In my available time today, I plan on dropping the trans. The head provided no clues, and I see nothing amiss looking at the top of the pistons, etc.
It's time to put the engine on a stand, and eviscerate it to find out what's wrong. I'll make the side mount adapter, and affix it in that manner.
My engine overhaul manual arrived in the mail yesterday; I browsed through it briefly. Some good detailed info in there. It actually spells out a procedure to remove the engine while leaving the trans in the car, but I'm going to drop the trans anyway. When I took the shifter out, I noticed it had been seeping oil from the top...one of the rubber items is damaged there, so it's a chance to resolve that problem.
I am contemplating addressing my second gear synchro issue (the usual crunching) while it's out. I'm not sure I want to get that involved with an 'annoyance' in an otherwise fine transmission. It seems that's how I got in this position with the engine in the first place!
, unfortunately I am
the local friendly Alfa mechanic! There is a guy in town who owns a small auto repair shop, who once owned a Spider. He replaced the clutch for me last year (I provided all the parts), but he's not right for this job.
, I appreciate the comments. I'll start including photos. It is tempting to do a full rebuild. There are certainly items I'm going to address while I have the engine out...motor mounts and head gaskets were on my to-do list already. I've discovered a few things that need attention.