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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
a little more power, omphhh, on a '91 California Spider? I got that Squadra chip, helped a bit but I can still use maybe....20-30 HP. (Stuff that won't cause me to fail %%[email protected]#@*^ CARB emissions test)
I know this has been beat to death and no I don't want/need a Corvette, so sensible, serious suggestions will be much appreciated. :mad:

Thanks guys.
 

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20-30 hp at the rear wheels is an incredible amount of power. (Real world numbers, not nonsense like "replace the muffler with a straight pipe an get a 10 hp increase".) To achieve this kind of power you should be prepared to spend approximately $15k. There is no single upgrade that will significantly increase the power in your car. Rather, there are several serious upgrades, like head work, which when done properly will work together to yield increased power, while still maintaining an emissions compliant vehicle. I would suggest that you contact your local AROC chapter and attend a dyno session. Look at the numbers your car is producing in its current configuration, and then drive other cars that have been modified and which on the dyno are registering 20 to 30 more hp than your car. I suggest that you do this first, because it is always best to know what you are shooting for before you embark on the road of (expensive) upgrades.

This is a long subject, but it is also a fun subject, and a Spider with some sensible upgrades is an absolutely incredible machine. To get you started, I would suggest you look at the information on a post I wrote as part of the thread "more horsepower for 87 veloce". (Don't dismiss it because of the title. There's plenty of info applicable to a series 4 car.) I'm sure you will have questions after reviewing the thread, and considering what other BBers suggest.

Best regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
To get you started, I would suggest you look at the information on a post I wrote as part of the thread "more horsepower for 87 veloce". (Don't dismiss it because of the title. There's plenty of info applicable to a series 4 car.) I'm sure you will have questions after reviewing the thread, and considering what other BBers suggest.

Best regards,
Great, will check, thanks
 

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IMO, it'd be a lot easier/cheaper to reduce the car's weight. Remove things that have nothing to do with going/stopping. Leave the spare tire & jack home. Remove the heavy bumpers and body cladding. Is that a hard top in your photo? Leave that home, too.

Try Atkins or South Beach...
 

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20-30 hp isn't $15k worth Enrique. If you are spending that much....come to me!:D I'll build you an engine!:D:D:D

But it isn't going to necessarily be cheap either.:D

The series 4 gets around 130 hp at the crank with the chip. So you are talking 160 at the crank. The 90-94 Spiders all benefited from great flowing 4 into 2 cast headers and motronic 10:1 compression pistons. But the series 4 spiders (91-94) are the heaviest of the spiders and have a new accessory to spin...power steering.

To get the hp you want requires tearing down the motor. The bottom half could benefit greatly just from balancing. That is the main thing. The pistons and the rest are good enough for your target. If you were looking beyond 20-30 hp, well then there are higher compression light weight forged pistons, overbore pistons, carillo rods, aluminum flywheels,etc. Go as crazy as one desires.

The top end is where you'll find the power. The head needs oversized intake and exhaust valves with relieved poppets, 3 angle valve seats, porting and polishing and port matching from the intake to the exhaust manifold. A set of performance cams would certainly help...although I believe the S4 had more aggressive cams than the S3 spiders. You know...really, if you just did the head work alone, you'd probably be in that range.

Other things to consider to increase the performance of your spider....how about a different differential. Yours should have a 4.1:1. Series 2 spiders had 4.56:1 with gave quicker take offs at the expense of top end.

The cost aspect...well if you can pull the motor apart and take it to the machine shop. And then reassemble the motor post machine shop....its not bad at all. If you are check booking this......probably around $3000-4000 for the rebuild and removal and install, then minimum $500-1000 in parts providing you are being minimal to the bottom end, then $2000-$3000 in machine shop. Probably around $8k tops. About two to three times your cost as compared to your cost if you were doing the rebuild, removal, and install on your own.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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The 90-94 Spiders all benefited from great flowing 4 into 2 cast headers and motronic 10:1 compression pistons.

Best Regards,
John M
9.5:1 pistons according to Alfa's PDF files on cardisc. I agree, $15K is way too much $$$ to get that, again, though, I estimate $1500 total, if he does his own manual labor.
 

