The Big Healey Ten-Year Renewal Blog – last update 12/10/2020

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If you scroll down to the October 2018 entry to this Blog you can read about the motivation for what I then called the Ten-Year Renewal Project for my 1960 Austin-Healey BT7. True to my history with this car, everything takes longer than expected! While the care and maintenance of a classic car never ends, now in October 2020 I am going to proclaim that the Renewal Project has come to its conclusion.

The good news is that I have accomplished quite a lot and I am pleased to say that the Bloody Beast is running better than it has ever run while in my ownership, and that covers forty-nine years!

This website has a separate entry for all of the major renewal efforts, so one does not have to read through everything in order to obtain more information about a particular project. However, in no particular order, the following is a summary of all that has been accomplished in the past two years:

  • Greased all suspension, steering and handbrake grease zerks.
  • Installed a fresh smear of white lithium grease on door locks, bonnet catch and boot lock.
  • Checked the ground strap in the boot for tightness.
  • Checked tightness of engine mount and shock damper bolts.
  • Checked rubber boots on on suspension ball joints.
  • Checked king pin wear.
  • Replaced fluids in gearbox, engine, hydraulic system, cooling system, rear differential. Replaced the Penrite oil in the steering box and idler with John Deere Corn Head grease to help prevent leaks.
  • Checked all dash lights for functionality.
  • Checked tightness of prop shaft bolts/nuts at both ends of the shaft.
  • Replaced the oil sump gasket with a neoprene gasket from Tom’s Imports and ceramic coated the aluminum sump.
  • Removed the PCV system components and installed an oil catch can system.
  • Replaced my intake manifold, which had two broken mounting ears due to improper installation, with another good, but used unit, sourced from Michael Salter. Jet-Hot coated the manifold before installation.
  • Cleaned and repainted the carburetor heat shield and refreshed the insulation.
  • Replaced the chromed “Austin-Healey” front shroud badge with a new component as the paint had chipped away on mine.
  • Replaced a leaking RH front Armstrong damper with a newly rebuilt unit from World Wide Auto Imports.
  • Replaced ill-fitting rear rally bumper irons with proper irons sourced from AH Spares. The first set had the bumperettes sitting too far from the rear shroud.
  • Had the HD8 SU carburetors rebuilt with delrin bushings installed by Thomas Bryant. Replaced both fuel bowl floats with nitrophyl floats. Added fuel bowl “Kouzies” from Joe Curto to insulate fuel bowls from exhaust heat and prevent vapor lock.
  • Sealed a persistent oil leak at the rear differential drain plug.
  • Adjusted valve clearances to spec. and sealed the cylinder head stud holes to prevent oil leaks.
  • Replaced the plastic (nylon?) breather fitting on the rear axle with a brass unit sold by Land Rover.
  • Replaced the clutch and brake master cylinders. Inspected the clutch slave cylinder and left it in place. Replace fluid and bled the system.
  • Installed a remote clutch slave cylinder bleeder hose from Ol Phartz Parts.
  • Replaced the original fuse panel with a seven fuse/fourteen terminal unit sourced from Charlie Hart.
  • Fabricated and installed a rear main drip tray below the engine backplate/gearbox to catch oil leaks.
  • Replaced the front cylinder block cover gasket to eliminate an oil leak.
  • Replaced the alternator with a “new” rebuilt unit.
  • Replace the Halogen sealed beam headlights with aftermarket Lucas PL 700 headlights.
  • Replaced the original fuel hose delivery system from the hard fuel line to the carbs with a new design and fittings.
  • Added carburetor ram pipes and ITG air filtration socks.
  • Added an electric pusher fan in front of the radiator.
  • Modified the design of the throttle cable routing to the carburetors from the accelerator pedal.
  • New vinyl for the RH door shut face finisher panel side. Will replace the LH side at a later date.
  • Installed new ignition wires, rotor, and distributor cap and checked the ignition timing.
  • Added a bell housing drain hole for oil leaks from the rear main bearing.
  • Replaced the water pump, mounting studs and gasket, fan belt, and upper and lower radiator hoses. Replaced the stainless steel flex fan with an asymmetric yellow plastic (nylon) fan sourced from AH Spares to reduce noise.
  • Replaced the 195 degree thermostat (for Virginia) with a 160 degree sleeved thermostat (for Florida) sourced from British Car Specialists.
  • Washed, clayed, compounded, polished and waxed the car.

A few things yet to do:

  • Replace rubber in wiper arms.
  • Replace bristle flex draught excluders (door seal) – will complete when hardtop is off the car.

October 2018

It has been approximately ten years since I wrapped up (if you ever really complete a restoration of a Healey) the restoration of the Bloody Beast. He has weathered the ten years quite well – better than me, that is for sure! I have taken good care of the Beast and completed periodic maintenance as one should. There have been a few things along the way that have required attention, such as the failure of the brake master cylinder that led to the replacement of both masters and the clutch slave cylinder while I was at it. However, for the most part, it has simply been fluid changes, tire replacements and etc.

I am sad to report that I have not driven the Healey as much as I should have during the time since I finished the restoration. About a month after I completed the restoration work I drove the Bloody Beast 8,000 miles in a cross-country trip from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to California, up the coast to Victoria, BC and then back to Harrisonburg, VA. Between helping my son with his Bugeye, restoring a 1964 Jaguar MK2, and maintaining the 1987 Alfa, a 1969 MB 280SL and the Porsche in addition to the daily drivers there just wasn’t much time to drive! I am ashamed to say that I only put an additional 2,878 miles on the Healey in the ensuing nine-plus years. Driving, however, is the whole point of having a sports car and that is certainly true for an Austin Healey roadster. My son has now taken the Bugeye to his home. I have sold the Jaguar and the Mercedes. I now intend to spend more time driving the Bloody Beast!

