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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 1986 came factory fitted with a ZF steering box. Many years ago I replace it with a Buhrman steering box. I have noticed a bit of play on the steering wheel. Checked the steering linkage, slave steering box and all other components for play, but it is definitely the steering box.

Does anybody have a procedure on how to adjust these steering boxes? I seem to recall it requires shims?

Thanks

Jeroen
 

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there is a small plate on the top, remove that and remove shims to tighten it/remove play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the quick responses. I will have a go at it later this week and let you all know how it went.

Jeroen
 

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There is also a set of shims under the front plate that compensates for wear with the worm gear bearing races.
Right! So how do we know that the play in JeroenD's box isn't being caused by play in the worm gear (e.g., fix by removing shims under the front plate) rather than play in the sector gear (fix by removing shims under the top plate)?

Could he diagnose this by having a helper work the steering wheel back and forth, while he feels for vertical movement in the steering shaft? If it moves, then shims at the top need removing. If not, then shims at the front. (I'm just speculating here.)
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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This is how I was able to check for vertical shaft play and properly set the top plate shims with the box in the car. You need some weight, a dial gauge, and a metal plate with some holes drilled in it.

 

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As for the front plate shims, I can't see how you can get that front cover off unless the box is on the bench.....unless some models have more space?
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But Mad North-Northwest
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The box has to come out to set the fore-aft clearance.
 

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As for the front plate shims, I can't see how you can get that front cover off unless the box is on the bench.....unless some models have more space?
As Gubi wrote, "The box has to come out". It's not only a matter of clearance; since the ball bearings aren't in a cage, if you remove the front plate with the box in the car, the bearings are likely to come loose, as well as the oil oozing out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have studied the various posts and the Alfa Romeo information sheet on the adjustment of the vertical shaft.
I am still not quite sure. The clearance as measured with the dial indicator how is that done? Is that with and without the 22lbs weight? Thanks

Jeroen
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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So that's the procedure I explained in post #336 in that other thread.

The vertical arm in the steering box rides in a hole in the large top cover of the box. The clearance you are trying to set is between the top of that arm and the bottom of the small plate that screws onto the top cover. You do this by using shims: add shims to move up the small plate and increase clearance, remove shims to reduce clearance. Ideally there should be very little to no clearance between the small plate and the top of the arm (0.002" to -0.001", or 0.05 mm to -0.02 mm).

To measure this clearance, you need to remove the small top plate and spring and temporarily replace the plate with one with a hole in the middle (keeping the shims in place). This lets you put a dial gauge on the top of the vertical arm, so you can see how much it moves up and down as you turn the wheel back and forth. Then you adjust the shims to compensate. So if the gauge gives you a range of 0.006" as you move the steering wheel back and forth that's your clearance. In that case you can remove 0.005" of shim to get to 0.001" clearance.

All of the above needs to be done with the front wheels in the air, and ~22 lb (10 kg) hanging from the pitman arm. The only challenges are making the plate (and you can see what I did, just drill a few cruddy holes in a piece of aluminum) and stably fastening the dial gauge in place so you can get a good reading (if you have a second person to turn the wheel that makes things much easier).

You can remove shims by trial and error, but if you do that you risk getting it too tight and putting strain on the box.
 
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Wow. Tom that's a epic way to make an adjust that's pretty straight forward.
There really isn't anything complicated about adjusting a steering box, be it a 105 or a F100.
Don't over think these things, its pretty hard to mess this job up.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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I'm not sure what to tell you, man. It's the official Alfa procedure, and you can get the clearance dead on correct in one go with no trial-and-error. The problem with "oh my steering is loose let me remove shims" is you have no idea if the play is actually in the vertical shaft or somewhere else. This tells you directly.

It might read as complicated the first time but it's really not very hard to do. And once it's done it's pretty much done, not like you need to revisit it.
 

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Yeah I guess if you don't know what you are doing, checking all the suspension ect ect its best to follow the books. Just a long winded way of undertaking a simple procedure but point taken.
 

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It's not just checking the suspension links for play, though. You can have other play in the box (fore/aft bearing clearance, or internal wear on the top of the arm) not caused by the arm-to-cover clearance. If you're just guessing and try to fix things by removing top shims you can mess things up.

I've rebuilt the box in my car twice and a spare one once, and I'm pretty certain that at this point I know as much about the Burman as anyone on the board. Doing both shim adjustments with a dial gauge saves you time and gives you better results in the end.
 

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Tom, that's a great description of the adjustment process, but have a question: When you say "move the steering wheel back and forth" how much are we talking about? Should the steering wheel be turned through it's full travel, or just through the play distance, or something else?

Thanks, Logan
 

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Tom, please don't misunderstand. I am not dismissing your experience. I just cant see the big deal in adjusting the play on a steering box. The alfa box is especially easy to adjust and I don't think to many mechanics would be going to the lengths you described when doing a basic adjustment that's probably been neglected for years. A rebuild, well that's another thing.
 
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