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20-30 hp isn't $15k worth Enrique. If you are spending that much....come to me!:D I'll build you an engine!
I think a lot of it depends on whether you're paying for it, or doing the work yourself. That said, $15k sounds a bit high, but on the later cars, you're looking at aftermarket electronics to go along with any engine work that is done, and most shops will spend a lot of time sorting that out.

bs
 

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I think a lot of it depends on whether you're paying for it, or doing the work yourself. That said, $15k sounds a bit high, but on the later cars, you're looking at aftermarket electronics to go along with any engine work that is done, and most shops will spend a lot of time sorting that out.

bs
Very good on that! $15K would buy parts galore that some could not do on their own, but again, even $15K could buy some labor and lots of parts, but the end result would be higher. I've already emailed the thread starter, trying to know how much he can do on his own and what he could buy for just $1500 if he could do his own work, that would not effect his emmissions testing.
 

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Enrique, did you mean this post?

(your link above goes to a page you're not on in that thread)
Thanks, Tifosi. The original link was wrong, as you pointed out, and I have corrected it, on the original post. I wouldn't have realized it without you mentioning it....

The post that you mention here, and asked if it was the one I meant to reference, is not the post I was referring to. It is another post I wrote on the same thread, but it's actually a follow-up post to the discussion that ensued.

Best regards,
 

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First rule is finding out if the given car is up to the original power standards. It may very be wrongly tuned up or worn, even if it not done many miles.
Erik
 

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First rule is finding out if the given car is up to the original power standards. It may very be wrongly tuned up or worn, even if it not done many miles.
Erik
Come on, most people are not satisfied with just 130bhp in a SPORTS car, that isn't how things work. Yes, tune up, new cap, wires, plugs for 3 more horses...***?!? Sure remove the spare tire, passenger seat, lets go ahead and remove the top and hard top, trunk lid and hood and maybe it will feel like we gained 5 horses...Geez. Stay on topic.
 

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20-30 hp isn't $15k worth Enrique. If you are spending that much....come to me!:D I'll build you an engine!:D:D:D
...
... That said, $15k sounds a bit high, ...
... I agree, $15K is way too much $$$ ...
Gents,

I do know that my estimate is current and accurate about the cost, and I'm not talking about someone doing their own work, but rather paying an Alfa shop to do it. And an experienced Alfa shop at that; not one that only does maintenance. Just for the record, I am privy to the building of two such cars, which were delivered in the last six months, both with very satisfying results, done by two different shops. In both cases, the cars got the works, with everything being done at once. The car owners are very happy and neither one feels he overpaid. Yes, if you only do a piece, like the head as I said in my first post, then it's no where near that cost. For example, I think those who specialize in Alfa head work charge around $2k for a Stage V. You ship the head to them, so it doesn't include the labor to pull it off or re-install it, or shipping. Of course, you can do a stage III and be very happy.

When a car is at a shop, the hours really add up, and as long as it is on a bay, the owner will pay. It doesn't matter if the mechanic has to re-do a procedure, or is having a fitment issue, or gets inspired and goes above and beyond what you would expect, or gets a phone call, or has to go the bathroom, etc. Also, trips to the machine shop, whether 5 or 45 minutes away, plus time spent at the counter waiting, are all paid for by the car owner. Even if the mechanic stops to get a bottle of water, or a cup of coffee, the owner pays. Then, any sourcing of parts that involves time, or paying middlemen, or a specialist, all add to the cost. Everyone involved adds on their profit, and none view their services as non-deserving of a mark-up that will allow them to send their kids to college. Not to mention shipping, tax (on everything), and even miscellaneous shop materials, like cleansers, degreasers, and towels.

Brian, in a different situation that you and I are aware of, where things didn't go as planned, the cost was already at $15k. In that case, I have heard that because things didn't go well, and the customer had fully paid already, he wasn't charged any more, and the shop kept working to the point that they certainly lost more money than they made.

David, just think of what you would've paid had you had EASL change your water pump. Remember? I do. Full OEM price for the pump at $200, plus a belt, plus $90 per hour for labor, which includes a good cleaning of the area being serviced, plus shop materials, plus tax. I would bet that that it would have easily been four times what it cost you to do it yourself. And that task requires no special skill at all.