After almost ten years I thought it might be healthy to go over the car carefully and examine the condition of components, check tolerances, and replace items that typically wear – even though they might be in operable condition at the moment. I will be making myself a list of items, that will probably not be in any particular order, and I will undertake some of the work as the list is added too over time. I will gradually need to accumulate parts for the work to be done.

For those who read this post, I hope you will contribute through your comments and make suggestions about anything, but particularly about items that should be added to my ten year renewal list. To be clear, an item on the list, an oil change for example, doesn’t mean that it is only to be done every ten years. I will make entries on this post chronologically as items are accomplished. I will keep a ten year renewal checklist as a separate post and add to it as I think about items to address. I will organize this list based on the categories of the Workshop Manual.

So, lets start this project! The most recent actions are listed first: Ten Year Renewal Blog

LeMans Sprite

The little Donald Healey Motor Company produced some outstanding cars for motor racing with little money and support. While the Big Healey rally cars tend to get the most press, the modified Sprites were quite successful on major race circuits like LeMans and Sebring.

This is a short video with the current owner of one of those racing Sprites. Joe Armour, and Australian, is well known in the Healey community.

Bugeye Maintenance

Maintenance

Well I had good intentions, but this is woefully out of date. I will try to catch it up soon!

I have not been keeping my maintenance of “The Bugeye” in my website/blog, but I will begin today!

June 29, 2013 

  • Removed the K&N air filters, cleaned them both and sprayed with K&N dust retention oil.
  • Topped up the dashpot oil for the carbs.
  • Changed the oil – Collectors choice with ZDDP (20W-50), 4 quarts.
  • Installed new Mobil 1 oil filter – M1-102

    76mm filter wrench

    Oil & Filter

  • Greased all grease fittings.
  • Checked rear brake cylinders for leaks, topped up the master cylinder with brake fluid.
  • Thoroughly cleaned the under-bonnet area.
  • Checked tire pressures.
  • Checked coolant and added a small amount to the overflow tank.
  • Washed the car, wheels and tires, and the windscreen.

To Do List

  • Replace the Fuel Filter
  • Replace the Fuel Hose

The Bugeye – 1959 AN5

My name is John Rose and I am the current owner of AN5L11257, engine number 9CUH10910, a 1959 Austin Healey Sprite, popularly known as a “Bugeye” in the States or “Frogeye” if you are from across the pond.

This web site is dedicated to documenting the history of my car, the modifications that have been made to it, and the fun I have had with it.

My Dad, Linwood Rose, my younger brother, Scott, and I attended the 1998 Sprite Bash in Carlisle, PA with the idea of finding a Bugeye to purchase as my first car. Of course, I wasn’t old enough to drive yet, but this was to be a “project” car that would require some work prior to putting it on the road. We looked at a few cars that were for sale, but didn’t make any offers in Carlisle.

Previous Ownership

Later that summer, we were attending the British Car Days Show held in July at Bowie, Maryland on June 28, 1998. Tom Delaney from College Park, MD attended the Show and was walking around the show grounds with a sign taped to the back of his T shirt he was wearing that stated, “1959 Bugeye for sale, enquire within.” I struck up a conversation with Mr. Delaney and we agreed to stop and see his car when we returned from vacation at the end of the week.

Negotiating with Tom Delaney, British Car Day, Bowie, MD June 28, 1998

On July 2, 1998, after a test drive and some negotiating, I was the proud owner and we were driving MY Bugeye home from Maryland to Harrisonburg, VA.

Mr. Delaney did have some records that he passed along to me with the car. These records provided some insight into previous ownership of my Bugeye. I am not sure when Mr.Delaney purchased AN5L11257, but I do have a receipt for parts indicating he was the owner in February 1983.

Curiously, before Mr. Delaney was the custodian of my Bugeye, it was apparently owned by Captain Charles A. Rose of Gaithersburg, MD. I say “curiously,” because my uncle’s name is Charles Rose, and he lives in Maryland, but they are not one and the same.

Captain  Rose purchased my Bugeye in Tennessee according to Tennessee DMV records in September, 1979 from Dean Trathen from Nashville, TN. Mr. Trathen apparently owned the car for only a brief period having purchased it himself in March of 1979 from William L. Easterling from Brentwood, TN. Records show that Mr.Easterling bought the car in September of 1978.

Unfortunately, I don’t have records or any knowledge of ownership of my Bugeye from 1959 to 1978.

Bugeye Blog

My Bugeye Blog chronicles the life and times of AN5L11257 while in my care. I didn’t keep good records at first, so details are a little sketchy until 2000. As the reader of my Bugeye Blog will observe, we have made many “personalizations” to my Bugeye. I have concentrated on making my car fun to drive by increasing performance and handling.

I hope you enjoy my Bugeye Blog and invite your questions or comments.

John Rose

Navigating The Jaguar MK2 Project Site

Site Organization and Navigation

The site for the Jaguar MK2 restoration was initially divided into three parts:

  1. Disassembly,
  2. Restoration and Fitting, and
  3. Reassembly.

However, I have removed all of the posts related to the “disassembly” phase of the project. The “restoration and fitting” or trial assembly of the renewed and new components is detailed. Major sections of work, generally following the Jaguar MK2 Models Service Manual, are journaled. I have assumed that the reader will find this approach more useful than a sequenced chronology.

I have sold this car before completion. My wife and I have downsized and relocated to Florida. Garage space is now more limited and so something had to go! Mike Gassman of Gassman Automotive in Waynesboro, VA now has the car to complete for a future owner.

To be redirected to project entries, or posts, for the Jaguar MK2 Project, just click on the burgundy rectangular navigation box in the upper right corner of this site. 

Please click photos once for larger images or twice for even larger detailed images. Images will open in a new window.

