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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Probably a noob question, but the previous owner to my now '81 Spider said that I would need to double clutch to go from 1 to 2, and 2 to 3...he said he had heard it from quite a few other Alfa Spider owners of my year vintage......

upon further review, I found quite a bit of reference to doing the double clutch, and most referenced issues with the syncros...to read from one cached page search off of Googles by a certain Scott Johnson:

<<<Because of the weakness of the synchros in the gearbox, the reader is advised to learn, and practice, "double-clutch" shifting, especially on downshifts. To do a successful double-clutch shift, quickly… put the clutch IN, pull the shifter into neutral, let the clutch OUT, blip the throttle, put the clutch IN, select the next gear, let the clutch OUT. It makes shifting much easier, especially on a cold gearbox, and sounds really cool.>>>

link to cached article:
Alfa Romeo Spider FAQ - Driving Your Alfa Spider

I also read a number of the responses from a question about the double clutch dutch on the alfabb.com board:
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spider-1966-up/50932-new-clutch-synchros.html

but still not the answer to my specific questions which is to say, anyone know what is wrong with the syncros design [eventually] requiring double clutching...?...as well, what if you replaced the syncros, would you still need to do as such?...

thanks much in advance...
 

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Synchronizers wear, and they eventually need to be replaced, but the fact is that it is costly in terms of labor so most people just don't do it. Hence, one finds a lot of cars with worn synchros and it's common for people to just say that it is a design issue, as opposed to a maintenance cost that they don't want to incur. The second gear is the largest of the gears that is in motion, and so its synchro has to contend with the most mass/weight and will logically wear quicker than the other synchros. The Alfa design is not the best, but if a Spider is treated well, and its drivers know how to drive a standard shift properly, they synchro will last a long time.

This thread, "Downshift to 3rd", will give you additional info. I wrote post #5 to provide a bit of background as to what is happening inside the gearbox when you are shifting (or in neutral) so that people can get a better understanding of "why" these things happen...

Best regards,
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Alfas of our vintage use early style Porsche synchronizers. This is why the Alfa guys and the old Porsche guys are always arguing over what gear oil is best while the rest of the world can just throw anything in their car's manual tranny and have it work.

Incidentally, you don't need to double-clutch upshifts, only downshifts. On upshifts just pause your shift in neutral for a moment to let the gears slow down by themselves. On downshifts you double clutch to spin the gears up to the higher RPMs of the lower gear.

Once you do it a bit it pretty much becomes second nature. I pretty much always do this for downshifts to 2nd or 3rd.
 

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It all has todo with engine speed relative to propshaft speed. Imagine you step off a moving train as it pulls into a station. If you keep your feet still you'll land on your nose with a grind, but if you start walking at the same as the train before you touch down....no grind. The point of double cluthching on the down-shift (not changing up as you worsen the situation) is to bring the engine speed and propshaft (road speed) into synch. When changing down depress the clutch, change to neutral, release the clutch, blip the throttle, engage the clutch, select your gear, and off you go. Lubrication and correct temperatures will prolong the life of everything and not just the synchro's.

I have a '81 spider and I used to own a '73 2000GTV 105 series. With a little practice double clutching comes naturally. Changing the worn synchros will also obviously go a long way (but won't resolve the issue in cold gearboxes with poor lubrication).
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Synchronizers wear, and they eventually need to be replaced, but the fact is that it is costly in terms of labor so most people just don't do it.
any idea what time and costs are for replacing the syncros if done by a qualified mechanic?

This thread, "Downshift to 3rd", will give you additional info. I wrote post #5 to provide a bit of background as to what is happening inside the gearbox when you are shifting (or in neutral) so that people can get a better understanding of "why" these things happen...
bloody brilliant that!

Incidentally, you don't need to double-clutch upshifts, only downshifts. On upshifts just pause your shift in neutral for a moment to let the gears slow down by themselves. On downshifts you double clutch to spin the gears up to the higher RPMs of the lower gear.
Upon return from travels, I will give it a go on the pause recommend, though I seem to recall trying with little results...if this is the case, does it mean the syncros are more worn or I have noob :eek: written on me cap?

Imagine you step off a moving train as it pulls into a station.
smart metaphor...

The point of double clutching on the down-shift (not changing up as you worsen the situation) is to bring the engine speed and propshaft (road speed) into synch. When changing down depress the clutch, change to neutral, release the clutch, blip the throttle, engage the clutch, select your gear, and off you go.
definitely another one to try straight away as the grinding noise nearly soils me seats...

Lubrication and correct temperatures will prolong the life of everything and not just the synchro's. Changing the worn synchros will also obviously go a long way (but won't resolve the issue in cold gearboxes with poor lubrication).
wondering aloud how long the Italian syncros are known to last once replaced?

thanks much Gents for the ensuing information in advance...
 

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"Choke" position is next to the hand throttle control at the back of the centre console above the transmission tunnel. I would send pics but am far from home (maybe someone elso could help with that).
 

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I'll advise doing double clutch on up shiffs 1 to 2 and 2 to 3, as well, but no blibbing the accelerator pedal.
I doesn't take longer than pausing but you feel the gears go into mesh without resistance thus avoiding wear on the synchos.
Erik
 

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I wrote a pretty detailed article on this subject here: Guibo, DS, Clutch

I always double clutch, and save the syncros for those drag races where I need them. With this method the syncros last well over 200,000 miles.

