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Discussion Starter #1
hi -

As Im turning the steering wheel the hi beams occasionally flash - obviously the wire running through the column is shorting out in certain postions.
Ive looked on the forum and theres some great info on this, for example this thread:
I thought I would put some new wires through the column to fix the problem. Using the knowledge of others, and the wooden wedge technique I got the center piece of the steering wheel out....with some trepidation....but I didnt break it!
Theres 2 wires: Red wire for the horn and the black wire for the "light flasher" ring.
I got a new red and new black wire, attached them to the current ones, and tried pulling them through....no luck....the old wires literally dont move....hmmm....is there some kind of "retaining clip" that I have failed to find ?? No one mentioned the wires not pulling through easily in any of the posts I read, so Im worried that theres a real "jam" in the wires somewhere and theyre caught on something....
Theres 2 universal joints in the steering column, can the wires get "bunched/jammed" in those joints?

Any thoughts appreciated - thank you!
 

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On my 2600, I had a hard time getting the wires in and out of the steering column because they were sleeved with a piece of plastic insulation tube where they go through both U-joints, the one near the steering box and the one near the steering wheel. The Giulia SS uses the same parts with 102 parts numbers as the 2600 -- so, the problem may be similar or the same.
 

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Hi Ancona,

Ruedi is correct, check the passing at the U-joints whether there is no twisk in the wires there, it is just a small hole where they have to pass through.

Thierry
 

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Discussion Starter #4
On my 2600, I had a hard time getting the wires in and out of the steering column because they were sleeved with a piece of plastic insulation tube where they go through both U-joints, the one near the steering box and the one near the steering wheel. The Giulia SS uses the same parts with 102 parts numbers as the 2600 -- so, the problem may be similar or the same.
Hi Ruedi - thanks for your comment. So theres no clip or locking mechanism, the wires should move without undoing anything else....the problem lies in how tight that path is....which is what I suspected. The wires seem "unmovable".....hmm....I guess I could move the steering (turn left/right) and see if its the position the column is in. But how do you check that path without taking the steering column out ? Can you undo the steering u-joints and then pull the wires through one section at a time ?? Hmmm....this is sounding hard !
thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Ancona,

Ruedi is correct, check the passing at the U-joints whether there is no twisk in the wires there, it is just a small hole where they have to pass through.

Thierry
Hi Thierry - how do you check those joints without taking the column out? seems very tight!
thanks
roger
 

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Hi Ruedi - thanks for your comment. So theres no clip or locking mechanism, the wires should move without undoing anything else....the problem lies in how tight that path is....which is what I suspected. The wires seem "unmovable".....hmm....I guess I could move the steering (turn left/right) and see if its the position the column is in. But how do you check that path without taking the steering column out ? Can you undo the steering u-joints and then pull the wires through one section at a time ?? Hmmm....this is sounding hard !
thank you
I don't remember the details -- other than that there was no clip. One thing we don't know is whether or not your wiring is original, or if you're dealing with someone else's repair. To see what obstacles might be in the way, consider a cheap USB endoscope/borescope like this one that attaches to a laptop or cell phone -- I found the 2m version with "hard" cable to be quite useful. A claw grabber like this or like this may also be useful.

BTW, you don't want to take the U-joints out or apart unless you absolutely have to -- they have needle roller bearings with a grease seal made of felt on the outside. This felt most likely dried out and crumbled, and so the needle rollers may fall out when you open and/or remove the U-joint. It happened on my car when I removed the lower U-joint to take the steering box out (one needle roller went missing completely, and then I had to source felt and a set of hole punches to make new grease seals).
 

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Hi Roger,

Here some pictures of a 1600 cc SS steering part.

1626216


It won't be a five minutes job I think.

The two wires are indeed in a plastic insulation tube as Ruedi mentioned earlier, I measured that plastic tube at about 8 mm thickness.
On my picture you see only the left-over of the plastic insulation tube in the long pipe ( seen from the steering house side). The former owner probably pulled the wires out of the insulation tube. On that area the pipe is about 16 mm wide.
1626217


The long pipe ( 90 cm long) has a rubber seal that is pressed in the pipe at the top, just before the upper U-joint.
That rubber seal has a hole with about the same diameter as the insulated wires so that the wire is caught there, that's why it doesn't move I guess. The next picture shows the rubber seal at the right of the U-joint with the ( empty) insulation tube coming out .

