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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Finally got out for a much anticipated ride yesterday evening, recent rain here is the pits! After a nice 45 minute spin, I was swinging onto an Xway on ramp and wound 2nd to around 6600 rpm, shifted and then let off the accelerator before I climbed into the upcoming cars. When I did I glanced rearward and was amazed to see a WHOLE LOT of blue smoke! After a significant puff it went away and didn't see any more (but I didn't really didn't get on it hard again either for the last five miles)
Now I bought this 88 Spider 4 months ago and the previous owner and his mechanic warned me of a fouling #3, but to date I hadn't seen anything of that problem (still haven't) No smoke when cold either?
Speedo/odometer only worked for a couple days after I bought it and that registered 2/3rds slow so I'm thinking the 118K showing is a chunk off. Mechanic said he went through the top end about 30K ago, no mention of any bottom end work from either previous party.
So my guess is that winding it up a bit sucked a bunch of oil past the rings and it's time to start planning in earnest for a complete go through (going to need a new clutch soon anyway) can't really think of another reason for the smoke, funny that I drove it 800 miles over the 4th to AROC South Fla and only burned half a quart.
Never been into an Alfa but I did lots of engine and body stuff on American engines years ago and rebuilt a 1600 BMW in college. I have the CD, so it's just the plans and cash to get the parts together. Assuming that I'll need new sleeves and pistons, bearings, oil pump, gasket set, timing chain, and gears. I'll have someone look hard at the crank and check out the head and tranny to see how both have fared since their last go through (bad 2nd & reverse grinds)
Any key points, ideas, recomendations, free stuff greatly encouraged and appreciated.
artart
 

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I wouldn't worry about it until it gets much worse. Unless you are itching for a performance rebuild, probably no need for pistons and sleeves. New rings and a good hone probably take care of those. Be sure to get her balanced. Makes a great difference. I would plan on rebuilding the head with new guides and seals. Its so inexpensive, no reason not to do that while its apart.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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I have never reached 6600 in 2nd gear! To me ... Ouch!

If I had a weak point in the head, I would have pressed it into service at 6600 RPM. Maybe the smoke was a message??

Then again ... maybe I am of the wussie tribe!
 

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MP:

You are right on the red line. Based on original config unbalanced. Above that on the original build, you are flying on the wings of the Alfa gods. Might see valve float as you approach 7k on stock build. If you balance the motor and put in high rev valve springs, even with stock rods that are just polished, they should be good for 7000 if not more. High rev valve springs make the upper end good for 9000. I have turned 7000 in mine. But I don't make a habit of it. Mine is balanced, blueprinted, polished, and performance valve springs. I bet some of these guys who are truely racing their Alfas turn even more than 7500.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
How real is 6600?

My tach starts yellow at 5700, orangey red at 6300 and red red at ? Maybe all this Fla sun has worn the colors out (Yeah that's the ticket) Anyways I wasn't fixed on the gauge at that particular moment but I was moving out of the yellow (and moving quickly) Maybe this was as high a rev as I've pulled in this car so far. I'd never knowingly push a motor too far and drive a fair amount by sound. It is not something I do every shift or every drive but I do think these cars are designed to be pushed hard when driving (after proper warm up) and when conditions permit. Otherwise this would be a Yugo BB and we would all be talking fuel economy....:p
But does anyone know how accurate stock Speedo and tach readings are? Obviously my Speedo was perfect :rolleyes: it said 15 mph
(when people ask I always say there is NO speed limit in this car :D )
Truth was, I needed a bit of release after a pretty lousy work week and probably will pay for it dearly. At 120k miles and not personally knowing what exact conditions and previous maintanence was in this car, it was stupid moment of transgression but not an extreme one. I'll be a be more cautious on the next few drives and be watching rearward after hard shifts but do believe that is how they were they are designed to be driven.
I bought the car knowing that sometime in the near future a drivetrain rebuild was in my future but it has run so well I was planning a mid Winter time frame not late Summer.
On a rebuild subject.... how is a balancing actually performed? Short block assembled? and would it be worth it to have the internals polished (besides the crank for sure) I sure someone in Jax can do it and will ask of the machine shops I query in my prep planning.
My guess is that I'll wait until the engine is out, dissasembled, and checked before I start buying parts. Then I'll know if pistons are needed but looking around at this point I hope not, what I've seen ain't cheap! My high school afterschool and college summers were spent beind a parts counter, I learned then the mark up on parts and know that with the Alfa I'm not going to be able to go just anywhere for the rebuild items, but I may try to track down a few old buddies in the wholesale trade.
Thanks for all the comments, off for a much needed vacation to New England and hopefully a respite from our Fla heat for a week. Unfortunately no Alfa Rentals to explore some of those roads we'll be traveling...
 

