Alfa Romeo

All posts tagged Alfa Romeo

Seriously Folks, let’s all try to keep the rubber side down!

   

While this trio of Alfas was out for a drive, the owner of the red ’67 GTV hit a bad stretch of pavement and rolled the car.  Driver and passenger walked away, shaken but not broken.  Still, this photo gives me serious heartburn.  Take a look at the license plate on what is now an expensive parts car; it reads “GTV 67.”  My garage holds an unsmashed red 1967 stepnose, like the one in the photo,  my California license plate used to read: “A67GTV.”

 

See nearly 20 pages of Alfas and other Italian cars and bikes. Find the links in the right column, under “Categories.”

The following is a list I made for myself to use when removing and reinstalling my 1967 GTV’s 2L motor.  While it is specific to my car, which has many custom pieces, this list may serve as a starting point for you.  Note that I don’t have heater lines to remove, because mine were taken off in 1983 to make the engine bay less cluttered (California delete option).  I also moved the fuse block inside the car, under the passenger side of the dash.

Before dismantling anything, put the motor on TDC  (P) — with cylinder #1 cam lobes pointed out and distributor rotor pointing to cylinder #1. This makes life easier if you’re going to remove the head or even if you plan to remove the timing chain.  The rotor moves in a clockwise direction, in this order: 1, 3, 4, 2.  Depending on how the oil pump was indexed when installed, your rotor may point in a different direction than my car when it is aimed at #1 .  The key is to have the cylinder #1 cam lobes pointed out and the distributor rotor on cylinder #1, when the engine is on TDC (P).   Check the plug wires as they fit into the distributor cap, beginning with #1, and proceeding around the clock to 3, 4 and 2.  On my car, the rotor is aimed down on #1 (6 o’clock).
Take pictures of wiring before removing any to aid reinstall process
Take off the good lifting bracket and put on the old, scratched bracket
Remove hood
Remove front sway bar
Drop one side of steering center link
Disconnect and remove battery
Drain sump
Drain radiator
Remove radiator thermostat sensor from radiator (I have an electric fan)
Detach wires from radiator fan (one slip-on and on ground to same post as battery ground)
Remove radiator

Passenger side of engine
Remove spark plug wires and distributor cap
Disconnect oil temp and oil pressure wires
Disconnect fuel line and linkage to carbs (when reassembling, don’t forget to attach the carb to block ground)
Remove  carbs (easier to get motor in and out – my carbs are attached to long aluminum mounts)
Remember to reinstall the ground strap from rear carb to block.
Disconnect wires from coil to distributor  (note which goes where – a photo helps those of us with aging brains)
Detach oil vapor line from cam cover & remove vapor canister
Detach vacuum line at rear of engine
Disconnect wires from starter, after first noting what goes where
Disconnect bolts that hold motor mount to frame
Remove bolts to tranny, which removes starter (be careful to note which is the starter shoulder bolt and remember which bolts are longer, which have nuts on end)  When reassembling, don’t forget to reattach the block to frame ground.

Driver side of block
Unhook wires to alternator (one main and one slip-on for ammeter warning light)
Remove alternator (not necessary, but makes life easier)
Disconnect bolts that hold motor mount to frame
Remove good engine lifting bracket from cylinder head and replace with old one (to keep the good one from getting scratched)
From under car, remove as much of exhaust system as necessary to disconnect it from the exhaust header.  (My header won’t come off until the engine is lifted slightly off its mounts.  Installation also requires the engine to be lifted slightly. It also helps on my car if I have have an assistant under the car to slide the header tube into the exhaust pipe)
Remove the lock nuts from the exhaust header with 10mm small socket set and end wrench.  Leave header on the studs until the engine is lifted slightly, so there’s room to pull it off. (Custom header)
Put at least 4” of wood block spacers under the two front tires, to lift the car enough so the engine hoist feet will slide under the car
With rear of car on ground, engine should lift right out using a standard portable hoist

