Cam Swap/VVT Removal - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-16-2006, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Cam Swap/VVT Removal

Questions for the crowd:
'86 L-Jet Spider, improved air intake with shielded powerstack, soon will have early '70s exhaust manifold w/Magnaflow-like plumbing. Eventually I'll go to MSnS eliminating the AFM. (and I don't care about originality nor do I give a rats arse about emissions!) All that said...I'm currently replacing my cams and am wondering what kind of performance defecit (or gain) can I expect by eliminating my crumbling VVT and changing my trashed cams to pre-Bosch Spica-type cams (105.20.03200.00). From searching I know my idle may suffer but what of the other powerband regimes? The other bennie may be that I don't need 4 special tools constructed of unobtanium to change and time my cams. Anybody got experience on this issue?
Many thanks in advance,

Paul
'86 Spider Graduate
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-16-2006, 09:43 PM
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on the vvt...

on my car,(84) , the vvt only works under 1300 rpm, after that it just adances to preset timming, i belive the same is for your car. the vvt doe's not hurt performance,unless you drive below 1300 rpm....i have 11 mm centerline intake cam on the intake on my car, and the stock on the exhaust side, and it works great.as for timming the vvt. it easy....never had the need for muti-dollor cam timer thing....i was once told we do not own the earth and sky...we only borrow it from our children, and our grand-childern, so on your emission commet.....would you like to go bace 30 years and breath that wounderfull smoggy air???
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2006, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BattleBug
Questions for the crowd:
(and I don't care about originality nor do I give a rats arse about emissions!)
There are considerably more vintage smog breathing GM and Ford cars on the road today than similar period Alfas. I doubt that removing smog controls from a vintage car is going to contribute much of anything to our greater problem. I'm grateful that power has been restored to newer model, enviro-friendly sporting vehicles. The '70s period was a drought. More states need to get serious about the air we breath. Such a development would not affect our ability to customize these great, vintage vehicles, or prevent us buying newer, powerful air compliant vehicles.

Feel free to be creative and customize. Best of Luck......

Mike Pate
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2006, 11:18 AM
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I swapped in a pair of 11mm Spica performance cams from IAP (dunno what they relate to in a real Alfa part #, but both cams have identical profiles) and eliminated the VVT on mine without much difficulty. (hard part was coming up with a cam gear to replace the intake side stuff)

VVT was removed along with the plunger, o-ring and retaining plate on the cam cover and replaced by a bit of stainless steel plate I had laying about along with a suitable gasket.


Idle:

A bit difficult to set as there seems to be a pretty heafty vacuum deficit at low RPM with the cam set. It can be gotten down into the 900 range, but wow is it lumpy (think wildy cammed muscle car type idle, complete with whole car rocking and shuddering)

Power:

Little noticable improvement off idle to around 3000-3500 RPM, but on the flip side, no noticable deficit except at excrutiatingly low RPM. (sometimes you feel like you want to blip it to clear the plugs when driving for any length of time under 2500)

4000 RPM to redline (I touched 7000 once by mistake but try to keep it under 6000 now) is a massive difference over stock.


Milage hasn't suffered at all (improved about 2mpg in fact)

Overheating hasn't been an issue

Tweaking on the injection wasn't neccisary (though you may want to fiddle the idle CO mixture a bit leaner and make sure your O2 sensor is in great shape as it goes a long way toward controlling the closed loop mixture.)

Ideally they would be coupled with (and are on mine) a better ignition system that allows for a bit of adjustment and tweaking at the timing that the Motronic just won't allow.

Beyond that you'll prolly have fun dealing with the shims as some of the extra lift comes from removal off the base of the lobes. (shims are certainly available, but expect to be getting into the thicker ranges for sure)

The whole swap can certainly be accomplished in a day (or an afternoon if you're familiar with the lash adjusting process and thus already know how to remove/install the cams)

Now all that aside, while they are definitely an improvement, but they still won't make a pavement ripping animal out of the car. Just a pretty noticable boost in mid through upper range power, especially with a free flow exhaust, (I've got a pretty decent setup with a aftermarket header, free flow cat, stock center muffler and a stinger tail) and tweaked timing.




Darren
'84 manufacture ~ '85 MY Spider Graduate

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Last edited by Tifosi; 06-17-2006 at 11:28 AM.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2006, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tifosi, good words. I'll give the cam swap/VVT removal a shot but I'll not do anything irreversible--just in case.

