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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Introduction

Hello! I am posting this here, because my search of other introductions seemed to indicate most people do their introduction in the technical forum for the car they have, so...

My name is David. I've been lurking around the forum for some time, well over a year and finally joined about 6 months ago. I jumped into the forums rather abruptly with a question regarding seat belts because....

I finally did it! After literally years of looking, reading, and waiting for timing to be right, I went and bought my first Alfa. My girlfriend and I are convertible people, and have had a few, but this will be first foray into the “classic car" realm. I will be driving it home this next week, with a stop over on Cape Cod to visit my sister. It is a blue 1975 Spider, which appears to be in surprisingly good condition. I think (hope) I lucked out with this one.

It will go back to Denver with me for the summer, as I will be doing some work for my last employer, then back to Chicago.

This is either going to be unmitigated disaster or the start of an addiction, we will see... My GF is excited to learn about restoring cars as well, so if this one goes well, we could see something in her future, like maybe an MG to go with our 350Z. One step at a time though...

I love the Alfa Pininfarina design. I think it is heads and tails above the Fiat Spider, and maybe only second to Ferrari 330.

Ok, enough rambling... nice to meet you all! :-)

David ~ 75 Spider

Last edited by shiverfix; 05-07-2010 at 07:19 AM.
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 09:41 PM
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Welcome David - -

Glad to hear you took the plunge - only time will tell where you are about to be led!!
I recommend you first post some pictures - as you have lurked, you have learned.... We like pictures!!!
Then you should join AROC-USA - there is a Colorado based chapter with some very knowledgeable members in the Denver area, and spread throughout the state. The Chicago chapter founded the national organization over 50 years ago, and you will also find some very active and interesting people in "the second City".
Again - welcome to this addiction....

[I]"It's the best in class by default, because it's the only thing in its class." [/I]
~Richard Hammond on the Alfa 4C

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Last edited by Nicola; 05-06-2010 at 09:57 PM.
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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I am flying out Monday to get it, and will be getting lots of pics, and will post them as soon as we get back! :-)

David ~ 75 Spider
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 07:03 AM
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Welcome to the BB. Sounds like you've got the affliction. (Fortunately there is no cure.)

Where are you picking up the car?

We expect lots of pictures and a road trip report.

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2010, 08:31 AM
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Welcome David. Congrats on the Spider.

Best Regards,
John M

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1978 AR Spider Veloce 2000....the first and still here...Bianco
1984 AR Spider Veloce............the second & gone to the parts bin....Rosso
1992 AR Spider Veloce............the third and still here...Bianco
1991 AR 164L........................the fourth and traded on the SS....Rosso
1965 AR Sprint Speciale..........the fifth...in boxes....sold....Bianco
1978 AR Spider Veloce 2000....the sixth gone to be a parts car...slow black
1967 AR Giulia Sprint GT.........the seventh with Gregg and sold......Rosso
1993 AR Spider Veloce............the eighth with Gregg and still here....Verde Inglese
1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi.............the first and still here....Azzurro
1999 Ferrari 355F1 Spider........the second and still here....TdF Blue[/SIZE]
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2010, 08:59 AM
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Welcome David. I bought my first Alfa about a year ago, lurked for a while and then joined. This is a fantastic BB, the knowledge available for free is incredible as well as being correct! Some of the members even joke that black ones are faster than red ones, if you can believe that. Not sure where blue fits in that equation, I will defer to the Alfisti.

Steve

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'06 Frontier
'55 wife
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2010, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ican2 View Post
...This is a fantastic BB, the knowledge available for free is incredible as well as being correct! ...
Well, Steve -
Not exactly free - as I see by the gold banner that you have sent Simon some $$ to help with the costs. That is something everybody should do because the amount of knowledge available here far offsets the price of admission!!

[I]"It's the best in class by default, because it's the only thing in its class." [/I]
~Richard Hammond on the Alfa 4C

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[I][B][FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Gordy Hyde[/FONT][/B][/I]
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1971 Junior Zagato 1750 (1800605)
1974 Spider 2000 Iniezione (no carbs)
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Well, an interesting drive back from the cape, and my spider is home! Turns out there is going to be a lot more work than I originally was lead to believe, but that's ok. It's my fault for buying with only having seen pictures from a dealer. But it runs!

