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Discussion Starter #1
Hello guys. After a really long wait, my steering box has been properly rebuilt. I will be collecting it tomorrow.
Question: Can I fill the steering box with CV grease instead of oil? I think CV grease will do a better job protecting and lubricating than oil? It will also be less prone to leaks etc?

Anyone done this before? Any advice appreciated :thumbs:
 

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Burman or ZF box?

People do use semi-liquid grease to slow down a bad oil leak from the box........as a temporary fix.
If a box has been properly rebuilt then I'd, personally, stick to what alfa intended....gear oil.

one of the top rebuilders of Burman boxes over here in Germany writes on his website: "the use of grease will cause irreparible damage".....whether true I do not know.

some further discussion here:..... grease, no grease, grease mixed part with oil.... etc;)
Grease vs Oil in Burman Boxes - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mine is a Burman.
Thanks - had a look at the discussion mentioned and it seems that oil would be the first choice.
 

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What was the original recommendation from Alfa Romeo?

CV grease is unsuitable by itself as it is essentially a bearing grease and too hard to flow properly. The moly additive would be good though. CV grease needs to be thinned out with some sort of oil if you want to use it. A lot of older gearboxes don't like EP gear oil, some are fine with it. An SAE90 gear oil or ISO220 would do the trick. You just need to pick one with the correct additive pack

Semi fluid grease is generally a good solution if straight gear oil is unsuitable or tends to leak out. Some can get very soft and flow well. These are usually intended for industrial gearboxes that don't require anywhere near the level of EP an automotive gear oil would have so may or may not be suitable depending on the design.
 

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I would use GL-5 SAE 90 oil then, simple. I think mixing in some CV grease could help but a majority of CV grease is not a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks I will leave the grease idea then and just fill with appropriate oil.
Maybe one day when it starts leaking I will explore the grease options again.
 

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SAE 90 oil is the right stuff. If your box doesn't leak that's the correct thing. If it leaks a carefully selected low viscosity grease is a stopgap measure until you can afford to replace or rebuild the box.
 

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SAE 90 oil is the right stuff. If your box doesn't leak that's the correct thing. If it leaks a carefully selected low viscosity grease is a stopgap measure until you can afford to replace or rebuild the box.
agree totally..

the penrite is OK stuff for a short term "stop-a-leak" fix it, but, as it says on the box:
"Suitable for veteran/vintage and some classic car steering boxes, this high viscosity (1200w) self-levelling grease features non-corrosive extreme pressure (EP) additives to provide film strength."

........apart from the viscosity, burmans do not like EP.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thanks guys. My box has been rebuilt so I will refill it with oil. What will happen if I use EP in the burman?

Then another question, I have refitted the box but having some trouble with the bits and pieces at the steering wheels end. I've got a spring, sleeve, key and some kind of spring type washer.
How does this all fit together?

The way I see it is first put the spring on, then the sleeve with the thick end on the spring, and then the key in the gap. But now where does the weird spring washer go? Any advise would be appreciated.
 

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Presumably you paid quite a lot as they are not cheap to buy or rebuild, I would fill it with the correct oil, if it leaks you know it hasn't been rebuilt properly, no sense using grease just in case it wasn't done correctly,
 

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Discussion Starter #14

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Why do you say burmans do not like EP? GL-5 is recommended, It is an EP oil, and far higher EP than the likes of a liquid grease which has typically very low levels of EP additives that meet GL-2,3 performance and would not be agressive towards yellow metals. If the box was not designed for agressive EP additives they would not recommend GL-5.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
That's what the guy said who sold me the ep oil. He said it would be fine. EP apparently stands for 'extreme pressure'? So now I'm a bit confused :eek:
 

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Ep additives are mainly , but not exclusively, sulphur based , sulphur attacks yellow metals. The sulphur is why gear box oil typically smells so distinctive .
 

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Ep additives are mainly , but not exclusively, sulphur based , sulphur attacks yellow metals. The sulphur is why gear box oil typically smells so distinctive .

I'm not an expert on these steering boxes but from the photos posted I can't see any yellow metal to worry about. Alfa say to use GL-5 so It's safe to assume there is no yellow metal.

Virtually all gear oil from GL-2 to GL-5 will have some level of EP additives. There is nothing to worry about if you use the correct spec for the application.
 

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my understanding (that is all it is, not gospel by any means!!) of the correct oil is:
an "SAE90 gear oil".........as opposed to an "EP90 gear oil".

the german rebuilder of Burmans (Kfz Leupold), says on his site 'do not use oils with EP additives'.....which I take to mean an oil that specifically says "EP" on the can.....??

As example of an 'SAE 90 gear oil' would be this (note the "worm" part, which the Burman gear is):
Castrol Gear Oil - ST90 for vintage & classic cars
An example of an 'EP 90 gear oil' would be:
Castrol Gear Oil - Manual EP90 for vintage & classic cars

Boy, am I happy to have ZF power steering.....stick in ATF and be done with it:)
 

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Clearly there is some confusion here , EP additives take many forms , when 2 surfaces are passing by each other at high speed with a film of lubricant between them a hydrodynamic fluid film will be created and no contact will be made between the opposing metal faces. However on start up and slow speed heavily loaded applications the two surfaces will touch . this can create Microscopic deterioration of the surfaces. In order to solve this other materials have been added to oils to create barriers or sacrificial layers . Steering boxes have some yellow metal in them and this responds poorly to Sulfur , Active Sulfur is one of the most commonly added EP additives as it creates a sacrificial active metal soap on the metal surfaces that prevents damage as surfaces touch.

the GL rating broadly relates to the amount of Sulfur in the product . here is an excellent paper written on the subject . http://www.widman.biz/uploads/Transaxle_oil.pdf this is not aimed at alfas but the chemistry is the same .

There is a confusing array of Lubricant tests and one of these is the copper strip corrosion test . it is an active indicator of the aggression of the active EP ingredient on yellow metals . 1a is the lowest and anything above this indicates higher levels of attack .

So here goes with my ramblings . Steering boxes are slow speed applications, a low viscosity grease is able to provide the slow speed barrier film we need in this sort of medium load application and if it has low copper corrosion results (1a) it will be fine in your steering box .

It could be that Alfa didnt' put this in in the first place as its not something dealers would have in the store , would have been more expensive and is a bit more difficult to use than oil .

http://www.penriteoil.com.au/pis_pdfs/STEERING BOX LUBE OCTOBER 2013.pdf

Having said all of this , if your box does not leak sticking in a low GL oil would be fine !

Mine does Leak despite being overhauled a few years ago , so hence my move to grease .

Cheers .

p.s I used to work for a specialist Lubricant company ( but it was a few years ago )
 
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