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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

This forum has been an incredible tool for learning about my Spider. I bought it in March 2019 and drove it nearly everyday until late September. The car wasn't in the best shape, but I still felt great on the road. The only real noticeable problem was the gearbox, grinding in first, second, third and reverse... but I eventually got a feel for it and drove it without issue as a learned to maneuver around its quirks.

Cut to a month ago. I threw the car up on jack stands as I decided to restore the suspension with whatever was necessary. Well as it turns out, I'm replacing every bushing, every rod end, etc... Everything was shot! So not I'm left wondering how amazing it'll be once I have it back together considering I thought it wasn't bad before!

First question: As I took apart the front suspension I found that the passenger side (right) spring pan had THREE spacers underneath the spring, while the driver side had only one. The pans are the same depth... Any ideas? Was the previous owner trying to compensate for something I am unaware of?

Second question: The drivers side floor has some rust/holes that was covered up with fiber glass. I am going to replace the pan myself. Structurally the car seems fine, however the roads here in Montreal aren't great at all, and the chassis clearly suffers from lots of flex. I'm thinking this might help with the bumpy roads (!) but I'm also thinking that I should add a chassis stiffener to both reduce the stress on the body and improve handling. Just curious if anyone has any suggestions/tips on whether I should start with suspension only (considering how beat up it all was), or if it's worth getting a stiffener right away.

Cheers!
 

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1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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All new suspension will make it drive so much better!

I'm not sure why you have all the spacers only on one side. It's possible the spring sagged. I would compare both springs and see if they look to be the same length.

Are you upgrading shocks? I like Koni reds. They are adjustable and sporty without being harsh. Bilstein and Koni yellow were too harsh for my taste, I could feel every pebble in the road. Great for the track, not for the street.

The chassis stiffener helps a little but is a giant pain to install.

Sent from my GM1917 using Tapatalk
 

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Push hard and live
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I’m not sure what the differences are between a Canadian S2, and a USA model. The year model brought variations, as well.

I just redid the suspension on my 77 S2, USA model. All new trailing arm bushings, red Konis on full soft, Eibach variable rate springs. Front suspension deemed fresh. My car had one shim in each front pan. I’m enjoying the daily experience completely.

Alfas came with a number of variations, particularly when comparing USA to other country models. Spica vs carbs. Rear or front mount battery. Bumper and headlight height requirements. Heavy impact-tolerant bumpers or not.

So, your shims could have been the factory set-up for your car, or not. Fortunately, if you have the right tools, dropping a front spring pan is a fairly quick job.

If you decide to do new springs (Eibachs!), start with one shim in each pan and see how it sits when empty, and how it sits with you in the driver’s seat. Most of the Alfas I’ve owned start out empty sitting slightly high on the driver’s side, depending on fuel load.

It’s all a bit angels-on-a-pin-head, but with patience you can dial in what you like.

Where’s your battery mounted?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I’m not sure what the differences are between a Canadian S2, and a USA model. The year model brought variations, as well.

I just redid the suspension on my 77 S2, USA model. All new trailing arm bushings, red Konis on full soft, Eibach variable rate springs. Front suspension deemed fresh. My car had one shim in each front pan. I’m enjoying the daily experience completely.

Alfas came with a number of variations, particularly when comparing USA to other country models. Spica vs carbs. Rear or front mount battery. Bumper and headlight height requirements. Heavy impact-tolerant bumpers or not.

So, your shims could have been the factory set-up for your car, or not. Fortunately, if you have the right tools, dropping a front spring pan is a fairly quick job.

If you decide to do new springs (Eibachs!), start with one shim in each pan and see how it sits when empty, and how it sits with you in the driver’s seat. Most of the Alfas I’ve owned start out empty sitting slightly high on the driver’s side, depending on fuel load.

It’s all a bit angels-on-a-pin-head, but with patience you can dial in what you like.

Where’s your battery mounted?
The battery is in the trunk. The car was originally spica injected (from USA) but was converted to dell'orto carbs before I bought it.

I'm leaning towards koni red's. I was also considering red in the rear, yellow up front... As for springs, I've been looking at the centerline kit, however if I can source something locally I'm open to other options. I'll look in to eibach. Thanks!
 

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Push hard and live
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Classic Alfa in the UK offers very good pricing, and great shipping at low cost.

Seriously, the Reds are all you need. With the Eibachs, 90% of your driving is in their soft zone, so you don’t need stiff-spring dampening. Shock dampening is most required when the suspension is in motion. Your rough-road motion is actually a small displacement, so reds on full soft matched to Eibachs will give you the best combination on jiggly roads. Tighter shocks and/or stiffer springs will tend to make you drive a different car every day.

The 105s and 115s with the battery in the trunk has the battery-weight on the right and fuel weight on the left, so no fundamental mismatch there. My 102 has both on the right-rear, so the right rear spring gets a shim on those.
 

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That setup with the shims is weird. The car is designed with a deeper passenger side spring pan so that the car sits slightly high on the driver side empty, level(ish) with the driver in the car. With equal-depth pans the car will should a little low on the driver side (very obvious from the rear).

Now on your car with equal pans it would be natural to find extra spacers on the driver side to compensate for the pan depth. But you say it's the exact opposite? Does the car sit fairly level? Something is wrong....not sure what.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That setup with the shims is weird. The car is designed with a deeper passenger side spring pan so that the car sits slightly high on the driver side empty, level(ish) with the driver in the car. With equal-depth pans the car will should a little low on the driver side (very obvious from the rear).

Now on your car with equal pans it would be natural to find extra spacers on the driver side to compensate for the pan depth. But you say it's the exact opposite? Does the car sit fairly level? Something is wrong....not sure what.
That's exactly why I'm confused! Either I was completely oblivious to the passenger side sitting high, or something is really off. The car is on stands and the suspensions is completely disassembled so until I have it back together with equal shims I guess I won't be able to know if anything is wrong.

I checked the springs and they are both the same height...
 

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GV27 (post #6) describes what us lot generally accept is ‘normal’; deeper pan on passenger side, for reasons he described.
My GTV, like your Spider, has same-depth pans, as it appears is actually quite common. To achieve the same @10mm lowering of the passenger spring pan, small 10mm washers/spacers are put above the pan on each pan bolt to push it downwards that amount.
Larger spacers (alloy, same width as the spring itself) which the spring sits on, or beneath, were used to change ride height, to cope with (e,g.) local ride height rules, or compensate for sagged spring or springs to bring ride height to where it should be. There spacers were/are available in different thicknesses, accordingly.
For info, most seem to agree that Euro-spec cars didn’t have the large alloy spacers from factory. This lower ride height is what most USA BBers seem to gravitate towards, by ditching those alloy spacers. You may find that if you have some in the front, you’ve probably got them in the back as well (probably) above the springs).

For your car?
Suggest for starters that you go for the small washers to ‘fake’ the deeper passenger pan, if these are missing, or locate a deeper pan.
if your spring free lengths are the same, you don’t want different numbers or depths of the larger alloy spacers side-to-side.
Have a peek at your rear end also.
good luck.
 
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