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Tommotech Shite, Who Doesn’t Love an Alfa - June 2021 Now For Sale


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With a Citroen C2 MOT failure to consider (rotten rear sills, both sides) my Dad was left without a runabout. Eventually we decided that the C2 had to go, the £196 offer from CTB swung it, while at the same time a for sale post came up for an Alfa 147. This had been for a pre-MOT but needed work to brakes, exhaust and a small patch rear of floor pan (nothing to the extent of the C2 and nothing really structural).

Most importantly it was red, surely the only colour to have an Alfa Romeo and surely everyone should own a red Alfa in their motoring life, certainly anyone with an affection for cars and things automotive (and the budget obviously). The Alfa post showed a long list of jobs needed and an indicative quote of £500 for the work, plus a tyre needed LHF. Contact was made with an offer and then arrangements ensued, all Covid-19 compliant with professional collection on the back of another job in the far north of England. Red Alfa 147 was collected and deposited in Tamworth, for less than a months PCP.

Progress of this project will follow, for now have a picture.

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After an inspection yesterday the current job list is as follows;

  1. LH brake lamp inoperative - new bulb fitted
  2. RHF lower ball joint boot is split, no play but MOT fail - new arm needed
  3. Bush on LHF lower arm is shot, causing suspension creak - new arm needed
  4. Centre exhaust hanger corroded away - resourceful solution needed
  5. Rear silencer hangers split & broken away - new rubber hanger mounts needed
  6. LH rear brake pads low and brake binding - investigation / repair needed
  7. LHF tyre on or just below wear bars - new tyre needed (will present for test 2.0mm)
  8. Front discs corroded on inner faces - discs and pads needed
  9. Oil leak from upper part of engine, no oil showing on dipstick - investigation / repair needed
  10. Sloppy gear change - link rod bushes needed
  11. Full service
  12. Sort surface rust on rear floor pan - no welding needed
  13. Sort surface rust behind LHF & RHF suspension legs
  14. General rust protection / under-sealing missing and exposed areas

In general it is a solid, straight car that has been looked after, some of the above is down to the low mileage but the list is far from daunting and easily sorted.

Careful procurement of parts doesn’t mean it will break the bank either, I’ve done some research but any parts specialists or other suggestions would be welcome.

 

 

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Check the state of the cambelt. The TS’s have a daft change interval of 3yrs/36k. It was longer at launch but they kept lunching themselves, so Alfa just halved the change interval. I think these have a variator and balancer belt too but could be misremembering.

Most of that list is pretty standard fayre for these now. I tackled a few of the items on a Ducati Corse I used to own in this thread

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Apologies for lack of actual car photos, the interior needs a good wash and brush-up and the outside needs a good clean. Before getting to that part though the mechanical list needs attacking, starting with job #6.

The rear brake on the LH side appeared to be binding, rather than locking / seizing. The handbrake cable was free enough and the lever on the calliper was returning to the stop. Having undone the M8 bolts, that screw into the slider pins, the calliper was levered off the pads. The piston could not be wound back in but would move out with pedal or handbrake actuation. All or nothing here so continued pedal pressing popped the piston out a treat, revealing a damaged seal. A clean-up of the calliper recess and a rebuild kit (including replacement of corroded piston) should have correct operation restored nicely. 

New rear pads and shims needed also, front discs and pads to change and fluid replacement should have the brakes fully sorted.

Damaged seal & calliper;

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Thanks @J-T, that’s a great thread and I really like the GTA (do you still have it?). I also liked the 17” wheels you got for the JTD, particularly good in the darker colour. 
Mine does have much of the surface rust around that needs treating and painting before it becomes a problem. 
I do think it will clean up well and being a Lusso has decent spec. 

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That’s a Honey. I find the front wishbones on mine basically to be a service item! My 156 (same chassis) will lunch a set of wishbones every couple of years. (You notice because the tracking goes and it starts scrubbing the inner edges of the front tyres bald). I hope I’m not teaching granny to suck eggs, but if you plan on hanging onto the car for a decent length of time it’s worth fitting OE spec wishbones as they tend to kill cheap ones even more quickly (ask me how I know). TRW I believe supply Alfa.

