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Discussion Starter #1
Last year my quarantine project was to get my '76 Alfetta sedan back on the road. And since all the reasonably priced GTV6s disappeared before I got around to buying one, my project for this winter seems like it should be reviving the Milano that my dad bought in the '90s to replace the Alfetta. Unfortunately it developed some problems, life got in the way, and it's been parked since 2001. Before its hibernation it was actually one of the cars I learned to drive with while getting my license, so it will be nice to get it going again. It certainly doesn't make financial sense given their (lack of) value, but I can't be responsible for there being one less Alfa left in the world...
As you can see, some rust starting in the rear wheel arches, but it was never driven in winter so it's fairly clean otherwise.
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Into the shop, which was no trivial task given it doesn't start and there's a bit of a slope to the door. And the brakes don't work, but fortunately(?) it doesn't roll very well either. At this point I was still somewhat optimistic that it would be pretty cheap to make it road worthy again.
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The original list of problems included a large oil leak from, I was told, the rear main seal, and no fuel pressure. So I figured I'd start by pulling the motor and evaluating from there. Never having pulled an Alfa motor before, and working by myself, it actually was a lot easier than I expected. Alfa engineers cleverly designed their gaskets to not hold in fluids so all nuts and bolts were nicely oiled and came off easily.
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Not unexpectedly, the driveshaft and CV joints need rebuilt and the exhaust is in pretty sad shape. After checking Centerline, my hopes of not spending a lot of money started to fade. Those rubber bits are expensive! Anyway, with the engine out I cleaned up the engine compartment. It always feels better working on a clean car. Oh, and it needs new motor mounts too...
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More to come as I wait for parts to arrive and dig deeper. I'm sure I'll need to tap the collective wisdom of the board.
 

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I am in a similar spot with my Verde. I broke the timing belt around 2003-4 timeframe and life hit me. In 2006 I pulled the motor to start rebuild. I got the engine rebuild done 6 years ago and now finally, I believe, I am ready to put the motor in!

You know things like having twins, idiot ramming their car in to my old garage, and "Hey, I hate that ABS since it gave me so much trouble I should remove it"

Good luck!
 

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You're in for some fun! Lean on the community!

If you want any high-res pics of any part of the refresh, I documented my whole (still ongoing) process over the last 4 years.

 

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Those are nice, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great resource with all the pics.
The motor and transaxle did not have any internal issues as of 20 years ago at least, so I'm not planning on a full rebuild at this point. New timing belt, tensioner, and various seals and bushing are on the way from Centerline.

Ran into my first annoying issue rather quickly though. The car was leaking oil out the back of the motor right onto the exhaust from what was assumed to be the rear main seal. Now that I have the motor out I can see that it was coming from higher up. There's a nice pool of oil sitting right in the V. Presumably it's from the low oil pressure light sender. So I took a chance on one from Rock Auto, but of course I have the coarse thread sender instead of the far more common fine thread.
I see a few other people have run into the same issue, but I'm not sure if there's a definitive answer for finding a coarse thread oil pressure switch? Worst case I guess I'll plug it and make sure the gauge sender works...
 

