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Discussion Starter #1
The Spider was absolutely fine, running and performing beautifully but I had to go and meddle with it just as spring was around the corner!

I bought the ClassicAlfa handling kit which I’d wanted for ages, a quick spring and shock swap and Bobs your uncle was the plan. Then I thought I might as well do a full job and replace all the track rod ends and bushes, then I might as well treat and paint a few bits to refresh the engine bay.

I then realised that the oil leak I had wasn't coming from the enigine but the steering box, bought all the bits for a rebuild only to find after stripping it down that the casing is cracked (not really surprising I know).

So I now need a new mortgage for a new steering box.

I suppose I’m glad I found it this way as oppose to it failing whilst I was driving though!
 

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Thats real bad luck Simon, sorry to hear that. I read somewhere that you can get them welded. Is that a ZF steering box?
 

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Know that feeling.....I'd take it / send it to a reputable engineering company and see if they can weld and machine it for you Simon, exchange boxes aren't too expensive but they may not exchange if its cracked
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all I’ve read loads of posts and it looks like I’ve got 4 options.

1. Leave it, maybe adding some JB weld to reinforce the areas. The cracks are only from the outer bolt holes to the outside of the casing (3 out of 8 holes). If the cracks develops into a split here it will only crack the very outside meaning the casing will be loose and I’d feel it then. There aren’t any cracks down the body like some of the scary pics I’ve seen. How long have the cracks been there, probably years and they haven’t worsened but this is an area I don’t really want to gamble with!

2. Have it welded, initially this sounded promising but apparently the cracks I can actually see are only the half of in and it’s probably riddled with cracks making it very difficult to do a proper job and more cracks will soon appear later on.

3. A recast box, these are £420 from Highwood. I’ll phone him later to see what he thinks. I’m concerned it will have the same inherent weaknesses as the original but i suppose if I get another 40 years out of it I won’t be complying.?

4. An Alfaholics box, the best option but £875 is really going to smart!

Thanks
 

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option 5.
Drill hole in tip of crack to halt crack progression, reassemble. Grinding out the crack initiator and fill welding might buy you some more time .
 

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option 1: leave it and JBweld...
nah, don't like that option!

think of it like this: someone 'up there' helped you find this when you weren't driving along a twisty tree lined country road at 60 mph.

welding option: very difficult work and most welders will not like to work on it, because of the liability.
You need to crack test it in any case.

another possible option
swop it for a used ZF box, they do not fail like the Burmans (if a ZF fits a rhd car? I presume your car is rhd, as all rhd seemed to have Burmans)

Jim Streck in the USA used to strengthen Burman boxes, but it was expensive
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks both,

That sounds interesting Hazel, I’ve just spoken to a local alu welder so i’ll drop in it to see what they say but I’m thinking whatever they can do would only be temporary.

I’ve also spoken to Chris at Highwood, £420 for a new box which is starting to sound not to bad.

Thanks Dom, I like the the Zen and the art of Alfa Romeo maintenance thinking and it’s just not worth the risk. I’ve read about the ZF boxes, I’ll read a bit more and see if I can find one for a reasonable price.
 

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Be interested to hear the outcome Simon. This has given me a kick up the behind to look into the cause of the oil leak from my steering box too...
 

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Had the cracks in mine welded up by Jamison engineering in York. They didn’t bat an eyelid about doing it and weren’t expensive either.
Rally prep guys, they know all about broken bits!.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
After an interesting morning of research and a tour around Sheffield’s engineering quarter I’ve got some more info.

Firstly there isn’t anywhere I’ve found that can do the whole job so the welder does his bit then I’d take it the engineer to finish it.

Two options are; firstly just weld up the 3 cracks and machine the inner bearing face which would be £100. Second option would be to replace the whole face where the cracks are (x2) then have the steering column holes and the bolt holes machined, this would be about £200.

The main issues are that both places are very busy so it would be at least 3 weeks and it would need to go to the engineer to measure it then to the welder then back for machining. Also the engineer wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the strength of the final repair saying it would only be as good as what it was welded to, a 45 year old box that was probably quite fatigued.

So with all that in mind I’m thinking a new one from Highwood for £420 is looking like my best option.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just sent some pics of to Jemison’s to see what they think.
 

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I assume the Highwood replacement is a casting again. If this is the case and you are intending keeping the car I would go for the Alfaholics box. This is machined from a solid piece of aluminium so highly unlikely to crack again
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I assume the Highwood replacement is a casting again. If this is the case and you are intending keeping the car I would go for the Alfaholics box. This is machined from a solid piece of aluminium so highly unlikely to crack again
The alfaholics one is certainly the best option but its very expensive. If I was building a track focussed car then yes and i’ll probably get one for the GTV but this car certainly doesn’t get as much stick as the race cars. The Highwood one is a casting but as the original one has lasted 45 years the new one will hopefully outlast me and costs half the price.

Jemison’s have also got back with a very reasonable £60 plus vat to repair mine which does sound very tempting.

I’ll sleep on it!
 

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The alfaholics one is certainly the best option but its very expensive. If I was building a track focussed car then yes and i’ll probably get one for the GTV but this car certainly doesn’t get as much stick as the race cars. The Highwood one is a casting but as the original one has lasted 45 years the new one will hopefully outlast me and costs half the price.

Jemison’s have also got back with a very reasonable £60 plus vat to repair mine which does sound very tempting.

I’ll sleep on it!
Is that Ian Jemisons Simon - have they got a good rep?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Is that Ian Jemisons Simon - have they got a good rep?
Yes that’s him, I was just going off Mitch’s recommendation.

I’m going to ring him today to get his general opinion as I was speaking to an engineer friend last night who said they wouldn’t bother welding old aluminium especially if a new alternative was available.
 

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Simon,
I couldn’t see the crack in your image, reading further it sounds like it’s across a bearing surface.
The cracks on mine seemed to be limited to the bolt holes and spread to the top where to cover plate screwed on. I don’t think went as far as the bearings.

Obviously take Ian’s advise, but it could be a bigger job than it was for me.

The repaired one is still working fine in my 2000GTV, but it’s not leading as hard a life as it used too anymore.
 
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