it's not to correct worn steering parts.
It's to dampen the shocks to the steering system when one wheel hits an obstruction.
I'm not sure why steering dampers are so misunderstood, it's a really simple concept.

I've used both OME and Bilstein and observed what others have said about Bilstein. OME is certainly a lot easier to fit.
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  #9  
Old January 5th, 2012, 09:15 AM
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Tony and Tom are both right, that is why I suggested in my post to solve issues before blaming the damper and warned about using the damper to mask issues... someone once suggested if a shock absorber would do the same job as a damper....NO the only comparison between them is the look, their purpose is different from each other.
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  #10  
Old January 5th, 2012, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antichrist View Post
Depends on how you define "need".
A steering damper serves a useful purpose, but it's not to correct worn steering parts.
It's to dampen the shocks to the steering system when one wheel hits an obstruction.
Dumb question. So how do you know when it is time to replace a steering damper?

Secondarily, does the damper contribute in any way to help minimize the possibility of death wobble, or is that simply a product of worn out steering components and/or alignment issues?
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  #11  
Old January 5th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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When it no longer offers any dampening which you can pretty much tell by driving or check by removing one end and checking for resistance when the shaft is extended or depressed. A bad dampener will offer no or little resistance or in some cases too much resistance.
Like others have said, a dampener can mask more serious issues and is only supposed to dampen road induced steering input.
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  #12  
Old January 6th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by GYM View Post
Secondarily, does the damper contribute in any way to help minimize the possibility of death wobble, or is that simply a product of worn out steering components and/or alignment issues?
A damper won't contribute to death wobble, but it can mask it (as kevkon said), for a while. That's why some people say they are a fix. Probably the same people who would put a band aid on a cut and claim the cut is healed.
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  #13  
Old January 15th, 2012, 12:29 PM
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Does anyone have a solution to the Bilstein problem? I replaced my TRE's all around last weekend, and the PO had installed a Bilstein steering dampener, and I have always had a pull to the left, thinking it was just an alignment issue, but sure enough when I loosened the mounting bolt, it extended itself out, and I had to ziptie it out of the way to keep it from fully extending. It was also a real PITA to get it back in with it forcing itself out the whole time. Besides shelling out for OME one to replace a pretty brand new dampener is there an actual fix?
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  #14  
Old January 15th, 2012, 03:31 PM
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It's a design issue. Get a new one, they aren't expensive.
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  #15  
Old January 25th, 2012, 05:15 AM
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If your swivel pre-load is correct the Bilstein damper won't be a problem.
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  #16  
Old January 25th, 2012, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdi-rick View Post
If your swivel pre-load is correct the Bilstein damper won't be a problem.
The Bilstein damper isn't a problem because it is causing any death wobble or front end instability, but because it is very obviously pre-loaded as I recently found out, it is exerting a considerable outboard force on the steering drop arm. This had meant that my truck had always pulled to the left, and I had thought that this was due to an alignment problem, but considering how much force it was applying, the Bilstein is the most likely culprit.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 02:09 PM
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My point is that if your swivel pre-load isn't sufficient (ie. as per the manual) the extension force of the Billie may make the steering pull, but there are so many other factors involved such as how much lift and therefore how much castor are you running ?
Is the wheelbase shorter one side ? etc.

I've run a Bilie S/damper for years and it doesn't pull at all, the car drives straight when I take my hands off the wheel and plenty of other people run mono-tube steering dampers without issues.
Having said that I've also heard reported someone installing a de-Carbon steering damper and have their Landy able to drive circles when their hands let go the wheel, but apparently a batch slipped through with excessive gas pressure.
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  #18  
Old January 25th, 2012, 03:57 PM
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Regardless. Gas charging a steering damper is a stupid idea that serves no useful purpose.
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  #19  
Old January 27th, 2012, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
Regardless. Gas charging a steering damper is a stupid idea that serves no useful purpose.

Fair enough, but regardless of the why's and why not's of using a monotube damper for steering why throw away a perfectly good part to just spend more money on a substitute bit when the problem is more than likely elsewhere ?
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  #20  
Old April 6th, 2012, 11:26 AM
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I was troubleshooting a front end vibration issue and one of the things I was looking into was the fact that to go straight I always seemed to have to turn left a little (it's a RHD). I was looking at the swivel ball preload being off but after what I read about the Bilstein damper I thought I'd take my Bilstein off and see what happens. With no damper it drives great, tracks well and no left turn input needed. There is no question about the fact that the Bilstein affects steering...it is always pushing on the drop arm to make it turn.
It drives just fine without one but it looks like I will replace it with an OME.
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