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'79 Spider - Gasket Blow Out?

834 Views 24 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  rogerspeed
Hello, I just bought my first Alfa, a 1979 Spider 2000. I know a little about these cars, but figured I would learn more about them along the way. It's a nice driver, however, while driving the oil decided to vacate the car. Getting underneath it, I had to wipe away a lot of oil to figure where it could have been coming from and found this on what I'm thinking would be the oil pan (or a sump pan?), and appear to be a blown gasket. Lot of oil from this area, and the dripping seemed to be from this area (see the photo). I did wipe some oil away to find this.

But I'm wondering then is this likely the place, and is that a gasket, or just sealant? Also the screw in the picture doesn't have a collar/washer on it like most of the other ones holding this pan in place (you can also see it pooling a little oil). Between doing this and having to leave for the weekend I didn't have time to check the screws for tightness. A couple random loose bolts on the grate over this area makes me wonder if the previous owner or a previous mechanic may have not done so well on whatever the previously did under here. Of course, there didn't appear to be anything wrong like this before I paid for the car, but there's always something you overlook. If this in the picture is the source and its what I'm thinking it is, what would I be looking for as for a fix? I ended up on Alfaholics and found sump gaskets, so maybe me calling it the oil pan is inaccurate. I may not be thinking of or using the right terminology. Am I looking for a gasket? Could I take this pan off, clean it up, and close it up with an off the shelf sealant? I do know of a nearby mechanic who specializes in Alfas, but I'm curious how difficult it would be to handle myself.

Thanks for any help/suggestions. This is my first post. Please be gentle. 馃槍



Yah I'm guessing that's not supposed to look like that. This was much oilier before I wiped it down looking for pooling, although by this point the oil was pretty much depleted from what I could tell. Oil pressure was about 0. At least the gauge seemed to work.
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Hey thanks for the response! Knock on wood, that doesn't sound like a super intensive job, as long as I can get under it comfortably. I had it up on ramps but didn't have as much room as I'd like. I was expecting some leaking sure, but what I got was a bit more than just a couple drips, lol. What's a good place to get one of those gaskets then? Alfaholics? Although I'm in the US and they seem to be Euro, so not sure how soon I'd get that.
This was the lower part of the pan, but I was thinking maybe if I replace one I should replace both to be safe. I'll check out your thread, thanks!
The photo I snapped was from the little bit of time I was under the car, so I was mistaken. I pretty much bought it, drove it home, got under it see where the problem was, and left for the weekend. And then apparently forgot what part I was looking at when I made the thread. Oops, sorry! Thursday I'll get back too it. As it is the upper then, I noticed the other thread also mentioning it as being a but more intensive, something about moving or tilting the engine? I haven't had to work with this portion of a car before, much less an Alfa. There is an Alfa mechanic about twenty minutes from me. My gaskets arrive Thursday at some point, but then I'm skipping town for another week. Might be more timely to have the mechanic do it, but I'm not opposed to trying, if only to learn more about it.

@T.Goossens what was your experience in removing the upper? Just a bunch of finagling or was there quite a bit to go through to access the upper pan and get it down? I'd be working off the ground basically, admittedly this seems better if I had like a car lift. Hmm.

@spiderserie4 When all the oil left. I noticed it going down while driving it, we stopped when it seemed to have no further pressure and added oil too it (what we could find anyways to get it back home) after noticing the dipstick had nothing on it at this point. Admittedly, so maybe after checking tires, lines, electrical, etc, we ultimately forgot to check the dipstick and took the seller's word that he had checked it and it was fine. The engine appeared to be a bit oily so I left it at that. Never claimed to be 100% all of the time. I honestly do not know if there was oil in it when we left with it, but the oil pressure looked good, and didn't drop till later. I wouldn't expect the dipstick to be dry, though? I dunno, maybe that will clear something up. With that said, the car didn't seem to be running poorly otherwise.
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As long as I can give myself enough room to maneuver under the car, that actually doesn't sound all that bad. My gaskets won't be until Thursday afternoon likely, but I can prep all that mean time.

To answer a few others, unfortunately I don't think this is a leak that I can tolerate, given the speed it drains itself at while running. To extrapolate: after we put oil in it, we dr9ve it again, but switched drivers so I was now following in my other car. It was fine, until at one point my windshield was splattered with oil. So I'm afraid one way or another this particular leak needs to be dealt with before it goes back on the road.

This is all very helpful though! Very appreciated!
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That might be best, really. Given what I've found already there could be more surprises of past, er, let's say sloppiness. I would like to try some repairs myself,but having just bought it, a full inspection might be better.
There are some records, I scanned through them but haven't had the chance to look at them closely. I think maybe I'll pick them up after work today and take a closer look, and try to get the car on there schedule. It sounded like the car was in storage for a while and the last thing done too it was the oil change from some random lube place last July, although they said there was some engine service done recently, but didn't extrapolate. Should be in the service records, depending on how complete they actually are.
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