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Discussion Starter #1
Well... my head swap project on my 82 spider keeps suffering from "scope creep". :)

I keep seeing and/or thinking of more and more stuff that I want to do while I'm in there. After reading several threads on the subject, I decided I'd rering it and hone the liners while everything was apart. Great in theory, except I damaged two of the sleeves (gouges from a vicegrip) while pulling them out. I used the piston and vicegrip/rag bump technique and got them all out easily, but a post-removal inspection reveals several gouges which are deeper than I'd like them to be for a working surface like that. Chalk that up to the school of live and learn. :D

I also can't seem to figure out how to get the circlips out of the pistons to release them from the rods. I'm sure it's a simple technique issue, and I haven't tried super hard yet since I don't want to damage anything further. :) Also, it seems there are gouges on several of the pistons below the oil rings, and matching "streaks" on the liners themselves...

So my question is, do I just pull the motor now, and use this opportunity to reseal everything? I've still got some nasty oil leaks (presumably from somewhere low on the motor since it's still dripping and the car hasn't been driven for weeks now). The problem is there's way too much oil/dirt/grime buildup to tell where it's coming from.

Also, if i do end up pulling the motor, a) should i put the head back on to do so, and b) where are safe connection points for a lift?

Honestly, I'd prefer to keep it simple and just order new pistons and liners and go from there.

Any ideas, thoughts? Feel free to harass me for damaging the liners... I had a feeling it would happen, but after the first two came out without any damage, I figured I was safe. :)
 

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Now do I understand that you have the pistons and cyls out of the car by dropping the two pans and disconnecting the rods from the crank with the motor in the car? Are you a gluten for punishment????:D:D:D:D

I mean...you are so close to just rebuilding the motor. I would 100,000% for sure would go ahead and pull the block out of the car and rebearing the entire motor and fully inspect the crank and the rest of the works. Might as well.

No need to put the head back on. Just use the pulling strap that rides on the middle studs. I placed this strap back on those studs...placed a couple of sockets on each stud to force the strap down close to the block to limit the torqueing of the studs laterally by reducing the lever action, and applied two head nuts. You'll need to drop the track bar and sway bar out of the way. You'll also need to pull the radiator out. Then its just motor mounts and the bell housing nuts and starter bolts and clutch inspection plate for removal.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Now do I understand that you have the pistons and cyls out of the car by dropping the two pans and disconnecting the rods from the crank with the motor in the car?
No no... I just pulled the head... the oil pan hasn't been touched. I pulled the liners out per this thread. I have removed all but one of the liners completely. The 4th has been disloged, I just haven't removed it quite yet.

The only things left would be the tach sender (i'm assuming that's the wire on the driver's side of the block), starter assembly, and all the other various items attached to the transmission.

I'm honestly a bit worried about getting everything back together after pulling the motor. I've torn motors down before and whatnot, but never removed an engine/transmission. I guess I'm worried about getting it all put back in, and having to sort out potentially many more issues than if I just do the headswap/ring replacement.

I suppose I'm already there though eh?

To give you an idea, here's a pic of my car as it sits right now (literally):

 

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If you've got scoring on the piston skirts and matching rub marks on the cylinders, that's 'usually' a sign of loose bore and/or piston slap.

If you hone cylinders with that condition, you'll not do anything but make the situation worse. (best bet: replace the pistons and liners and triple check that the clearances are correct between the two)

**

On circlips:

You'll likely notice a small groove cut into the piston at the 6 o'clock position in the wristpin hole in the side of the pistons.

That's where you'd put a pick and start working the circlip out. (it may be neccisary to get one end or the other of the circlip near that groove so you can get it started as trying to lever it out from more in the middle is utterly fruitless)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you've got scoring on the piston skirts and matching rub marks on the cylinders, that's 'usually' a sign of loose bore and/or piston slap.
Okay, so it looks like I need to do this anyways. The odd thing was, besides an occasional sticky valve (during low-speed driving, stop and go, etc), the car ran strong. It blew oil out the tailpipe, and leaked a bit. About every other tank, I'd need 1-1.5 quarts depending on how I was driving it.


That's where you'd put a pick and start working the circlip out. (it may be neccisary to get one end or the other of the circlip near that groove so you can get it started as trying to lever it out from more in the middle is utterly fruitless)
ah HAH! That explains why I couldn't get the darned things apart! I'ma go try getting them out now. Whether I pull the motor or not, these things have to eventually come apart. A quote comes to mind about idle hands, something-something.

