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Discussion Starter #1
Had I been considerably younger I still would have titled this thread the same way.

I currently have a suspension thread going for my GT and am actually listening to the suggestions.

As I've written frequently, I bought my '75 in '78. Perhaps my imagination, but I feel the front is banging a lot more than it ever did. Suspension recently rebuilt with fairly 'fresh' shocks. '79, low mileage steering rack recently. Recently installed new wheels bearings. Rear is fine.

In any event I'm strongly thinking of going retro and installing 185/70-14 tires this time. I've had two sets of Yokohama Avid 195/65-14's. As suggested, possibly a softer sidewall will 'soften the blow'.

To my amazement, NexTag lists 148 tires in the 185/70-14 size - 185 70 14 Tires - Compare Prices, Reviews and Buy at NexTag - Price - Review Of course 98% are All Season. To coin a phrase, it will be a cold day in HeII before the Alfetta and self are in snow. Decent in the rain, sure. Long life, definitely not since I equate long life with a hard tread (eg, Michlins). Quiet, a definite yes. And of course I want an easy rider, though not to the extreme. And highway/city driving only. So any that are H rated (stiff sidewalls) are out.

There are several P4 / P5 Pirelli's in the list which would be nice, but the name only goes so far. In surfing, Kumho's seem to get pretty good reviews.

If your preferences are anything like mine and have had good luck with a particular brand & 'model' I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Biba
 

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Biba, what you should do is fit some Michelin XAs 165 HR 14". I understand that may have been the original size for the Alfetta GT back in the day, 185/70 being the low profile high-performance option.

With 165 tyres the ride should be even more compliant, and warn you well in advance of the limits of adhesion. Of course don't expect to corner as if on rails... but it'd be more fun too.

As a matter of fact an extra lightweight Alfetta GT with skinny tyres, 14" x 6" magnesium wheels and as much extraneous mass off the front (bumpers, a/c etc, also changing to a lightweight alternator and geared starter motor) or transferred to the rear (battery) should be heaps of fun

Problem is they are collectors' tires by Michelin Collection division, virtually hand-made and cost a bunch.

http://www.michelin-passion.com/passion/front/templates/affich.jsp?codeRubrique=40&lang=EN&dimension=1

Maybe Pirelli would have a similar "collection" product with the correct Cinturato sizes and treads?

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #3
GTV 2.8, not sure if you know my car, but it does have magnesium wheels (5-stars), painted stainless bumpers, battery came located in the trunk, have new, much smaller (but not geared) sarter, and a pretty big alternator since I'm adding electrical stuff. The new power window units are sitting on the floor waiting to be installed. And along with that hope to have my A/C working better/colder by Summer.

I'd love to have those cool tires, but had a set of Michelin's years ago, wore like iron and felt like it. They got replaced early with a lot of tread on them. I also had an '85 GTV6 with nifty phone dial wheels, which unfortunately were metric. I'm not going down the road again of having to wait months for tires.

Biba
 

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If 165 HR 14 is equivalent to 165/80/14 then Cinturato P4 may not come in that size. ie. equivalent rolling diameter.
I have Pirelli P3000 185/70/14 on my alfetta GTV with a stock set up and find them to be ok
 

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From my p o v it seems what you're looking for is the Euro-spec Pirelli Cinturato P4, but maybe it's hard to lay hands on in the US?

CINTURATO P4, Car Tyres, summer Tyres - PIRELLI
Dear Martin, the problem with your suggestion (185/70R14 88T) is the speed rating (the T).

T is good for 118 mph/190 kph.

Alfa Romeo only approved a speed rating of HR or higher (130 mph/210 kph) for the Alfetta GT/GTV (at least in Europe).

The difference may seem insignificant and arguably Biba is not going to be driving all the time at his car's highest speed, but AFAIK the speed rating is a "dynamic" rating - meaning that the construction of the tire has also to be up to the task in all the speed range due to the efforts and loads the chassis would be able to exert on the car, not just outright speed.

Which means that cornering really hard an Alfetta at 60 kph on "T" rated tyres may actually overcome its design limits, leading to a blow out or to overheating (and blowing out later)

Size is not everything and we haven't even started on static load index (which in this case - 88- is well within the limits)

Is the P3000 still for sale? It doesn't seem to be mentioned in Pirelli UK's website.
 

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GTV 2.8, not sure if you know my car, but it does have magnesium wheels (5-stars), painted stainless bumpers, battery came located in the trunk, have new, much smaller (but not geared) sarter, and a pretty big alternator since I'm adding electrical stuff. The new power window units are sitting on the floor waiting to be installed. And along with that hope to have my A/C working better/colder by Summer.

I'd love to have those cool tires, but had a set of Michelin's years ago, wore like iron and felt like it. They got replaced early with a lot of tread on them. I also had an '85 GTV6 with nifty phone dial wheels, which unfortunately were metric. I'm not going down the road again of having to wait months for tires.

Biba
Biba, I was just daydreaming about what the ideal specs would be for a lightweight, chuckable Alfetta, not that you should do yours that way.

