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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
About that A+

Greetings:

Asside from the starter problem, the day was fantastic. The sun was shining brightly and the temperature moderate as we set out from Cody, WY. Our first goal was to traverse the Medicine Wheel Highway, US 14-A, as it climed over the Big Horn range. At 9 am the highway alert sign just past Lovell was proclaiming that the road was closed. We doubled back to the nearby Big Horn NP visitor's center for an update. The ranger there told us that the road had indeed been closed due to snow overnight, but had just been reopened.

At the top of the climb there is an ancient American Indian site which the highway is named after. Unfortunately, the ranger told us that the road from 14A to the Medicine Wheel was still under heavy snow and was unreachable. The cneter did have a nice 15 min video about the Wheel, which we watched and enjoyed. Then, we enjoyed the fantastic climb and decent over the mountain.

The vast plateau atop Big Horn had a deep snow pack. We met the snow plow & snow blower equipment as it descended. The pics show the work they accomplished in re-opening the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Starter source

Greetings GV: Our plan is to be home in three days, and the forist order will be to pull the starter and send it out for exchange. Centerline? IAP? I will try the eBay store you suggested also. Just wish I had overnighted one on Thursday Morning to our stop in Cody after it hung momentarily. Thought it was the overnight freeze.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Crossing South Dakota

Greetings: Currently cruising I 90 in Eastern South Dakota. Kathy is driving and the Verizon Broadband card is lit.

The Alfetta was push=started this AM at the hotel, courtesy of a Mr. Peterson, who was working from a truck in the next building. He dropped his work belt and gave a shove. 2nd gear drop and she lit instantly!

The Feds at Mt. Rushmore got a quick $15 from us as we motored up onto the parking lot to take a few pictures as the grand presidents gazed at our Alfetta in wonder. We were out in 5 min, as we did not want to kill the motor.

50 miles east of Grand Rapids, the Badlands National Park beckoned. With Kathy at the wheel, we traversed the Scenic Bypass Loop. That allowed me to take some pics as we rolled along. We stopped twice, but once again kept the engine running.

Since then we have paused for gas and a drive thru at Arby's in Oacoma, just prior to crossing the Missouri.

I suspect we will have to kill the ignition at our next gas stop in Minnesota, as I really should check the oil and add a quart. We will keep rolling on I 90 into MN, don't know how far.
 

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Forgive me if you already checked or mentioned this - but both my Alfettas had at one point a similar no-start problem. Both times - the wiring to the starter was bad - and a fresh spade connector tightly clamped on the wires solved the problem on both cars... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Into Wisconsin

Greetings sfalfa:

Thanks for the suggestion. Something is a bit spooky, as there was a point today immediately after I purposely stopped the engine, that I was able to fire it right back up. Unfortunately, after I re-stopped it (to add oil), it would not restart. I had parked on a hill, so no problem. I did tighten up the connection to the starter solenoid yesterday, and I did apply 12v directly to the input, drew a spark while connecting, and the solenoid failed to pull.

We managed to travel a total of 700 miles today, just into Wisconsin. THere were a few places of interest we skipped due to the starter issue: The Big Green Giant stature in Blue Earth, WI, and the SPAM factory in Austin, MN. Yesterday we skipped the Devil's Tower back in eastern WY.

Tomorrow, another long day, hopefully getting into central Ohio.

I only have one photo to add, that of Alpha, MN :)
 

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Your post reminded me (again) that our Federal Park System is unrivaled anywhere in the world - we can thank a few forward thinking Presidents for that, including one shown above - Teddy R (the only President with Lingerie named after him), who saved vast amounts of land for "public use" to be enjoyed perpetually.

Let's get our Alfa Presence felt this summer.

See everyone there!


SD
RIP Tm Russert
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Greetings fellow Alfa travelers:

Thanks for all the encouragement! Both of us have really been enjoying the trip and the ride in the Alfetta. Got a wee bit warm yesterday, but the car is actually fairly quiet at 80 with the side windows down. Have not tried the rear side windows - perhaps today. That might be a relative thing, since our regular tour ride for the past few years has been a S4 spider. We did add a wind screen to that, and it made a world of diference - highly recommended as a quality of live improvement.

What simply can not be captured (with my skill at least) is the magnificent scope of the vistas out west. The views going up the Medicine Wheel Highway were breathtaking, but simply can't be captured i 2 megapixles. I did take some video that pans and some still sequences that will be assembled into a panorama, but it would need to be wide-aspect HD to even come close to the real experience. Same goes for the "tiwsties" on the mountain roads. How do you document that?

Here is a panorama I assembled from a sequence taken of the Zion Mastif from the Smithsonian Mountain pass road in Utah. It is included here at 20%. If you'd like to see the full 2Meg jpeg, it can be seen at http://cintos.org/photos/Zion From Smitsonian.jpg.

Warning: this is non-alfa content - we were in a cute PT Cruiser Convertible for that trip.
 

