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Discussion Starter #1
The Montreal needs new center (2 inner) track rod ends because the old ones are worn and loose. The rest of the rod ends all seem to be tight and in good condition. Would anyone have any experience with the 'set of 6' that Classic Alfa offers for $72.05?
SU132 COMPLETE SET OF 6 TRACK ROD ENDS - Classic Alfa

I read in "Montreal the Essential Companion" that "castellated nuts should be used in preference to longer ones with Nyloc nuts". The set Classic Alfa offers has two rod ends with castellated nuts while the other 4 have Nyloc nuts. I am looking for feedback, either positive or negative regarding fit and function on the complete set. I can see that clearance is very tight between rod ends under the idler box.

It seems the alternative would be to buy a pair of OEM type inner track rod ends for about $90.
SU050 TRACK ROD END - INNER - LEFT HAND THREAD (LEMFORDER) - Classic Alfa
SU051 TRACK ROD END - INNER - RIGHT HAND THREAD (LEMFORDER) - Classic Alfa
The rest of the OEM type ends also appear to have Nyloc nuts. I like the idea of replacing all 6 ends (for less than the cost of just the two needed). A complete set of 6 OEM rod ends would be over $250 and four would still have Nyloc nuts.

Would you share your experience/opinion?
Mark
 

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If memory serves, there are only two rods that must have castle nuts, due to clearance limits. The others can get by with friction nuts.

If memory serves.......
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'd say that you are right, Don, based on what Classic Alfa carries. Also I really wonder if the cheaper set of six ends is any good? I doubt that this car will ever see significant mileage, as in 'everyday usage' (I do drive it to work and regularly on weekends:)) the ends need to fit and work.
Thanks,
Mark

Update: Lemforder's on order
 

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You'll get at least 20,000 miles on the ends, right? 2,000 miles per year = 10 years. It's not really a hard job to change them, and every 10 years or so you ought to have the alignment checked anyway.

I'd view the ends as routine maintenance rather than parts that ought to last the life of the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
While the car is back up on jack stands so the tie rod ends can be replaced it seemed like a good time to replace the sway bar bushings and mounts. The old bushings fit the sway bar ends very tightly but the new sway bar bushings seem almost like bearings on the sway bar ends. A hydraulic press was required to press the bushings into the drop links but the inner diameter of the bushings is fairly loose on the sway bar ends; is this anything to worry about? Also the springs need to come out and be replaced with shorter ones.

Mark
 

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Mark,

FWIW, I bought that set for my Montreal and installed a new new set of rods, bushings, etc. while the engine was out of the car. I had zero issues with the fitment of the set and was very pleased with the quality.

Thanks, JP
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks JP, I have sandblasted and repainted the sway bar and drop ends and have the new bushings all pressed in the drop ends. I still need to remove the track rod ends but they do not want to budge. I've tried using the old 'pickle fork' but can not exert much force on the ends. I am sure it would be easier with the engine out but I hope never to go there. I guess a new tie rod end extractor is required...
Mark
 

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I've used the rod-puller from Horrible Freight for many years. Works a treat. It's the one that looks somewhat like a clothes pin with a pivot in the middle and a spreader bolt at the back. One arm has a semi-circle cut out to surround the body of the joint, and the other end presses on the tip of the threaded end of the ball swivel.

BANG, off it will come.
 

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I use the same Horrible Freight model and it works just like Don says...be ready for the BANG!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
For $20 it is hard to beat the Horrible (Harbor) Freight track rod end 'puller'. I was ready for the big Bang or so I thought; it happened a few seconds after I dropped my socket wrench and I was not expecting it, BAM! Fortunately the track rod missed hitting me in the head by an inch or two.

JP, did you get the steering box reinforcement plates from 105Revive or were you able to get them from APE when Larry rebuilt your steering box? And didn't I see someplace a comment about removing a Heli-coil and bolting through the two lower attachment points? Probably Bruce Taylor's site or book...yes, the web-site:
'As fracture of the lower front mounting lug is not uncommon, it may be desirable to unwind the helicoil in it and replace the bolt by a longer one with a nut and large washer to spread the load.' I wonder how hard it is to remove a Heli-coil?

A drawing along with a dimension sheet are also provided under the heading "Steering" shown in the index.

Thanks for the help Don and JP (and Bruce)!

Mark
 

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Mark, I got the plates from 105Revive. Somewhere in my post I described how to use dye penetrant to ensure the mounting ears did not have cracks. Highly recommend that before you send the box to APE.

Thanks, JP
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks JP! In my 'laboratory' days, long ago, I used to do a fair amount of non-destructive testing and probably used dye penetrant to check a couple miles of stainless steel welds for power plant applications; X-ray, magnetic particle inspection, ATS did it all. My hope was that you were able to pick up the reinforcement plates locally from APE to save money and time.

The shorter, stiffer springs finally went in this morning with their new spring perches, rubber seats and steel seats. Honestly it was a PITA!
Alfa spring perch rubber seat and steel seat.jpg

I used four threaded rods with anti-seize compound but had difficulty getting the fourth bolt in, on both sides.
spring installation.jpg

The new track rod ends were just bare cast iron so I had to paint them before installation. I guess you don't always get what you pay for... Alfa track rod ends bare.jpg
Hopefully they won't rust anytime soon...
Alfa track rod ends painted.jpg

The track rod and sway bar, new mounts and bushings are ready to go in tonight; if I am up to it.
Mark
 

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A late reply ... again ;)

I bought the cheaper tie rod end kit from Classic Alfa way back when since they were out of Alfa's original Lemförder ends. Didnt drive much after fitting them, but the quality seemed OK.

