Alfa Ownership & Maintenance Blog, 2022

Blog Posts:

6/27/2022 – DRIVER DOOR MAP POCKET REPAIR

6/13/2022 – DOOR CHECK STRAP REPLACEMENT

6/13/2022 – CHANGING THE TRANSMISSION OIL

6/10-11/2022 – EMERGENCY HOOD RELEASE & EMERGENCY TRUNK RELEASE

3/28/2022 – REPLACING THE CENTER MUFFLER

3/25/2022 – REPLACING WINDSHIELD WASHER HOSES

2/08/2022 – THE CASE OF THE CROOKED SEAT

2/02/2022 – THROTTLE ROD END BREAK AND REPLACEMENT

1/21/2022 – DYEING ALFIE’S LEATHER WRAPPED STEERING WHEEL

1/18/2022 – REAR DIFFERENTIAL SEAL REPLACEMENT

JUNE 27, 2022

71,081 miles on the odometer

DRIVER DOOR MAP POCKET REPAIR

The map pocket door on the driver’s side of the car just flopped open and would not stay in the closed position. The image below of the passenger door shows how the map pocket door should align with its door card.

Passenger (RH) Side Map Pocket Door

After removing the door card, or panel, from the car and inspecting its reverse side it was obvious that the panel was missing two spring clips that hold the map pocket door closed as well as the plastic door bracket that prevents the door from pushing to far inward into the pocket. While this image is not from my car, it does highlight the missing components:

Missing Door Parts

I was able to locate the spring clips from Gerry Felice from the Alfa Bulletin Board. The “upper fork” is not available for the typical parts vendors. However, Kevin aka “Shaken” on the Alfa Bulletin Board has drawn piece and created a file that can be used to create as 3D printed part.

Shakey’s Door Packet Stop Bracket

The original bracket is black molded plastic. I sent the file to a company called Shapeways to have the piece printed. I did not specify black so it came to me in a natural white color, which is fine since the part is not visible.

Shapeways Printed Door Pocket Stop Bracket and Pad

The image below illustrates the two steel tabs that must be bent upward so that the spring clips can be positioned on the tab and under the plastic door pocket material. The tabs are then bent back down.

Door Pocket Spring retaining Tabs

This image shows the spring clips and door stop bracket in place with the retaining tabs bent back down:

Door Pocket Spring Clips and Stop Bracket in Place

The following video demonstrates the installation process and the finished product.

https://vimeo.com/725463131/92c92e842d

JUNE 15, 2022

71,081 miles on the odometer

DOOR CHECK STRAP REPLACEMENT

Based on the reports of the Alfa Bulletin Board contributors, I have been putting off the replacement of the door check straps. Almost universally those who have undertaken the job have indicated that is slow process involving some blood-letting. The straps are rubber coated metal strips. After 35 years the rubber is gone and only thin metal strips remain. Failure of the check strap could result in the door opening too far and denting the front fender.

So, after reviewing all of the bulletin board posts I could find I determined that it was time to dive in. The video found at the following link describes the process of removing and replacing the door panel as well as removing and replacing the check strap.

https://vimeo.com/725708633/a2af239c05

 

JUNE 13, 2022

71,081 miles on the odometer

CHANGING THE TRANSMISSION OIL

I have been experiencing some grinding of gears when trying to shift into reverse and first. It may be a synchronizer failure or my gear oil may be low or old. I decided that as a first step it would be prudent, and inexpensive, to change the oil. I first cleaned the area around the fill and drain plugs.

Alfa Transmission Fill and Drain Plugs

 I then loosened and removed the fill plug using a 12mm Allen key. I then loosened and removed the drain plug. I used a 7/8″ socket because I did not have the proper 22-23 mm socket. Almost two quarts of oil drained from the transmission.

Then using a syringe pump I filled the transmission with about 1 3/4 quarts of red line 75W 90 NS oil. Actually just fill until oil begins to drain out of the fill hole and then stop.

Red Line 75W90NS

I will now take the car for a test drive to see if the shifting in first and reverse have improved.

