With respects to Jeff Beck and Beth Hart (sung in tribute to the writer, Buddy Guy).
I've been sorting my freshly plated hardware. A job that requires patience and Ibuprofen for the resulting sore back.
The tale of Alfa 8mm nuts.
How many varieties of 8mm nuts are to be found on a 102 automobile?
There's the 1.0 and 1.25 threads.
Almost all are 14mm wrench size, but some 13mm wrench size are present in the pile I removed from the car.
Of the 14mm wrench size, 1.0 thread, there's thick, medium thick, thin, and very thin.
Of the 14mm wrench size, 1.25 thread, there's thick, medium, and thin
And they all lived happily ever after.
And then their cousins the washers came for a visit. I really hate washer sorting.
How many 10mm types has Alfa used? 1.0, 1.25, and 1.5 pitches. We'll end the story here.
But why blind?
Many decades ago while working in the domestic auto parts business (a dull work. I don't recommend it), I visited an alternator/starter rebuilding business in Schenectady, NY. (a dreary town. I don't recommend it). The owner gave me a tour, at one point visiting a room where they sorted the recently cleaned alternator housings into piles by type. On this day, they were sorting either Ford or Chevy alternator bodies. The room was entirely dark, but the worker was beavering away at high speed tossing the drive-end housings into about four or five different piles.
I asked the owner why he didn't have lights turned on, the better to help the workman do his work? He replied "because he's blind. It wouldn't help".
It turns out the young fellow could tell which front housing it was just by grabbing the body, and with a forefinger and thumb, could tell whether the attachment and adjusting holes were 5/16" or 8mm, both of which were used by Ford or Chevy (I don't recall which).
I got the rear end assembly pretty much done today. I thought it would take me about 10 minutes to finish the left brake assembly, but nothing I tried would get the drum to fit over the shoes. After fussing with it for a couple of hours, I just came inside, had lunch, and went back out for another shot.
The first new thing I checked was the adjuster assembly.
I've assembled these things dozens of times, but today was the first time I found out that the pistons have a left/right (or fore-aft) configuration. The right brake had gone together with no delays, so why not the left. Fortunately, I could go back and forth between the two comparing everything, and finally I decided to measure the protrusion of the brake shoe ears where they inserted into the adjust. Bingo.
Below are the two configurations. The first is wrong, the second is correct. The faces of the two pistons have two angles ground into them. One of the faces takes the contact with the adjusting ram, while the other face is intended to give clearance so the pistons can fully close. If you get them reversed, the pistons won't completely come together. That leaves the shoes not quite a millimeter too far out.
So, now the rear end is together, including the Borrani adapters. No drama there. I could have waited on some of this stuff, but I'm trying to get as many things into finished assemblies as possible.
I've been dithering away on a few things, primarily the front suspension assemblies. This led to a contretemps with my long-term powder coater yesterday. He's a well-meaning, but simple man, and I've found I have to be very careful in explaining what must be masked prior to coating. Every now and then, he goofs, but we've managed to move forward.
I took the entire left front suspension assembly to his shop last week. He wasn't in, but I spoke with his wife who is a delightful person. She got her prep-guy up, being the one that would apply all of the tape, dots, and plugs to protect areas that should not be coated. When I picked up the order yesterday, EVERY piece had critical areas coated that shouldn't be. I don't get upset at these things, just assuming we'll sort it out, and move on.
Al came out, and I showed him all the problems. He got stony faced and said "none of our other customers are so picky". Hmmm. Maybe we aren't communicating. I explained it wasn't the quality, it was the lack of following quite simple, but specific guidelines. He said again "no one else minds the way we do it".
Sigh. I don't like trying to slide bearings over a couple of thou of hard powder coating, or having paint compressed in critical tension joints. Oh well. I've got another coater up in Reno that I've worked with. More of a drive, but they've always understood simple instructions.
In spite of fairly low miles, a couple of the control arms appear to have a bend in them. I've got some spares, so that probably won't be a problem. There's no sign of impact, so I'm wondering if Alfa figured a slight bend wasn't really critical, so long as the inner and outer bushing holes are aligned? The bend would not change the length in a significant way, so really it's rotational alignment that would matter. As loyal readers might remember, one wheel well contained a freshly painted suspension assembly, while the other was all crusty with road crud and armadillo remains. One must wonder what led to the work, but it could have been just idle hands cleaning up after a wheel bearing change.
All of the bushings and rotational surfaces were nice and clean, so I expect reassembly to be reasonably straight forward.
The left king pin was a grump to remove. This led me to make an extraction tool for the right side. About 45 minutes for the first one, 5 minutes with the tool. Yup.
Meanwhile back at the ranch...
We're awaiting either the new heart-grille I've ordered from CA, or the restored original to show up, so we can finish the detail body prep around its mounting area on the nose. Best to get it perfect before painting. Otherwise, the body is very close to getting its primer. All of the repair work is done, and Kelly is working on tiny details, door gaps, and hang, etc.
