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Discussion Starter #1
Hello friends,
I am 3 years into the 'light restoration' of my 1972 Alfa Spider. She is going back together now at a pace and really starting to look the part.
I have completely overhauled the engine, but this was now 2 years ago, until recently it has sat on the engine stand waiting to be refitted. I have now refitted it and fired it up. I was so pleased, it looked great and when the refurbed carbs were set up ran lovely.
I came out to the workshop the next day and saw a small amount of oil under the bell housing. It is engine oil not transmission, it has dripped off the rear upper pan bolts. I took the inspection cover off and it does not seem to be coming from the rear main seal, however i know hot oil will travel.
The rear of the engine above the bellhousing is bone dry as is the rest of the engine.
To say my heart sank is the understatement of the century!!
Before I start stripping the box out and then the engine to look to repair the leak is there anything I am missing check wise. I seem to think it is probably the cigarette seals, I didn't like them when I was fitting them and as they were proud of the face a little, I trimmed them slightly to make them flush and am now thinking that was my stupid mistake.
One final question if I may, when I ran it up on the stands my newly refurbished (Professionally done as beyond my capabilities) gearbox ran up fine until I put into reverse, when it howled really loud. The box has sat dry waiting to be fitted for about 12 months, I filled it with Alfaholics recommended oil before it was fitted and when I ran it up the second time it seemed quieter but still noisy. Is it likely just to be settling or should i return it to the workshop while i have it all out again.
Thanks for reading through my troubles and for any advice.
KInd regards
Rich
 

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Here is the Alfa tech bulletin on the seals.

As far as I know from ordering the seals from different suppliers. Which have all been the incorrect size.
 

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Cigarette seals shrink over time, that is why most dont use them, just fill the void completely with Ultra Black... fixing that issue of course will mean pulling the pan at the very least, most likely pulling the engine would be better in the long run. Never have done it but I would try to snake an endoscope in there to possibly see where the leak really is, possibly through the clutch fork hole!? If it will fit behind the flywheel you could probably check the rear main....
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Reverse is going to be loud. I just the other day put the motor back in my car and bolted a gearbox I'd rebuilt several years ago that had been in another car. After I filled it with Red Line 75W90NS I turned the output shaft in all the gears just as cursory check. When I put it in reverse it sounded like a very large caliber machine gun. Rat tat tat tat. It's in the car now and working fine. Then again if it's howling that might be bad as I would describe the sound backing up as a whine rather than a howl. As far as the oil leak goes you're not the first. Trimming the cig seals is normal as they will always stick up a little. They have to be installed with a helping of ultra grey gasket maker/sealer. I usually put a good dab at the bottom so the seal will squish against it and seal those small areas between the rear main bearing cap and the block. It's also good to have the ultra grey along the length of the seal so as to seal along it's length as well. If you don't take the motor out and redo the rear seal you can in a pinch take some brake parts cleaner and using something like a popsicle stick and a rag soaked with brake parts cleaner and clean the area between the rear main seal and block. Blow dry with some air and then using the popsicle stick as a spatula trowel ultra grey onto the crack between the main bearing cap and block filling up that area as best you can. The oil isn't under pressure so all you need to do is stop the seep if it's not the rear main seal itself. Also and you might already have addressed this but the best seals are the dark brown Cortco seals not the orange Arkon seals some sell. Hope this helps
 

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Here is the Alfa tech bulletin on the seals.
and what I've always been told, you "don't" trim the ciggy seals!....they protrude a bit and get squished when the sump is bolted up.

according to alfa TSB, seals must be following size, if not don't use them
length: 64 +/- 0,5 mm
dia.: 10,2 +/- 0,1 mm
 

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Every Alfa engine I've taken apart that no one has been into. Shows the cig seals squished between the block and the oil pan gasket.
 

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I cannot locate the thread, but somewhere there is a discussion regarding the cig seal installation that includes a thin coating of Ultra Gray. From my recollection it acts as a lubricant for installation and sealant when it sets up. The protrusion is in the 1/16" range. This method has worked great for me on a couple engine builds.

Not much can crash a party as a leaky seal, best of luck with a repair
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks so much everyone for the prompt replies. I helps no end to not be alone with these problems and have others to discuss them with.
I will try the endoscope as I have one just to see what it is, although it seems that the motor will probably have to come back out.
Whats another couple of weeks in the scheme of things!!
 

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If you have a lift it can be done in the car.

But if you don't. Its easoer to pull the engine.
 

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Everyone has their own voodoo for installing the cigarette seals. Yes, some gasket sets include cig. seals that are too small in diameter. I believe it is necessary to apply some sealant to the end of the seal that will be pointing up once the engine is in place. Others just fill that cylindrical cavity with sealant instead of using the cig. seal.

Another possibility is that your rear main seal has come loose. The lore is that excessive blow-by before the rings seat can create enough pressure to force the seal out. Some people glue the seal in with hardening sealant, but I like to mechanically secure it in place (see photo below). Many claim that this procedure is unnecessary and they are probably right. Then again, it doesn't hurt anything, gives me peace of mind and it's quicker to bolt in the seal than pull the engine just to re-install it and hope it holds the second time..

1627656
 

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I concerned by the comment that I read as meaning you ran your gearbox first with no oil in it ... I hope I'm miss-understanding ...

Pete
 

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Difficult to judge a sound without hearing it. If your gear box makes as a sort of whiney sound only in reverse, it might be the clutch pilot bearing. (not sure if I am using the correct term here, the bronze bush into which the spindle from the gearbox slides when you mount the gearbox onto the engine.

These are made of bronze. Normally before installing you leave them soaking in oil for a couple of days.
 

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Thanks so much everyone for the prompt replies. I helps no end to not be alone with these problems and have others to discuss them with.
I will try the endoscope as I have one just to see what it is, although it seems that the motor will probably have to come back out.
Whats another couple of weeks in the scheme of things!!
Welcome aboard mate!

You will find the chaps on this forum are more than helpful, best of luck with your spider
 

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Reverse normally howls or whines, the gears are straight cut not helical.
The reverse gear in the car is fairly simple, do you know if they replaced any of the gears for reverse ? (there are three, reverse on the main shaft, reverse on the lay shaft, and the idler for reverse which is what actually gets shifted when you pull the stick into reverse. Usually if there is a problem its the idler).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi all,
Thanks for the replies.
The box was filled with oil before it was first run, but had sat dry after the build for about 12 months. Before the rebuild it did used to jump out of reverse, so some work was done on that and it had new syncro's on second gear. I have no idea what they did to reverse though. I did see it in their workshop completely torn down to its parts, so it was all taken apart.
The bush in the flywheel was not replaced and had never been noisy before, the box did go in very well and given it makes no noise in forward gears I was thinking that this should be OK.
It does not sound like the straight cut gear wine (thinking mini cooper S or rally car gearbox) more of a screechy howl. Its clearly hard to articulate a noise!
The gear shift was quite stiff when first started up, but when started up the second time, it seems to have improved with the oil getting around and the howl was less.
Once again thanks for the help.
Rich
 

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Are all of the rubber boots attached on the top of the trans/console?
 

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Re gear box, as others have said the reverse pinion and matching gears are straight cut to allow the pinion to slide into engagement. This is a much noisier arrangement than the other gears.
However, there is a slight possibility that the during the overhaul the reverse pinion was replaced with one that has a slightly different tooth profile. This would make the box extremely noisy in reverse. Probably not a big concern if you don't drive long distances backwards or try reverse drags!
 
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