Heel-toe "blip" possible in Spider to Rev Match? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2012, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Heel-toe "blip" possible in Spider to Rev Match?

Hi Everyone:

This might seem like it should be in a different forum, but it is specific to Spiders (or my 1988 Spider Veloce, at least), that I believe locates the brake/throttle pedals such as to make a downshift rev-match, with braking, impossible to accomplish!

It's easily done in other cars (e.g. Mini Cooper, Miata), but in the Spider Veloce I have been resigned to adding that extra wear to the clutch...and never sounding like Steve McQueen, since I just cannot make it work.

Is any other Spider-Alfisto accomplished at this? Do I just chalk it up to my being uncoordinated?

Thanks and have a good, rev-matched weekend!

Andy
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2012, 08:29 AM
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Hi Andy,

We autocross our '76 Spider extensively and, until I changed axle ratios, I was always "rowing" the shift lever between 2nd, 3rd, & 2nd again since I use 22 in diameter Hoosier tires. As a result, heel & toe was critical to achieving a good time. There are several opportunities to obtain correct "Heel & Toe" pedal relationship and, as you say, the main issue is to get the gas and brake pedals close to the same level; not at rest, but when the brake is applied

1. Shankle used to make a kit that lowered the gas pedal. My understanding is that this decreased the overall travel between off and full throttle but made the throttle application more "twitchy"

2. I have added brake pedal spacers to three different Spiders; all with the intent of achieving the level pedal goal mentioned above. These work well but require one to raise the leg slightly more to reach the brake (not a problem for me)

3. Achieve a really good brake system bleed; thereby raising the brake pedal. My S4 Spider has the desired "high" brake pedal, but only after an initial pump of the pedal that is really annoying and not particularly safe (I tried speed bleeders, power bleeding, new brake pads, and more bleeding, and its still a work in progress).

4. For high performance driving (autocross & time trials) replace brake fluid yearly.

5. Achieve a high brake pedal by replacing the vacuum booster. I just did this on my '76 Spider and the result was dramatic; I even removed the brake pedal spacer that had been on the car for 30 + years. Note: until the original booster failed, other drivers would comment on this car's outstanding brakes. The pedal was very firm, but was always lower than the throttle; hence the spacer. It doesn't seem right that an original booster can function properly, albeit with a pedal 2 in too low, and a new booster results in a significantly higher pedal. Although I thought the brake boost with the original booster was fine until it failed completely, the boost with the new one is significantly increased. These original boosters can be well over 30 years old so maybe there is a gradual degradation of boost and pedal position and we just don't notice the condition.

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Originally Posted by iracema1 View Post
Hi Everyone:

This might seem like it should be in a different forum, but it is specific to Spiders (or my 1988 Spider Veloce, at least), that I believe locates the brake/throttle pedals such as to make a downshift rev-match, with braking, impossible to accomplish!

It's easily done in other cars (e.g. Mini Cooper, Miata), but in the Spider Veloce I have been resigned to adding that extra wear to the clutch...and never sounding like Steve McQueen, since I just cannot make it work.

Is any other Spider-Alfisto accomplished at this? Do I just chalk it up to my being uncoordinated?

Thanks and have a good, rev-matched weekend!

Andy


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George Schweikle

1976 Spider (Dedicated Autocrosser, "SPICA, No Carbs")
1991 Spider Veloce (Retirement cruiser)
Scuderia Non Originale
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2012, 10:33 AM
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Years ago When I got my first Alfa spider the PO had put the gas pedal on upside down. He said he did this to improve his heel and toe technique. The car was not running when I got it and so along with all kinds of work that I did before getting it on the road I went ahead and put it back on correctly so I never tried it upside down. Anyone ever heard of this? I know it was much higher off the floor.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2012, 02:40 PM
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The usual problem is that the brake pedal is much lower than the gas pedal; meaning it is difficult to reach the gas with your heel when the ball of your foot is on the brake. If you lower (reverse) the gas pedal without changing it's travel, that is; lowering the spot where it is at "no throttle" the pedal will hit the floor before reaching "full throttle". There is a little adjustable button on the floor, under the gas pedal, but I don't think this can come close to compensating for a reversed gas pedal. The Shankle heel & toe kit I mentioned in my original post allowed a lower gas pedal by reducing the travel between on and full throttle. Full throttle could be as the pedal hit the floor, but off throttle could be even with the brake pedal.

