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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,
I feel like should start every question with the caveat that most of my real knowledge about cars comes from working on my Spider that I inherited from my dad. When I had space in California, and a friend that was a car guy, I did most of the work myself - now that I'm in New England, I have to take it to a mechanic.

When the Spider came out of 20 years of mothballs a couple years ago, one thing that we never touched was the suspension. I have been thinking that it feels like it could use work and my mechanic has mentioned the springs once or twice. I am not sure that it needs work - there is no shake to the ride, it is just that every bump or pothole is teeth-rattling. So, I am considering having him take a look at the suspension.

My question is what should I expect? Is there anything that I should expect to need replacement? Anything that I should be surprised if it needs replaced? Any part brand that I should request as replacements?

always grateful for the help.

Ryan
 

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Lots of information on this topic if you "search."

Step one IMHO is to get manuals that show diagrams and give in depth instructions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Lots of information on this topic if you "search."

Step one IMHO is to get manuals that show diagrams and give in depth instructions.
Thanks 2Tomato -
I've got the manuals, including the factory manual, and I've looked over the threads here as I always do before posting. The problem with manuals is, of course, they tell you what goes together and how to take them apart and put them back together, but not usually how to assess the opinion offered to you by experts when you have neither the means nor expertise to address the issue yourself. Manuals also don't give the invaluable advice offered by enthusiasts that have been driving and working on Alfa's for years.
 

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Start with new shocks and see what happens. Sitting stationary for 20 years is not good for them.
 

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I had similar issues but not as old. New shocks and tires fixed most of the bone rattling bumps. I will be doing all of the bushings in the front end this summer. If you have him in there doing the full monty on the front end will really help.

If the springs are not sagged out or broken AND you like the way the car sits, then they can be left alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks for the tips. I will start with the shocks. Helpful advice as always.
 

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I agree that shocks and tires are the most likely place to look. Really, unless a spring actually breaks, which you can see with the naked eye, or a spring seat is loose/damaged, it's not real likely that your springs have gone bad. Shocks, like any other hydraulic contrivance, leak fluid when seals dry out and open up from age and lack of use.
 

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thanks for the tips. I will start with the shocks. Helpful advice as always.
I wouldn't go about blindly replacing anything just yet.

Have you pressed down on each fender of the car? Do any corners bounce around? If they all go down and come back up smoothly, then the shocks might be ok.

What kind of shocks are in there now? If they are a good aftermarket shock like a Koni, and they are in fact bad, then you might want to have it recharged.

Most stock Spiders have some level of 'cowl shake', that's normal.

With all of that said, if you start to fing individual bushings or ball joints in the suspension that are bad, I'd replace the all while you have it apart. A freshly rebuilt suspension can have a dramatic effect on a car, especially one where all the components are 30 years old and have some slop in them.

nth,

bs
 

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If they've never been replaced you can pretty well expect the upper and lower a-arm bushings to be gone. The lowers are probably now made up of a mixture of small parts of metal rubber and rust -- if they move at all.
 

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... A freshly rebuilt suspension can have a dramatic effect on a car, especially one where all the components are 30 years old and have some slop in them.

nth,

bs
Agree! I wouldn't hesitate to replace all the bushings, ball joints, shocks, etc. Recondition your tired suspension and you it will feel like a whole new car. And you will appreciate why these cars are so special...
 

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my mechanic has mentioned the springs once or twice.
Mentioned the springs how? That they're sagging? That they're too stiff (which is what your symptom "every bump or pothole is teeth-rattling" sounds like)? That one side of the car is a different height than the other?

As others have written, springs are about the least likely front end component to wear out - shocks and bushings have a finite life, but there isn't a lot to go wrong on springs. Especially on a car that has been sitting for 20 of its 40 year life.
 
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