Mars at WULPH says they are ready to ship the finished seats, top cover boot, and sufficient leather to complete all of that stuff. Carpet is a few weeks off.
All of my chrome is up in Seattle, receipt confirmed. Phew! As laconic as he is, Art (of Art Brass Plating) is confidence-inspiring to work with. I will report the final results and cost for those of you seeking such references. I've already described the perfect work he did on a bunch of hub caps.
By the way, I shipped him 8 more hub caps to restore, and I won't need them. I've already got a full set, plus a spare, and 1488 is getting the wire wheels. So - if anyone needs ORIGINAL, and perfectly restored hub caps, let me know. I have no idea of the cost, but it'll be whatever they cost me, plus a fair price for the original caps. I may not have enough inner emblems to finish them, but we'll see how that goes. I've got some, all of them usable if not perfect. Maybe we can get Franjo to reproduce a bunch of hub cap centers?
I'm due to ship out all of my instruments to a non Palo-Alto restoration shop. He's well known in the Alfa world, but I'll save the name until I can report on his work. Nice guy.
Here's some pics of the suspension bits, mainly for me to refer to when reassembly time comes around. I chose to have them powder coated one side-assembly at a time, the better to avoid swapping up parts like I did last time.
It seems there is one company, name unknown, making new trim parts for the Touring cars, and probably other Alfas. They supply the normal outlets, such as AFRA, Classic, OKP, etc. Years ago they made some of these nose grilles, but the supply has dried up. Everyone I’ve spoken with assures me the supply will be replenished, but no dates are quoted. I’m having my original grille restored, and expect its return in a couple of weeks. I’d like to have a new spare as well, as this part is likely to be the first thing to arrive at the scene of the accident.
I received the interior and carpet from World Upholstery today. I haven’t unpacked it yet, for lack of space in the shop. A look inside the box revealed lots of...... red. I’ll post pics when I can spread it out. I hope to get Johnny started on the door panels and rear wrap arounds in the next few weeks. He’s the guy that did my Alcantera interior innthe Full Monty.
The nose grille is supposed to be finished this week, up at Art Brass Plating. At least that’s what Art said last week. We need that so Kelly can finish up the panel beating, and move on to painting.
I pondered repainting the tie rod ends, as they are nice and tight. However, they aren’t particularly smooth. New units ordered.
The front suspension components should be back from the powder shop next week. Those are the last major subassembly to be reassembled. Lots of small stuff to do, of course, but I expect the car should come together nicely once it gets back.
I hope to post a pictorial how-to on the OKP manifold plus custom air plenum installation.
All of the steel parts get baked before being bead plasted, in order to remove any oil or grease that has soaked into any micro-pores in the metal. They did this to my tie rod ends. It is entirely possible that the roughness I felt in wiggling the rod ends would have cleared up after powder coating and being regreased. However, I’m aiming for a no-compromise result, so some things get redone that might have been reused.
I think the front suspension assemblies are the most fiddly thing to assemble on the car. Having made several misdirections on my last car, I decided to employ more care and planning on this one to spare the do-overs.
For those of you contemplating this work...
The upper and lower A-arms are matched sets., and generally stamped with ID numbers to tell them apart. If one or the other A-arm piece appears bent, it may not be. This may have been a corrective action during manufacture to fix a casting or assembly issue. If either A-arm half has been distorted from use, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to assemble an A-arm and get it to fit smoothly onto the trunnion and vertical pivot assembly.
The trunnions pins have a front and rear that must be confirmed before you bend over the lock tabs.
The brass shims and steel retaining shims for the trunnions and pivot pins come in a variety of thicknesses. You have a large, NOS stock, right? Neither do I, but I do have one full set of spares to use when hunting for a different thickness. In a pinch, you can lap a small amount off.
Assemble everything with no seals first. There should be smooth motion, with no slop. A little resistance is probably better than rattly loose. If anything gets stiff when you tighten up any of the bolts and nuts, you probably need a thinner shim. OR you’ve got a bent or mismatched arm.
The steel shims can have a small difference one to the next, on the order of 0.05mm.
The brass shims seem to range from about 1.65mm to 2.05mm. A difference of 0.05mm can be the difference between smooth and stiff. If you can, put the thicker of the shims on the inside, to reduce the grease seal rubbing friction. It’s a small thing, but....
Once you’ve proven up the fit and smoothness, take another look to ensure you have both the top and bottom zerk fittings pointed in the right direction, and that the “forward” end of all four trunnions are pointing toward the front of the car. That would be the same direction as the steering arm on the hub assembly. The zerk fittings point in opposite directions. I think bottom to the front and top to the rear, but I’m not going to run out to the shop right now to confirm. If that’s wrong, I’ll edit in the correction.
