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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Got my car late last season..very new to auto maintinence, however jumping in with both feet. Just got both Pat Braden books (any other suggestions) Starting small and easy..replaced plugs, wires, coil, vacuum hoses (I think that is what they are), polished the cam cover, refinished the top (worked amazing...Renovo...British company)

Here are my comments/questions.

My shift boot was not attached..so I bought a new one and a metal ring that has four tabs on it. Does anyone know how to install it?

My rear bumper is rubber with a plastic chrome strip in the center. Mine is discolored...I have looked everywhere for a trim piece to fit. 1 1/8" wide. Anyone have any ideas?

Now I have the valve cover off...any tricks to putting it on? Do I need a torque wrench? Should I oil the gasket? Use any sealers?

Don't hate me, but while fooling with the car, I ran it with the front of the aircleaner box off...it sounded way cool. Is it a total crime to try and get air horn type intake?

Someone pulled the air pump off (good thing I think), however I am left with two big bolts sticking out of the front of my engine. When I see pics of other cars there are large "plugs" where my bolts are...any suggestions?

I guess that is enough for my first post...

What a kick *** auto.

Gary Boss
1977 Spider
 

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gboss said:
Now I have the valve cover off...any tricks to putting it on? Do I need a torque wrench? Should I oil the gasket? Use any sealers?
There was a discussion a while back regarding oil leaks caused by the valve cover nuts being too tight. Apparently the cover can be slightly deformed, allowing oil to seep out. The nuts should be good and snug, but not cranked down. I don't believe any sealers are called for on the valve cover gasket since you're going to want to pop the top off on a regular basis to check valve clearance.

Do you still have the Spica installed? The stock Spica airbox is actually very well designed and very efficient and is hard to improve upon.
 

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Don't reef on the cam cover by any means. Once upon a time, in the pursuit of vanity, I tried to align the flat faces of the bolts so they would be uniform. Stupid rookie move. I pushed one 1/8 turn too far and cracked the cover. It still leaks from the crack, but not around the gasket.
Re: your bumper. search the threads by keyword "bumper". Someone suggested this website: http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/StoreCatalogDisplay/c-10101/s-10101
The thread gives specifics on how to match the adhesive chrome strip.
 

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Howdy, and welcome!

You sound like you dig far enough into the engine that a torque wrench would be a good investment anyway... I say pick one up.

As far as the sound without the airbox, I have to agree. It makes it much more... angry. But your cold air intake becomes a hot air intake so it is generally felt that the airbox should stay. If you want good sound and good power, drop in headers and a good exhaust and you'll be set.

Make sure to drop us some pix ASAP!

Happy Spidering.
 

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BKCowGod said:
drop in headers and a good exhaust and you'll be set.
Regarding the exhaust, if you search the threads on the BB, you'll find some enlightening discussions. Alfa tuned the stock exhaust to be very efficient and provide the correct amount of back pressure. (A certain amount is required.)
 

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Welcome to the BB and Alfa ownership, Gary. I think you'll find this about the best, most helpful and friendly source of Alfa info and comraderie "electronically" possible. For a learning owner-mechanic, Alfas are great to learn on, but you're going to have to do some reading.

First of all, you should do review the thread "Advice to new owners" and "Supplier List" under the topic header "Anything about Alfas . . . " They give suggestions for technical material as well as a pretty comprehensive list of parts vendors . . . almost all of which have websites. Many have catalogs you can download immediately. Others you have to send away for, but all are free. On parts sources, you'll develope your own favorites, virtually all are very good (with only one that I know of VERY BAD). My favorite is Centerline and Bruce's, because they're closer to me and the guys that answer the phone seem very knowledgeable about Alfas in general. But, I'd highly recommend that before you start any restoration process that you assemble your printed material, including SPICA manuals and service manuals. In addition to Braden's books, get the Cardisc CD and the Brooklands Service Manual. If an Owners Manual didn't come with the car, watch Ebay for one. Also, the Cardisc CD has one digitized for the 76 and 78 which is usuable for you car.

Alfas, while seeminly very simple, do not suffer "fooling around with." A little reading and study will make any of the jobs you do much faster and may prevent you from doing something that you'll regret later.

As far as questions go, do some "searches" on the BB looking for similar topics. Many times, the questions you ask will have been covered in detail, many times with pictures, in previous threads. If you come up dry, post a thread question and someone will usually answer.

So with that said . . .

Shift Boot -- First of all, I'd highly recommend that before you replace the leather shift boot, that you check the two rubber boots . . one that goes from the floor tunnel to the shift lever, and the other beneath it, that goes from the transmission casting to the shift lever. I'll bet you'll find that they're cracked and leaking. Now as far as mounting the leather boot, there's a outer square bracket (that you see a small part of from the center console, then there's an inner square bracket. The leather boot gets pinched between them. I'm not sure, but I think you have to cut slits in the leather to put the tabs through. The previous owner in my car just put in pop rivets. See if that makes any sense to you.

