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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have just purchased a 84 and have a background in british cars...please help my limey ***..
after closer inspection there is a thick sticky oily build up in top of my radiator... i am thinking head gaskets..a speed shop suggested the head may have a port plug in the head loose or out??? where should i start...i am not a man off means and the $2,500 could have been better spent on domestic items i am sure but what a awesome thing to sit in...help the novice please i am in waupaca wisconsin..

shane

i have a novice web site for my hobby...
SHANES

 

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Clean the gunk out of the top of the radiator and the overflow bottle and see if it returns. If it does then you will have to replace the head gasket but you are unlikely to do major damage to the motor by driving it the way it is.
Ed Prytherch
 

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Probably 'just' the head gasket

Oil in the coolant means one of two things:
The head gasket is leaking around o-ringed oil passages and is redressed only by a replacement gasket. This is a very common occurrence with Alfas, and one that shouldn't scare you too much. The second possibility is, as my somewhat impaired brother once did to our first Alfa (57 spider), oil was added to the radiator filler instead of the engine filler.
Obviously, the first case is far more likely than the second. In fact, I only listed the second case to embarrass my brother, who I still chide on this issue some 40 years later!:p
Head gaskets aren't too difficult to change, but I have no way to tell whether the job is beyond your capability. The first time I tried it I was 15 years old with VERY limited mechanical experience and it took two days. The most recent time was a few moths ago while racing at Button Willow, and my son & I did it in just under two hours under track-side conditions.
The gaskets are pretty cheap, and any Alfa specialist can do the job without much drama, if you're not a die hard (as most Alfa owners seem to be.) No plugs are to blame as the speed shop suggested, and it shouldn't cost but about a fourth of the $2500. you quote.
Best of luck either repairing, or selling!
 

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I have owned two Alfa spiders and had to change head gaskets on both. it is not a very hard thing to do. if there is no coolant in the oil, I agree, first clean the radiator and bottle, it may have been leftovers from some time ago.
cliff
 
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