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Such great cars and I can't believe they won't appreciate in value at some point. So buy them up while you still can! I've resurrected two Milanos, one which I've been daily driving for 12 years now with nothing major to keep it down. However, the other one (my brother's car) I replaced the heads after broken timing belt and it ran great until it very quickly (within a couple hundred miles) developed a rod noise and now it's sitting again until I can pull the engine.
So luck definitely factors in but both cars had similar issues from sitting:
1) Fuel pumps and injectors. Both cars needed new fuel pumps and some of the injectors weren't working or clogged. After some running time, some injectors come back to life and some need to be replaced. Easiest way to tel is to start car from cold and then feel the individual exhaust manifold pipes so you can tell which cylinders are firing. Wear a padded glove and obviously don't burn yourself but they take awhile to warm up so it's safer than it sounds.
Install new injector seals.
2) Clutch cylinders are brake system. Both cars needed full service on the hydraulic systems. Both needed new slave cylinders and even if the master cylinders work at first, factor in replacing them within a year or so. I replaced all brake and clutch hoses with stainless steel hoses from Centerline or other places. SS hoses give a firmer pedal and last way longer and they are available for not too much more money. You might get lucky with brake calipers and hope that your rears are still good and not leaking. Eventually they will need rebuilding or replacement which is no fun. Fronts are easy and I haven't any issues with front calipers yet...knock on wood.
Clutch pedal usually stops working and goes straight to the floor. You can usually pump it and pull it back up once you add fluid just to get the car moving again. Sometimes it will even work for months with just a fluid rep[lacement and bleeding but that slave cylinder is just waiting to fail so change it. And while you're in there, remove the clutch fork and lubricate it with grease especially where it rests on the ball bolt. This bolt eventually breaks and can be very difficult to remove. If you keep it greased, you will thank yourself later!
3) Suspension bushings. Front caster bushings are always trashed. I switch to poly or 105 spherical if you've got the money.
4) Exhaust hangers and bushings die just by looking at them. Replace, replace, replace. Then just use metal wire as those rubber hangers are garbage.
5) Igniton. New spark plugs and replace cap and rotor. My car destroyed its rotor at 6000rpm with a loud pop and then nothing. I thought I had blown the engine with a broken timing belt but then I found the shattered rotor under the cap. It looked like an explosion went off.
6) Reseal the steering rack while it's easy. Wish I had done this as I'm now driving with no assist.
7) Rebuild the hydraulic tensioner with the kit.
8) Replace fuel hoses.
9) Check valve adjustment.
10) Drive, drive, drive. These cars don't like to sit. Drive it and rev it and love it all day while others are stuck in their Prius and Corollas!
 

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6) Reseal the steering rack while it's easy. Wish I had done this as I'm now driving with no assist.
Who has rebuild kits for the racks? I have yet to put the motor back in so before I put it back in.. The rack was supposedly rebuilt before i bought it. But since it has been sitting all the power steering fluid has disappeared. No sign of it under the car either. I would be really ticked if I put the motor back in and had to deal with it then..

Thanks,
Domenic
 

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Ongoing discussion about rack rebuilds here. I'm currently seeking answers as well. I have a spare rack I'd like to get done.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
While waiting on parts for the front half, I went to work on the back end. One wheel bearing was loose, so I figured I'd replace them both. Never having done the job on a de Dion car and not having the proper tool, the retaining ring posed a challenge. One side was completely stuck so I gave up and cut it. The other side I was able to spin out with a chisel and hammer. The hub and bearing actually came out easier than I expected. We'll see about reassembly. I may have to fabricate a tool for tightening the retaining rings. I did not realize how high the torque spec was.
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At this point I realized so many things were already disconnected it would be better to just drop the whole triangle out. The pivot bushing was disintegrated, the Watts link bushings weren't much better, and the front transaxle mounts are starting to come apart. Gives me a chance to clean it all up and paint it too.
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Next up is rebuilding the rear calipers, replacing the fuel pump, filter, and all the rubber lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Lots of progress in the last couple weeks. All rubber fuel lines replaced, new fuel pump and filter, injectors cleaned and new hoses to the fuel rail, timing belt and tensioner replaced, all four calipers rebuilt and new brake hoses, rear suspension cleaned up and reassembled with new bushings.

I see that Centerline has a sense of humor with Milano parts orders...
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I fashioned an extremely crude, but apparently effective, tool for tightening the rear bearing retainers. I hesitate to even let people see, but maybe it will be helpful to some future amateur Alfa mechanic. I also used some threaded rod to make a tool for pulling the hub together.
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VERY nice Milano in Rare Silver ! (I just did my rear wheel bearings on my '87 Verde. And Yes. the retaining rings require some fabrication if you don't have Factory tools. I actually drilled a 1/8 in hole in the housing from the outside. and inserted a small threaded machine screw to bind down on the retaining ring so it wouldn't "rotate" itself loose !
Oh yes, I think Mr. Fiat sells a replacement wheel arch for the Milano for about $80 on eBay.
Best REgards, Domani
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey
It appear that you removed the engine without removing the brake booster ? How did you do that?
Bye
I never did this before, so I wasn't aware you were supposed to remove it :)

It's not obvious from those pictures, but I couldn't get much of an angle with my hoist, so I tilted the car instead. The back end two feet in the air really helps clearance with the bell housing and everything.
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I would love to repair those wheel arches, but that's outside the scope of the current project. Once I have it running and driveable I want to replace the shocks and maybe get stiffer springs and torsion bars. Then I'll see what I can do about the cosmetics. I'm much better at mechanical problems than welding and body repair, but I guess I'll have to learn sometime...
 
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