Just for the record, John. The upgrades on my '84 - the black one that you fear, as it is the killer of "baby seal meat hunters" :D - were done over many years of ownership, so I've not had to face this expense at once. Nonetheless, I have estimated what I would have to pay a shop to re-create my car today, but I can't get an answer of whether this is an "accepted value". I will however, as soon as the insurance agent recovers from his comma. :D:D:D

Best regards,
 

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Come on, most people are not satisfied with just 130bhp in a SPORTS car, that isn't how things work. Yes, tune up, new cap, wires, plugs for 3 more horses...***?!? Sure remove the spare tire, passenger seat, lets go ahead and remove the top and hard top, trunk lid and hood and maybe it will feel like we gained 5 horses...Geez. Stay on topic.
A proper tune-up and paring off un-needed weight is precisely 'on-topic'. See quote below:

so sensible, serious suggestions will be much appreciated...
 

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For sure 10:1 David. Where does it say that on the car disc? I have that disc.

Brian, I don't think you'd have to change a thing with the motronic. Head mods should be well within the limitations of the system. I am not suggesting being very radical at all.

Enrique, I think you are talking about something more extreme and I am referring to the mundane. Unless they are being extremely radical and buying a bunch of parts....where is the money going? It doesn't take anything radical to achieve what this guy is desiring. If you are check booking it you are looking at the cost of an engine rebuild, machine shop (included head and block), and parts (valves, valve springs, gaskets, rings, bearings, even piston/liner set and cams) and you are no where near the costs.

In my opinion, what it doesn't take to make just 20-30hp is forged pistons, overbore pistons and liners, ITBs, aluminum flywheels, carillo rods, ECUs like my autronic or Steck's electromotive, turbos, superchargers, exhaust work, headers, etc. But if I were dropping 15-20k...I would expect the above goodies. If I thought people were check booking around here $15,000 for 20-30hp....I swear I would open a shop and quit my day job. I accept the possibility that there are places that would price gouge the snot out of people. And I acknowledge that paying people crazy money for doing rebuilds, installing parts, etc, is and has been a strong motivator for people to learn to do their own work, including myself. Any way you cut it the majority of the cost is labor. If you are are the labor, and you are only paying for the parts and machine shop work...you'll cut 1/2 to 2/3rds of the cost out.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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First rule is finding out if your Spider is delivering the standard amount of power. It might be wrongly tunes or have some engine fault - disspite few miles on the clock. When this is established, maybe a Spider isn't the car for you, afterall.
Then, considder that you what, better acceleration or top speed. Considdering it's acceleration, as someone wrote, lightning the car and a light tune is the way to go.
Erik
 

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First rule is finding out if your Spider is delivering the standard amount of power. It might be wrongly tunes or have some engine fault - disspite few miles on the clock. When this is established, maybe a Spider isn't the car for you, afterall.
Then, considder that you what, better acceleration or top speed. Considdering it's acceleration, as someone wrote, lightning the car and a light tune is the way to go.
Erik
Hi Erik,

I do agree with what you are saying... Note that the first suggestion I made to the author of this thread was to join in on a dyno session. I am a firm believer that one needs to first, get a baseline of where one's car is at, and then compare it to other cars with upgrades, in order to identify the desired level of increased performance and devise a sensible plan. This would identify a poor running car right away, but even at full spec, all Spiders built after 1974 are slow off the line. This is very noticeable when a red light turns green, and other cars accelerate leaving the Spider behind. After it comes up to speed, then it's fine, but for some this isn't enough. It's even more frustrating when one realizes that a 1974 Spider can beat the pants off any 1990's Spider.

Of course lightening up the car helps performance, but what are you suggesting be removed? I can't think of anything I would want to take off from a street Spider...

Best regards,
 

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A proper tune-up and paring off un-needed weight is precisely 'on-topic'. See quote below:
That wasn't an attack towards you, just that there is advice and parts out there, that will get him what he wants without being stranded on the highway without a spare.
 

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even more frustrating when one realizes that a 1974 Spider can beat the pants off any 1990's Spider.


Best regards,
Not if that 1990's spider is black!!!!!!:D:eek:
 
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