Carrying the whole topic further, it considered better to brake with the ball of your foot since you have more sensitivity to modulate brake effort than with your heel. And, did you know that the old race cars (and Alfas) had the gas between the brake and clutch?. this was to compensate for the natural outward "Splay" of our feet. This meant that you were not required to rotate your right foot counterclockwise to reach the brake and gas pedals as we do now. For whatever reason, the Clutch/Gas/Brake sequence was changed around WW2. I have read of race drivers in this era flying off course as they stomped on the right pedal of a newer car when approaching a corner - thinking the right pedal was brake instead of gas!

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Originally Posted by Stan Murray View Post
Years ago When I got my first Alfa spider the PO had put the gas pedal on upside down. He said he did this to improve his heel and toe technique. The car was not running when I got it and so along with all kinds of work that I did before getting it on the road I went ahead and put it back on correctly so I never tried it upside down. Anyone ever heard of this? I know it was much higher off the floor.


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George Schweikle

1976 Spider (Dedicated Autocrosser, "SPICA, No Carbs")
1991 Spider Veloce (Retirement cruiser)
Scuderia Non Originale
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2012, 09:40 AM
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"Heel and toe" is a bit of a misnomer. I use the ball of my foot on the brake pedal and the SIDE of my foot to flick the throttle pedal.

I'm in good company too. You can see rally champ Walter Rohrl doing the same thing here-

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-28-2012, 10:08 AM
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+1 on the technique described by Mound Dawg.

Best regards.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conedriver View Post
2. I have added brake pedal spacers to three different Spiders; all with the intent of achieving the level pedal goal mentioned above. These work well but require one to raise the leg slightly more to reach the brake (not a problem for me)
Is the spacer simply a thick pedal pad? How do you make said device?

I think the best solution is to get some of the dead travel out of the booster. Some day I'll take off the master cylinder and do some measurements to see if there's an excessive gap between the booster output rod and the master cylinder piston.

Fritz
'87 Quad - on the road!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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GREAT responses! beyond my wildest expectations!
Conclusion (though) that an out-of-the-box Series III Spider is not ideal for the heel-toe action.

As I am not racing I guess I can live with this! It should be OK for road driving!

Best

Andy
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iracema1 View Post
...locates the brake/throttle pedals such as to make a downshift rev-match, with braking, impossible to accomplish!
This is the only reason I loath(ed) hanging pedal Alfas. Our two current hanging pedal Alfas though, a 71 GTV and an 89 Spider, are perfect for heel/toe with the brake pedal dropping mere centimeters instead of inches. The cure for me was after ensuring minimal wheel bearing freeplay and addressing brake caliper piston stiction, was to trash the stock 20mm brake master cylinder and replacing it with a 22mm cylinder. Made a HUGE difference!

Jim

Series 2 USA 1750 GTV (in Series 1 European clothing)
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 11:33 AM
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a 22mm cylinder. Made a HUGE difference!
Another good idea! Papajam, where did you source the 22mm MC?

Fritz
'87 Quad - on the road!
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 11:45 AM
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I went with new OEM ATE brand cylinders from Paul Spruell.

Jim

Series 2 USA 1750 GTV (in Series 1 European clothing)
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 11:57 AM
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Great, so it looks like a 22 mm master cylinder for a 1971-1994 115, Alfetta, GTV/6, Milano will swap into a Spider.

Fritz
'87 Quad - on the road!
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 01:18 PM
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For the first instance, I made a "false" brake pedal the same size, then used long bolts to fasten and space this about 1 1/4 inch above the original pedal. I installed a regular rubber pedal pad and the thing looked stock. I showed this to the previous owner of my current '76 spider, and he made a spacer from with an undercut that also accepted a rubber pedal pad. I bought the car in 1983, and only recently removed this spacer when I replaced the brake booster.

In response to a previous post; it is certainly possible to turn your ankle and reach a higher positioned gas pedal, but it's much easier when the brake and clutch are at the same level.

Quote:
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Is the spacer simply a thick pedal pad? How do you make said device? ....


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George Schweikle

1976 Spider (Dedicated Autocrosser, "SPICA, No Carbs")
1991 Spider Veloce (Retirement cruiser)
Scuderia Non Originale
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 07:02 PM
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Answer: Possible. And mods make it easier at the races.

Don Sanders - 1977 Spider
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
I went with new OEM ATE brand cylinders from Paul Spruell.
Hi Jim,
It is funny that you live in the NE and you bought your 22mm Ate MC from Spruel who is in the South while I live in the south and I bought mine from Andy Kress at Performatek in MA.

Ed Prytherch
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A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke
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