I am interested in your comments about the content and presentation, so please email me or comment on any individual entry. I will be happy to respond.

Lin

Alfa Hose Clamp Inventory

I should first note that at this point in time, the content of this post is incomplete. To complete the project I will need the assistance of other Alfa owners, and I expect that the help will be received over time rather than immediately.

Early in my work with my 1987 Quadrifoglio I decided to try to inventory all of the various type and size hose clamps used throughout the car, but primarily in the fuel, emissions and vacuum systems. I have used diagrams taken from the service manual as well as a narrative listing to identify the hose clamps and their location. The numbers added to the diagrams reflect the numbering sequence used in my narrative summary. What I identify in this post is current as of February 17, 2021.

Romablok clamp

The hose clamps used by Alfa-Romeo were manufactured by Romablok, but they are no longer made. The feature of these clamps that is important to maintain is that they wrap all the way around the hose and tighten 360 degrees. The also have a smoother outside edge with an external screw and a flat solid band so as to not cut into the hose.

I began my effort by visually inspecting the engine bay and then moved to the trunk and then finally under the car.

OVS upper port clamp #1 (26) to cam cover breather fitting clamp #2 (26)

OVS large lower port clamp #3 (26) to the rubber air duct clamp #4 (22)

Throttle body clamp #5 (20) to the thermostat clamp #6 (20)

Rubber air duct clamp #7 (20) to the AAV clamp #8 (20)

AAV clamp #9 (20) to the plenum chamber clamp #10 (20)

Rubber air duct clamp #11 (17) to the plenum chamber clamp #12 (17)

Throttle body clamp #13 (18) to the heater water valve clamp #14 (?)

Check valve at plenum chamber clamp #15 (19) to the brake booster clamp #16 (19)

Rubber air duct clamp #17(20) to the canister clamp #18 (?)

Fuel filler upper clamp #19 (66) to fuel filler lower clamp #20 (66)

Fuel Delivery from tank to fuel rail

A rubber fuel hose from the secondary fuel pump connects with clamp #21 (15-17) to a fuel hard pipe in the trunk with clamp #22 (15-17). The fuel hard pipe passes through the rear trunk bulkhead to a 3-4” piece of rubber fuel hose and is clamped with #23 (15-17). This short rubber fuel hose connects to another hard pipe with clamp #24 (15-17). This fuel hard pipe is covered with a rubber fuel hose as a sheath for the metal pipe.

The fuel hard pipe runs along the underside of the car toward the fuel pump. The covered fuel hard pipe is connected to a rubber fuel hose with clamp #25 (?). The rubber fuel hose, configured in the shape of an “S” connects to the input port on the fuel pump with clamp #26 (?).  A rubber fuel hose connects to the output port on the fuel pump with clamp #27 (12-14), travels to the fuel filter input port and is connected with clamp #28 (12-14). The same size rubber fuel hose connects to the output port of the fuel filter with clamp #29 (12-14) and connects to the fuel hard pipe (encased in a rubber sheath) with clamp # 30 (12-14) that is directed along the frame rail to the engine bay and to the fuel injector rail where it is secured with clamp #31 (12-14). A short rubber fuel hose from the fuel injector rail secured with clamp #32 (12-14) connects to the cold start injector and is secured with clamp #33 (12-14).

Fuel Return to Tank

A rubber fuel hose from the fuel pressure regulator with clamp #34 (12-14) to rubber fuel hose that travels under the car to a junction with a fuel return hard pipe covered with a rubber sheath. The hose is secured with clamp #35 (12-14) on the engine side and with clamp #36 (12-14) on the rear axle side. The pipe then travels over the axle to the rear trunk bulkhead where it is joined by clamp #37 (12-14) to a three inch piece of rubber fuel hose. The other end of the short piece of hose is clamped #38 (12-14) to the fuel return hard pipe that exits through the bulkhead into the trunk. The fuel hard pipe runs along the back of the trunk where it joins with a rubber fuel hose with clamp #39 (12-14). The rubber fuel hose terminates at the return pipe fitting on the fuel tank and is secured with clamp # 40 (12-14).

Fuel Supply Circuit & Evaporative Emission Control System

Plenum Chamber

 

Evaporative emission control system

Clamp #41 (13-15)  secures a rubber fuel hose to the evaporative emission outlet pipe at the fuel tank. The hose routes to the rear of the trunk where it connects to the LH lower side of the expansion tank with clamp #42 (13-15).

A rubber emissions hose exits the expansion tank on the LH upper side and is reduced to a smaller diameter rubber hose. The two hoses are connected with two clamps: clamp #43 (13-15) and clamp #44 (13-15).

The smaller diameter hose wraps around the expansion tank and joins a “T” fitting with no clamps. A vent valve is joined at the “T.” The smaller hose then merges with a larger hose with a check valve and then rejoins with a smaller rubber hose and then a still smaller clear hose that seems to exit the trunk behind the LH rear shock absorber. I don’t know where it goes. There is also a fairly large diameter black hose in the same location. I don’t know what it does or where it goes.

I did not open the panel in the front RH wheel well to inspect the charcoal canister. The clear hose connects with the canister. I do not know if it uses a clamp or not, but I will call it clamp #45 (?). As stated earlier, a rubber hose feeds air from the rubber air duct #17(20) to the canister #18 (?). The intake air duct feeds air to the canister via a rubber hose with clamp #46 (?) at the canister and clamp #47 (?) at the air duct fitting.

Cooling system
I need to finish looking at these.

 

 

 

 

Alfa Oil Vapor Separator (OVS)

The OVS on the Alfa has been a well discussed topic on the ALFA Bulletin Board. Apparently it is a component that is subject to failure, although in fairness, I don’t expect that Alfa engineers ever expected this part to last over thirty years! The part is susceptible  to corrosion – often suffering pin hole leaks, rotted out internals and clogged lines. 

