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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a 1987 Alfa Spider and I was wondering what some of the first performance upgrades owners usually consider. Any thoughts and info concerning the parts w/ links would be awesome.. Cheers!
 

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shocks and springs. speedway motors has a good selection of springs. Also check with alfissimo. he carries B&G springs and other items. International Auto, Centerlinealfa, classicalfa, alfaholics, rockauto, all have great items and options for our Alfa's.
You'll find that the suppliers out of England have cheaper prices and super fast delivery than local sources. Shop around compare prices, products. Some like KYB shocks, while others go with Koni.
I would first tighten up all steering and suspension components then go from there. Good luck
 

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I'd go for brakes. Drilled and slotted in the front and regulars on the back. Chances are they have been neglected. Go with the better brake pads. Might want to rebuild the calipers while at it. It's a 30 year old car. Any of the U.S. suppliers have these.

If the motor is fine I'd then go for springs and shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the tips! Also, would upgrading to a performance cam make a big difference?
 

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Thanks for the tips! Also, would upgrading to a performance cam make a big difference?
Waste of time until you sort out the basics and get a baseline for the cars setup.


Steering, brakes, suspension.

Open up the Alfaholics or ClassicAlfa webpages and get your wallet out of the way. Then SET A BUDGET (which you won't keep)
 

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Join Scuderia Non Originale and for $3 ea. you can get stickers that will make your car look much faster. Cams are also an easy upgrade, unless the lobes are so large the head has to be machined for clearance. But the guys who suggest putting all of the car's existing systems in good shape first offer the best -- though most boring -- advice.

Regarding cams, most suppliers don't list horsepower gains for their cams, but a dyno test showed that simply swapping in Shankle 8L cams on an otherwise stock 1750 motor was good for 13 hp. That's enough to feel.
 

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I'd go for brakes. Drilled and slotted in the front and regulars on the back. Chances are they have been neglected. Go with the better brake pads. Might want to rebuild the calipers while at it. It's a 30 year old car. Any of the U.S. suppliers have these.

If the motor is fine I'd then go for springs and shocks.
FYI: Drilled and slotted rotors are not performance upgrades. They are bling. Better pads can certainly help and are a good first step (along with a fluid flush). Performatek and Alfaholics offer big brake setups if you are looking for a significant upgrade.

Shocks and springs and maybe poly bushings are going to be easiest and most noticeable.

Getting significantly more power means engine build and/or forced induction (i.e. not the first thing to look at).
 

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Drilled and slotted rotors are not performance upgrades. They are bling.
They do make a difference. I believe others will agree. Some of the more respected contributors provided me this advice when I was doing changes.

If you want more out of your engine you need to spend some serious coin. As you read through the threads you'll read a lot regarding lightened flywheels, cams, pistons, carbs, and more.

I've really enjoyed working on my Spider, tweaking that little more out of it, or replacing the worn parts.

I recently came across this article written many years ago about upgrading Alfas. It puts upgrading into perspective.

http://www.alfaspiderfaq.org/modifying.htm
 

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The best first step to better performance is a driver training class.

Chances are you can't get the most performance out of the car you have.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nealric View Post
It's probably in your head. Nice article that covers the topic.

Brake Myths: What to Expect When You're Expecting (to Stop)
+1

Bob
+2
I have a 180+ HP Spider and I use stock rotors but I do have Milano Brembo calipers on the front.

Be careful if you replace springs as some of the popular springs are much too stiff. Do a search on Max Banks' posts before you order anything. Shocks should match springs. Swapping one without the other will result in an unbalanced car.
As your car is 28 years old, replacing worn out suspension parts is a good thing to do.
 

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I would have gotten drilled and slotted rotors last year when I re-did my rotors, if I could have found them cheaply enough. Mostly for aesthetic reasons- I like the look. Don't care if my pads wear more quickly, either, as it gives me a chance to try other performance brands. I bought solid rotors and ceramic pads from IAP and the pads suck. No better than stock, IMO. I'll be putting on Ferrodo or something else next year, probably.
 

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I own a 1987 Alfa Spider and I was wondering what some of the first performance upgrades owners usually consider. Any thoughts and info concerning the parts w/ links would be awesome.. Cheers!
I would ask, what do you mean by performance upgrade?