Anybody know of any gotchas on the motor pull? I've already got the hood off and just about everything removed (see above pic). I am aware of the steering rack obstruction, and plan on just unbolting the brackets on either side, based on another posting I was reading. I'm also aware of the swaybar... anything else?

Also, any more "while-you're-at-its?". I'm no mechanic, and would rather hear something obvious than forget it. :D

Thanks again everybody... the support from this forum has been awesome. You could consider the group somewhat of a team of "enablers"... just ask my girlfriend... I'm an alfa-addict now... :D
 

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You may well have to replace the head to lift the engine out. It is hard for me to see how you could attach an engine lift to it without the head being in place. Most people pull the engine and transmission together. It is easier to separate the engine from the transmission and just pull the engine but it can be a struggle getting the engine back in with the transmission in place.
Let me know if you need pistons and/or liners. I have two sets and you could have one of them for a nominal amount.
Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
88 Milano Verde
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You may well have to replace the head to lift the engine out. It is hard for me to see how you could attach an engine lift to it without the head being in place. Most people pull the engine and transmission together. It is easier to separate the engine from the transmission and just pull the engine but it can be a struggle getting the engine back in with the transmission in place.
Where are the "standard" attachment points on a spider head? My previous motor experience was with a cast-iron block, so the materials were much more forgiving as far as overstressing goes. :)


Let me know if you need pistons and/or liners. I have two sets and you could have one of them for a nominal amount.
PM me with details on your piston/liner sets. There's another guy locally who has some he's trying to unload.

I'm still not sure if I should go with the 9.5 (stock... I think this is the right number) compression-ratio pistons or upgrade to the 10.1s. Anybody have any input as to the affect this might have on emissions? I understand this will mean I probably can't put 87 octane in it anymore, but aside from that, any positives or negatives?
 

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Again.....no need to reinstall the head to pull the motor. And no need to pull the transmission if not planning on working on it. The motor is joined to the bell housing by 2 studs with nuts on the driver's side as well as 2 studs with nuts on the passenger side. Also you must remove the three bolts with nuts holding the starter to the bell housing. Underneath there in an inspection plate with small 10mm bolts with nuts to remove. You drop the track bar on one side....preferably the passenger side...with a ball joint seperator. To do this you remove the nut off the top of the tie rod end and utilize a ball joint seperator to drop the bar. The sway bar.....4 bolts in total...two to remove...two to loosen for allow the bar to rotate past the brackets and then it is down out of the way. Then the motor mounts each have a nut and a bolt holding them in place on the chassis cross member. Utilize the center head studs with the strap with the cherry picker. You can force the strap down against the top of the block by using liner hold downs, or stacked sockets, or a length of PVC, and then secure it with the head nuts. Lift a little....pull a little and repeat as necessary. You'll need to get the upper pan just right up next to the lower radiator support for the block to be free. Hence why dropping the sway bar. And the flywheel will not clear the track bar...hence why it is dropped down out of the way. And on that Ljet....remove the two timing sensors on the bell housing before pulling the motor. Don't know if they interfere or not. But better safe than sorry.

Pulling the tranny with the block is an option but not necessary. To do this you'd have to take the tranny mount loose, disassemble the center console and remove the shifter, drop the drive shaft, and get the car up high on jack stands with its arse up in the air to aide in the angle. Pull the clutch slave. Pull the two timing sensors. Pull the speedo cable. Remove the reverse light wires.

Motronics are a great choice. 9:1 is stock, 10.1:1 is motronics. Probably won't feel a big change in performance with just the pistons. But if you decide to go down that road some day...might as well already have them in there. Get some hastings rings for them and ditch the stock rings.

If you pull the motor for reassembly, I suggest a complete rebuild. You are really already there. Take the time to pull it all apart, clean it to new, and reassemble with new bearings, thrust washers, gaskets, seals, etc. Go ahead and replace the water pump and motor mounts if not recent. Clean clean clean. Cannot stress that enough. Check your clutch slave as it will never get easier than when the motor is out. And inspect your clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing, and flywheel...and replace/turn as necessary. Inspect all the brass bushings. Inspect the crank journals for wear and the crank plugs to insure all still there. Clean that crank as its the aorta of the block. Go ahead and get new senders for the oil.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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The motor is joined to the bell housing by 2 studs with nuts on the driver's side as well as 2 studs with nuts on the passenger side.
[interjection mode on] and 2 studs on the top of the block right behind the head for a total of 6 studs with nuts [interjection mode off]
 

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Just a quick note to expand a bit on the whole scoring thing because my above post may be a bit misleading:

Pistons will normally show a very little bit of what looks like polishing down toward the bottom of the skirt which should be even and not all jagged looking. In any event, marks down on the skirt should be quite smooth, without and nicks or such.

