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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,
It has been a while since I have posted about my 1970 1750 Berlina. I have owned it for over a year now and have been using it regularly. A quick synopsis of the story so far is on purchase I had most of the suspension bushes replaced, a new universal joint and had it lowered a bit with spider springs on the front and spacers removed at the rear. I also had the car resprayed in what I thought was the original colour.

My intention is to get the car running as nicely as possible in it's original specification first and then if the will is still there tackle the cosmetics. In that regard it is pretty good with reasonable paint and interior and minimal rust.

The one thing I have done myself is restore the grill by fabricating the missing top grill rail from a Citroen DS door trim I had lying around. I also staightened and painted the aluminium mesh and fitted a new badge to replace the nicely faded but cracked one. I polished it up and fitted it back on and think it looks pretty good. I have a slightly better inner light to replace the LH one which i will do next time I have some spare time and feel like skinning my knuckles.

My main concern has been with the brakes. They feel terrible - they stick on slightly after application making driving smoothly and precisely difficult, they grab and they sometimes though not always make horrible graunching sounds. I have had them fiddled with - rear caliper rebuilt and adjustments with no improvement. It would seem I need to get new boosters and maybe a master cylinder. My mechanic said leave the brakes (he only drives it up the street and back) and attend to the burnt exhaust valve first as it is getting bad and indeed it was noticably deteriorating. So I bit the bullet and had the head reconditioned. All good except the reconditioner decided to paint the valve cover silver. Could have asked me first as it looks a bit poxy. The work to the head also revealed just how rusty the exhaust system was and so it was replaced soon after. I also had an electronic ignition system from an Alfetta fitted. Now it is running nicely. Smoother, quieter and idling much more evenly. As to the power output, not much more than before the head was done but still feels about right.

As to driving, it is getting regular use though mostly around the city which is usually frustratingly slow and with few corners and shows up the crappy brakes. I did have an excellent 'early morning run' with the Alfa club here in Victoria over some lovely twisty roads through hills and dales. This more than anything has endeared this car to me. It was really in its element and it felt like all its components were working in harmony. I have vowed to participate in every club drive I can.

Jobs to be done.

The brakes. I can't live with them like they are. They makes the car feel like an old truck. This was to be the first job but I have been distracted by the engine. They will be made to feel like new ones one way or another.

Tyres. The car is still running on 24 year old tyres, which have lots of tread, but I feel I should get some new ones. The dillema is what sort. I would love to go with the original skinny tyre look and get some Michelin 165 XAS's but at $390 each it seems very indulgent. I will probably get 185/70's which is the size of the Continentals currently fitted. I would hope new tyres will lighten up the steering too which seems very heavy at low speed.

I have also bought some koni reds from ebay and will fit them along with a set of new standard height springs. This I hope will make it handle and ride like new as it is rather rattly and harsh at the moment. It also alarmingly crunches it's sump guard on speed humps and pot holes too easily as it is riding too low at the front with the spider springs.

The carburetors probably need a rebuild as they look grotty and miss a little at take off.

The diff sounds old so maybe a reconditioned diff.

The gearbox could be a bit lighter in action. Rebuild?, sawdust?

I have been sort off offered a rusty Berlina auto which could yield an LSD diff amongst other things like a big pile of rusty metal in the back yard for a couple of years. (I have been scheming and think I have found a spot where it may be secreted)

Anyway despite my whingeing I do enjoy the car and often find myself admiring its sober though sophisticated styling or pushing it through the one local corner for miles. I will let you know what I spend money on next.

cheers

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the compliments.
The colour is supposed to be indigo grey (the original colour) but it came back from the paint shop looking like this - a fair bit bluer. When I bought the car the vendor gave me a can of paint saying here is some paint for touch ups etc. It had indigo grey AR code 724 on it so when I took it to the paint shop I just handed it over and said paint it in this. I should have at least opened the can and had a look. Anyway my mistake.
I do really like the colour though. It reminds me of a giulia super I once owned.
cheers
Tony
 

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Alfa had a lot of soft greys and blues, most of which we didn't get in the US, that were just great colors. Whether it's right or not, it's nice.
Andrew
 

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Yes new tyres for your safety are required.

