Cracked Burman: thinking outside the box before buying alfaholics billet - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Cracked Burman: thinking outside the box before buying alfaholics billet

Thanks to Peter (Classicalfas) for looking at my Burman and verifying that in addition to the crack at the lower rear mounting boss there are several other cracks. I will not endeavor to have this box repaired.

The 'logical' next step is the Alfaholics Billet box, $865 at today's exchange rate (which may be trending down based on the newspaper)

Before I go that route: is there any out-of-box (yes, pun) thinking I should be doing?

ZF conversion?
Other box?
Rack and Pinion?

To note: my '73 USA GTV has the universal joint type steering and its a mildly warmed up stock car, stock suspension, stock tire sizes.

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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 10:13 AM
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A ZF steering box from a later spider might be a lower-cost solution. It won't have the U-joint, but I don't think that's essential; my '66 Sprint doesn't have a U-jointed column.

The key question is whether the column length will be correct.

Adapting a steering box from a non-Alfa or converting to R&P will probably cost more than $865.

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

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'67 Duetto
'91 164L
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 11:13 AM
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Of the three options listed, I would go with a ZF box, if it will work.

Rack and pinion is going to cost as much, if not more than going the billet box.

Installing a used Burman box is just going to put you in the same place you are today. It too will fail.

My vote is the billet box regardless of cost. Once painted black (as the originals were) and installed, no one will know the difference.

Brian __________________________________
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 11:13 AM
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Of the three options listed, I would go with a ZF box, if it will work.

Rack and pinion is going to cost as much, if not more than going the billet box.

Installing a used Burman box is just going to put you in the same place you are today. It too will fail.

My vote is the billet box regardless of cost. Once painted black (as the originals were) and installed, no one will know the difference.

Brian __________________________________
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 11:44 AM
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This GTV had a rack and pinion installed.

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/19...a-romeo-gtv-6/

1966 GTA replica, 1967 Duetto, 1987 Quadrifoglio
1972, 1973, 1974 Montreal
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicalfas View Post
This GTV had a rack and pinion installed.
Perhaps, but not because the owner was trying to save a few bucks. That looks like a cost-is-no-object build.

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

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'67 Duetto
'91 164L
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 01:58 PM
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A hasty job, want to go home now but see where they crack.
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1972, 1973, 1974 Montreal
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 02:02 PM
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Some more. 5 of the 8 threaded holes had cracks and 3 of them with 2 cracks, with 3 or 4 leading into the bores.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ossodiseppia View Post
My vote is the billet box regardless of cost. Once painted black (as the originals were) and installed, no one will know the difference.
If you keep the exterior unpainted, potential buyers will know it has been replaced. As knowledge about the fragility of the original steering boxes gets out, having an upgraded box will be seen as a strong positive.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 04:21 PM
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Reminds me of the De Havilland Comet 4 airplane. Wonderful British engineering until the wings fell off.

Full disclosure, some of my friends in college were De Havilland student engineers.

Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
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A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke

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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 04:41 PM
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Has anyone actually used the Alfaholics billet box? My last three orders from Alfaholics have been disappointing.......

Mike
1969 GTV 1750
1966 Super
San Diego, CA

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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 04:52 PM
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Yes, I have one in my '66 GTV and I'm considering getting one for one of my Montreals as a spare. These boxes are really really nice, I have no complaints and know others who feel the same way.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-12-2019, 07:53 PM
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My recent experience. My 69 roundtail coming back to life. Encountered cracked Burman box. Considered all the options including source from Alfaholics, OKP, etc. I went with the ZF conversion (sourced from Larry at Alfa Parts Exchange, $250 + ship). It’s just been a few weeks no but it’s excellent so far. The column is a bit longer so I now have a gap between the wheel and the column - I can live with it. Can post pics if interested.

Adriano
1969 1750 Spider
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hello - yes Adriano I'd appreciate pictures and any lessons learned from the ZF conversion. Peter has kindly offered me a ZF box from an 86 or 87 spider, so I'll go this route. Any compatibility issues that anyone is aware of - noting the shaft length will be of issue? Does the same alum steering column support work with the ZF box/fixed shaft?

By the way - which part of CT are you in? I'm on the Shoreline in Guilford.

'73 GTV bare metal project... nearing 'car' status
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 04:02 PM
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ZF Pics

Here are pics of the ZF installed and the gap in the steering column that results because of its longer length. And a gratuitously thrown in pic of the engine...Note that in my particular case, I have aftermarket Clubman seats and the driving position that results with this extra length works really well. While the car tracks very well, there is a bit of play in the steering and a looseness that is present. That might be due to the used box or to its adjustment. As to lessons learned, in my case I rapidly turned the whole car over to the best mechanic I could find...there were many many issues to be fixed! West Haven - long time Alfa mechanic. Tony at International Motor Sport, used to work at Nino's in Woodbridge. Larry at Alfa Parts Exchange is also very helpful. I'm in Bethany CT. Lets communicate - we are not far, and AROC CT a good venue.

Oops - just saw I am too new to the forum to post pics! PM with email and I will forward pics to you.
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