Bumper trim -- Dunno. Search previous threads. I know that there are some lightweight fiberglass replacements made, but their pretty pricey. If all you need is to repaint with some bumper black and find a plastic chrome stick on strip . . that's the way to go.

Valve cover -- Agree with previous posters. Don't use any sealant. If leaks occur, it might be at the back of the cams with those half round rubber seals. If they leak from the lower parts, so RTV is ok. They should stick up just slightly (and get pushed down) to make sure they seal with the cam cover gasket. The torque on cam cover bolts is 12 ft/lbs (threads oiled), which isn't a lot. Call it "snug." There should be fibre gaskets on the front four bolts and metal washers on the rear two. Why? I haven't a clue, but that's what Alfa did . . . and you'll find that there's always a good reason why the Alfa engineers did what they did.

Airbox -- The SPICA airbox is about the most efficient you could design. Don't mess with it. Besides, that big SPICA etched placard on the airbox is way cool too. Any changes you make will almost certainly decrease performance. Silencing the intake is a good thing. You want to hear the lovely exhaust note . . not the clacking of the intake. Also, make sure to replace the hose to the front air intake. On a '77 there's lots of emissions equipment. If you don't have to have you're car emissions tested, you can re-tune your 77 to 74 specs (no emissions crap). Look on Ebay and you'll see airboxes listed occassionally for earlier cars that don't have the hot air intake from the exhaust manifold. "Total crime" to install air horns? Not a felony, but a jailable misdemenor.

Air Pump bolts -- Drop "John M" a private message. He should know.

Cheers. Again, welcome to the BB.

John

gboss said:
Hi all,

Got my car late last season..very new to auto maintinence, however jumping in with both feet. Just got both Pat Braden books (any other suggestions) Starting small and easy..replaced plugs, wires, coil, vacuum hoses (I think that is what they are), polished the cam cover, refinished the top (worked amazing...Renovo...British company)

Here are my comments/questions.

My shift boot was not attached..so I bought a new one and a metal ring that has four tabs on it. Does anyone know how to install it?

My rear bumper is rubber with a plastic chrome strip in the center. Mine is discolored...I have looked everywhere for a trim piece to fit. 1 1/8" wide. Anyone have any ideas?

Now I have the valve cover off...any tricks to putting it on? Do I need a torque wrench? Should I oil the gasket? Use any sealers?

Don't hate me, but while fooling with the car, I ran it with the front of the aircleaner box off...it sounded way cool. Is it a total crime to try and get air horn type intake?

Someone pulled the air pump off (good thing I think), however I am left with two big bolts sticking out of the front of my engine. When I see pics of other cars there are large "plugs" where my bolts are...any suggestions?

I guess that is enough for my first post...

What a kick *** auto.

Gary Boss
1977 Spider
 

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(Quote) Someone pulled the air pump off (good thing I think), however I am left with two big bolts sticking out of the front of my engine. When I see pics of other cars there are large "plugs" where my bolts are...any suggestions? (Quote)

I believe the two big bolts were for the air conditioner compressor. Is the rest of the air conditioning system still under the dash?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all,

I appreciate all the responses and advice! i am not certain about the etiquitte on these things...should i respond to everyone individually?

Spica still installed. After reading your responses and other posts, I will stick with the factory airbox. : )

John S. Thanks for all the sage-like advice. Once I figure out how to PM I will send the mysterious sounding "John M." a message. Oh yeah...no emissions test on cars older than 25 years. Whoo Hoo!

Fred - No air on this vehicle.
 

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Roadtrip said:
There should be fibre gaskets on the front four bolts and metal washers on the rear two. Why? I haven't a clue, but that's what Alfa did . . . and you'll find that there's always a good reason why the Alfa engineers did what they did.
I think it was Papajam that explained the reason for the two metal washers is so the valve cover would be connected electrically to the rest of the engine. I'm not sure why that is important, since as far as I know nothing grounds to the valve cover, but maybe it helps prevent damage from galvanic action?
 

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My '77 has the two bolt-like protrusions on the front of the engine, too. The air pump apparatus was removed by a PO. The bolts look like they come off the ends of the cams, like an extension.

I would like to remove mine, too, so maybe John M. will post an answer here for us to see?
 

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Farace said:
I think it was Papajam that explained the reason for the two metal washers is so the valve cover would be connected electrically to the rest of the engine.
Guilty as charged. Having the two electrically connected eliminates voltage potential. Another example of this is soft mount carbs; they have ground straps connecting them to the manifold.

Welcome aboard, Gary!!
 

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Gary-
I took the smog pump off my '79 and have the same ugly posts you are talking about. Why dont you post a picture of one you have seen "capped" and I bet we could figure it out together. I have considered taking a hack-saw to mine and then filing them down. Like you, I don't know what would happen if I pulled them out.
 

