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post #1 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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New Guy with a 164S

Hi all,

I'm Tom, and I am going to soon be getting a 164S. Short story is my Uncle moved here from Italy in the 60's and was a huge Alfa fan. He owned a 1993 Spider, a 1971 GTV, and a 1991 164S. Unfortunately he recently passed away, and my cousin is deciding what to do with the cars. She is keeping the first two (I can't afford the GTV anyway, I'd love it though its MINT), but willing to sell me the 164S, she knows he would want me to have it. Always loved these cars. I was hoping it was a newer 164Q (haven't seen the car in 20 years), but the S is good, it still looks the same at least.

Anyway he was VERY meticulous, and while the car needs paint, I can assume mechanically he always kept it up. The only other thing I know is the oil light is on, but from reading here that may not be such a big deal? I will be seeing the car soon.

As for what I'd like to do, I'd like to make a fun family cruiser out of it. A paint job, some new wheels, louder exhaust like the ANSA, and maybe modify or upgrade anything that may be worn or broken. I looked into the TAROX brake kits as I had read the brakes aren't so great on these, but I feel like some good aggressive pads and rotors and a good fluid should make it enough for street driving like any other car.

So anyway just wanted to say hi and I welcome any advice. Mechanically I am mostly not shy, other than the Mercedes I work on all the cars in my signature, and the VW is the second full race car I have built.

-RL; 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S, 2014 Mercedes Benz E350 4Matic, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 1995 Volkswagen Golf (Race Car)
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post #2 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 10:50 AM
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Alfa brakes are very good. Zero need to change them on a street car. The stock exhaust is very nice and I would not want to make it louder.

The oil light is just an idiot light and is probably malfunctioning, assuming the gauge is reading correctly (which may or may not be the case). They are separate sender units. A check with a mechanical gauge is warranted, if in any doubt.

The most important thing right off the bat is the timing belt. Timing belts on the ALFA V6 are not to be ignored. A broken or skipped timing belt will do a lot of very expensive damage to the engine. I recommend that you download the guide on timing belts and tensioners and read it for understanding. Either of the mechanics listed below can give you sound advice as well. There's also an Alfa club chapter on Long Island that meets once a month on Sunday for breakfast, I believe.

And remember, these cars are 27 years old now, and a lot of things are aging-out and not necessarily wearing-out. Things like rubber bushings, hoses, motor mounts, etc should all be looked at closely and replaced before failure, which basically meant 10 years ago.

Read this for more owner info on the 164S:

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/164-...ying-164s.html

There are a couple of good ALFA mechanics on Long Island, should you need them. Alfa Import Center in Port Washington, and the Alfa Auto Clinic in Baldwin.

John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S

Last edited by Roadtrip; 06-25-2018 at 11:14 AM.
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post #3 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 10:56 AM
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I have an L, but similar enough to comment.

The 12V is certainly fun and it sounds great. If you canít find an ANSA, I like my CSC Marmitte muffler and mid silencer removed.

Wheels are tough to find at 5x98 pattern, but 5x100 with wobble bolts work fine.

Braking is fine, just a softer pedal than you might be used to. Street pads and rotors are probably fine.

Have fun with it and enjoy driving it. Definitely check the oil situation and find out the history on the timing belt and tensioner. If you havenít read up on that, search around a bit.

This site makes the car great to maintain. There are some great maintenance guides. If you havenít already, take a look and see what youíre getting into and what you might expect for maintenance. Good luck.

John
1991 Alfa Romeo 164L, 1993 Ford 5.0L Mustang
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post #4 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 11:19 AM
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Good advice from roadtrip and spitefire. Don't jump to fast except on the timing belt! Unless you know it's history....time and mileage...do it right away, if not sooner<img src="http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" />
Before jumping on brakes and exhaust, I'd drive it for a while. I agree with the others. It sounds great stock. The stock brakes are just fine for a fast street car, if the pads and rotors aren't glazed over and were broken in properly. I've owned 5 164s, including 3 Ss. I've tried lots of different pads and a few rotors. The best brakes I had were street pads and rotors from Centerline, all 4 corners done at the same time and broken in so as not to glaze the rotors.
Choose wisely were you spend money on your 164. A good running well maintained one will bring you more joy than one that looks and sounds good<img src="http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" />

Red 1991 164S, Black 1991 164S, Red 1987 Milano, 1972 Berlina, 1973 Berlina rebuilding SPICA engine
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post #5 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadtrip View Post
Alfa brakes are very good. Zero need to change them on a street car. The stock exhaust is very nice and I would not want to make it louder.

