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Your comment on the bearings being easily found commercially usually holds true but I can tell you that some ZF transmissions have some proprietary needle bearings that really make things difficult restoring them. Be happy you aren't dealing with one of their transmissions.
 

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Discussion Starter #422
Mike,

I was obviously blown away by what would amount to a $4000 cost to rebuild my steering box. His basic position was that the only service he was willing to provide was a complete rebuild. He didn't say, "worst case is a complete rebuild which would be 2350GBP, but it might be that all you need is the caged roller bearing and cup in which case it would be roughly (insert reasonable price for parts and labor here)"

To be clear, my view on Straightline is that they're above average in terms of ability and experience with a wide variety of steering boxes. That said, it does not appear that they've ever done a Marles box like this one. But a quick search found a source for the bearing and cup (in the UK) at a very reasonable price (40GBP) and a fairly detailed description
from an Aston Martin board on disassembly and rebuild.

Unless I'm mistaken the 1900 Owner's Manual and Shop Manual specify 90W gear oil for both the steering box and diff, but that may be for the Gemmer/Adamant boxes. It's also notable that the recommended level check on the steering box was 3000 miles. We sometimes forget how maintenance intensive cars of the period were!

Best Regards,
TJ


Hi TJ, I off course have not seen the inside of your steering box, but the same goes for David. It really surprises me that he can give you an idea about the cost without having seen it.
Normally I would assume that you and him were talking about different things, that happens to me not being native english speaking, or even worse doing business in Italy.
What I could imagine is that David, as some sort of warning, after receiving your steering box, after costly shipping, then finds out he can't repair it, and he is ending up replacing all the parts, bearings, seals, worm , roller, shafts, etc. And that ending up to the number you mentioned, still too much I would say, but maybe it is realistic? See it as a worst case scenario. Mind you, steering is important enough, so you want to get it right, and with David doing the entire box, you will have the best possible steering possible.
Still convinced David is the best man to do this kind of job. So in a way I am hoping this is what he tried to say?

But now back to your steering box, would I go with David's advice? No, not based on just a phonecall!
You apparently trust the guys at Straightline Steering, those are the guys that have seen the inside of your box! So I would definitely stick to their opinion, and not David's in this case. The guys at Staightline are the professionals, no reason to doubt them.
So if they say a bearing and cup is all you need, order that from David.

By the way, his remark on filling the box is important. Never use grease, only grade 140 oil.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #423
That's been my experience for many seals and bearings on my 1900 and I typically order them online by searching for the dimensions of the seal or bearing in question. I get the option to choose the manufacturer (SKF, Timken, etc.) and in a week or so they're in my hands.

This bearing, however, is far from easily sourced, and the shop in question, which has a worldwide network of sources has been able to find one.

A simple search found this though:



-tj


A bearing can be measured, or removed and then taken with you, and then go and talk to your local bearing supplier and see how you go. It is highly unlikely, although it is an Alfa Romeo, that is a special bearing. Manufacturers of components design things usually for stock bearings for cost saving reasons.

Pete
 

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The other thing you can do is machine your components to fit a standard off the shelf bearing, as long as you know what you are doing and understand the loads, etc.
Pete
 

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A difficult one, I can't find any sizes on this p2490 you found. Except for the 2 inch o/d.
2 is correct but the other sizes are extremely important, if you have a size that id not correct, your steering will definitely not work, it will either be loose in the housing, or stuck.
Any reason why you believe you have a p3690 or 3691 steering box?
Have you found any further sizes of this bearing?
 

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Discussion Starter #426
I know I have a P3690 box because that is what is cast in to the body.

A difficult one, I can't find any sizes on this p2490 you found. Except for the 2 inch o/d.
2 is correct but the other sizes are extremely important, if you have a size that id not correct, your steering will definitely not work, it will either be loose in the housing, or stuck.
Any reason why you believe you have a p3690 or 3691 steering box?
Have you found any further sizes of this bearing?
 

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tj
I do not understand. In the spare parts catalog, only two types of box are mentioned. Gemmer and Adamant. On my car I have an Adamant type and it looks a lot like the Marles. I had to change the track and the balls of the two thrust bearings. I went to my usual supplier who polished old rings I had from another case and changed the balls. My steering box is working perfectly now. For these parts you can call Paolo Galafassi who knows these cars well, sells parts and is very nice. I must tell you that I did my first Monte Carlo Rally with my 1900 sedan, it was equipped with the same box and I had not revised it. For the following year I dismantled the case to revise it and there was no oil in it !!! So it's still solid !!

Yves

1676177
1676179
1676180
 

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Discussion Starter #429
You think you're confused! I'm more confused....but I'm wondering if Adamant steering boxes were either made or licensed by Marles. Do you have a photo of the other side of your steering box that shows the side of the body that on mine says "Marles P3690"? My steering box looks identical to yours.

