F12 trip Chicago to Berkeley - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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Old 08-01-2013, 06:55 PM
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F12 trip Chicago to Berkeley

As promised, flew in to O'Hare today to pick up Vince's F12. My brother in law Matt flew from Denver and will ride with me that far. Vince met us at the airport, drove us back to Big Rock, IL in his 5 series wagon. Met the van for the first time in 10+ years. Changed the few things we knew it needed (right H4 headlight bulb, flasher unit, tailpipe hanger (standard 105 part, as are many details on this thing). Got the boxes of parts from Vince, a lesson in how to start it, fired it up, and drove 1/4 mile to the gas station, where we had the first "what is that" conversation, and the kids hanging out in front of the store said, "hey, is that Vince's van?" Yes it is. Not more than one of these in Big Rock, IL, I wouldn't think.

Hit the road about 4:30, west on US 30, south on I-39, west on US 34, now shacked out in Kewanee, IL at a we-hope=no-meth-heads motel. All good so far. Cruised at 90 KPH (55 MPH), held up traffic a bit here and there, but on the US highway it's not a big deal. Thing drives well, has more power than I would have expected. Bought some Rotella diesel oil, Rain X (wipers don't work yet) and some WD-40 to go with the tools and parts we brought.

Pics show the parties involved, Vince's driveway, also full of BMWs, and our first diesel spill, the big hose at the top of the tank leaks. For you train fans, we're along the old Burlington RR mainline, lots of eastbound BNSF coal trains, westbound empties. Dig it.

Tomorrow, west!

Vince says expect 20 MPG, and I will hope to keep track. About 175 K so far today, late start, tired from flight, etc.

Andrew
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Last edited by Andrew; 08-01-2013 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:21 PM
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Hey Andrew,
Coincidently, Wisconsin Public TV just ran a cool show about the old Lincolin Highway. NYC to SF. You'll be on it or parallel to it for a good part of your trip. Enjoy!
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
Tomorrow, west!
Good luck on your trip, Andrew, and thank you for writing about it!
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:45 PM
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Great to see you've made westward progress with the van...I never had the fuel hose leak, was it just a loose clamp? I'm surprised the kids knew it was my van by name, but then maybe I'm better known than I thought...LOL.

vince
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:29 PM
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:46 PM
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I'll be watching the progress on this one with more than just a little interest............

ALFA = Always Looking For Another................I make it two Supers, one Giulietta Spider Veloce, two '58 Spider Normale's, a 105 Square back, the odd Berlina (or half a dozen at any one time), the Westphalia & the ghost of the MGA Twin Cam lurking in your drive way, all ready to welcome the newest addition to the fleet

Aye
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Parking problems.....
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:58 PM
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Made it out of Illinois, across Iowa, now in Lincoln, Nebraska. Followed US 34 all day, brief stretch where it gets on the freeway near the NB border.

Crossed both the mighty Mississippi and Missouri Rivers today, the later on a formerly private toll bridge (15 mph limit) across from Pacific Jct IA to Plattsmouth NB. Amazing stuff. Local downtown fair was going on in Plattsmouth on a nice Friday afternoon, the F12 was a minor hit in its own way at the gas station, the owner of which opened up for us after closing time to let us have some diesel. Then he dragged out pics of the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (I think) that stopped in years ago, and his wife took pics of us.

Another fun time in Osceola, IA, where the manager of a Casey's convenience store offered to buy the F12, describing it as a cross between a forward-cab Econoline and a VW bus. Everyone who can't figure out what it is guesses VW, but the more knowledgeable know that's not quite right. One old boy in Osceola knew all about Perkins diesels as an old boat guy and farmer. Farmer learn to deal with and fix everything.

F12 did well today, another all-day adventure at 90 KPH. Passed one vehicle all day (the high-wheeled piece of farm equipment on the shoulder, shown), otherwise tried to stay out of people's way. We're getting close to 30 MPG it seems, happy with. Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska each have their charms, it's getting drier as we head west but still a ton of corn and soy beans. Now more cows grazing. Fair number of giant windmills in IL, not any to speak of in IA or NB. 40+ ft blades estimates co-pilot.