I’d also get on that floor pan corrosion ASAP, my understanding is they galvanised most of the car apart from the floor pan, so they can deteriorate quite quickly in that area, whilst looking good on the outside. I had a 146 (again a Tipo based chassis) that ended up catastrophically failing an MOT. The scrapman who collected, commented on how clean it looked. Earlier that week I’d put a line of hammer holes about a foot apart from front to back through the floor to test the MOT mans findings. 

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11 hours ago, tommotech said:

Thanks @J-T, that’s a great thread and I really like the GTA (do you still have it?). I also liked the 17” wheels you got for the JTD, particularly good in the darker colour. 
Mine does have much of the surface rust around that needs treating and painting before it becomes a problem. 
I do think it will clean up well and being a Lusso has decent spec. 

Yes I’ve still got the GTA, although I’m thinking of moving it on once the weather improves as it’s not getting much use now.

Alfaworkshop and Alfashop are both good for parts too. Also keep an eye on partsworlduk (I think), they seem to be an Alfa dealer that sell off old stock that they can get hold of. I managed to get driveshafts for the GTA through them which are NLA now.

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1 hour ago, Alfa botherer said:

That’s a Honey. I find the front wishbones on mine basically to be a service item! 

TRW I believe supply Alfa.

I’d also get on that floor pan corrosion ASAP, my understanding is they galvanised most of the car apart from the floor pan, so they can deteriorate quite quickly in that area, whilst looking good on the outside. 

Thanks @Alfa botherer, I've ordered TRW arms now and rust convertor plus a can of Stoneguard to go over the rusty bits. From what I can see I've caught this one in time.

 

5 minutes ago, J-T said:

Yes I’ve still got the GTA, although I’m thinking of moving it on once the weather improves as it’s not getting much use now.

Alfaworkshop and Alfashop are both good for parts too. Also keep an eye on partsworlduk (I think), they seem to be an Alfa dealer that sell off old stock that they can get hold of. I managed to get driveshafts for the GTA through them which are NLA now.

@J-T you'll miss that GTA when it goes, they sound lovely when they're on song. Thanks for the tips on parts supply.

 

 

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New brake caliper seal and piston arrived yesterday so cleaned the recesses and installed the new piston, glided in nicely to its end stop. Remaining pads / discs to fit and a bleed / fluid change then the brakes will be sorted.

When I priced up a replacement caliper they were £135, the piston & seal kit was £20 for a Bundweg brand (which I’ve used before). Every little helps, as they say.

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Also managed to clean the surface rust off the floor pan and apply Hammerite Stoneguard for protection. Could be looking at an MOT slot for early next week at this rate.

 

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I'm pretty sure these do have a balance shaft belt and variator. I had a 145 with the same engine, some have success running without the balance shaft belt, I tried it and it was rough! The belt is about 12mm wide from memory and if it snaps it'll take the cam belt out too.

Great engine when it's running right, full of weird fasteners though.

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6 hours ago, spartacus said:

I'm pretty sure these do have a balance shaft belt and variator. I had a 145 with the same engine, some have success running without the balance shaft belt, I tried it and it was rough! The belt is about 12mm wide from memory and if it snaps it'll take the cam belt out too.

Great engine when it's running right, full of weird fasteners though.

From what I can see the belts look recent, I will get a good look at the timing belt itself when I replace the rocker cover gasket. There is a balance shaft belt, which is visible from the A/C compressor area (the belt guard is slightly displaced) and that looks recent too, the engine runs sweet - long may that continue. Alfa seem to use rib bolts, luckily I have a tool set with these in.

 

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Good progress today, rear brakes sorted and new pads installed. System not fully bled yet as front suspension was removed on both sides, the surface rust needs treating before it becomes a structural problem in the future. The  panel is more sturdy than the picture suggests.

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Rust converter was deployed after a good going over with a drill and wire brush. I will use some stoneguard tomorrow and then overpaint in Alfa red. Unsurprisingly the suspension put in a fight, the saddle pinch cap bolt rounded out and seized in place, heat and brute force needed to remove it.

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That pinch bolt on the bottom fork is an utter utter twat. The one on mine is seized solid so I ended up having to remove the bottom wishbone and the full strut to change the driveshaft. Still gives me nightmares.

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13 hours ago, J-T said:

That pinch bolt on the bottom fork is an utter utter twat. The one on mine is seized solid so I ended up having to remove the bottom wishbone and the full strut to change the driveshaft. Still gives me nightmares.