Without that, you get a bunch of answers that are different.

Are you looking for power or handling or what?

From there, this community is an unbelievably helpful and knowledgeable group.

Good luck,

Vin
 

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My '89 is upgraded with springs and shocks and bars, frame stiffener, exhaust, steering wheel, stereo, cams, headers, new paint and top..and my next wet dream are 10:1 jugs.

The Spider is ancient technology dating back to the early '60's, so the whole car offers a veritable smorgasbord of options for update. Each and every thing I've done I have thoroughly enjoyed and has made a noticeable improvement, but be aware that no matter what you do, it will never be a mini Ferrari, or Porsche killer, it's still a delightful cruiser with lots of charm and great looks, the changes you make will be incremental, not revolutionary, but if you do enough it will make the car seem fresher and more contemporary.

My advice...after 26 years of tinkering and upgrades..is to do first what you want to, I don't think there's a right place to start. If I had to think about the part that I've probably gotten the most enjoyment out of right away and continues to be enjoyed literally every time I step on the gas (moving or not) it would have to be the exhaust..take the darn resonator off and replace it with a straight pipe, the thing will shriek and moan in your ear like an 18 year old who just snuck out of the house at midnight to meet you. And, like those encounters, leaves you wanting more....in this case, upgrades.
 

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Shocks, springs, bushes - huge amount of choice - engine upgrades are expensive and pretty pointless as you wont enjoy it much as if you don't improve the handling first.
Brake upgrades pretty pointless too as standard brakes in good condition are more than adequate unless you go racing: Note "in good condition" - check them over and replace the pads with new whether you think they are OK or not - often pads are barely worn but can be several years old and will disintegrate as time goes by.
Replacing the suspension bushes is always worthwhile if they have been on there from new
+1 on the driver training - always worth it
 

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A good outside/inside cleaning of the car will do wonders for the perceived speed :grin:.
At least my Spider feels faster when newly polished, when it in between repairs and upgrades sometimes do run :laughing:

Apart from that, the upgrades i have done to my spider, are to replace old and worn original parts with new and fresh "original" parts. They are more than adequate for the car. The only non original part i've added is an electronic ignition, which right now is causing all sorts of issues in other parts on the car. But your car already has an electronic ignition, so nothing for you to worry about. Just keep your Spider stocked up with new "original" parts and drive it, don't just tinker with it. Works for me, occasionally :wink:
 

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My '89 is upgraded with springs and shocks and bars, frame stiffener, exhaust, steering wheel, stereo, cams, headers, new paint and top..and my next wet dream are 10:1 jugs.

The Spider is ancient technology dating back to the early '60's, so the whole car offers a veritable smorgasbord of options for update. Each and every thing I've done I have thoroughly enjoyed and has made a noticeable improvement, but be aware that no matter what you do, it will never be a mini Ferrari, or Porsche killer, it's still a delightful cruiser with lots of charm and great looks, the changes you make will be incremental, not revolutionary, but if you do enough it will make the car seem fresher and more contemporary.

My advice...after 26 years of tinkering and upgrades..is to do first what you want to, I don't think there's a right place to start. If I had to think about the part that I've probably gotten the most enjoyment out of right away and continues to be enjoyed literally every time I step on the gas (moving or not) it would have to be the exhaust..take the darn resonator off and replace it with a straight pipe, the thing will shriek and moan in your ear like an 18 year old who just snuck out of the house at midnight to meet you. And, like those encounters, leaves you wanting more....in this case, upgrades.
I drive a built spider (turbo, big brakes, suspension), so my perspective is slightly different. It probably won't ever match a modern Ferrari unless you spend absolutely insane cash and throw streetability out the window, but it can certainly match a Porsche of similar vintage and at least nip at the heels of plenty of modern performance cars. Despite the old tech, the Spider has the advantage of being lighter than almost any current production car (only the Miata and 4C are in the same weight class).

But, I recognize that getting significant additional power out of the motor is a major undertaking. For that reason, I generally don't recommend the Spider for those primarily looking for speed. There are far easier cars to make fast. A stock spider is going to be slower than most SUVs on the road today, let alone sports cars. But the driving experience can't be replicated by a modern car.
 
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