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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Some of you may remember my post about a month or two ago I just bought my Alfa and had some questions about issues I was having. The main two were turn signals not working and some thud/clunk noise in the rear. I went to my buddy's shop and we went over the entire car today.

With the help and advice from many of you, we decided to hit the fuse box first on the turn signal issue. You were right. Two of the terminals that come in from the back side of the box were pushed out. After plugging them back through, we then cleaned up all of the fuses and holders since they had a little corrosion. Once we did that, the turn signals and hazards worked perfectly. It also solved a few other small electrical quirks. 1st issue solved.

As for the rest, here is my list of recommended repairs. Many are typical to our Spiders and thankfully a relatively easy fix.

1. Motor Mounts - replacement recommended
2. Transmission Mount - replacement recommended
3. Rear U-Joint - immediate replacement needed
4. Center Driveshaft Bearing - replacement recommended
5. Head Pipe rattling - replacement if it annoys me enough but pipe is still sound - also $460 so that may wait
6. Brake Pads front and Rear - Immediate replacement within the next 1,000 miles.
7. Cam Cover leaking
8. Spark Plugs and Plug Wires - Recommend Replacement but can hold off since the car runs well (two different types of wires)
9. Air Intake (Air Flow Meter) hose cracked
10. Plastic front turn signal lens screws need 2.

Looks like I am going to burn up the credit card this week but at least I'll have a well sorted Alfa when I am done.
 

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"no.5 - head pipe rattling"- (you mean the exhaust manifolds?) - you mean it is knocking on the body somewhere or do you mean it is rattling because it is loose? - if the latter then see to it now.
"no. 7 - cam cover leaking" - easy job and allows you to 1. check timing chain tensioner, 2. valve gaps/tappet gaps - then clean off, 2 new half moons and a new reinz gasket (silicone bead facing up) do not overtighten 10 to 12 ft.lbs is enough torque)
"no. 9 Air flow meter hose cracked"
If this is cracked the car will never run properly, if the crack is bad and open, allowing air into the system, then it won't run at all...period - so i would attend to this first off
 

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Discussion Starter #3
"no.5 - head pipe rattling"- (you mean the exhaust manifolds?) - you mean it is knocking on the body somewhere or do you mean it is rattling because it is loose? - if the latter then see to it now.
"no. 7 - cam cover leaking" - easy job and allows you to 1. check timing chain tensioner, 2. valve gaps/tappet gaps - then clean off, 2 new half moons and a new reinz gasket (silicone bead facing up) do not overtighten 10 to 12 ft.lbs is enough torque)
"no. 9 Air flow meter hose cracked"
If this is cracked the car will never run properly, if the crack is bad and open, allowing air into the system, then it won't run at all...period - so i would attend to this first off
#5 - Its the pipe itself rattling/buzzing. Its not a heat shield or rubbing on the body. No evidence of that. We believe the cat is starting to come apart inside. When you tap it with a rubber mallet, you can hear inside the pipe rattling. I will have to wait a month or two before I can spring for the extra $460 for that. Too many project cars thining the expense account.



Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Lancia Exhaust Systems

#7 - We thought the same thing
#9 - It was fine until I checked the Air Filter on the car, which was a K&N by the way, and I guess it was too dry and cracked all by the clamp. The reason how I found it was the car wouldn't run for anything after we put everything back together. Sure enough, cracked. We taped the cracks with electrical tape and clamped it down to get me home. Worked pretty good. It will sit until I get the parts so I don't get stuck somewhere.

My IAP order was around $425 so I'll pay that off then order the front exhaust section next month or so.
 

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I also had a rattle in the twin front down pipes. Was not sure if it was in the cat converter or the heat shield which surrounds the upper pipes. But I also had emission test failure issues. So I bought a used front section and removed the heat shield completely. I had some slight assurance in this since the new ones you see advertised are also without a heat shield. I replaced the oxy sensor and installed the section with completely happy results. Replacing the cat converter and removing the heat shield, I eliminated the rattle, and the new oxy sensor flew it through the emission testing with such minimum readings that the technician asked if the engine was still running. Mine is an 88 Quad Spider. All this for what it may be worth.

Robert Hill in Memphis, TN
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Since the car is an 86 and is registered historic in NJ and doesn't go through inspection anymore, I was wondering if I can get a new head pipe made without the cat (called test pipe) and kill two birds with one stone. Plus it would be a cheaper fix.

Most likely going to just replace it with the right part but its an idea. The rear half of the exhaust is new within the last two years so that will last a long time.
 

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If you take the car to Meineke or Midas (if they still exist, all the Memphis Midas stores closed up shop years ago), or a similiar aftermarked shop, they can usually weld in an aftermarket cat for around $100.00. Or they might weld in a straight pipe, although there are EPA legal issues involved here. If you get a straight pipe welded in, just make sure your receipt says it is for "muffler repair" and makes NO mention of removing the cat converter. If anyone asks later who removed the cat, blame some previous owner.

Robert
 

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Just curious JT, what did you check when you bought the car?
No mention of any Motor clutch or trans issues...
Were these part of the inspection?
Not a good idea to sub the CAT with a straight pipe...a "volume" is needed at this point.
Ciao for now.
 