Now you can take the assembly apart and install your new or restored grease seals. Got those? I think I got mine from Heinbrand, but that was 10 years ago. They didn’t fit my early 59, but they do this 60 model. The rubber in these new seals is quite hard, but will compress and work. I’m going to do some research and see if I can identify a modern o-ring that’ll fit into the retaining cup and work. All that is needed is enough contact and pressure to keep out dirt.
The hub and pivot arm is the hardest thing to dismantle. You need to fabricate a king pin extraction tool, and it helps to have a hydraulic press to reassemble. My bearings were in very good shape, so all that was needed was a good cleaning and greasing,
The bearing and brass surround goes on the bottom, with the outer cup pointed downward. The shim washer goes on top. Do not mix up the washers between left and right. They are probably not the same thickness.
Take many close pictures before dismantling the assemblies.
Keep all left and right pieces in separate boxes.
Work on them one at a time.
This car required only a cosmetic restoration of the front suspension, plus the routine inspection and lubrication. If yours has sat a long time, or accumulated a lot of unlubricated miles, these assemblies can be a mess.
I once was the second-high bidder on a NOS “rebuild kit” for the front suspension of a 1900, which shares many parts with the 2000.. I think I gave up around $700. There’s a lot of bushings, shims, and seals in these things, and if they’ve rusted or worn badly, you’re in for an impressive bill for time and materials. If you own one of these cars, and plan to drive it, I recommend buying a few complete assemblies when they surface on the used market.
By bronze ring, I assume you mean what we call a “bushing? These were all in very good shape, as well as the various spindles.
There is a company over here named “Webcam” that modifies camshafts by cutting away all of the lobes, hard-welding a new, round ring, then grinding away to leave new lobes with whatever profile is desired. If I ever have a spindle that is worn, I may have them rebuild it in the same way.
If new bushings are installed, it would likely be best to have custom reamers made to do the finishing correctly.
After Art did such a fine job on my battered and abused hub caps, I sent him the whole load of shiny stuff for 1488. Since we need the nose “heart” to get the metal work on the front to fit, I asked if he’d hurry it through and get it back. His promise of two weeks became five, but that’s considered ahead of schedule for a chrome shop, right?
This piece, while not destroyed, had tweaks and bumps spread liberally around.
Total cost, including freight, a little less than a new one, even assuming any were available, which they’re not.
I chilled the new front bearing races overnight, then heated the Borrani hubs to 350F this morning. The outer races dropped straight into place, requiring no hydraulic press, although I did bump them with the press just to be sure. The inner races required the press, but it was smooth and gentle.
The original hubs were still fitted with steel and felt inner oil seals. Fortunately, when I buy small parts for a restoration project I like to buy a service stock above immediate requirements. Thus, I already had the 72X45 rubber grease seals in stock that fit this car.
Just for giggles, I pushed the hub onto the axle to test spin it. Fits and works a treat.
I used a ball joint puller to press in wheel studs, as this localizes the opposing forces, where a hydraulic press, if incautiously employed, could bend the flange.
When there’s 1,000 things to get done, it doesn’t matter much what you do next.
While fiddling around in my storage racks looking for two missing headlamp retainer rings, and one bucket, I spotted the set of Konis I bought from CA for this project. It suddenly reminded me of the minor travail we had a decade ago when someone organized a Koni group purchase, but turned out to be almost the correct shocks instead of exact. So, I decided to check my new shocks to see if CA had repeated the problem.
There were/are two problems. The first is that the original front shocks used a 1/2” bolt through the bottom fitting. This is probably because they bought Girling shocks, and maybe they used a Whitworth bolt close to 1/2”. I dunno. Anyway, these new Konis use a 7/16” bottom through bolt.
This turns out to be good news, as the lower shock mounts on the 102 aren’t all that robust, and the holes can become slightly oval, or wallowed out. Both problems are easily cured by a 9/16” OD, 7/16” ID flanged (or non-flanged) oillite bushing.
I just happened to have a pair left from my last encounter with this issue, plus a 9/16” ream. Easy business to ream the lower mounting tab holes, insert a bushing, dremel off the part that protrudes, file flush, use the part that was cut off to make a non-flanged match for the other shock mounting tab. Repeat for other side. I had a spare lower mounting tab to use as a bushing fabrication buck.
The other minor problem was the shocks were shipped with the wrong rubber bushings. I haven’t checked these new ones yet, but suspect they’ll need different bushings. Probably get these via CA or Koni.
Although they’ll need blackening to look right, I’ll use a 7/16” AN bolt in the bottom for a good, tight fit.
Generally, wear and failure is caused by fasteners being too loose and wobbly, rather than tight and close-fitting. This solution fixes all the present wear and fit problems, and allows an easy repair in another 50 years when the vast accumulated mileage has slightly worn these lower bushings, but NOT made the lower mounting holes worse.
Doesn’t it bring at least a little smile to consider a 10204 being used in a post-apocalyptic future, like “A boy and his dog”, because it was robust and simple enough to keep going while all the computer-inflicted cars are lying dead along the roads harboring screamers?