1626237


1626225


I pushed the rubber seal with my pen so that you can see vaguely what it looks like.
It is pressed in that pipe and must have the form of a cork of a Sherry bottle, but with a central hole.

1626227


At the other side of that seal, you see the hole in the upper U-joint, it wasn't easy to measure the diameter but it must be approx. 8,5 to 9 mm.
Once you can get the wire through the upper U-joint, the diameter is becomming bigger ( 13 mm), that wouldn't be a problem anymore. The upper pipe must be about 25 cm.

If I would have to do this job, I would try to loose the bolts at both sides of the long pipe for lowering that pipe afterwards and extract the rubber seal at the top, leaving the upper U-joint in its place, attached at the upper steering pipe.
There are 4 bolts to detach that pipe from that U-joint. Please note that the 8 bolts of that U-joint are sicured per 4 with a wire as can be seen at the bottom of the next picture.

1626245


Then enter a new insulated wire from below to above, throught the rubber sealing, through the U-joint hole and then, the more easy part, through the upper steering pipe. Only when being sure that the wire is long enough comming out at the steering wheel, you should reënter the rubber seal, blocking the wires again.

I remember, and fwiw, having heard long time ago that people didn't bother putting back that rubber seal in that pipe. I don't know whether that is wise but I just mention it.

Because of not having other SS steering parts, I have no idea how the wire goes further at the underside, that could be important to know before starting the job.

Hope this helps.

Good luck,

Thierry
 

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Aah, Thierry is correct: The rubber plug at the upper U-joint is even shown in the parts catalog (I only recalled the one inside the steering wheel).

1626256
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you so much for taking the time to go through all that! Thats extremely helpful.
I thought Id done the hard part getting the horn push of the steering wheel without breaking it ! :)

Thierry: If Im following you correctly, youre suggesting loosening the 2 u-joints (which have 4 bolts), pulling out the rubber seal (if its even there), then re-threading new wire, replacing the rubber seal, then re-attach bolts at u-joint.....did I get that right....?
Obviously, this all might be a bit harder with the steering column in the car. I dont know how easy those bolts are to access.
And of course I have the task of removing the old wire, but maybe thats easy if "open up" those joints so I can see the wire - and possibly free it.

Thank so much - and the pictures are extremely helpful.
 

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Roger,

Please know that this is only my theoretical conclusion, based on what I can see here on how the parts that I have are constructed. I don't have the complete picture of the situation as I told you before. You should also check whether the lower side of that pipe can pass the U-joint on the steering box in the first place.

If possible, keep both the U-joints fixed on the car, not on that long pipe.
When loosening the bolts, try to prevent, in a mechannical way, the 4 U-joint bearings from gliding away from their central cross like Ruedi told before, I don't think it will be easy to find new U-joints.
As I had easier access to the SS steering parts here in my garage than you will have under the dashboard, I checked already the size of the socket that you will need for the bolts, see the picture, it is a 9 mm socket. Don't forget to remove and replace afterwards the sicuring wire that goes through the head of the bolts.
Maybe when the rubber seal is out of its housing yet, you could use the old wire to pull the new wire through the pipes and the holes.

Rgds,

Thierry

1626349


1626350
 

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Hi Roger,
sorry, I forgot to mention that it could be wise to make enough marks regarding the position of the steering wheel before loosening anything.

Good luck,

Thierry
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you Thierry for all your considered advice. Before I start on any of this, I’m going to do some thinking and more investigation. I don’t want to make the whole situation worse for the sake of the light flasher...all your thoughts and insights are invaluable. The process is obviously not simple...
Ill keep you posted.
Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update :
Looking at the u joints in my steering column, it’s apparent that I do not have “holes” through the centers of the joints (see Thierrys pic above). That means the wires are fed around the yokes of the joints - not good :(

this photo shows the lower joint:
1628203

here’s a close up :
The screw driver is pointing at the wires (threaded around the joint as opposed to through the center of the joint - not great)
1628204


here’s a close up of the face of the “cross” in the middle of the joint (a bit hard to see) - no hole !
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So....no wonder it’s difficult to feed the wires through - if you pull them they’re obviously going to bind on those joints.

