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1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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Discussion Starter #1
I managed to snag a free 2L engine recently, it came free with the purchase of a 1994 Buick Roadmaster wagon with a bad transmission. Negotiation was not always my strong suit...

Since I now have this engine holding down the floor of my garage I thought it would be a great time to do my first basic engine rebuild.

So I'm looking to tap into the wisdom of the experts here to figure out what the bare minimum I should plan on replacing once I open up the engine, and also figure out what extras I'd like to upgrade, budget willing. By starting early I'm hoping I can find some parts at a discount, this strategy saved us thousands on a kitchen remodel. It's amazing how much more you will pay for something you need NOW.

Why am I attempting a rebuild? Well, it's on my bucket list mostly. But I also feel that the engine in my Berlina is feeling a bit flat, and it's not as much fun as other Alfas I have had. Plus it leaves a slight trail of blue smoke when I watch my wife drive off in it. So I figure it either needs rings, valve guides, or both.

So my intial thoughts include:

New rings (Hastings) and hone the cylinders assuming they are ok
Clean up pistons
New crank bearings
New rod bearings
New gasket set
New head gasket
New water pump
Check oil pump
Confirm TDC pointer

As for the head:
Check for flatness, clean up if needed
New valve seals
New valve guides?
Clean valves of carbon
Adjust clearances
Time cams carefully

If budget allows I would love hotter cams and possibly higher comp pistons. But for a first time rebuild I would be happy just getting back to a nice, solid, revvy 1974 SPICA engine.

For now I am assuming the SPICA pump is good. It's a 74 unit and seems to work well enough.

I'm also open to ignition suggestions. Right now I have a 74 Marellis disty firing an MSD 5 box with Mallory coil. It works ok, a slightly faster curve would be nice. A 123 Ignition would be great, but again probably not in the budget.

I hope I'm not rehashing a tired thread, if so point me to other threads. I read through Ed's "1979 Spider on the Dyno" thread, Lots of Richard Jemison's threads, Andrews comments, gigem75, tried to absorb as much as I could from Tom Sahines, Eric Storhok, and lots others.

After spending the last few months on Roadmster/Impala forums getting our Roadmaster road-worthy it's nice to be back in the land of the intelligent, polite, and literate. Love this place!

Thanks!
Ian

PS - did I mention the engine is an Alfetta engine? I know the crank needs modification, and it might need a gear for the tach. Should I sell it and find a spider engine or just dive in?
 

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Sounds like fun! Of course you want to get a copy of Braden's book and a cardisk for the motor with the parts manual is a huge help. I would also recommend this book: Manual, Engine Overhaul, Alfa Romeo 2-liter Spider - Alfa Romeo Engine Overhaul Manual - Spider 2.0L

Then I would do as much evaluation as I could before opening it up.

First thing I would do is powerwash it nice and clean - I hate working on grimy motors.
Then I would see if the motor turns - remove the spark plugs and get a socket on the crank end. Be gentle with it. If it's not willing to move, pour a little Marvel mystery oil in each cylinder and let it sit a few days.

If it does rotate smoothly then I would be tempted to go the next step and do a compression test and a leak down test. The compression test will require you to spin the motor with the starter so that would assume you have one and a bell housing to mount it to. You can build a simple stand for the motor using a shipping crate and some 4x4s. Just enough to keep it steady. Do a dry compression and a wet compression test and that should give you an idea of the health of the rings.

Next do the leak down test. I think some of the chain parts stores have the testers to borrow. Run the leak down to give you an idea of the valve condition.

You could actually try firing the motor. Strap the motor down on your pallet stand, get a battery and some fuel, oil , a little bit of electrical wiring and give it a shot.

Tearing into it is pretty straight forward. Just label everything, take lot of pictures and observe the condition of it all.

Head:
Pull the cam cover off and measure the lash (valve clearance) for intake and exhaust. Write this down in your notebook that you will keep with this project.

Rotate the crank to TDC and take pictures of the position of the intake and exhaust timing marks. Assuming you have a SPICA pump on it, also note the position of the pump timing.

Rotate the crank until you find the master link for the upper chain. Remove that and then tie the ends off so they don't drop down in the motor (not critical since you are tearing the whole thing down but a good habit).

