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I have been reading the posts on this board for a few days now. I am up to about page 122. WOW! These really are quirky little cars , aren't they? I am almost afraid to start mine up and drive it. I guess that's what makes them so endearing. One of the topics I have seen pertains to the Oil Vapor Separator. What is the function of this mystery can, and what are the symptoms that arise if it is going bad??
 

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These really are quirky little cars , aren't they? I am almost afraid to start mine up and drive it.
But if everyone who drove their Alfa and had no problems posted with that info there'd be eleventy thousand pages!

One of the topics I have seen pertains to the Oil Vapor Separator. What is the function of this mystery can, and what are the symptoms that arise if it is going bad??
It takes the oil vapors out of the crankcase, condenses some of it back to a liquid state and sends the rest along to the intake to get burned in the combustion chambers. Using intake vacuum it keeps the crankcase at a slight negative pressure. That is good for the environment and the engine, too. They can get clogged with crud (sorry for the technical terms) and stop scavanging the engine. Then the crankcase can get pressurized (normal combustion blowby gases) which can encourage oil leaks past gaskets and also foul up the proper running of the engine.

Now then - there is the matter of photos. You say you have a 'quirkly little car' but you have failed to post any photos of it. That is a violation of our unwritten rule. Post ye some photos before we have to send Guido over to have a little talk wid youse...
 

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RE: the "quirky little cars" comment...

Like Eric already pointed out, these cars seem problematic when you look back at this forum's posts because nobody feels the need to start threads like "Car started fine today!" or "Drove 22.3 miles today on the commute to work" or "UPDATE: made trouble-free .5-mile detour during the usual 22.3-mile commute to work today."

These cars really aren't unreliable when set-up properly, so never be afraid to drive yours! The more you drive it, the less problems you're likely to have. Enjoy!


Evan

PS... I also second Eric's request for pictures.
 

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sweet ride, beautiful color! drop the front plate or change it to UNC...it would match.
 

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beaner,, they just like females.. got to deal with them..but in the end.. they will love you:)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the responses and the encouragement. I will post more photos when I get her uncovered. The weather is not cooperating here lately (stupid groundhog). As for the plate on the front, with both the car and me being of Italian descent, Gianna will be sporting an Italian flag plate when she emerges from the garage.
 

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WOW! These really are quirky little cars , aren't they?
I've had mine '74 for 10 years now with no problems except to fix some age related items (leaky seals, hoses, etc). The problem with some new owners is they buy a 20-40 year old car that's been badly neglected or not maintained properly, then are annoyed when it fails. It gets pretty laughable sometimes.

Alfas were engineered to get high performance out of a lightweight package. It's not a Dodge truck. It's not a girl's car. It's an enthusiast's automobile.

If maintained properly, Alfas are very reliable. It's some owners that are not.
 

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If maintained properly, Alfas are very reliable. It's some owners that are not.
That is absolutely true. I often meet owners of Alfas with Spica injection that have no clue the Spica pump has its own oil filter. If properly maintained, these cars are very reliable.
 

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I have been a continuous Alfa owner since my college days in the mid-1970's, and I started with a Spider. All the Alfas in my signature are current cars, and serious transportation. The Spiders were daily drivers until 2004. (I take the train to work now.) We drive them between OH and NJ at various points throughout the year, and often times my wife does the trip by herself. I'm not unique, there are plenty of other owners that have seriously reliable Spiders and other Alfas.

The vast majority of owners who come to this BB come in search of assistance because they have bought an inexpensive car. Those type of cars however, just have not been maintained, and many have been modified by someone who is not knowledgeable about Alfas, and now they need everything re-done. It is financial suicide to have one of these cars serviced by a professional Alfa mechanic, so the only financially sensible choice for the buyer is to do the work himself. (And as a further point of reference I will mention that in the mid-1970s a Spider was more expensive than a Corvette, and all Alfas were considered expensive cars through the entire time they were sold in the USA.) Often times this means that they are working on these cars for the first time, and seldom is one's first shot at anything also one's best shot. Regardless, the journey may be tough but it can also be a very rewarding experience, especially if up-to-OEM-spec results are achieved.

Best regards,
 

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I agree with RUSTIC. I bought a Duetto in 2010 and only live a couple of miles from "Centerline Alfa Romeo" in Lafayette,CO. The owner Joe told me that old Italian cars need to be started and run. "the more you run them the less problem they have". He's right and God I love the sound of that engine! Sweet exhaust note.
 

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When you think about it it's amazing how much abuse these cars can take from ignert owners, road conditions, age and keep going. Granted I've had to be towed before but that fell into the ignert catagory not the cars fault.

and how many real sports cars had roll up windows back in 1959 and didn't take two hours to put the top up?
 

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It is financial suicide to have one of these cars serviced by a professional Alfa mechanic, so the only financially sensible choice for the buyer is to do the work himself.

