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Marine grease should be fine. You just want to keep out the moisture.
 

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Discussion Starter #342
I've been reading up on the front suspension overhaul, as well as various threads on lowering. It'll be interesting to see how difficult it is to get it dismantled. Looks like more than a few have had a difficult time. I budgeted a day for dismantling, but...

One thing I need to plan for is the potential to deal with excessive camber when the lowering occurs. I read one thread that advises that the lower a-arm stands need to be shortened by 1/8" in order to bring things back to the recommended -1/2 to -1 degree of camber. Is that correct? I plan to mill off the recommended amount and then have some shims to slide between the frame rail and the stand to adjust to spec.

As always, your advice is appreciated.

Bob

PS: Parts are scheduled to be delivered Thursday. Looks like I'll take Friday off, again. Working at the same place for 20 years has certain advantages.
 

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"One thing I need to plan for is the potential to deal with excessive camber when the lowering occurs"

Never had a problem with that after we lowered the fronts of our Alfettas, GTV6s, and the Milano. The front is not lowered THAT much, ie, don't get carried away, lol. We just ran them for many thousands of miles with no adverse tire wear, etc, and handling was fine. Of course, for those cars we used the standard size tires, but I don't think your slightly wider tires will make a difference worth talking about. Just keep an eye on front toe for tire wear.
 

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I agree with Del. I have probably 30 to 40 cars over the whole range. On the stock bars anything more then one notch puts it on the ground. Never once did we grind on the spacers.

Are you replacing the lower a arm bushings?
 

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Discussion Starter #345
1984 Maratona "Ran when parked..."

I agree with Del. I have probably 30 to 40 cars over the whole range. On the stock bars anything more then one notch puts it on the ground. Never once did we grind on the spacers.

Are you replacing the lower a arm bushings?


I'm doing the bushings, ball joints, tie rods and whatever else comes in Centerline's front suspension kit.

And the adjustable torsion bar mount.

What is your camber spec?

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I'm doing the bushings, ball joints, tie rods and whatever else comes in Centerline's front suspension kit.

And the adjustable torsion bar mount.

What is your camber spec?

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As to chamber spec. I have no idea. At the shop I worked at we sent all the cars to Gran Turismo in Atlanta. Which is one of the best shops for street, performance and racing alignments.

Pm sent
 

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Seems like I remember (from a long long time ago) the adjustment ends up, after manipulation of the torsion bars at their front and rear mounts equivalent to somewhere around 1/2 notch, or maybe less? It's not much. Maybe somewhere around 1 inch lower?

Someone who has done it and remembers more should chime in. I just don't remember anymore, been too long ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #348
Seems like I remember (from a long long time ago) the adjustment ends up, after manipulation of the torsion bars at their front and rear mounts equivalent to somewhere around 1/2 notch, or maybe less? It's not much. Maybe somewhere around 1 inch lower?

Someone who has done it and remembers more should chime in. I just don't remember anymore, been too long ago.


I was planning to adjust it so that the A-arms are horizontal to the ground, with at least 5" of clearance to the sump. Thoughts?


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I was planning to adjust it so that the A-arms are horizontal to the ground
That is correct according to Richard Jemison, my Alfa suspension guru. It is all to do with camber gain as the car corners.

The last time that I was at the track I was running with .7 degrees negative camber and 3 degrees caster. The steering was fairly neutral with some mid corner understeer that may have been due to my imperfect driving. I went off the track twice when I ran wide so a little extra bite in the front tires will be helpful. I have since increased the caster to 3.7 degrees (1 full turn of the caster arm). I plan to go to 1 degree camber but I already have wear on the insides of the front tires so I am taking it slowly.
 

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If you get wear on the inside of the tread, you might need to change the toe in the positive direction just a tad more. It's certainly what we've had to do with 164s with their excessive(?) negative camber.
 

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Bob, like they say if you don't lower it too much, the pedestals (or spacers) will probably be ok. The official number I've seen is to shave off .313" (5/16") from the pedestal height, to bring the lower ball joint back closer to original position if the car's lowered. The problem we have with Mike's car is that a PO dropped it way too far, and he's had to deal with bad tire wear due to the camber. We are going to raise it back up, such that the car sits level, or close to level, front to rear. Right now it's in the shop in Cincinnati for a seized pilot bearing in the Sachs clutch pack (new last year).

I checked the A arms out, and the camber, and it's so low that the front end has between 1 to 2 degrees neg camber at rest, unloaded, with the stock thickness pedestals. And only a couple of thin shims. I attach a couple of photos below to show you what you DON'T want in terms of lowering.
 

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My feeling, and understanding from my mechanic, was that the US height was just an adjustment up from the European height, and that if restored to the European design height, the suspension would be correct as designed, rather than what you get with the US height. In other words, I'm not sure any other adjustment of the suspension is required.

Certainly, I never had any complaint with tire wear or handling in any of the Alfettas or GTV6s we drove, at least for the street.

Race setup, that's a different subject of course. Usually, with those setups you end up with something not very suitable for street use long term.

I think an example of that was the original front suspension alignment for the 164 from the factory. Wore out front tires at a prodigious rate. Totally unsuitable for the street long term. Alfa did change the alignment (toe setting) to basically what we had come to as street users.
 

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Discussion Starter #353
Thanks, gentleman. Plenty to think about.

I sprayed all the bolts, nuts and splines with penetrant, agitated the torsion bars with a heavy rubber mallet, tried out the bolt in the bar pulling method (only to find out the bolts I purchased were too short) and cleared off 6' of bench space in anticipation of the multitude of removed parts. I picked up some heavy duty marine grease, and will order some VHT satin black epoxy tomorrow.

Might as well jump in with both feet!


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Discussion Starter #354
As an observation, someone had fiddled with the torsion bars before, as evidenced by some paint marks on the bars, and the prior down pipes crushed condition.


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I bought a 79 Alfetta Sports Sedan from the dealer in 1980. Essentially a new car. Some 6 years later, the handling went suddenly bad. As when driving along a straight at about 80 mph. Seriously wandering left and right.
Put in a new set of every suspension bushing and those lasted for some ten years.
:)
 

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Discussion Starter #356
My hope is to complete stripping out the passenger side suspension Wednesday, and do the same to the driver's side Thursday. I'll need to clean and paint the passenger's side first. I want the paint to dry for at least 24 hours.

Probably too aggressive a schedule, but I'm a hopeless optimist.


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As an observation, someone had fiddled with the torsion bars before, as evidenced by some paint marks on the bars, and the prior down pipes crushed condition.


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Once cleaned you should find the factory marks stamped in both the lower a arm and the bar where they slide together. Find them before you take them a part. Which will tell you how many notches they were lowered.
 

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when you set the car up - both ride height and alignment - be sure to put your weight in the driver seat and maybe 1/2 tank fuel. if bringing back to stock, follow the manual recommendations for weight in car.
especially when you think the front ride heights are way off, i think would be easier to set both sides up at same session..
if you can find the original marks, can count splines and get back to there fairly easily. if not, some trial and error will be required, but not too many times.
you are in california, so perhaps the factory method of bar removal will work.... my experience is (not in california) - be prepared to go to plan B.
manual on front ride height
 

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Discussion Starter #359
That is excellent information. Thanks so much for posting those dimensions.

Bob
 

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If I recall earlier posts correctly, the spline count differential between front and rear of the torsion bars allows fine adjustments, if required - e.g. If moving plus 1 on the coarse spline is too much, or moving plus one on the fine spline is too little, going plus 1 on the coarse AND minus 1 on the fine splines brings things back a little.
 
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