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Discussion Starter #1
So I was searching the GT forum for previous posts about steering box oil recommendations. Between 2004 and 2009 seems like many GTVs were getting grease vs. 90w Oil. Is this still the current preference? I figure some of you who have tried this could chime in.

I know the topic of "oils" can sometimes go nowhere but, while were at it... what is your current favorite oil for:
Trans
LSD Diff
Non-LSD Diff
 

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I have had my 1967 Duetto for more than 40 years and never used anything but the recommended Hell Spirax 90w lube. I replaced the oil seal, this time it was an O-ring, a month ago and examined the box. Still in perfect condition. I have seen and taken apart boxes with grease inside too, but on those the lower bearings were worn. Replacing the lower oil seal can be made eith the box in the Alfa. There are several good threads in this matter at the alfabb.

Link-> http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/gt-1965-1974/55135-grease-vs-oil-burman-boxes.html

Another link in this matter->http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/search.php?searchid=2310186

So, I only use 90w lube.
 

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The RHD Alfas have the steering box on the opposite side to the exhaust manifold so the boxes tend to stay cool. The downside is that they are difficult to check and fill because the inlet manifold is in the way - therefore they tend to get ignored.

For a long time I've used a blend of both high temperature bearing grease and EP90 oil mixed to the consistency of honey. Box internals remain in good nick as the mixture penetrates well and the boxes don't leak.

Chris
 

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Penrite produces a steering box oil which is like a high pressure grease but still remains fluid so it doesn't 'tunnel' around bearings. Not sure if you can get it in the states.
 

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IMHO, using grease in a steering box is addressing a symptom. I'd fix the box/leak and use 90 weight gear oil.

Favorite oils used;
engine - Castrol GTX 20W-50
gearbox - straight 40 or 50 weight engine oil
diffs - off the shelf 90 weight gear oil
 

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IMHO, using grease in a steering box is addressing a symptom. I'd fix the box/leak and use 90 weight gear oil.

Favorite oils used;
engine - Castrol GTX 20W-50
gearbox - straight 40 or 50 weight engine oil
diffs - off the shelf 90 weight gear oil
Agree completely. Did I understand a previous post correctly that you can replace the seals with the box still in the car?

In the meantime, I've been using the Penrite product Holden | Oil, Grease & Fluids | Classic Penrite Oil | Penrite Steering Box Lube which can be bought in the US (often on ebay) and it at least reduces leakage.

John
 

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Did I understand a previous post correctly that you can replace the seals with the box still in the car?
Some Burman boxes used a conventional oil seal (not the same part, but similar to a wheel bearing seal). These can be replaced with the box in the car after you have removed the arm from the shaft.

Other Burman boxes use an O ring as an oil seal. I don't think the O ring can be accessed without disassembling the box, which of course requires that it be removed from the car. A much bigger job.

Does anyone know if these two designs are an "early car - late car" thing?
 

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Some Burman boxes used a conventional oil seal - much like the seal used at the front of the engine where the front pulley seals to the timing chain cover. These can be replaced with the box in the car after you have removed the arm from the shaft.

Other Burman boxes use an O ring as an oil seal. I don't think the O ring can be accessed without disassembling the box, which of course requires that it be removed from the car. A much bigger job.
I have swapped and replaced both types on 105 cars without removing the box. The tricky part is to remove the Pitman arm. Pulling out the oil seal or O-ring takes anly a few minutes. BTW, I use 28x4mm. Here where I live the standard dimension on the shelf is 28x3.5mm so I had them made.

There are several very good threads in this matter, I posted a few links in my first insert above.

Does anyone know if these two designs are an "early car - later car" thing?
On my 1967 Duetto I had an O-ring. On my friends 1968 I replaced the regular oil seal. Then, on a 1972 the oil seal was there, but on a 1971 I replaced the O-ring. I think Burman mixed them for some reason. I have not found any logic as usual when it comes to the cool Alfas yet.
 

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I use a marine outboard 80W90 EP gear oil, such as Valvoline. Many manufacturers sell similar, and they can be found in local auto parts stores, at least here in the States. I like that they come in a handy squeeze tube that makes it easier to top off the 'box.
 

