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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
KARS members will meet on Saturday, March 21, 2009, at 10:00 A.M. at the Cracker Barrel in Shelbyville, KY. The Cracker Barrel is located on KY-53, just north of I-64, exit 35.

See you there!!

Prolly won't drive and Alfa:( But the Zuki has an Alfa sticker on it.


Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Drivin' the 164! Got the engine mount in yesterday and am on my way to clean her up a little bit this am.

Hope to see more folks there.

Paul
 

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Well........what did I miss?
I had the kids for a variety of reasons that day and didn't get to make it. I did however help load the Alfetta GT (madmax) on a trailer and it is headed to Tennessee! I have ONE Alfa! First time in 15 years.........:eek:

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You didn't miss much. It was a nice day but there were only three cars:rolleyes:
Our 164,John and marsh in her white Spider and a Ford Explorer.
Nice drive though. It was on good roads and was short. That way you don't blow a whole day.
 

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Wait! your Title said 4-21!

I must demand a recount, my chad was hanging! Sorry I missed y'all, but I was at Ft. Knox. The main reason for this post, tho, is to tell you that I am checking my [email protected] account more than my insight account these days, so if you could change me in your address book?
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
10-4

Paul

**** did it again....You know that I have no sense of space or time.:)
 

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Hey guys,

I know this is a little off topic but with this being spring break week for me I have had time to play with the 164 and perform a few repairs. Ordinarily I would submit this under the 164 technical forum, but I wanted the advice of the KY contingent who understands best the lack of decent mechanics.

When I hit my brakes, I get a shimmy from the front which I assume is from a warped rotor. I called a few local (Pikeville) shops today who gave me the standard "What kind of car do you have" ... followed by.."What the heck is that".

My question is, is there a good way to see if the rotor is in fact warped without use of special tools. I have never replaced brake rotors on a 164 before and do not relish doing it in my APT parking lot unless I was sure.. also I would hate to buy parts and have it not be the case.

All I know is that the car is relatively smooth while cruising and then feels like a cheap motel vibrating bed when I hit the brakes at speed. The car stops fine with good pedal pressure... it just vibrates the heck out of my spine.

Any suggestions?

Cheers and many thanks!

Martin.
 

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Hi Martin,

What you need is a precision guage to check brake disc run-out. Lacking this, here's something you could try in the parking lot: try removing a tire & wheel and making a really simple guage out of something like coat hanger wire. Wrap and twist the wire firmly around the nearest suspension piece - or on the back of a brake caliper (try to make this as short as possible, and really tight) then direct the end to the outside of the disc surface where the brake pad rubs. Rotate the caliper until the wire just touches the smooth area, then rotate 180 degrees to see if there is any clearance. Admittedly, this isn't the best scheme but you may be able to see if there is any run-out. Also, when you have the car kacked up grab the tire and shake in two planes; side-to-side movement tends to mean worn tie rod ends while top-to-bottom movement tends to indiate loose wheel bearings.

Just remember, this advice comes from someone who used a glass mason jar to evaluate the performance of the fuel return restrictor on a Milano (if you don't know the local use of a mason jar, ask some of the natives)

Hey guys,

I know this is a little off topic but with this being spring break week for me I have had time to play with the 164 and perform a few repairs. Ordinarily I would submit this under the 164 technical forum, but I wanted the advice of the KY contingent who understands best the lack of decent mechanics.

When I hit my brakes, I get a shimmy from the front which I assume is from a warped rotor. I called a few local (Pikeville) shops today who gave me the standard "What kind of car do you have" ... followed by.."What the heck is that".

My question is, is there a good way to see if the rotor is in fact warped without use of special tools. I have never replaced brake rotors on a 164 before and do not relish doing it in my APT parking lot unless I was sure.. also I would hate to buy parts and have it not be the case.

All I know is that the car is relatively smooth while cruising and then feels like a cheap motel vibrating bed when I hit the brakes at speed. The car stops fine with good pedal pressure... it just vibrates the heck out of my spine.

