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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Hey guys, I have a turn signal problem since I bought the car, now its time to fix it because it is starting to get on my nerves. Every time I turn the steering wheel, the turn signal lever turns with it, activating my turn signals on the car. Kind of annoying! I have attatched a video so you can see what I am talking about. Any ideas on how to fix it? Thank you!!
-Jonathan
 

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The turn signal cancelling mechanism is one of the oddities of an Alfa. It uses a long coil spring wrapped 540 degrees around the steering column. When the friction between the spring and column is just right, everything works nicely. If the friction is to great, you get your symptoms - the signals going on with every turn. A more common problem occurs with too little friction - the signals don't cancel.

All you can do is to pull off the steering wheel, and examine the mechanism. Perhaps the fix will be as simple as applying some grease to the spring/column. Hint: you need a puller to remove the steering wheel. Search the BB for many threads on removing steering wheels.
 

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What Jay said. You might find, upon examination, that the steering shaft has some bits of rust on it, which are grabbing the spring. In that case, polish the shaft. Another possibility is that at some time in the past forty years the original spring became too weak and a PO tightened it too much by stretching it and attaching it further along the spring, or might have replaced it entirely with the wrong spring.

Another possibility just occurred to me: Does the arm itself have a noticeable stop at the center position? In other words, might the detent be worn and not have enough hold to keep the spring from moving it? Not that the center detent holds the arm very strongly to begin with; it's kind of vague, but should be enough to keep the arm from moving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ahh I see! Thank you for the tips. When I can get to a puller next week, I'll give it a look.
Bob, the arm feels very loose and it's possible that the detent is worn down. That might just be it because i can move the arm forwards, back, up, down and pretty much every which way.. What would need to be done if this is the case?
 

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I was able to inspect and, in my case, remove the broken spring (that shorted out and caused some smoke--but that is another story) without removing the steering wheel on my '74. Just removed the two-piece black plastic surrounding that part of the steering column. Not sure if that applies to your '71 though.
 

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Ahh I see! Thank you for the tips. When I can get to a puller next week, I'll give it a look.
As jrogue wrote, by removing the upper and lower steering column shroud pieces, you can at least observe the operation of the cancelling spring. There are 4 allen screws holding the shroud halves together - access them from underneath. While you have things opened up, you might just try squirting some oil where the spring wraps around the column - that might fix things.

Someone (was it jrogue?) reported that he had replaced the spring by just removing the shroud - i.e., without removing the wheel. But you will have much better access with the wheel (and shroud) removed.

the arm feels very loose and it's possible that the detent is worn down. That might just be it because i can move the arm forwards, back, up, down and pretty much every which way.. What would need to be done if this is the case?
Yea, they all feel that way. Probably felt loose when new. That isn't necessarily your problem, but if it is, the only fix is a new or good used turn signal & headlight switch. And, they're expensive! See: http://www.centerlinealfa.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-HS520.html?L+scstore+xskz7190fffbc3fb+1312985453

If you can't fix the spring tension and/or detent so that the turn signals will cancel reliably, the cheapskate fix is to just remove the spring, and not have self-cancelling. That would be a whole lot better than the situation you have.

Last tip: When you go to reinstall your steering wheel, smear some anti-seize on the shaft - it will make it much easier to remove the next time.
 

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You'll forgive me if I'm I'm mistaken as I'm a bit fuzzy today, but isn't there a plastic sleeve of some sort that slips loosely over the column that the spring wraps around to prevent the spring being drug along by the turning of the column?

I swear I remember a not too long ago thread (meaning 'within the last 2~ish years') where someone was trying to work out which way the spring wound and that sleeve came up as part of the discussion.

Perhaps said sleeve, if present, has worn through and is now allowing the spring to drag, or is outright missing due to a PO tinkering things?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Good find! I should be able to access a puller tomorrow so I can give it a look.
 

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I pulled that spring off 30 years ago and have never missed it. Just use the lever manually, brush the fingers of your left hand over it as you come out of the turn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Now I took off the steering wheel and looked at it today and I am not sure if the plastic sleeve that Tifosi mentioned should be greased/oiled up or not. should the spring be able to slide on the sleeve easily? As of right now, the spring does not slide that well. Hopefully this is the problem, and not the detent. The loose turn signal arm has got me worried..
 

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I don't believe the spring should be wrapped around the sleeve, and in the thread that Darren linked to, the original poster pushed the sleeve back down the column and roughed up the column a bit. If the spring is wrapped around the sleeve, and the sleeve moves freely on the column, then there's no force to pull the arm back into center position. I'm 99.44% sure my spring is not wrapped around any sleeve.
 

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You might be right on that slip vs friction fit, though I'm fairly convinced the sleeve in general would help prevent noise and the spring from wearing at the column or vice versa regardless of anything else it might/might not be there to do.

Dredged these up while trying to find more info on the topic.
Some say 'gotta have it', some say 'don't need it', and in one of them I think there's even a toss up on whether it should slip or not.
Beyond all that, there's some really good pix of the assembly both with and without, and mabe even more importantly, a schematic showing specifically how the spring should be wound around the column.

Help! Noisy duetto flasher canceling spring (page 2)
Turn lights. Auto turn lights feature?
Turn signal switch spring
 

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Noisy spring? Easily solved: push the go pedal harder. :)

Looking through those threads, there seems to be no consensus on whether there should be a sleeve or not. I would say that if there is supposed to be a sleeve, there has to be enough friction between the sleeve and the steering column so the sleeve turns with it, or else it wouldn't tension the spring to return the arm to center. But the spring needs enough slip so that it isn't pulled back out of center once it's there.

I should say, it looks like there is supposed to be a sleeve on the steering shaft per the parts diagram, the issue is whether the spring should ride on it or not, and the parts book isn't any help in that regard.
 
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