Sunday, June 9, 2019


It's time to look at this car and see what's good and what's less good about it, at least mechanically.  And maybe do a little bit of something.

First, let's look under the hood.  (I'm pretty sure Italian cars have hoods, not bonnets.)


Dirty and oily.  Break out the degreaser!


Better.  Not super, but better.

I also discovered that after the bath, Lola didn't want to run very well.  I suspected bad wires and cap--and both are toast.  I can hear the arcing in the cap and feel spark through the top terminal on at least one wire (shocking!).

I also decided to pull the plugs and see what I had to work with... I suspect that these plugs had not been out of the engine in years, if ever.  Look at these.

Turrible.  For grins, I checked the gap--the correct gap is .025", and these are sitting at about .040".  I can't believe they'd spark at all.

So I installed a set of BP6ES plugs from the MG (the Alfa takes BP7ES, but good enough for now) and she runs much better aside from the aforementioned arcing.

I've got a full tuneup on order--cap, rotor, plugs, wires, points and condenser.  Yep, still points.  That's OK.  Points work great.

On to the rest of the car--here's pics of what I found after a thorough degreasing (though there's more to do to clean things up all the way).


To sum up:
  • The engine runs like crap compared to how it should run.  It needs a serious tuneup.  And there are leaks, which I'll find now that it's clean.
  • The cooling system isn't great.  The radiator's been patched with what looks like epoxy around the filler.  WTF?  The water pump may be making noise, but it will get replaced as a matter of course.
  • The A/C is hooked up but doesn't work.
  • The front suspension isn't horrible, but a rebuild is definitely in order.  All of the ball joints and bushings need replacement.  The front shocks are cheapo replacements and need to go too.
  • The steering is actually ok aside from new ball joints.  I'm much less concerned about that aspect now and I think the funny behavior will clear up with the rebuild.
  • The brakes need rebuilding--calipers and rotors/pads.
  • The exhaust system will eventually have to be replaced, but works for now.
  • There are some leaks under the car--at least one is the transmission rear oil seal.
  • The driveshaft donut and universal joints need replacement.  The center bearing is OK but may get replaced anyhow.
  • The rear axle has some leaks somewhere and there's way too much play in the pinion.  A rebuild is probably in order--and I'll add friction discs to the rear diff just like I saw on "Wheeler Dealers" to improve the LSD's action.
  • The rear suspension is as bad as the front--it needs all new bushings and shocks.  The shocks are original Alfa Romeo--so they're either OEM replacement or original to the car.
For all of that, it's not that bad.  The big stuff is really the big stuff (suspension, brakes, cooling).  The rest can be dealt with a piece at a time.  The leaks can be lived with for a while.  The A/C would be nice, but it's not essential.  Actually the only other thing I have found that doesn't work so far are the dash lights and one power mirror. (EDIT: The lights work; the switch needs cleaning.)

This will be fun.

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