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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend of a friend had this 79 Alfetta in his garage for 20 years. I borrowed another friend's enclosed trailer and drove to Chicago to pick it up over the weekend. 8 hours+ each way. The old IDI Ford (Buford) got 10 mpg empty and 9 loaded.

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The trip out:
Had a test for my masters Friday morning so did not hit the road until about 11:00 AM. I-80 traffic sucks, but the old truck would do 70 mph if I could draft off a tractor trailer. Otherwise it was 75 down hill and 65 up. (Yes there are hills in Iowa) Arrived just west of Chicago and set up camp in a Walmart parking lot (air mattress in the car trailer). You wouldn't believe how busy these lots are unless you have experienced it. Activity until midnight, then the cleaning crew blew off the lot at about 2 AM. After that it was quiet until 6:30. Cheaper than a hotel though.

The extraction:
Nice quiet upscale Chicago suburb. However, his house showed signs of stress. I feel for him, as his personal life appears to have some strong challenges. I quickly got the idea that this was more about preserving Alfa stuff rather than just getting rid of the car. He told me that they are moving due to work, and from my perception the garage was only one of the difficulties they have in front of them. I resolved to take every Alfa item offered that would fit in the truck and trailer - even if it was not fit for further use.
The car hadn't moved from this spot in 20 years (at least). The garage smelled of racoons, mold, stale fuel and cat urine. There were the remains (skull and fur) of a cat/dog/racoon?? under the car. Broken debris everywhere. I aired up the tires and made sure the park brake was off and the trans in neutral - not that it mattered. He had keys - so we could at least point the front wheels in the right direction. It was not going to move easily. I hooked a tow strap around the De-Dion tube and to the Buford's hitch. It took 4-low to pull it out - the driveway was covered with rotten leaves. I drug it far enough down the drive to allow me to get the trailer in close.
Now I am starting to worry. I had some wheel dollies and a floor jack, but they would not roll easily up the trailer ramp. I had a come-a-long, but that was going to be hot and sweaty work. No turning back now. Also thinking that I had promised the wife I would be home tonight! 馃槵 Fortunately, a neighbor down the street showed up at this time and said "Cool, I've had a couple of Alfa's and now run some track cars. I have a winch in the garage, would that help?" God smiles on those with determination. I pulled one of the batteries from Buford and hooked the winch leads up with Gorilla tape. He helped guide the front end up the ramp (on dollies) while the back was supported on the floor jack. Slid right in.
The car is in - now came the loading of four sets of Alfetta wheels, one GTV6 set and a couple of miscellaneous - 22 wheels in the back of the truck, plus my compressor. A couple of decent late GTV6 seats, Spider top and frame, Alfetta hatch, and boxes of pieces. Put the battery back in Buford and returned the winch.

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2:00PM the return trip:
I had hoped to get out by noon, so things weren't going bad. Ran for about 45 minutes on I-55 and then stopped to check the tie downs. Looking good. Drafting trucks as much as possible to try and keep my average speed up around 70 and fuel consumption down. When drafting on the level I could actually let the accelerator off the floor for a moment! :oops: Otherwise it was west bound and down. Buford may not be fast or powerful, but the old diesel is determined. Got home by 11:00 PM and left unloading for the next day.

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The aftermath:
Sunday my youngest and I had a car show to attend in Omaha. Neither of us had cleaned our cars and his needed servicing before he returned to school, so we both "brought what we got". It was a great day, and the supercar turn out was amazing (at least 4 McLarens). Not as much old stuff as in years past, so we helped out in that area! After the show, some wine and cheese with my wife and then unloading. Threw all the wheels on the lawn - power washing is mandatory before they go in the barn. Anything cardboard or fabric went right into the hopper. During transport, the spare hatch fell against the rear of the car and broke a taillight lens, and the battery fell out through the bottom of the compartment. Otherwise, the car survived the journey relatively unscathed. Still need to extract it from the trailer, then power wash it and get it to roll.

What am I going to do with this thing? I'll have to judge that in time. I haven't opened the hood yet (Spica? Carbs?) but the interior looks decent if a bit moldy. The top side of the body is fair for a 'Fetta. There are certainly enough parts of interest to make my time worthwhile, but it is still a whole car. I hate to lose yet one more. One thing for sure - I'll need to liquidate some wheels!

