Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Greetings! New member, new owner (well my wife anyway)

We recently purchased an '86 Spider Quadrofoglio from the original owner, about 156k miles and all records included. It's in relatively great shape mechanically. However, recently while driving it began to over heat. Light came on sitting in stand still traffic, she pulled over to let it cool then drove the rest of the way back home. I checked fluids, etc (as there is a known small oil leak) and topped up everything. Seemed to be fine for a few days then happened again after driving about 10 miles (light back on).
Was just outside looking at it again, noticed a more obvious oil leak near/ below the exhaust manifold, towards rear of engine, small amount of oil dripping to the ground. I read through some of the other forums, very impressive community BTW, and assume it's the common head gasket post-over heating that needs to be replaced. Did not see oil in reservoir. So, two basic questions: 1. Diagnosing the original overheating issue I was going to test the thermostat, and replace and also check blockage in the radiator. What is the best way to accomplish this? If faulty, replace the radiator. What recommended brand/ model? 2. I read a very nice post with detailed instructions on replacing the head gasket. It seems pretty straight forward but I worry about the steps to remove the chain, springs, etc and dropping something not recoverable, etc. How hard is this process really? And can it be done in a weekend? I have been working on cars most of my life, done some easy gasket replacement on old trucks, rebuilding / restoring Brit bikes, etc and have a decent garage shop with tools, etc. I have seen estimates for just the gasket at around $1500, plus what ever the cooling issue was originally. We have a tight budget and $2k or so right now isn't in the bank. My wife uses the car daily short distances, and without it we are stuck. Any advice or other things to check/ consider would be greatly appreciated.
 

Attachments

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,151 Posts
Welcome to the BB! Nice looking Spider.

Testing/replacing the T stat is a good start. If you can find Ye Olde Fashioned Radiator Repair Shoppe they can either chemically clean or physically clean (aka rodding) the radiator. If it is not worth cleaning they can also replace the core to make it good as new. I had a radiator shop clean out the radiator chemically when I resurrected our '84 Spider. The guy's comment was that the Alfa radiator was well made and worth saving.

Before condemning the head gasket, consider a leak down test &/or coolant pressure test. Either one can reveal a failed head gasket - or show that it has not failed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Eric, I will start with the coolant pressure test, as I have the test kit already. Any idea what the coolant system pressure should be set to max?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
948 Posts
Welcome aboard, I too have found the guys and gals here to be more than helpful.
I would pressurize the system to 14 lbs/sq/ft. The original radiator cap on our '85 spider is a 14# cap. Also, new radiators are readily available if that is suspect
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,260 Posts
Concluding that an external oil leak in the vicinity of the #4 exhaust port is indicative of a head gasket failure which is causing your overheating problem is a pretty long reach. You can certainly have one without the other. This is assuming I understand your original post correctly. Yeah, try replacing the thermostat but usually when they fail, they fail open rather than closed. Interested in the results of your pressure test.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
I don't believe the headgaskets are a problem in these cars. Going to go with a failed thermostat. The oil is probably a leaky valve cover gasket and the half moons on the rear.

Let us know what you find.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
92 Posts
I cannot tell looking at your picture - is the radiator shroud still in place. That dropped my temps about 10 degrees when I replaced mine (it was missing). Have you flushed to the cooling system? I gained a few more degrees there as well.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top