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Discussion Starter #1
Would like to see what some of you folks are running your cars at.

My engine rebuild in my '77 Spider is relatively new, I finished it about 3-4000 miles ago, and what was set as timing then may not be what a broken-in motor needs now. I have installed the 10.4.1 pistons, 11mm street cams, Bosch electronic ignition distributor from Centerline, and a Dellorto DHLA40 carb setup on Euro intake manifold. Early 70's factory split cast iron exhaust manifold also. Thinking of headers also. Any comments appreciated. The new distributor has an even 33-36 degrees of advance, when set at 'P' at idle, at max advance (5000 RPM) it lines up evenly at 'M'.

The motor seems to run best when I set the timing at around 5 degrees BTDC at idle (slightly past 'P'), max advance around 38-41 degrees (slightly past 'M') on 93-94 Octane fuel. Pretty close to Euro carbureted timing specs. Throttle response is great, no pinging/detonation heard or felt. Top end seems to be adequate as well.

Anyone running anything similar and what timing is your engine set at? Can I bump it up more or should I tune it down a bit?

Thanks,
:p
 

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I've heard anything between 4-8 degrees, but I'm still hashing it out with my car. Let me know how it goes with your current settings and once I get mine adjusted I'll tell you how it goes. I've given up the fight personally and going to the Mechanics.

Best of luck!

Sarah.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Timing part 2

Everything seems to be working OK. On my car, a former SPICA injected one, the crank pulley's timing marks as read from left to right go F, P, M , I.

California cars and some other years may have different sequences. I have seen some examples where the F and P are interchanged.

On my '77 model :

F is where you would set a stock distributor with the advance mechanism disabled. It is at 5-7 degrees after top dead center. (ATDC)

P is top dead center, and with the stock distributor's advance enabled, the timing mark should be around here or slightly past it to the right (before top dead center). About 2 degrees BTDC.

M is the stock maximum advance, around 33 degrees BTDC.

I is the Injection pump timing mark at 70 degrees BTDC.

Following this logic, If the distance from F to P is 5-7 degrees, then a similar distance from P onward would be 5-7 degrees BTDC. With a slightly modified motor that is supposed to be able to tolerate some more advance, I set the timing at idle to a spot approx. 5-7 degrees BTDC. Maximum advance was the same distance past M, probably about 5-7 degrees past 33, making the total advance somewhere between 38 and 40 degrees BTDC. Later model Spiders with the 10.1 pistons had a maximum advance around 40 degrees.

I then verified this as best I could by marking the distance from M to I, approx 37 degrees, and making sure that I was only advanced to where I thought I was.

Everything is working fine, looked over the cam timing, etc., found no problems.

Only issue I may have is a possible bad temp guage. I have noticed when I turn right, the needle moves to the high side, when I turn left it moves back to normal. If it is accurate at all in the neutral state, I am running at 185-195 degrees, which is acceptable.
 

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Our engines are pretty much the same and I run the same timing as you do; 5BTDC and a touch over 40 at speed. The distributor is a Bosch 041. Haven't tried advancing it any further 'cause I wouldn't be able to hear any pinging over the lovely sound of the Webers inhaling thru the velocity stacks. :D 45 deg total advance is about the max anyway.

On another timing note, I've been asked what tool to use to loosen the dist hold down nut. Well, there's few. The top one in the pic is the DIASS factory tool A.5.0213 (I think). The bottom one is a standard 1/4" drive ratchet, extension and a 10mm flexocket. The two little things are crowfeet; open end on the left and flarenut on the right. These are used with a 3/8" flex extension.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Timing part3

Yes, the sound of sidedrafts (Dellorto's in my case) through the velocity stacks are a good thing. I think I may have the same model distributor, marketed by Centerline Alfa. Its a electronic Bosch unit, with a slightly modified advance curve.

I have had good luck with a 10mm wrench on the holddown nut, since the SPICA is removed, I have a bit more space to work in.
 

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I've got the same distributor, 11mm cams and a Wes Ingram high performance Spica pump. I'd say I'm at about 7 deg BTDC at idle and maybe 5 deg past 'M' at 5000 rpm. I've been messing with this for the past three weeks and this seems to be just about right.