Richard Lesniewicz aka “divotandtralee” a contributor to the Bulletin Board, studied the problem and designed and partially manufactured a replacement for the original unit. The new OVS is entirely brass and Richard machined the individual components of the assembly and sold them as a kit to be assembled by the purchaser. “Assembly” in this case is primarily soldering. The new OVS is almost identical in size to the original and once painted black will be almost indistinguishable once mounted in the engine bay.

Richard sketched the OVS to first demonstrate how it functions and then to show what happens to it after extended use:

OVS Diagram

Problems with Used OVS

This is a link to his instructions for assembly and use:OVS Construction Instructions 

It is important to align the tubes off of the primary canister in the same fashion as the original OVS. Since that is still on the car, I will wait until I remove it to complete the “construction” of the brass OVS. The following image shows my progress to date:

Rose OVS

This image shows the location of the original OVS mounted to the RH engine bay valance. After disconnecting its hoses and pulling it out of the car I was able to put it on the bench and use it to determine the proper location of the ports on the new brass OVS. I followed the directions and installed the port fixtures.

Original OVS in Car with Mounting Bracket

Original OVS Port Alignment

After final assembly of the kit, I decided to apply some Bondo body filler to the canister to even out some of my solder joints and create a better appearance once painted. This took a little more time but the final product was worth it.

OVS Body Filler Applied

I then made my own mounting bracket that permits the bracket to be fixed to the car separately from the canister itself. I used some brass plate and a piece of 1/2″ x 1/16″ x 9.5″ steel bent into shape. I was pleased with the result.

OVS Mounting Clamp

I then primed and painted the assembly:

OVS Painted

OVS Painted

I then connected the various canister hoses and mounted the assembly to the car:

OVS Installed

The button in the center off the OVS top is a rivet that is pushed into a rubber grommet. the rivet and grommet can be pulled out to permit inspection of the inside of the canister. Next step will be to get some new hoses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfa Ownership & Maintenance Blog

October 7, 2021

70,874 miles on the odometer

I had ordered parts and was getting ready to replace the major components of the fuel delivery system, but I was moving a little too late!

After a brief drive in the neighborhood I discovered that I had a significant fuel leak emanating from somewhere in the engine compartment. Today I disconnected the lead from the ignition coil to the distributor so I wouldn’t have any spark. I then had my lovely assistant Tabatha turn on the ignition and crank the starter to initiate the fuel pump. It appears that the fuel hose delivering fuel to the fuel rail had developed a leak.

Alfa Cold Start Injector Hose Leak

The cold start injector had been replaced several years ago. When it was done the installer used a section of hose that was too short resulting in a severe kink in the hose. 

The next step was to clear some other hoses and components to ease access to the fuel hose in question. Moving the windscreen washer bottle out of the way makes things much easier. I then removed the compromised hose and replaced it with a new 5/16 inch high-pressure fuel injection hose.

I discovered that he also failed to use fuel injection hose and instead used PCV emissions hose – not a good thing to do! 

PCV Emissions Hose

This was the result:

PCV Emissions hose failure

The distance between the cold start injector and the fuel rail is only a few inches. The previous installer had used an 8″ piece of hose that had kinked, so I used about a 12″ piece and achieved a rounded delivery free of kinks. It is not an easy job to get the hose and its clamps onto the fittings, but after some struggles everything was in place. We tried cranking the starter and had no fuel leaks! 

I then reattached everything that had been cleared out of the way, reconnected the coil, and took Alfie for a test drive. No leaks and the car ran well. In fact, I believe it started easier than normal, probably attributable to an an unobstructed fuel hose.

April 28, 2021

70,815 miles on the odometer

The door seals on the car are torn and discolored so I ordered replacements from Classic Alfa. The new seals are very similar to the originals. The two photos below show the discoloration and seal tear:

Discolored door seal

Torn Rubber Door Seal

The first step in the removal of the old seals was to remove the inner plate that holds the seal to the sill threshold. It is held in place with four phillips head screws. The rear of the plate lines up exactly with the rear of the outside threshold plate. Unfortunately, the front screw on the driver’s side had been broken off previously.

Seal Inner Securing Plate

The next step is to remove the B column vinyl trim piece that retains the seal. It has four Phillips head screws. The panel on the driver’s side is slightly different because it houses the trunk and gas filler pulls. The panels had been tampered with before and are not in great shape. I have ordered replacements. In both cases, the panels do not need to be completely removed – just loosened so that the seal can fit under or next to the panel.

RH B pillar trim panel

RH B pillar trim lower fastening screw

The next step was to remove the chrome trim cap on top of the door seal. This is held in place by only one Phillips head screw.

Chrome Trim Cap with Securing Screw

Access is then gained to the rear termination of the door seal.

Rear termination of Seal

The old seal can then be pulled away from the car. This photo shows the lip the seal grips when replaced:

Seal Mounting Lip

After installing the seal in the door, I screwed the trim panels back in place and cut the rear terminus of the seal with a hacksaw blade. Then installed the little rubber plug and replaced the chrome trim.

Cutting the Seal to Length

There is a rubber plug that fits into both ends of the seal to prevent water from entering the rubber tube. These were also sourced from Classic Alfa. I used a little rubber grease to make it easier to push the plugs into the seal ends.

Rubber Plug for Seal

Seal Plug in Place

Chrome Trim Cap and Inner Seal securing plate screwed back in place

Chrome Trim Cap Back in Place

RH Side Seal Installed

The RH door capping was broken and I ordered a replacement from Classic Alfa. The replacements are metal rather than plastic so they should hold up much better. I just tapped the capping into the six metal clips with a light rubber hammer. The finished product looks much better than the broken piece!

