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traded my 70 02 for a 78 alfa niki

1137 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  tomgtv6
so a guy posted to craigslist his 78 alfa spider - wanted to trade for a roundie bmw 2002-

i happen to have a '70 2002 that i was tired of and so i traded him. - my '70 had lots of issues- not he least was the engine was going- he didn't care-- all he wanted was minimal rust because he was going to tear it all down anyway. he just wanted the body, and I missed my 76 spider - so i took it.

the '78 is also not without its problems-

1st problem: its a niki lauder with a respray- im not a fin fan- ill probably remove it.

2nd problem: 2 owners ago smashed the nose pretty good, he did an awful job with some bondo and put a bra on it to cover the damage.

3rd problem: left front wheel is way out of alignment- im thinking its due to the front end damage. - any tips on home remedies or do i just take it into a shop?

4rth problem: I'm getting some serious gas smell in the ****pit- is there a usual suspect for that?

5th: its got some rust on the outer rockers- im going to do the number on it this week and see if I can clean it up.

6th: brake pads look healthy and thick- but braking is mushy and - well, pretty awful. replace the lines? ?

its got its good points as well - very clean interior, euro console ( no annoying seat belt light) engine pulls strong (engine is from a 74, Spica is a 73- go figure) red koni's all around (though its mushy- maybe i can adjust them? ) nice wheels-


pics don't show the rust- in real life it doesnt look so good! anyway, ive been without alfa for a while- now im back! any comments and suggestions on the above- feel free ! thanks!

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fuel pump

oh, and the PO put in some sort of serious fuel pump (and removed the fuel pump form the gas tank) - its quieter and builds the pressure super fast so it starts almost right away ( hardly any wait)

but could it be too strong and its forcing a leak somewhere- thus the smell of gas? should i re-enforce some stuff since its got a more powerful (or at least a faster ) pump?
I pulled my tank to clean it and in doing so found several potential sources of fuel smells- dry rotted, cracked and broken vent lines, etc. The top return line from the tank back to the fuel filler neck came off in my hand when I grabbed it at the neck to look for its clamp. The trunk floor mat stank, and the factory sound proofing coating on the floor under the tank smelled bad as well. All clean or replaced now. These cars are so old I recommend you pull the tank or at least wiggle it out enough to inspect all lines. The main line that comes out from the tank down to the filter (driver's side rear) was good, but the crossover line under the car to the passenger side (to the fuel pump) was so dry rotted it split when I wriggled it free from the filter. I changed that entire hose, at $1.50/ft. at the local parts store it's cheap insurance. I also used compressed air to blow out all vent lines and confirmed (with a helper at the other end of the line) that the line was intact. On top of the back seat shelf above the tank is a fuel/vapor separator, check all those lines as well, and on that same shelf there's a one way air valve. You have to remove the plastic trim cover that runs the length of the rear shelf to access these two items. Good luck!
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I would certainly try bleeding the brakes, they shouldn't be mushy and I would guess that they didn't do a very good job of it when they replaced the pads.
I would take it to a shop to check out the alignment, mainly cause I don't know anything 'bout that stuff!!
You could always cover the rocker rust with bondo and fiberglass and add a set of Quad side skirts to cover it.....would go along with the Niki rear fin!!!!:eek:

yeah, I was thinking grind most the rust away, use some rust restorer (grey gunk that turns the rust black and inert- actually chemically returns it to steel) then use jb weld to fill the holes -- cover with bondo and then paint the rockers black all around.

I figure its probably the least desirable year and odd niki as well so no one is going to cry sacrilage if I don't do it "proper" - its still better than doing nothing as the rust is spreading-

also got the classic around the brake lights- looks nasty,
You can't just substitute just any fuel supply pump. What kind of pump in the car now? Sounds like the PO did some ******* engineering with the fuel system. That's not good.
well i crawled under and took a look at the pump- it is hard to say: its green and says: "Germany" on it- then a bunch of numbers. this guy is a bmw/porsche guy who just happen to have this alfa- so its possible its a porsche pump.

all the tubes look new and everything is scured nicely- he relocated the rear fuel filter to inside the trunk - right above and left of the fuel tank.

the smell may be from the expansion chamber area- the one way valve has been removed(ive heard these are hard to find?) and a smaller filter has been added-shooting off the hose going into the chamber. the lines around there are also a bit old- probably replace all those and see how it goes.

spent an hour digging at all the rust- its bad but strangely almost entirely along the outer rockers- the floorpan and inner rockers are solid - not a speck on them.

so its not so bad-
oh yes, and the brake disks are all messed up- they have grooves in concentric circles running around them. - like big metal records.

im only getting about 1/3 the surface area per disk- not sure how that happened!
A 78 is the right year for a NLSpecial but your car shows no sign of being one other than the 'glass fin. An NLSpecial originally had the red paint, graphics, dash plate, large medallions behind front wheelwells and the tailfin.
In 78, Alfa sold the most Spiders ever; I wouldn’t say it was the worst year, I’d say it was one of the best for a SPICA’d Alfa.
Your brake problems seem to be a result of poor workmanship; there are already plenty of threads covering brake problems.
Your fuel smell issues have also been covered, ad nausea.
Your fuel pump and “re-engineering” read like the PO went the cheap-fix route. Roadtrip has plenty of posts covering the fuel system.
Regarding your body repairs…you get what you pay for.
To know if the fuel pump is suitable or not, you should test it to see how much fuel it delivers per minute. Min should be .6 gallon per min. Use a fuel pressure gauge inserted between the front fuel filter and the injection pump. It should read about 10-15 psi. 17 psi max. Engine at idle.
yah- thanks- as for niki- even if its a fake one, its still got the dang fin. ;) the dash has a cover on it, and the console has been replaced with some sort of euro one- Im not sure where the plaque is supposed to be. it also has wierdo big rear view mirrors and no chrome stripes (the only good part)
My first Alfa was a 78 Spider, it was a great car! Since then I've had GTV6's,Milano's, GTV's, 164's and Alfetta GT's and Sedans.........

I still have a Spider!!
Patch up the rust, fix the brakes and DRIVE!!!:D:D:D

yup- thats what it is- its a driver! im even starting to like the fin- hmm. it kinda grows on you--
By the looks of the front spoiler and wheels, the previously was trying to make it look like a late 80's version. I have a regular 78 and have loved it for 12 years. Here is a Niki

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Regularity rally Classic car
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