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ALFAcentro T E C H Q & A
Tech QuestionsJanuary 2003 Tech Q & A

Answers by Technical Editor Rex Chalmers

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January Topics:

Rear Spring Removal | Speedometer Replacement | Duetto Engine Rebuild Options
Slow Slushbox 164LS | Spider Shifter Play

Rear Spring Removal : question by Adam | 1974 GTV 2000

I'm replacing the rear springs in this car-do I need two spring compressors, or can it be done safely just lowering the axle on a trolley jack after the T-bar etc. are disconnected? What's the best sequence of steps for doing this?
Answer : Replacing the rear springs on a GTV, or any 115/105 Chassis Alfa is a fairly straight forward procedure. First, jack the car up as high as you can and support the car with jack stands securely on the rear jacking points. Remove the rear wheels. With the axle at full droop, disconnect the bottom fasteners on both shock absorbers and the lower link nuts on the rear sway bar. Take the lower sway bar links off of their mounting bolts. With the floor jack, jack up on the lower control arms until you can see the weight taken off the rear training arm bolt/rear sway bar mount. Now push the bolt through the rear trailing arm and remove it. At this point you can SLOWLY and carefully lower the floor jack and the rear trailing arm will come down and release the tension on the rear spring. If you got the chassis high enough above the ground the spring will be free and easily removed at this point. Now simply replace the spring, being careful to index the spring properly on the lower spring bucket. Jack up the lower arm to a point where the rear trailing arm bolt/rear sway bar mount can be re-inserted through the bushing and the trailing arm brackets on the rear axle. You can re-attach the shock at this time. Do not tighten the rear traing arm bolt or attach the rear sway bar at this time. Repeat this procedure for the remaining rear spring. Now put the wheels back on the axle. Lower the chassis to the ground. Now is the time to tighten the rear traing arm bolts and re-attach the rear sway bar. The tightening is done with the chassis on the ground in an effort to not pre-load the rear traing arm bushings and the rear sway bar link bushings.

Speedometer Replacement : question by Mark Shinn | 1987 Spider Quad

The speedometer on my Quad went on the blink. Erratic and first, then stopped. Cable was checked as well as the transponder. Must I replace the head unit and if so, are new or used ones available? With a 17 year old driving, a speedometer seems desirable, at the least for avoiding speed traps.
Answer : You can replace the head unit if you like. However, it would be more cost effective to have your unit repaired. There are many instrument repair shops that specialize in repair of European gauges. Check your local Yellow Pages, ask you local area friendly Alfisti. My favorite instrument repair facility is Palo Alto Speedometer, Inc., 650-323-0243,

Duetto Engine Rebuild Options : question by Ron Abela | 1967 Duetto

I have a two individual questions.

1) I currently have a 1600cc Duetto with a siezed crank and bearing. We are in the middle of rebuilding this motor and I would like to gain additional HP. Is it possible to go with larger pistons? All I can find are normal compression 1600 pistons/ liners and of course 1750 pistons/ liners. Is there anything else out there?

I am will have the block and head machined at a shop and they will assemble the motor for me. The cams look like new... I would like to retain durability and do it right the first time. Saying that I am not looking for anything too radical.

Any suggestions on parts to go with would be a great help. I dont mind spending money on what is required and additional money on ensuring I do not have to pull the motor again in 1-2 years!

2) I have located a 1750 eurospec motor formerly from a GTV. Will this fit right in my car? What headaches could I end up with? Will the headers and Webbers bolt right on? Will the motor fit right into the existing tranny?

This is my back up plan while I rebuild my original 1600 over time!

Answer : You seem to be very interested in reliability and in keeping your original 1600 engine. Keeping this in mind, I would suggest that you have your liners bored to fit 80mm 1750 pistons or have the 1750 liners machined to fit in your 1600 block. If these modifications are completed properly, there will be no loss of reliability.

