Waking Up A Tired Alfa Spider - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-06-2019, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Waking Up A Tired Alfa Spider

I have reached the point where I have seen so many beautiful and wonderfully catalogued builds on the BB, that I wanted to start one of my own! I love looking at everyones pictures and learned about all of the fine details about these cars, and I take many pictures of my own car. I thought I would start sharing!

I bought my 1974 spider back in April of this year. According to the door tag, its a December 1973 manufactured car. Spica car converted to Webers, not sure when. The Webers are 40 DCOE 151, which are the newer Spanish Webers, so my guess is that the PO is the one who put these on.

The car has 80,XXX on the clock. Theres a sticker on the windshield dated from the late 80's with the odometer reading 79,300 (or so), and a location in Texas, I believe it was one of the owners parking pass. I also found this owners registration and some other papers in the glove box from around the same time in the 80's. Then the records stop from about 1988 until 2016, I know none of the details except that the car was sitting! The previous owner, judging by the windshield sticker and papers I have, only drove the car a few hundred miles before selling it. He had the head fully rebuilt, the car painted (in its original silver), and a few other details that slip my mind. But mainly, he got the car on the road again.
Since my buying of the car, I have replaced and or fixed several things, with the most frustrating being the Webers! With the help of the people on this board we discovered that my 151's were jetted incorrectly and that I needed a fuel pressure regulator for my fuel pump.
Ive also replaced all of the brake calipers and pads, fuses, windshield wipers, full fluid changes, brake master cylinder, the V belt, water pump, engine mounts, fuel filter, fuel level sender, many nuts bolts and studs, all sorts of gaskets including the head gasket, the thermostat, the water pump bypass hose, many hose clamps, plus more im sure!
Most of my weekends over the summer have been filled with working on the car. Most which have been very enjoyable! A handful rather frustrating though LOL

I have also noticed, most of the issues and "faults" with the car have been related to poor work done by the PO's mechanic. Such as the new fuel pump but not fuel regulator, the wrong jets in the carbs, all of the dirt under the mats, the fuel outlet hose on the gas tank falling off, rebuilding the head but not replacing the thermostat or belt, things like this.

The car overall drives nicely! Sounds fantastic and is plenty comfortable too!

Last weekend a friend of mine let me put the car up on his lift. Ive had this clanking sound at the rear end thats been puzzling me. I knew that it would be something important making that noise and not something simple, and sure enough I was right, the rear most U joint has play in it. So that is the next item on the docket. I already have the U joints and donut from Centerline to install on the car, next I have to have the time to do it. In the meantime I won't be driving the car, after all the work Ive put into it I would really hate to see the worse case scenario happen with the driveshaft.
After that I need to replace the brake booster and get the locks re keyed, the only key I have is the ignition

Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-06-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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This was on my first drive after FINALLY getting the car tuned correctly, I drove out towards the middle of nowhere. On one side I had a rainbow and on the other I had the sunset.
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Then here it is tonight after a wash!
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Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-06-2019, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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I took the spare out tonight for the first time since owning the car. I believe This needs to be replaced also! I hadn't even thought about how old my tire in the trunk probably was considering the cars down time!

The tire well is actually in pretty great shape, it just needs some sanding and paint, but no actual rust holes or soft spots, only surface.
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I pulled the soft top boot out for the first time and installed it, looks nice!


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Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-06-2019, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Interior, Sunset, Lift Pics

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While up on the lift we did discover why my exhaust kept dropping lower and lower and lower, turns out 2 of the 3 flange bolts had gone MIA, with the third working its way out Easy fix!