Door Cap Replacement

Door Cap Replacement

 

April 13, 2021

70,787 miles on the odometer

Original Romablok hose clamps don’t seem to be produced anymore. I did find a source for reproduced clamps that are very similar to the originals and are stamped romablok at Jens Putzier Tools in Germany. The clamps appear to be of slightly lighter gauge steel and they have hex head machine bolts (a good thing) rather than the original cheese head round screws. They have a yellow zinc finish. I ordered a variety of sizes of the clamps and used them to replace many of the clamps on hoses under the hood. I will also replace the fuel hose clamps under the car when I replace the hoses. More detailed information about the original Romablok clamps can be found in a previous post: https://valvechatter.com/?p=12820

The Spider has a number of vacuum hoses associated with the L-Jetronic Fuel Injection system. These all seems to be functioning just fine, but I expect many are original and are showing their age. I thought it time to replace many of these hoses before failure and to dress up the appearance of the engine. I did not replace all of the hoses yet. My plan will be to replace those that are somewhat hard to access when I get around to pulling the intake plenum for a clean up. On my list for the future.

I decided to use silicone hoses to replace the old vacuum hoses and sourced them from HPSI Motorsports. They make a very nice kit that contains all of the various sizes required for the Alfa Spider and also provide a helpful set of directions making the job quite easy. 

Plenum to Auxiliary Air Device  – Silicone Hose “F” with two 20-23mm Romablok clamps.

Plenum to Auxiliary Air Device

Air Intake to Auxiliary Air Device – Silicone hose “F” with two 18-20mm Romablok clamps.

Air Intake to Auxiliary Air Device

Plenum to Brake Booster – Silicone hose “A” with a 16-16.5mm Romablok hose clamp at the check valve and a 17-19mm Romablok hose clamp at the booster fitting.

Plenum to Brake Booster

Idle Speed Adjustment Port at Plenum to Air Intake Pipe – Silicone Hose “F” with a 13-14.5mm Romablok hose clamp at the Idle Speed Adjustment Port and a 15-16.5mm Romablok hose clamp at the Air Intake Pipe.

Idle Adjustment at Plenum to Air Intake Pipe

Rocker Cover Breather Port to the Oil Vapor Separator (OVS) – I did not replace the hose at this time, but I did replace both hose clamps with 24-27.5mm Romablok hose clamps.

Rocker Cover Breather to OVS

Coolant Hose from Thermostat Housing to the Top of the Plenum – I did not replace the hose at this time, but I did replace both hose clamps with a 17-19mm Romablok Hose clamp at the Thermostat Housing and an 18-20mm Romablok Hose clamp at the top of the plenum.

Coolant Hose from Thermostat Housing to Plenum

Air Intake Pipe to the lower port on the OVS – I did not replace the hose at this time, but I did replace the original 22mm Romablok Hose clamp with a new 18-20mm Romablok Hose clamp at the Air Intake Pipe. I left the original clamp on the lower port of the OVS and will replace at a later date.

Air Intake Pipe to the lower port on the OVS

Air Intake Pipe to the Charcoal Canister – I did not replace the hose at this time, but I did replace the hose clamp at the Air Intake Pipe with a 17-19mm Romablok Hose clamp.

Air Intake Pipe to Charcoal Canister

Coolant Overflow Hose to the Overflow Tank – I replaced the coolant hose for the radiator overflow port to the overflow tank and used a new 12mm Romablok Hose clamp at each end of the hose. The braided, clear hose was sourced from Classic Alfa.

New Radiator Tank Cap and Overflow hose

This image shows an overhead view of the “upgraded” appearance of the engine bay with many new hose clamps installed. While I was at it I also added the warning decal for the radiator cap, also sourced from Classic Alfa. Now I need to clean that hideous overflow tank!

Overhead View of New Hoses and Clamps

Radiator Cap Warning Sticker

I ordered a new coolant recovery tank and mounting strap rom Classic Alfa to replace my discolored tank and tired strap. Unfortunately neither fit! I will give cleaning the tank a try but I was able to shorten and reshape the new strap so that I could use it with the original tank. At least the strap looks better now!

The problem with cleaning, replacing or replacing with new items is that they make older components look even worse. Note the air conditioner drier below. It definitely needs some love.

Coolant Recovery Tank Strap

April 5, 2021

70,752 miles on the odometer

The original radiator was leaking around the lower lip of the upper tank. I pulled it out and took it to Sarasota Radiator Service, Inc., a local “old school” repair shop. Ron pointed out the very small white specs at the top of the core, next to the tank which are apparently tell-tale signs for solder joints going bad. We could have tried resoldering the unit as it was but instead decided to go ahead and order a modern core and installed it. Everything was accomplished in seven days. 

I sanded the tanks to remove the marginal paint that was on the radiator, primed and repainted it in gloss black. I then reinstalled the radiator in the car with a new fan shroud. The car, as I received it, did not have a shroud mounted. The shroud certainly makes the installation process a bit awkward and tedious but all was accomplished.

Alfa Fan Shroud

Radiator and Fan Shroud Installed

The air conditioner drier (air conditioning was an aftermarket dealer installed item) also made installing the upper right radiator mounting bolt a real pain to get to! The lower radiator hose clamp is also quite hard to access, but with considerable patience all was buttoned up.

I then installed a new radiator overflow hose to the coolant expansion tank and used a couple of new 12mm Romablok hose clamps. I also installed a new radiator cap sourced from Classic Alfa. I have taken the car for several runs making sure the car was under driving temperature. All seems well. The car runs at 175 degrees and I am experiencing no leaks.