No doubt having a qualified Alfa mechanic is expensive but, in the spirt of a good natured debate, I vouch that using a certified Alfa mechanic is money well spent. It's the old saying: you get what you pay for. I trust mine (he does lots of New England Alfas) and has found issues with the car that I would never have realized and which were caught early enough to avoid becoming major (i.e., expensive) problems. I shudder to think of the damage I'd do and expense I'd cause if I started tinkering with anything more than the cosmetic stuff. Once the cars are at a level of care where they are truly properly maintained, they are bliss. No doubt, most of the Alfas we on this Board purchase need TLC at the start. On another positive note, we could have it a lot worse: my friend has a Ferrari and an oil change is practically five grand. :)
 

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It is financial suicide to have one of these cars serviced by a professional Alfa mechanic, so the only financially sensible choice for the buyer is to do the work himself.

No doubt having a qualified Alfa mechanic is expensive but, in the spirt of a good natured debate, I vouch that using a certified Alfa mechanic is money well spent. It's the old saying: you get what you pay for. I trust mine (he does lots of New England Alfas) and has found issues with the car that I would never have realized and which were caught early enough to avoid becoming major (i.e., expensive) problems. I shudder to think of the damage I'd do and expense I'd cause if I started tinkering with anything more than the cosmetic stuff. Once the cars are at a level of care where they are truly properly maintained, they are bliss. No doubt, most of the Alfas we on this Board purchase need TLC at the start. On another positive note, we could have it a lot worse: my friend has a Ferrari and an oil change is practically five grand. :)
Couldn't agree more, Franny Alfa... The "financial suicide" comment that I made is in direct reference to the statement before it, which is that the Alfa purchased needs everything re-done. A typical "driver" Spider that looks decent (#3 condiiton car) typically racks up a good $5k or so invoice once it goes to an Alfa pro and he does what has been neglected. And I will agree that that is money well spent. In fact, when I help people buy Spiders, I always tell them to budget for an additional $5k for for their first maintenance. (Alfa mechanic rates at both the OH and NJ shops that I use are at least $85 per hour.) The $5k budget, of course, doesn't work for a car that needs everything.
 

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May I say--ANY FACTORY Dealership of ANY car foreign or domestic charges $80-90/hr. and independents are only a few dollars behind. The $29.00 oil change is one of the few things left that remains a bargain or as cost effective as one done yourself.
 

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Also lets remember that the holy grail of the mericans was 1hp per cubic inch displacement up through the 70's whereas Alfas have consistantly reached that since the 50's on production cars. That wasn't free but cheap at twice the price:)
 

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I have been reading and learning from this BB weekly for about the last 6 months since I discovered it. Thank you all for your insight, knowledge and mostly your passion for keeping these beautiful little treasures on the road. I have never posted anything on here but feel like I know most of you pretty well by now and this is the first thread I feel i must chime in on. I'll try to be brief..... I never owned an Alfa before but always wanted one. My first car, in high school was a Fiat (Fix It Again Tomorrow) Spider 2000. I loved the car but I had a buddy with a round tail spider that I envied. Fast forward 30 years (to last May) when I was traveling an old country road taking a short cut from Oxford, MS to Tupelo, when I saw an Alfa in some guy's field in front of his house. Long story short, I bought an 88 graduate with 100K miles that had been in his barn for at least 9 years for $850. It did not run but turned over when we put a battery in it. I towed her home, asked the wife for forgiveness and put her up on blocks. I am no mechanic and I usually pay dearly for service on my BMW and the wife's Mercedes every time I grace the doors of the dealerships. I spent the first 2 months tearing the car apart trying to get all the mud dobbers and wasp's nest out of every place you could imagine.

To Date: New fuel pumps, filter, derust tank, re-seal tank, new fuel lines, replaced plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor, coil, air intake hose, vacuum lines, brake fluid reservoir and grommets, lower oil pan gasket (twice), R/R radiator, new cap, new coolant reservoir (it did not have one), A/C compressor belt, Silicone intake boots (This made me feel like a mechanic!!), engine mounts, trans mount (thanks to the tip I saw on here and there was a new one in the trunk when I bought the car), R/R manifold (sandblasted and painted), new exhaust (converter, middle resonator, stinger) and hangers, new oxygene sensor, door handles ( 3 hours to replace first one and 30 minutes on the second), AND...many, many more this and that switches, relays, etc. off Ebay.

After reading the L-Jet thesis I found here and following step by step....She purrs like a freaking kitten!!!! New tires arrived today and I will be on the road this weekend!!!

I have spent approximately 100 hours and less than $2K in the last 11 months to get her to this point. I need a new top (will cost me almost what I paid for the car), seats recovered and eventually some door ding work and paint.

For a guy that runs a 70 unit restaurant chain with 3 small children and very little time to spare....this has been one of the most fun and rewarding projects I have ever committed myself to. Spring is here and I am about to be on the road. Good thing I got an Alfa for my midlife crisis because working on her is a blast!!!!

Thanks for all your help and keep the good info coming for us "rookies"!!!

John
 

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dude... you are hooked... no help for this one....:)
 
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