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Thanks for the answers - that was a good read.

And as far as rebuilding - it seems the labor sure costs more than the parts....
 

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Hey Artart:

When I did my rebuild, it was around 1400 in parts or so. That was with new pistons/liners, oversized valves, gaskets, water pump, oil pump......lots of stuff.

Real cost is machine shop time and labor. Turn the crank if necessary. Balancing and polishing will be an option at the machine shop. They take the crank, rods, pistons....the entire assembly and balance them. I have never seen it done, but I assume they spin the crank and scale the pistons/rods. You can get new valve seats into the head with oversized valves, port and polish the head, and resurface the head. You can have the rods polished. Theory is it strengthens them to take the casting marks out. But really if you are going to turn high rpms, better just get the rods made for it.

Now with all that said...... If she is running now and not smoking, and not making wierd sounds, I would not loose a wink of sleep over a little blowby, fuel dump, whatever it was at 6600 rpms. Drive her and have fun until she drops and worry about rebuilding her then. I think you are in good shape to go have some fun in the sun.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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HI John, about the smoke; I think that you pushed a bit hard and sucked some stuff up. It could have been the begining of valves floating, but I think you should not try to find out again as the red line on the 2.0 is as mentioned 5,700 rpm.

About turning the crank if needed, I should mention that it is not posible as Alfa Romeo cranks have a nitride treatment that makes them tuff, but if worn must be replaced; they cannot be fixed. (per Alfa Manual).

Best of luck and good wishes with the Spider.
 

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Hold on. Before you start dismantling anything, how about doing some diagnostic work. No sense in replacing parts that don't need replacing. Oil smoke on decel is usually caused by worn valve guides/seals (high vacumn in the intake manifold due to the cylinders trying to suck in air and the throttle bodies stopping it). Oil smoke on hard acceleration is usually rings.

Do a compression test. If you're getting 140 psi, then that's a sign of a healthy engine. Below 120 or so, it's due for a rebuild. If squirting some oil in the cylinder improves the compression significantly, then the rings are probably the culprit.

That said, taking an old, unbalanced engine to 6600 rpm is just asking for it.
 

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Thoughts

Hey Art,

First let me say welcome to the world of Alfa Romeo ownership, I can honetly say that if you treat your Alfa right, it will give you back many many years of excitement and pleasure. That being said, Please Please stop beating on your poor car, I know its fun to make that engine scream, but honestly 5700 rpm has that enging spinning out a ton of torque to get you moving.

I know its not cool for people to be telling you how to drive your own car, but we are just trying to look out for your Alfa's best interest NOT TO MENTION .... your wallet.

As for your smoking problem, I would say to use Thicker oil, SAE 20W 50, with some oil thickeners like "High Tach" or ghetto "No Smoke" Both of those products will reduce the blow by when your rings are starting to wear, also with your high rev driving, you should be changing your oil at intervals of 1500 miles. With all the stress of high rev driving, oils tend to break down thus causing an increased risk for engine wear.


With your grinding gears, I can say to check two things, the level of gear oil in your trans box and differential, as the seals tend to wear and then leak their precious lubricant. You will need to put the car up on ramps or jack stands and the filler plugs are located at the back of the differential and on the driver side of the trans housing. If this is low and the gears are not properly lubricated this will cause some grinding.

If you do have worn synchros, then before shifting to reverse Try shifting first into 5th gear and the lining up the transmission for reverse. As for second gear downshifting, Drop into 4th first and then slide over into 2nd. I know its a bit cumbersome, but when you line up the gears it takes a lot of the stress of the worn synchros.

But I would seriously check the level of gear oil in the casing.... fill it up as much as possible. Check also that the boots under your center console which cover the gear shift assembly are not torn, if they are you should replace them because oil leakage can occur there as well.

Please be kind to your spider, and 5500 RPM should be the max when winding out.

Best regards.

Martin

71 Spider Veloce

87 Spider Quadrifolio
 

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Way to go Martin; you actually WERE listening to me all that time.:)

Art, Martin's sugestions have a bit more weight, as he is in fact the original owner of his '71 Spider that still runs they way it ran 32 years ago; and believe me, he doesn't pamper it; he beats the hell out of it, (gently and within reasonable limits) and when he is done, he maintains it. The secret to good Alfa ownership!
 
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