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Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 02:47 AM
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You’ve been a busy lad....good on you, go for it.
The 74 Weber-equipped, small-bumper Spiders are a pretty, simple, nicely sorted, 3rd Gen of the car.
It’s really nice to do a lot of your own work. You get to see and know the condition of just about every part and nut and bolt on the car.
Very satisfying, and adds to your confidence in making it to trip end.
Best wishes as you continue.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-07-2019, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Yes! I have kept very busy with the car LOL
The biggest problem that I will tackle sometime during the winter I hope, will be the interior.
The seats are shredded and worn, plus they have horribly ugly covers on them from the PO.
Plus the center console, not sure why, but the PO or someone...thought it to be a good idea to take most of the screws off the siding and console and just let the parts flap loosely.
One day I shifted and the bracket that holds the shifter boot just popped off. I think Someone either was working under the dash or they were going to be working under the dash, then got distracted

Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Under Hood Light and Brakes

Tonight I replacing the old ratty booster! I ordered the booster from Alfaholics, took only a few days to get here which surprised me considering how far it had to travel.
The job wasn't too bad, reading on the BB first, it sounded like it was going to be a very easy job and the only major concern was the pushrod on the booster.


Not so.

I adjusted the rod before hand, I set it a little bit bellow surface level. Out of the box, it stuck out a few MM from the surface of the whole. I had seen where a lot of people were complaining about the boosters being too strong out of the box and not feeling right, though I believe that was mainly the Vicks booster. Either way, I did not have the issue others have had with this part of the brake booster process.
I did however think that I could do this job without having to disconnect the MC brake lines, I was wrong. Maybe I could have made it work, but I decided better not to test it.
Plus a few rusty bolts, that haven't been touched since the car left Italy, made for a bit more of a challenge getting this thing out.

Nonetheless. Its been done! Old booster is out! It was still full of fluid from when the MC went out earlier this year (MC was one of the first thing I replaced), even though I thought I had gotten it all. To be fair, that MC also looked potentially original. It was bad, probably the rustiest part on this car. By far.

I took the car on its first real run around the block since the bad U joint diagnosis, at high speeds, after letting off the gas-the vibration was pretty severe. Thankfully I dont do such spirited drives all that much LOL
I took the car out to test the brake booster, tomorrow I am taking the car to a local car show, nothing special just a cars and coffee deal. After that I am taking the car over to a friend, who has a lift and a love for Alfas(though mine is the first he's worked on), and him and I will get these U joints replaced. All of these are fairly close to home, and no high speed, so I shouldn't be putting too much threat on the old U joint.

The test drive was a great success. Hard pedal is a thing of the past ! And I dont have to plan ahead to stop the car! On said drive, I pushed the speed up to say, 60-80 mph. I noticed something a bit odd.
I noticed a light began to appear in front of me, a rather bright one. I looked down and what I see is my hood just beginning to raise up. I look closer, and there the under hood light glowing, I thought Ill be danged. I put a new bulb in there when I bought the car and could never get that light to glow. It didnt have V at the socket and it didnt change when I jiggled the grounding switch or jiggled the connectors. But here it is, glowing at 70 mph or so in the middle of the night with the hood mostly shut confused:
Thats a mystery I cannot wait to solve

And to answer everyone else question, of why my hood came up in the first place. Earlier this summer when I was doing the carb work, my hood latch decided to keep the engine bay for itself and share none with me. A few times. The cable looked fine, and it was until I pulled the cable right out of the handle. And it was still ok when I used vice grips on the cable directly. It was not okay, when I used a coathanger and pulled the slack of the cable from under the hood to the outside world, and then pulled that with vice grips to finally get my hood to open.
The cable was never the issue, the mechanism itself I believe was just too gummed up (yet naturally it worked just fine whenever the hood was open ). So i took the mechanism out and soaked it in parts cleaner and bought a new cable, which is nice and safe in its packing awaiting for me to actually put it on the car


Heres a pic of the old booster, Ill post more pics over the weekend but heres a peek at what came out of the old girl

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Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Brake Booster Part One

Taking the brake booster off wasn't too hard, but it wa a bit more time consuming than I expected and the spaces were a bit tight. The first and second pic show the studs the pedals box hangs from in the engine bay.
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Behind the pedals against the fire wall is the remaining two studs, one on the left and one on right. Not too hard. In the car, you can also see the 4 studs that the booster itself is mounted to the pedal box with, though those would be a very tight fit to reach from the floor of the car.

