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I think comparing dimensions is a good start. My approach would be to measure the bushing removed and size the new one to as close as you can with emory cloth.. The trick is not over doing the emory cloth. Pecise concentrisity isn't real crucial. . I made the mistake of buying one of these bushings from CL and it arrived with a dull "leathery" matte finish.. I asked CL what gives and they told me some are machine turned shiney and some like mine. I fouled up and buffed it a tad too much and it just slipped on with hand pressure and spun , a nice definition of a "clearance " fit and back to the drawing board. I think the key is to get to a "transitional" fit rather than an "interference" fit..or somewhere in between.. (there are 3 categories of fit--clearance ,transitional, and interference) There is a slew of You -tubes on the science and methodology of ISO and ANI tolerances for "fit" nomenclature of a shaft in a hole just like everything a machinist perform. I think the tolerances ( there is a range) we are seeing in the parts are somewhere at the top of the interference fitting tightness range when in fact it should be at the bottom of it and perhaps at the top of the transition fitting range.
 

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I think comparing dimensions is a good start. My approach would be to measure the bushing removed and size the new one to as close as you can with emory cloth.. The trick is not over doing the emory cloth. Pecise concentrisity isn't real crucial. . I made the mistake of buying one of these bushings from CL and it arrived with a dull "leathery" matte finish.. I asked CL what gives and they told me some are machine turned shiney and some like mine. I fouled up and buffed it a tad too much and it just slipped on with hand pressure and spun , a nice definition of a "clearance " fit and back to the drawing board. I think the key is to get to a "transitional" fit rather than an "interference" fit..or somewhere in between.. (there are 3 categories of fit--clearance ,transitional, and interference) There is a slew of You -tubes on the science and methodology of ISO and ANI tolerances for "fit" nomenclature of a shaft in a hole just like everything a machinist perform. I think the tolerances ( there is a range) we are seeing in the parts are somewhere at the top of the interference fitting tightness range when in fact it should be at the bottom of it and perhaps at the top of the transition fitting range.
I agree on that analysis 150%. A press fit for the rear trailing arm bushings is absolutely necessary. For things like these mounts, totally unnecessary. Customers should not have to risk cracking out an aluminum casting because an aftermarket "manufacturer" can't or won't produce parts to spec. CL's excuse was lame, in this case.
 

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I agree on that analysis 150%. A press fit for the rear trailing arm bushings is absolutely necessary. For things like these mounts, totally unnecessary. Customers should not have to risk cracking out an aluminum casting because an aftermarket "manufacturer" can't or won't produce parts to spec. CL's excuse was lame, in this case.
That makes a lot of sense. For what it's worth, the Spruell solid mount I used was at least a transitional fit (with the mount at freezer temp and the housing warmed slightly with a propane torch). I was able to install by hand, but it would require force to remove with the housing and mount at equal temps. Obviously not what most folks want in a street car, but at least some suppliers are doing the fit right.
 

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1987 Spider
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Discussion Starter · #64 · (Edited)
Moving on to other projects, I've been working on the interior a little bit. The original dark brown carpet had faded to about 5 different shades of brown and orange (but mostly orange). It's still in good shape, but just ugly as sin. Molded carpets aren't available anymore, of course, so I've decided to try and re-color the carpet using fabric paint rather than buying a new modular set of carpet.

All the carpet had been removed and cleaned. Not as hard as you might think, since the car is so small and being a convertible.

The next step is finding the right color. I decided to go back to the original dark brown color, although finding a fabric paint on that color proved to be exceptionally difficult. Finally, I did find a good match. Below you see the original carpet color (trunk carpet) on the top, with a couple painted panels below, separated by my tan floor mats. The paint is SEM Marine Vinyl Carver Coco.

If you're thinking of recoloring your carpets back to dark brown, this is a good option. But beware that the manufacturer discontinued this color just last month. If you're going to buy some, buy it now. Like, today. Cost varies between $11 and $30 per can, depending on who is selling it. I believe one could easily cover all the carpet with 3 cans. I bought 4 just in case.

Plant Sleeve Rectangle Grey Art
 

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Moving on to other projects, I've been working on the interior a little bit. The original dark brown carpet had faded to about 5 different shades of brown and orange (but mostly orange). It's still in good shape, but just ugly as sin. Molded carpets aren't available anymore, of course, so I've decided to try and re-color the carpet using fabric paint rather than buying a new modular set of carpet.

All the carpet had been removed and cleaned. Not as hard as you might think, since the car is so small and bring a convertible.

The next step is finding the right color. I decided to go back to the original dark brown color, although finding a fabric paint on that color proved to be exceptionally difficult. Finally, I did find a good match. Below you see the original carpet color (trunk carpet) on the top, with a couple painted panels below, separated by my tan floor mats. The paint is SEM Marine Vinyl Carver Coco.

If you're thinking of recoloring your carpets back to dark brown, this is a good option. But beware that the manufacturer discontinued this color just last month. If you're going to buy some, buy it now. Like, today. Cost varies between $11 and $30 per can, depending on who is selling it. I believe one could easily cover all the carpet with 3 cans. I bought 4 just in case.
They all get orange with sun light. I will check my local supplier of SEM products as I have some original trunk carpet that needs help.
FYI, there was some on Amazon

Thanks
 

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1987 Spider
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Discussion Starter · #68 · (Edited)
I got my classic car plates too! They are my way of saying, "You may not know what this car is - but rest assured, it's a classic".