Engine install notes
On my block, there is one sensor on the driver’s side near the bottom of the engine that is for a 2L car’s warning light.  The sensor is there to fill the hole; it gets no wire)
If the oil dipstick housing was removed after the engine was taken out, reinstall it before the engine goes back in
Lightly grease the transmission pilot shaft
If you’ve used a pilot shaft alignment tool to install your clutch and pressure plate, installation of the motor should not be difficult, though it may take some fiddling to slide the clutch onto the pilot shaft
DO NOT FORGET TO DROP THE STEERING CENTER LINK.  If you don’t, the motor won’t go in and you’ll bend the link trying

After the engine is in
Check that oil drain plug and oil filter are tight
Add engine oil
Put assembly lube on the cam lobes
Fill the cylinder head galleries with oil
Install rear cam cover oil seals with light coating of sealant (Ultra Grey is good)

Original art by Guy Allen for C&SC Magazine, Feb. 2007.  See Guy's art at www.guyallen-art.com .

Original art of me and my car by Guy Allen for C&SC Magazine, Feb. 2007.

 

This car’s story began in 1967. Brian Lamb and his wife, the first owners, purchased it from a California dealer, arranging for delivery in Milan. When it was ready, they flew from California to Italy, picked it up at the factory, then toured Europe before shipping it home. The Alfa came in appliance white (In Italian that’s “Bianco Spino”), with 15″ steel wheels, skinny 155×15 tires, and a 1600cc motor. The only modification by the Lambs was reupholstering the front seats in a grey tweed fabric found in Chevys.

When I responded to a newspaper ad in 1983, I could see that the GTV was a find. The body and interior were in good condition; it had no rust; and its original mechanicals were in good, though worn, condition. We struck a quick deal and as I drove it away I looked back to see the Lambs teary-eyed and waving goodbye from their front walk. alfa orig mirrors

The short drive home verified that normal wear and tear was beginning to show all over the car, most noticeably in the motor, which could lay a cloud of smoke like a Navy destroyer. That wasn’t surprising; with nearly 100,000 miles on it, the only engine work it had ever required was a valve job.

I was beginning the restoration of a 1966 GTC at the time and the GTV was going to supply the missing pieces, something I neglected to mention to the Lambs. Shortly after arriving home, however, I decided that restoring the GTV would be a whole lot easier and less expensive than the GTC. Besides, after the emotional goodbye from the Lambs, there was no way I could turn their baby into a parts car. 

Giulia’s gray phase

Within months of buying the Alfa, it was at a paint and body shop to repair some parking lot dings and change the color to — cover your eyes if you’re a purist — BMW Baltic Blue. This 1984 metallic blue-gray Beemer color turns out to be a great choice for a GTV.  It even had a thin red pinstripe down the crease  line on each side.  Its original 1600cc motor was the next to go, replaced with a 1750 engine that served us well for another 20 years.    I kept the motor mostly stock, adding only Shankle 8L cams, used with the original 40DCOE 27 Webers; a Magneti Marelli Plex 201 electronic ignition, and low restriction air intake and filters.  The wheels were taken off a new ’84 Spider, whose owner wanted something different.  Blue GTV 7 b

Sixteen years after painting the car Baltic Blue,  it came time for another respray and new upholstery.  While the Alfa had no serious prior damage and only two small spots of rot on the front fenders, it left for the body shop in January of 2000, and I didn’t get to drive it again for two full years!

How it all turned out is chronicled on this site. You’ll also see that Scuderia Non Originale (SNO) is a prominent part of this website. The idea for SNO was born while several friends and I were sitting beside my GTV and its red twin at Concorso Italiano, in Monterey, California. So, while my car isn’t “originale,” and hasn’t been for years, if it weren’t for this GTV and the friends who helped me build it, Scuderia Originale wouldn’t exist. And that would be a loss to the Alfa world … though I have no idea why.