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hello everyone! My name is dalton and I live in LA. Recently I had the option of picking up a 74 Spider with a 1750 swap, and I took it. I come from the world of Porsches and I hate to admit it but it got expensive. So i sold my P-car, saved some, gave some, and decided to buy a 74 spider for $800 as my daily driver, and all based on how the engine bay looked, How the car drove, and how it shifted. The throw of the stick reminds me of my 914 in an odd way, but it has no issues and it feels amazing. The seats are freshly recovered, but the dash is cracked. I'm missing a center console piece, where the Ebrake goes. It has rust on the pan, and will need new rockers eventually. The oil pressure gauge comes on but it goes no further than the 1st mark and it seems to be electronic, I think. Could it be the sender. Is there a way to test the guage? I have noticed that I have some oil leaks, what are the most common places to look once I get the car on a lift tomorrow? Thanks! It's good to drive something different. I would post pics, but the exterior is really sad, looking right now. She looks like a pretty girl in an ugly dress, but we all know what a little bit of work can do. Thanks!
 

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the transmission for the alfa and your porsche are actually very similar in construction and science as well. fill it with SpiraxHD 80/90 as soon as you can. most owners dont know how essential it is to proper functioning of the unit.

theres a guy at the 76 station at 6th and LaBrea that has boxes full of parts for your spider! and he will take any offer! (i bought a gear box off him, rebuilt, for 50$ and a good vinyl top with frame for 80$) his name is Ara.

check out Benny at Johns Alfa Romance on Pico and Hauser (east of fairfax). he can make your spider run right for the least money.
 

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First, welcome to the BB Dalton! This is a great place for doing what you're doing.

Regarding the oil gauge: It is a soft spot to be sure. The sending unit is on the passenger's side of the block at the extreme rear. You might want to install a mechanical unit just to be safe. There is another, low pressure unit on the driver's side of the block forward of the motor mount. You can tee in there or just replace the sending unit with the mechanical one. What I did was to just feed the tube through a convenient hole in the firewall and temporarily mount it under the dash. Once I was confident that my dash gauge was working properly, I removed the mechanical gauge.

Generally speaking you should be getting around 50 Psi while cruising (needle on the factory gauge vertical) and about 5 Psi at idle. A lot of times the needle drops to 0 Psi on the gauge which can be a little disquieting. Watch for how the pressure reacts over time and temperature. My old 1750 would push 50 Psi when cold but dropped to nothing after the oil was hot. That ended up as a major rebuild.

As far as oil leaks go... let me count the ways. When an all aluminum engine such as ours is not leaking - thats when its time to add oil! For me, rear seal seem to be a biggie. Head leaks a common. The oil pan is a two piece affair so there is twice the mating surface to seal. The front seal can leak if worn but I have not had that problem (yet).

External leaks are annoying but not too troublesome. Internal leaks, however, can be devestating. There are two major problem areas: Water from a bad head gasket and fuel from a worn SPICA fuel injection unit (I assume it is a SPICA motor). Both result in oil dilution which will tear up the motor fast!

Drain the oil and take a good look at it. If it has kind of a milkshake appearance then you have a blown head gasket and water in the oil. If it smells like fuel, take a sample and put a match to it. If it burns, you've got a bad SPICA pump and it must be replaced. In either case, you would be well advised not to run the motor until it is taken care of.

The next thing to do is take a good look at the rust around the rockers. Since this is the backbone of the car, rust in the wrong place can make you long for your low cost Porsche! The rockers are made up of an outer rocker which is purely esthetic and the middle and inner rockers which carry the load. At the front of the rocker (behind the front wheel) the rocker ties into the front clip. Look that over very carefully. If it is really rotten the car can literally fold in half. Are the doors hard to close? Is there a reasonable gap along the jamb? Rust is very common in the floors, rockers, and spare tire well and the cars can go for years like that with no trouble. But be realistic because it could be really dangerous and warrants a close look.

Here are a couple of examples:

This is the inner rocker and floorboard area on the driver's side. The rocker is completely detached from the floor pan - the only thing holding the front clip together is the weatherstrip! Can you spell "parts car"?
Bad rust!.JPG

This is the same place, different car. Note the holes are all in the pan and below the seams. The rocker is solid so this car is getting new floors and will be as good as new.
Driver's side forward floor1.JPG

Now hopefully this is not the case at all and you can enjoy your new driver. There is lots to learn but the most fun is driving.

Regardless of the condition, you must post pictures!

Good luck!
 

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A good cleaning of the engine and engine bay will show you where the oil leaks are.My 74 spideer had a bad return hose form the oil vapor seperator to the dipstick tube. sprayed oil all over the engine.
for a driver like mine, ther are "dash mat" dash covers available, I like mine because it gets rid of the anoying glare on the windshield from the dash.
hoses, gaskets and those anoying rubber seals in the back of the head that usually fall out when you take off the cam cover.
watch your fluid levels and enjoy.
I agree with the transmision lube, the po put in hypoid lube in my tranny and it shifted like there were no synchro's at all. now not perfect, but very driveable.
cliff
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for posting those pics! My pans are not like picture 1 and they look just like Pic2. Thanks for the moral boost. Interesntingly my oilPressure gauge worked for 10 minutes this morning then went back to 0.
 
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