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Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Jim - did not realize the rear wiper was part of the MM package. I have seen a couple of Alfettas with the rear wiper and almost bought a MM back in '01 but never connected the two. I doubted the MM originality of this one because the MM badges are gone and no rear spoiler, but it does have the dash clock, so maybe?? This one has an unusual sunroof. Looks factory, but completely different from my GTV6.

I thought about dragging it to the show, but was not up for another hour in Buford. And it smells really bad.

Buford is my farm truck - '88 Ford F250 with the non-turbo IDI 7.3 diesel. 4WD and 5-speed. Standard cab, no-AC. It's good for about 75mph unloaded. Man's Truck (insert Tim Allen grunt here) :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Looks great Witty. I am anticipating a full fuel, coolant and brake overhaul as well. I have yet to open the hood. I think the car has a couple of ugly rust areas, but not crippling. I'm going to try and not address those until it is mobile. :)

Tonight the plan is to get it out of the trailer and into the yard. Power washing to follow shortly thereafter. Then I can work at getting the brake pads out of it so that it will roll. Hopefully some better pictures of it clean by next week.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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Had time over the weekend to wash it and clean out the interior. Also knocked out the brake pads (3 of 4) and disconnected one axle so that it could be rolled into the barn. This car continues to be a juxtaposition of opposites,

The Good:
  • The best thing about this yet is that my wife said "I like that car - it's kind of cute. I'd like to drive it". It is good to have her support, but now parting it out is not an option. ;)
  • It is a whole car - about the only thing I found missing is the air pump / injection manifold. No loss for Nebraska.
  • Adjustable Koni reds on all four corners - look decent.
  • Ronals are in really good shape and the tires continue to hold air!
  • The seats are good.
  • The battery that fell through the floor looks to be new and good!
  • There was a receipt for a Spica rebuild in 2001 (about when it was laid up). It was under $200 from Ingram's - how things have changed.
  • It has a brand new tailpipe on it
The Bad:
  • The tape deck predates auto reverse. I was in high school when auto reverse technology came out. It was a big deal.
  • I had to hammer out the brake pads. It will need hard and soft lines replaced as well as M/C and calipers. I'm figuring $700 there, so not the first thing to do.
  • Everything aft of the De-Dion crossmember is scaly with rust. I'm sure that there are some holes, but nothing show stopping. I will have to deal with this at some point.
  • The interior smells - this will take a bit to resolve.
  • The sun roof works, but sure doesn't seal.
  • It has Spica on it. Actually this is not bad - as long as it does not need major service.
  • The floors are soft in several areas and the spare tire well has holes - not unexpected.
The Ugly:
  • OMG - there is nothing left of the right front fender and right side of the cowl. The triangular piece that the rear of the hood shuts against just came off in my hand (note that it is missing in the picture below). I leaned slightly on the cowl and all I heard was "crunch". If this thing runs and drives, replacement of the cowl and RH fender will be needed.
  • The bottom of the RH frame rail is missing. The sides and upper portion look solid. This will be a mandatory repair, even if it is not beautiful. The LH frame rail is pretty beat up from improper jacking.
Next step is to determine if the engine is free. Then clean out the fuel system before seeing if it will turn over, compression check, valve check and then (maybe) it will run???

Pictures:
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Still has the York A/C compressor!
Yeah - and about 50 pounds of bracketry!. If the system holds vacuum I'll leave it. If not, it is coming off - just too much in the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Fabrication baby!

I would not recommend starting with the York brackery. It is big and cumbersome. There must be a better way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Interesting - the clock on this car is mounted to the right of the tach. Between the pods. Similar, but not the same clock. Also the rear wiper switch on this car is mounted down next to the hand throttle. There is nothing in the owners manual about the operation of either. Good old Alfa!

Pulled the plugs last night in anticipation of trying to turn it over. They looked good, and what I could see of the valves and pistons they look decent. Pulled the #8 fuse to disable the fuel pump. I want to clean out that system before I try to actually run it. Maybe tonight I will have time to hook it to the truck with jumper cables. :)

Yes, kind of sad about the condition, but glad that this exists at all. If it runs, it will remain a complete car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Weekend successes:

I thought I would have two afternoons to work on this, but ended up having to spend Sunday afternoon installing a door to keep the dogs in the laundry room. Tired of them rampaging through the house and destroying nearly everything. I stopped keeping track of their total cost around $4K. :)

However - Saturday afternoon was quite productive. Goal was to get the motor to turn over. Had been soaking the cylinders with PB Blaster for a couple of days. Also determined to remove the accessory drive belts in case any accessories were locked up.