I've had some "issues" with this distributor however. First of all I dropped the rotor and the counterweight broke off so I ordered a couple of new ones from Centerline as well as a spare cap. What I got were not Bosch parts but Itab aftermarket parts. When I installed them I noticed the distributor was rocking a bit at idle so I took the cap off again and noticed that the rotor had been grinding on the top of the cap and the outer conductor had broken loose from the bonding glue. Further comparisons and swapping led to the discovery that the aftermarket rotors are fifty thousandths taller than the OEM rotor. Centerline swears that they work fine - not on my distributor. Furthermore, Centerline does not carry OEM parts for this distributor and were unable to give me a part number other than the ID405 number they use in house for that distributor.

I'm not specifically trying to knock Centerline here but they are doing what other vendors like IAP are doing - trying to compete on price - and frankly, I'm totally fed up with some of this aftermarket crap. Give me the OEM stuff, I'm willing to pay for it.

Anyway, does anyone out there have the Bosch part numbers for this distributor, cap and rotor?
 

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Kcab. I have the centerline dist as well. I will check the P/n on the rotor tonight for you. I know that VickAuto sport also sells this type of A/F dist. You might want to check with then.

Zal
 

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The Bosch 044 or 045 dizzys have a push-on rotor and one piece points while the 041s use two piece points and the rotors are secured with a screw. But are the aftermarket electronic Bosch dizzys just old point dizzys that are rebuilt and use electronic components? Or are they a different animal altogether?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bosch distributor parts

Just a thought - On my distributor from Centerline, the model number, or where may expect to find one was ground off. AR Ricambi sells what looks to be the same unit, a modified Bosch distributor, and it is marketed or manufactured by John Shankle.

I am guessing that Centerline is a reseller of this unit, the same as AR Ricambi, and probably some other vendors as well. The source of the part was removed, as is common practice when items are resold as a house brand.

I do not have a problem with this, as the guys at Centerline have always treated me great, and have provided advice when needed. One of the restrictions thay may have, if they are reselling this part, is they may not get first crack at some of the replacement parts.

Ricambi and/or Shankle may be able to better service this unit, if it is made by Shankle.
 

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The ID405 distributor, to the best of my knowledge, is modified for Centerline. It has a magnetic pickup and trigger wheel installed and the advance curve is modified to give more advance at lower rpm (at least that's what I was told).

Now, has anyone else here with this distributor used the aftermarket Itab rotors?

I ask because they definitely do NOT work in my distributor. I have three of them now and they are all identical - they do not match the OEM rotor dimensions. The body of the rotor looks identical but whereas the tip conductor on the OEM rotor is flush with the body the one on the Itab rotor sticks up above it and grinds on the inside of the cap until it breaks.

Anyway, just a heads up for anyone who might be planning to replace their cap and rotor in the near future and end up with these aftermarket parts. Beware.
 

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The ID405 disributor is modified BY Centerline. It's done in their shop, and I know they have put a lot of thought and testing into the exact advance curve they use.

I don't know much more about it, but it did help my '72 GTV perform better overall when I replaced the original Marelli unit last month. That is - better starting, idle, and a smoother pull well past redline.

For the record, my set-up is Ingram HP Spica pump, Ingram ported throttle bodies, Euro 2 liter cams, and a ported head with OS valves. I am going to try advancing the distributor a bit more to get better throttle response, thanks to all who posted their advance settings.
 

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I'm not denying that this distributor has done for me what it was advertised to do. My problem is that the rotor counterweight is glued on with JB Weld (cause I dropped it) and the aftermarket rotors that I'm getting aren't working. So I just wanted to get an original Bosch OEM rotor but Centerline doesn't carry them and they won't tell me what model distributor the ID405 is because they say it is proprietary information.

So I'm going about this in a round about way - sort of reverse engineering. The rotor and cap that they sent me for the ID405 is the same part number listed for 1982-88 Bosch Spider with 14 mm rotor.

So does anybody know what model distributor that is so I can just pick up some OEM parts for it?

That's all I want.
 

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I understood your question, I just don't have the answer for you :confused: Sorry.

The ITAB stuff is generally good quality, I think maybe it's just not right for this application.

Maybe you can take the rotor in to a Bosch dealer and have them match it out of their parts book?

Joe
 

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Okay, I've solved my problem. The parts are the following Bosch p/n's

rotor 1 234 332 215
cap 1 235 522 056

They are the same as for '82 - '88 Spiders

Centerline still insists that the Itab rotors are okay and that they've been selling them for years with no complaints so maybe there's something weird about my distributor. Maybe the trigger wheel isn't seated all the way is what they guessed but I can't see how it could go down any further as it's nearly rubbing on the pickup as it is. Also, when I put the Itab rotor head to head with the Bosch rotor on the table it's about a sixteenth of an inch taller.