Greg
 

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Choke position

How the topic has changed. 2 points regarding the location of the "choke". 1: You are assuming that Alfa make universally ergonomic controls (the taller drivers may disagree). 2: You are assuming that all Alfas are Left hand drive..... Mine was a Left hooker and now is a Right (I live in South Africa where we drive on the Left). The controls suit me far better now (I hear purists groan, but I drive mine every day).
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Upon return from travels, I will give it a go on the pause recommend, though I seem to recall trying with little results...if this is the case, does it mean the syncros are more worn or I have noob :eek: written on me cap?
Could be, but even with semi-trashed synchros you should be able to do a reasonably decent upshift if you pause the right amount of time. Have you checked that your clutch is fully releasing?

Try this: with the car warmed up and running and holding down the clutch, shift into third, shift into neutral for a couple seconds, and then shift into reverse. If you get *any* grind on the reverse shift your clutch is dragging.
 

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Oil has been mentioned but only in passing so I'll bring this up - some have reported poor shifting Alfa gearboxes markedly improved by refilling with an oil better suited to the design of its synchros. Shell Spirax is the oil spec'd by Alfa. Most of the 'on-line' suppliers sell that product. (I found some at 'Pep Boys'.) Others have reported good results using a RedLine product (likely more easily sourced locally). Search the BB to find the specific RedLine product advised.
 

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Discussion Starter #13

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As far as I know there is no recommended interval/time for replacing syncros. If there is one, it's b.s. Syncro wear is largely related to driver technique. If you are careful they seem to last forever. The syncros in the transaxle I mentioned with 200,000 miles on it suffered a pinion gear failure. Upon disassembly we found the syncros in near perfect condition.

I think that was the transaxle in the drag race video (search youtube for supercharged gtv6, or gtv6 dragrace or something like that). You can see in the video the transaxle shifts perfectly.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
On upshifts just pause your shift in neutral for a moment to let the gears slow down by themselves. On downshifts you double clutch to spin the gears up to the higher RPMs of the lower gear.
When changing down depress the clutch, change to neutral, release the clutch, blip the throttle, engage the clutch, select your gear, and off you go.
Gents, thanks much for the notes...now on the first week of driving my Alfa, I have found both comments have helped to secure the formula of perfected shifts...in that, when shifting up through the gears with ZERO grinding, I do the following when going from first to second (or second to third, etc):

0) from a cold start ensure that the auto is sufficiently warmed...once it is, put 'er in gear and away she goes...then to shift to the next gear...
1) push clutch in
2) move the shifter out of gear and into the neutral position (clutch is still pressed in)
3) blip the throttle
4) move the shifter from the neutral position and into the next gear
5) sail down the road with a wide toothy grin and only the note of the Anza exhaust trailing behind
 

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If you are shifting 'UP' (say from 1st gear to 2nd gear) you don't need to blip the throttle. Especially if the clutch pedal is still pressed in as blipping the throttle with the clutch pedal pressed down will have no effect on the speed of the gears in the transmission.

If you are shifting 'DOWN' (say from 3rd gear to 2nd gear) then it may be helpful to shift into neutral - release the clutch, blip the throttle, press the clutch and then complete the shift into the lower gear.

The whole purpose of the 'double clutch' is to match the revs of the gears when you move the shift lever to the next position. When you are shifting 'up', the gears need to slow down to match the next speed. They'll do this by themselves as long as you don't slam the shift lever from one gear to the next - just pause briefly in neutral between shifts to allow the gears to slow down.

During a downshift, if the car hasn't slowed sufficiently (I'm assuming you are braking & slowing down) then you might need to blip the throttle in neutral to speed up the gears and lighten the load on the synchronizers.
 

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During a downshift, if the car hasn't slowed sufficiently (I'm assuming you are braking & slowing down) then you might need to blip the throttle in neutral to speed up the gears and lighten the load on the synchronizers.
right, especially during spirited driving and FAST gear changes, you WILL need to blip the throttle, otherwise just be more patient. As Eric says, you do need to release and press the clutch (hence "double clutch") for it to have any effect
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you are shifting 'UP' (say from 1st gear to 2nd gear) you don't need to blip the throttle. Especially if the clutch pedal is still pressed in as blipping the throttle with the clutch pedal pressed down will have no effect on the speed of the gears in the transmission.
all makes fabulous sense, but if I do the same in keeping the clutch pressed in with no blip of throttle, out comes the snarled gear sound...that said, the clutch seems to be in fine working condition so this is so ever more quirky, but is what it is...

If you are shifting 'DOWN' (say from 3rd gear to 2nd gear) then it may be helpful to shift into neutral - release the clutch, blip the throttle, press the clutch and then complete the shift into the lower gear.
I have tried this method, but find that the aforementioned method works well as well on the downshift unless I am trying to make 'er engage greater than 4k on the tacho, then your method works better...

am I in the possession of a possessed auto?:rolleyes:
 

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all makes fabulous sense, but if I do the same in keeping the clutch pressed in with no blip of throttle, out comes the snarled gear sound...that said, the clutch seems to be in fine working condition so this is so ever more quirky, but is what it is..
It really should not make any difference if you blip the throttle with the clutch held down during the shift. If it is making a difference on whether or not you get a grind as you engage the higher gear, you definitely need to check that your clutch is fully disengaging. See my post above.
 

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A blip with the clutch pushed in does help as it breaks lose the clutch.
even on a good clutch there is some drag. The most when it is at the same speed as the clamp.
but once is is spinning vs the clamp it is free and the drag is more or less gone. I think you might even get a air cushin.
 
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