 

JUNE 10-11, 2022

71,074 miles on the odometer

EMERGENCY HOOD RELEASE

The Alfa uses cables to open the hood, trunk and gas filler door. If a cable breaks it is extremely difficult to access the engine compartment or the trunk. The gas filler door is not so much a problem as it can be accessed from the trunk interior. Experienced Alfa owners report on the Alfa Bulletin Board that they commonly install redundant systems to ensure that they can open the hood or trunk in case of a primary cable failure. I opted to install an emergency hood release cable in my 87 Quadrifoglio. 

The following link is for a video of the installation process: https://vimeo.com/719413337/f85441ad15

EMERGENCY TRUNK RELEASE

It is explained in the accompanying video, but once I started this project I discovered that a previous owner must have experienced a broken trunk cable because he/she had opted to drill a hole through the rear license mounting plate and body to be able to access the trunk lock latch with a screwdriver to get into the trunk. This eliminated the need for me to do anything else because I now know how to get into the trunk in the future should I encounter a problem!

The following link is for a video that depicts what I encountered: https://vimeo.com/719430011/c23e29753c

MARCH 28, 2022

71,022 miles on the odometer

REPLACING THE CENTER MUFFLER

It was suspected that the muffler might have some holes in it, because when driving the car it seemed to sound like there could be an exhaust leak. A new center muffler was ordered from Classic Alfa, and after painting with some high temp silver paint, the old muffler was removed and the new muffler was installed. A new “donut” seal was installed at the joint between the center muffler rear pipe and the rear muffler pipe. I had to order the gasket for the center muffler front pipe to the catalytic converter rear pipe fitting from Rock Auto. Some red high temperature Permatex sealant was used with the gasket. 

The following link is for a video of the muffler replacement process: https://vimeo.com/695260156/4989a3c31a

 

MARCH 25, 2022

71,010 miles on the odometer

REPLACING WINDSHIELD WASHER HOSES

The car developed a leak in the windshield washer system. To determine its source it was necessary to remove the scuttle panel between the windshield and the hood. The link below provides navigation to a video that illustrates the full repair that became a bit more involved than expected. For example, it was discovered the almost all of the plastic screw housings in the black plastic vent grille were broken. Fortunately, I was able to locate another used grille in good shape by calling the Alfa Parts Exchange.

This is a helpful document put together by one of the contributors to the ALFA Bulletin Board: cowl panel removal

The video narration describes replacing the washer system hoses with silicone hoses; however, I found these to be a little too large in diameter so I ended up using 4mm clear hose from Classic Alfa.

https://vimeo.com/693201098/00a0e1618c

FEBRUARY 8, 2022

70,964 miles on the odometer

THE CASE OF THE CROOKED SEAT

I had not observed it previously, but the other day I noticed that the passenger seat (LHD car) seemed to be listing to toward the console. With the seat in the car I could not determine the cause so I decided to pull out the seat to take a closer look. The image below shows the crooked seat from the rear of the car

RH Seat Listing to the Center

Removal of the seat is pretty straightforward. It is held in place by four M8 1.25 x 25 Phillips head screws at each corner of the seat rails. To access the screws I slid the seat rearward and was then able to use a long Phillips head screw driver to remove the front screws. The inside front screw also has a little bent plate the serves as a travel stop for the rail. The rear of the stop points upward.

After removing the front two screws the seat can be pulled fully forward to access the two rear screws. Again, the inside screw has a flat slider plate below the rail. With all our screws removed the seat can be lifted clear.

Outside front passenger seat rail mount

Inside front passenger seat rail mount screw with rail stop

Inside rear passenger seat rail mount with plate

Passenger Seat Four Mounting Points with washers on outside

It is amazing how red the original carpet is under the seat where it has not been bleached by the sun. I cleaned up the carpet with a little carpet shampoo.

I then put the seat up on a table and began my inspection. It appears that the cause of the  “crooked” seat is a combination of a series of mistakes made in reupholstering the seat some years ago. The seat is sitting properly on the seat rails; however, the leather covering  over the upper cushion is clearly not pulled down evenly as one can observe the horizontal red stitching is higher on the left side of the seat (as one looks at the seat from the front) when compared to the right side.