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Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Brake Booster Part Two

This was the hardest part for me, taking the brake master and clutch master off, both were 13mm IIRC. The bottom bolt of the clutch master had an allen head that made it easier to reach with an allen wrench, which helped. But all of them were a bit rusted and had seen better days. Funny, I replaced the brake master and the PO did the clutch master, neither of us changed the 13mm nuts out for fresh ones (which I have for most of the projects on this car, I just need to circle back and replace these). Taking the clutch master out was easy, and it moved off to the side no problem (but still, I stayed gentle with it). The brake master I gave up on and disconnected 2 of the 3 lines to move it out of the way. With the MC's out of the way I pulled the peddle box outs far as I could. There are 4 13mm nuts that attach the booster to the peddle box assembly, mine, also being original most likely, took some effort to remove. I spent so much time fighting the nuts I forgot to take pictures. There is also a spring, cant miss it. Very easy to take off, push down and turn the cover plate, then gently slide the cover plate off. Done. Replacing is the reverse, but with more effort LOL.

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Here pictured is the brake assemblies attachment to the brake pedal, and behind it is the round metal cover and spring.

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New and Old booster side by side. The old one was covered in rust and grit, I cant even tell that it was brass colored at some point in time It was also still full of brake fluid even though I had removed the fluid back when I replaced the MC. I checked, the new MC isn't leaking.
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Here is the final product! The clutch master goes through the bracket attached to the side of the brake booster, though looking in the engine bay of the car that is easy to see.
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Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Drive Shaft U-Joint

The day after the brake booster was replaced, a friend helped me replace one of the U joints. Judging by the rust and crud, these are also original. Interestingly enough, the donut and drive shaft center support, and first U joint all seemed great. No play whatsoever. I have another donut and bearing for when the time comes.
Interestingly, my shaft had red paint on it already marking where the different parts were supposed to connect. Someones had this off before, though judging by the paint it probably wasn't recent. My GUESS and its only a guess, was for the rubber donut. Because it did not look bad at all and wasn't rotted or cracked, which I would expect if it was 45 years old.
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The shaft was very easy to remove with the car on a lift, I forgot to write it down but it was also held on by 12 or 13mm studs like most everything on the car. Before removing the shaft we made chalk marks on all of the places that we removed, so that we could match up each bolt hole and connection when we resembled.

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Punching the Old U joints out was difficult, they were stuck in there. Using snap ring pliers my friend broke the old rings out, though truthfully the U Joint was probably rusted into place so that the rings weren't of much necessity anymore
To get the joint out, we took a larger socket on one side to receive the UJ, and a smaller socket on the opposing side to push the UJ out. Then placed the whole contraption in the vice. ( Note, the tube of the shaft should never be held by a vice or pressed on).

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Pressing the new UJ in was not too difficult, it was the reverse of removing the UJ, without the rust remover. Once two sides were in we fitted the snap rings, then followed suit after aligning the remaining two sides. Using the vice this did not take very much time.

Here, you can see around the red mark my friend punched a Y mark on the shaft side and on the connection side, so that we could match the two up on reassembly. Chalk did not hold up too well on these parts when trying to push the old U Joint out.
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And Here is the old! Note the one cap has no bearings in it whatsoever, the other one not pictured also had no bearings left. They both just had dust and grease.
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Since fitting the new UJ I have had no more rattles or thumps or dings coming from under the car! Rides very smooth

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 03:28 PM
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U joints should be replaced in pairs. Also depending how long the car has sat, I would also replace the doughnut and center support as well. Time degrades the rubber, grease will harden and collect moisture, and just about the time you drive down the road the doughnut, the old u joint and center support will weaken or break and you have to remove the driveshaft again. Just my thoughts, Good Luck and Nice car
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Yea I probably will down the road, I have the parts already. We were limited on time last weekend with what all we could get done, so we only did what had to get done. But yes, I agree.

Silver 1974 Spider- Weber 40DCOE151 carbs, BWA Wheels, 80K original miles 2014 Blue Honda Accord, automatic, 4cyl
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