Those that are 'streaked', 'gouged', 'smeared', or 'scuffed' looking, especially if it start to really head up toward the wrist pin, are not fitting the bore properly. (if scuffage is all the way around the skirt, then it's likely the pistons are too tight and getting a bit of bind. if only in the areas 90 perpendicular to the wrist pin, then they are likely too loose and slapping)

If it's bad enough to where the cylinders proper start to get scuffed or gouged, then something is really amiss and a simple hone and re-ring of the pistons won't rectify it as the damage has already been done.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay... I'm a tad confused... are you saying I should lift the motor by that strap, or I should find a chain with links that would slip over the studs and use that for extra support?

So I'm not planning on doing anything to the transmission, and quite frankly would rather leave it in place. The clutch action is great, so I'd rather not mess with the clutch hydraulics right now (I have quite enough to worry about right now). Plus jacking the car up to unnatural attitudes just doesn't sound like a whole ton of fun. Also, what about the clutch? I understand in principle how everything goes in there and lines up, but I've never changed one... Should I do anything with it when pulling the motor? How would I line it all up when putting everything back?

Any idea how much clearance I'll need in front of the car to get the engine out? My garage isn't super big; California 2 car garages are like 1.5 car garages that are designed for compact cars. I may have to angle the car at a 45 to have enough room...

Also, any idea if the piston change will affect emissions? I'm kinda wishing I had a 75 or older right now... the bosch is great for reliability and predictability but this smog stuff sucks arse. And before anybody jumps down my throat, I know spica is generally reliable, just often misunderstood. As a side note: someday I'd kinda be interested in getting ahold of a spica injected car. I'm somewhat fascinated by how all of that works... plus the sound is next to none! :D

The streaking isn't terrible, but it's definatly there. It's 90 degrees off of the wrist-pin, and there are matching streaks on the liner on all of the mating surfaces. I'll take a pic tonight of one and post it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh, and one more thing... I was planning on taking the block into a machine shop to have them check the deck for trueness, and also clean the block for me. Anything I should be worried about in taking it into a machine shop?

I was also thinking of having them clean the intake and exhaust manifolds for me. I figure they can do a much better job than I, plus they get to use chemicals and other nastiness that I either don't have or want access to. :)


BTW, John... if that's the enigne bay of your car... good gravy! I'd probably eat off of any surface in there! That's the cleanest engine I've ever seen in *any* car!
 

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Don't forget to do the motor mounts if needed.

Also, budget for replacement rubber pieces throughout the induction system.
 

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Okay... I'm a tad confused... are you saying I should lift the motor by that strap, or I should find a chain with links that would slip over the studs and use that for extra support?
By the strap....just reinstall the strap onto the center studs. You can force the strap to stay down close to the top of the block by stacking sockets on the studs to pin the strap down with the head nuts reinstalled. Or use equal lengths of PVC, or pipe, whatever is handy.

So I'm not planning on doing anything to the transmission, and quite frankly would rather leave it in place. The clutch action is great, so I'd rather not mess with the clutch hydraulics right now (I have quite enough to worry about right now). Plus jacking the car up to unnatural attitudes just doesn't sound like a whole ton of fun. Also, what about the clutch? I understand in principle how everything goes in there and lines up, but I've never changed one... Should I do anything with it when pulling the motor? How would I line it all up when putting everything back?
If you pull decide to replace the rear seal and the bearings, you'll need to remove the flywheel and clutch. There is a clutch alignment tool you'll need to use to align the clutch disc to the pressure plate and flywheel. This tool is included with clutch kits when purchased. You should be able to source one from a fellow alfa owner or from one of the parts suppliers. As far as putting the motor back in, as long as the clutch disc is aligned, the motor will slide back on to the trans shaft with a little turning of the crank pulley.

Any idea how much clearance I'll need in front of the car to get the engine out? My garage isn't super big; California 2 car garages are like 1.5 car garages that are designed for compact cars. I may have to angle the car at a 45 to have enough room...
Maybe 10-12ft for the cherry picker.

Also, any idea if the piston change will affect emissions? I'm kinda wishing I had a 75 or older right now... the bosch is great for reliability and predictability but this smog stuff sucks arse. And before anybody jumps down my throat, I know spica is generally reliable, just often misunderstood. As a side note: someday I'd kinda be interested in getting ahold of a spica injected car. I'm somewhat fascinated by how all of that works... plus the sound is next to none! :D
Not a significant change. I would think the Ljet would compensate for the increased compression. Ask Greg Gordan on this as he is the Ljet expert.