Overflow hose and Upper Radiator Hose with Mikalor Clamp

New Radiator Tank Cap and Overflow hose

 

March 22, 2021

70,750 miles on the odometer

The Oil Vapor Separator (OVS) found on the Alfa was, I am sure, never designed to last thirty plus years. When dissected, one finds nothing but sludge and rust. New units are unobtanium, so one of the enterprising contributors to the Alfa Spider Bulletin Board designed and fabricated a kit made of brass to do the job of the original OVS. The down side of the kit is that it must be assembled requiring some artful soldering, but with a little practice the requirement is not too daunting. I put together a separate post on the OVS kit found at this link: https://valvechatter.com/?p=12619

There are more photos in the OVS post, but here are a few of the assembled kit:

OVS Painted

OVS Installed

 

February 15, 2021

70,747 miles on the odometer

In the last ten days or so I have tracked some of the low hanging fruit to fix on Alfie, I have continued my cleaning – but this time under the car, and I decided to trace the fuel system and vacuum hoses to inventory the types and sizes of hose clamps used on the car. Most of the original hose clamps are still on the car but a number have been replaced and usually with cheap inappropriate clamps. The clamp inventory project turned out to require a bigger effort and time commitment than I thought. I will make this the subject of a separate category and post at this location: https://valvechatter.com/?cat=2043.

I ordered an upper radiator hose and installed it only to discover that the radiator leak must be from the top of the tank rather than from a perished old hose! This will require some further attention, but it looks like either a radiator repair or replacement is in my future.

The handbrake did not function at all so I undertook a fault finding mission and the restoration of braking. As it turned out, the handbrake mechanism located at the rear of the differential was rusted in place and frozen preventing the operation of the brakes. 

This is a photo of the original cable mechanism. As the center cable is pulled (at the top in the image) when the handbrake arm is lifted, the two brackets with the LH and RH cables (in the middle of the swivel arms) are supposed to pivot and pull the drum brake cables tight. However, mine was rusted and frozen in place and consequently did not operate properly. 

Handbrake Center Cable Mechanism Mounted

I ordered a new mechanism from Centerline International and installed it on the car. The original part number is 605.17074 with Centerline’s order number being BC420. The item was $59.50.

Alfa Center Brake Cable

After removing the old assembly, I took the opportunity to clean up the differential a bit more  and I painted the two steel mounting blocks just to prevent them from further rusting.

Handbrake Assembly Mounts

I then installed the new assembly. I applied synthetic grease to the rotating components. Yes, that really nasty looking brake pipe is one of the next few items that will get my attention!

Handbrake Assembly Installed

At the other end of the cable I attached a new fork to the handbrake lever with a cleaned-up clevis pin and new split pin. The cable slides through a threaded fixture on the car chassis. It is the red item in the photo below. The cylindrical device is a rotary adjuster that is used to tighten/loosen the slack in the primary center cable.

brake cable adjuster

The first step in actually adjusting the handbrake is to place something heavy on the handbrake handle to keep it down (depressed) while making alterations to the system. I then lifted the rear of the car so as to remove both rear wheels/tires. This makes the rear brake rotors accessible. The handbrake works by expanding two small brake shoes inside the drum (rotor). There is a star adjustment wheel inside the drum that expands and contracts the shoes against the drum surface. Using a screwdriver the star adjuster can be moved toward the front of the car (loosen/contract) or toward the rear of the car (tighten/expand).

After removing the disc brake caliper one can loosen and remove two screws and then pull away the rotor/drum – AFTER CONTRACTING THE SHOES. However, in my case it was not necessary to remove the caliper and rotor drum. Because the handbrake is almost exclusively used when the car is stationary, the shoes actually have very little wear.

Rear Brake Rotor & Handbrake Drum

Brake Shoe Adjustment Wheel

Turning the Adjustment Wheel

I then turned the adjustment wheel on both the LH and RH wheels to fully tighten the shoes against the drum. I then loosened each adjustment wheel three clicks. This enables the wheels to turn freely or perhaps with just a slight friction or rub. Once this is accomplished, the next step is to turn the cylindrical cable adjuster to tighten (not overly) the center pull cable for the brakes. This process resulted in my handbrake working fully on the third click on the brake pawl.

I then reinstalled both rear wheels/tires and torques the lug nuts to 70 ft. lbs. I then tested the handbrake in the driveway and again after a short test drive and concluded that one more task could be checked off the list! 

The rubber door buffer on the RH door was broken and deteriorating. I ordered a replacement from Classic Alfa part number RB061 for $7.10 and installed it by removing two Phillips head screws from a threaded captured plate pin the rear of the door.

Rubber door buffer

Rubber Door Buffer Installed

The Alfa has power mirrors on each door. They are controlled by a small switch with a rotational stalk on the center console and each mirror is selected by turning a ring with a selector tab to one side or the other. Alfie was missing the selector ring but I was able to find one (and a spare) from a fellow Alfa owner who frequents the Alfa Bulletin Board. The little ring must be carefully positioned on the switch and then pressed into place. Once installed Alfie’s mirrors both functioned properly!

Power mirror control

Power Mirror Switch

Power Mirror Selector Ring

 

January 31, 2021

70,735 miles on the odometer

After a longer than expected storage at the Madison Automotive Apprentices Shop in Harrisonburg, VA I finally transported Alfie to our home in Florida. We don’t really have the space for him, but we will make do. I need a project, Alfie needs some work and the time is right!

Passport Transport (Camille) moved the car to Florida. The process took about four days. here is a shot of the car being unloaded in Bradenton.

Passport Transport Delivering Alfie to Florida

Alfie Unloaded in Bradenton

While he looked good in the Florida sunshine, he was actually quite dirty. He started just fine. The brakes felt a little squishy, but I drove Alfie the 2-3 miles home from the delivery point.

