1600 to 1700 conversion - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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1600 to 1700 conversion

Not much info. on this from previous posters
Fired up, runs, that's it for now.
Smooth, very strong, pulls better than I remember a 1600 ever running, preliminary impression just as strong as a 1750 carb'd, maybe it will be more, high smile, sounds factor
Stage two porting
Custom valves
Kent 303 intake cam
11.0 IAP "carb" exhaust, performance, from when IAP seemed to be selling cams
Gordon R. rebuilt oil pump
dynamator, generator look-a-like, alternator, easy to hook up if you want to do it, personally never found
anything endearing about those 60's strobe light generator lights at low revs on your instrument panel, no matter how original
60's they are
lightened RJ 1750 flywheel, RJ disc, with a 1600 ring gear fitted, remember, both have 8 bolts, this combination is very sweet I must say, shifts very nicely along with my rebuilt transmission
Centerline throwout conversion with hydraulic style pressure plate, I don't know if anyone else has done this, but RJ and I figured it should work, and it does, with a two bolt starter, so far
Alfaholics take off plate for remote oil filter
Custom Dr. G, billet aluminum, cad, 3-D printing, laser cut front oil adapter mounting plate for a PH8 filter(just kidding, but no holes were drilled, just a U-bolt for the L-bracket, left over Boeing surplus from my dock construction (I'll never be able to sell this car now, Boeing surplus is long gone)
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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1600/1700

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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I'll be installing the original air intake, but the K&N filters and throat install makes it easier to use the Uni-syn type air balancer for now.
To change filter, stick hand through bumper with flex filter wrench after placing rags underneath filter, there seems to be sufficient room to pull it out from inside the engine bay after loosening, but no, haven't done that yet, but seems it will work
BTW, those oil filter custom fittings, stainless braided pipe, and filter adapter, with tax, ran $165, ouch

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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The crank was ground to spec, new bearings all around, IWIS lower chain, Regina upper, that's another story, not important

The JE 10.5 pistons and Alfa Romeo rods remarkably weighed in identical for three of them, and the 4th was only off one gram, that is the original rods, bearings and piston rings. I was pretty impressed by that
I used Total Seal rings with a gapless second, they will strain your eyes installing them, and that was another frustrating story, as I was initially sent the wrong oil middle ring!

Gordon Raymonds initial jetting recommendations pull very strong and smooth across the entire rev range
Further tuning coming later

I liked it so much I immediately had Margaret drive the car. Very positive spousal approval factor index numbers

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 09:08 AM
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Very interested to know how this works out for you over the next few months, and I might be picking your brains via email. I've been deliberating an overbore in my 1570cc engine since forever, even though I've invested deeply in NOS 1750 parts (even a block) to upgrade using a more traditional route. Decisions, decisions. Gordon's been helpful too, but I just have not made a start on it.

Did you do the build yourself? Custom liners or used but honed out to 79/80mm? Valve sizes and seat angles? Any info shared would be gratefully received.

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to all parts I have advertised on the BB so far. Plenty more! Just ask.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 09:37 AM
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The Fram filter is ONE good one they still make.... for Ferrari. When you buy the "Ferrari Filter for a 2 cam 275, It's painted red with the black prancing horse, and a Ferrari part number. Under the red paint is ORANGE paint and PH8A. The other good ones are the PB50, (also a Ferrari factory part when painted red) and the various HP Fram Series, (HP-1-2 and so on) Many drag racers and some old Alfa racers (me) like the HP-1 as a remote filter. Years ago I used one on my Plymouth Hemi GTX drag car.
Interesting..


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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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So Gordon, we need a run of red PH8a filters with Alfa silkscreen decals and charge $100 apiece? Now you've got me on my next project. Just wait a couple weeks and I'll get the prototype out.
Alex, the 1700cc set came from Paul Spruell. Sometimes their website is a bit recalcitrant on Windows but works fine on McIntosh.
Can't help you on the cylinder head sadly. I just told Steve at Progressive Automotive to select the cams from my stock and perform his magic.
I can tell you he performs a 45 degree cut, and uses his custom valves and springs

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Buying a remote adapter is an experience so let me share. The 2 Liter also takes a PH8a and so I was aiming for it. For this you need the 3/4" 16 thread adapter to mount the PH8a. I initially bought a 1" thread so learn from me. I'm lucky to have Williams Oil Filter locally and they set me up in an hour with the trick, but expensive 10AN fittings and stainless line. I made one 16" and the other 17". Stainless line is about $12 a foot. Don' make a mistake on yours.

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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1700 conversion beware downside, very sad

I've put about 300 mi on my 1700 conversion. Two weeks ago it went very bad. Antifreeze was coming out the exhaust.

When I saw either smoke, or it turns out steam, coming out my exhaust, and was able to pull over . I have a car trailer, so I trailered it home. My thought was I'd blown a head gasket. I contacted the seller and told them I checked my head torque settings off old Shankle settings to check to see if my head nuts were loose or close to spec after the incident. I was straight off told that was my problem, I'd used those old Shankle numbers.

I don't drive the car much, only 300 mi in 4 years. I couldn't remember what I'd used when I installed the setup, but when I asked for a copy of the instructions, I recalled having used those instructions during the install. I'd only used the Shankle numbers because I was very stressed out, antifreeze coming out the tailpipe, and wanted to try to immediately figure out what was going on. But the very first response from the seller was that immediate implication I'd done something incorrectly during the installation because I checked torque settings from ould Shankle numbers.