So I don't know but figured I'd give you guys a heads up - you might want to just take a close look if and when you use an Itab rotor replacement. For me, I guess I'll just have to stick with the OEM parts but I bought a couple of each so I'm basically set for the next 100k anyway.

I think I'll throw a set of original points in the tool bag too just in case that pickup ever goes Tango Uniform on me someday. They'll at least get me home.

edit: Ah, nix on that. Apparently the original didn't have any internal triggers as the '82 - '88 used flywheel sensors. Is this correct? If so I have another question: what do I do if that pickup ever does go bad?
 

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timing

Hi Group:

I've attached a few pics of the ITAB cap and rotor from Centerline, that lasted for only several hundred miles in my '87 Spider. Amazingly, the engine ran fine, and I only pulled the cap because it was in my way, while I was changing the coolant bypass hose. Centerline didn't even reply to my email when I asked for a refund, FWIW. The Bosch parts that were in the disty previously were worn normally, and I'm now using replacement pieces from NAPA (Echlin), that appear to be as good as Bosch OEM.

My guess is a bad resistor inside the rotor, which I have seen before, and that problem will melt a rotor in short order. There isn't any appreciable slop in the disty shaft, and since the other sets of parts worked well, I can't blame the distributor.

Also, since someone asked, their electronic distributor is a modified, Brazilian-made, Bosch 009 (VW disty). The ignition module is sourced from CompuFire:

http://www.compufire.com/vw.html#21100

Same goes for Centerline's Multicoil system.

The pic of the cap is in the next messsage. The missing material inside the cap is burned away from the extreme sparking, not from physical contact between the cap and rootor.

Regards,

Dean W. Cains
Lutz, FL
'74 & '87 Spider Veloce's
 

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Also, since someone asked, their electronic distributor is a modified, Brazilian-made, Bosch 009 (VW disty). The ignition module is sourced from CompuFire:

http://www.compufire.com/vw.html#21100
Same goes for Centerline's Multicoil system.
I understand why Centerline wasn't forthcoming with the information posted above. Alfisti have always been exceedingly willing to scour the earth for alternate sources for the products offered by Alfa vendors just to save a few bucks.

With customer loyalty like that, what incentive is there really for IAP, RML, Centerline, Linea Rossa, Vick's etc. to develop or market new products at all? I've always thought vendors that take the time to troubleshoot, customize, or set-up good products deserved a decent profit.

In 10 years, when the independent Alfa parts places are gone (believe me, it's closer to reality than you think), we'll all get to find out just how little NAPA and the other "big guys" care about us and our weird Italian cars.
 

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JoeCab said:
I understand why Centerline wasn't forthcoming with the information posted above. Alfisti have always been exceedingly willing to scour the earth for alternate sources for the products offered by Alfa vendors just to save a few bucks.
JoeCab

I understand the point you're trying to make but in my case I was just trying to get Bosch OEM parts for that distributor and Centerline didn't have them, all they had were the Itab aftermarket stuff and it didn't work. I don't know what the whole story is, maybe there was a quality assurance breach at Itab and a bunch of out of spec rotors got through.

But here's MY point, and I'd like Centerline and IAP and all the others to hear it:

I'm not looking to "save a few bucks". In fact, I'm willing to pay more for brand name parts of guaranteed quality. I'm not trying to single out Centerline or anyone else here because I have always strived to support all of them and that goes back many, many years. These ignition parts are not the only problems I've had recently and the problems have not been just from Centerline. I've gotten aftermarket gasket sets that were, for lack of kinder words, absolute crap. I bought a new ignition switch for my Spider and when I hooked it up the starter began cranking with it in the OFF position. When I opened it up it was evident that the assembly was, again, crap. The whole mess was loose and the contacts were shorting.

There is a local vendor in Berkely Called Alfa Parts and they have ceased selling aftermarket stuff except where there is no other choice. I've been giving them all my business lately.

So Centerline and IAP better wake up because it's THEIR reputation that is being hurt by these poor quality parts.

Okay, I'm done ranting now....
 

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Kcabpilot,

I know you weren't trying to save $$ - my comment was not intended to imply that at all or critize anyone that has contributed to this thread.

And, I agree with your comments on quality. With gaskets expecially, there is no substitute for OEM. I too wish to pay more for quaranteed quality.

Joe
 
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