The oil light is just an idiot light and is probably malfunctioning, assuming the gauge is reading correctly (which may or may not be the case). They are separate sender units. A check with a mechanical gauge is warranted, if in any doubt.

The most important thing right off the bat is the timing belt. Timing belts on the ALFA V6 are not to be ignored. A broken or skipped timing belt will do a lot of very expensive damage to the engine. I recommend that you download the guide on timing belts and tensioners and read it for understanding. Either of the mechanics listed below can give you sound advice as well. There's also an Alfa club chapter on Long Island that meets once a month on Sunday for breakfast, I believe.

Read this for more owner info on the 164S:



There are a couple of good ALFA mechanics on Long Island, should you need them. Alfa Import Center in Port Washington, and the Alfa Auto Clinic in Baldwin.
Thanks. I read your post and it was excellent very informative. I will be looking through all these things before I decide to really get into the car or not. Of course it has sentimental value but I don't want to end up in a money pit.

I will probably Put a mechanical gauge on to be sure just in case and then set out to try and fix the idiot light, I seem to remember reading it is not too complicated to fix but sourcing the sensor can be troublesome?

I should have the service records from my uncle for the car, I THINK he used that Alfa shop in Baldwin but will need to check, its only 10 minutes from my house so if I need them its very helpful. I think he was also in that Alfa club.


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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
I have an L, but similar enough to comment.

The 12V is certainly fun and it sounds great. If you canít find an ANSA, I like my CSC Marmitte muffler and mid silencer removed.

Wheels are tough to find at 5x98 pattern, but 5x100 with wobble bolts work fine.

Braking is fine, just a softer pedal than you might be used to. Street pads and rotors are probably fine.

Have fun with it and enjoy driving it. Definitely check the oil situation and find out the history on the timing belt and tensioner. If you havenít read up on that, search around a bit.

This site makes the car great to maintain. There are some great maintenance guides. If you havenít already, take a look and see what youíre getting into and what you might expect for maintenance. Good luck.
Thanks for the tip on the muffler, I think I've seen the ANSA out there, I clicked through so many parts sites I'm not sure. Hey for all I know the car may have it, like i said my uncle was a big Alfa fan.

What you say about the wheels makes sense, there is a set of OZ wheels I saw on tirerack though that are 5x98, the O.Z. Superturismo LM (I'd post a link but i can't I'm too new)

But I had seen something on 5x100 wheels that mentioned "fitment issue" I guess they meant wobble bolts.

I think I'm gonna try some good pads and rotors, steel braided lines, and a fluid change and see how I like it before I go drop $2k+ on a brake kit.

Looks like this car will be a little project for me, do some stuff here and there, and then hopefully have it done by next summer.

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Originally Posted by Richard2 View Post
Good advice from roadtrip and spitefire. Don't jump to fast except on the timing belt! Unless you know it's history....time and mileage...do it right away, if not sooner
Before jumping on brakes and exhaust, I'd drive it for a while. I agree with the others. It sounds great stock. The stock brakes are just fine for a fast street car, if the pads and rotors aren't glazed over and were broken in properly. I've owned 5 164s, including 3 Ss. I've tried lots of different pads and a few rotors. The best brakes I had were street pads and rotors from Centerline, all 4 corners done at the same time and broken in so as not to glaze the rotors.
Choose wisely were you spend money on your 164. A good running well maintained one will bring you more joy than one that looks and sounds good
Thanks, I definitely want to kind of plan things out before throwing money at it. Also I don't know everything thats been done, its possible my uncle made some upgrades over time. I may see it this weekend. Need the will and stuff to sort out before I can take it home.

-RL; 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S, 2014 Mercedes Benz E350 4Matic, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 1995 Volkswagen Golf (Race Car)

Last edited by Rogue Leader; 06-25-2018 at 11:25 AM.
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post #6 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 12:50 PM
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Hi Tom,

I'm a Alfaholic too; welcome to the club. I am sorry for your loss. As previously stated the 164-S brakes are great for normal street driving. Save your money, you'll probably need a new steering rack, radiator, some suspension work and a new headliner -in addition to all belts and hoses. Speaking of money, she is "willing to sell you the 164-S"...honestly they are not the flavor of the month yet.