Remove the cam caps noting that they are marked for both position and orientation. If it's a factory motor the cams should be the same but best to mark them as intake and exhaust as well. Look at the tappets (the buckets that the cam lobes ride on). Are they worn? Are the cam lobes worn?

Get eight zip lock bags and mark them exhaust 1 - 4 and intake 1-4. Using a magnet, remove the tappet buckets. The shim under it may or may not come out with it but make sure you retrieve them. Keep each valve's pieces separate in the appropriately mark bags.

I use the rope technique to pull the head. After you remove the 10 head bolts and the two M8s that are under the front of the head (and all the intake and SPICA pump stuff), feed some nylon rope into the 1 & 4 cylinders with them in the down position. Once you've stuffed in enough turn the crank and it should break loose the head. Badly corroded head bolts might fight you on this. Don't try to wedge it open with screw drivers... Once the head is off it's back to observing everything you can.

Do yourself a favor and get one of these spring compressors http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/shop-talk/303337-really-effective-valve-spring-compressor.html

Remove the springs, keepers, spring shims and spring cups and put them in the bag as well. Take a look at the valve sealing surface - look for pitting, burning, etc.

You would probably be wise to find a shop that can service your head. Let them replace the guides and ream them, grind and lap in the valves, check and deck the head as necessary. It's money well spent.

Block:
Drain the oil and see if it has water in it (or gas). Look for metal shavings in the bottom of the sump and the oil filter. Look for any signs of damage to the pistons. Observe the amount of carbon build up. Look at the surface of the head for pitting. Look at the cylinder walls for signs of scrapping.

Remove the front cover - lots of M6 nuts. When you pull the crank out you will want to look carefully at the bearings. Learn how to read the wear patterns (lot of stuff on the internet). Keep everything in order and marked so that you can refer to it later (perhaps years later) but keep good notes too.

Again, everything should be marked so that you know how to put it back exactly the same way it came out.

With the crank out of the way you can push the pistons out. Then you can work on getting the liners out. I haven't yet had trouble with liners but some folks do so best to do a search on different techniques. I use a wooden dowel and tap around the perimeter until they pop loose.

at this point you've got pretty much a bare block. On the intake side you will notice three plugs for the oil galleys. I drill these out and then spend a bunch of time with pipe cleaners, kerosene, air, etc. cleaning the oil passages until I'm sure they are clean. (When I do drill them out I rig a compressed air line to blow the chips out of the oil hole.) After that I tap and install grub screws with red locktite. Similarly clean the crank oil galleys but be aware that the crank is hard and will not like taps - use aluminum plugs with red locktite.

Observe the condition of the bearing surfaces of the crank. If they are anything less than smooth you will likely want to get it ground. Measure the OD to determine the amount the machine shop will need to grind to and to know what size bearings to buy. I think they have up to +.040" these days.

Take the liners to your favorite machine shop and have them measure them up. If they are in spec have them honed and get the appropriate rings. If they are a mess you are better off getting a set of pistons & liners - takes the guess work out of it.

You'll need a complete set of gaskets and front and rear seals.

That should be good for a start... Have fun!
 

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1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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1,564 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks!

I'm working on step one, finding the manuals. I think I have the cardisk somewhere as well as a Bosch shop manual. Need to find my archives!

The spare engine is currently mounted on a wooden stand. For now that will work until I source an engine stand and build an adapter.

Ian
 

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1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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1,564 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Here's the engine as it sits today . First step is dragging it to the self car wash for a power scrub.
 

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Premium Member
1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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1,564 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I also dug through the basement and found my stash of Alfa literature. Sometimes being a pack rat pays off! I forgot I had the competition manual as well as a few service manuals, and I thought I had sold the Jim K book when I found out how much they were going for .
 

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I realize I have an ex-LeMons 2000, alleged 175 HP, I'll sell you for $1200. No carbs, but I can include exhaust and intake manifold.

I never drove it, but I ran it, tested compression and oil pressure, all good. Came from Wes Conklin here in the Bay Area. I was going to put it in a project Berlina, but that never happened. Been in my garage since.

Andrew
 

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1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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Discussion Starter #10
Tempting Andrew tempting! Let me think about i .
 
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