Michelin tyres are considered to be the bees' knees here in Europe - but pricey. I don't know what kind of Michelin you happened to have installed. There seem to be differences between countries of manufacture, even for tires otherwise *identical*. TRX tires ended up being a not-very-good-idea in practical terms, and I suspect Michelin forced some manufacturers to use them on high-end models by giving them enormous discounts in the more "cooking" versions.

I live in a place with disgusting roads and until recently had '81 Alfetta GTV 2000 for everyday duties. It has the optional 15" Campagnolos shod with 195/60 VR tyres.
Everything is mostly stock save for yellow Konis. The car handles like a dream and it is certainly not at all harsh. My significant other has a GTV6 with exactly the same tires and wheel sizes, yellow Konis and slightly harder rear springs, and it bounces all over the place, and yes, it feels "crashy" (the rear, mostly) when going over bumps. Common wisdom says that PO shouldn't have touched the rear springs and that the Konis must be adjusted way too firm.

Both cars have Superflex bushings in the usual places (Watts linkage, castor bars, sway bar brackets and dogbones etc). By the way, both cars have Bridgestone RE 720 tyres.

Maybe you should give Michelin another chance and/or have a look at your front dampers?

I also have a 75 Twin Spark with the stock wheels and sizes and it feels much, much more comfortable and progressive than the GTV 2000/GTV6. I suppose it is due to the 14" wheels with 195/60 tyres.

And I am all in favour of not going crazy on low profiles.

Cars such as the Alfetta were designed to lean and use the flex in the tires in order to warn the driver that the limits were being approached, instead of cornering so flat that when the skid happens there is not much you can do but brace for impact.
 

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old man tires

Biba,

What kind of fairly fresh shocks?

Standard?

Gas?

Did you run them through a compression/rebound cycle by hand? What did they feel like or do? I had a factory front strut on a BMW 2002 seize. It just about tore out the upper mount. Also a red Koni just about seize, with almost no travel on compression, on a Saab 900 I once owned.

I would recommend getting the proper HR 185/70-14 inch tires and maybe some softer front shocks, Gabriel, KYB, Monroe, maybe. I think the shocks would have a lot more to do with the front end banging than the slight change in tire size would.

When I was driving my 76 Alfetta GT, it originally came with 185/70-14 Michelin MXL tires at the end of their useful life. I replaced them with a different Michelin in 195/65-14. I didn't know how bad they were until I upgraded to 15" wheels and 205/60-15 Pirelli P6s. The steering got much lighter and the car was much easier to drive and much more enjoyable.

If you can drive someone elses car and find what you like, duplicate it.

Good Luck,
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's interesting, I don't believe I've ever driven another Alfetta GT. But, as mentioned I did own a very nice GTV6 at one time, and it drove like a dream and had no problem with harsh bumps. When I had it on the skid pad at Willow Springs, it plowed like crazy, but at least didn't tip over let alone fly off the end of the earth. This is one reason I'm not at all concerned with adding weight. I'm sure the much heavier V6 engine was a main factor.

The shocks are Spica's, and yes, I did test all four shocks for rebound. I'm amazed anyone can install yellow Koni's and say that it is not at all harsh. Handle well, sure, but not harsh? I have two matching front Koni's in that the pair had a bad right shock as did the pair I took off a donar car. As I recall all four rear shocks were fine.

I sure wish it was easy to get specs on shocks. It has occurred to me that the Milano Spica shock absorbers might not have as much downward travel as needed for the GT.

What are Superflex bushings made of and where would I go to look for the dogbone on my car?

I'm not at all hung up on Pirelli's and as I've mentioned, I really don't want H rated tires since they will have a stiffer sidewall. What's the next step down?

That said, NexTag lists Pirelli P4 Four Season (no); Pirelli Cinturato P5 - this tire is also available in 195/70-14.

I suspect that the least interesting looking tread design would be the quietest - do remember the first two words of this thread.

The search continues.

Biba
 

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...the problem with your suggestion (185/70R14 88T) is the speed rating (the T).

T is good for 118 mph/190 kph.

...Is the P3000 still for sale? It doesn't seem to be mentioned in Pirelli UK's website.
The Pirelli tyres (P3000E 185/70/R14 88T) were bought back in May 2009.
I cannot find a web listing for these now either.

185/70 HR 14 is the correct specification as you have mentioned.

It seems that the P3000s have been replaced with Pirelli Cinturato P5 P185/70R14 88H.
 

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Almost any quality tyre on the market today will outperform the original equipment for these cars - advances in the tyre industry have been that dramatic. If you specify the right size (ie 185/70 14 or 195/65 14 or if you have 15 inch rims, 195/60 15 or 205/55 15) and stay away from r-spec tyres, the ride and noise levels should be fine.

In terms of specific tyres, it can be harder to find the older/higher profiles in good quality models these days. So many cars now run 15 inch rims and 50 or 55 profiles, that these are no longer considered 'low' profile or sports tyres. Therefore there are plenty of nice quality tyres in these sizes. It really depends on local demands and supplies.

One other thing, try to buy tyres that are 'fresh' - nor more than 6 months from manufacture. Over here, the code stamped on the sidewall indicates the number of weeks into the year of manufacture. (ie 04010 is made on the 40th week of 2010) - woth checking to make sure 'half' the lifespan hasn't been spent on the shelf.
 