The 164 is a very satisfying Alfa to drive and as my old buddy 'WL' says, "it will out Alfa any Alfa" he has ever had! I agree but than neither of us have had a new Giulia or 8C! You can find 164's very reasonably priced but than most need work! Hopefully she will give you the 'family discount' and the car will be in good shape.

Mark
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post #7 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 12:54 PM
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How long has it been sitting without being driven?
You could also check with some club members who were friends with your uncle. They probably know the car. Contact the club president and ask. I'm sure he'll help you find someone. They are a friendly group.

Red 1991 164S, Black 1991 164S, Red 1987 Milano, 1972 Berlina, 1973 Berlina rebuilding SPICA engine
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post #8 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Tom,

I'm a Alfaholic too; welcome to the club. I am sorry for your loss. As previously stated the 164-S brakes are great for normal street driving. Save your money, you'll probably need a new steering rack, radiator, some suspension work and a new headliner -in addition to all belts and hoses. Speaking of money, she is "willing to sell you the 164-S"...honestly they are not the flavor of the month yet.

The 164 is a very satisfying Alfa to drive and as my old buddy 'WL' says, "it will out Alfa any Alfa" he has ever had! I agree but than neither of us have had a new Giulia or 8C! You can find 164's very reasonably priced but than most need work! Hopefully she will give you the 'family discount' and the car will be in good shape.

Mark
Thanks. Other than the paint being bad (it was his DD) I'd bet many of those things were done already if needed, we will see. He was very meticulous and has books of receipts and logs of work. As for money, he left the cars to her and I feel that I should give her what its worth on the market. Shes not rich and could use the money, I mean we are talking about a couple thousand bucks here not a huge amount. It wasn't her asking, I offered as I feel its the right thing to do.

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How long has it been sitting without being driven?
You could also check with some club members who were friends with your uncle. They probably know the car. Contact the club president and ask. I'm sure he'll help you find someone. They are a friendly group.
It was his daily driver, he got sick (cancer) 8 months ago. He was probably driving it up until about 4 or 5 months ago. My cousin and her boyfriend have been moving the cars around the driveway and starting them weekly.

My cousin said the Alfa Auto Clinic in Baldwin was his shop, and not only that, the owner and his sons were actually at my uncles wake, so I'd assume they have pretty intimate knowledge of all his cars, he only trusted them. So I'm probably in a good situation with this car, even if it does need work. Once I get my hands on it and register it I'll drive over there and introduce myself and have a talk with them. I'd like to do some things myself, but others I may leave to them, depends on my schedule.

-RL; 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S, 2014 Mercedes Benz E350 4Matic, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 1995 Volkswagen Golf (Race Car)
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post #9 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 01:18 PM
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The low oil pressure light is a simple $16 common part. Centerline usually has them. The Alfa spec is for it to come on below 6 psi or so.
Check the wire to yours first.

If you need a new sender, my guess is that you can take the old part up to any auto parts store and find a replacement with the same threads and generally same trip value.

When connecting a mechanical oil pressure gauge, that sender port is where you want to do it. Very easy and fast to access. Located under the distributor where the heater hose connection comes out of the cylinder head.

John Stewart
74 Spider
91 164S

Last edited by Roadtrip; 06-25-2018 at 01:22 PM.
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post #10 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 01:24 PM
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Tires, not brakes. Check the DOT coded build date: four numbers, first two are the week of manufacture and the last two are the last two digits of the year of manufacture. If the last two digits are 12 or lower then buy new tires. The 164 brakes feel different to other makers even though they use standard Girling brakes. The pedal feels a bit soft when braking moderately and has plenty of pedal travel. However, stand on them hard and the braking force goes up rapidly while pedal travel seems shorter than you would expect and effort goes up quite noticeably. I like them but they can be disconcerting if you're not used to them. Certainly stock pads and discs will be fine.

If the brakes can't get the tires to lockup (ABS starts pulsing) then maybe your brakes aren't up to snuff. Stopping distances are determined by tire compound, not brake lining, or should be.

For the timing belt you are looking for reliable documentation of time and mileage interval since the last new timing belt. Opinions vary but most agree that Alfas original spec of 50,000 miles with no time limit is not correct in practice. In general, mileage is far more important than years of service. The time interval is a prediction of flex cycles as compared to probable engine revolutions if measured only by mileage. Alfa probably assumed that the average engine driven in a mix of city (more revolutions per mile travelled) and highway (typically at lower rpm, even if at higher speeds, and so fewer total revolutions per mile travelled) would reach the mileage limit before the time limit became an issue. 50,000 miles takes around 5 years to accumulate for a daily driver. Consensus is 7 years is old enough for the belt. But, experiences have varied. How lucky do you feel is the bottom line here.

