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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I'll keep this short.

My 76' spider needs essentially a full valve job according to my mechanic (no compression at all on 2 cylinders) and a rebuilt head islooking to be very expensive. (Quoted $3500 Cad for full job including labor, plus 2 months turn around).

A local alfa enthusiast is selling a reconditioned 2 liter head nearby by me. Looks to be very serviceable.

How possible is it to just buy the other head and have it installed? . Am I inviting more problems? Will it need to be machined to fit flush still?

Cheers
 

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Hi guys,

I'll keep this short.

My 76' spider needs essentially a full valve job according to my mechanic (no compression at all on 2 cylinders) and a rebuilt head islooking to be very expensive. (Quoted $3500 Cad for full job including labor, plus 2 months turn around).

A local alfa enthusiast is selling a reconditioned 2 liter head nearby by me. Looks to be very serviceable.

How possible is it to just buy the other head and have it installed? . Am I inviting more problems? Will it need to be machined to fit flush still?

Cheers
That sounds outrageously high to me. If you find another head, I would have a machine shop check to be sure that the valves are seating properly and have him check the head for flatness and machine it if needed
 

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OUtrageous cost.
Why loss of compression in two cylinders? Are the 2 adjacent to each other that you think it's a head gasket?
The worry might be a crack in the head between the 2 cylinders -- won't find out until you pull the head.

Going with a recond'd head might be easiest. How much is the already reconditioned head?

There should be zero problems swapping heads, with the usual precautions about head surface.
I will bet there are several on this forum who can fix you up with another head, and there even was a member down in Houston who was GIVING a 2L head away, IIRC.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well gee, now I feel like I’m being swindled

the main issue is that I sold my house while back and now live in a condo, so I’m limited as to what diagnostics and repairs I can do in the parking garage.

It’s at a fairly reputable shop in Toronto, so I’m going purely off their diagnosis. It’s zero compression on 3&4 so yes, could be head gasket, but was told it’s stuck exhaust valves on both Cylinders.

So if I can source a decently priced, clean head, I should be okay? It’s just a good solid driver road car, so it don’t need it to be perfect.
 

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It’s at a fairly reputable shop in Toronto, so I’m going purely off their diagnosis. It’s zero compression on 3&4 so yes, could be head gasket, but was told it’s stuck exhaust valves on both Cylinders.
Was it this fairly reputable shop in Toronto who offered to source the rebuilt head for $3,500?

- If "yes", did that price include removing your existing head and re-installing the new head? If $3,500 covers the whole job, it's getting closer to reality, though I'll admit is no bargain.

- If "no", I'm puzzled why they would have diagnosed the problem, but left you on your own to find the replacement head. Most shops want to control the whole process so they won't get stuck with quality issues caused by the other guy's work.

You may find that your fairly reputable shop will be reluctant to install a head that you source yourself, again for the reason that if you get a bad part they won't want to be held responsible for problems they didn't cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry, perhaps I was a little unclear.

The $3500 quoted by the shop, is the whole package. Remove head, machine it, new valves etc and then reinstall. I found that to be much more expensive than I was expecting, as do a few other people on here It would seem.

The thought of me finding a good head myself and bringing it to them, is just my own attempt at reducing the cost
 

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Sorry, perhaps I was a little unclear.

The $3500 quoted by the shop, is the whole package. Remove head, machine it, new valves etc and then reinstall. I found that to be much more expensive than I was expecting, as do a few other people on here It would seem.

The thought of me finding a good head myself and bringing it to them, is just my own attempt at reducing the cost
I don’t think the cost is THAT outrageous. But the new head might be a pretty decent option. You can swap heads between engines. They aren’t like main caps.
 

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too cold to work on right now, in canada... i would just remove it under the cover of night.... get it decked,, you can lap in the valves yourself in the kitchen..( are you married? if not go for it.. if you are married, see if wife would like to see her mom and dad for a few days ) then install it on a sunday..
 

