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1978 Spider
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Discussion Starter #1
Trying to get a SPICA back in running order...I bought a car with bad boots and a wooden block holding the air box. Air leaking everywhere. Not the best way to buy your first Alfa.

I ordered some 45mm ID silicone hose to make 4 new boots with. Listed as "turbo intake hose". Does the length have to be specific or just sufficient to clear other items? I'm not even sure the current boots are OEM/correct so just duplicating that length may or may not be ideal.

The straps holding the top of the box were home made leather straps that have since rotted away. I have no clue the proper distance between mounting points to fabricate new straps. I'm inclined to think the distance only needs to allow the air box to clear other adjacent items and be appropriate to allow the boots to fit the air box ports and intake manifold squarely to ensure a proper seal.

I am inclined to consider small adjustable turnbuckles of some type to allow fine tuning of the air box mounting. Or some other kinda bracket. Or is there a specific reason the OEM mounts are flexible straps?
 

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1978 Spider
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Discussion Starter #3
I saw their boots. Looks a bit different that what's on the car now. Or mine are so bad they are unrecognizable. I've found "silicone" ones being sold for like $100 that supposedly are an upgrade over OEM. For 10 bucks I'll try to make a set of silicone boots myself. Worse that happens is I'm out 10 bucks and a weekend.

The straps I'm a bit suspicious. Yes I understand they are correct. But I just don't "get" the non-metal end. Not sure how durable it really is. It appears to be a reinforced cloth of some type. My issue is that some of my hardware is missing. Not sure what is missing but there are fasteners missing that would clamp or hold those straps. Without the correct hardware, these fabric straps might live a brief life....thus my inclination to make an all metal mounting strap of some type.
 

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The centerline ones actually look better than the OEM supplied versions of the period, but they were essentially pieces of large diameter hose. I think 10 mm nuts held the straps in place in place. I think the rubber does much of the heavy lifting as far as securing the airbox, the straps just limit the movement of the airbox.
 

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Our Alfas tend to suffer from homemade solutions. I don't mind doing repairs on an honest car. If I'm considering buying one to fix up (as I'm doing now - with two of them), and I see a bunch of spurious parts, then I know there'll be plenty I don't see, and will move on to another opportunity.

I just ordered about $85 worth of parts from Classic Alfa in the UK. They'll probably be here Tuesday or Wednesday. Freight brought it to a little over $100. Even if someone like Summit Racing could provide the stuff (they can't), I'd spend two hours and 60 miles of gas money going to fetch them. I'd rather use that time doing something else, spend the $20 on freight, and have DHL drop them 10 steps from my shop.
 

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I've been using silicone hose for at least a decade now. I know there is an original crowd here and and that is all fine. It doesn't mean original works better. Rubber does look original though. Both will work excellently.

I bought two feet of silicone hose for pretty cheap and made two inch sections. That gave me three cars worth and I have two cars. It was a lot cheaper than the kit that used to be available through one of the BB members products.

The Spica straps are now broken, which is how I found this thread. I just looked on Centerline and got startled at $13 each and two are needed. I seem to remember paying a few dollars several years ago. Must have been two decades ago. Well, burlap is burlap and many old cars used leather for things like these. I was looking to see if anyone had made a custom set. I just ground off the rivet that holds the two plates to the burlap and got them appart. I don't know where to buy straps like that, but I think a brown leather piece might look nice. It may not last as long as the burlap, but it certainly can be made again, or brought back to original if that's desired at a later time.

I'm still going to use the search function to see if anyone has done it before. If someone has, please post link.

Thanks,
 

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Straps I bought from Centreline....idle mixture tubing & rubber hoses I bought from McMaster Carr. Theirs were the closest to the original in size and finish that I was able to find. The material for the straps is not burlap....but a rubberized impregnated fabric...industrial belting material will be your best bet if you want to make your own....same goes for the rear axle straps.


