ADVICE NEEDED! San Diego/Phoenix Mechanic or... - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Question ADVICE NEEDED! San Diego/Phoenix Mechanic or...

Long story short, we rebuilt my '72 GTV 3 years ago in Yuma AZ, finished 3 days prior to moving to Japan (active-duty Marine), and it's been at his house driven intermittently while I'm away. I return this June, but the car still needs work. Details are below and I'm headed to MCAS Cherry Point NC. She still needs a lot of work to be a daily driver (my goal and the singular reason my wife let my buy her ), but should I bother spending the money at a San Diego mechanic now and ship her to Cherry Point in June, or keep her in Yuma for another year...I'm worried about rust but.....ok, after writing this out it clear she's coming with me . DOES ANYONE HAVE A RECOMMENDED MECHANIC IN SAN DIEGO/PHOENIX? Midnight Oil has awful online reviews, and I assume Rathmann is closed since his website is down. I need someone I can trust since I won't be around for anything other than picking her up in June and putting her on a trailer or shipping her to North Carolina. The Marine who's keeping the car for me and rebuilt her with me can drop her off for me. The webpages I've found on Alfabb recommending San Diego mechanics I fear are out dated.

DETAILS ON ELGOUDA (that's her name...another long story):
A friend and I rebuilt the motor and replaced the clutch 3 years ago. We finished with extra nuts/bolts/washers, but she fired up ok (not a good beginning, I know). The reason for the rebuild was that she was full of every type of headache one can imagine. Here's the short list:

1. Awful shift from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd (thought a new clutch would fix it, but nope! Also, this is less of a concern then the motor, brake and suspension issues below).
2. She'd only give me what felt like 50% power for the first 1/4 mile every time I'd drive her, then out of nowhere, full 100% (thought a full engine rebuild would fix it, but nope!).
3. Hard to start on a hot day and impossible to start on a cold day (though a new plugs, distributor, and wires would fix it, but nope!)

On top of this:

1. Her front right brake seems to be always engaged, making the wheel extremely hot due to the friction when driven (we tried but failed to get around to fixing this as one lug nut is impossible to remove).
2. The window rubber trim is worn and leaks when washed (also never got around to fixing this).
3. She has a small hole due to me placing the jack in the wrong spot on the floor in front of the passenger seat (also never got around to fixing this).
4. Her tires seem to be dried up (also needs replacing).
5. Suspension needs a rebuild, it rides awfully (needs replacing).
6. Brakes need a look because it takes FOREVER to slow the car (also see #1's brake issue).
7. AND WORST OF ALL...her backend (left corner) sits awfully lower than the right. It's irritatingly visible to me. Maybe it's the tire pressure being low (it leaked a lot), or maybe it's suspension related but it needs to be fixed.

So...the list is a lot I know...the car is located in Yuma, AZ but the guy who helped me rebuild it is taking care of here while I'm stationed in Japan. It's been three years and I'm finally headed back to the US in June and he (GySgt Martinez) can drop the car off if we know of a place that will fix the above issues (and not for the cost of a new Guilia). Need to accept credit card over the phone or PayPal, as I'd like to pick the car up in a "ready to be my daily driver because that's what I promised the wife I would do when she let me buy it" condition. Haha. She needs some cosmetic work (there are cracks in the bondo on the back left fender), but I'm currently focused on making her a daily driver above all.

What do you think?

-Alec
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 04:29 PM
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Rathmann is in business (858) 668-2808, I don't know about the website. Full disclosure I do some work for him part time. You have to check with him as to schedule and availability.

The following comments are strictly my own.

These problems can be addressed, removing the lugs, and straightening out the brakes, determining if the left rear trailing arm bushing could be the cause of listing to the left rear. SPICA or Webers? Changing gear oil and shifting habbits may have to do until you can spring for a rebuilt gearbox. Sometimes driveshaft and trans mount problem will make shifting worse.

Looks like you have a keeper.

Thank you for your service to our nation.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Rogerspeed,

Huge thanks for information. I'll give him a call! She has the SPICA still in her. I looked at a conversion but the cost and lack of definitive proof that it'll make her more reliable to start deterred me. #1 concern is reliability and that it's safe to drive. Not "Volvo safe", but I do need the brakes to work and the suspension to not collapse on me.

It's encouraging to hear to think these issues can be fixed. Shifting from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd is smoother (no grinding) when I make a pause between shifts and even go very slightly back to the gear I'm leaving before putting it into the next gear. Doesn't make for quick acceleration or give me confidence in the tranny but at least it doesn't grind this way.

-Alec
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 05:56 PM
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Hi Alec,

Finding someone who can properly sort out the Spica injection will probably fix the hard starting and the low power/full power issues. It actually works well when it is set up properly.

It sounds like the 2nd and 3rd gear syncros are shot - which is a common problem, since cars like these spend a lot of time going into and out of those gears during "spirited" driving. As mentioned, adapting your shifting technique will probably allow you put off that repair for a while until some of the other problems are sorted.

The flexible brake lines can deteriorate, and can act kind of like check valves. The master cylinder may be able to push the brake fluid through to actuate the caliper, but once the pressure is off, it may take a while for the caliper to release, so that side drags. It sounds like you need to go through the entire brake system.

Anyway, welcome back, and thanks! It looks like a nice car, and I wish you luck. Jim
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Last edited by 1965 Sprint GT; 03-10-2017 at 05:59 PM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 06:01 PM
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try contacting jason at www.alfissimo.com

he is well connected in the phoenix / san diego area.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Jim, thank you! I had a feeling the Spica is at least partially to blame for the motor issues we're having with her. I saw a post about a guy in Washington State who's an expert with these, but the prices for a Spica build seemed excessive ($1K or so). I'm hoping to avoid that!

She's a fun car. Not the fastest by any means, in fact when my friends would drive her they we're always surprised at how slow she was. That only lasts until they take their first turn though...

-Alec
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Igbalfa, I looked at the link I couldn't find anything about mechanic services, only parts. Thanks for the help though!

-Alec
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 09:27 PM
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Alec, found a mech?

Hey Alec,
Have ya found that mechanic you are looking for?
I know of a good one in Prescott Valley. Are you in the valley? I used to have a shop in Tempe for 20+ years (not mechanical).
P M me & we can exchange stories if you like. otherwise I hope your search is short.
Greg

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