My current timing belt is 10 years old but only has 25,000 miles on it, for example. More important than the belt itself are the tensioner and its pulley bearing and keeping the oil and coolant from leaking onto the belt. A nice dry belt properly stored and handled by the parts supplier and the installer and then properly installed generally will not fail. It's all the other stuff that gets neglected that kills these belts.

1991 Alfa Romeo 164L 5 spd
White on grey leather 230K km, owned from new

Last edited by Michael Smith; 06-25-2018 at 01:28 PM.
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post #11 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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The low oil pressure light is a simple $16 common part. Centerline usually has them. The Alfa spec is for it to come on below 6 psi or so.
Check the wire to yours first.

If you need a new sender, my guess is that you can take the old part up to any auto parts store and find a replacement with the same threads and generally same trip value.

When connecting a mechanical oil pressure gauge, that sender port is where you want to do it. Very easy and fast to access. Located under the distributor where the heater hose connection comes out of the cylinder head.
Excellent, yeah I'll check out that wire and see whats happening. I don't mind paying $16 for a plug and play part.

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Tires, not brakes. Check the DOT coded build date: four numbers, first two are the week of manufacture and the last two are the last two digits of the year of manufacture. If the last two digits are 12 or lower then buy new tires. The 164 brakes feel different to other makers even though they use standard Girling brakes. The pedal feels a bit soft when braking moderately and has plenty of pedal travel. However, stand on them hard and the braking force goes up rapidly while pedal travel seems shorter than you would expect and effort goes up quite noticeably. I like them but they can be disconcerting if you're not used to them. Certainly stock pads and discs will be fine.

If the brakes can't get the tires to lockup (ABS starts pulsing) then maybe your brakes aren't up to snuff. Stopping distances are determined by tire compound, not brake lining, or should be.

For the timing belt you are looking for reliable documentation of time and mileage interval since the last new timing belt. Opinions vary but most agree that Alfas original spec of 50,000 miles with no time limit is not correct in practice. In general, mileage is far more important than years of service. The time interval is a prediction of flex cycles as compared to probable engine revolutions if measured only by mileage. Alfa probably assumed that the average engine driven in a mix of city (more revolutions per mile travelled) and highway (typically at lower rpm, even if at higher speeds, and so fewer total revolutions per mile travelled) would reach the mileage limit before the time limit became an issue. 50,000 miles takes around 5 years to accumulate for a daily driver. Consensus is 7 years is old enough for the belt. But, experiences have varied. How lucky do you feel is the bottom line here.

My current timing belt is 10 years old but only has 25,000 miles on it, for example. More important than the belt itself are the tensioner and its pulley bearing and keeping the oil and coolant from leaking onto the belt. A nice dry belt properly stored and handled by the parts supplier and the installer and then properly installed generally will not fail. It's all the other stuff that gets neglected that kills these belts.
Since I'm likely going to get some new wheels I'll wait on the tires to do that. I'm familiar with Girling calipers from my VWs, I've rebuilt many, busted a few, etc. Of course on the street fade isn't much of an issue like in a race car, still I do like a stiffer pedal when possible. The Steel braided lines should help with that, and then as you said, I just need to get used to how they feel. Depending when they were last serviced I will consider rebuilding the calipers as well. My Mercedes has electric brakes (and steering), it is a bit weird, but they do a good job of simulating the feeling of real brakes.

Interestingly enough I was looking at Centerline Alfa and I noticed the actual stock calipers for this car (front and rear) LOOK identical to the ones on my Golf. Of course there may be differences, but I'm interested to get them next to each other and see if theres anything visibly different.

I'll have to dig into his receipts regarding the belt. I know in recent years he didn't drive the car a lot because he retired. It was his daily but he wasn't doing a daily commute. When he would go out for fun he would take the GTV or Spider.

-RL; 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S, 2014 Mercedes Benz E350 4Matic, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 1995 Volkswagen Golf (Race Car)

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post #12 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 04:42 PM
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Long time Alfa owner and driver here, having used a 91S as our DD since 1994.

Make sure you get records from the repair shop so that you understand what has been done to the car through the years.

