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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I have a 1991 Spider Veloce LHD, with power steering.

It has a leak which looks like its coming from the lower steering box seal.

I found a good thread on replacing the lower steering seal on a Burman box. My ZF box looked the same so I tried it.

As in the thread, I removed the large nut and then the rocker arm. I thought I was going to find the seal, but all I found was a circlip. I removed the clip and under that was metal. See pic below.

IMG_8559.jpg

As anyone replaced the lower seal in an S4?

Is there such a seal?

Thank you in advance for any help.

Sincerely,

Vin
 

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Only advice I can give is to check the issue really is just a seal. If the bearings or box is worn and there's too much movement then the seal will always have a problem. I just had this issue and ended up replacing the whole steering box.
 

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Vin, you probably know this oldish thread on BB, but in case not, some useful info there (from post #18 onwards) - and post#26 seems to show a seal just sitting there.
Steering Tie Rods and Idler Steering Box - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

Although my box is not leaking (touch wood!) it certainly would be useful to have an "exploded view" of the darn thing...but I cannot find one anywhere on the web, and the ZF site is fairly useless, apart from this pdf which is all too technical for me!
http://www.zf.com/media/media/document/corporate_2/company_4/tradition_3/service/historische_datenbl_tter/lenkungen/Typ_8052__G8052_1_-_970.pdf

I know where there is a brand new power steering gearbox for the S4 for sale (see photo), but at 1400 euros would be for you one helluva'n expensive rubber Oil seal!:) ....not that the box isn't worth what he is asking for it, as it is a rare to find piece these days!

Maybe have a word with Msiert on alfaBB (Nebraska member) as he seems to have worked on these p/s boxes.
It was suggested the seal is the same as the manual ZF boxes on alfas (but nobody has confirmed this!), such as those classic alfa sells:
http://www.classicalfa.com/products/SU082-STEERING-BOX-BOTTOM-OIL-SEAL-%2d-ZF-BOX.html
Dominic
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Only advice I can give is to check the issue really is just a seal. If the bearings or box is worn and there's too much movement then the seal will always have a problem. I just had this issue and ended up replacing the whole steering box.
Hello harryf,

Thank you. There is no play in the steering. All is well, except for the leak at the bottom.

I'd rather not replace the whole box when a seal will do, but who knows where this adventure will take me.

Thanks again,

Vin
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Vin, you probably know this oldish thread on BB, but in case not, some useful info there (from post #18 onwards) - and post#26 seems to show a seal just sitting there.
Steering Tie Rods and Idler Steering Box - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

Although my box is not leaking (touch wood!) it certainly would be useful to have an "exploded view" of the darn thing...but I cannot find one anywhere on the web, and the ZF site is fairly useless, apart from this pdf which is all too technical for me!
http://www.zf.com/media/media/document/corporate_2/company_4/tradition_3/service/historische_datenbl_tter/lenkungen/Typ_8052__G8052_1_-_970.pdf

I know where there is a brand new power steering gearbox for the S4 for sale (see photo), but at 1400 euros would be for you one helluva'n expensive rubber Oil seal!:) ....not that the box isn't worth what he is asking for it, as it is a rare to find piece these days!

Maybe have a word with Msiert on alfaBB (Nebraska member) as he seems to have worked on these p/s boxes.
It was suggested the seal is the same as the manual ZF boxes on alfas (but nobody has confirmed this!), such as those classic alfa sells:
SU082 STEERING BOX BOTTOM OIL SEAL - ZF BOX - Classic Alfa
Dominic
Hello Dominic,

Thanks for the reply.

That was a good thread. I have spoken to msiert on this to see what he did to resolve his issue. In the end, he didnt do much. He is living with his leak which he says only comes during the cold months, then he parks for the winter.

I would buy that zf oil seal from classicalfa in a heart beat if I could figure out where it went.

I really do think the Power Steering assembly is different from the non power ZF boxes.

As in msierts thread, I also have that "oil seal" between the pitman arm and the steering shaft. See picture. But I have to say, I think that is a dust boot and not an oil seal.

Vin

Shaft seal.jpg
 

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Vin,
I have just had a thought!...probably grasping at straws here:)

when you take off the circlip and you said there is only metal there (no seal) how sure are you that that metal you see is not in fact a tight fitting washer or shim or spacer which just makes you think it is solid and behind that is the oil seal?
A circlip is designed to hold something in - is what I am thinking - so removing the circlip allows something to come out, and you wouldn't put a circlip straight on an oil seal!)

Have you tried to move the metal behind the circlip with a screwdriver or a thin sharp punch, or a good magnet?
 

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My idler box is being refurbished at Classic Alfa right now (made less straightforward by the RHD conversion).
 