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when they change the CAT, recycle the old one! If it is the older type with a fair amount of platimum, probably worth a hundred bucks if you rip it apart and seperate the metal from the unit itself. (people are actually hacksawing cats off 4 x 4's and selling them, because they can crawl under the off roaders easily!)
 

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JT - Do #9 and the motor/trans mounts first. That air flow meter hose leak has a nasty habit of eliminating any chance of actually moving forward just when you need it most, and when you need it most the engine is rocking on your worn out mounts. If you are smarter than me you will actually tighten down both ends of the air flow meter hose, which will enhance your driving pleasure....... p.s. Good luck getting that two piece distributor cover back over the distributor cap & wires after you give it an ignition tune-up. Mine now looks great sitting on a shelf in my garage.
 

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The rattle on my 86 was the tin heat shield on the "header" area/ I grabbed a large pry bar and a heavy hammer and gave it a few whacks to bend it up a little. That completely eliminated an annoying rattle at 3200 RPM.

Get a pipe welded in to take the place of the cat. My cat was gutted by the PO. so that is also a solution.
 

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I have a used Cat from my wrecked 87 quad. PM me if you are interested. Along with some of the other items you may need. Cheers, Mike.
 

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If you take the car to Meineke or Midas (if they still exist, all the Memphis Midas stores closed up shop years ago), or a similiar aftermarked shop, they can usually weld in an aftermarket cat for around $100.00.
Robert
+1. My muffler shop (Bud's Muffler) could custom build that entire piece like you show from IAP for well less than $450. For work like that, I wouldn't go to just any Meineke or Midas. I'd ask around and find a really good shop. But anyone can weld in a new cat.....

edit: in fact, definitely do that. Had to search my memory a bit, but I bought one of those units with the downpipes and everything a few years ago because I had a bad cat and dented downpipes. It caused some fitment issues (a lack of clearance between one of the flanges and the body). Talked to Centerline at the time and they were saying that a lot of them were like that and trading it for another might not help at all. After Bud's cut up my system and bent a new pipe and welded everything back together perfectly for 65 bucks I realized they could have saved me a fortune just building it custom from scratch. They've done a lot of work for me in the meantime on my truck and I'm always shocked at how cheap it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Actually the Meineke near me is the best exhaust shop in the area. They have numerous awards to custom exhaust systems. Most of my shops work goes there as well as my own personal stuff. We dropped off a 95 Ram pickup this morning to get dual exhaust installed and I mentioned the Alfa exhaust to them. They said drop it off and they will check it out. They also said they should be able to make a whole new one without the cat for less then half price of what IAP wanted. With a cat for still less money installed.
 

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The Mieneke shop here has a mandrel pipe bender and can fabricate exhaust compoments. And it never oddured to me to take my 88 there instead of buying a used front section. Slap my forehead for not making the connection! I got lucky because the used section I bought had a good cat - but it could just as easily have been as bad as my old one. Slap my forehead!

Robert
 

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Finding a muffler shop that will do custom work is great. However, I saw a sign a while back in a Lexington shop: "If you don't ask me to remove your catalytic converter, I won't ask you to pay my $15,000 fine". I guess it depends upon local EPA enforcement.

If you take the car to Meineke or Midas (if they still exist, all the Memphis Midas stores closed up shop years ago), or a similiar aftermarked shop, they can usually weld in an aftermarket cat for around $100.00. Or they might weld in a straight pipe, although there are EPA legal issues involved here. If you get a straight pipe welded in, just make sure your receipt says it is for "muffler repair" and makes NO mention of removing the cat converter. If anyone asks later who removed the cat, blame some previous owner.

Robert
 

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""Finding a muffler shop that will do custom work is great. However, I saw a sign a while back in a Lexington shop: "If you don't ask me to remove your catalytic converter, I won't ask you to pay my $15,000 fine". I guess it depends upon local EPA enforcement.""

There was an indendendent muffler shop in Memphis who removed cat converters for years. And his work orders so stated. When the EPA finally caught up with him, he had removed and so documented hundreds of cats. Instead of fineing him into bankruptcy (sic), they let him off with recalling all those cars and installing a new cat in each at no charge to the owners.

Going bankrupt might have been the cheaper alternative!

Robert
 

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Yeah, our local Meineke won't install a "test" pipe in place of the catalytic convertor, even though the owners are drag racers. I'd source out some 1974 or earlier cast iron headers and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Today I brought the car back for the actual repairs. We got the motor mounts done, the transmission mount was disintegrated and now replaced, the driveshaft redone with new center bearing, carrier, and u-joints. When we did the passenger side mount, it was amazing to see the engine was actually sitting 1/2 higher then the drivers side.

The brakes still need to be done but I'll do them at home this week. The most important thing was the stuttering I felt when I first took off is now cured. I can also just tell by driving it, those new mounts made a difference. The car seems so much tighter now.

Here is a picture in the shop. The girl was in good company. In the back you will see a 1938 Lagonda LG6 Drophead Coupe, to the right of that is a 1901 Locomobile steam car replica and in the foreground under the cover is a 1912 Maxwell in the middle of a complete frame off restoration.
 

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