Burman Box Rebuild - Page 5 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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post #61 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 02:26 PM
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Actually I have a lathe with that exact setup in my living room. Well on second thought I don't have anything remotely close to it. Thanks for the very comprehensive answer. Time to look for a replacement or get a quote from my machine shop.

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Originally Posted by ill_will View Post
Hi Rus,
Yeah, that looks marginally worse than the one I rescued. If you do nothing, you'll get excessive backlash and/or 'notchiness' depending on how you preload the box up with the steel shims when reassembling. Not nice given how good the steering is on these cars when they're set up right. My guess is a combination of incorrect preload, lack of lubrication, poor surface treatment when new, and a hard life lead to this.
To repair the shaft you need a fairly specialised bit of kit - basically a lathe with a separately-powered counter-rotating grinding stone mounted where your tool would usually go on the lathe. You then need to dress the stone to give you a radius approximately equal to that on the face that is pitted (exact radius shouldn't be too critical, just based on the way it works) and then re-grind the face just enough to return it to an un-pitted condition.
I wouldn't like to speculate on what (if any) surface treatment (hardening) was applied when new (although I vaguely remember it looking like it had been heat treated from marks on the steel?) but you might have ground through the hardened layer. Ideally you would re-harden before reassembly. You could test a non-critical part with a small file to get a feel for how hard the resulting surface is.
If you can get the whole job done cheaper than getting a new one, then it might be worth it, but if there are spares available it's a lot of effort! I was a student at the time, and had access to the machine shop...
Hope this helps, and if you have any other questions just drop me a PM.
Regards,
Will
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post #62 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r-mm View Post
Time to look for a replacement or get a quote from my machine shop.
I suspect that finding a good, used shaft - or even an entire box - will be much cheaper than the machining and hardening that Will described. It's too bad your gear's lower bearing is so worn - from the photos, the threaded part looks pretty good. But, any moisture and debris in the box tends to settle into the lower bearing, and I'll bet that's what killed yours.

However you fix it, I wouldn't re-install the part in your photos. At best the steering will feel gritty and/or sloppy, and at worst it might lock up on you at an inopportune moment.

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L

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post #63 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 05:27 PM
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This IS the new box! The one bolted to the car was cracked. Now I have to remove that one to see what condition the steering shaft is in.

What has to happen at the universal joint to remove the box? Can I leave the steering column / steering wheel in place and just undo the coupling b/t steering shaft (the part in question) and the UJ?

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Originally Posted by Alfajay View Post
I suspect that finding a good, used shaft - or even an entire box - will be much cheaper than the machining and hardening that Will described. It's too bad your gear's lower bearing is so worn - from the photos, the threaded part looks pretty good. But, any debris in the box tends to settle into the lower bearing, and I'll bet that's what killed yours.

However you fix it, I wouldn't re-install the part in your photos. At best the steering will feel gritty and/or sloppy, and at worst it might lock up on you at an inopportune moment.
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post #64 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r-mm View Post
This IS the new box! The one bolted to the car was cracked. Now I have to remove that one to see what condition the steering shaft is in.
Well, "new" is a relative term here. Clearly the gear in your photo isn't new - it's just new to you. If it came inside an uncracked box, I'd say you got an OK deal, even if you have to swap out the innards. The odds are good that the gear in your old box (that is the box you had before you got the next one) will be better. The question will be: if your other gear has some pits, how much pitting is acceptable?

Quote:
What has to happen at the universal joint to remove the box? Can I leave the steering column / steering wheel in place and just undo the coupling b/t steering shaft (the part in question) and the UJ?
I have always worked on solid steering column boxes, so I can't speak from experience. But I seem to recall reading somewhere on the BB that it is possible to disconnect the U joint, and drop the box without messing with the column. My guess is that Alfa added the U joint feature in response to mechanics' complaints that removing a solid shaft steering box consumed too many hours, since the column had to be disassembled too. The U joint provides no safety benefit: you'd need two joints and an offset in the intermediate shaft for the column to collapse in a collision.

