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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was showing off my recently rebuilt Verde to RacingSwim yesterday, and the torsion bar snapped right before taking a corner. Bad, but damage was minimal, and as long as it isn't too corroded in there (it is), it should be simple enough to repair.

Here is a photo of the cracked torsion bar - I'll upload a photo once I pull it from the car:


I'm fortunate to only have to replace the torsion bar, and I will definitely inspect and likely replace the other bar as a preventative measure. That being said, I'd like to never experience this kind of failure again. On the highway, it could have sent me into the median and spun or flipped the car.

Driver side torsion bar mount:


Passenger side torsion bar mount:



So, I'd like to address the rust on the welds that attach the splined torsion bar collars to the crossmember.

Option 1 is to just grind out the rust, assess the material thickness, and run a new weld bead around the joint. This might be an option, but I'm not so sure the metal will still be thick enough after grinding the rust out.

Option 2 is to grind the rust out, and then cut a new ring to lap weld to the cross member and weld to the splined collar. This is a bit more work, but seems like the prime path. While I'm in there, I think I'll spray something hydrophobic inside the crossmember to prevent rust from the inside.

Option 3 is to clean rust and then attach a reinforcement plate as was done in this case. I worry about the moisture wicking that might occur from two plates in close contact - is that a reasonable concern? : http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/milano-75-1985-1993/200402-rear-torsion-bar-mount-spun-what-can-i-do.html


Option 4 is to swap in an early GTV6 forged (?) crossmember and run early GTV6 bars. I need to look into the bolted joint to see how much shear is on those bolts, but the LeMons guys seem to have success running this: http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/milano-75-1985-1993/157522-milano-torsion-bars-sheer-genius-stupidity.html


All in all, it's a good chance to beef up the Milano, which at this point is getting waaaaay too much mechanical attention. This is easy stuff after all this car has put me through. Threw a rod on the highway with full oil level two weeks after I bought it. Threw an axle ,brake caliper and brake disc out of the car within the first 1,000 miles of ownership. Surprise clutch hose rupture the day I brought it home. Yeah, this car was seriously neglected, but it is slowly coming around and I am loving it :smile2:

Please share your thoughts!
 

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I like the idea of the forged one from the GTV6 because the stock sheet-metal ones on the Milano seem more vulnerable to rust. However, I havent done any torsion bar work at all... NONE. so its just an opinion from looking at it.
 

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If anyone was to add a 116 chassis torsion bar cross member to a 160 chassis car, I'd suggest that they weld in tubes where each of the captive splines used to be, that gives at least 3mm/1/8" clearance for the largest torsion bar you'd use on a road car (30-33mm).
Also, crush tubes should be added where the cross member bolts to the chassis. That way the cross member bolts can be done up to the correct (116 chassis) torque without crushing the mounting box sections.
Then you'd have a reliable means of anchoring the torsion bars and because it's removable, much easier to fit torsion bars that are a worthwhile size (27+mm) to the car.
 

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That Milano is still running strong in Lemons races 5 1/2 years later, no issues with this setup that I know about (car moved out west so I don't see if very often anymore).

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was able to pull the rear section of torsion bar out of the crossmember using an M10 bolt threaded into the bar, a socket, and some washers. Once I had it moving a bit, I used a pickle fork to speed up the process.

Now I'm having trouble removing the stub of broken torsion bar stuck in the lower control arm. I've been hitting it with plenty of 50/50 ATF/acetone daily to cut through the rust. I've also rapped the stub of torsion bar with a mallet a few times. Since it's going to be scrap, I've also hit it with some heat.

I'm thinking that this is the best way to press out the stub:


I'll put a socket in the front end of the LCA to prevent damage to the threads on the pivot rod, and I'll support the LCA to prevent bending. Thoughts?
 

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Talk about a totally rusted torsion bar. Should have been replaced long before. Even here in Seattle, I have all that checked every several years when I replace a muffler or suspension bushings in the Milano.

When we had our first Alfetta sedan, and we had to live in DC for a couple of years before moving back here, I had to use the car as a daily driver all year around, and the chassis rusted like there was no tomorrow. I was so dismayed, whereas my wife's Fiat 128 sedan just kept on going as her daily driver, with no rust showing up during our stay there, or even after.

Hard way to learn that we just cannot drive these older Alfas on salted roads. At least the 164s are much better for that. Don't know about the 90's roadsters.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Talk about a totally rusted torsion bar. Should have been replaced long before. Even here in Seattle, I have all that checked every several years when I replace a muffler or suspension bushings in the Milano.

When we had our first Alfetta sedan, and we had to live in DC for a couple of years before moving back here, I had to use the car as a daily driver all year around, and the chassis rusted like there was no tomorrow. I was so dismayed, whereas my wife's Fiat 128 sedan just kept on going as her daily driver, with no rust showing up during our stay there, or even after.

Hard way to learn that we just cannot drive these older Alfas on salted roads. At least the 164s are much better for that. Don't know about the 90's roadsters.
I've learned the hard way not to let anything go unchecked on older cars. I've spent plenty of time under/around this car (I've driven it fewer than 10 days in my 2 years of ownership due to various failures), but the rubber around the torsion bars unfortunately kept me from seeing the rust. As for the mounts, they are the result of buying the car sight-unseen and not asking enough questions. I asked the P.O. about rust, and it never came up...despite him owning a shop with multiple lifts. He also neglected to mention the front end damage the car had incurred, which I dug up in a previous thread. Another previous owner didn't torque down the axle bolts, and guess what happened - axle flew off. I tracked that one down in a previous thread as well.