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I have to say, You GUYS are my heros. This is something all of us would love to do, but always talk rather than accomplish!!

I am motivated NOW

PS............How were the overnight stays along the way?
 

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Alfetta 'wing window AC'

Fantastic pics....loved the panaramic you gave us the link to.

While it may induce some wind noise, the Alfetta's wing windows are a wonderful director of airflow into the cabin.

If you aren't aware, you can (should be able to!) rotate those triangular windows about 150 degrees so that they guide air into the cabin. Of course if you're dealing with hot air outside it isn't as effective, but given that big angled expanse of glass which is the front windshield, usually any type of air movement within the cabin is a godsend.

Great trip! Keep the interesting photos coming!

Safe sojourn!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Greetings from Indiana:

Quick status; thanks for the posts. Since launching in La Crosse this morning, the alfetta has run non stop. At least the engine has. I'm idling in a service area while kathy runs in for a couple of Frappichinos.

As for the overnight accompdations, all have been really great. All were found on the Internet using Google Maps searches in the area of interest. Will try to document that more soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Back to Eastern Daylight Time

Greetings:

Our Alfetta Recovery has progressed into the Eastern Time Zone. One problem with moving so quickly from Wyoming to Ohio in two days is that we lost one hour each day. Weather was cooler, and we managed to skirt the rain showers which were on the horizon most of the afternoon. I did dump in two quarts of oil to get her up to full - total of five so far... Trying to stop every few hours and put 5-7 gallons in the tank. Late last night, just prior to crossing the Mighty Mississippi, we did see the red reserve light flicker on for the first time. Nice to know it works. That fill-up took 9.9 gallons. The owner's manual capacities lists 12.5 tank with 1.7-2.5 reserve, so seems accurate.

Sorry, but no pics from today's travels. Only one I took with the iPhone was the crazy lady on the cell phone in the Lexus SUV who could not stay in her lane through the tight I90 construction zone north of Chicago....

I wish we had a picture of our "start" today outside the Holiday Inn Express in La Crosse. We had parked the Alfetta in an advantageous position to roll down a gentle incline, but someone had parked into our nose, which required us to back out first... up hill. Just next to us, two SUVs were being loaded with high-school basketball players and their gear, in town for a tournament. Well, look at all that muscle!

I approached one of the coaches and asked for some assistance, and he immediately summoned up a number of 6-foot+ youths. They gently slid me back out of the space, and then just stood there.. Kathy, standing outside, asked them to give the Alfetta a push forward to get it started. She said they looked totally confused... Then the two adults stepped up, and along with two youths began to gently roll the car forward. I'm sitting there, waiting to get up to a "walk" at least. Well it took three trys at that speed to fire her up.

Kathy, in dismay, says they had no idea what we were trying to do, and that they probably have never seen a stick shift car push-started. Foreign to them. The previous three times that we were helped, Kathy was back there pushing with one gentleman, and it fired up first try. Our mistake was that this time she stepped back, "damsel in distress", and let the "men" do the work. Hah! She says she won't do that again.

The travelogue has regressed into survival, as Job One was keeping the twin cam spinning. Usually easy, but the slow-go detour that Wisconsin treated us to when they closed Rt 90 for construction did generate a bit of anxiety. Imagine that with I-80 closed, I-90 was the route of last resort for many. Then dump every one off onto US 12 << WHICH IS UNDER MASSIVE RE-CONSTRUCTION! >> They provided a high-dollar fancy pamphlet on what construction was being done in 2008, but this stretch of 90 was not among the 43 they listed. They were handing that pamphlet out at the Welcome center.... On a positive note, the US 12 work was noted, and there were posted I-90 Detour signs all along the 55 mile (!) detour.

Not bad road problems considering how far we have come. In the west we encountered a number of lane closure situations, but the traffic was always so light that progress was never affected.

I did have a brief phone conversation with Ed Jones, who was at the time 2 hours out of Oak Brook on the Pre-Convention road tour. We had hopes of joining them for a bit of the run through Iowa and Wisconsin, but our starter problems convinced us that pressing towards home was most prudent choice.

We enjoyed finding out-of the way places for eats along the way. There was Ernie's in Idaho. They had a spectacular new open-beam vaulted roof dining room, with a full view of a massive dual-spit wood-fired roasting grill. The owner was looking for an alternate outlet for his ranch's beef cattle meat. (622 W Main St, Grangeville, ID 83530 512-451-5555 )

Missoula Montana's Iron Horse Brew Pub is a fantastic "local" bar/restaurant. The lady at the Red Lion Hotel suggested it to us. Menu: http://www.ironhorsebrewpub.com/pub/food_menu.pdf

Our favorite lunch stop was in little Dayton, WY. Located at the end of the spectacular Medicine Wheel Highway, The Branding Iron Family Restaurant offered up the nicest omelet I have had in a long time. Kathy had some in-house-made "chip" potatoes, thin-sliced and deep fried like chips, but tender like fries.