Crooked Stitching

Additionally, the headrest cushion is higher on the left then on the right.

Lopsided Headrest

It is also notable that on the lower seat cushion the left bolster sits quite a bit higher than the right side bolster.

Left Lower Seat Bolster One Inch higher than the Right Side Bolster

 

The link below is to a short video showing the entire seat and its upholstery shortcomings!

https://vimeo.com/674601950/b8b7213ec3

So, what to do about it?  I could take it to an automotive upholsterer and see if they could adjust the leather cover to make things right, but I think I am going to reinstall the seat as it is for now. I may replace the original grey leather seats and door panels with black leather and if I do, the cost of readjusting the current leather would just be wasted expense. At any rate, I am going to put off this decision for a while and devote my attention to higher priority projects.

So, I reinstalled the seat and told my wife to “lean in!”

FEBRUARY 6, 2022

70,964 miles on the odometer

THROTTLE ROD END BREAK AND REPLACEMENT

It has been pretty chilly (by South Florida standards) the last few weeks. Yesterday was very nice so I took Alfie for a little ride with the top down. I was just humming along thinking how nice he was running when my accelerator pedal was suddenly “disconnected” and no longer affecting the throttle. Coasted to a stop and looked under the hood. Discovered that the lower end throttle link was no longer connected to the rod.

Following a Hagerty call I was towed back to the house. It turns out the rod ends are made of plastic and based on comments from the guys on the Alfa Bulletin Board, failure is not unusual. The lower rod end broke. I ordered and installed the metal variety of the rod ends from Centerline. No biggie, but way to ruin a pretty day!

Broken Plastic Throttle Rod End Link – Bottom

I took some measurements so that I could reinstall the rod in the same relationship as when it broke.

Rod End Measurements for Replacement

Cleaned Rod with New Metal Rod Ends

 

January 21, 2022

70,905 miles on the odometer

DYEING ALFIE’S LEATHER WRAPPED STEERING WHEEL

Thirty five years of use definitely shows on Alfie’s steering wheel. At some point I may well replace the leather wrapped wheel with a wood steering wheel, but in the meantime I think dyeing and feeding the leather might improve its current look. Indeed as the video shows below, the condition of the wheel was improved, albeit slightly.

https://vimeo.com/668992710/a626a35059

Steering Wheel after Dye

January 18, 2022

70,900 miles on the odometer

REAR DIFFERENTIAL SEAL REPLACEMENT 

Finishing the job of replacing the pinion seal in Alfie’s rear differential was delayed by about six weeks because I broke my leg! However, as of January 18, at least on a limited basis, I am back in the garage and  focused on getting the Alfa back on the road. In 2022, I am going to try something new. Rather than a heavy reliance on written explanation and photographs, I am going to try and my hand at video documentation perhaps supplemented with some photos.

So, on January 18 I gathered together the parts and materials I needed to complete the job and go to it. After removing the driveshaft in December I was able to clean and paint it and check that the universal joints were okay. They seemed to be so the driveshaft was ready to reinstall in the car. As noted previously and as will be seen in the video, a special socket is required for the removal and tightening of the pinion nut. As can be seen in the screen shot below taken from the service manual, the torque spec for the pinion nut has a fairly large range from 57.5 to 101.1 Ft Pb. At the recommendation of others I simply torqued the nut to 75 Ft Pb. At least in my case this seemed to work satisfactorily.

Rear Pinion Diagram with Torque specs

Prior to replacing the pinion seal the leak from the rear diff was considerable. I am pleased to report that following this bit of maintenance I have literally no oil dripping from the differential, so I will call this job a success and move on to the next project.

This is a link to my VIMEO video documenting the process: https://vimeo.com/668974379/42bb0d6a76

 

 

2 thoughts on “Alfa Ownership & Maintenance Blog, 2022

  1. Blimey, not sure I want to know what you class as a major setback, Jag body is painted, post coming soon(ish) … Happy Holidays!

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