The first thing I did was wash, polish (with a buffer) and wax the car just so it had some protection and, of course, he looks a lot better too. I then began a process of inspection and discovery to see what worked properly and what did not. I began with the interior and exterior while the car was on the ground and then followed that with putting it on the garage lift to clean and inspect the underside. I took literally hundreds of photos and made a few videos of the entire car. I can use these to compare my car to others and to answer my own questions about how things were BEFORE I started tearing things apart. My experience with this is that you can never have enough photos. More is always better.

After Wash and Wax

I was pleased, and surprised to find that most things electrical worked as they should. A few needed some cleaning and coaxing such as the courtesy lamps. I have spent a lot of time on the Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board and learned a great deal. One of the contributors suggested that I should snap the door jamb switches a few times and spray them with some electronics contact cleaner. I did just that, and like magic the courtesy lights are now working! 

I am sure that I will discover many other items that need attention but this is my first list of things that need to be addressed. Should be fun!

  1. The upper radiator hose leaks. I installed a new heavy duty clamp and really cranked it down but it still leaks so I have ordered a new hose to try it before I conclude that I have a radiator problem.
  2. Both power windows are slow (probably from lack of use), and the driver side window will only operate with the door open suggesting that I may have a wiring issue in the door jamb where the wires pass from the body to the door.
  3. Both of the door upper trim pieces need to be replaced – especially the RH side.
  4. The car has a fairly strong fuel smell that seems to be emanating from the trunk as opposed to the engine bay.
  5. The car is missing its radiator shroud. I have a new one to install at some point.
  6. I need to locate the water temperature sensor that is typically located on the shroud.
  7. The dash pad has a couple of bad cracks on the top – very common.
  8. The windshield is slightly fogged on the “A” post LH side.
  9. The front license plate mount is still on the car. A front plate is not required in Florida so I will remove the bracket.
  10. I do not know the age of the fuel hose and vacuum lines in the engine or from the fuel tank to the front of the car. These will all need to be replaced. Most of the hose clamps look pretty well used or weathered so I will look into replacing them as well.
  11. The mirror control switch is missing its bezel that allows the operator to select the LH or RH mirror for adjustment. These apparently break fairly easily and they are hard to find. I located a couple and have ordered them.
  12. The front, under dash speakers appear to be Alfa originals – at least the speaker grilles have the Alfa Romeo name. They don’t sound very good so I may see if I can find some improved speakers that can use the same grilles. There are also some rear speakers located on the rear parcel shelf that are not working.
  13. There is a lamp at the rear view mirror. I really do not know how it operates so I will need to explore that a bit more.
  14. The speedometer needle does twitch especially at lower speed so I may need to look at the cable?
  15. The heater blower does not work at all and I discovered a brand new heater blower motor in the trunk of the car that was purchased by a previous owner. Some of the Bulletin Board posters have suggested reaching up to the fan opening under the dash to see if the fan action can be freed by starting it with a finger push. I will give that a try. Everyone says that accessing the heater and its motor is a royal pain in the _ss, so this job will be put off for a while. 
  16. The air conditioner blower works just fine but apparently the compressor does not and I am sure that it needs a coolant conversion and refill. The crank/compressor pulley belt is not on the car.
  17. Under the car there seems to be a slight leak at the brake pipe joint located near the fuel filter.
  18. The pinion seal on the rear differential appears to be leaking. the casing was quite oily and dirty. 
  19. It is hard to tell at this point, but I am obviously experiencing a pretty good leak from the engine rear main and/or the transmission.
  20. The flex disk or guibo looks to be in satisfactory condition. I don’t see any cracks in the rubber. However, I know that the center driveshaft support bearing and housing is bad and needs to be replaced. Again, a previous owner purchased new items and they are in the trunk of the car. Looks like I get to be the lucky one to replace them!
  21. The welded front muffler bracket that attached to the brace on the transmission has been broken off and is missing completely.
  22. A number of the mounting brackets and clamps (fuel filter, fuel pump, exhaust) located under the car are quite rusty, they are still functioning as they should but look pretty bad.
  23. The rockers or sills on both sides of the car a quite rusty and will need to be repaired/replaced at some point. The front floor boards and the spare tire wheel well have also been patched – probably Bondo. I will need to remove all of that and properly patch with metal.

I am sure that I have only touched the surface of issues with Alfie, but it is a start and gives me a list of parts I need to order and install or repair.

July 10, 2017

70,600 miles on the Odometer

Ignition Update

I am experiencing some starting problems that seem to be due to a partial discharge of the battery after the car has been sitting. Not knowing the car and what others may have changed/updated/disconnected or connected, I thought I would begin by replacing components in the ignition system including the distributor cap, ignition wires, rotor and coil. I ordered these components from Centerline International.https://www.centerlinealfa.com/store

Centerline International Invoice

Old Coil to be Replaced

New Bosch Coil to be Installed

New Bosch Coil to be Installed

 

I began the task by removing the old coil. There are a total of six wires connected to the coil terminals. The (-) terminal has four wires secured to the mounting post with an 8mm nut: a larger cream-colored wire, a white wire with a black tracer, a yellow wire, and a white wire. The (+) terminal has two wires and both of them are light green with black tracers.

Wiring to the Old Coil

Wiring to the Old Coil

To access the mounting bracket nuts for the coil, I found it easier to first remove the coolant recovery tank. This was accomplished by loosening the screw in the bracket connection and then lifting the tank temporarily out of the way.

Coolant Overflow Tank Mounting Bracket

I was then able to remove the old coil and install the new one:

New Bosch Coil Installed

I then carefully marked each ignition wire with a number to designate its location for replacement, and after also marking the old distributor cap for location purposes, I snapped the top off of the black plastic loom to free the wires.

Ignition Wiring Loom Harness

I then disconnected each wire at the spark plugs and popped free the two securing clips on the distributor cap. I could then lift away the old cap and wiring. I had previously disconnected the coil wire while replacing the coil.