Above I mentioned the "horrendous" radio wiring job. I'm talking about Scotch-loks, wire nuts, literally yards of extra wire, the wrong antenna lead was plugged in (yes, there were 2 installed), and there was no constant 12v to the radio despite three different switched 12v wires tapped in behind the radio. All the factory radio/speaker wires were taped off, since I guess the PO thought he could wire it up better his way.

Luckily, nothing else on the car appears to have been molested in a similar manner.
 

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I got my classic car plates too! They are my way of saying, "You may not know what this car is, but rest assured, it's a classic".

Above I mentioned the "horrendous" radio wiring job. I'm talking about Scotch-loks, wire nuts, literally yards of extra wire, the wrong antenna lead was plugged in (yes, there were 2 installed), and there was no constant 12v to the radio despite three different switched 12v wires tapped in behind the radio. All the factory radio/speaker wires were taped off, since I guess the PO thought he could wire it up better his way.

Luckily, nothing else on the car appears to have been molested in a similar manner.
And then some later owners of these cars blame Italian electrics. :rolleyes:
 

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1987 Spider
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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
Okay, all leaks are stopped (for now). Interior is done. New water pump, rad hoses, valve cover gasket, spark plugs, VVT o-ring, coolant, oil change, and degreased the engine. Next on the list will be caster bushings (and maybe the whole upper control arms), since the caster forks are clunking loudly over bumps.

Got my COVID booster yesterday and felt like death today. Felt dehydrated, so a perfect excuse to drive down to the Chick-fil-A in the Spider for a large lemonade. That helped a lot (fluids and the sound of the engine are good medicine). Actually parked it in the driveway today, since I don't have to worry about staining the concrete now.

Car Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Land vehicle
Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle
Vehicle Steering part Hood Motor vehicle Car
 

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1987 Spider
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Discussion Starter · #75 · (Edited)
This week I hit a couple of milestones. The first is that I reached the $3000 mark for money spent on parts, fluids, and tools. Not really proud of that part, but Post #2 in this thread has been updated to document the progress I've made on the car so far.

The second milestone is that I finally feel like the car is in a good place. It's fun to drive. Sure, it still needs things, but it feels like a good driver now.

One of the things I did today was replacing the caster rod bushings. When driving over any bumps at all, the front suspension would rattle and clatter, sounding like an old stagecoach. The rest of the suspension looks and feels pretty good, but there was obvious movement and noise coming from the caster bushings. Fixing it turned out to be easier than I expected.

I replaced the bushings ON the car, without removing the upper control arm. This was made possible because the sleeves on the old bushings were plastic. Although the sleeves looked like metal, I verified they were plastic by taking a blade and shaving off a tiny sliver of the sleeve. I was tempted to replace both entire UCAs as preventive maintenance, but since I could replace the caster bushings cheaply and on the car, I figured I would just start there.

1. I jacked up the car, removed the wheel, and then removed the 17mm bolt/nut that holds the caster fork to the UCA.
2. I used a 6mm male hex to remove the two bolts that hold the caster rod to the fender well. The caster rod now came off very easily, and the bushing's center steel insert simply fell right out onto the floor.
3. With the steel insert gone, a jigsaw was used to slice through the rubber and then through the plastic sleeve of the bushing. I did this without nicking or marring the housing for the bushing on the UCA, and the bushing popped right out in about 20 seconds.
4. To replace the bushings, I used the Superflex bushings from Classic Alfa. I started to cuss myself for not buying two-piece bushings, since my first few attempts (rubber mallet, large C-clamp) to install the bushing failed miserably. What worked very well was using a long, thick bolt with washers on each end to sandwich the bushing and housing, and then using a cordless impact to drive it in. Very easy. Installing the steel insert took some fumbling, finger strength, and a mallet, but it wasn't too bad.
5. Finally, replace the caster rod with the two bolts loosely threaded into the front fender well. Then align the fork and install the bolt/nut. Trust me, it is far easier to install the fender well side of the rod first, and then the fork end, rather than the other way around.

Driving the car afterward reveals no more clunks and a MAJOR improvement in the feel of the steering.
 

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"The second milestone is that I finally feel like the car is in a good place. It's fun to drive. Sure, it still needs things, but it feels like a good driver now."

I know how that feels! It is indeed a great feeling. Feels like... progress.
 
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GradBrad wrote:

"This week I hit a couple of milestones. The first is that I reached the $3000 mark for money spent on parts, fluids, and tools. Not really proud of that part . . . "

$3000? That's only good for the Tenderfoot Badge!

Good show, tho, GradBrad, making real progress and bringing a neglected Spider back to good health. You've put a lot of energy into your project, and it shows. Excellent bang for the buck. That interior looks terrific!

Don't Weaken!

David OD
Laguna CA
 

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DOD is right on..$3 grand is peanuts on old cars .. even when represented as "drive anywhere.. needs nothing" by a seller. Blowing through, brakes ,tires , rusted hard lines, exhausts, seats, interior, etc can EASILy make your bank account bleed.. Then there are those who have to do paint, engine, SPICA, top, tranny and suspension....and I break out into night sweats.
 

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Your car looks great!! Enjoy it and be proud of your progress...you will never be done but that was the point, right?

I have a well sorted 2003 911 and an 84 Alfa Spider that slow leaks all sorts of stuff onto my garage floor and steers like a whale. Ask me which I'd keep in a pinch!
 
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