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IMHO, using grease in a steering box is addressing a symptom. I'd fix the box/leak and use 90 weight gear oil.
Hai ragione. Anche io penso cosi. Agree, fixing the seals is not complicated. The Pitman arm might cause some problems to remove, but the rest is not hard at all.
 

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I use a marine outboard 80W90 EP gear oil, such as Valvoline. Many manufacturers sell similar, and they can be found in local auto parts stores, at least here in the States. I like that they come in a handy squeeze tube that makes it easier to top off the 'box.
That is nice. The Penrite product I use requires a syringe with a length of tubing attached. The thing I do like about the Penrite product is that it is apparently designed specifically for vintage steering boxes prone to leaking, but who knows if that really matters.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you everyone for all the info so far! I looked up Penrite's website and here is their US distributor's website for those who are interested.

RSC
 

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Chevron

I've got the Chevron equivalent of the Penrite lube in my (leaky) GTV steering box - Duralith 000. It's "semi-fluid", and here's what they say about it:
"NLGI 000 is a semifluid grease formulated to meet the lubrication requirements of underground mining machinery having enclosed gear cases where housings and seals have lost their ability to retain conventional gear oils."
I took the top off of the steering box and spooned it in - consistency much like honey, but red and nasty smelling.
Don't know where to get this stuff, as I split a tub with another Alfa owner about 8 years ago and he sourced it.
 

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A couple of years ago I purchased a spare Burman box from a wrecked Alfa that had been a daily driver until totalled. The box had a replacement lower seal put in around 1990 and was then filled with molybdenum disulphide grease. Apart from the black colour and smell, the internals were perfect. An N = 1 trial, but good enough for me.

I also realise that the factory recommended EP90 oil, but that was in the sixties and technology has advanced somewhat since then.

I guess the critical thing is that whatever you put in the box has to be liquid enough to penetrate where it has to penetrate and then has to possess sufficient lubricant properties so that when it reaches those parts, it protects them from wear under a variety of environmental conditions.

It's also nice if it doesn't leak out all over the floor.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I had not been feeling or hearing anything that made me concerned about the steering box. However, a screw came out that was holding up a relay box on the driver's side and I went looking for it thinking I might find it wedged somewhere below (no such luck). It was then that I discovered that my suspension below the steering box was COVERED in oil.

Ok. So, I just went and pried off the little black plug on top of the steering box and took a peek inside with a good flashlight. I was not surprised to find virtually no oil inside the steering box. The odd thing is that I saw some neon blue goop (grease?) in there. I don't want leaks, period. So, I'm more inclined to replace the seal (or o-ring).
1. Are the seals/o-rings and bushings readily available in the US through Centerline, IAP, etc?
2. Also, does anyone know the capacity of a dry steering box?
3. Is the correct fluid level about 1/2 inch from the top of the fill plug?

Many thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Willie R - Thanks for the links. The first one was quite informative. However the second link would not open for me. Could you post it again please? Thank you!
 

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2. Also, does anyone know the capacity of a dry steering box?
3. Is the correct fluid level about 1/2 inch from the top of the fill plug?
The capacity of the early boxes, with the fill plug toward the front of the vehicle, is 300ml.
The later boxes, with the plug on the firewall side, take 400ml.

1/2" will do for the level although the spec is 20mm for the early box. Don't have a spec on the later box.

Also, ensure that the fill plug is vented or the pressure in the box can either force the oil past the new seal/o-ring or blow out the plug.
 

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Can someone tell me the size of the O ring or seal on the ZDF steering box before I take it apart. It seems all the above refer to Burman boxes. The box is already out of the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Can someone tell me the size of the O ring or seal on the ZDF steering box before I take it apart. It seems all the above refer to Burman boxes. The box is already out of the car.
If it is an o-ring and not a seal, that is covered in the link that Willie R provided in post #2 of this thread.
 

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I have used a product called "liquid grease" for a number of years. It pours, albeit slowly when cold, and appears to fill all the voids and, as far as I can see, does not tunnel round the thread or arm.
So far so good, no leaks from the boxes and no appreciable wear either.
 
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