A few comments I might make are, don't bother messing with the brakes, just make sure the stock pads and discs are ok. Personally, I like the sound of the stock S rear muffler, although it seems if the driver is younger, they seem to like things louder (my own opinion is that they ruined their hearing with too loud earbuds, lol).

As others say, check the oil pressure with a mechanical gauge, compare that against the car dash gauge, and then just use the dash gauge as your future reference.

Make sure you understand about the timing belt. Also, find out when the serpentine belt and idler pulley were last changed. The idler pulley can go out on you, so change it if there is any question. They are inexpensive if you buy say a Dayco, etc, not the OEM.

Get a copy of the workshop manual. either paper or disc, and peruse the Fiat parts ePer on oine to understand where all the parts in the car are.

good luck,

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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post #13 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 05:42 PM
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When my oil pressure light acted up the pressure gauge worked well enough for me to know the light was wrong. Ironically, oil leaking onto the pressure light switch wire prevented it from reading correctly. Spraying with contact cleaner stripped the oil off restoring the light to correct operation.

Exhaust sound is responsive to the resonator under the left rear passenger seat. The stock item is a fairly large volume pie shaped flat chamber which is nla as far as I can tell. Fitting a smaller resonator will deliver more exhaust noise and a little less back pressure (noise reduction and back pressure increase go together). There is very little magic to exhaust systems despite all the hype surrounding performance exhausts. Pipe diameter and muffler capacity are the two factors once a good set of headers has been fitted, which Alfa already does from the factory. The catalytic converters present the most backpressure of all the chambers fitted to the pipes. More noise doesn't always mean more power but less noise always means less power. For me the trade off is easy, I like a quiet car.

Brake calipers can look the same but fit different sized pistons, which I think is the case for VWAG products using similar looking brakes to those used by Alfa.

1991 Alfa Romeo 164L 5 spd
White on grey leather 230K km, owned from new
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post #14 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
Hi all,

I'm Tom, and I am going to soon be getting a 164S. Short story is my Uncle moved here from Italy in the 60's and was a huge Alfa fan. He owned a 1993 Spider, a 1971 GTV, and a 1991 164S. Unfortunately he recently passed away, and my cousin is deciding what to do with the cars. She is keeping the first two (I can't afford the GTV anyway, I'd love it though its MINT), but willing to sell me the 164S, she knows he would want me to have it. Always loved these cars. I was hoping it was a newer 164Q (haven't seen the car in 20 years), but the S is good, it still looks the same at least.

Anyway he was VERY meticulous, and while the car needs paint, I can assume mechanically he always kept it up. The only other thing I know is the oil light is on, but from reading here that may not be such a big deal? I will be seeing the car soon.

As for what I'd like to do, I'd like to make a fun family cruiser out of it. A paint job, some new wheels, louder exhaust like the ANSA, and maybe modify or upgrade anything that may be worn or broken. I looked into the TAROX brake kits as I had read the brakes aren't so great on these, but I feel like some good aggressive pads and rotors and a good fluid should make it enough for street driving like any other car.

So anyway just wanted to say hi and I welcome any advice. Mechanically I am mostly not shy, other than the Mercedes I work on all the cars in my signature, and the VW is the second full race car I have built.
Welcome. I opted for the 24V braking system. Less expensive venture than Tarox which I use to offer. I did the Brake booster, Brake master, calipers and discs. Braking is much improved. Although the 12V was not that bad either. I can also slot the rotors. I am actually adding Q4 rear rotors and calipers soon as they are vented rears (don't ask for those, almost impossible).

Ansa is not much louder than stock to be honest. I'd remove mid muffler to make it louder. I am also wanting a bit louder as I have a Remus exhaust which sounds really classy. So a louder rear with no mid is going to be really loud, no mid with stock rear or ansa or something similar like the CSC I have will sound nice.

I can help get your ride in to tip top shape as I am very meticulous as well. I like everything as perfect as possible.

Anyway, welcome. You are in the right place.


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1989 Spider Quad. Gone
1991 White Alfa Romeo 164S Recaro, Siena, Zender.-GONE
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post #15 of 90 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 08:14 PM
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Welcome, once the car is sorted mechanically and you've driven it a bit, you can decide what you want to do. The brakes are quite good, a bit nicer with a good set of pads. Tires are where you gain the most benefit. ciao, chris

Maintaining my tenuous strain on reality.
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