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I am currently working on my first Alfa which is a 1989 1600 Spider (RHD). I bought it as a rolling(ish) restoration with the plan to get the oily bits and the worst of the rust sorted before the summer to have a few months enjoying it before taking back off the road to carry on over the winter. The car has been standing for approx 5 years, but I was told it was a daily runner until then. The engine is now out and the head has gone of to local machine shop for an overhaul. Before I removed it I did have the engine running for a few minutes just to confirm all ok (oil pressure measured with mechanical gauge all fine). There appeared to be an oil leak from head gasket hence it being off also the engine was covered in oil/muck so a good clean was in order. I am hoping what I have found under the muck is just from the casting but need to check its not actually a crack. You can see from the photo a line running right across the top of the block, no water is leaking from the area and i can't see any sign of long term leakage. The "crack" also runs inside the chamber where the timing chain is. This makes me think either its just the casting or block is well and truly dead! Any thoughts please.
 

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I'm inclined to agree that it's just the casting. If all of that was a crack, I think it would have made itself known when you started it up. If you're planning to disassemble the engine now that it's out, you could send the block out to have it pressure tested. There probably aren't very many places that still have a pressure testing rig for an Alfa 1600 though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the reply I am seeing the guy doing the head tomorrow so will see if its possible to get the block pressure tested as you suggested. The more i look at it the more i think it is just the casting but not having another one to compare to really wasn't sure if that explanation was even possible.

thanks again
 

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Crack?

The cam oil galleries run vertically through this area. If you had a crack, you'd have oil either seeping or squirting out of said crack!

I've been told about an incident in the mid-'60s where Alfas came to the US with only water in the cooling systems. It got cold at the POE, the water froze, and many blocks cracked right at the bottom of the water jacket. Supposedly the affected engines were disassembled, had the galleries sleeved and the cracks welded, and were then put back into service.

Bob in Nashville
(Host of the 2016 AROC National Convention!)
 

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that is not a crack.i've repaired a peugeot with a real crack running across the midline.it was understood to be a temporary repair of course.i've seen hundreds af alfa blocks and never seen one cracked.oh there was one that a connecting rod broke away and exited the block.i just repaired the crankshaft ane used new bearings and plugged the hole with if i remember a bottle cap and epoxy.it ran fine.
 

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I agree with cowfy. Not a crack, just a poor casting. They got worse over the years as the moulds made hundreds of thousands. Clean the block thoroughly and dress it with abrasive to remove the worst of the lines then vapourblast to smooth out and it will look much better. This is a 1967 1600cc block casting photographed in 2011
 

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Can I ask an obvious question - how come you have a 1600 engine in a 1989 spider? Most of the 1600's would be pre 66 with the demise of the Giulia spider although Alfa continued to use a 1600 in much smaller numbers until 76 in the GT Junior 1600.

If your engine is an early 1600 you could sell it for much more than the cost of a nice 2000 lump from an 80's car. Job's a good-un!
 

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Can I ask an obvious question - how come you have a 1600 engine in a 1989 spider? Most of the 1600's would be pre 66 with the demise of the Giulia spider although Alfa continued to use a 1600 in much smaller numbers until 76 in the GT Junior 1600.
spiders were offered as 1600 variants (twin carb, battery under the hood/bonnet etc) right up to 1993, for european markets such as italy, portugal, spain etc...countries where they have high road tax, based on cc.
 

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the 1600 could be found in the states in the series 3 here and there. i have an 83' 2.0 in brooklyn and i needed a plastic tail fin. i purchased one from the midwest i think it was and the designation sign on the tail was 1.6.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Guys thanks again for all the input, the car started life in Germany originally. To be fair I don’t think my block would ever look as good as the photo above! This car is a trial run for me to see how I get on with actually doing a “project” I have wanted a spider for a long, long time and when the wife said on 50th birthday get one I did! I really wanted an early series but this car came up at the right price/condition and I am using it to learn so limiting the level of restoration. So far all brake callipers rebuilt, front and rear suspension removed cleaned/painted and all new bushes and joints replaced. So the amount of work on the engine has been limited to head skim/rebuild, new gaskets all round, but at this stage not gone as far as piston etc. My aim is get to a point where I can see the wood for trees, (well actually the parts for the oil/muck). Once the MOT is done and I am driving it, then I will start on the non MOT body work/trim etc. I know in a couple of places I will have to revisit things i.e. the engine may need to come out again but I am happy with that.
Anyway the engine is back in the car after the head rebuild and I have several boxes of new and refurbished bits that are going back on the car this weekend and if all goes to plan fire her up again. I guess at that point I will know 100% the actual state of the engine.
Loved every minute of it so far!
 

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I would opt for a complete rebuild not just the head.

Done a 75 Julia Super 1600 and an Alfetta GTV 2000 from 82.
After redoing the heads both suffered rod bearing failures.

The old engines when never rebuilt suffer from sludge depositing in the crankshafts oil bores to the bearings and in the bearings itself.
The sleeves are notorious for sagging and when never rebuilt will nearly for sure need new o-rings to get back up to the correct deck clearance. When doing all that work it is normally worth going the full distance and have it rebuilt from top to bottom.

Good luck and fun

Marc
 

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the 1600 could be found in the states in the series 3 here and there. i have an 83' 2.0 in brooklyn and i needed a plastic tail fin. i purchased one from the midwest i think it was and the designation sign on the tail was 1.6.
Only if someone swapped it or brought it in from over seas. The "Junior" was never for sale in North America in S3 guise.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's not a crack!

Finally got the engine back in and started first time (and as i have rebuild the carbs I was amazed it ran quite so easily!) Ran up to temperature with good oil pressure and all the oil and water stayed in the engine and is still there a few days later.

Thanks for all the feedback and help, now onto the welding!
 
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