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Bob! :D

He has those restrictive 4 into 1 headers on that 77. They must go! :D Now you have those fancy free flowing cast ones on your baby. The ones on the late 70s through 89 were basically a hunk of junk log manifold. :D Only good thing about them is that they make a nice boat anchor! :D :D

Farace said:
Regarding the exhaust, if you search the threads on the BB, you'll find some enlightening discussions. Alfa tuned the stock exhaust to be very efficient and provide the correct amount of back pressure. (A certain amount is required.)

Gary:

Everyone is giving great advice. Congrats on the new ride and the dedication to do it yourself. And welcome to the Alfabb!

Here are some more answers.....I haven't read everyone's replies...so maybe repeatitive...

1. Remove the top of the center console. Well get it up enough that you reach inbetween the sides and the top without knocking wires off those brittle...easy to break switches. Remove the shift knob. Slide the material over the shift lever. The rectangular clip pinches the material onto the back side of the top of the console. There is a raised lip on the back side of the top of the center cosole that mates to the rectangular clip with the boot material sandwiched in between. There also may be a few other metal clips to complete the job and help hold it all together.

2. JC Whitney. That's where I got mine. It looks pretty decent when installed. Comes in a big roll enough to do 3 or 4 bumpers. Fits perfectly into the groove.

3. No sealant on the valve cover gasket. A little more than finger tight...say quarter turn. Remember those studs are mated to the top of the cam journals. Stripping...bad...not real bad....but bad. If the gasket leaks oil....check oil cap seal...check half moon seals.........and if still leaking....replace the gasket. Should have 2 metal and 4 fiber washers under the cam cover bolts. Two metal washers at the fire wall bolts. Fiber washers in middle and front bolts. Don't forget to put the two bolts/nuts/washers on the front of the cam cover above the pulleys.

4. Seems like shankle or someone used to market an air horn type cleaner setup that would work for spica. But doubt it was better than the cold air intake of the stock box.

5. already sent you the PM

Best Regards,
John M
 

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On the mysterious studs on the front of the smog 70s spiders......

They were there to support the mounting bracket/idler for the smog pump. Mine are still on my 78.

Behr made an aftermarket air conditioning kit that utilized these too to mount the compressor above the alternator. So they are sturdy little jewels and wonderful to grab hold of the head with. :D

They are just threaded in there. The problem will be sourcing the plugs from an earlier motor. I bet www.apedirect.com has them....but would imagine that Larry JR. would want the studs so as to not have heads with holes laying around.

I'll leave you guys with this thought.......what better place is there to hang a supercharger.....a little smog bracket....a different idler....a little pulley modification.....then BAM! ......dam ....detonated :D

Best Regards,
John M
 

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John M said:
Bob! :D

He has those restrictive 4 into 1 headers on that 77. They must go! :D Now you have those fancy free flowing cast ones on your baby. The ones on the late 70s through 89 were basically a hunk of junk log manifold. :D Only good thing about them is that they make a nice boat anchor! :D :D
Well shut my mouth! You're right, of course. I wasn't thinking so much about the headers as the rest of the system; there's the tendency to bolt on as free-flowing an exhaust system as possible, and the surprising thing I learned from the earlier discussions is that one can actually lose horsepower in an Alfa by having too little back pressure. I should have remembered the stock headers, which were good in '71, changed by '77.
 

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Farace said:
Well shut my mouth! You're right, of course. I wasn't thinking so much about the headers as the rest of the system; there's the tendency to bolt on as free-flowing an exhaust system as possible, and the surprising thing I learned from the earlier discussions is that one can actually lose horsepower in an Alfa by having too little back pressure. I should have remembered the stock headers, which were good in '71, changed by '77.

I am rolling on the floor laughing there Bob! :D

I am in a rare mood today Bob...perhaps a little slap happy from a whirl wind tour of Indiana last couple of days! :D

You got me thinking...brain smoking up the room...the meanest my 78 ever sounded was when I put the headers on and drove her over to my Midas buddies to get the rest of the exhaust hooked up. I sounded like an Indy car as I buzzed beneath the bridges. The car sounded incredible spooling up to 7 grand with only the headers on. But as you noted...no back pressure....it ran like poop. :D

Best Regards,
John M
 

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HI, I am trying to sell a 1977 Spider Inenzione. I am about to post it on ClassicCars.com and I need to know the engine specs... don't laugh, I am a woman trying to sell it for someone in jail... help please... thanks, Alfagal
 

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When I restored, my 75 Spider, I tried to keep everything original..except the air pump. I didn't like those studs either. I do not remember the size of the wrench, but I removed the entire plug, stud and all. I replaced them with the plugs that were used on the earlier engines. In this picture notice the plug on the left is missing. This is beacuse when I threaded the new plug in, it siezed up on me. When I tried to take it out, I chewed it up pretty bad. Fortunately the head was not damaged, and I was able to get another plug. So, be very careful when installing the new plugs.

 

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