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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, more to the point - can you accidentally substitute a left for a right?

My car has always sat a little low in the left front corner. It's always been my understanding that if anything the car should sit a little lower on the right with no driver in the car with the difference (at least in part) being due to a deeper spring pan on the right.

I took the springs out awhile back to make sure the spacers, rubber, etc. were the same. Found them to be and buttoned it up for another day. Now I'm in the process of rebuilding the suspension including new springs and shocks. I'd been careful not to mix up left and right parts but never took a close look at the pans.

Now that I'm putting the right side back together I suddenly realized that the spring pans appear to be the same depth. Centerline lists 48mm deep on the right and 38mm deep on the left. Now, I'm not taking particularly close measurements - the right side is already buttoned up and I'd rather not take it back apart if I don't have to - but they both appear to be more like 38mm deep. I'd think with an ~25% difference they'd be obviously different to the naked eye and especially with a tape measure for reference, right?

Does all of this sound like I'm on to something here? They didn't change anything on later models in this area, did they? It's a bit of a mystery as I have mostly complete records on the car and there's no indication of something that would have resulted in a replaced spring pan. Ball joints got done at one point so the pans would have been off the car at that point so perhaps then. But my car has very little rust except for small patches of surface rust on the lower suspension parts - and the two spring pans have roughly the same amount of "patina".

Thanks,

Chris
 

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I struggled long and hard trying to even out my car's ride height, when I finally learned of the different pan depths. My car too had equal depth pans for whatever reason. So I sourced and installed a deeper pan on the right side and things finally got sorted out.

Perhaps one can get away with equal depth pans providing there is no or 10mm less shim on the right side.
 

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I have a spare deep pan that i can sell you. There are two other ways of adjusting the height. One is by inserting a spacer between the spring pan and the spring. I understand that Alfa made them in three different thicknesses but I have only seen the ones that are about 7mm thick. I may have a spare one of those. Fine adjustments can be made by fitting spacers (washers) between the spring pan and the wishbones. This lowers the pan and the car. Remember that the ride height is changed by an amount that is double the change in the height of the spring.
 

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There are two slightly different versions of the spring pans. One version can be used without issue, and the other will likely need slight mods to be able to use it. Ask me how I know?

For this reason, its best to try and get the one that is good to go as is.

The easiest sign of the better one for your car (late S3) is the one with two of the mounting holes slotted. The slotted hole is there to accommodate the drop link for the swaybar link and if I recall correctly prevents it from spinning. It also has slightly different scalloping of the lip to provide clearance for the drop link and/or swaybar link.

See posts 27-30 in this thread.
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spider-1966-up/192358-front-suspension-change-dummies-2.html

I unknowingly ended up with one of the other versions and had to hand grind a slot in one of the holes for the drop link and had to grind a proper scallop in the rolled lip.

This version looks like this...
Installing Front Spring (compression) - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 

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My spares have round holes. They came off an '82 Spider, I think. There is certainly no problem using them with my 79. I do have a spare 7mm spacer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Maybe our cars were made on a Friday afternoon, Mike? ;) That was just where I was going but didn't want to accuse Mario and Giovanni of breaking into the Peroni too early without cause.

Mine does have the two slots and you're right - one of them keeps the swaybar link bolt from spinning. I suppose that answers my original question about installing them wrong-way-round. No reason for two slots if they can't be installed on both sides. Which leads to another interesting question - why make it so it'll fit either side if they're different side-to-side? I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time....

Thanks for all of the help guys. I think I definitely want to go with a deep spring pan. My thought process here is to get everything renewed and correct then start fine-tuning the ride height. Excellent tip on the washers between the pan and wishbone, Ed. I think I read that years ago here but had completely forgotten about it.

Definitely interested in your pan, Ed. I'll PM you about it but is it the style with the two slotted bolt holes that Mike's talking about?

edit: ah, posted the answer while I was editing the above. I'll keep looking. According to Centerline, the change in swaybar hardware (and I would assume the pan) occurred in '86. My spacers look to be 7mm as well. Most definitely appreciate the offer though!!

Thanks again and as always!

Chris
 

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Excellent tip on the washers between the pan and wishbone, Ed.
After all the messing around I went thru trying to sort out my ride height issue, I have been reluctant to venture into reducing the weight in the car (cheaper than adding hp).

I'm thinking by the time I go to a lighter spare tire setup and one of the smaller lighter batteries, with me in the driver seat and a full tank of gas, I'd have to go back and drop that right pan a little more.
 

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Which leads to another interesting question - why make it so it'll fit either side if they're different side-to-side?
I would assume for UK, Australia, Japan where the crown of the road is on the opposite side of the car.

