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I've got an '87 spider S3, a U.S. model. Just failed the MOT on a tight steering box. All bushes and track rod ends are OK. THere is some play around the straight ahead but no vagueness while actually steering. Steering is heavy at parking speeds but OK on the move. How can I adjsut the problem out?
 

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S3 hardtop

When I bought the car the seller (trader) offered a hardtop. I took it and drove home with it on. THere we discovered it was only held on by the windscreen rail clips. I've never used it myself but having just refurbished the car I thought I'd offer it up. I cannot get the clips at the rear of the top to hook into the body posts. THe top has some sort of inside panel/parcel shelf which looks to cover the soft top when in place. I think this may be restricting movement or maybe off a S4. Is there a knack to fitting these things?
 

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Things that can cause hard steering;

low/no oil in the steering box
idler arm bushings
ball joints
track rod end(s)
low tire pressure
tires too wide
excessive positive caster

There should be zero play in the straight ahead position. If the free play is in the steering box, the adjustment screw on the top of the box can be tightened 1/16 of a turn at a time until the play is gone. Don't tighten it too much as this can result in increased box wear and hard steering.

Don't have a hardtop so can't help there but someone who knows will be along shortly.
 

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When I bought the car the seller (trader) offered a hardtop. I took it and drove home with it on. THere we discovered it was only held on by the windscreen rail clips. I've never used it myself but having just refurbished the car I thought I'd offer it up. I cannot get the clips at the rear of the top to hook into the body posts. THe top has some sort of inside panel/parcel shelf which looks to cover the soft top when in place. I think this may be restricting movement or maybe off a S4. Is there a knack to fitting these things?
The hardtops fit the 70's to 90's Spiders. I have one on my 93 and it fit perfectly on my 77.

You have the wrong clips on the body of the Spider, you need to change them for the hardtop.
I'm sure there is a thread on the alfabb that show the whole assembly. I'll have a look.
Cheers
Joyce

edit http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spider-1966-up/33851-hardtop-attachment-hardware.html?highlight=hardtop+assembly+spider
 

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For the correct hardtop mounting instructions you can also have a look at my post here:
you basically need to replace rear chrome hood cover mounts for the 2 black hardtop mounts (and screws need to be swopped out), 2 x side mount "J" hooks, the plastic covers for these (these are the difficult parts to find), heated screen relay, heated screen/hazard combi switch (if your car was originally delivered with a h/top, it will have the relay and the switch (Del Priore used to do these hooks, but I found all of mine on ebay much cheaper, after a good while searching!
The rear plastic shelf indeed covers the soft top.
http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/the-classic-alfa-romeos/228777-where-can-i-get-a-spider-s4-hardtop.html
 

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If the free play is in the steering box, the adjustment screw on the top of the box can be tightened 1/16 of a turn at a time until the play is gone. Don't tighten it too much as this can result in increased box wear and hard steering.
I was told long ago that when you carry out this adjustment (on a ZF), the wheels should be just off the ground - is that correct do you think?
 

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For the correct hardtop mounting instructions you can also have a look at my post here:
you basically need to replace rear chrome hood cover mounts for the 2 black hardtop mounts (and screws need to be swopped out), 2 x side mount "J" hooks, the plastic covers for these (these are the difficult parts to find), heated screen relay, heated screen/hazard combi switch (if your car was originally delivered with a h/top, it will have the relay and the switch (Del Priore used to do these hooks, but I found all of mine on ebay much cheaper, after a good while searching!
The rear plastic shelf indeed covers the soft top.
http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/the-classic-alfa-romeos/228777-where-can-i-get-a-spider-s4-hardtop.html
:thumbs: good to know. Hopefully he got the correct parts with his Spider.
 

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I was told long ago that when you carry out this adjustment (on a ZF), the wheels should be just off the ground - is that correct do you think?
Yes, the box can be adjusted with the wheels off the ground too. However, with the wheels off the ground, there is no steering system resistance so it takes a very adept 'feel' to know when the freeplay is gone. IMO, it is VERY easy to tighten the box too much.

With the wheels on the ground, the resistance in the steering makes it is quite easy to tell when the freeplay is gone so the chance of over tightening the box is reduced. Plus, time saved jacking up the car means more time driving the car. :)
 
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