Lovely car
Pete
 

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Nice Tony - thanks for the pictures and update. Are you going to overhaul the brakes or upgrade them?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice Tony - thanks for the pictures and update. Are you going to overhaul the brakes or upgrade them?
I will overhaul the brakes as it will be simpler than modifying them and probably more likely to yield a satisfactory result. My car has twin lockheed boosters which will be expensive to replace and I believe that the ones I can get will be re-built bonaldi units. I may be able to buy new ones also. I will save up for that job and invest in some new tyres at the same time. It is one of those jobs that should be good as it should vastly improve the feel of the car taking it one step closer to how I want it. And don't you hate it when you spend a grand or so on your car and you can't feel or see any difference?

I am glad I have gone down the rolling refurbishment route rather than the nuts and bolt rebuild where the car would be off the road for years. I have done that twice before and never finished due to lack of money and moving interstate. So this time I am getting to enjoy my car whilst improving it.

Thanks for your interest and kind compliments.

cheers

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Next chapter - brakes.

I have bitten the bullet and bought 2 new reproduction lockheed brake servos from Highland Alfa UK. These are 135 pounds which are cheaper than reconditioned originals. I hope they are good. They must be quite new on the market as there are no reviews on them yet. They arrived a week after placing the order and they appear to be the same as the ones fitted only black. I also got a new boot seal rubber.

The berlina is booked into Bruno's on friday for the brake refurbishment. Hopefully there won't be much more than just fitting the new boosters and bleeding the system.

I fitted the boot seal rubber on the weekend and that was easy and looks great and will hopefully keep the exhaust fumes from the cabin when driving with the window down. While I was at it I attempted to remedy a clicking noise I had in the tacho. I had read that by disconnecting the cable from the back of the tacho and refitting it the click could be cured. Well after 45 minutes with my hands covered in black grease and abrassions I had it back on and of course it is now much worse. The end of the cable looked pretty tatty so I suppose I will need a new cable. Anyone else had experience with this?

Anyway I will let you know how the brakes turn out and add some photos once I get it back from Bruno

cheers
Tony
 

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What a gorgeous berlina!

Your car is just gorgeous.

I had both my brake booster and my master cylinder replaced a few years ago- total transformation of the feel of the brakes. Here's hoping that you have a similarly positive experience!
 

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Tony - there is an instrument repair place on the left of the Maroondah Highway as it goes into Ringwood that I've had success with before. I guess it's still there since Eastlink went in....it was called Ringwood Instruments or some such name.

If you just need the inner you should be able to remove it without taking the whole cable out. If so you'd have to disconnect it from the speedo (try taking the speedo out rather than manouvering about under the dash....it comes out pretty easily) and / or the gearbox. The inner should just pull out then.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks Alister - see below.

Well I had the servos fitted at the mechanics and I am sad to say that the brakes feel pretty much as before. Sure the boost' is a bit smoother but the problems are still there.
1. They stick on - but only when I drive it - couldn't get it to do it when the mechanic drove it. It seems to happen when coming to a gentle stop - take my foot off just before it stops and the brakes stay on for a further 0.5 - 1.0 seconds.
2. The 'boost' comes in after approx 0.5 of a second without additional pedal pressure.
3. The pedal needs to be depressed too far before the brakes start to work.
4. They squeal, graunch and grind most times and squeak every wheel revolution.
5. The new boosters don't feel as powerful as they should.
I should point out that my bench mark is my Citroen C5 which has nice powerfull progressive and well servoed brakes which is how I would like my Berlinas' brakes to feel.

So whats next.
New brakes pads would probably help.
Master cylinder? It does not leak (according to my mechanic). I don't know if replacing/rebuilding it would help.
New brake lines? could this be the problem.
What else can I do. I would really like to have 'as new brakes' so maybe I need to have 'as new' everything.