The streaking isn't terrible, but it's definatly there. It's 90 degrees off of the wrist-pin, and there are matching streaks on the liner on all of the mating surfaces. I'll take a pic tonight of one and post it.
New pistons and liners are cheap really. If you can feel it with your fingernail, then you must hone it out. Then measure what you have once the liner is clean. Liners are probably ok for oversized applications as long as the scratches are not very deep. And you could probably get away with reinstalling your pistons with rings to compensate, but with diminishing returns in durability and longevity. But I'll defer to Tifosi's adivce on this. I haven't scored mine....only melted a quarter size hole in one of mine!!!:D:D:D

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Oh, and one more thing... I was planning on taking the block into a machine shop to have them check the deck for trueness, and also clean the block for me. Anything I should be worried about in taking it into a machine shop?

I was also thinking of having them clean the intake and exhaust manifolds for me. I figure they can do a much better job than I, plus they get to use chemicals and other nastiness that I either don't have or want access to. :)


BTW, John... if that's the enigne bay of your car... good gravy! I'd probably eat off of any surface in there! That's the cleanest engine I've ever seen in *any* car!

Just take it to a machine shop that is familiar with Alfa motors. If the bearings look good and the crank measures out at the journals with no scoring or blue-ing I would forego the machine shop. Also remind them its aluminum so that they don't damage it. As far as cleaning the block...best stuff I have found is Eagle One etching mag wheel cleaner. Makes it look like new. That is an older picture of my 78's engine bay. I actually just swapped that motor out for a fresh one. Thanks for the compliment.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Don't forget to do the motor mounts if needed.

Also, budget for replacement rubber pieces throughout the induction system.
Already replaced the motor mounts before I thought I was pulling the entire motor. Plus I already ordered new air boots from the intake plenum to the intake header. I figured with the PITA factor of getting to them being so high, I'd replace them even though mine look decent, although slightly oily. :D

Also already have a new waterpump sitting on the bench waiting for reassembly. I'm sure I'll have several more parts orders to make before I'm done. Hurry up and wait! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
By the strap....just reinstall the strap onto the center studs. You can force the strap to stay down close to the top of the block by stacking sockets on the studs to pin the strap down with the head nuts reinstalled. Or use equal lengths of PVC, or pipe, whatever is handy.
Okay... so I'm going to reinstall the strap using sockets as spacers... where do I attach the engine hoist?

Sorry, I just want to be sure so I don't damage anything or risk warping anything! :)
 

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Center of the strap. Once you get it all out and disassembled, you can make a parts and supplies list of what you want to replace. Feel free to post it up and we'll look over the list and add or delete.

You are using a cherry picker/engine crane correct? You say engine hoist....ie..attached to the ceiling of your garage. Or at least in KY that what it means.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Center of the strap. Once you get it all out and disassembled, you can make a parts and supplies list of what you want to replace. Feel free to post it up and we'll look over the list and add or delete.
Ahhh... Got it! And thanks, I will!

You are using a cherry picker/engine crane correct? You say engine hoist....ie..attached to the ceiling of your garage. Or at least in KY that what it means.
I have no idea what it's called... I guess engine crane is the right name for it? I'm not going to risk the motor and possibly the overall structural integrity of my garage for this project. Call me paranoid! :p

Now to source an engine crane locally. My problem is I don't have a large enough vehicle to pick one up... I either need to find someone with a used one and a pickup, or possibly a bored Alfisti in the San Jose, CA area with one who either wants to lend it and/or help with the project... I have beer and a kickass pizza place around the corner! :D

Aside from that, I'll be posting some pics later on tonight of the head, pistons, and sleeves. I've got a rebuilt head on the way, and apparently I need a piston/liner set, but I figure this may help tell us what other parts I need or anything else I need to do while doing this to make sure I don't need to do this again anytime soon. :)
 

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Engine Hoist

I don't know if there is one close to you, but there may be because it is a California company. Harbor Freight has a 1 ton folding engine hoist for about $160.00. Folding makes it convenient to store in a small garage when not in use. It is great for an Alfa engine. I have even used mine to pull the straight 6 in my Jeep. If I were a professional I would probably want something better (for a lot more $$$) but the made in China stuff from Harbor Freight is fine for home use. Their prices also allow me to justify to myself the purchase of toys, errrr tools, I otherwise would just rent or get by without. If there is no store close by they have website. I am sure my wife regrets that I pass by Harbor Freight every day on my way to and from work...

-Wayne
 
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