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Discussion Starter #1
I live in Ridgecrest, couple hours northeast of Los Angeles. Just moved here a few months ago from the East Coast. I have been looking for a nice driver type car, something a little out of the ordinary and fun to drive and tinker with. In the past I have used 60’s/early 70’s era Ford F100s. But this time around looking for something a little less utilitarian and with better ride and handling. I have been noticing a lot of Late 70’s mid 80’s Spiders on Craigslist that look promising. I know, they almost all look good on craigslist! Prices all over the place, from 2k up.

Anyhow, joined up here to do some research. To better define what I am looking for: A spider, no rust, a driver not a project. Fuel injected, 5 speed, probably a/c, decent shape, needing very little. I am guessing probably early 80's Bosch FI or newer. I currently don’t have the space or the tools to do anything more than simple maintenance and repairs. So probably would need to enlist the services of a competent garage to evaluate any car prior to service.

I have done a couple thread searches, but if anyone knows of some reputable garages in the area, known problem areas to be looking for, I’d be glad to get your input.

Thanks

Tim
 

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if anyone knows of some reputable garages in the area,
Welcome to California and to (prospective) Alfa ownership. Ridgecrest is pretty remote - I don't think there are a lot of Alfa specialists in your immediate vicinity. You might check out the list of advertisers on the local club website that shows the Alfa shops in the greater Los Angeles area: AROSC Advertisers
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think there are a lot of Alfa specialists in your immediate vicinity. You might check out the list of advertisers on the local club website that shows the Alfa shops in the greater Los Angeles area: AROSC Advertisers
Lol, I meant to add the LA area. There are 1-2 Foreign car garages here, but nothing that specializes in Alfa's, let alone Italian cars.

Thanks for link, I will check it out.
 

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dotcentral said:
There are 1-2 Foreign car garages here, but nothing that specializes in Alfa's
A competent mechanic, familiar with 1980's era European cars, should have no difficulty with a Bosch-injected Alfa spider. The ATE brakes, Bosch electrics, etc. are all similar to the systems found on BMW / Mercedes / Volvos of the era.

I mentioned Los Angeles area Alfa specialists because if you locate a car, the odds are better than it will be located in an urban area than near Pinecrest. You might want to have one of the Los Angeles shops perform a PPI.
 

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Legally you are supposed to run both F and R plates in California. Practically, the cops have better things to do than bust people for missing front plates (*).

A few years ago, when "red light cameras" were all the rage, city police would stop people without front plates, since you couldn't be identified by those cameras without a front plate. Now that the courts have invalidated the "robo tickets", I'll bet that city cops have backed off on enforcing front plates.

(*) This isn't to say that no bored cop, or one that wants to check out a cool car, has ever stopped someone for not running a front plate. The lore is to carry it in the trunk, say "it just fell off this morning", promise to re-attach it, ...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Found one

Put a deposit down, should be picking up a 82 this weekend.

Nice car, I think for a good price, but will need several minor things done over time.
 

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On the topic of front plates and other "small" infractions, it depends a lot on the city you are in. Some cities in CA are looking for small infractions, such as front license plates. They seem to be focusing more on window tint again because the theory is they can't see you texting. But again it depends a lot where you are, so ask around.
 

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Hi Tim,

Just a few hours north of you.

I have not had a front plate in the four years I've lived here and have not been stopped by the cops. I took the plate off to get more air to the engine. Mine needs all the airflow when heading up the mountains.

As for a mechanic, visit or call a few shops and tell them what you have. If they reply with, "what's the big deal? Just a 4 banger hooked to a five speed." They're the ones you want.

Don't be afraid to contact me. Always willing to help out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the feedback on the front tag.

I will try and get some pics up once I get the car.

I was trying to get money shifted from one bank to a second at a different bank, to make it easier to pay the seller. Apparently that was a mistake! The person I spoke with yesterday didn't tell me I needed to call it in before 5:00 PST, so now I have to wait until Friday, which might might not let them get it all processed in time, etc etc... Don't know why I had to tell them all that I did and take 15 minutes to do it, only to need to have to call a different number and repeat the process.

As a result may not get to pick up the car until next weekend. Which stinks but that's the way it goes sometimes, right?

Hoping I can do the simpler things myself. But first just drive it some and get to know the car, start simple by fixing a couple of small issues, like noticed a rear side marker lens was cracked. Car has a slight pull to the right with no hands on the wheel. Wheels have a lot of curb rash. Would like to pull the bumpers in closer to body. And try not to let it snowball too badly.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Tim,

Just a few hours north of you.

I have not had a front plate in the four years I've lived here and have not been stopped by the cops. I took the plate off to get more air to the engine. Mine needs all the airflow when heading up the mountains.

As for a mechanic, visit or call a few shops and tell them what you have. If they reply with, "what's the big deal? Just a 4 banger hooked to a five speed." They're the ones you want.

Don't be afraid to contact me. Always willing to help out.
Thanks Randall, I will keep in this in mind.
 