Anyway about other things. The mechaic fitted a new tacho inner cable which helped a bit but after an hour of driving has started jumping and clicking at idle. So I will try a new outer cable too.

I did fit my new boot seal which was a satisfying job. hurrah.

Anyway stay tuned for the next installment.
 

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I love those Berlina seats, come-fee!!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Latest installment

Time for the latest installment.
I decided to book the car in at the mechanics to tackle the suspension as well as the brakes. The brakes had still been sticking on, quite badly at times and the old pads still making horrible scratching noises.
I also thought I should get some new springs to complement the koni reds I intended to fit. I contacted first Pace engineering but he had only springs for coupes, which are shorter. Ditto alfaholics. I was then kindly offered a set of original springs by Gary Pierce which I thought I could have reset to a standard height in an effort to restore them to as new conditon. On closer inspection I found that one of the rear springs had been welded so the rears could not be reset. So I had the front ones reset and opted for 20mm shorter. But I forgot that 20mm shorter makes the car about 40mm lower so when the mechanic went to fit them he found they were shorter than the ones already on. So I wasted my money and time (went there once to drop them off, twice to pick them up and they were closed then not ready and once more to finally get them).
The springs on the car were replaced with spyder springs when I first replaced the suspension bushes and I thought the car was looking too low and crashing the sump guard sometimes on bumps.
So after all that I stuck with the springs on the car and just raised up the front (with spacers) about 25mm to get it to sit level. At the same time the koni reds were fitted and a new anti roll bar bush.
The brakes were also again fettled with a new set of brake pads all round, the master cylinder being reconditioned and some advanced bleeding done.
The results - the suspension feels 'smoother' with a bit more travel and no noise from the old dampers. I have not had it through any meaningful corners yet but so far I am happy with the improvements. It looks better too.
14.08 11 002.jpg
14.08 11 007.jpg
The brakes feel much smoother and are quieter, probably due to the new pads. However they are still sticking on slightly and the feel is still not right (I think this is the repro boosters) with the variable boost as described in previous post still there. The only thing left to do now is the flexible hoses and the front calipers. It is pretty frustrating how much effort (money) it is taking to get the brakes right. If that does not do the trick i will have the original boosters reconditioned.
I did get a new tacho cable from highwood alfa which was fitted and now the tacho is lovely and stable and cured of the horrible clicking noises it used to make.
So next job list is to continue with the brakes and a set of new tyres. As to the later I think I will try Vredesteins in 165 x 14. They cost about $230 each in Australia so that will have to wait awhile. I don't know if importing them would be cheaper. Any tips?
I will also repaint the airfilter cannister - not sure if it should be gloss, satin or matt black? Has anyone tried the piper cross air filter sold through alfaholics designed to fit in the cannister. It sounds good in theory.
14.08 11 014.jpg
I would also like to repair the drivers seat which is starting to deteriorate and will be looking for some vinyl to repair it if anyone has any ideas?
But for now I will try to get out on some nice winding country roads to enjoy it.
cheers
Tony
14.08 11 010.jpg
The new boosters
 

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Maybe I missed it in your previous posts but did you ever replace the brake flex lines? Two in the front and one at the axle in the back. Swollen rubber in these lines is one of the most common causes of sticking brakes. It's one of the first things I replace on a car that's new to me. Beautiful sedan.
 

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truly great car, great color combo. I'd replace the brake hoses first thing, too!

Tyres: can you get Toyo T330 there? Available in 165/70/14, which should do the trick, nice old style pattern, fine tyre, good grip too...

Rik
 

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Tony - somewhere in my garage loft I have a NOS air filter cannister for a 1750. It's a semi-gloss black by memory. If it helps I can climb up and try and find it for you (to match, not to buy!)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for your advise and compliments Bill and Rik. Next job will be to replace those flexible brake hoses as you suggest.

And Alister a NOS item would have to have the correct finish so any info or photo would be much appreciated.

cheers

Tony
 
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