Summary Part 3 - Final Thoughts
Fourth lesson: equipment. Being a driveway mechanic, I knew I’d need to obtain a few things to do this engine work: engine stand, engine hoist. I elected to buy a hoist rather than rent one; I didn’t feel like playing ‘beat the clock’, concerned about getting the hoist back in time and accumulating rental fees. I figured I’d have use for it again.
There were several smaller items that I needed as well: seal pullers, gear pullers, flywheel lock, supplies for removing gasket material, digital calipers for measuring valve shims, additional torque wrench, valve spring compressor, cylinder hone, etc. Plus, I had to fabricate a few items: seal installation tool, pinion nut socket, spark-plug-threaded-rod head puller, liner hold-downs, and I even 3D printed a clutch alignment tool. Let’s not forget gasket solvent, Ultra Copper, Ultra Gray, anti-seize, thread locker, Prussian Blue, assembly lube, valve lapping compound, and Diet Mountain Dew.
I estimate that about a third of the cost of this project was for special tools and consumables.
My fifth lesson was focus. This project was to repair an engine that quit running. I had foreknowledge of a few things that needed attention at the earliest opportunity, like motor mounts and radiator. It is enticing to listen to suggestions about replacing camshafts, cross-drilling the block, threading the crankshaft oil galleries, and numerous other things “while you’re in there”.
I had to ignore the siren song of “restoration” and focus more on “repair”. I did accede to a few things to improve drivability and reliability for the wife and daughters: AC repair, silicone hose kit, transmission synchro mod, replaced differential pinion seal, and re-cored the radiator. The only cosmetic thing I did (other than cleaning all the oil off everything) was to do some touch-up painting to the engine compartment.
The final result is a running spider that’s more pleasant to drive, and doesn’t leak anywhere (for now). The only thing dripping underneath the car is condensation from the AC!
My sixth and final lesson learned has to do with thread arc: If you find a thread that addresses your project, read EVERYTHING before you do ANYTHING. It can be challenging to wade through a thread when it’s tens of pages long, but it can be important. I failed to do this on a couple of key threads I was referencing throughout this project. I’d read the posts, and follow the examples. At one point near the end of a thread, the OP was having some difficulty, “Oh no! I’m having this problem. I should have done this differently!” I’m thinking, “Oh no! Me too! I should have read ahead!” Fortunately the circumstances resolved themselves, but I learned to read to the end of the thread to see what the results were, and any lessons learned.
As part of that, it’s also up to us who start threads to go back and revisit those posts, so we can give updated guidance for members’ initial read-through. I plan on doing this myself with this thread, just to help the next guy out.
For other amateurs like me… You can do it!...but…it’s probably going to take longer than you think, and cost more than you expect. On the plus side, you’ll end up with more tools and gadgets, you’ll learn more about your Alfa, and you’ll gain the confidence to take on more of these tasks yourself. I no longer harbor any fear of my Alfa, but a complete set of Alfa special tools would be nice!
Plus, if you’re like me, you’ll gain copious amounts of street cred in your local non-existent Alfa community and club. I'm a lone wolf here in Mid-Missouri!
Lesson 1: Patience
Lesson 2: Document (photos and labels)
Lesson 3: Technical References
Lesson 4: Equipment
Lesson 5: Focus
Lesson 6: Thread arc
Thanks again to everyone for their advice, assistance, and support; I couldn't have done it without you!
1988 Spider Veloce (with lots of 3D printed parts)
Last edited by Shakey; 07-04-2018 at 12:53 PM.