I had never seen a spring pan with slots instead of holes. But I have only worked on mid 70's and earlier 105's. My guess is that the slots didn't appear until later.
 

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Classic Alfa offers both varieties of the spring pan, and they are supposed to be built to work on either side, suitable for either LHD or RHD cars. Of course, the ones I got from them were not prepared that way, so I had to grind away on the left side pan to fit the drop link. Not really a big deal, actually. The pans are not expensive.

As I understand it, you can substitute the later drop links for the earlier ones, and as they are stronger this is a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would assume for UK, Australia, Japan where the crown of the road is on the opposite side of the car.
Ah - rather obvious when you put it like that, isn't it? I hadn't considered folks wanting to drive on the wrong side of the road! ;)

I looked at Classic Alfa as well last night, Don. $40 - that's not bad at all. Thanks!
 

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Mine does have the two slots and you're right - one of them keeps the swaybar link bolt from spinning. I suppose that answers my original question about installing them wrong-way-round. No reason for two slots if they can't be installed on both sides. Which leads to another interesting question - why make it so it'll fit either side if they're different side-to-side? I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time....
Chris
I'm just replacing mine ('81 Spider) and the new ones come with the slots - one on the deep (driver's side) pan and two on the shallow (passenger's side) pan.

I believe that Montreals use shallow ones both sides hence the reversability of the shallow one.

Interestingly this assumes LHD... :wink2:

I've put the deep one on and will do the shallow later in the week. I've messaged Classicalfa from whom I purchased the pans (they are always really helpful, no matter how stupid my questions!) re using the standard bolts (old style droplinks AND usual bolt/belleville washer/nut combo) in the slotted holes but since then fitting the deep one I can see that it's all held pretty tight in place by going through the wishbone so I'm guessing the slotted ones are backwards compatible. I hope so 'cos my old ones have rust holes right through...

Pretty happy with my rebuild so far, although I do feel like a post here tying together all the "I wish I'd known that"'s might be in order; there are some invaluable threads (THANKYOU!!) on here but some inevitable contradictions too.
 

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All the early 105's had one deep and one shallow pan. The shallow pan went on the drivers side to compensate for the most common weighting - driver only - when setting up the suspension geometry. Later cars had two shallow pans, and a somewhat higher ride height due to federal regulations. other compensation was made with spring spacers.

The difference is obvious if you look at the two pans next to each other.

BTW - it has nothing to do with which side of the road crown you are on! Ninny!

Robert
 

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Later cars had two shallow pans, and a somewhat higher ride height due to federal regulations. other compensation was made with spring spacers.
Just out of interest what year did they start using shallow each side? I'm guessing it was after the new style drop-links otherwise why make a deep pan with the slotted hole? Like I say mine ('81) had the standard shallow driver's side, deep passenger's side and that's what I'm putting back on.

The new deep pan I've just fitted had one slotted hole and three round holes, so could only be fitted on the right hand side of the car (with the newer style drop links anyway, wouldn't matter with the old style of course), making that the passenger side and so the car by default LHD, hence my comment above. The shallow pan has two slotted and two round holes so could be fitted either side. I'm guessing that later RHD cars might have the deep/shallow the "wrong" way round unless a left hand side deep pan was/is available - or perhaps use two shallow like you say.
 

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My 79 had shallow left and deep right with spacers in both of them.
 
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Spring spacers were used way back in Alfas - they are used to adjust ride height, and are available for front and rear. I don't know when the one-side fits all started. Perhaps with the Sedans or GTV? My spider is 67, and has deep+shallow. Likely someone here knows, or has all the parts catalogs for reference.....

Robert
 

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Robert,
Are you sure about rear spacers? I have not seen one and they are not in my AR spare parts catalog.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
After a lot of research in this forum, here's my theory: somewhere late in the '80s they started doing two shallow pans unofficially. Why? My guess is as a little cost-cutting measure. But there are a lot of us on here with late-S3 and S4 cars with two shallow spring pans and they all sit funny.

The '90 parts manual shows different part numbers: 60519663 right, 60519664 left so at least the documentation folks thought it should be different.

Hypothetical - since my car was built (and a lot of others around the same time) with two shallow spring pans, when I'g trying to win Pebble Beach 40 years from now (as if!) and I going to be marked down because I changed to a deep right pan and now my car doesn't sit funny anymore? ;)

The shims at the rear go on top of the spring and in my experience stay attached to the body when you remove the spring unless you pry them out. See attachment, items 10 and 11.
 

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The shims at the rear go on top of the spring and in my experience stay attached to the body when you remove the spring unless you pry them out. See attachment, items 10 and 11.
Thanks for the enlightenment.
 
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