Steering Column Telescope Mechanism Problems & Solutions (Mark III)

Steering wheel on 2003 Range Rover
Reach Motor Replacement and Spindle Lubrication
Possible Shortcuts
More Information

Photo: Steering wheel on a 2003 Range Rover (from official press photo)

Less common than failure of the tilt mechanism is jamming of the telescoping or "reach" mechanism. (For problem reports see the RR III Common Symptoms and Fixes page). This page is an effort to document the official solutions and solicit input from owners regarding any alternative fixes.


Two main symptoms are commonly reported; squeaking and jamming. A number of readers have reported the jamming problem. For example, Ross Abaya reported (March 2004) that the steering wheel telescopic feature froze up on his '03 model with 19,000 miles. Another reader reported (June 2004)  having both vertical and telescoping movement frozen on his RR at 36,000 miles, and after the dealer "fixed" it there was an inch of free play in the telescoping direction!


On April 12, 2005 Land Rover recognized these problems officially and issued a service bulletin 57/04/05/NAS for its cure. In the words of the official announcement, "Occasional jamming of the telescope mechanism is addressed simply by lubrication, but if operation is noisy the telescoping motor (reach motor) has to be replaced". It is interesting that the seemingly lesser problem requires replacement, while the more serious problem of jamming only requires lubrication, and adjustment of the spindle nut. All L322 (LM) Range Rover models can apparently be affected. In another twist, lubrication is just as much work as replacement!! Both are rated as 1.6 hour jobs, and are basically identical, involving the removal and reinstallation of the (original or new) reach motor.

Parts Required
Grease QYL500010
Nylon bracket QYH500030
Steering column tool QME500100
Reach motor kit QME500090 contains the above items as well as the motor.

Replacement of Reach (Telescoping) Motor and Lubrication of Shaft
Reach Motor Me5chanismUnfotunately the repair requires removal of the upper steering colum. This is adequately described in the official shop manual but is a tedious procedure and the main reason why the whole repair operation takes 1.6 hours. Once you have managed to remove this part, the following procedure is used.

Photo at right (adapted from official Land Rover TSB photo) shows upper steering column removed.

1. Remove the old motor from the springy white nylon clip that holds it in place.

2. If you have the kit with the special tool QME50010, stick the tool in its place. If not, use some other square shaft that you can grab with a wrench. Use the tool to hold the shaft steady while you release the spindle nut half a turn, then tighten it up again to 4.5 lb-ft (6 N-m). Then, release it again one "flat".


3. If necessary, renew the white nylon mounting clip. Re-insert the flexible drive into the spindle.

4. Shove the new (or old) motor into the nylon clip, making sure the protrusion inside it engages with the hole in the motor housing to prevent the motor from rotating.

5. Apply a thin bead of grease to the tilt and reach spindles.


6. Replace the complete steering column assembly according to the shop manual.

Possible Shortcuts

If the problem is jamming, then abbreviating the procedure to step 6 above without removing the upper steering column might have at least a palliative effect anad would only take about 15-20 minutes.

If you do go through the complete procedure but don't have the official tool, you can probably get by just using a Crescent wrench on the square cross section of the flexible drive to hold the shaft still while making the spindle nut torque adjustment.

2006 Recall
In August 2006 a recall campaign was started to replace the steering column on all Mk III Range Rovers. For more information on this see the Steering Column Tilt Mechanism page.

More Information

Steering column tilt mechanism problems & fixes
Common Problems and Fixes (Range Rover III).





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Page revised February 2, 2012