WRT emissions , yes I care and won't blatantly create a smog monster. A healthy EFI system thats properly tuned can pass muster even if all the proper looking bits aren't there.

Thanks all

Paul
'86 Spider Graduate
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2006, 05:12 AM
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For what its worth, be cognisanat that in a lot of juristictions vintage cars are again coming under scrutiny!

When you transfer title, most places require a check, mechanical and emission. There is a lot of pressure to ensure that the car is fitted with the original kit. In some juristictions, this is a requirement for licensure.

Though emmission tests are exempt on many "older" cars, the mechanical inspection is supposed to certify that the car has all its original components installed and in working order.

I would advise that you keep all the original stuff in case a future buyer demands it.

For my take, unless you do a lot of track work the removal of the VVT & cams will not be significant to regular road performance Alfa would not have gone from the simple hydraulic/centrifugal to the solenoid activated VVT in the 7 year life of the S3. Kreep us posted!

Elio
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2006, 08:04 AM
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Paul,

Nothing I did was irreversable, and in fact I can put the VVT cams back in in an afternoon. (harness still there, VVT solinoid and harness all in one box, etc)

That's why I didn't feel bad about undertaking the swap. Everything can be put right back the way it was if it didn't work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Elio
Alfa would not have gone from the simple hydraulic/centrifugal to the solenoid activated VVT in the 7 year life of the S3
My guess would be that they went to an electronic VVT to get tighter control and more accuracy of activation which in turn would help just a bit more with that whole 'won't pass emissions standards for USA' thing that it was put on there for to begin with.


I concur with the need to keep the parts around though, if for no other reason that if you sell it, you can have the stock stuff to use as a sweetner for the deal.

Right now NYS inspection (outside the metro area for you lurkers) all that's required of a car 20 years old is a visual on the cat. converter. (as in, he looks to see if there is a can that looks like a converter in the exhaust. No touching it, no testing, no dyno runs or sniffer tests)

Older than 25 years and they aren't even supposed to look. :shrug:


Obviously these things will vary from region to region or country to country, so again, it might be worthwhile store that stuff in the event of future sale.

*I know, I know. You're never going to sell it ever for any reason because you poured you heart and soul into it and love it to death, which is good because you intend to be buried in it.

I thought that very same way about my 1963 Triumph TR6SS 650cc motorcycle (S# DU603 making it the 502nd unit constructed twin off the line, thank you very much) that I had for close to a decade.

It's been gone for 6 years now......




Darren
'84 manufacture ~ '85 MY Spider Graduate

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2006, 08:19 AM
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discretion always

Maryland is one of the tougher states for inspection. Even still, they don't require emissions tests on 1976 or earlier. Mechanical inspections for every car are required at title change. Even with that in mind, what are the odds of some mechanic spotting some modification on an Alfa, unless its either a missing cat, or a blatant bubba modification?

Mike Pate
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation VVT device removal...

...for an early L-Jet centrifugal cam advance mechanism. How does one remove the confounded thing? I've removed the large nut, the sprocket and the toothed locking ring. Similarity with my hydromech VVT ends right there. Not quite sure to remove remainder of device. Help!
Many thanks in advance.

Paul
'86 Spider Graduate
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Progress but still need help...

Ref picture,
Name:  VVT DIffs.jpg
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Managed to remove vvt devices from my old worn-out new-style cam and the notso worn old-style cam. I was hoping to just swap the cams out while being able to retain the more modern vvt mechanism. See photo, do the geared ends unscrew from the camshafts or are they integrally machined. Be nice to know before I chuck them in the vise and apply superhuman torque.
Thanks

Paul
'86 Spider Graduate
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 12:25 AM
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Thumbs up

battlebug, I am very interested in the solution to your quandry. I am in a similar situation regarding the early style VVT device. Please keep us posted about your findings... Thanks

Keep the revs up!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Epilogue

I ditched the VVT with it's two additional degrees of complexity. Used Cams from a '74 GTV--I originally timed them to (Bosch LJet) stock 118I/108E but it ran rather anemically. Per the "Bible" I tried advancing the intake cam by 6 but the idle was horrid. Finally settled on 114I/102E and I am happy with the performance-meaning: no net change that I can tell with seat of the pants. Of course, I have a perfectly good VVT cam in reserve--just in case.

Paul
'86 Spider Graduate
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