Pulled the air cleaner / mouse house off the motor. Smelly and disgusting. The filters were eaten through and the whole housing was full of - yuck. Once it was dumped out, looks like no real damage. :)
Then I looked at the throttle bores. No wonder the bell crank would not move! The rear throttles were highly corroded. At least the throttle plates kept the mice out of the cylinders, but the corrosion needed to go. Scraped it a little and used the shop vac to clean up all around. Then PB Blaster the heck out of it.

Before Image:
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Then started working the throttle shaft gently with a pliers. More Blaster and a bit more working finally got the throttle plates moving freely. Yay!

Removed the drive belts next. I was surprised that all bolts and nuts came free relatively easily. Good shots of Blaster just in case. The A/C clutch is free, water pump is free, but the alternator is seized tight. I bet mice crawled up the cooling tube and did their dirty work to cause trouble. The belts were stuck in the pulley grooves - had to peel them out.

Hooked the jumper cables up to the truck and tried turning it over. Whirred away just fine. Woo Hoo! Compression check was not good though (30, 30, 0, 60), but the rings are likely still stuck and very possibly valves may not be closing completely. Will need to continue to soak and see what happens. May have to pull the cam cover too.

Took the rest of the afternoon to feed the leather seats in all three cars and general clean up. Good to end the day on a high note.

So what is next? Need to get the old fuel out, get the fuel pump running, clean the tank and install new filters. A messy and smelly job, but it is looking like there is hope. I probably should check for spark. Cap, rotor, plugs and points look reasonable enough to get the first firing completed.

So far I have about $30 into it for cleaning supplies. I am confident that I can rebuild the alternator on the cheap and I have been successful in getting fuel pumps to work again (might even have a spare in the parts bin). The battery is now showing charge and is on the de-sufating trickle charger - might be able to save it.

On the down side:
Though the throttle now works, the clutch pedal is seized firm. I am anticipating needing master and slave - hopefully just a hone and seals to keep costs down, but I have never experienced a pedal this rock hard. And though most of the body is reasonable, there are a few places of rust that will need to be addressed. Lower end of the tail light panel, battery box and a couple of spots on the roof. And then the worst of it (note that you can see the upper end of the jack where there should be metal :(
Hood Automotive tire Grille Wood Automotive lighting


My wife has named it "Rocky". A previous owner had the last name Bullwinkle (no joke) so it fits. Good Italian name in the Stallone tradition. Feels right to me.
 
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Thanks Jim. We have a borescope at work that I can borrow. Will do the inspection before I pull the tank. I am suspecting it was put away full - fuel was dripping from the outlet of the front filter, and that is pretty high. Full or empty is better than half full (hopeful thinking) Worst comes to worst we have Speedway Motors in town and I'll figure out a fuel cell.

I had hoped to drain the fuel using the electric pump under the car, but now it looks to be a messier gravity drain. Oh well.

My Pat Braden book indicates that the earlier fuel pumps might be serviceable. ?? I'll have to get it out and see. I've been able to get the Bosch pumps working by banging with a rock (literally) and by reversing polarity. Neither is a permanent solution, but were good enough to make it run. Then we can deal with longer term questions.

I blew the wad at Centerline today. $140 for fuel filters, Spica belt, Spica oil filter and gasket and a clutch master cylinder. Time is my limiting factor right now. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
This is pretty cool - really confirms that Alfa was putting together just about anything they could to get these cars to sell. My clock is completely different and between the instrument pods, there is no evidence of a fog light switch on the console or anywhere else, and the wiper switch is to the left hand of the tach - below the wood strip. I suspect that there were several groups of people who "updated" these specials at the port or dealer. Probably working off of poorly written, half Italian instructions. :)

Worked on the fuel system over the weekend. Going to have to pull the tank and have it boiled out. The Banjo fitting at the bottom was filled with black crud. The rear filter looked original to the car.:oops: Worst part of the job was removing the 1/2 inch line that runs transverse from the first filter to the pump. It was rusted into the chassis and I needed to pound it out. Couldn't pull it because it would crumble in the pliers. All soft lines will be replaced.