1615321
 

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Discussion Starter #9
well got it partially done this weekend. I measured my old boots at 48mm. Thought about your 39mm boots but then measured the airbox and intake mounting surfaces. I decided on 50mm cuts for the silicone hose. Seems to work out nicely. air box is not too close to the fender. Still don't have a solution for the straps but the new silicone tubes are very rigid. the air box is supported nicely by those alone...well enough for getting it running in the driveway for now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Pulled the Barometric compensator...the spring is broken at the bottom. no clue where it's at. Hopefully removed when the screw was removed. Hoping I will find it in the box of assorted parts. For now the paperclip and rubber band trick will be "semi permanent" until the pump can be removed for repair during a HG replacement which I am sure is coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is this Baro good or blown? I get conflicting info from reading how to measure it...or I'm just reading the verbiage wrong...the element is about 27mm and overall about 44mm base plate to tip.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Car ran much better with new boots but still struggling to reach higher rpms...fuel pressure light is on...found the in tank boost pump very, very poorly grounded...used a ground jumper to the neg battery post and suddenly the pump is humming away, fuel gauge now works, engine idles way smoother and revs better....but the fuel pressure light is still on...found the fuel supply line at the tank seeping fuel (looks original)...at this point I decide to pull the tank and strip the entire trunk to treat some surface rust, rotted wheel well, Ospho treatment and Rustoleum the whole thing.

At least the tank looked brand new thru the filler neck. I haven't pulled the sender/pump yet. Probably won't be ready to try starting the car again until later this week.
 

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My problem with silicone is their propensity to tear. Silicone has many positives, such as chemical and temperature tolerance. However, all it takes as a small snag on a nipple edge, and you can quickly have a 2” tear and high pressure fuel in places you don’t want it.

I’m not an “only original” zipper-head. I do, however, prefer well-engineered solutions. Alfa was pretty good at achieving both performance and reliability. In the case of the mass-produced 105/115 cars, good, OE parts are actually the quickest and least expensive route.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
They were sold as "silicone turbo intake boots" and the material certainly feels it. But they are also highly reinforced. I suspect that it will last a long time. OE boots cost about the same but this got me up and running faster.
 

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There is no fuel in the air intake couplers (boots as Odie is calling them). I'm not sure where the comment comes from. I cannot imagine how these intake couplers can tear. They are probably 3x as strong as the rubber ones. And as mentioned, they can probably hold up the intake box by themselves. Now the engine rocking back and forth might make the box wiggle off, so I wouldn't recommend it.

I hope no one interpreted my comments about people who prefer original equipment as negative in any way. I don't think that at all. I do think that in some cases it is not warranted. As a way to explain that, I sometimes think what would the engineer who designed something say if you went back in time with a new material and showed it to them. In this case I really think they would revel at how good it was and say, "Mama Mia, yes! Please use it."
 

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My comment on tearing is related to simple, non-reinforced silicone. There used to be hose kits sold for Alfas using plain silicone to replace various preformed hoses, usually on S3/S4 cars. These could last years, or tear within minutes of installation. They could be had in a variety of flashy colors. The red went best with an engine fire.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Does the barometric sensor pics I posted look ok? I have a spare parts SPICA pump with another baro...but it's an earlier year with the adjustable top.
 

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How much altitude change do you anticipate? In Texas?

I think that even if the baro compensator has a leak and won't change, you can adjust out the problem for your altitude, and the only issues might appear when you drive the car up to Taos.
 

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Does the barometric sensor pics I posted look ok? I have a spare parts SPICA pump with another baro...but it's an earlier year with the adjustable top.
Looks Ok. I've not seen a document stating what the length should be. From the 1969 manual....I've seen the following...
baro_comp_2.PNG
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I recall seeing something written in a John Stewart article to the effect that around 27mm was good and 40mm was a blown bellows and the compensator will be fully extended. He talks about the bellows section being 27mm but the "emergency fix" indicates a proper length of 27mm from base plate to end tip, which would include the bellows, tip and the rod. No reference picture of a failed unit was found. I'm inclined to think mine is fine since the typical failure symptom given is engine fails to run at all.
 
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