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Everything on a S3 Spider is pretty simple and strait forward. Any shop should be able to handle most issues.
 

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Thanks for the feedback on the front tag.

I will try and get some pics up once I get the car.

I was trying to get money shifted from one bank to a second at a different bank, to make it easier to pay the seller. Apparently that was a mistake! The person I spoke with yesterday didn't tell me I needed to call it in before 5:00 PST, so now I have to wait until Friday, which might might not let them get it all processed in time, etc etc... Don't know why I had to tell them all that I did and take 15 minutes to do it, only to need to have to call a different number and repeat the process.

As a result may not get to pick up the car until next weekend. Which stinks but that's the way it goes sometimes, right?

Hoping I can do the simpler things myself. But first just drive it some and get to know the car, start simple by fixing a couple of small issues, like noticed a rear side marker lens was cracked. Car has a slight pull to the right with no hands on the wheel. Wheels have a lot of curb rash. Would like to pull the bumpers in closer to body. And try not to let it snowball too badly.
Slight pull to the right.....could be alignment
t, but can also be crowning of street...are you sure you were on level ground when it felt like pulling ? of course rash on wheels can indicate it has hit a few curbs and needs alignment
 

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Everything on a S3 Spider is pretty simple and strait forward. Any shop should be able to handle most issues.
In US, 82 was the last MY of S2. 83 was the first year of S3. They were one year ahead in Europe. No biggie, don't want the new owner to be confused...:innocent:
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Bjorn, when I drove the car, I mentioned to the the owner it was pulling to the right, he said had replaced pretty much of the front end except for a passenger side tie rod (I think). He figured it was probably the culprit.

As far as the S2 vs S3 classification, 82 seems like a transitional year, older bumpers and no spoiler but with the new type of fuel injection system. I like the no spoiler look + the newer fuel injection. Plus it is the year I graduated high school. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Speaking of tierods

Supposed to pick the car up Friday.

How hard is replacing a ball joint on one off these cars? Will i need a fork or other tool to separate anything, or just common, metric hand tools? I realize an alignment will be needed afterwards.
 

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How hard is replacing a ball joint on one off these cars? Will i need a fork or other tool to separate anything, or just common, metric hand tools? I realize an alignment will be needed afterwards.
Honestly, it can to a real bear - those tapered joints can get really stuck together. Yes, a fork or puller will definitely be needed.

If you are taking the car to a front end shop for alignment, you might just bring it in as-is, and let them install the replacement joint.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
got the car home tonight

Driver's side window will go no higher than 2-3 inches. Using the hand crank does not seem to help. Cold night for that to happen.

Speedometer is not reading correctly. Usually is stuck at 7 mph, but will occasionally climb to 25 mph. Is this usually a cable, a gear in the trans, or the speedo itself?

No keys for the door locks. Ignition key doesn't work in the door. Are they are all like that?

Pulls to the right if I let go of the steering wheel

Exterior door wipe seals are shot

Wiper move very slow.

speedo and tach are fogged up

gas gauge light inop.

Mostly fun driving home, last hour was pretty darn cold.
 

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I am sure you will get lots of replies...let me try to address some that I may know (or not know...lol)
see CAPS below
Driver's side window will go no higher than 2-3 inches. Using the hand crank does not seem to help. Cold night for that to happen.PROBABLY WINDOW MECHANISM < HAD THAT ON MY OLD GIULIETTA< I HAD MECHAINIC FIX IT

Speedometer is not reading correctly. Usually is stuck at 7 mph, but will occasionally climb to 25 mph. Is this usually a cable, a gear in the trans, or the speedo itself?PROBABLY BAD CABLE< MAYBE JUST REPLACE IT < COULD TRY GREASING IT FIRST

No keys for the door locks. Ignition key doesn't work in the door. Are they are all like that?NOT THE SAME KEYS...FIND A LOCK SMITH THEY CAN MOST LIKELY FIGURE OUT AND MAKE NEW KEYS FROM BLANKS...THEY NORM<ALLY HAVE BLANKS ,OR FIND BLANKS FOR YOUR YEAR ON EBAY

Pulls to the right if I let go of the steering wheel ALIGNMENT OR BAD TIE ROD (AS YOU SUGGESTED INITIALLY)

Exterior door wipe seals are shot CAN BE FOUND by SUPPLIERS

Wiper move very slow. SHOULD BE TWO SPEEEDS . ON MINE ONLY ONE SPEED WORKS...SLOW< BUT ITS OK FOR THE FEW TIMES I GET STUCK IN A SHOWER...MIGHT GET FASTER WITH A CLEANING<GREASING OF MOTOR ETC

speedo and tach are fogged up...PERMANENTLY? OR WHEN DRIVING AND ENGINE GETS WARM? COULD BE HUMIDITY

gas gauge light inop. PROBABLY LIGHT BULB

Mostly fun driving home, last hour was pretty darn clod THEY ARE ALWAYS FUN TO DRIVE. BUT IT SHOULDNT BE THAT COLD? YOURE NOT IN ALASKA!LOL
 
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