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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
Not really too surprised to learn today that my power steering rack is slowly leaking and just not needing a boot as originally (and optimistically) thought.
It harkens back to the gtv6 I had with manual rack and I actually liked it.
With that-
What are some cheap (and not so cheap) fixes to convert my rack to manual?
Is it as simple as just draining the power steering fluid out of the system, disconnect the power steering pump, and replace the boots after cleaning the tie rods up a bit/light greasing?

Thanks again in advance!
Bummed about the leak discovery but I'm sure there is some kind of a shade tree fix if I don't mind the manual approach.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Try some Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak. It "fixed" the leak in my Milano rack for many years.

If that doesn't work I would try to source a rebuilt rack or get yours rebuilt. The Milano has quite a nice power steering system, and it's one of the reasons the car handles better than the GTV6.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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I believe it's a faster rack than the manual one on the GTV6, and suspect that's a big part of the reason the Milano drives better.

I mean, it'll still have a faster ratio if you don't have the fluid flowing, but it's one of the nicer racks ZF ever made, and it's a shame to disable it.
 

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Powe steering

Yeah it’s a faster rack. As you say it’s also a really nice rack but I don’t think it makes any difference to the ultimate handling of the car. The sedan is a better balanced car in standard form due to weight distribution in my opinion. I have driven a few sedans and coupes on tracks.
To the point the power steering rack can be made to operate as a manual rack.
 

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Hey Adam

There's a place in Houston that will rebuild the rack for a reasonable amount (like $200??). R&R the rack is quite the chore but it's very doable by a home mechanic. In fact it's not one of those jobs made easier by a lift or special tools.

What makes it difficult is that there is very little access to the bolts holding the rack in place. It's one of those, insert wrench into tiny gap, turn bolt 1/8 of turn, pull wrench out, flip it over, insert wrench into tiny gap, turn bolt 1/8 of turn, pull wrench out, flip it over, .......

PM me if you want more advice. Definitely try the Lucas approach first.

Bye
 

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Discussion Starter #9
all thank you once again for the input!
My buddy at work in shop (Mercedes dealer-lol) said no reason to replace split rack boot if its leaking for you will just need another one soon caused by the same leak.
At this point I really have no interest in removing/rebuilding/replacing the rack although it is nice to hear it can be a driveway job.
If I lose power steering I will not be all too disappointed- I really just wanted to see if there was an easy to convert to manual (?).
With that all said-
At this point I think I will try the infamous lucas additive (versus the more volatile blue devil stop leak) and replace the rack boots.
If this approach fails,
probably just run manual for I kindof liked the manual feel of the gtv6 (sans parking- lol!).
 

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I always liked the PS in the Milano but if you search around you on the bb you will find various methods for making it a manual rack. In our Lemons Milano race car our PS wasn't working so we just removed the belt, reservoir, and pump (I can't remember if it even had any fluid in it when we did that, likely not). Then we just sealed off the openings where the hoses went in and ran it like that.

I know some have put grease in there which makes sense but I also can't remember if we did that or not, I imagine we did. Ran the car like that for years and many hard driven miles and never had any issues with it. We did however, go in there and tighten down the hold down bolts every couple races as they tended to loosen a bit. We didn't notice the heavier steering as our car was stripped to the bare bones so quite a bit lighter than stock.

If I was considering doing this on a street car I'd probably go the Lucas route first to see if that helped and if not then consider the manual conversion as it is a doable job to get it out but not fun.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Kevin thank you for your input as well!
Indeed that is what I was after-
I'll put a 'band aid' fix to the system w lucas and go the manual rack approach you stated if it craps out.

I always liked the PS in the Milano but if you search around you on the bb you will find various methods for making it a manual rack. In our Lemons Milano race car our PS wasn't working so we just removed the belt, reservoir, and pump (I can't remember if it even had any fluid in it when we did that, likely not). Then we just sealed off the openings where the hoses went in and ran it like that.

I know some have put grease in there which makes sense but I also can't remember if we did that or not, I imagine we did. Ran the car like that for years and many hard driven miles and never had any issues with it. We did however, go in there and tighten down the hold down bolts every couple races as they tended to loosen a bit. We didn't notice the heavier steering as our car was stripped to the bare bones so quite a bit lighter than stock.

If I was considering doing this on a street car I'd probably go the Lucas route first to see if that helped and if not then consider the manual conversion as it is a doable job to get it out but not fun.

Kevin
 

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I'll be the contrarian :)

I'm a big fan of the power steering rack in the Milano. It's nicely weighted, has a reasonable number of turns lock-to-lock, and communicates beautifully.

Keeping in mind that components of this hydraulically actuated system are over thirty years old, it's not unreasonable to have to refresh the seals, hoses and clamps. The original hoses were not of great quality, and began seeping before the cars hit their 5th or 6th birthdays! I've refreshed the racks, hoses and clamps in my Milanos (with commercially available hoses from your local hydraulic shops) and I don't even think about them "not working" anymore because ... they work.

One Milano I bought had a GTV6 rack installed. I've since converted that car back to the original configuration. The GTV6 rack is geared lower, hence more turns lock to lock, which after years of driving with the higher-geared Milano rack, felt ... wrong :D

I might clean up that "kit" and put it up for sale for those wishing to switch to the GTV6 rack. But first, I have to go find the pieces!
 

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The GTV6 rack sucks. I had one in the Milano and it was way too slow. Maybe in the GTV6 the shorter wheelbase helps. The GTV6 rack has that rubber coupling which gets loose with time. The Milano rack is bolted straight to the universal joint so maximum feel and tightness.

The Milano racks usually woud leak around 70K mi. Once rebuilt, they are pretty much bullet proof. For street power steering FTW!

The Milano rack needs a u turn hose if you remove all the P/S parts. I wonder if this part fits the Alfa. https://www.condorspeedshop.com/products/aluminum-power-steering-delete-block-plate-e30
 

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Discussion Starter #14
dig that part Louis.
wonder if it fits too!
 
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