Hard to turn after steering wheel change - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Hard to turn after steering wheel change

I thought I would share what happened to me so that in the future, or now, someone else could benefit.

Last year I replaced my steering wheel with a wooden one. Everything was find but I soon saw that when driving straight, the steering wheel was crooked.

I finally got fed up at looking at it and decided to get it fixed.

I went to my friendly neighbourhood Alfa mechanic to "straighten" the steering wheel out.

Mine is an S4 so the steering wheel column is splined, so no big deal, we move it over one tooth.

We went to remove the wheel and like soooooo many others, the wheel was stuck. We used the same method as last year, one person bangs on the center while the other pulls and prods the wheel off. This time it was really stuck so a lot of banging, but eventually came off.

Moved the steering wheel over and all good. Wrong.

Steering wheel was really hard to turn. Felt like my '87 that didnt have power steering.

Here is what we found and how we fixed it.

Looks like all the banging we did, moved the column in a few mm's. Enough so that the linkeage (shown in the picture) was pressed up against the firewall.

Name:  Shaft.JPG
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There is an adjustment bolt down there so we moved it off the firewall and Voila! Power steering again.

So, if you remove your steering wheel with the "bang it method" and you find the steering wheel hard to turn afterward, check it out.

Vin

1991 Spider Veloce - Red on Tan - Rosa Bionda
1987 Spider Quadrifoglio - Red on Grey - Rosa - Sold
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 11:19 AM
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This is an example of what not to do. A steering wheel puller should have been used. If you don't have one, rent or buy one. The other, harder way to do this project would have been to center the steering wheel, and then adjust the tie-rod ends to align the wheels.

Gifford
'72 Super --> SOLD, '67 GTV --> SOLD
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 11:20 AM
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Very good point! Anytime ANYTHING on an Alfa requires a hammer technique, check for consequences. Even things like slide hammers cause unintended motion elsewhere.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 11:39 AM
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Here are some more examples of improper hammer technique. This a 750 Veloce engine, that in a prior life, had a successful race history, and was brought to me for photography to document what the last "mechanic" (term used loosely) damaged. These are just two of many examples on this engine where a hammer WAS NOT the correct tool. First is the Veloce dipstick tube that has been hammered or peaned to fit tightly in the hole in the block. Not only does the tube need considerable body work, but the hole in the block is now oval.
Next is a good way to ruin a 750 water pump. The fan was hammered loose. The pulley will not run true, as the taper inside the aluminum fan / pulley is now oval. The impeller shaft is just bent enough to destroy the pump bearings. Now we have an expensive repair!
There ARE times a hammer is THE PROPER TOOL. It should never replace the CORRECT proper tool!
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Gordon Raymond
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and sometimes, CONFUSED AND INCORRECT, but Larry helps me out.
Now:
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 11:40 AM
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No offense to you, but your "friendly neighbourhood Alfa mechanic" is an idiot. Are you describing a professional mechanic? Someone who makes his living repairing Alfas? Or just the guy down the block who works on cars as a hobby?

Steering wheel pullers can be had for a few bucks at discount tool stores like Harbor Freight.

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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No offense taken by anyone.

I am a proud member of this BB and rely heavily on others as mentors.

My mechanic is a qualified Alfa mechanic and I don't doubt his abilities for a minute.

While using the puller may have been the best method, I don't recall why, but he did say while looking at the steering wheel, "there are usually holes here to attach a puller to". When he said "usually, I interpret that as being they were not present. Maybe S4 design? I don't really know.

Anyways, hitting the shaft is a well documented method on this very BB when the wheel is stuck.

Like I said, I am sure someone in the future will need this.

1991 Spider Veloce - Red on Tan - Rosa Bionda
1987 Spider Quadrifoglio - Red on Grey - Rosa - Sold
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 01:07 PM
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As Jay knows, the pictures I sent are an extreme case! I too TAP on PULLERS for the tapered shaft with a plastic headed hammer. If your wheel hub was not drilled for the stud puller, Jay suggests the 3 fingered puller. Since eventually you will be under the hub anyway, it can also be drilled and tapped for the stud type puller, and vacuumed and air blasted to remove any lingering pesky chips later.


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and sometimes, CONFUSED AND INCORRECT, but Larry helps me out.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 06:08 PM
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I was formerly a shaft banger. But after seeing so many Alfa steering box case failures discussed on this BB I am now a born again "don't hit the shaft with a hammer - deciple". When I had a problem removing the original steering wheel on my 88 to install a Nardi wheel. I went to the trouble to install a puller and apply heat to the hub of the wheel. It almost jumped off the shaft and I never hit the shaft a single blow with a hammer.

Until persuaded otherwise, I firmly believe that hammer blows to the center shaft cause stress to the aluminum steering box case with tragic results at a future date. It may be that this only applies to Alfa's, which have cast steering boxes. But then again, those are the cars we are all talking about here on this BB.

Robert
1988 Black Spider Veloce
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