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Hi all, I would like to start by saying i just got my '87 alfa graduate at the beginning of the summer, and I have been working on it here and there since then, using the bb as a reference for what might be wrong. I would like to say thank you for all the help so far.
As I drive my car more I have noticed more and more play in the steering wheel, like the wheel wants to turn 1/10 a turn before it tightens up and then wants to move the wheels. Is this normal? Could it be the fact that the bushings are old? Any help or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks much ~Kyle
 

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Almost certainly tie rod ends.
Are you sure? cuz Ive been living with this on my 87 veloce for a few yrs now, and I hope it is that easy. Mine gets looser (more play) as you turn the wheel farthest away from straight. eg: if driving straight, v little play, but if you were turning wheel all the way to either direction, say if you're trying to park parallel or something, there is an awful lot of play on either left or right. ny ideas?
 

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eg: if driving straight, v little play, but if you were turning wheel all the way to either direction, say if you're trying to park parallel or something, there is an awful lot of play on either left or right. ny ideas?
You might want to check, or have checked the range/angle that the turnstops let the wheels deflect to.

I had a somewhat simular issue with mine that was resolved once I got the turn angle set so it didn't go too far.

To give you an idea, you should be getting around 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 turns, lock to lock. Much more than that and you're getting out to the mechanical edges of what the pivot arm on the steering box can usefully leverage with resulting in more perceived play at the wheel. (it feels looser because the arm is pointed almost in line/parallel with the centerlink rod instead of at an angle to it which produces more leverage)

Or, if you want something a bit more specific:
 

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You might want to check, or have checked the range/angle that the turnstops let the wheels deflect to.

I had a somewhat simular issue with mine that was resolved once I got the turn angle set so it didn't go too far.

To give you an idea, you should be getting around 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 turns, lock to lock. Much more than that and you're getting out to the mechanical edges of what the pivot arm on the steering box can usefully leverage with resulting in more perceived play at the wheel. (it feels looser because the arm is pointed almost in line/parallel with the centerlink rod instead of at an angle to it which produces more leverage)

Or, if you want something a bit more specific:
Wow, nice drawings....I will check out this angle thing and get back to you, maybe not today (just got back from a trip). I understand the leverage principle, though.

Now, I can check v easily the turns distance, but how to accomplish the angle thing and then measure accurately is a challenge, even with a protractor with a 10'base, if I could find one...
 

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Protractor only needs to be as big as 1/2 the diameter of the wheel as the axis point is at the wheel hub.

I suppose one could support the front suspension at it's normal ride height with the weight on it and the wheels off, then check the angles right off the hub proper using the face of the hub where the wheel abuts. (looks like that's where the angle is taken anyway)

Conversely, it's viable to check the total angle travelled lock to lock, which should be 56 degrees.

At least that way you'd know if the range was close to right.
 

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A typical, if not desirable, characteristic of the worm and roller ZF steering box.
Ahhhh, that's what I wanted to hear, LOL!! So, its not really broken, just alfaromeoicized......Ya hear that Bianchi (shouting with both hands cupped near mouth like a megaphone), my car isnt broken! Stop trying to make me a "good" offer under false pretense!! (LOL)

Whew, and I was about to have to go over chapters 3-6 in Geometry 101 had I attacked the angle method proposed by Tifosi (HAHAHA)!!

Thanks all.
 

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Regardless, you can't diagnose the problem without getting underneath the car and check the joints. If there is any doubt about the health of the steering system, it needs to be inspected (as it should be routinely, say once a year). Arbitrarily deciding the cause, then ignoring what might be a problem does not make it go away.
 
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