First some pics, because I know you all like to see pics!
















The good:

The transmission is smooth. None of the problems going into 2nd I've read about. The exhaust from headers back is new. The interior is alright, the carpet is good, if slightly faded. The dash has one small crack, but otherwise in great condition. The original wood steering wheel and shift knob are in great shape. Front brakes are good, plenty of pad left. All the lights work.

The bad:

Pretty long list. Turns out it needs a new head gasket. The front end is completely mushy with really squirrly suspension, the back brakes are metal to metal, needs springs and shocks all around. Haven't checked the differential. Driver side has a lot of rust, plus has a lot of bondo under the door. Tach doesn't work.

The ugly:

The paint is flaking off, the seats bottoms are split, the foam is totally shot. The top will need to be replaced, as will the door panels. The exterior handles both need to be replaced, driver side is broken but works, passenger side doesn't work at all.

I know I am missing a lot of things that will show up as I go along. First thing will be to get the engine and suspension sorted so I don't end up trashing the engine and to make the car safe to drive (kinda scary with the way the suspension wiggles...) This car looks like it was well taken care of for part of it's life, and then was let go later.

David ~ 75 Spider
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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However, I have already done my first fix. The driver's side door didn't sit right. It latched, but didn't line up flush with the body. Today I pulled the panel to take a look at the inside of the door. Turns out didn't even really need to do that. The latch only had one bolt holding it.



A picture of the door



I ran down to the hardware store with the bolt, and it turns out it was a 5mm which they had in stock. Picked up the bolts and some locking washers, screwed them in, and voila, the door closes flush.




The door still hangs low, and will need to be adjusted, but it closes flush. I know it's a small thing, but it is the first step in the long journy that is this car!

David ~ 75 Spider
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 09:38 PM
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Well David I guess you got the bug! You will find endless hours of enjoyment playing and fixing the new alfa. My first was a 57 sider veloce that I got in 63 and played with through 69. Went into various porsche's until 81 when my business took over all my time. My kids all said I had no hobbies but the business however I found a rust free 73 spider that was all there however needed a little TLC! That was Jan. 09. I now have it stripped to bare metal ready to paint and start putting the mechanicals back together. In the interim time wound up with a 76 for parts out of Arizona. The thing had no rust and complete rebuilt mechanicals. The wiring had shorted out and sat for 5 years. New project for the future! Then, while looking for parts on EBay one night ran across a 91 with 10 minutes remaing super cheap and decided to make the snipers pay a little more and through another $100 in and darn if I didn't win it oh well, I wanted a driver anyway! Wound up painting and interior cosmetics including an engine rebuild, at least I can do that on my own from the old days of racing. Then found a 91 spider near me in El Paso for sale. Had been there since new and was rust free with only a few dings but a blown head gasket. There isn't many Alfas in this area and no one even looked at it, heck most people in this part of the country have never even seen an Alfa. I looked at it however I thought I had my hans full with the other 3. Wrong! He called up 3 weeks later and asked if I might take it offhis hands, asked how much and countered at $1500 and then I had 4. That one is now painted and finishing the total engine rebuild. One of the 91 has got to go. Bought an 82 for parts and that is what its for. Then Found an 86 red quad in Kansas that a friend had looked at for me. Only documented 49K miles and absolutely cherry inside and out. Bought it and shipped it to NM in December. Had it a week and found a large oil pool under it! Clutch slave cylinder gave out. Oh well what do you expect for a 25 year old car with 49 K. Next new clutch assembly and finally new mufflers. A lot of sweat but boy do I grin pulling 6K in the gears and winding along a mountain road. You will finally experience the total alfa sickness your self! Have fun and yes, red, yellow and black spiders give more grins/mile that most porsche snobs will ever get to experience!
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post #11 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 11:53 PM
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Looks like a great project...nothing you mentioned sounds impossible. Head gasket should be attended to quickly, as you don't want water and oil mixing down in the sump, nor do you want to risk overheating and warping that lovely alloy head.
Engine bay looks nice and tidy - that has to be a good sign. The ones that are neglected and look like a greasy rats nest always worry me, as they scream neglect, but this one looks pretty well sorted.
Interior is probably the easiest, and most satisfying aspect to put right, and for not that many $$ too. (My first spider, a white '78, had same colour interior...always liked it!)
You will find parts availability for these cars is excellent - hardly anything you cannot buy, with some searching...also loads of BB members parting out cars each week, so lots of chances to pick up some used bits and bobs without forking out a fortune.
Diffs on these cars are pretty much bomb proof...I'd drain and replace the fluid, just out of habit, to ensure it gets a fresh start. While you are under there, have a good look at the prop shaft front to back - U-joints have a tendency to sieze up, and when they do, they vibrate like Billy-O...likewise, the black rubber doughnut at the front end of the prop shaft can rot and break up, again resulting in vibration. The center support bearing and rubber mounting is also prone to rot - the entire propshaft can easily be removed and renewed as a mini-project, if need be.
If it were me, I'd make myself a list, and start going through the car system by system, crossing them off as I went, and as funds allowed. This sort of approach allows you to prioritise your expenditure. It also means that by the time you are through, your confidence in the car skyrockets, and your knowledge of its various systems will be comprehensive.
Have fun - it should be a great project ! Lots of know-how here to tap into, as I'm sure you have already discovered - don't be shy about asking for help !!
Look forward to following your refurb...

