As we are nearing completion of our 24v GTV6 project, I figured it was time to share our journey with the Alfa community. My Dad bought this GTV6 back in 2008 at the Chicago Alfa Convention from Mike Besic. The Besic's gave it a Milano Verde engine swap with all of the tricks done to it. It had Pandora's ECU, S Pistons, S Cams, Shankle Headers, ported intake runners and heads. The car ran great for a while, but we wanted more power. We got some different cams, and custom racing headers, and larger runners. That was a nice improvement for a few more years.
My Dad always talked of dropping a 24v engine into his GTV6. Out of the blue on the Alfabb, we saw one come up for sale. It was a complete engine from a running car, so the intake plenum, oil pan and exhaust manifolds were already sorted and fit perfectly. It also had the oil filler cap hole moved to the opposite side of the cam cover. I have a 2 y.o. son, and just don't have the time to tackle all of the fabrication involved so this was a good balance for me. We took our time (when we had the time) and addressed every little thing we could find. At times it seemed like it would never be back on the road. I live nearby so it was easy to drop by and tinker with my Dad. We share the Alfa Romeo passion and really enjoy driving them and working on them together.
We discovered the brake master (and maybe the clutch master) had a bad leak at one time and ate the paint on the firewall beneath the pedal box. This was all taken to bare metal and painted. The brake fluid went all the way under the steering rack as well and did the same thing. The brake proportioning valve also was leaking.
Due to the larger 24v cylinder head, the stock GTV6 brake booster will hit with the engine. I could not locate a new Alfetta or Spider/GTV booster so I got a nice used Spider booster. When you change to a wider brake booster, the Alfetta pedal box should be used. It moves the clutch master cylinder farther away from the brake booster. In retrospect I should have just waited and purchased an Alfetta booster. I would not have to have changed the clevis rod out.
When I test fit the Spider booster after cutting the clutch master cylinder bracket off, the brake pedal was much closer to the firewall. After a quick comparison to the stock booster, you could see the clevis rod was shorter. I tore apart the stock booster and the Spider booster and swapped clevis rods. Now the pedal height is perfect.
The clevis rod on the left is the original one, the right is the Spider rod.
Note the clearance now between the clutch master and brake booster. Very tight but its enough!
Our accelerator pedal linkage firewall boot was torn up, so a reproduction replacement was sourced. My Dad found it in the UK from Highwood Alfa. I stripped the linkage with a glass bead cabinet, repainted it and greased up the bushings. This 24v engine couldn't use the stock throttle cable. I had a Milano one I was saving for our Spider V6 conversion project. It fit perfectly.
We were searching for a new exhaust and found a complete stainless CSC exhaust system for sale in the UK from EB Spares.
The engine arrived at my work, where we have a forklift. It was well protected and packaged nicely.
The red painted script is classic and stands out nicely in the engine bay.
Front brakes were shot, so new bearings, rotors, pads, calipers and stainless hoses were installed from Centerline.
I always thought the shift throw was way too long in this car. To shorten the throw and side to side movement most have increased the length of the rod beneath the pivot ball. The amount to increase varied. I chose to cut it, tap for a 1/4-20 stud and install two lock nuts. This allowed me to put it back in the car and see what I could get away with. If you go to long, the shift linkage rod hits the tunnel and you come down into the cross member. I shortened it until it cleared everything and then locked it down and Tig welded it. I think its about 13-14mm longer. It was also the perfect time to clean and re grease everything. The stock bottom boot fit on there which was a plus.
The isostatic linkage needed attention. There was too much play. We got a rebuild kit from Performatek and installed it. I inspected the transaxle mounts and they appeared to be good.
Before we got underway with the project the car had a front suspension noise that had been getting bad. It was a banging noise every time we hit an irregularity in the road. At first glance it looked like passenger inner tie rod, but it was actually the steering rack moving wiggling around from a worn out plastic bushing. Through the power of the internet I found one in Italy on Ebay. I put on new inner and outer tie rods while I was at it.
The steering stabilizer was shot and was interfering with the exhaust manifold and downpipe. New boots were installed and the rack was put back into the car.