Fortunately, the car has been cheap and enjoyable to work on, and the learning has been invaluable.

No plans to leave the car outside or to drive it in salt under my ownership.
 

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Good plan, as they are such a fun car to drive.

We try to keep ours in nice shape, it now having just about 100k miles on it, and still pristine top and bottom. We are lucky in that the Seattle area, really the entire NW, is very benign, generally rust not being any problem worth talking about. Except for the 75 Alfetta being used in the DC area, have never had a rust problem with any of our Alfas through the decades. Even our 78 Alfetta sedan, now living a good life south of Boston, had no rust for the 180k miles we put on it as my wife's daily driver here.

I don't worry about the 164s we have, they just not susceptible to rust it seems.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've spent most of my time under the hood of this car, so now it's time to give the suspension some attention. I've ordered all new suspension bushings, tie rod ends, and ball joints.

The caster rod bushings were poly, and had crumbled, which apparently was a problem with one of the suppliers that Centerline used, but is no longer an issue. I'll be replacing those with the new poly supplier's parts.

The UCA and LCA bushings were pretty shot. Judging by how hard (impossible) it was to remove the torsion bar spline from the front control arm, I think they were probably original.

The UCA ball joint was riveted in, so I'm guessing that was original too. I guess the rust inside of the ball joint boot indicates that as well.


It looks like a previous owner did a poor job with a POR15 repair around the brake line mounting bracket


The UCA bolt was frozen, so I cut an access hole into the inner fender. I might weld it back up when I'm done replacing the UCA, but I kind of like the functionality.


The UCA bushing tube was very rusty. I'm planning on using a flap wheel to get to the bottom of the rust, but I wonder if it would be wise to just replace the UCAs. That, or weld in new tubes. Thoughts?

 

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The UCA bushing tube was very rusty. I'm planning on using a flap wheel to get to the bottom of the rust, but I wonder if it would be wise to just replace the UCAs. That, or weld in new tubes. Thoughts?
I'd get another good condition arm.
It probably won't fail, but then torsion probably won't snap, either.............. :|
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
What sound do new tie rod ends make?

FRAAAAAAAAAP.

Also, thanks to Andy at Performatek for sending me the balljoints (upper/lower) and tie rod ends. I ordered on Thursday and had parts in my hands on Monday. Looking forward to assessing the quality of the parts vs. the factory-installed bits.



As far as control arms go, I ordered some rust-free uppers from APE, and found a set of lower arms on eBay. I mushroomed the threads that hold the bushing nuts on my lowers, so I'm just going to replace the whole assembly. That, and I had to throw in the towel on one of the really rusty guys :/

 

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I'm interested to see what you think of the poly boots. I'm thinking about trying them right now. Whole front end is apart and I need new boots.

From my Googling, I don't read much good stuff about them when people check under them. The only reviews I found are from 4X4 owners though, who wreck enough stuff to take the boots off regularly.
Not at all suitable for dirty conditions. They let a lot of dirt, mud and moisture in. So much, according to a few people, that they are going back to the rubber boots with spring clips because they seal better.
They seem ideal for cars that sit for long periods of time because they don't perish [garage queens or such].
They are also a bit messy first off, squishing the grease out everywhere [4X4 though, they go through a lot more suspension travel than I ever will].

How dirty would they get under a regular, road going car? No idea. I can't find any threads other than the initial fitting without any follow up after some good driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm interested to see what you think of the poly boots. I'm thinking about trying them right now. Whole front end is apart and I need new boots.

From my Googling, I don't read much good stuff about them when people check under them. The only reviews I found are from 4X4 owners though, who wreck enough stuff to take the boots off regularly.
Not at all suitable for dirty conditions. They let a lot of dirt, mud and moisture in. So much, according to a few people, that they are going back to the rubber boots with spring clips because they seal better.
They seem ideal for cars that sit for long periods of time because they don't perish [garage queens or such].
They are also a bit messy first off, squishing the grease out everywhere [4X4 though, they go through a lot more suspension travel than I ever will].

How dirty would they get under a regular, road going car? No idea. I can't find any threads other than the initial fitting without any follow up after some good driving.
Interesting idea, a poly boot. I think you're referring to the red shipping caps on the ball joints though? These are standard rubber boots.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I took a flap wheel to the torsion bar mount and this is the result:



The issue is, though the rust on the outer joint is gone, I don't have a great way of getting to the inside of the joint between the sheet metal and the splined collar.

Viewed from inside the sheet metal mount for the splined collar, the rust on the inside looks like this:


I think the correct fix is to cut the splined collar from one end, replace the metal, and reweld. Then, do the same at the other to keep it in position. Then again, the rust was not very deep - perhaps treating it would be safer than messing with the joint? I'm not sure on this one - ideas?

Also, while I was under that section of the car with a nice light, I noticed that the car had POR15 under the floor pan - I don't understand why the seller wouldn't mention this to me. He owned a shop and had put the car on his lift but didn't notice the rust? And looking at previous AlfaBB listings, it isn't mentioned either. Either way, I know that POR15 means soft metal, and sure enough, I was able to get to the carpet using my finger - a nice middle finger directed at the horsetraders who owned this car before me. Looks like I'll need to pull up some carpet to get fresh metal in there. This was probably a low point in the drain that collected water.


 
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