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I've got some Sumitomo HTR200 tires on mine that are great for the car... seen them on other older cars of the same size and weight, and in fact I bought a set for my Beta as well. They're not super-aggressive, but hold the road well, and they're reasonably priced.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Chris, I was thinking someone said to stay away from the Sumitomo's, but they sound pretty good to me. One big thing though, is how quiet are they at speed? I'm sure I don't have to tell you that SF and LA are virtually complete opposites in many ways, but especially the driving situation. Today I needed to pick up some uphostery supplies from a supply house about twelve miles away. I was on two different freeways for probably ten (each way) of those miles.

Meaning of course, if one drives mostly in town (and over cable car tracks), a noisy set of tires is barely noticed, on the freewy at speed, darn annoying.

I believe one major thing going on here is 'normal' people have an (at least one) Alfa and a considerably more modern car. So if the Alfa is a bit rough riding and noisy, hey it's refreshing to not being coddled and be driving a 'real' car. My '75 Alfetta GT is my real, only (noisy) car.

Biba
 

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Yeah, I normally take transit to work, but I do a good amount of freeway driving on weekends since my workshop is across the bay. That said, I've also had the car on a couple of long-distance road trips, and I can't say the tire noise has been particularly noticeable. The stock exhaust was not terribly quiet, though, nor is the current setup, so I may not be the right person to ask about that.
 

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I'v had good luck with Kumhos (several sets) on my GTV6 (15") but switched to BF Goodrich the last time based on reviews at Tire Rack.

Was difficult to find the 225-50 15 size to fit the 7" wide OZ wheels. Kumho's fit fine. BFG barely clear the lower front fender lip and rear splas shield at full lock.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have strange quirks when it comes to the various sounds a car makes. I hate air inlet sounds, air noise (because of bad door seals or?), and tire noise...but then have a very noisy all Ansa exhaust with Euro cast exhaust headers.

Oh yes, I hate banging sounds from the suspension (??) when going over sharp bumps.

I've driven a lot of Alfa Spiders since I restored them for clients. All pretty noisy, which I've always attributed to being primarily caused by the cloth top. I currently have an '88 Quad in and it is just about as quiet as you could get with this basically ancient design. Apparently the cloth top isn't the cause of all the noise (unless it's down of course).

But I digress.

Please keep tire suggestions coming.

Biba
 

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I prefer the original Michelin MXL 185/70 R14
to modern tires.

The circumference of 185/70 R14 modern tires is considerably less than
the MXL's.

The MXL's flex more - enjoyable, particularly on the Alfetta.

The MXL's also look great as opposed to all of the modern tread insanity
and sidewall ratatouille. Measurable 'Better' isn't always better.

I've been bothering Vredestein for the past 2 years
to make their classic tires available in Alfetta sizes
but so far, no go.

At least with the Alfetta we still have some choice.
For the Ducati 750 Paso there aren't any more tires
in the original size being produced.
 

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Biba -

I have another '76 Alfetta GT in ivory. I have 15" Ronals w/Kumho Ecstas. Good tire with over-all decent performance. Quiet enough for me (although the rest of the car is noisy enough, maybe masking some tire noise).

I think you may be too limited in looking only/primarily for 185/70 tires. Decent tires may not be as available as they were in yesteryear, in that size. Bottom feeder Toyotas and Hondas use lower profile tires than that! I might suggest looking at 195/65 tires. They'll still look retro enough, and still have a tall enough sidewall to give a decent ride. Also, steering effort won't take as much of a hit, compared to 205/60s, which I had on my car before I went to the 15"wheels. Tread design is likely to be the largest contributor to road noise.

Speaking of noise - regarding the bumping and clunking in the front suspension. Check the rest of the bushings, including control arms, tie-rod ends, etc.

Jay
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Jay, good to hear from you. I have 195/65-14 Yokohama's on the car right now. It was suggested that 'perhaps' going back to the original 185/70's might give me a softer sidewall and help take some of the harshess out of raised areas where the GT really bangs over. I use the situation of where asphalt butts up to concrete and frequently there are raised areas, and the car really bangs over them. Most everywhere else these raised areas would be called freeze bumps.

I had the left front tire off yesterday and all looked fine with the suspension. I didn't explore it at the time, but I wonder if I either overtightened or undertightened the top of the shock absorbers. It also crossed my mind that it sure wouldn't hurt to replace the top and bottom rubber snubbers (?) - but where do you get them?

I'm going to switch my Koni shocks back in to see if the shocks I have on it now might be part of the problem - but I don't think so.

Back to tires...while neither gets great reviews, I've sort of narrowed it down to Michelin Hydro edge tires or posibly Pirelli P5's - both available in the 185/70 size. The P5's get terrible noise ratings since they 'sing' over asphalt. Both of the tires are high mileage rated which I don't want, since it means the tread will be on the hard side.

If you should hear of a set of Ronals like yours please give me a holler. I love my five stars, but your Ronal's are a close second - not to mention being 15". I'll check out the Kumho Ectas.

Biba
 
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