Any suggestions?

Cheers and many thanks!

Martin.
 

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Martin,

I'm not sure. The extreme shimmy you describe might be from brake rotor distortion, or a combination of front suspension / bearing looseness combining to produce the shimmy, or all of the above. my suggestion, which was reversed in sequence, is to shake the (elevated) front wheels at 90 degree angles to see if there is any looseness, then to use crude guage to see if there is any run-out of the front brake rotors. If you can find a sympathetic front end alignment shop with a system that will give you a printout, maybe they would do an alignment & looseness check seperate from any actual repairs.

And... I just re-read your original message. When you push on the brakes and get the shimmy, does the brake pedal pulsate? (this is the classical symtom of a warped disc). No pulsation would indicate a problem other than with brake rotors.

Maybe some of the 164 experts will chime in on the topic. What I am suggesting is that it's better to spend a little money on diagnostics before letting someone throw new parts at the car.

George,

Thank you for the advice. Would there be any other symptoms if either the tie rods or wheel bearings were going bad?
 

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George,

Thanks again for the suggestion... My next question is... Should I find any looseness in the suspension e.g. wheel bearing is this a "must replace" issue or a tighten up issue. I know with tie-rods its not a big deal to replace those nor are they terribly expensive but the wheel bearings on a 164 are something in the neighborhood of $100.00 a piece.

I ask because I did have a shop over Thanksgiving do a 4-wheel alignment and they didnt report anything out of the ordinary.. but if I find a problem I hope to have recourse with their work.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate on this end of the state and I will be able to jack up the car tomorrow or Thursday and take a look.

Thanks again!

Cheers
Martin.

PS... just a thought: I attributed the possibility of a warped disk to my moving from lower to higher altitudes coupled with my changing demands for the car. However your suggestions have me thinking because when I moved to KY I had the car flatbedded and the front wheels were held down with tie straps... any thoughts on damages from that?
 

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Martin,

I don't think transporting the car with the wheels tied down should cause your shimmy problems; lots of people use this method. I wonder if you should take this discussion to the 164 forum, since no one has picked up on your questions here.

George,

Thanks again for the suggestion... My next question is... Should I find any looseness in the suspension e.g. wheel bearing is this a "must replace" issue or a tighten up issue. I know with tie-rods its not a big deal to replace those nor are they terribly expensive but the wheel bearings on a 164 are something in the neighborhood of $100.00 a piece.

I ask because I did have a shop over Thanksgiving do a 4-wheel alignment and they didnt report anything out of the ordinary.. but if I find a problem I hope to have recourse with their work.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate on this end of the state and I will be able to jack up the car tomorrow or Thursday and take a look.

Thanks again!

Cheers
Martin.

PS... just a thought: I attributed the possibility of a warped disk to my moving from lower to higher altitudes coupled with my changing demands for the car. However your suggestions have me thinking because when I moved to KY I had the car flatbedded and the front wheels were held down with tie straps... any thoughts on damages from that?
 

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Martin,

I don't think transporting the car with the wheels tied down should cause your shimmy problems; lots of people use this method. I wonder if you should take this discussion to the 164 forum, since no one has picked up on your questions here.

George,

Thanks again for the suggestion... My next question is... Should I find any looseness in the suspension e.g. wheel bearing is this a "must replace" issue or a tighten up issue. I know with tie-rods its not a big deal to replace those nor are they terribly expensive but the wheel bearings on a 164 are something in the neighborhood of $100.00 a piece.

I ask because I did have a shop over Thanksgiving do a 4-wheel alignment and they didnt report anything out of the ordinary.. but if I find a problem I hope to have recourse with their work.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate on this end of the state and I will be able to jack up the car tomorrow or Thursday and take a look.

Thanks again!

Cheers
Martin.

PS... just a thought: I attributed the possibility of a warped disk to my moving from lower to higher altitudes coupled with my changing demands for the car. However your suggestions have me thinking because when I moved to KY I had the car flatbedded and the front wheels were held down with tie straps... any thoughts on damages from that?
 