As far as the 1750 engine is concerned, it is a direct bolt in save a few required modifications. First you will need the front exhaust section from a 1750 as the motor is slightly taller than the 1600. Failure to change the exhaust will cause the system to contact the chassis and pedal box. The second modification concerns the flywheel/clutch assembly. The easiest solution is to bolt the 1600 flywheel/clutch assembly to the 1750. I prefer to use the clutch and flywheel from the 1750. This path is a tad more complex but the result is a superior clutch assembly. First you will need to remove the ring gear from both flywheels. Have the 1750 flywheel machined to accept the 1600 ring gear. Next you will have to purchase a throw out bearing housing that will adapt to the 1600 bell housing and the 1750 throw out bearing. Some Alfisiti prefer changing over to a 1750 or 2.0 hydraulic bell housing. This will eliminate the need for the tob adapter, but will require that you adapt a 1969 hydraulic clutch pedal assembly to replace the mechanical clutch assembly on your vehicle.

As far as which engine is best for your vehicle: Save the money you would spend restoring your 1600, clean it up and turn it into a coffee table or a wall hanging and spend the money on porting, big valves, 45mm Webers, and HP street cams for the 1750. It will probably be more reliable than the 1600 as the 1750 has a much nicer crank and will have much more HP and torque. The Fun-To-Drive Meter will be near the top end of the scale.

Slow Slushbox 164 LS : question by Bob Gauthier | 1995 164 LS

95 164LS, auto trans, seems low on power and quite slow 0 to 40, quicker at higher rpm's. MPG about 17-18 in city driving -- car seems like its always been slow (my 91 buick century 3L is faster off the line). Have replaced air & fuel filters, lambda probe, temp sender, cam belt, idle seems smooth. No diagnostic codes logged. I’m stumped. Any ideas? Also, the temp gauge indicates between 190-220 (with both temp sending units ) while the thermostat aluminum housing runs a cool 170-ish (verified with 2 thermocouples). Whazzup with that?
Answer : Whew, that’s more than one question isn’t it? First of all, let me say that Automatic 164s are not known for their ability to do burn outs in the bleach box or rubber torturing jack rabbit starts. 164s that are equipped with standard transmissions are easily several seconds faster to 60 and beyond. You say that it “seems” slow. Is it slower than it used to be? I would do some 0-60 tests and compare them to published road tests. Your fuel mileage sound about right, that is what my wife gets around town in her 164, but then she is not know for being light on the go pedal. If it is indeed slow to 60, here are a few things I would check. Are you sure that the transmission is downshifting into 1st and holding the gear when you are accelerating hard from a stop? If it’s not pulling redline in 1st. you probably have a transmission concern. If the transmission is shifting ok check the compression, leak down, igniton wire resistance, coil resistance and cam timing to rule out any mechanical cause for the lazy acceleration. If these check out ok, test the values for all the sensors that input into the ECU. Check them in the wiring jack at the ECU because just checking the sensor will only tell you how the sensor is reading, not what reading is getting back to the ECU. If you’re not getting a reading that is within specification, go back and check the sensor. If it is ok at the sensor, there is a problem with the wiring or a connector somewhere between the sensor and the ECU. If all of this checks out ok, go see the other guy on your block who has a 1995 automatic 164, borrow his ECU and try it in your 164. If your car’s performance is restored, your problem is solved. Please be sure to verify your perceived lazy acceleration concern before going through all the diagnostic tests.

Oh yes, the 164 temp gage is notorious for reading high.

Editor's Note: our baseline testing for an average mileage 1994 164 LS Automatic showed it running 10.12 seconds for a 0-60 time with 1/4 mile time of 17.66 seconds @ 87.4 mph.

Spider Shifter Play : question by Joshua | 1979 Spider Veloce

I have a rather silly question, was my car built with some sort of adjustable shift lever. when the car is in (or out) of gear I can move the shifter 10-12 inches left or right.
Answer : My guess is that a lazy tech, somewhere in the past history of your Spider, decided you car needed this modification. The repair is quite simple. Remove the console far enough that you can remove all the inner shift boots. Now reach into your tool box and retrieve two 11mm wrenches and tighten the fastner that is at the base of the shift lever within a of it’s life. I would suggest that your replace the 7mm nut and bolt if it shows any signs of wear on the bolt shaft or on the threads. Proper function of the shift lever is now restored.

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Neither, it's publisher, FORZA Modern Media, LLC., or the individual article authors makes any warranties, expressed or implied, that the techniques, modifications, and procedures outlined in these stories are free of errors and omissions, meet applicable safety standards, or are suitable for the purposes described. The publisher and authors also expressly disclaim all liability for damages that may arise from the use of information presented in these articles.
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