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very rare that the idler box itself goes - what were the symptoms (just out of interest) that made you send it off for repair?
 

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very rare that the idler box itself goes - what were the symptoms (just out of interest) that made you send it off for repair?
Creaking & groaning in hot weather & wheel wobble.

Re-packing it (the bearings) with grease only solved the issue for a few hundred miles but as the grease seeped out and the symptoms returned.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
when you take off the circlip and you said there is only metal there (no seal) how sure are you that that metal you see is not in fact a tight fitting washer or shim or spacer which just makes you think it is solid and behind that is the oil seal?
A circlip is designed to hold something in - is what I am thinking - so removing the circlip allows something to come out, and you wouldn't put a circlip straight on an oil seal!)
Ding! Ding! Ding!

Give that man a teddy bear!

After some encouraging words from papajam, I took a flat head screw driver and tapped around the out edges of the metal part. Around and around and around until I see it starting to move!

Yes its a washer. I will post a picture here. but not just any washer you can pick up at your local hardware or auto parts store (of course!).

Under that you will find a seal!

More of an O ring, on the left. Under that is a metal washer of sorts, on the right, that fits up and around the shaft. Damaged that taking it out.:cry:


IMG_8618.jpg

Size of the O ring is 28mm ID x 38mm OD x 3.25mm H (the thickness could be slightly off, but measures better at 1/8".

Size of the metal washer is 28mm ID x 36mm OD x 2mm (thickness is actually very thin, around 0.5mm, but 2.0mm is from the top of the lip to the bottom of the washer)

I'm off to the bearing shop tomorrow to see if they have a match. Hopefully something for that metal washer.

Anybody have an idea what its for?

Thanks to all for their help.

Vin
 

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just thinking about the design....
you say in a post above that that thin metal washer with the lip "Under that is a metal washer of sorts, on the right, that fits up and around the shaft" - do you mean the lip is facing out at you?...so the rubber seal fits over the lip of this thin metal washer...so the lip is theoretically about 1mm inside the inner sealing surface of the rubber seal?

If that is the case the shaft coming out of the box is actually making first contact with the lip of that metal washer, no? I wonder how that seals properly?.....metal on metal is not the greatest oil seal!

....or am I missing something here (wouldn't be the first time;))
 

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Discussion Starter #13
just thinking about the design....
you say in a post above that that thin metal washer with the lip "Under that is a metal washer of sorts, on the right, that fits up and around the shaft" - do you mean the lip is facing out at you?...so the rubber seal fits over the lip of this thin metal washer...so the lip is theoretically about 1mm inside the inner sealing surface of the rubber seal?

If that is the case the shaft coming out of the box is actually making first contact with the lip of that metal washer, no? I wonder how that seals properly?.....metal on metal is not the greatest oil seal!

....or am I missing something here (wouldn't be the first time;))
The lip is facing up.

Yes, it is definitely in contact with the shaft. You can see a faint line around the shaft, about 50mm from the end, in this picture. I may have to put on a sleeve, but the groove is very faint.

IMG_8677.jpg

I don't understand the design either. I can't think of a reason or purpose this washer has.

Here is a picture of the washer showing the lip. Orientation of the washer in situ.

IMG_8706.jpg

And the side that comes into contace with the rubber seal. It is perfectly flat.

IMG_8707.jpg

Since I damaged that washer a bit, and can't really see its purpose, I may just not install it and see what happens.

Vin
 

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It is very odd you know Vin that there is just this one seal holding in that incredible pressurel............you sure there is not another seal hiding in there somewhere? Normally p/s boxes have proper oilseals in them (like the ones with springs inside them), much like a so-called shaft seal (which is what it is supposed to do, "seal a moveable shaft"!)

That idea of metal on metal is all wrong to me, no wonder it has scored the shaft a little! I do wonder if some PO hasn't been in there before and put things back in, incorrectly!!
Trouble with leaving out that nasty shim, is that the circlip will not seat nice and tight and hold the whole in place snugly (or even to compress the seal a few thousandths, which might be what it is meant to do)

Can you show a photo of the seat onto which that shim sits, inside the bore you took it out of? That might give a better idea.......if you get the chance. Ta!

I sent a mail to those guys with the steering box repair kit asking them exactly what is in the kit, if they reply I'll let you know and have asked them to send me a photo of the kit.

PS: if the wear ring is very slight as you say you might be able to buff it away or use the finest emery, but don't buff it up and down the shaft, follow the line of the mark around the shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
spiderserie4;4557785Can you show a photo of the seat onto which that shim sits said:
Here is a picture of where that shim sits. You will see a small lip, few mm's wide with writing on it. That is where it sits. When in place you can not see the writing.

