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Discussion Starter #1
so newly running milano after sitting for 10-15 years and suspension is fairly decent except for the rear does strange things over bumps. first it will tend to bump steer or go off course when in a turn and encountering bumps. it feels like something is slightly loose back there, not horribly as in it's about to snap, but just maybe a bushing or joint somewhere.

also, when accelerating and the rear axle hits any sharp bumps, it will hop fairly badly.

i am assuming the bushings need replacing but is there a certain one that i should look at with these symptoms? and what's the best replacement option? which should i do poly or metal, spherical, etc?

car has 135k miles and stock suspension (spica shocks, etc.) hope to upgrade to either bilsteins and/or slyalfa's QA1 coilover set up at some point.

also, my alfetta sedan has red lowering springs (IAP?) on the back (and red konis) and just wondering since i don't drive that car much, if i might be better off swapping springs with the milano so that i might lower and stiffen up the milano? also, will the milano springs be ok on the alfetta sedan or will the car look like a hotrod with the back jacked up?
 

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Sounds like your shocks are no good.

If you go to the car, push down hard and "bounce" the rear end, if it is allowed to bounce more than one rebound your shocks aren't doing their job.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
nah, it's not the shocks although they aren't stiff enough for my tastes and will be replaced. it's more of a slight alignment change or bushing flex, as in a looseness, resulting in a feeling almost like the wheels aren't on tightly. (and no it's not the lugnuts!)
 

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If your axles are hopping (i.e. up and down uncontrolled movement), the devices that control up and down movement (i.e. your shock absorbers) aren't doing their job.

Bad shocks can do funky things on even slightly imperfect roads and I'd suggest actually checking before ruling them out.
 

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The watts is easy to check and easy to change /upgrade. The center of the triangle there is a big fat bush that if you drive hard will go bad very fast. and I bet that it is bad. there is a steel ball upgrade that does wonders.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ok with both rear wheels off the ground i can grab either wheel and there is some play. the whole wheel definitely has some slop in it. i can't quite tell where exactly it is moving but something is loose. i'm sure the bushings could be restored as they all seem cracked and old.

and as for the de dion steel bearing: is that the way to go? any disadvantages? and does that last for the life of the car? i'll have to check the price as i remember it being a bit pricey.
 

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I would replace bushings in watts linkage with poly as the original are likely rotted, and then also replace the front dedion bushing as mentioned above. If it is a street car I'm not sure it is worth the spherical SZ bushing - your $, make your own call.
Jes
 

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These deDion triangles are made of some pretty thin steel. If you get any pinholes (especially with a car that has sat a long time) you could get rust inside the tube. This can cause the tube (where they connect) to tear. Check the welds. Otherwise, it's a Watts issue as Jess mentioned.

Not likely your problem, but check the sway bar vertical links, they break fairly often from rust on Milano's as well, though shouldn't manifest in this looseness you speak of.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys, will check the bits mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
so since the last post i replaced the shocks with koni sports and it did seem to help a bit. but now after some more miles, the rear slop is very noticeable on the freeway once i get up to around 70mph or so. and then the car feels VERY unstable, as if there is some crazy sidewind trying to blow the rear of the car around. it is a definite sense of the rear axle wandering from side to side, think dog wagging its tail. it is only in the rear and i don't really feel safe driving it at those speeds. in the city at lower speeds, i don't feel anything strange, even the initial sloppiness which had me post this question originally.

so does that point to the watts more than the de dion bushing? i will replace them all but really need to get rid of that tail wagging.

other than that, loving the car and it's become my daily driver!
 

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so since the last post i replaced the shocks with koni sports and it did seem to help a bit. but now after some more miles, the rear slop is very noticeable on the freeway once i get up to around 70mph or so. and then the car feels VERY unstable, as if there is some crazy sidewind trying to blow the rear of the car around. it is a definite sense of the rear axle wandering from side to side, think dog wagging its tail. it is only in the rear and i don't really feel safe driving it at those speeds. in the city at lower speeds, i don't feel anything strange, even the initial sloppiness which had me post this question originally.

so does that point to the watts more than the de dion bushing? i will replace them all but really need to get rid of that tail wagging.

other than that, loving the car and it's become my daily driver!
Watts controls lateral motion on that car as you describe. DeDion apex bushing mostly controls fore/aft but will bang up and down if totally failed. If DeDion bushing failed then your watts will fail quickly.