I rebuilt the front filter. Seals were well adhered and it took some force to get it all apart. Felt good to have a fresh part go back on. Next up is the three port fuel pump. Looks like this can come apart, so will try to rebuild rather than replace. Pulled the valve cover and checked clearance on the two valves that were in the correct position. Between 0.018 and 0.019 on the intake, 0.022 and 0.023 on the exhaust. Good enough for now. Cams and followers looked clean. Chain tension looks OK, but obviously had run loose at some point based on the marks on the bottom of the valve cover.

Are the Fispa check valves on the inlet and outlet of the injection pump correct? I don't recall these ever being mentioned, and want to make sure that I set the system up with the best chance of working as I reassemble. Picture below.

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Other pictures of this weekend's work:

Scores in the valve cover - probably about 1/16 deep

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Timing chain tension:

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Discussion Starter · #49 · (Edited)
"It can be used as a crude cruise control but there is no brake defeat so at your own risk鈥. " I am actually looking forward to trying that! :)

No Hijack apologies needed. Actually, your information helps lead me that this may be more of a MM than I thought. My lower LH dash is laid out the same as yours with the rear wiper switch. There are two mounting holes where your fog light bracket is mounted - evidence of it being there before on mine. If you have a chance to capture a couple of close ups of the bracket, that would be appreciated. I like and use fog lights, though this car currently has none.

The clock mounting position is definitely different between our cars. And of course I don't have the auxiliary choke since it is still Spica.

Vintagemilano - yes there are arrows on the check valves and they are pointing in the correct direction. I first thought they were add in filters until I saw the arrows. Fispa markings made me think that they were stock items. Your knowledge of them existing helps add credence to that as well.

You never know what a PO may have done to a car, and I find it best to try and return to stock if I find any issues on restart. Layering fix upon fix is usually not a good solution.

Busted open the Bosch 3 port fuel pump last night - looks like a couple of O-rings and cleaning out will resolve. pumping components were stuck fast with old fuel, but not corroded.

Tonight is a Marty Stuart concert, so no Alfa work. But I do have Friday off :)

Thanks
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Thanks - nice reference. I'll keep the checks in place unless a reason becomes apparent to remove one or both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Not the best picture - it was dark in the barn this morning!
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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Interesting to note that the top dash vents on your car are different too. Mine are the GTV6 style that can be "closed". Looks like you have control of that via the heater control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
15 X 7 Ronals are much nicer looking than the 14X6. Better dish. I like the badges, but I am not sorry that this car is missing the flying buttress spoiler. Cool in it's weirdness, but a bit over the top.

Long weekend, but not much car work.
The three port fuel pump is together and works. Hopefully won't leak. :)
Pulled the fuel tank and the inside is aweful! Dawn, hot water and a couple of chains took out some, but will need to go a little more severe before it can go back in. One buddy recommended Muratic acid (and caution) to remove the rust. It is cheap, but I will try a couple of sample parts before pouring it into the tank. There is no shortage of rusty parts around here! Probably need to admit that it needs to be coated. Speedway Motors has a kit and is local. About $50.

This week has two focusses: Pre-test and studying, then my midterm. Monte Carlo Simulation - complex but not hard. I'll be ready for some garage time come Sunday afternoon!
 
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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Well - Muratic acid will definitely remove rust. My gravel drive now has a big orange spot! (neutralized the solution with baking soda before dumping it out). Good thing the leaves are falling to cover it up. Won't be an issue after I grade in the spring.

Reinstalled the fuel system on Sunday and ran fuel through it, with a little Stabil. first circulated with a hose bypassing the Spica pump for about 5 minutes, then hooked up the Spica and ran the electric pump for another 5. Figure this will do two things:
  1. Filter anything out of the system that is left over before I start to try and run it
  2. Put fresh fuel in the Spica pump and flush out any "yuck"
There are several leaks in the system, so I had to pump out the fuel before shutting down the shop. easy enough to do now that the electric pump is working. There are SO MANY connections in this system - ridiculous! The worst leaks are around the three lines at the pump and the tee into the return line (it may be rusted enough to be leaking though the tee itself). But getting fuel to flow is still a win.

