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OK, we've all run into those tasks that should be straightforward or at least they were on a dozen or so cars you've owned and wrenched on previously. But now you're tinkering on an Alfa and to be charitable, it's a different world........very different.

I've only been around the BB a short time but I've read much of the travails, the humiliation, the degradation, and the resignation over any number of jobs that were no sweat on a Mustang, an MG, an old BMW, but leave a decent home mechanic in despair, the floor covered with every darned tool you own,
plans for the evening ruined, the ol' lady PO'd. Of course wife inevitably says, "why didn't you just PAY somebody to to that?" Naturally she doesn't understand that there isn't a shop within 500 miles that'll touch an Alfa with a 36" wobble extension.

I'd love to hear your worst. Let's think of it as a kind of group therapy.

I'll start. Just this afternoon I had the pleasure of R&R of the passenger seat in my S4. Lord have mercy, no wonder Italy always lost its wars. Don't even mention changing a shifter boot on this car.

OK, let's hear your sad story.
 

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Getting 30-year-old ball joints and tie rods to break free as part of a front-suspension refurb was the most time consuming. But replacing the door limit straps was certainly one of the most frustrating.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
sloboy89,

Those door limit straps are sitting in a package on my bench.......I'm waiting for the planets to get into the right alignment 'fore I try THAT one.
 

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Electric windows. I had the door panel off so many times I can do it with my eyes closed. Never did get it fixed. Wound up spending money for a new part.
 

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There isn’t anything more time consuming or frustrating in an Alfa than fixing rust..... all of it, properly
 

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whats difficult about door check strap ? I R/R the whole thing, bought assemblies from classic alfa and in they went in 15 minutes. Granted, getting the 10mm bolts started is a little finicky but nothing tough about it for me. 1971 S2.

Ball joints? Need the alfa tool for upper and lower, off they come.

Biggest hassle -- setting up preload on crown wheel in differential. Trial and error. no other way to do it that I have found

Most cuts on hands? Install spider dash (pro tip, use a heat gun to soften the vent tubes and get them over the vents and make sure the turn signal indicator is placed correctly before you install the dash)

HIgh frustration ? Removing frozen phillips head screws from seat tracks.

and how can we leave off finding the source of oil leaks?
 

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These cars are as simple as it gets for the DIYer...Some jobs are tricky and take some noodling but once done in the proper sequence it is very satisfying. Unfortunately that sequence isn't always covered for every task in the manuals. As with all disassembly and reassembly, there is a right way and a wrong way and it is amazing how rapidly things go south if started the wrong way.. This website has helped me immeasurably. Don't despair.. be thankful you aren't working on a Citroen or a Lancia. The only tool I wish i had in my old age after working on these for nigh 35 year is a LIFT and a set of bifocals that work when the subject is almost touching my nose. And yes, the right tools are necessary. I have at least 25 screw drivers and they all serve a purpose. And BE THANKFUL for this website and the internet.
 

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whats difficult about door check strap ? I R/R the whole thing, bought assemblies from classic alfa and in they went in 15 minutes. Granted, getting the 10mm bolts started is a little finicky but nothing tough about it for me. 1971 S2.
Things got a lot tighter in the door as time progressed, with increased reinforcement and power window motors.
 

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You wanna list?

Where to begin?

Why do we need to remove a whole bunch of unrelated things just to do a simple job?

3rd worst: Engine mountings
2nd worst: Removing the starter (I just battled OK)
Worst by far: Removing the heater box

A few years ago a wise person on this board likened the spider design process to some guy in the workshop putting a heater box on the workshop floor, and everyone else building a car around it.

I'm sure there are others but those three jump to mind.

I have lost more blood, and sustained more painful injuries while working on this car than any other; BUT I once had a drive around Chapmans Peak (beautiful twisty coastal road in Cape Town) on a sunny day when everything on the spider worked perfectly... That trip bordered on a religious experience.
 

