Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I,m going to look at a 86 spider that has been sitting for 4 years.Owner says it needs head gasket and maybe valve job,tires and exhaust.If I buy the car should I drain the fuel tank or will it need to be replaced.Any to tips?
Thanks in advance for any info
P
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,242 Posts
Lots of things deteriorate with time - sometimes more than if the car is being used. Gaskets & seals, hoses, belts, etc.

The fuel system should be drained (siphon out the old fuel) and the filter replaced. (warning - do not run the in-tank pump dry. It must have fuel for cooling) Probably want to replace the fuel hoses, too. If the fuel was not treated with a 4 year layup in mind, the injectors might need a proper cleaning. I sent the injectors from our '84 Spider to Cruzin Performance for cleaning. (there are other places that offer similar services). Cost is $16/injector. Replacement injectors are expensive (and despite claims to the contrary are NOT 'rebuildable').

Why does the seller think it needs a head gasket &/or valve job? You could end up with a bad case of the while-I'm-at-its (while I have the head off I should check the cylinders & pistons. Once the pistons are out you might-as-well install new bearings... etc)

Where are you located? Check for a local Alfa club. Members might be willing to go with you to check out the car (plus they'd probably know of other cars for sale).

Finally - see the link in my signature block for info about the L-jetronic system in the '82-89 Alfa Spiders.

Happy hunting!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,927 Posts
look for the best one that you can afford. A car that's been sitting for 4 years can mean a lot of work, which can be expensive, especially if you can't do it yourself. Take your time to find the right Spider. AlfaBB member Zunige created this great timeline, that'll help you determine what you want, and what you're looking at

Good luck!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,051 Posts
Poppy-

Depends on you and what you want to do. If you have the skills, time and equipment, and the car is priced right- buy it. You'll be in for a lot of hard work, and there are several quirks unique to these cars only.

If you happen to like the Alfa Spider and this is your first one- be aware of the advice given above and heed accordingly. You can still buy a Alfa Spider in good condition for less than $5000. You can have an exotic Italian sports car for much less than most other exotics.

Make sure you patronize the vendors who provide parts for these cars, and buy yourself some manuals.

Duke
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,977 Posts
Be VERY skeptical about this car. If it's been sitting 4 years with a bad engine, it's probably not just a head gasket anymore. Water could be in the cylinders rusting them and requiring replacement. The ENTIRE fuel system will have to be cleaned. IF it's been sitting outside, or even worse, parked on top of dirt, there are going to be lots of rust issues, including under the carpets where it probably got wet, never dried, and has completely rotted the floors. Even if you do the work yourself, you're talking about a lot of money in replacement parts (including maybe fuel injectors) and most certainly both fuel pumps and a cylinder head rebuild.

A beginning estimate for parts alone and assuming you do the work yourself:

Cylinder head rebuild $595
Fuel pumps $250
Gasket Set $80
New Gas Tank (if badly rusted) $269
Exhaust System $160
Catalytic converter $455
Tires $300
Convertible top $300-500
New Brake Discs $280
Brake rebuild kits $100

That's about $3000 just for a start. You could easily double that once things start coming apart for inspection. You're liable to find a lot more wrong as you get into it.

A non-running car is NOT worth anywhere close to what a running one is. I have to contain my laugher when a seller says "Well, it's worth $5000 if it was running, but needs about $1000 in parts, so I'll sell it to you for $3500. My response is "Good, you fix it and then I'll consider your $5000 price when your done." The response is likely to be stunned silence.

A non-running car is worth MUCH MUCH less because you have no way of knowing what else is wrong. The transmission and differential could be bad. The clutch could be bad. The alternator could be bad. The engine computer and electronics could be bad. You get the picture. The fact that it's sat for 4 years also means that the brakes will likely require complete overhaul also. I would only consider a non-runner '86 if the body, paint, and interior were in good condition and the car was really really cheap . . . like less than, and probably a lot less than $1000.

Buying a non-runner is buying a pig in the poke. Don't let the seller make you take the risk while he walks away with cash for a car that should have been towed to the junkyard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
1st time

Thanks for all the eye opening info. The body looked ok but there is some rust .The seats are shot along with the top.The asking price is 3,750 so after reading the replies I believe I’ll pass on this one.
Thanks again,I'm in CT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,927 Posts
Thanks for all the eye opening info. The body looked ok but there is some rust .The seats are shot along with the top.The asking price is 3,750 so after reading the replies I believe I’ll pass on this one.
Thanks again,I'm in CT
for that kind of money you should be able to do a lot better!! Keep looking, the right one will come along. Or post an ad in the for sale and wanted section.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,977 Posts
Good choice to pass. There are lots of Series 3 Spiders out there that are in great condition for only a thousand or two more than that guy is asking for a piece of junk. Shop carefully. Read up on the BB here so that when you go to look at a car, you're a knowledgeable buyer.

I'll start you out. Main issues when buying a Spider are:

1. RUST RUST RUST. Floors under carpets. Rocker panels and around wheel wells. Also in the spare tire well in the trunk.

2. Paint condition. A car that needs paint deducts at least $2000 from the normal value.

3. Interior: Cracked Dashes. Worn out seats. Bad tops.
Dashes - not generally available anymore. VERY expensive if you get one from Europe. Seats are $500-700. New top $300-500 if you install it yourself. Add about $200 if you have someone else do it.

4. Engine. Should show good oil pressure. About 50 psi when engine is hot and running above idle. Compression should be no less than about 130 with 150 minimum better. Oil in the coolant or vice versa shows a blown head gasket - fairly common and an unscrupulous seller might try and hide that fact. Engine should NOT run hot . . normal is about 190F.

5. Gearbox. Looks for worn sychromesh, especially on second gear, indicated by crunching when trying to shift. Common problem and the gearbox can be driven with weak sychros if you shift slowly. Gearbox overhaul is about $1000 not including removing and replacing.

6. Takeoff from a stop should be smooth with no crunching or clunks. If you have those, there could be transmission mount problems or driveshaft problems.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top