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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,
I'm seeking advice on changing the oil in my 1971 Spider 1750.

I know this is a really basic thing, so let me provide a bit of backstory. The car was my dad's, he was the second owner from about 1973. I still remember riding in the back "seat" when I was kid. About 1983, it stopped running - it turns out it was the fuel injection, although he thought it was the valves at the time. He parked it in a California garage and never moved it again. When he passed away in 2008, I brought it down to Los Angeles where I was living at the time and my friend and I (actually my advisor in graduate school, who was an MG guy) worked on it and got it running. I drove it in LA for about 6 months and then got married and moved to Boston. I've been in the Boston area for over 10 years now and, like many in Boston, have never had a garage or driveway, so I never had the space to work on the car myself, so I always took it to a mechanic and my mechanical skills, which weren't great in the first place, went away. Last year, we bought a place in Vermont and the car is now happy to have a two car garage in which to live (first day I got VT plates, somebody smashed the front end and drove off, but that is a different story). So, now I am ready to start working on the car a bit again myself. Changing the oil to start driving again this spring seems like a good place to start (the nearest mechanic is 30 miles away too, so I should do this myself).

I want to make the right decisions, so please give me some basic advice:
1. What type of filter do I need and where should I buy it (I am pretty sure the care was never converted to a screw on filter)?
2. What type of oil should I be using?
3. Anything else I should know or look out for when doing this?

thanks everyone - always value the great advice I get on this forum.

Ryan
 

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Your first real life adventure is about to begin. Please follow the rules.

Rule #1: NEVER BUY A FILTER PAINTED ORANGE.
Rule #2: search for "change oil filter" on the site.

Have fun.
 

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Great story!

You’ll need a filter element for the canister type filter. Centerline or Classic Alfa will be good sources. I’d also get a couple of the oil seals for the canister. The are an o-ring but have a rectangular cross section, which can make it difficult to install properly, so you’ll need to check carefully for leaks.

Any modern oil is vastly better than what was available in 1971, but I’d avoid synthetics as they may result in leaks. Since summer is coming, I’d start with a 15-40 weight oil.

Have fun!
 

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Here's the previously mentioned thread on oil: another oil question
Some like Rotella which has lots of zinc (they say it's good for fighting coronavirus as well, the zinc, not the oil, but check with a physician before taking my advice), others like Valvoline Racing oil, Castrol, etc. You'll go crazy reading that thread but lots of info out there. Find one you like and change your oil often. Once you drain all of the oil out, stick your finger up in the drain hole and feel around for any sludge. If you find any, it wouldn't hurt to pull the lower pan off and clean out the bottom of the pan before refilling.

If you still have the Spica FI, make sure you change the little Spica pump filter at the same time. You'll need a new triangular gasket along with the filter. Yes, it's a real pain to change but it will pay off in the end. Pictured is the Spica pump filter gasket. Full disclosure: I have it for sale on ebay.

Be prepared to spill oil ALL OVER THE PLACE when you remove the engine oil filter canister. That's normal. Chances are the O ring is HARD AS A ROCK now if it hasn't been changed in years. You'll need a sharp item like a metal pick, sometimes two, to get it out while underneath the car. Yes, you'll find out there isn't enough room to get both hands in the small gap trying to pull out the O ring. Some people don't bother to pull the old O ring out and just install a new one on top of the old one and you might have three O rings stuck in there (trust me, I bought a car like that). There are two sizes of O rings so you make sure you measure or buy both before changing your oil.

A lot of what I just said is worse case scenario. Hopefully your experience is better.

Chuck
 

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Some people don't bother to pull the old O ring out and just install a new one on top of the old one and you might have three O rings stuck in there
.... and this is NOT a case where more is better. Be sure to remove the old O ring; you only want one - preferably a fresh one - in there.

++ for Rotella. Walmart tends to carry it and has the lowest price. I've also seen it at AutoZone.

Be prepared to spill oil ALL OVER THE PLACE when you remove the engine oil filter canister. That's normal.
Yup. Hard to avoid. I put down a big piece of cardboard and have newspaper and paper towels handy to catch the spills.

One other tip: Make sure the copper washer on the oil pan drain plug doesn't get lost. It can remain stuck on the bottom of the pan, and then fall off into your catch basin. Using a new copper washer every N oil changes is a prudent idea, as they do become work hardened.
 

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Couple of other basic things to consider...
Buy, borrow or steal a repair manual for the car. It will help you a lot, often.

if you follow 6alfas advice about dropping the pan, you will need to purchase a new gasket, or take the leap to using (the right type of) silicone gasket material. Or it will leak afterwards.

Get a look at your sump plug first. It may be that your relatively early car (canister oil filter, for example) also has the earlier hex-drive sump plug rather than a bolt-head style. If so, you’ll need a 14mm Allen key. If later, the socket/spanner size required may be larger than you have in your tool kit. The bolt on the canister is also difficult to access and obtain a suitable swing on a spanner. Figure out if you’ve got the right tools first,

Normally, oil drains better when it is warm, and you would run the car for a while first, unless the sludge problem is worrisome. If so, perhaps consider a two-stage change. Drain the oil. Replace with a cheap, no-name oil, add an engine oil flush product, follow the instructions, drain oil, dispose, put the good oil you intend to use from here on in. Check the engine oil level as you first fill, then again after you’ve run it a bit. It usually drops a little after the filter re-fills. You’re gonna need over 5 litres of oil. It’s a big sump compared to most.