The new wiring came with numbers on each wire. After properly locating the wires in the appropriate place on the new distributor cap, I pushed the wires into their seats. This is a tight fit and they were somewhat difficult to fully seat. The coil wire included a rubber cap to press fit over the top of the coil.

New Bosch Distributor Cap

Alfa Spider Ignition Wiring Kit

I then removed the old rotor and installed a new Bosch rotor on the distributor shaft.

New Bosch Rotor

New Bosch Rotor Installed

The new distributor cap and ignition wiring assembly was then reinstalled to the distributor and to each of the spark plugs and to the coil. The coolant recovery bracket was replaced, the coolant tank was restored to its mounted position and the bracket was screwed back together. 

The task was then  completed with a successful test drive.

However, I discovered the next morning that the battery discharge issue remains and I will now begin my sleuthing to try to discover the source of the problem.

Battery Clamp Set

My battery bracket/clamp was pretty rusty and partially consumed by battery acid. I could have replaced it with a universal clamp for considerably less expense, but I chose to purchase and install the proper clamp set from Alfaholics in the UK. https://www.alfaholics.com/parts/105-series/electrical/battery-clamp-set/

Battery Clamp Invoice from Alfaholics

This is an image of the battery clamp set as it was received:

Alfa Battery Bracket

I just did not have the space at our home to keep Alfie and not having the time to work on him, I decided to relocate Alfie to a friend’s shop. After some sleuthing about, it was discovered that the start-up injector in the fuel injection system was not functioning properly and it was replaced. This solved the start-up mystery and the car now starts without any hesitation!

Alfa Introduction

IMG_4571

My 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio was acquired by gift! My father decided to pass along his “Alfie” to the next generation. So in July, 2016 I traveled from Virginia to his home in North Carolina and trailered home the newest member of my modest collection of classic cars! I certainly could have driven it, as it is in wonderful condition, but not being really familiar with the car I thought it best to trailer it home. It is nice to now have an Italian joining its British and German stablemates.

Dad with Alfie

Dad with Alfie

Alfie Trailering to Virginia

Alfie Trailering to Virginia

Previous Ownership

It seems that Victoria Hicks purchased Alfie as a new car with 35 miles on the odometer on March 7, 1987 from Robert Rueman, Inc. in Toluca Lake, CA . The cash price (including taxes) of the purchase was $23,451.

Ms. Hicks apparently moved to Connecticut sometime between 1987 and July of 1989. A Bill of Sale confirms the sale of Alfie to Margaret W. and Alfred H. Lupton, IV of Brookfield, CT on June 29, 1989 for $15,000. The car still had a California license plate at the time and the odometer reading was 19,856 miles. An extended warranty from Alfa Romeo, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ was transferred to the Luptons at the time of the sale. Alfie was then registered in Connecticut on August 3, 1989 by the Luptons with 20,456 miles on the odometer. The Connecticut Title is dated August 17, 1989.The Luptons may have been coveting the idea of purchasing a Spider because this ad was found in the folder of materials acquired with the car, dated four days before the Bill of Sale from Ms. Hicks:

NY Times Magazine Alfa Spider ad from 1989

NY Times Magazine Alfa Spider ad from 1989

The Lupton’s also had this New York Times article in the file folder of maintenance records that came with the car. Just an interesting little piece of automotive history!

New York Times article Alfa's 1995 demise in U.S. market

New York Times article Alfa’s 1995 demise in U.S. market

Without more records research, one can only guess when the Lupton’s sold Alfie to the next owner. I have no sales/purchase information about the transfer of ownership, but apparently John Painter acquired the car in around 2010. Service records indicate that Mr. Painter had service completed on Alfie beginning in October 2010 and I have a record of a parts order from him in February 2011.

My father, James R. Rose, III of Banner Elk, NC purchased Alfie from Aurio (Al) Lorenzo in November, 2012. At the time, the car had approximately 69,300 miles on the odometer. I do not know when Mr. Lorenzo purchased the car, but it was shipped from Performance Imports in Danbury, CT by RAD Transport to his address in Gibsonville, NC. Unfortunately, there is no date on the shipping manifest. The earliest receipt for parts/service that I have in his name is dated May 1, 2012. The last service/parts purchase by Mr. Lorenzo for which I have a record is dated from September, 2012.

My dad enjoyed Alfie until the summer of 2016, when in July he passed him along to me. There were 70,404 miles showing on the odometer at the time of the transfer.

Oh, don’t be worried about my father. He may be ninety, but he still has a 12 cylinder, 1990 Jaguar XJS and a beautiful little VW Beetle to keep him occupied:

1990 Jaguar XJS

1990 Jaguar XJS

1969 VW

1969 VW

Update as of January 1, 2021

Because of my all-consuming restoration of the Jaguar MK2, Alfie received very little attention. He was stored in nice garage space and was started and driven around from time to time, but that was about it. My wife and I relocated from Virginia to Florida in May, 2018 and the car remained in Virginia. I am now ready to give Alfie the attention she deserves and will transport her to our home in Florida within the next few weeks. My Dad is now 94 and the VW has been adopted by a younger brother and the Jag has been sold.

Maintenance Records

Fortunately, Alfie came with a pretty thick file folder of maintenance records dating from the original owner. It is always nice to have these records to have an idea of the degree to which a car has been properly maintained throughout its life. A chronological summary of the service invoices through my father’s ownership is provided here: 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Maintenance History – Sheet1

I will now maintain service records and parts and maintenance invoices in a separate file to document activity during my ownership.

The Bloody Beast – 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 MKI BT7

Welcome to my website covering the history, restoration and “personalizations” to my 1960 Austin Healey 3000 Mk I affectionately known as “The Bloody Beast.” Feel free to email me with questions, suggestions  and/or comments.

As I progress, I would love to have your feedback so please offer comments.

Cheers,

Lin

Bradenton, FL