PS - I like the strategically placed Italian socket set (pliers) on the trans hump...ready for any eventuality !!

Chris
1977 Spider 2000
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post #12 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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garwood, those are my door opener! The driver's side exterior handle is broken, and while you can use your fingers to open it, it takes a lot of leverage and is a pain in both the *** and the fingers

Thanks both of you for the words of encouragement and advice. At first I had the sick to my stomach, what the hell have I done feeling, but that is (mostly) replaced with excitement!

I've already started the list, but the more I read here, the longer the list gets I am going to be back in the Denver area soon, so I am thinking about getting a reconditioned head from Centerline since I can go pick it up and save on shipping. That will be the first project for sure.

David ~ 75 Spider
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post #13 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-04-2010, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's been a couple or so months since I purchased her, and I have to say, looking back on what I thought and the simple projects I did, I was so naive...

I have come a long way, and have a long way to go. But I am learning, and getting more comfortable, and really enjoying myself. I will be finishing up the front suspension project tomorrow, just in time for the alignment appointment I have in the afternoon. Front end by Centerline... After that I should be able to drive her!

I actually started a blog about what I am doing on the car to keep friends and family up to date. 75 Alfa Romeo Spider Restoration

However, here are a couple before and after pictures...
Attached Images
     

David ~ 75 Spider
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post #14 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-05-2010, 06:44 AM
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Keep track of the inner bushing on the upper arms so you know if they blow out.

Check them periodically, and if there's the slightest hint of the rubber coming out, change them right then, otherwise ignore them at your own peril as your handling will go to **** and you'll have to work out how to get the arm(s) back out of there with all the rubber wadded up to one side making a really effective wedge.

Unless of course you took the 'ounce of prevention' route and put in spherical bearings as found in the lower control arms. In which case you're prolly good for the rest of your or the cars life.


Query:

What did the holes in the upper arm castor bushing look like?

I don't see the special washers in your pics that are needed for the early 'big hole' type, and if they aren't the newer 'small slit' type, you'll find that the front end is going to eventually start making thumping noises when you hit the brake or over certain road bumps as time passes.

That would be a result of the bushings self destructing due to lack of support from the aforementioned special washers, and the noise occurs when the fork of the castor arm bashes on the area around the bushing mount.




Darren
'84 manufacture ~ '85 MY Spider Graduate

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Last edited by Tifosi; 07-05-2010 at 06:48 AM.
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post #15 of 52 (permalink) Old 07-05-2010, 06:49 AM
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Hi David, glad to see your progress, your new front end looks like you have done very good work.

I got my 1976 in April, shortly before you, and mine is in similar condition. I will look at your blog too, good luck, Todd C
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