Next step is gearbox and diff oil checking/change. Worth doing after a lay-up that long.
Again, straightforward, but it can be tricky making oil flow uphill to the fill point. The car manual will tell you what amount and spec of oil to use for each. Did I say ‘buy a manual’?

A youTube video or two on the different subjects might give you a confidence boost.
Don’t forget gloves and some hand cleaner!
Having a celebratory beer close by should also help enormously.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for all of the great advice everyone. Going to look for the filter and a new o-ring and get ready to give it a try! Looking forward to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Everyone, follow up question. It looks like CEnterline and Classic Alfa sell pretty different looking filters:

Do they both work? Is one preferred to the other?
 

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I do like CA’s suggestion to order their filter with O-ring plus their ‘other size’ O-ring to ensure you’ll get an O-ring right for your car.
 

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Hi Everyone, follow up question. It looks like CEnterline and Classic Alfa sell pretty different looking filters:

Do they both work? Is one preferred to the other?
They both work. I think it's more of a preference on which vendor you want to order from. Here's your chance to buy a NOS one if you prefer: Alfa Romeo 105-series Oil Filter NOS | eBay
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Everyone,
thanks for all the advice on this question - I've got everything I need (have for a while actually) and I'm now ready to actually try this. I have an embarrassingly simple question though: how do I access the oil filter? Where is it? Looking under the hood without taking anything out, I think I see it on the driver's side down by the dipstick - but other threads on this forum indicate that on later models it is under the air-filter housing, but I don't think I see it there on my 71. Sticking my head under the car (without putting it up on ramps), I don't see it obviously accessible from anywhere underneath. Asking because I figure I should know where I'm going before I start doing this.

Also, is there anything I should be keeping in my mind when removing and replacing the filter?

thanks everyone, always appreciate all the tips.
Ryan
 

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The oil filter is down by the dipstick as you suspected. Place a large piece of cardboard underneath the car prior to starting. Loosen the bolt on top of the oil filter housing and the canister will slowly lower, or you may have to give it a nudge to pop free once the bolt is totally loosened. You will need to tilt the canister to get it out. Be prepared to spill half of the oil inside of the canister trying to remove it, thus the need for the cardboard. Once the canister is out you will need to remove the O ring from the underside of the housing. If you're lucky the O ring will come right out. I use a metal pick to pry it out from underneath. It can take a little more effort if the rubber is hard. I once pulled out three O rings from the housing, all hard as a rock, as the PO hadn't bothered to pull the old ones out when changing the oil, so be sure and shine a bright flashlight to insure that you have removed any and all O rings. There are two different sizes of O rings so it's a good idea to have both on hand BEFORE STARTING. Most vendors either sell a filter with both O rings, or the option to buy the other size. If you don't have both O ring sizes on hand, Murphy's Law says you will need the one you don't have. Smear some clean oil on the O ring before replacing. Fill the canister half way with fresh oil prior to replacing it. You will spill some of it if you fill it any higher. Tighten the canister snugly. If you haven't already, drain the rest of the oil, refill the crankcase, start the car and check for leaks.

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The oil filter is down by the dipstick as you suspected. Place a large piece of cardboard underneath the car prior to starting. Loosen the bolt on top of the oil filter housing and the canister will slowly lower, or you may have to give it a nudge to pop free once the bolt is totally loosened. You will need to tilt the canister to get it out. Be prepared to spill half of the oil inside of the canister trying to remove it, thus the need for the cardboard. Once the canister is out you will need to remove the O ring from the underside of the housing. If you're lucky the O ring will come right out. I use a metal pick to pry it out from underneath. It can take a little more effort if the rubber is hard. I once pulled out three O rings from the housing, all hard as a rock, as the PO hadn't bothered to pull the old ones out when changing the oil, so be sure and shine a bright flashlight to insure that you have removed any and all O rings. There are two different sizes of O rings so it's a good idea to have both on hand BEFORE STARTING. Most vendors either sell a filter with both O rings, or the option to buy the other size. If you don't have both O ring sizes on hand, Murphy's Law says you will need the one you don't have. Smear some clean oil on the O ring before replacing. Fill the canister half way with fresh oil prior to replacing it. You will spill some of it if you fill it any higher. Tighten the canister snugly. If you haven't already, drain the rest of the oil, refill the crankcase, start the car and check for leaks.

Chuck

Thanks Chuck! This is exactly what I was looking for.
 

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Chuck: great "how to"but I would add that if you put a big plastic under the canister to catch the oil it will be a cleaner job.

Note to OP: The word "start" in Chuck's "how to" refers to starting the job not starting the engine. :eek:

OH: Almost forgot, NEVER BUY A FILTER IN AN ORANGE BOX. ;)
 
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