Additional wins: Fuel pressure sender and light work, fuel gage and reserve light work (if you had seen the condition of the sender, you would have been amazed too)

Maybe I will have the chance to try and fire it off this weekend. I get 2 hour slots of time to work on it and want to make sure that once I start to attempt the restart, I can complete the effort. I am getting to the point where it is becoming harder not to spend money. Thinking about clutch and brake components. But I need to confirm that it will run before heading to those systems.
 
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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
Oh - and passed the Test and Pre-test with flying colors!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
Things always seem to move more slowly than you would expect.

On the good side:
  • I was able to get spark. It took quite a while. Had to clean the points, rotor and cap. Then went through coil and condenser diagnosis. All good - still nothing. Finally had to build a new set of spark plug wires (had components left over from the GTV6 project). Now we have ignition!
  • Not counting time or transport costs, I have yet to put any serious money into this car. I think maybe $100 for filters and clutch hydraulics from Centerline. (I realize this will not hold, but I want to hear this thing run, even for a moment, before fully committing)
  • The A/C still is holding a charge! I was pulling some other parts off (see below) and thought about pulling the big, awkward compressor. So I stuck a screwdriver into the Schrader valve and it hissed! Now I will leave it installed. Wouldn't it be ironic if this was the only vehicle in the fleet with working A/C?
On the bad side:
  • When you can vacuum a hole in the body with a shop vac, you know you have rust to deal with. Vacuumed a hole in the RH frame rail right above the steering rack. This thing sat under a leaking roof and the RH cowl is gone, RH inner fender (and outer) is gone, and RH frame rail is questionable. I don't mind cutting and splicing metal, but this is getting pretty deep.
  • It will not crank with enough speed to start. This is with it jumped off the diesel truck (2 batteries, running, at 13.7V). I have moved to jumping at the starter, since the positive cable that runs to the back of the car is not in good shape. I suspect that my crappy jumper cables are not helping, but pulled the starter to clean terminals. Will also start cleaning grounds.
  • Pulled the starter off to clean up the connections. One of those jobs where you can see the bolts. They're right there! but getting a wrench on means wedging your hands where they don't really fit. Plus you only get 1/12 of a turn. Flip the wrench and repeat. Fortunately the hardware was only mildly rusty. Only enough that you have to use tools for the whole distance. :mad: Will wire brush them to the point where I can run them on with my hands before install.
  • Pulled the alternator (may as well clean that up too). It is frozen up like a solid chunk due to mouse urine. Since it sits under the A/C compressor and this car has headers, I did not know if it could be removed w/o a lot of hassle. Had to remove the vent cover from the back, but then it would barely squeak out.
This coming week will be cleaning and checking the starter and alternator. Probably will buy a GOOD set of jumper cables. And maybe a fan belt to run the water pump and alternator when I get that back in. :) I know winter is coming, and I want to get it to run before the barn becomes too cold to work in. At least Thanksgiving will provide a long weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Hi Pete,

There is always that potential. However, I kinda like this little car. It is very different from the GVT6.

Goals currently are:
  • Get the engine to run (closer, but not there yet)
  • Get the clutch hydraulics working
  • Get the brakes to work (likely $$$)
If I hit a roadblock on the first one that costs serious money, then I'll have to reconsider. (i.e. Spica pump is bad). I do like to fabricate and weld, but need to make sure the car is viable before diving into that. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
I Runs!!

Woo Hoo!!

Got a set of better jumper cables and cleaned all the positive and negative connection points. It cranked over much more quickly. After a few minutes fired and ran. It idles pretty good. Put a little temperature into it, but did not want to run too long - no water pump belt. Kicked it off a couple more times over the weekend, just because it is so exciting. Each time, just a little cranking with an increasing throttle and it pops right off. :)

Pulled the seized alternator and squirted a little PB blaster in and worked it around until it turned freely. Took it to the local alternator / starter rebuild shop and it tested fine (bearings a bit noisy). It will be good enough for now.

Air filters, belts on order from Centerline. I am hopeful to run it up to temperature soon.

Witty dropped by to pick up some parts from the load and dropped off a brand new clutch slave (Thank you). I have a new clutch master and hose, so that will be the next system to try and get operational. Maybe brakes for Christmas?? Probably too hopeful.
 
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