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'79 Spider - Gasket Blow Out?

846 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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I see traces of orange Permatex, so someone tried to fix this before.
You could do this yourself if you have access to good safe place where you can jack the front of the car up.
Make sure your car is safe to get under, first and foremost.
Jack stands required.
Drain the oil and drop the lower part of the pan.
Thoroughly degrease both surfaces where the gasket seats.
Brake cleaner, carb cleaner, engine degreaser or whatever you choose to use.
Install a fresh gasket and, yes, add some washers where the previous owner left them off.
Put it all back together and that should help with THAT oil leak.
Be advised, Alfas leak oil.
Like my Alfa buddy said, "If it's not leaking oil, its out of oil!" :LOL:

Buying a used Alfa is usually an adventure in chasing down and fixing some issues.
Once they are sorted, they are great cars!
Drive it and enjoy it!

I'm sure some other folks will chime in.
Good luck with your car.
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Certainly. Glad to help.

Be advised that you will need to thoroughly clean both surfaces of all remnants of the old gasket.
Take a straight razor at an angle and carefully scrape away little bits that remain.
Oil, particularly synthetic oil, will find a way to leak out otherwise.
Gaskets are good for decades if the surfaces are properly prepped.

Don't over tight your bolts. Aluminum is soft metal...
Replacing the upper pan will require more effort.

Be advised that there will be messy old gunk oil accumulated in the lower pan. :sick:
Upper pan gasket replacement will be more involved.
You may want to recruit a mechanic's assistance.
Someone who is familiar with Alfas.
The oil pump hangs down through the upper section.
I thought the lower part of your pan was leaking. My mistake.
I was viewing this on my smartphone and the image was small.
I don't want to lead you down a path of destruction.

@ Jim G: Is this something that can be accomplished by a home mechanic?

Here's what you're looking at:
Upper section

Lower section:

Exploded diagram:
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Older Alfas consume oil, like any old car.
A quart ever couple hundred miles isn't out of the ordinary.
Worn valve guides, worn rings and leaking gaskets are the usual suspects.
As long as it isn't terrible and there's none getting into the coolant,
some owners choose to just live with it, keeping an eye on the dip stick.
Oil and coolant mixing means the head gasket has retired.
The sump holds around 7 quarts. Just be careful not to overfill it.
Be advised that there is a small oil filter on your SPICA injection pump.
3 small bolts holding a circular plate to the side of the pump.
Don't forget to change it periodically.
Oh, if you're getting oil on the windscreen in a pursuit car, you need to look after this.
Rear ends are often neglected.
Rear diff seals fail as they age, the oil gets slung on the underside of the car as it is being driven and dirt will stick to it.
Next thing you know, you have "Gear Wine" . :rolleyes:
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