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 03-10-2011 at 07:19 AM.
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post #65 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 01:30 PM
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Rus - Don't dispair. With a bit of asking around I reckon you could find a machine shop with the tool. (google golmatic tool post grinder for a photo of the kind of attachment I mean.)
With the relatively light use most classics get, and the relative pampering they receive (generalising, of course) you would probably get a fair amount of use from the reground shaft without going through the pain of trying to get it hardened. Just make sure the box doesnt leak and is always topped up with oil.
Making up some of the reinforcement plates to ensure your new casing doesn't meet the fate of the first would also be a good idea. Again, a machine shop with a water jet cutter could make you up some without too much trouble.
There is a photo attached to give some idea of how this can be done without welding anything to the top plate (i have seen this) which I think would probably distort it. When i dug out the photo there was a before and after of the shaft, and it was worse than I remembered: about the same as your one.
Good luck.
Will
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post #66 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 01:35 PM
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That is a fine looking Burman box. What did you paint it with?

Would you happen to be willing to share the cad files for it? I might be able to sneak into the shop at my alma mater and use the waterjet right quick.
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post #67 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 10:51 PM
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Paint was standard spray gloss black, with a couple of coats of Zinc 182 primer first. I haven't tried it, but I'm starting to think that an etch primer might be a better bet first as adhesion isn't always great with the primer alone on the smoother surfaces.
Unfortunately I don't have the dxf files as it was all done on the uni system.
Think it was probably 3/8" plate for the top bits and 1/4" for the sides.
Will
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post #68 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 05:05 AM
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Could you post some more photos please ?
It looks like a very nice job . Well done.


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[SIZE="2"]David Munro[/SIZE]
Toronto ON Canada
1969 Spider JR Twin Spark
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post #69 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 06:36 PM
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ZF replacement procedure

I was going through my basement today and was shocked to find that the PO of my car gave me a ZF box with it! I clearly did not recognize what it was when I first got the car. How far I've come. Humm maybe he knew the Burman was cracked. At this point I'm almost finished with rebuilding a replacement Burman, but I'm wondering how common and how easy it is to swap the ZF in there.

Looking through the USA/Euro parts catalogs it doesn't seem the ZF was ever sold as original equipment, at least for the GTV2000 that I have the catalogs for.
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post #70 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 02:49 PM
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Hi, I don't have too many photos but here are those that I took at the time.
Regards,
Will
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post #71 of 286 (permalink) Old 03-29-2011, 09:35 AM
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Gentlemen, thanks for all the info you already posted! Now here is a new mystery: my Burman steering box (European '73 Spider) disgorged bearing balls in two sizes, 22 smaller and 27 larger. The smaller ones go into the upper and lower bearing, there should be 23 (10+13), I think I simply lost one... while the larger ones fit comfortably in the main nut assembly, the 27 large balls fill out the space perfectly.
The box looked to be untouched, gaskets were pretty nice and uniform. I asked a pal who has some experience with these boxes, he said he rebuilt five and all had uniform balls. Who knows, maybe my box is a rarity - or just the victim of a careless PO? :-)
Anyway, I'll try to get new bearings (I was a bit surprised to see no-one recommending to replace them) and see what sized balls they'll offer with them.
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'73 Spider Junior 1600, '78 Alfetta GTV 2000, '79 Alfetta GTV 2000, '80 Sei 2.5 V6, 33 16V Permanent 4
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post #72 of 286 (permalink) Old 04-16-2011, 08:31 PM
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Has anybody succeded in welding a cracked Burman box and then strenghtened it with the steel plates as shown in the picture? A new Burman box from Europe is about 550Euros plus shipping and custom duties making it about $800 by the time it gets here.
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post #73 of 286 (permalink) Old 04-17-2011, 01:23 AM
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Chia,

I did try TIG welding the cracked box and then machining it. It was an absolute nightmare and I ended up binning it. The alloy used in the casting is such poor quality that there the weld quality was extremely poor. When I got it on the milling machine to re-machine the faces it was extremely hard to clock it (align it) for the re-milling due to the awkward shape, which is essential for it to work well...

Regards,

Will
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post #74 of 286 (permalink) Old 04-17-2011, 07:39 AM
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Alfaholics sells a replacement Burman case for the Montreal - see: Montreal LHD Steering Box Case | Classic Alfa Romeo spare parts and accessories



At 695 GBP (today that's $1,134) it isn't cheap, but Alfaholics claims it's better engineered than the OE part.

Does anyone know if the Montreal steering box is different from the unit used in the more mundane 105 models?

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L
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post #75 of 286 (permalink) Old 04-17-2011, 04:02 PM
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I emailed Max about a box for the 105 and he told me he would CNC me t one for the same price as the Montreal.


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[SIZE="2"]David Munro[/SIZE]
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