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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-22-2007, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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New owner tires, suspension and head question

Hello Alfa enthusiasts,

I am the proud owner of a 1978 black spider and really enjoy the car unfortunately the old lady needs some care.
The rear suspension needs some rejuvenating cure and a new head is required.

I like the rims that the PO put on but the tires (Wynstar - Phaser I 195x60R14) rub on the outer wheel fender in the back and the noise is excruciating can somebody tell me what type of rim is this?
Do you have any suggestion to avoid the rubbing, new tires? What type?

On the suspension side, I really want to install new spring, dampener and bushing (IAP performance with Koni Red or Bilstein) ,
I was wondering how complex the procedure is (I am a total newbie) and what kind of tool I can use to compress the spring,
I read on this forum that people use threaded rod but I am a bit scared of this procedure.

On the head side, is this something I can do myself? Is there any gotcha?

Thanks in advance for your replies

Regards,

/Patrick
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-22-2007, 05:52 PM
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Welcome to the Alfa BB. This a great resource for all things Alfa. But, to be honest, we can't make an Alfa mechanic out of you. Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to study the procedures to make sure you understand what you might need to do? IMO, anyone who answers yes to those questions can indeed "D-I-Y".

Start by ordering some books about Alfa repair. Start with a couple of books by Pat Braden: Alfa Romeo Owners Bible and Alfa Romeo Twin Cam Companion. I got a copy of the Alfa shop Manual on a CD from Car Disc.

While you are waiting for those items to arrive, search this BB for BTDT's about your issues. You'll find threads with info about suspension upgrades, pictures of factory and home-made spring removal tools, cylinder head R/R, etc. Then, if/when you have specific questions about how & what to do - post away! Lots of helpful people here.

Assuming that you, like I, find this BB one of the most useful 'tools' in Alfa ownership, please consider making a donation to keep the BB alive & well. There is a link for that near the top of the page.

P.S. - nice looking Spider! I wonder if the tires rub because the wheel offset is wrong? 195/60-14 should be OK. I think. I have PanaSport wheels with 205/55-15 tires on our '84 with no problems.

- - Eric
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- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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Last edited by ghnl; 06-22-2007 at 05:55 PM.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by zorglub View Post
...
I like the rims that the PO put on but the tires (Wynstar - Phaser I 195x60R14) rub on the outer wheel fender in the back and the noise is excruciating can somebody tell me what type of rim is this?
Do you have any suggestion to avoid the rubbing, new tires? What type?
....
Patrick,

First, welcome to the BB!

The problem with your tires rubbing is probably due to the rims themsleves. I don't know what offset they have, but clearly from looking at the pictures the fit is too far out. The '78 Spider came with 14" x 5.5" Turbina wheels with a 38 mm offset. The later wheels fitted to the Spiders were 14" x 6" Daytona 5-stars with a 35 mm offset. The 15" x 6" phone dials came later, and they had a 30 mm offset. Aftermarket wheels proven to work with our Spiders come with offset in the 20 - 30 mm range, and their is even one with a 18 mm offset.

The OEM tire fitted to the 14" x 6" wheels was 185/70-14. Applying the plus zero concept, you can go up two widths, and still be within spec for your speedometer, with the correct diameter. Hence you may fit a 195/65-14 or a 205/60-14. The reason most of us go with a wider tire is that in the 185 mm range, the choices are not as good as in the wider size. There have been a lot of discussions regarding tires, so you should do a search.

With your current set-up, it appears like you have both an incorrect rim, and a tire that is slightly smaller in circumference than what your Spider was meant to have. To avoid rubbing you may be able to change the tires to a 185 mm width, but I think it's more important to first determine if the rims are really appropriate for your car. Also, pull the wheel off, and just check to make sure that there isn't a spacer behind the wheel. (People sometimes do this to give the Spiders a wider stance, since the OEM wheels sit well within the wheel well.)

Best regards,

Enrique
[SIZE="1"]Spider 74, 84 & 87
Milano 88 Verde
164 91S, 93L & 95Q[/SIZE]
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Eric and Enrique, A lot of useful information !
I already got the Owner Workshop Manual from IAP and have ordered the CD-ROM.

There is no spacer on the rims, I verified that when I changed my brake fluid, I will remove one again and verify if the offset is within 20 - 30 mm. BTW I think those are Gotti or knock off rims (Gotti rims were very fashion quite some time ago in Europe)

I definitively think that my suspension need to be freshen up and will start a replacement ASAP. I was wondering if I should go with performance spring or stock (This car will be for casual driving no autocross or race) It is rather difficult to make a decision I do not have a good point of reference as mine are not good anymore.

Thanks again

/Patrick
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 01:33 AM
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Than that car is just screaming for headlight covers and stainless bumpers isn't it

Very nice.

Mabe a set of stock springs and a chassis stiffener rather than just stock or performance springs?

It'll produce a nice firm chassis and a relatively compliant ride, (somewhat dependant on what shocks are used), that should give you the comfort you seek with just enough perkiness to keep you happy should you decide to do a bit of low pressure backroad scratching.




Darren
'84 manufacture ~ '85 MY Spider Graduate

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by zorglub View Post
...I definitively think that my suspension need to be freshen up and will start a replacement ASAP. I was wondering if I should go with performance spring or stock (This car will be for casual driving no autocross or race) It is rather difficult to make a decision I do not have a good point of reference as mine are not good anymore. ...
Patrick,
Do search the BB for opinions on springs - and be patient, there's quite a bit of info and it is very much a personal preference. I'm a big fan of installing performance springs, simply because these avoid bottoming out and also the nose dive under hard breaking. Performance springs (not race springs) actually do not make the ride harsh at all, and the car certainly feels better over bumps. Overall, the ride is much more comfortable with performance springs instead of stock springs. (I favor the Ward and Deane springs, with OEM shocks, and a chassis stiffener.)

Best regards,

Enrique
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 05:57 AM
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I used Centerline springs with Koni reds on my 77 it is a nice combo. But there are many good combinations. I am happy with combination

Florida
1977 Alfa Spider
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2007, 07:55 PM
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I just recently rebuilt my front and rear suspension with the kits from Centerline (combination of rubber and urethane bushings). What a difference! My shocks were still serviceable, and I swapped the springs from side to side. I wasn't ready for the expense of new springs/shocks at that time, plus I had read all of the threads on springs and was overwhelmed, so the will wait until later. I'm not regretting keeping the original stuff yet.

The front end is very straight-forward, and with the exception of the dangers of spring compression, not too much of a job for a beginner.

The rear, surprisingly, is a lot tricker. The trailing arm bushings are steel-jacketed rubber pressed into a sheet metal sleeve on the control arm. Supporting the arm while pressing the bearing out is very tricky, even for the seasoned massochist such as I... it won't hurt to have some brazing/welding skills for when you push the sleeve through the trailing arm (don't ask how I know). I'm sure there's an easlier way, but I ended up burning out the rubber and using a hacksaw to remove the sleeve. Ugly, but effective, plus it gave me a good reason to repaint the whole thing (the oem paint was in surprisingly good condition).

Now the suspension is beautiful. It's soft enough to be comfortable in daily driving, but it holds up well to spirited driving. I can't see that there would be much advantage to having a stiffer suspension, unless you really have a good reason - I can take speed bumps and RR trax without worry, and can hold a tight line in the twisties.

Just one man's opinion...

[COLOR=Navy][FONT=Comic Sans MS]Geo.
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