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I'm in the process of fixing up an 84 Spider Veloce. Bought a new engine gasket set and I'm wondering if alfas are notorious for oil leaks, why are we buying the same gaskets from Italy as original instead of improving on a system that obviously fails? Maybe permatex, silicone?
 

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You can get Alfa gasket sets not made in Italy, but I doubt that they will leak any less than the Italian gaskets do. Alfas just leak from time to time and it is very hard to fix the leaks or replace a lot of the gaskets/seals. British cars were the same. When the Mazda Miata came out it was referred to as an MG which did not leak oil!

Robert
 

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For the head, I suggest you buy upgraded oil passage O-rings made of Viton rather than using the ones that come in most gasket sets, and also install roll pins if the car doesn't have them already (mine did). Most of the Alfa suppliers sell them. So far, using Viton and roll pins has held up for me.

Lots of head gasket threads on this forum since this is maybe the the most trouble-prone part of 2 litre Alfa engines and leaking oil O-rings are the most common major problem. Most minor oil leaks in Alfas are a nuisance but leaks at the head gasket can cause major engine damage so I wouldn't rely on half measures like using sealant where it is not intended.
 

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I'm not gonna tell you what to do, but I'll tell you what not to do: don't use so much sealant that it oozes out and winds up in the oil or coolant passages. I've seen that kill cars.

Personally all my Alfa engines seep a little oil from an amazing number of places. I've learned not to be OCD about it...as long as it's not getting on the belts it's not going to hurt anything, and you'll drive yourself nuts chasing it.
 

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I'm wondering if alfas are notorious for oil leaks, why are we buying the same gaskets from Italy as original instead of improving on a system that obviously fails? Maybe permatex, silicone?
Yes, Alfas are notorious for leaking oil. It isn't so much the composition or design of the gaskets; it's more:

- These engines weren't machined on cnc equipment like modern engines. Things just don't fit together as well and the surfaces aren't as smooth as on 21st Century engines.

- After 40 years, the surfaces where the lip seals contact are worn. This is a particular problem on the crankshaft pulley. You can use an Chicago Rawhide collar at that point, but other areas defy a solution.

- Aluminum expands more than a cast iron. So while your old Pontiac might have been relatively leak-free, your all-aluminum Alfa is tougher to keep sealed.

- Installing some of the seals is a bit of an art. Like the "cigarette" seals at the rear main and the O rings at the head gasket that 34acd mentioned. So your engine may not have leaked after the factory assembled it, but its old enough that it's most recent rebuild was probably done by non-factory personnel.

Gasket sealant, yes. Silicone, only in very thin applications - that stuff is better for fishtanks.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I'm borderline sometimes, but I've learned to not worry about oil leaks. Otherwise I'd probably be institutionalized by now.
 

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Ha, ha....guys like me ! Oh hh..the spray pattern of my windshield washer nozzles aren't uniform!....OMG, what should I do? Waahh...
You can adjust the spray pattern by moving the metal part of the nozzle with a pin. I mean, those HAVE to be uniform, or else it drives me nuts! :D
 

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I'm borderline sometimes, but I've learned to not worry about oil leaks. Otherwise I'd probably be institutionalized by now.
OK, same as anal. Now I get it. Thanks, as always!

I am still anal about some things, like stainless steel fasteners. But I have come to terms with oil leaks due to having owned too many Jags and MGs over the years. There are some things you just cannot do anything about.

Robert
 

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Not sure what year you have, good time to edit your signature and add that, but if you have the coolant passage holes at the back of the head, you definitely need gasket on both sides back there.

Good luck.

Vin
 

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Chicago rawhide collar is aka a Speedi-sleeve or Redi-sleeve depending on the brand. It is a very thin collar that is pressed on to a shaft to correct any imperfections in the sealing surface. Google it for better definitions. I have had excellent results at the front crankshaft seal. I have not been able to find the right size for transmission output yoke. They are not expensive or difficult to install. Rock Auto has them for the front crank pulley.
 

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I'm in the process of fixing up an 84 Spider Veloce. Bought a new engine gasket set and I'm wondering if alfas are notorious for oil leaks, why are we buying the same gaskets from Italy as original instead of improving on a system that obviously fails? Maybe permatex, silicone?
To be honest the OEM Alfa gaskets were always top notch but back in the 90's I bought an aftermarket gasket set from one of the big vendors and it was absolute crap. Fortunately I had used the valve cover gasket on my Alfetta prior to using the whole set on my engine overhaul for the Spider. So be careful if you want to experiment.

Although Alfas do tend to leak a bit I think the notorious reputation probably comes from the head gasket leaks on the 2 liters back in the 70's. It actually wasn't the gasket but the oil passage o-rings and the problem was solved with the roll pin kits and Viton rings.
 

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I am not sure why everyones engines leak. I have rebuilt many engines and no leaks so far....

1- I always used Reinze head gasket and little sealant only the back side near the passage also the head gasket instruction says that.

2- for the roll pins I use the ones from alfaparts in CA that you will only do it once and they stay for good, if the head needed to be taken a part again you will only change the viton rings.

3- For the cigarette seal I use redlock brand gasket don't recall the number and that will harden like a rock and seals it perfectly, much much better than the traditional cigarette seals.

4- For the rear main seal make sure it's flush with the crank, I have noticed some people just pushing it in and sits there good but loose.
 

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Tom and Eric,

I love your posts. You guys crack me up. A little light humor goes a long way.

Thanks Both, Robert
 
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