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George,

Thanks again! I have tried the 164 technical forum for this issue but the responses were few and far between which is why I tried here before desperation set in.

I go to the Med. School here in Pikeville and a few of my classmates who drive foreign cars use a mechanic just north of Prestonsburg but he has never worked on Alfas. Given that I am on spring break I had hoped to at least solve the mystery.. so your advice and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Since I have you on the line so to speak.... Lexington is only a 2 hr drive for me.. are there any good alfa mechanics in that area that I should know about?

Lastly... in your experience could a wheel imbalance cause any of the symptoms? I know this is all academic until I run out there and jack up the car, but any thoughts are greatly appreciated. What ever is happening I am pretty sure that we are dealing with a rotating part because the car is stable at speed, it only gets bumpy when I hit the brakes.

Thanks again George! I'll let you know what I find out.

Cheers from Pikeville
Martin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey Martin. The easiest fastest way would be to jack up each wheel (front & rear) and spin it as fast as you can. (w/car in nuetral ) and see if you can hear the pads touching the rotor as the wheel rotates. If you are feeling the vibs in your seat there is a chance that you have rear warpage. It can be front and rear at the same time. YOu will also be able to tel then if you might have a sticking caliper also that has over heated a rotor and warped it. If you need rotors see if you can find the ATE brand. They are not too much and are good quality.
See attached pic.

Paul
 

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Hi Martin,

Here are a few more random comments / questions:

1. Since you had a 4 wheel alignment recently, it seems like the wheel bearings & ball joints are probably OK. Alignment shops tend to find wear in these areas to make a profit in replacement so they would have found anything out of spec. Of course, if some component became more worn since the alignment this reasoning is flawed.

2. Your 164, in reality, is just a car (it's even a close relative of the SAAB 9000), and it's problems may be caused by the same components as other makes. Maybe the mechanic in Prestonsburg could test drive the car for an opinion. Or, I have a friend who manages a tire store in Lexington with a state of the art alignment machine. You might want to have them check the car, but there will be a charge.

3. While you have the tires off, be sure to check the brake pad thickness (you can see the edges of the pads by looking through the outer edge of the calipers). Just possibly, one or more pads are worn down and are juddering when applied.

4. There are no Alfa-specific mechanics in Lexington. If I needed such, I would go to European Auto Specialists in Northwest Cincinnati. Owner Lee Scovanner is an AROC member, and the shop has a good reputation (tell Lee I recommended you to him). eurospecialists.com

5. Lastly, I have been assuming the shimmy comes from the front. Correct?

George,

Thanks again! I have tried the 164 technical forum for this issue but the responses were few and far between which is why I tried here before desperation set in.

I go to the Med. School here in Pikeville and a few of my classmates who drive foreign cars use a mechanic just north of Prestonsburg but he has never worked on Alfas. Given that I am on spring break I had hoped to at least solve the mystery.. so your advice and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Since I have you on the line so to speak.... Lexington is only a 2 hr drive for me.. are there any good alfa mechanics in that area that I should know about?

Lastly... in your experience could a wheel imbalance cause any of the symptoms? I know this is all academic until I run out there and jack up the car, but any thoughts are greatly appreciated. What ever is happening I am pretty sure that we are dealing with a rotating part because the car is stable at speed, it only gets bumpy when I hit the brakes.

Thanks again George! I'll let you know what I find out.

Cheers from Pikeville
Martin.
 

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Update

Dear George & Paul,

Thanks again guys for all your help!!!

Well about an hour ago the rain subsided so I went out with jack in hand and lifted the car. Given that the shimmy translates through the steering wheel/front end and not my backside I had just about enough time in between cloud bursts to check the front wheels.

I pulled, shook, and yanked on the thing like a brute but nothing moved. The only play I felt also wiggled the steering wheel in tandem with the direction I was pulling the wheel so I can only assume from this that my tie rods and wheel bearings are good.