I took my spark plugs out. They were tan except for number one cylinder which was wet. I didn't have much time left, I had to go work, so I filled number one with oil until I had time to work on it.

Last weekend I finally had time to pop the head. I thought I'd cracked a head or blown a gasket. It wasn't that.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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The wall of the number one cylinder has a crack in it extending from the skirt to the top of the cylinder head.

I was told I needed to send in another liner, then told to "shove off" after I wrote why did I have to send in another liner, where am I going to find a 1600 liner? I only had 300 mi on it. I was told I must have improperly timed the car and caused predetonation. It must have been all my fault.

I don't know about that, maybe. Maybe not. But I took my car and had Ralliround check my timing and my Weber setup after I built it. It was running great, until it wasn't.

Since this happened I've checked with some smart Alfa people. I've been told increasing a cylinder liner to 81 mm maybe is not such a good idea and 80mm is the max to go from one individual. Another told me they haven't had a cracked liner since they never go above 79mm.

I have a nonworking engine with a cracked cylinder that I spent a lot of money on, so jokes on me.

So if you consider converting your engine, ask around, do some research. Best way out of this is a 1700 to 1600 conversion for me at this point. Well, really I have a 1700/4= 425 x 3 = 1275 cc conversion since I only had 3 good cylinders. And now that the head is off I have a 0 cc conversion with no working cylinders. The business I purchased this from has had change in personnel. The interaction I've had in the past is no longer the case. So if something happens maybe the business can't take your emails and will turn on you the customer. Beware how you spend your money because if there's a BIG problem, the impulse of the business just might be to flip it back on you, even if they have no possibility of knowing how you assembled or ran your motor.

One issue is I have done things carefully on my project, and it has taken a lot of time. Working 50-70 hours a week at my job has made my project go slowly. So it was 4 years ago when I installed this, but I have so few miles on my Duetto. It was running so well, until it didn't.

The business that sold it to me never acknowledged maybe, just maybe, it was a fluke and a bad cylinder that was sent. Which is what I think, but basically I was told straight off I'm a putz. Which, well, does not make oneself feel so good their BIG problem is being sympathized with.

Beware. Don't believe advertising. Ask around. Read my post. Sounds pretty silly doesn't it(?), but there's an old adage about the cost of additional HP. Maybe I should feel fortunate I got 300mi out of it. Some people don't even get that mileage before they crack an overbored cylinder.

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 09:56 AM
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As I explained to you in an e-mail, this CAN happen. Often there is no "fault" to be found. I'm writing this for others, Wes, that might not understand. The most common cause is always detonation. This can be from any number of other causes, but often comes from failure to re-calculate CC volume AFTER a bore increase. Compression WILL increase.
Assuming calculations are correct, and piston crowns have been cut enough to get compression back where it should be, and assembly is correct, we are down to simply "liner-failure".
Many quality new liners are "spun-cast" in an attempt to minimize stresses in the actual casting.
These new liners are often honed to final dimension and finish rather than bored with a boring bar.
Used liners, made up for oversize bores, should also be honed to size with a Sunnin honing machine or the like. This machine is commonly used for aircraft liners and cylinders, as well as cylinders in motorcycles, and other "dry" liners. The purpose is to minimize any stresses built up in the casting. If a boring bar is used, even with a sharp cutter, some slight metal is displaced rather than cut, due to the nature of most castings. This creates stresses in the liner, and with heat / cool cycles, the stresses will be relieved to some extent, BUT one relief is a stress crack, and that's never good.
Honed liners may also have stresses, but not caused by the honing, though they may be brought to the surface by honing.
I prefer USED liners for all overbore applications as the hot/cold cycles hopefully have negated some stresses from manufacture. These are used in my own 1600's with a 79 mm bore. Liner skirts get pretty thin at 80mm, and boring the block for cut down 1750 liners may weaken the block itself. With the 1600 block, you can go big, but form building "BIG" small bore motorcycle engines, blocks may get pretty jello-like. You can discuss this with Jim Steck, who has built some pretty powerful Alfa engines for Bonneville. These blocks are seriously reinforced both top with mono-liner, and bottom with steel cradle, to avoid the jello issues.
Cracked liners are annoying, and can and do happen. Compression, machining, assembly, and unknown existing liner stresses all can contribute.
The above is from my own experiences, as well as of others I know well. I hope it is useful information.


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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 10:02 AM
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Nope. Your not in error. This DOES happen, and even to very experienced engine builders. One tells me NOT to fool around with mouse engines, just build a 2L. Well, that can work. He has cracked liners in his own race 2L's, so it's still not an absolute if you are looking for maximum power and torque. I was fortunate that in my mispent youth, I spent time at Outboard Marine in Waukegan Illinois doing "failure analysis" on blown up aluminum racing marine 2 cycle engines.
Some of that has stuck with me, 50+ years later!


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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Gordon.

Many years ago I took Death and Dying at Seattle Central which discussed the 5 stages of grief. Not sure where I am on that. However, kicking around those very same thoughts and I've found some sympathetic ears which might help me through my stages, whichever those are right now.

Denial – The first reaction is denial. In this stage individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality.
Anger – When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, they become frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"; "Why would this happen?".
Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise. For instance: "I'd give anything to have him back." Or: "If only he'd come back to life, I'd promise to be a better person!"
Depression – "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon, so what's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the recognition of their mortality. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.
Acceptance – "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it; I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. People dying may precede the survivors in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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I'd like to share my very favorite comment: "2 liters run great." (wasn't Gordon)

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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I really never liked the comment from my friend who used to say "it's only money."
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