Pulling the 1750 motor exposed decades
of grime in the engine bay
In July of 2003 the Tom Sahines-built engine that ran so well for nearly two decades came out of the car. It was
replaced by a 2-litre motor. Because my wife is not listening, I will confess that oil control rings, some oil seals
and a clutch probably would have kept the Alfa happy for another several years. But it wouldn't have been as much
fun as a fully balanced 2000cc engine with 10.4:1 pistons, Weber DCOE 45's, headers, aluminum flywheel, ported
big-valve head, Megacycle cams, etc., etc.
Twenty years ago Tom did the engine and good friend Steve Smith built the tranny. This time we reversed it.
Tom supplied a late-model transmission with lightened gear sets. Steve took a Rich Goodrich cylinder head and
built a motor that's a blast to drive. Because there is more than one Steve Smith in the Alfa world, I should add
that Santa Clara Steve was an Alfa mechanic and parts manager, back when Alfa's were still imported and the
company made cars that drove the rear wheels (as God intended).
More Before Photos. It's always good to remind ourselves why we spent the money, right?
Below: Almost ready for the new engine
The New 2L motor -- The photos below were labeled by someone on AlfaBB as "Alfa Porn."
Was it the blanket we used to hide my messy garage floor?
Note the TWM Induction ram pipes, left, and the aluminum housings that stiffen the stock motor mounts. The right photo
shows the tri-y equal length headers, which are not really necessary for a car that's mostly street driven.
The left photo adds no new info; I just like it. We dropped in the engine and tranny with the rear of the car raised and the nose almost on the floor. The extreme angle made me nervous, but the install was a breeze.
You meet the nicest people in an Alfa
I drove it without the hood for about a month while fine tuning the engine. The new Weber 45's, combined with new rubber bushings on the firewall-mounted throttle linkage, gave us fits. One Weber had a sticking throttle shaft and some fool (me) painted the throttle rod, which made the bar fatter, which meant the rod wouldn't turn freely against the stiff new rubber bushings, which meant the throttle stuck open when the pedal was pumped to get gas to the big Webers.
It was during this hoodless time that I met a nice California Highway Patrol Motorcycle officer. Didn't notice him waiting at a stop light as I powered through a right turn, drifted onto an expressway, and left rubber roaring up an overpass. The conversation, when he caught up, went like this: "You were going pretty fast." "Yes, sorry officer. My car has a new engine and I got a little carried away." "You think you should push a new engine that hard." "Probably not." "You know how fast you were going?" "Gee, officer, I don't." "Well, I'll give you a warning, but I'd better not see you do that again." Bummer. That forced me to find some new favorite corners, ones not frequented by the CHP... He didn't say I couldn't drift through corners; he just said he'd better not see me do it.
Second motorcycle officer story, this time a Santa Clara cop. I was heading home after work in the GTV, anticipating hitting the above favorite corner on the green light, when to my right I saw a cop aiming his instant-on radar at me from a driveway. I slowed and waited for the expected visit, but it didn't come. Curious, I turned around, went back, and pulled in next to the officer. Me: "Can I ask for another favor?" Cop, grinning: "What's that?" "Can you tell me how fast I was going; my speedo's not too accurate?" Still grinning: "Faster than the speed limit." "And you didn't come after me?" "Nah, my buddy's got one of those and I really like Alfas."
Click on each of these for larger images. Note the ITG sausage-shaped air filter and the Bosch blue coil. Ignition is now from
Centerline. The coil sits in the old Marelli Plex aluminum heat sink. I made my own backing plate to mount the ITG filters. ITG
makes one that is probably okay. The one I bought from Pipercross is so flimsy as to be useless. Because I wanted a really stiff backing plate to eliminate any independent movement of the two carbs,which affects idle and engine performance, I had one made from .090" stainless steel. If the carbs move independent of one another you can't keep them balanced and the car will never run as well as it should.
| ©2004, 2012, Gary Williams, Washougal, Washington