Look at this photo and compare it to the one of yours in the vise. It looks identical, and even has the "80" stamped in to it.

1676221


I think my "Marles" box is just an Adamant with some sort of part in it that was patented by Marles.

-tj
IMG_7574.jpg



tj
I do not understand. In the spare parts catalog, only two types of box are mentioned. Gemmer and Adamant. On my car I have an Adamant type and it looks a lot like the Marles. I had to change the track and the balls of the two thrust bearings. I went to my usual supplier who polished old rings I had from another case and changed the balls. My steering box is working perfectly now. For these parts you can call Paolo Galafassi who knows these cars well, sells parts and is very nice. I must tell you that I did my first Monte Carlo Rally with my 1900 sedan, it was equipped with the same box and I had not revised it. For the following year I dismantled the case to revise it and there was no oil in it !!! So it's still solid !!

Yves

View attachment 1676177 View attachment 1676179 View attachment 1676180
 

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Tj, good question. I always thought that any new 1900 was delivered with Adamant or Gemmer.
But in your case that would mean that your car with just 50.000 miles was already using its second Steering box? And true, the resemblance between Adamant and Marles is striking.
I will mail David on this, he probably knows if Marles was ever used by Alfa Romeo.
Should you have trouble finding/ordering your bearing, let me know, I maybe have more info on this bearing.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #431
Mike,

I am sorry for not being clear. I believe my steering box is identical to yours and that it’s my car’s first and only steering box.

I have found a source for the bearing.

TJ


Tj, good question. I always thought that any new 1900 was delivered with Adamant or Gemmer.
But in your case that would mean that your car with just 50.000 miles was already using its second Steering box? And true, the resemblance between Adamant and Marles is striking.
I will mail David on this, he probably knows if Marles was ever used by Alfa Romeo.
Should you have trouble finding/ordering your bearing, let me know, I maybe have more info on this bearing.
Mike
 

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Yes, I know your steering box is the same as mine. But mine is not original to my car. And I always thought that only Adamant and Gemmer were used by Alfa Romeo...
* David is quick in his reply, just got his answer:
"Adamant and Marles ended up being the same company and yes the Marles box was fitted as original equipment in the 1900"
We have our answer!
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #433
Thanks for your help on this Mike. We've all learned something! Unfortunately the UK distributor of the bearing and cup won't ship to North America (they get them from David) but I have a friend with family in the UK who are going to help getting the part sent to me.

-tj


Yes, I know your steering box is the same as mine. But mine is not original to my car. And I always thought that only Adamant and Gemmer were used by Alfa Romeo...
* David is quick in his reply, just got his answer:
"Adamant and Marles ended up being the same company and yes the Marles box was fitted as original equipment in the 1900"
We have our answer!
Mike
 

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This is almost humorous -- someone trying to maintain a monopoly position in servicing a totally obscure and antiquated product line.
 

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Discussion Starter #435 (Edited)
Agreed. Further, two other mainstream purveyors of 1900 parts sell the bearing and cup in question. One charges about 400 euros for it, the other, 150. L&S Engineering in the UK sells it for 40GBP.

-tj

This is almost humorous -- someone trying to maintain a monopoly position in servicing a totally obscure and antiquated product line.
 

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Discussion Starter #437

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Discussion Starter #439
Yves,

Thank you so much. This is further support that Adamant and Marles are essentially the same part. It would be interesting to know how many 1900s got Marles boxes versus Gemmer, but with so few of us owners around there's no way to know.

-tj



Tj,

I managed to take a photo, mine is also marked Marles.
And I have another still in my attic.

Yves

View attachment 1676528
 

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Discussion Starter #440
Real progress on 10321 remains painfully slow. After identifying a source for the bearing and cup for the steering box I ordered and received it, only to learn that the shop doing the rebuild had failed to inform me that I needed 2 bearings, not one. The supplier doesn't ship to North America meaning I needed to have them ship it to friends in the UK who then sent it to me, all of which results in a nearly 3 week delivery time. I placed a second order for another bearing, waited two weeks, and when I opened the package yesterday, found they'd sent me the completely wrong part. Another phone call to them leaves me waiting for them to try to figure out what happened, how to rectify the situation (there's no reasonable way to return it because the cost of sending it would be more than it's value) and to insure that they actually have the right part in stock. In the end I'll have spent more than $300 for two caged roller bearings which should cost less than $50. So it goes.

On another note, recent shipments from Classic Alfa and OKP (thanks Tom and Christian!) arrived that allowed me to press the bushings in to the axle stabilizer rods and upper triangle braces. I also received a rebuild kit which I'll use to rebuild the water pump.

I have yet to find a source for the carb to intake manifold gaskets, or water pump gasket. The carb/intake manifold gaskets aren't part of the complete gasket set (which I already have) and the water pump gasket doesn't appear to be available by itself. Has anyone else encountered this?

-tj
 
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