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I had to pull the brake master cylinder this moring so I ecided to pop the little cover on the top of the steering box and have a look. There was a spring inside. The small cover had three very thin metal gaskets between it and the steering box. My questions is how is the box lubricated, how do I know if it needs more, where is it added and what is the lubricant? I have poored over this forum and through my Afa Bble and can't find this addressed anywhere. I have decided to ask the internet Alfa Oracle!
 

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The shims under the small cover plate are to adjust the pitman shaft depth. This small cover need not be removed. The lubricant is checked/filled by removing a plastic plug (location 'B' in the drawing on your '71) on the large top cover plate. Also shown in the drawing is where to drill a hole in the plug to vent the steering box. 90 weight gearoil (or a mulitgrade) is the Alfa recommended lubricant.
 

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I was looking right at it. I never noticed it wasn't another bolt head. Filled her up w/90w. Took about 1/4 quart. Gracias! Once again the oracle was correct!
 

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At this point nothing would surprize me. I am having a horror story with the brakes now. BTW I filled it early today and not a drop has leaked so far.
 

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90w gear oil isn't going to pour out like water (especially this time of year) Rather than drip on the floor it just tends to cling and run along whatever chassis path it can find. People have packed those drained Burman boxes with grease but usually by then the damage has been done. It's not so much the gears because it's like a helical ball bearing but there's a knuckle and cam plate in there that gets worn and that loosens up the center freeplay and there's not much you can do about it other than machine new parts. (or pack a few washers under that spring plate) There used to be a guy who rebuilt Burman boxes but it wasn't cheap. At the time I had mine apart it was easier to just get a used box from APE that was in good shape. I ended up with a ZF box. It's a totally different design but I don't think one or the other has any real advantage. Some people say they feel different but I've had both and even though they do feel different I can't say that I'd prefer one over the other for any particular reason. You get used to whichever one you have.
 

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Hi New2alfa,

I have recently rebuilt my steering box, mine had no oil in it, just a little grease. Everything looked clean and shiny and thought all I had to do was put some oil. Then I thought since I have taken every piece of my Alfa apart to clean and change seals and check for wear, I would to the same to the steering box.
Lucky I did, the bearings were all pitted and the shaft was too and not to mention some water and rust in the bottom of the box. I replaced the bearings and replaced the shaft and removed some shims to suit the new shaft. I used BP EP-90 oil. Up the top of the shaft is another bearing which had rust and plenty of it. Every spray of WD-40 released more rust, so I decided to pull it apart, the little ball bearing were OK so I filled it up with grease and reassembled it and now my steering is soft and smooth.

Neil,

I don’t understand, why it is necessary to drill a hole in the plug to vent the box? Isn’t there enough ventilation in the steering shaft going up towards the steering wheel?
I think I have answered my own question, drilling the plug hole will allow it to vent in the engine bay rather then inside the car, is that correct? Is this why you drill the plug hole?

Thanks
Rich
P.S Can post you some pictures if you like?
 

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Rich,

I think I can speak for most here on the board... We like pictures!!! So go ahead and post them. I too have rebuilt a couple of Burman boxes so far and have been toying with the idea of writing up a little article on how to go about it. I could maybe use some of your pictures to supplement what I have already.

Cheers,
 

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Hi Mike,

Have a read of Roadtrip Replacing a Burman Shaft-Type Steering Box Seal In-Situ this helped me a lot. But i had the factory Alfa tool to remove the drop arm, that made it a easy for me.

As for the pictures i will gladly post it tomorrow with pictures of the factory tool. I need to get the software from home so that i can down size the pictures to post.

Rich
 

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I don’t understand, why it is necessary to drill a hole in the plug to vent the box? Isn’t there enough ventilation in the steering shaft going up towards the steering wheel?
There's a bit more info on the vent plug in this thread. Apparently, the steering column does not provide for sufficient ventilation.
 

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As you can see on the last picture, the top bearing is been put in place, but before you do that the rubber piece goes in first. The bottom seal that i replaced had a double lip on it which was much better then the original. I have lost pictures of the assembly, sorry guys.

Rich
 

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The PO owner painted and I stripped it to check for cracks and wanted it back to the aluminum finish, but from my excitement of discovering POR-15 I went and painted it again stupid me:p . I since then removed the paint and only the cover is painted black. Looks good when you wire brush it:D .

Rich
 

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Rich
from my excitement of discovering POR-15 I went and painted it again
Yes, the gloss of POR-15 seems to encourage finding places to use it!
That or you were breathing the POR-15 fumes!:D
It's too bad that ALFA didn't use this stuff on the insides of the sills when they built them.

BTW:That's a neat tool for pulling the Pitman arm.
 
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