As for the brakes, when I had each wheel in the air I spun the heck out of them watching for any bouncing or grinding issue. The Driver's side spun freely and the rotor felt nice and flat/smooth. HOWEVER.... The passenger side front while it spun easily ... It came to a stop much sooner than did the driver's side... Also there was what sounded like a "Scrape" when certain parts of the wheel passed the caliper... where as the Driver's side was uniform in sound when I spun the wheel. Lastly, the passenger side front disk felt "Deeper" close to the hub, and more shallow toward the edge (If that makes sense) It felt as though the rotor were beveled. It looks quite smooth to the eye.. but it was definitely not entirely smooth to the touch.

SO maybe I have my answer... What do you think? Also... I am curious why the shaking would only be present from higher speeds... and not all the time.

Is there any way to salvage the rotors? the sad part is that there are only 12,xxx miles on them and there is lots of thickness left. Obviously I would need new pads, but those can be had just about any where and are easy to install... Suggestions?

Thanks again folks!

Cheers
Martin.
 

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Martin,

While your discovery might not be the "assignable cause" of your shimmy, you may be closing in on it. While the quick & dirty plan might be to just replace pads (could you tell if one side was worn differently than the other?), it's better to have the rotors surfaced. There's a 164 owner in Lexington who works at an O'Reilley's Auto Parts and can turn the rotors. He will also know what the minimum allowable thickness is. I also suspect you could get this done locally (once removed from the car, a rotor is kinda generic).

Have you ever changed brake pads before?. Do you have a shop manual or Car Disc?

One last thought; the passenger side caliper might have one or two sticky pistons. You should be able to access the pads from the outside of the caliper. Stick a screwdriver in and see if the pad can be pushed inwards. Maybe compare this to the driver's side to see if there is an appreciable difference in the force needed to move the pad(s).

Dear George & Paul,

Thanks again guys for all your help!!!

Well about an hour ago the rain subsided so I went out with jack in hand and lifted the car. Given that the shimmy translates through the steering wheel/front end and not my backside I had just about enough time in between cloud bursts to check the front wheels.

I pulled, shook, and yanked on the thing like a brute but nothing moved. The only play I felt also wiggled the steering wheel in tandem with the direction I was pulling the wheel so I can only assume from this that my tie rods and wheel bearings are good.

As for the brakes, when I had each wheel in the air I spun the heck out of them watching for any bouncing or grinding issue. The Driver's side spun freely and the rotor felt nice and flat/smooth. HOWEVER.... The passenger side front while it spun easily ... It came to a stop much sooner than did the driver's side... Also there was what sounded like a "Scrape" when certain parts of the wheel passed the caliper... where as the Driver's side was uniform in sound when I spun the wheel. Lastly, the passenger side front disk felt "Deeper" close to the hub, and more shallow toward the edge (If that makes sense) It felt as though the rotor were beveled. It looks quite smooth to the eye.. but it was definitely not entirely smooth to the touch.

SO maybe I have my answer... What do you think? Also... I am curious why the shaking would only be present from higher speeds... and not all the time.

Is there any way to salvage the rotors? the sad part is that there are only 12,xxx miles on them and there is lots of thickness left. Obviously I would need new pads, but those can be had just about any where and are easy to install... Suggestions?

Thanks again folks!

Cheers
Martin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sounds like you got it. You can sometimes see a discoloration at the point of contact. When you change pads which you will want to do when you have the rotors resurfaced or replaced, I would go with an organic compound that will be easy on the rotors and will have less dust. You also want to make sure that the front and rear pads are matched with the same compound.(friction material)
What can happen is if you have a hard pad in the rear and a soft pad in the front you will have uneven brakes that will tend to overheat the rotors with the softer compound.
Does that make sense?

Might not hurt to change the hoses and flush the brake system every year also.
I use the stainless braided hoses on both the Alfas and it really does make a difference in pedal feel.
Paul
 
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