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Sorry, perhaps I was a little unclear. The $3500 quoted by the shop, is the whole package. Remove head, machine it, new valves etc and then reinstall.
Yes, I read your first post to mean that the cost of the rebuilt head alone would be $3,500. As nealric wrote, for a well-respected shop in the big city, $3,500 for the whole job may not be that off base. The "two month turn around" is a bit perplexing; I'd expect two weeks max. Most shops want to get cars in and out quickly.

The thought of me finding a good head myself and bringing it to them, is just my own attempt at reducing the cost
Well, you can run that approach by them. They'll probably say it won't save any money, since they still have to remove the old head and install the new/rebuilt head. Someone still has to pay for the machine work to the head that you find. Plus now you have to pay for the head that you find. Where would the savings would be?

If you want to pay less than $3,500, you might contact other shops and get competing quotes.
 

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Yes, I read your first post to mean that the cost of the rebuilt head alone would be $3,500. As nealric wrote, for a well-respected shop in the big city, $3,500 for the whole job may not be that far off base. The "two month turn around" is a bit perplexing; I'd expect two weeks max. Most shops want to get cars in and out quickly.
Probably machine shop backlog. Machine shops around here take forever to do anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
( are you married? if not go for it.. if you are married, see if wife would like to see her mom and dad for a few days ) then install it on a sunday..
I did do a full valve job on ‘66 Plymouth slant six in the dining room one long weekend years ago. Married now, and no matter how much I clean up, the one greasy finger print I missed always gets found :)

Thank you to all for the input. I guess maybe its not that far off base after all, I was just budgeting around $2000 - $2500 and was a bit surprised. The two month time is 100% a machine shop backlog, the mechanic told me himself.

Maybe it’s just best I get it done by them and at least I know it should be done well.
 

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there are lots of alfa owners in canada.. perhaps one might be nearby, that can help you
 

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I’m more curious about the stuck exhaust valve as a reason. Usually they wear sloppy. If they are bent, then why are they bent and what caused that? Does your quote include replacements to worn out cams and cam followers?
 

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I did do a full valve job on ‘66 Plymouth slant six in the dining room one long weekend years ago. Married now, and no matter how much I clean up, the one greasy finger print I missed always gets found :)

Thank you to all for the input. I guess maybe its not that far off base after all, I was just budgeting around $2000 - $2500 and was a bit surprised. The two month time is 100% a machine shop backlog, the mechanic told me himself.

Maybe it’s just best I get it done by them and at least I know it should be done well.
Maybe i need to get back in the repair business. To me that still sounds like a lot of money.
The last head I did a couple of years ago on an Alfa cost me about $300 at the machine shop (Valve job, crack check and decking)and about $100 worth of gaskets. Labor to pull and replace it. Even allowing 10 hours for that at $100/hour makes the whole thing under $2000 with oil and other consumables.
 

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I have a receipt from my recently purchased 1978 alfa spider for the very same job that you are describing and it was 3500 form the best alfa shop in northeast Ohio area.
 

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I have a receipt from my recently purchased 1978 alfa spider for the very same job that you are describing and it was 3500 form the best alfa shop in northeast Ohio area.
Looks like I should have stayed in the repair business! Or maybe I am just a tight wad :LOL:
 

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Would your wife say that you are a tight wad?
I could think of a lot of ways to answer that :LOL:

When it comes to spending money on things I like, not as much as I used to be.
Spending money on things like vacations, yes, she would definitely say that.

Combine that with the fact that i enjoy fixing up cars and the relatively low value of an S3 Alfa(which is what I have), there is no way I would spend that kind of money for a head job.;)
 

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I agree. I paid 4k for my S2 and the head job was done a couple of years ago. I would put another motor in before I spent 3500 on a head job. The head was all redone though and my car runs like a top still. I am sometime a cheap *** myself and my wife would concur.
 
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