If you jack up car by DeDion tube behind transmission and then wiggle watts linkage you should be able to feel for failed bush(ings). Use prybar to wiggle front of DeDion between body and DeDion.

If you have a press you can remove old/press in new bushings (cheap) but they fail/deform quickly with aggressive driving. The real fix is to do spherical bearings at DeDion and rod ends at watts links so movement is very controlled.

Ultimate is pictured below (kit courtesy of Performatek). All slop is eliminated and turn-in is much more precise and car settles more quickly. Also optimizes center pivot geometry.
 

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floating about at highway speed

That's a bit scary. You mentioned the rear wheels had a lot of play- did you replace the rear wheel bearings? A rear wheel with bad wobble will wander the car. Also, you may not like the look of the Alfetta with Milano rear springs. OK from the sides, but from the rear it sits way too high, exposing the suspension. I was reminded of a scene from the movie Cars: "Git a good peek, city boy?"
 

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Discussion Starter #14
so finally reached under there and grabbed the watts linkage and it is literally loose enough that i can move it quite a bit by hand. the play is coming from the center watts bushing so that is definitely shot. the ends seem tight enough but that is just using my hand so not sure.

anyways, at least i now know where all that wandering is coming from. hmmm, would love that performatek linkage but poor right now. maybe they sell just the center bearing and i can start there.

thanks everyone for the help diagnosing this.

oh, and also, if anyone has any bilstein milano shocks they want to trade for some gtv6 bilsteins, let me know. also, there is a thread in the classifieds about these shocks.

thanks
 

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the poly kit for the watts I think also performatek is not that much.
$23.95 for the center
$69.50 for the rest
even new stock parts on the watts is not that bad. it is the center part of the triangle that needs the upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, so I know the center watts is important but if it fails completely, what happens? Just curious as mine is pretty bad and want to know if it's ok to drive in the meantime.....
 

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Ok, so I know the center watts is important but if it fails completely, what happens? Just curious as mine is pretty bad and want to know if it's ok to drive in the meantime.....
Someone should take your car away from you at this point. The Watts linkage is what controls lateral movement on the rear of the car. Bushing failure means that you have a rear suspension that wants to remove itself from the body.

You know that it's bad, and about to fail, you state that you know it's important, and yet you want to keep driving it?

Replace the bushings! Then you can drive it safely AND enjoy it more thoroughly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Someone should take your car away from you at this point. The Watts linkage is what controls lateral movement on the rear of the car. Bushing failure means that you have a rear suspension that wants to remove itself from the body.

You know that it's bad, and about to fail, you state that you know it's important, and yet you want to keep driving it?

Replace the bushings! Then you can drive it safely AND enjoy it more thoroughly.
well, life doesn't stop just because the alfa needs service. i gotta be mobile, dude! that's why i'm asking if one can drive on a failed watts linkage or will it completely detach and render the car stranded? unfortunately right now even though i have 4 cars, the milano is in the best shape, excluding the watts. i will order the bushing this weekend but just want to know if the car should be parked until i can replace it or i can still drive it. at this point i won't drive it on the freeway but in town, it feels ok.

also, to replace the center watts bushing, do i need a press? i'm probably going with poly which i assume just goes in by hand. but how about removing the old one?
 

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Sorry if it sounded harsh...but you've made it clear you're aware of the problem. If the bushing fails completely the car will be extremely loose on there.

Yes you need a press to install new bushing(s) or big C clamp/vice/etc. You'll see when you get it off of there - pretty simple when you see. Poly does need a press, also (and lots of grease!).

I guess you're going to do what you are going to do...but remember that if you're driving around in a body that's not securely attached to its suspension you are more than just a danger to yourself.
 

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The rear will slide out the car will spin out and there will be a very bad crash.
maybe fatal, a watts fail is just about as bad as it can get.
 
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