As Don says, they are maintenance parts and should only live so long anyway. They can be sourced from many places, since the exact same ends can be found on contemporary Volkswagens (Type 3) and euro Fords (17M, 20M).

Just take care in centering the steering wheel and straightening the wheels before fitting the tie rods. I only remembered the last part :D
 

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Ah the HF buster outer tool. I found that leaving the nut on will keep surprises to a minimum. I'd forgotten and when this lower ball joint from my 164 let go, it shot 20 feet or more and I'm lucky it didn't hit anything on the way to its final resting place across the garage. Ciao jc
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just take care in centering the steering wheel and straightening the wheels before fitting the tie rods. I only remembered the last part :D
Me too...apparently

When the track rod was removed, the threads exposed at each tie rod end were carefully counted and recorded; right on the trusty yard stick. As a precaution the overall length of the track rod was also measured and recorded on the same device. Once the new Lemforder track rod ends were installed with the previous number of threads showing the overall length of the track rod was measured again and found to be over 1/2" shorter.:surprise:

The ends were readjusted to give the original overall length since that is probably more important. Unfortunately the steering wheel is '****ed' a few degrees clockwise. The plan is to take the car in for an alignment for both the steering wheel and the drive wheels!

The Montreal track rod is formed with a center 'drop section' (to clear the bell-housing) so can it be adjusted while it is on the car, or does this require it be removed for adjustment & reinstalled? (Harbor Freight tool to the rescue again)

On most Alfa track rods the nuts on the tie rod ends can be loosened and the track rod turned but this is not the case on the Montreal. There is no room to turn the track rod. The alignment guy (Gene) at Butler Tire in Marietta is very good, hopefully he can figure it out.

Similarly, the upper suspension (castor) arms both have a 'built-in' curve to provide clearance for the tires but this must make adjustment more difficult as well.

The car definitely rides and handles better, 1-5/8" lower, which makes a huge difference. The bottom of the spring perches is 4" (which did not change) and the exhaust center mufflers are 4-1/4"; so no speed bumps. With the hood up, that V-8 almost appears to be sitting on the ground it is so low.

Mark
 

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The Montreal track rod is formed with a center 'drop section' (to clear the bell-housing) so can it be adjusted while it is on the car, or does this require it be removed for adjustment & reinstalled? (Harbor Freight tool to the rescue again)

On most Alfa track rods the nuts on the tie rod ends can be loosened and the track rod turned but this is not the case on the Montreal. There is no room to turn the track rod. The alignment guy (Gene) at Butler Tire in Marietta is very good, hopefully he can figure it out.
Sorry if all this is obvious, but it's probably useful for someone :)

There's no need to perform any special tricks in order to twist the longer center rod. At least it shouldn't be, unless the suspension is so low the rod nudges against the bell housing to begin with.

Regarding "no room to turn the track rod", it should definitely be. I remember playing around with the six ends for a while before getting them right with regard to the nuts (castellated vs. nyloc), threads (lefty, righty) and length of the threaded bit. Everything should come together nicely if the parts are correct. The Montreal's steering components are basically the same as on other 105 cars and are adjusted the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Regarding "no room to turn the track rod", it should definitely be... The Montreal's steering components are basically the same as on other 105 cars and are adjusted the same way.
Well, I've had five, type 105 Alfa Romeos and don't know if this is the case. I don't recall any of the other cars having a track rod with a lowered center section and relatively little clearance. Admittedly I have probably spent more time lately under the Montreal than the other 105 Alfas combined. The Duetto got all new bushings, rod ends, springs etc. but that was a long time ago.

This is not the best track rod photo (just one on the computer before removal, sand blasting and new ends) there is very little clearance for the track rod (~3/16" or 1/4") as it is and certainly not enough room to rotate it in position without hitting the bell housing. Track rod.jpg

Mark
 

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Yup, the Montreal had to make several adjustments to clear the changes made to the original 105 chassis. The center link is adjusted to match the overall specification, and the outer link rods adjusted to set the toe-in and steering wheel center. The caster adjust rods have the kink in them to clear the wider tires. While you can twist it 360 degrees to maintain the clearance, you can also remove the two bolts from the forward joint and rotate it 180 for a finer adjustment. My car had one correct caster rod and one standard 105 unit. I found a Montreal rod from Larry and sorted that out. Anyone want a standard 105 caster rod?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The center link is adjusted to match the overall specification...
How? Adjusted off the car or on; hope not to mess up the new paint job which would probably happen if the track rod is rotated 180 degrees while on the car.

Fortunately castor rods are both correctly bent to factory specifications.

Mark
 

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How? Adjusted off the car or on; hope not to mess up the new paint job which would probably happen if the track rod is rotated 180 degrees while on the car.

Fortunately castor rods are both correctly bent to factory specifications.

Mark
I believe there is a spec for the length from pin to pin on the center link. You adjust that off the car, then install with the bent rod hanging down. Then adjust the outer links.

The caster rod is, indeed, pre bent. But, the length must be adjusted to obtain the desired caster.
 
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