The photo here shows the Branding Iron behind the Alfetta. In the foreground is the studio museum of local Big Horn artist, Hans Kleiber. This original log cabin studio of the Wyoming pioneer artist, author, and naturalist was moved to town and is maintained as it was when Mr.Kleiber used it for painting. The locals staff it with a local "artist in residence" who offered us a free tour of the exhibit. Kleiber Cabin in Dayton,Wyoming

And then there was this evening. Truth be told, we caved and visited Toledo's Outback Restaurant venue. Fair to say, that was the best meal either of us had had throughout the trip. Ahhhh, and we don't have to travel far to enjoy that at home, as there are several in the area. Never had a bad Outback meal: IMO, world's best Rack of Lamb.

Tomorrow night: HOME!
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
Strike Two - 'Yer Out

OK, now we are certifiable. The Ohio Turnpike service area at mile 197 is as far east as we got today. We noticed that the temp gauge, which had been at ~150, had risen to mid-gauge at 175.

At the pumps, we had a coolant puddling under the car. Opened the hood and saw the overflow tank empty. Up to this point, it had never budged from "full".

Goodbye waterpump, hello Mondo Car Repair in Twinsburg. Found them on the web, and Fred answered that they would be happy to entertain the Alfetta for the night, while replacing the pump & the starter.

The experience has actually been a pleasant one (under the circumstances). We called AAA, they connected us to the Turnpike Authority, who put us in touch with the towing service. The wrecker - a beautiful flatbed truck - was picking us up within 30 mins. of our first call. Josh was able to get us around to the westbound side and up to Mondo's in under 30 mins. Breakdown to securing it was under 90 mins.

After discussing what we needed with Alfa Expert Tony, his son Pino drove us a short distance to a nearby Comfort Inn. The Alfetta should be available early tomorrow afternoon, and we should be back on the road with a repaired water pump and starter. They also suggested replacing the front main seal as it was weeping, and this was the time to do it.
 

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Wow - great luck - it must have been comforting seeing a Milano and 164 parked out front of the repair garage! :cool: I've taken a few long distance trips in my Alfettas - and I've always been really worried that something would happen and I'd be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with vultures circling above (despite having TWO AAA premium cards in my wallet - 300 miles of towing! Think I'm paranoid?). :rolleyes::D
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Alfetta Successfully Recovered!

Greetings Jeff and all other supporters: We are HOME!!!

Yes, what a relief it was to see all the Alfas at Mondo's. Tony and Pino have quite a collection in all, and several great customer Alfas in the shop proper. It was a case of one great development followed by another.

First, having seen the leak at the service area, vs at some 8300-foot altitude mountain pass (and before she actually ran dry at 80MPH... I mean 70, of course...).

Then having that sweet, enormous, flatbed show up at the service area as quickly as they did.

Next, finding the Mondo web page on first google for "Alfa Repair Cleveland" - and seeing that they were only 20 miles away! (kudo's to a laptop with a Verizon Broadband Card)

Everyone was so helpful, and the Comfort Suites Hotel was only .7 mile away. They gave us a bit of a discount after hearing our plight. (walk-up rates are usually not as friendly as internet ones)

Tony could not get a water pump until noon today since it had to be over-nighted from afar, so we agreed yesterday to go with a serviceable one he pulled from an engine that he had done a total rebuild on. The starter was available locally, so that went on new.

The failed starter indeed looked new, but it went out the door as core without being diagnosed beyond the fact that the solenoid would not pull. Tony said that the failed starter was one from the S4 Spider, and although it probably was OK, that misfit may have been it's downfall.

And Mondo's timely work on our Alfetta got us home in Connecticut with no further difficulties. Here are some pics of the "fixed" Alfetta, with Pino, and Tony with his great pristine 50-year old Fiat. Thanks for dropping everything and getting us back on the road!

Trip Summary:

#1 thing we did right in prep without knowing how important it would be: have Group 2 install that heater control valve & get the heater working - this is summer, right?

#1 thing we did wrong in prep without knowing how important it would be: Not verifying there was a working +12 v cigaret lighter socket to power the GPS.

Biggest surprise: How well she handled, stopped, and pulled

Biggest disappointment: All that blue smoke out the tailpipe - she devoured 11 quarts getting across the 4000 miles.

Biggest gamble that paid off: doing the trip

Biggest gamble that came up short: that the weather would cooperate

Quality of drive uplift: How quite and roomy vs our S4 Spider

Quality of drive letdown: the bucking at neutral throttle, and the max 5 min idle before she began to foul the plugs.
 

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What great memories you've just made- even more so with the weather and mechanical troubles. Mondo's is yet another example of how close knit the Alfa community can be....and don't be too upset by the blue smoke, welcome to my Alfetta world :)
 

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Thanks for sharing a great trip - fun to read from my office chair... :eek: Love Tony's old Fiat!

Quick suggestion on the neutral throttle bucking - replace all fuel filters front and back - that cleared up a similar issue for me a while back.
 
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