Installing an overhauled steering box in my 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider
Getting the steering box in or out of the Spider is really a two-man job, especially if you don’t have a lift.
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I picked up my overhauled Burman Steering box from Alfa Spider specialist Marc a couple of days ago. When I arrived at his workshop this was the sight that I walked into.
Marc always does a batch of these steering boxes together. Mine is the one with the pitman arm installed. I thought it looked odd, but Marc confirmed he only loosely attached the pitman arm in this 180o incorrect position, for transportation.
I am glad he left the pitman arm off as it will be easier to re-install the steering box without it.
Here it is in all its renewed glory on my workbench.
Spanner mate Peter and I spend the whole day yesterday re-installing it back into my Spider. It took a lot longer to re-installing it than taking it out.
The reason for it is the alignment of the steering box with the support tube underneath the dashboard. Marc had warned me that it is pretty critical. Without proper alignment, the bearings might get damaged quickly.
The old steering box had special shim support plates on the in- and outside of the engine bay. It took us many hours to get it all properly sorted. Part of the problem being that the bolts and nuts that hold the steering box in place are difficult to reach at the best of times. So we had to install it a couple of times with different shims to find the most optimal position.
Peter elbow deep into the bowels of the Spider Engine Bay.
As usual, I had the installation instructions from the workshop manual printed out. Imported to get the correct torques for the various bolts and nuts.
With the steering box bolted back onto the chassis, there was a lot of work needed to get everything sorted and back together under the dashboard. Literally back-breaking work. Especially at my age!
Aluminium support tube all aligned underneath the dashboard.
We were beginning to run out of time. Peter had to pop over to Jeep specialist Martin for a classic car valuation. I fiddles on whilst he was away for about 45 minutes.
When he got back we decided to attach the steering rods to the pitman arm.
Luckily you have easy access from above to the self-locking nuts off the ball joints. But I needed three extenders on the socket to reach.
Still a lot more tidying up to do over the next couple of days. No problem as it’s all fairly straightforward from here. But getting the steering box in or out of the Spider for that matter is really a two-man job, especially if you don’t have a lift.
I will take the Spider to Marc on the 11th of March to get it properly aligned. We will also most likely replace the ball joints on the steering rods. They did not feel correct at all.
Earlier this week, I also took my Jeep to a local paint shop. I am picking it up later today. Looking forward to it!
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