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too funny.. I am cursed I mean blessed to own a 164 and a S3 AND I get to fix things on them at the same time... I think they talk to each other at night. Spider wise I took my door panel off and disabled the window mechanism since the power didnt work...I used a small 1x2 to hold the window up when i wanted it up.. then one day I saw this funny looking tool in the glove box. hmm what is this for? Oh look an owners manual.. lol it is used to raise and lower the window if the power doesn't work.. ahh that is why there is a hole in the door panel.. oh well... someone mentioned changing the shift boot cover whatever... mine was falling apart. got a new one...
took the center console out and hey look at this switch the wires are pulled out.. what does this do ? ahh it is the window switch.. I wonder... )pushes wires back into the switch.. naw yes the window works! puts boot on re-installs console puts window mechanism back together.. yay power window and a new a new shifter boot. ! puts door panel back on.. nice..

Now to figure out the banging noise in the drive train.. I had someone replace that rubber donut thing but it still thuds somewhat when taking up drive from a stop... I wiggled the drive shaft at the diff end and there is play... sighs

But the joy and excitement I get when I drive either of these cars..:)
 

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Passenger side motor mount is no fun at all on the Bosch injected Spiders! But overall, I think Alfas of this era make a lot of sense design-wise, and are no tougher than most others to work on. But read up first on the job, before you start wrenching, if you have questions. That's the best approach, IMO.

That's where this BB is so valuable. Hats off to all you contributors out there!
 

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Getting the wheels balanced on my '69 GTV.

How hard can this be??

took it to the local tire shop, they cross threaded one of the lugs and was not able to get the lug off. Had to get a new stud and lug from alfaholics. went back with the new parts and they stripped another stud! Then they gave up. They told me they were afraid of my car and offered me a full refund because they did not want to deal with it. I countered with paying them but letting me work along side of them using their lift and tools. They went for it. (pretty cool as they are a national chain.) I worked along with their guys. I had them borrow a die set to clean off the stud from the shop down the street. It took us working together the whole day (figuring out how to get the lug off, etc...) but we got it done.
 

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These cars are as simple as it gets for the DIYer...Some jobs are tricky and take some noodling but once done in the proper sequence it is very satisfying. Unfortunately that sequence isn't always covered for every task in the manuals. As with all disassembly and reassembly, there is a right way and a wrong way and it is amazing how rapidly things go south if started the wrong way.. This website has helped me immeasurably.
I totally agree with this. My experience has been completely the opposite of the OP's. I find my Alfa very simple simple and straightforward to work on. It's a great classic to own for somebody like me with limited mechanical ability like me. In general easy to work on and parts readily available.

Try to do ANYthing on a modern Audi and this is your life. Five systems need to be removed or disassembled to get to the one you're working on. So frustrating.
^^^^ This. My 2005 A4 stymied me so many times I lost count. And parts were super expensive. I spent far more money on pro mechanics for that car than any other I've owned. I loved that her with all of my heart but she stabbed me in the back! Never again.
 

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3rd worst: Engine mountings
2nd worst: Removing the starter (I just battled OK)
Worst by far: Removing the heater box
Well yeah - you just listed THE three hardest jobs on the car in their proper order! Every car has some tough jobs somewhere on them.

I've had the intake off enough times though that I've got it down pat so 2 and 3 aren't so tough anymore.
 

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Getting the wheels balanced on my '69 GTV.

How hard can this be??

took it to the local tire shop, they cross threaded one of the lugs and was not able to get the lug off. Had to get a new stud and lug from alfaholics. went back with the new parts and they stripped another stud! Then they gave up. They told me they were afraid of my car and offered me a full refund because they did not want to deal with it. I countered with paying them but letting me work along side of them using their lift and tools. They went for it. (pretty cool as they are a national chain.) I worked along with their guys. I had them borrow a die set to clean off the stud from the shop down the street. It took us working together the whole day (figuring out how to get the lug off, etc...) but we got it done.
Over-torqueing a wheel nut will return this result with any car. Want to see a Porsche guy pass out ? Watch him as the tire store man rattle wrenches the alloy nuts on his Fuchs wheels.
 

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Over-torqueing a wheel nut will return this result with any car. Want to see a Porsche guy pass out ? Watch him as the tire store man rattle wrenches the alloy nuts on his Fuchs wheels.
Not over torqued- cross threaded and stuck with 1/4 inch between the bottom of the lug and the wheel. Had to drill it out!
I hand tightened the lugs....
 
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