Over the years while driving the car the steering would feel vague and had slop to it. I found the steering column vibration joint was the cause. I had my Dad move the steering while I watched it and sure enough there was some definite play to it. I permanently addressed it by welding it up with my Tig at work. I'm still a beginner with it so the welds are not pretty.
With a more powerful engine going in, I wanted to make sure the cooling system was up to the task. The stock fans are pretty dated by current standards and draw a ton of current. The stock harness was inadequate and melted. The radiator was in good shape so it was reused. I read on here Maserati Bi-Turbo fans were an easy swap. That is mostly true, there is only minor trimming is needed to make them fit. I added a few more rivets between the two sections to strengthen it up some.
Here it is installed.
The engine's oil pan gasket was seeping some. While we were at it we cleaned up the pan and swapped a better sump cover in.
While test fitting the engine last Summer, I realized how useful the factory engine tipping tool must be. I figured I could make my own. It could use a S bend in the middle to help it get into the driveshaft tunnel easier.
The stock starter heat shield no longer fits over the starter. Summit Racing had a nice velcro wrapping cover that fits well.
I had read good things (and some scary things) about lightening the stock flywheels. I decided to just go for it and contacted a fellow Alfa BB member about it. He offered to machine our engine flywheel on the conservative side and took it from 25 lbs. 10 oz. to 16 lbs. 12 oz. I wanted to make sure there were no existing crack so I had a local machine shop magnaflux it. It came back clear so we put it on the engine.
The engine was ready to go in the car, one of my favorite steps of a project like this. I went with the alternator we had in the car previously. Its an 80amp AL16X Bosch alternator from a Milano. I used a 164 serpentine pulley and stock brackets.
The rear passenger side water outlet pipe was clocked right into the throttle linkage. I unbolted the pipe from the head, rotated it up and made a bracket to connect the two. That way its still held in by hardware and sealed with plenty of silicone.
The engine bay charging and ground distributions badly needed an overhaul. For the driver side front power distribution stud, I replaced it with a 200A buss. It now has four studs so it could handle plenty of added connections (i.e. a relayed headlamp harness and driving lamps etc). The single distribution stud got pretty crowded. To aid the alternator I added a parallel 8 awg. wire from the alternator to the buss and then from the buss to the rear distribution stud where the positive batter cable goes on the firewall.
The stock power wiring looked ok, but the extra cables wont hurt. The new relays for the ECU, fuel pump and radiator fans needed a clean place to be grounded so I got a ground buss. The ECU explicitly said to ground to the battery not chassis so I ran a 8 awg cable all the way from the large center mounted stud pictured, all the way to the battery ground. I got a new inertia switch to cut the fuel pump off in case of an accident and it mounted to the stock inertia switch bracket which even had the same bolt pattern. Its from a 90's Ford of some sort.
The Gotech ecu mounted in the same spot as the original ecu with my homemade bracket.
I temporarily ran the wires to the windshield for our first test run. That way if the engine needed to come back out for some reason I wouldn't have to deal with the wiring. Its a pretty tight fit behind the engine with the throttle, fuel lines, heater hoses, ignition wires, and ecu harness.
The stock brake check valve no longer could be used so I went junkyard hunting and found a good one on a 90's Nissan. It had a hose nipple on both sides. Our original rear brake proportioning valve had been leaking and I could not find a new replacement. I read about people using a Wilwood adjustable brake valve so I fitted one of those to the car. It works really well and I feel the car brakes better than before. I mounted the ignition coil brick to a bracket that is bolted to the wiper motor bracket. I also mounted the radiator fan relays to the other side of the wiper motor bracket. I like the way it came out. We are still sorting out the exhaust as I type this. It will be an ongoing process to perfect the Busso's symphony. It currently has the CSC rear section, and an old custom center section with flexible joints nearest the engine. The few times I have gotten into the throttle it absolutely screamed. This car pulls so much harder than the last engine. Its an unbelievable transformation. This community played a vital role in the project over my years of research. Thanks everyone!