One front caliper (Mercedes 560 SL we believe) has been sticky all along, got bindy and stinky just coming in to Lincoln, we'll see how it is in the AM. Brake reservoir is still full, pedal pumps up, so we'll see what the deal is. I'm guessing one or more bad hoses, and/or a sticky piston. Some remediation may be required. We're next door to an auto parts store at a Day's Inn, so our locale couldn't really be better.

See pics. Stopped and admired the expensive old Chevys along the way, saw lots of hot rods and Harleys headed for various events, talked to a ton of folks about the F12. No one yet has known what it is. No Italian cars en route, a couple German cars, but really, it's hugely boring American cars and pickups here. Saw one air-cooled VW, a Bay Window Westfalia, we flashed our lights and waved. Unclear what he took us for.

Andrew
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:06 PM
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More pics, including Frank in Osceola.

My brother and I came essentially this same route from Chicago to Denver in summer 1974 when we moved from VA to CA and drove separately from our parents, taking a different route. I was 15, he 18, he drove the whole way in our 65 Falcon Squire wagon, 289, we camped out every night. Planned the route to see as many trains as possible. Names like Mendota, Ottumwa, Galesburg resonate from that trip. The trains are very different now.

Andrew
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:24 PM
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Andrew, glad to hear you've made it to Nebraska and enjoyed screaming across the country at 90 kph! I am sorry to hear of the brake problem, my bet is that the caliper is sticking. I've never had a brake hose cause a problem, but some calipers just chose to stick. The red '95 BMW 318ti Club Sport you saw in the driveway is also hobbled by a sticking caliper (LF) less than a year after I flushed and bled the brakes. I tried a new line, no difference. I think I'll be working on that this weekend. Keep us posted!

vince
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:52 PM
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When are you coming through Denver and Grand Junction? If we can coordinate it letscget together for coffee or lunch!
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:17 AM
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Working theory Matt and I hashed out is yes, that the LF caliper has just got crud between the seal and the pad, which works to keep the piston forced against the disk. I literally just rebuilt my Super race car's brakes last week with this problem, so it's all pictured clearly in my head. Pedal is again good this morning, so I think the fluid was boiling from the hot caliper. Now cooled down, fluid is again liquid. Had planned to go US 34 to Denver from here, but we may just get on I-80 and go direct to I-76, then to Matt's house and see what we can figure out in the relative comfort of Matt's house and shop. We are literally next door to an O'Reillys, but I'm guessing they won't have a ton of Mercedes calipers on the shelf, and I'm not going to try to get the piston(s) out in the parking lot, though I did bring my biggest waterpump pliers.

Will pull the wheel off shortly to see what we can see. But the disk is turning freely now, and with a good pedal, we feel a trip on I-80 where brake use is minimized might/should be fine. Plus, the parking brake works.

Vince, no hard feelings at all, this is how these things can go. In all other respects going well. Seats are comfy, steering, power etc is good, and there's even a certain Alfa "family feel" to it, especially through the curves.

Plus the horn works!

Andrew
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:23 AM
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Just pulled off the wheel, exercised the pistons with my big pliers, put a little WD40 in there in hopes of machining off some of the crud. Three of four pistons move reasonably, the other moves some, and I don't feel like I'm gorilla-ing it that much, so I'm a little mystified why it got so bad. Hose does not seem to be the issue, with the disk locked form brake pressure, opening the three bleeder screw does not free the disk. So I think it's just a piston sticky travel issue. We moved it in and out a bunch of times, we're definitely getting pistons and fluid movement, so we'll give it a try. Will proceed with some caution, we'll see how much.

One good thing is Vince just bled the brakes, so it's all nice new fluid and the many bleeder screws are all free. When the pedal is good, it's really good.

Andrew
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:41 AM
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Better late than never. SUbscribed!
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:36 AM
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great adventure, stay safe, some people have all the fun!
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:34 PM
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Andrew, great to hear you're getting through the brake issue without too much trouble. They gave me no issues on my trip back. The pedal was pretty soft, though, and I have wondered not only when the brakes were last bled, but also whether they knew the order to bleed the screws, or if they only bled one. After I bled them, I made a few hard stops from 90kph and there was no pulling to either side and the pedal was much firmer, so hopefully it stays good until you get to Matt's.

Keep us posted!

vince
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