IMG_8586.jpg

Here is a picture with the rubber o ring removed, the shaft stil in place and the shim still in place. The shim can be seen as white ring.

IMG_8567.jpg


The only thing I can think of as I look at that picture is the shim acts as a stop the the rubber seal getting up into the bearing.

Yes, I am sure, there is no other seal in there.

I spoke with a nice technician at ZF North America and he explained that there is actually very little pressure down there at the bottom of the shaft. :confused:

Vin
 

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Hi Vin,
good photos thanks! Good to hear the ZF man explained that the pressure is not in this part of the box.
now just a thought: you see that very last thin lip inside the casing that I have arrowed in red, just before the roller bearing...would that thin-lipped shim fit in there but inverted? ie. lip facing into the shaft housing?........if it does, does it fit perfectly?

If it does, this is the way it might have to go back in, that way the seal alone is left to seal the shaft, with no metal lip poking half way up the rubber seal's sealing lip.????....if not then it's back to the drawing board for me:)
EDIT! I see now that the writing is the size of that roller bearing stamped into the bearing itself so probably not a good idea to invert that shim......dunno about this theory I just had:(
(However, if you could somehow read off this writing it would be useful for someone who has to replace this as it would allow them to pre order this bearing if they needed to)

While we are in there, what are the sizes of these O rings (arrowed), do you know? Do you also know how many shims, if any, there were under this cover on your pump?
(there might not be any as the O ring is there, so would be defeating the point, but better to ask - normally shims here adjust the free end float)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
now just a thought: you see that very last thin lip inside the casing that I have arrowed in red, just before the roller bearing...would that thin-lipped shim fit in there but inverted? ie. lip facing into the shaft housing?........if it does, does it fit perfectly?

While we are in there, what are the sizes of these O rings (arrowed), do you know? Do you also know how many shims, if any, there were under this cover on your pump?
(there might not be any as the O ring is there, so would be defeating the point, but better to ask - normally shims here adjust the free end float)
Yes, that thin lipped shim fits in there perfectly, with the lip facing up into the shaft.

As for the top, there is only one seal that is clearly seen. Unfortunately, I put the shaft back in and having a hard time getting it out to meaure.

I tried to read those tiny, little numbers on the bearings, but these eyes must be getting old, I can't read them.

I will try to take a picture and zoom in.

Back to the rubber seal, I am wondering if it is possible that this seal was originally round and has taken a square set?

Vin
 

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Back to the rubber seal, I am wondering if it is possible that this seal was originally round and has taken a square set?

............well yes, it could have been round, that's a thought!

However you could not mathematically get a round O ring with an ID of 28 and an OD of 38 unless the CS (cross-section) was 5mm.

You are fairly certain that the 28mmID (size of the shaft) and the 38mmID (size of the bore) has to be correct, right? ...and so, if you think 5mm would fit in there heightwise allowing the shim and washer and circlip to go back (under compression, which would make sense!), then you just need to get a metric O-ring, size 28 x 5mm, readily available...... problem solved:)

BTW: the suppliers of the repair kit for the servo box answered that the kit only contains seals, so no bearings, no shafts (seems a lot for 130 euros for a couple of seals!) - they do not have photos as they don't have the kit there, they order it, but state the kit can in any case only be sold to specialist workshops, as instructed by the manufacturer (which I presume is ZF, as that is a ZF policy, for legal reasons......blah, blah, blah!...).
Pity I was hoping to see a photo of the kit, which would have confirmed, is it an O ring or not:)
Oh well, I tried.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Back to the rubber seal

You are fairly certain that the 28mmID (size of the shaft) and the 38mmID (size of the bore) has to be correct, right? ...and so, if you think 5mm would fit in there heightwise allowing the shim and washer and circlip to go back (under compression, which would make sense!), then you just need to get a metric O-ring, size 28 x 5mm, readily available...... problem solved:)



Ok, pulled the shaft out again.

Shaft is 28mm.

Bore 36.6mm

Original Rubber seal

ID 28mm
OD 38mm

I bought a 5mm thick O ring today with 28mm ID. Fits in nice and snug. But, couldnt get the washer to set in properly as the O-ring too thick.

Total thickness of oringinal o-ring (3mm) and washer (6mm) is 9mm.

This rubber o-ring is starting to get to my nerves!:mad:

Thanks for looking into that kit.

That o-ring has to be available or a suitable substitute somewhere!

Vin
 

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that's a bummer!
I can only suggest machining a couple of millimeters off the 6mm steel washer, and trying that?? Maybe 1 mm at a time then trying to fit it??

-but that seems an odd solution (albeit a solution if all else fails!) for something that really only requires the right seal in the first place........!
 
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