Leaking steering box 120

I have a medium leak and wonder what the course of action is.
Can anything be done with the box in situ?
Are there kits with new O-rings and various seals?
Or just leave it for now…:scream:

If the leak is on the front square flange or the top cover, you could take those off and put on new gaskets. If the leak is on the rear flange or the bottom shaft seal the column has to come out to fix it.

The front plate, and the rear end from what I can see, is very oily.

Thebstrange thing is that the box was repaired 2 yrs ago…:rage:

I estimate one drop at the lowest point, every week.

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Fwiw, leaking steering boxes was/is a big topic with classic Alfa’s. A number of people have been using non-flowing oil (basically a grease) in their Burman steering boxes without problems. These non flowing oils are apparently used in the heavy construction machinery world for relevant applications. I have a couple bottles of Penriteateeri g oil that will be going into my steering box and idler assembly (someday). On the Alfa forum some have said that the heat from the nearby exhaust header helps the lube stay soft and in the right places inside the steering box.

I’ve been using a semi-fluid EP00 grease in my leaky ‘50s Austins’ steering boxes (Cam Gears) for a while now. I don’t know whether the spec is ideal, but I take the view that some lubrication is better than no lubrication. It’s not practical to pour this stuff in; you have to remove the box’s cover and smear it in. No apparent loss over 2+ years and 15,000+ miles. I had been using treacle-like STP for a few years but that still escapes. https://www.penninelubricants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Semi-Fluid-EP-Greases.pdf

Chris T.

I also used Penrite steering box lube when I rebuilt my idler and steering box a couple of years ago. No leaks and no problems since.

At the rate of one drop per week, maybe you should live with it, wipe it up every few months or so.
I would be concerned about using only grease in a recirculating ball steering box.
You might try packing the shaft seals with grease. As I recall when I rebuilt mine, I noticed there was grease on the bottom shaft seal which had not been diluted by the SAE 140 oil in the box.

The 120 steering box leak can be fixed with a new gasket/seals set.
Not a problem to fit, once the box is on the bench.
BUT, it must come out of the car. Very tight space, LH shock absorber must be removed.
The real nightmare is removing the steering arm from the box. Huge puller and (a lot of) heat is required.
The best compromise is remove the unit yourself from the car, and give it to professionals for replacement of the seals …
Best regards

I had my steering idler fully rebuilt by a an excellent mechanic, and it leaked from day 10. Are people with correctly rebuilt steering boxes finding they are now leak free?

Why is it ok to use a non flowing grease in wheel bearings that turn millions of times thru their service life (30k miles times 750 revolutions per mile is more than 20 million revolutions), but not in a steering box?

I rebuilt the box in my Mark V, basically the same as XK120, and it leaks perhaps one drip per month or two.
A totally leak free box is dependent on having a high quality mirror microfinish on the lower shaft, i.e. a job for a class B or A machinist, not just a mechanic.

Burman specified SAE 140 oil for their boxes. Referring to Plate I-5 on page I-11 in the Manual, I believe the reason is that the balls have to circulate freely around inside worm Q, nut P or X and transfer tube Y, and constantly reverse direction. Grease might inhibit that circulation and give you a bumpy feel. There should be balls shown in the detail view between X and Y, but I guess they ran out of letters.
Unlike a wheel bearing, where the balls are in a one-direction rolling action, pushed around and always guided by the retainer.

Penrite steering box lube does pour from the bottle unlike a wheel bearing grease. It is somewhere between gear oil and grease. Since it does flow there is no risk of it not properly lubricating the parts, a possibility when using grease.

Thanks to everyone.
I have now mesured the leak to 1 drop every 10 days.
I will therefore do as suggested and just live with it.