how To fix this ?
Finding new joints is pretty much an impossible ask, so I’m wondering if I remove the joints and then drill holes to allow the wires to go through the centers (as they were meant to).....but you’re drilling through approx an inch of cast steel (?)....anyone have any suggestions or thoughts on this ?
I have no experience of this kind of machining - and am speaking to machine shops to ask their advice - it doesn’t seem an impossible task. Thoughts anyone ?
and any advice on removing those joints ?
thanks
Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update :
Managed to get the 2 steering u joints off the car.
1628731
By loosening the steering box mount I was able to create the small amount of room (approx 1”) I needed to get the u joints off. Once one is off, the other is much easier. You really have to be careful with these joints - read Ruedi and Thierry’s thoughts (above) - you have to make sure that the joints don’t drift apart - that would be a nightmare. You really need to mark everything and make sure you understand how everything fits together - you want to make sure everything stays “registered” so it goes back together the same way.

Next week I’m hoping to drill the holes in the joints - I found a machine shop that is able to do it....
 

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Hi Roger,

Looks good.
Occasionally U-joints have a central greasing channel, better check this on yours before the drilling.
I measured again the hole, I found 9mm, ask them to do some chamfering as I see it is done on the original U-joint that I have.
Make precautions that no filings at all can enter under the hoods.
Maybe after the drilling it is even better to renew the grease.

This are just some thoughts that crossed my mind, you probably knew them too.
Good luck and please show us the result of the drilling.

Rgds,

Thierry
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Thierry

I was going to do the "chamfering" and try and put a plastic liner in the hole (if I can).....
Im trying to avoid removing the end caps of the joints - but maybe I have to.....Id really rather leave those joints alone.
To check for a "central greasing channel", I would have to take the joint apart, correct? There isnt another way of doing it, is there?

Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The next installment....

I contacted Jon Norman Racing (1221 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710) and asked if he was able to cut the hole in the steering joints - he has a machine shop, so I thought it was a good place to start....after speaking to him, he recommended I speak to Conrad Stevenson (from the very impressive Stevenson Restoration)...I spoke to Conrad and strangely enough he had done a similar thing quite recently and recommended an engineering company called Custom EDM LLC. They’re a Bay Area company.


They use a process called Electrical Discharge machining - rather than drilling with a Drill bit they’re basically “melting”/“burning” with an electrode...or something like that :)...those joints are pretty hard and fairly thick.

Thierry had warned me that those joints might have “passages” in them...I took them apart to take a look...and of course Thierry was right (thank for the help and advice Thierry). There’s basically a drilled hole going from one joint side to the other - basically 2 drilled passages making a cross.

The guys at EDM we’re great - here’s one of the joints before the work:

1630002

And here it is with a flared copper lined hole through the center :

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The joints are back in the car with new wires, it all works great. Getting the joints back on wasnt as easy as taking them off! Especially the second one.

so what did I learn?
- I was a little concerned about drilling a hole through the joints and compromising the structure of the joint, I therefore made the hole as small as possible. Because I had to line the hole (because the joint has the passages I had to effectively “seal” it), I made the drilled hole around 10mm which meant I ended up with about 7mm hole after it was lined...which was big enough for the 2 16awg wires. It works but In hindsight I wish I’d made it a couple mm bigger. The joints I have could’ve handled It (they’re pretty over engineered) and it would’ve made putting it back together and dealing with the wires a lot easier...maybe next time....

But....it’s immensely satisfying knowing those wires are going through the joints (as originally intended)...and it all works beautifully (for now) :)

roger
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi Thierry -

From what I could understand of the joint, the "channels" (or paths...holes...) were created in the joint by drilling from one side to the other. So essentially you have a "cross" in an otherwise solid piece.
By putting the new hole through the center with a sleeve (which I felt you had to do to stop the "grease" running out into the center of the joint over time), I have blocked those passages. Based on what I saw of the joint after I opened it up, i thought that was acceptable....maybe thats a mistake! I re-greased the joints and put extra grease in the hole of each joint before reassembling.
But unless Alfa Romeo did something fancy with the original joints, they cant have "pathways" from one side to the other either (because theyre "sleeved", arent they?)......do you know if there were holes in the end of each universal joint "finger"? Maybe they didnt even have the holes....??? Those joints are fairly well sealed, and even if you have the pathways, you'd still have to dismantle the joint to put grease in there - theres no lubrication point.
Your help was much appreciated Thierry! Thank you.
Roger
 
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