That moment when the hex begins to round out and the bolt isn’t going anywhere, you just know your on for all-or-nothing fight. At least we have heat and angle grinders on our side. 

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3 hours ago, big_al_granvia said:

fair play to you for taking this on, was actually glad when the wife didnt buy it as i could see problems beyond my skill and equipment, it is a good car and once back it will be sound. enjoy

Alfa is an itch I’ve needed to scratch for a long time, this one fits the bill at the right price. It’s not that bad once you look past the surface grot, it would pass a test as is but I want it to last a while and not do the Italian dissolving trick. The job list is fairly easy to be honest. 
 

3 hours ago, Tim_E said:

Looks good, decent engine, good fixing skills.

Looking forward to more pics and news👍

I’m hoping to get a good chunk of work done on it this week, definitely more to follow. 

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  • tommotech changed the title to Tommotech New Shite, Who Doesn’t Love an Alfa - Feb 2021
  • 2 weeks later...

Been a busy week, work wise, so no real opportunities to get anything meaningful done on the Alfa. Treated a few bits of grot on the rear floor where the plasticised undercoat and seam sealer had come away, again metal not rotted through so got to these in time to save future damage that would have killed it as a going concern. 
Managed to replace the rear exhaust hangers today, but no photos I’m afraid. 
A good weekend planned on it though, MOT soon I hope.  

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Managed to get time on the Alfa and progress a few jobs this weekend. Firstly got through the rust on the inner wing and put rust converter and a coat of under seal on. Had to chip some of the bigger chunks away as the wire brush wouldn’t budge them. 
Without treatment here the rust would surely have taken hold and a trip across the bridge would be the inevitable outcome, at least that journey will be further down the road now. 
Here is a before and current condition collage, I plan to get some body colour and clear coat to complete the task. 

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More ‘bite-sized’ updates to follow.

 

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I knew the oil leak was from the rocker gasket so ordered a replacement and assumed a straight forward job, not the case as it turned out. On releasing the fixing bolts the outer centre positions, inlet and exhaust side, were both spinning while not protruding up. Lack of clamping force definitely accounts for the oil leak, but someone has been there before, judging by the amount of sealant used.  
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Luckily I have access to an insert kit so was able to make an effective, permanent repair. Sealant cleaned away, new gasket and cover reinstalled. Longer than expected but job bobbed.

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More inner wing fettling today, it’s had three coats of underseal, two coats of colour and two coats of lacquer. Should keep that area good for a while, suspension back in tomorrow. 
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The gear change was sloppy and not springing back to centre, the cross pin on the selector mechanism had some corrosion and bushes were a little worn (but not terrible). Gear lever feel is better and centralises nicely now. 
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When putting the new plugs in I noticed that a connector was off the vacuum capsule, this appears to operate flaps that lengthen the air path for improved torque. Does anyone know if there is any good reason for this to be disconnected, is there a known problem?  
I will reconnect it but would like to know if I’m lining myself up for an issue.  Thanks in advance for any comments/info on this.   
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  • tommotech changed the title to Tommotech New Shite, Who Doesn’t Love an Alfa - March 2021 MOT Ready

Had a good run of progress on the Alfa over the weekend and today. Brakes all fitted up and bled, fluid change in the process and service completed (including plugs, gulp!). Found a resourceful solution for the exhaust mounting hanger that had corroded off, welded a stud to a U clamp and poked the other end into the end piece, see below. 

Need to drive it to bed the brakes in but need to book an MOT so I can drive it there with no issues. Off to see when I can get an test slot, will update soon.

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MOT was booked but still a few jobs to get through to complete the service / MOT prep, having worked through the major list above.

Code scanned the car and there were historic codes for drivers airbag / squib (rotary coupling) and a code for steering angle sensor calibration as active. It was mentioned that the ESP lamp randomly comes on but it was thought to be a speed sensor, clearly not the case. Angle sensor calibration completed and codes go away, a good road test (on the way to MOT) bedded the brakes in nicely. However, during the test it becomes apparent that the brake lamps fail to illuminate each time the pedal is pressed, which then throws the ABS / ESP system into turmoil and the error lamp illuminates on the dash - MOT fail.

There is also some welding to do on RH rear sill and the RH hand brake decided to be a no-show. I've ordered a brake light switch and a repair panel, as its such a straight low mileage car I'd like it to look a decent repair.

I gave it a bath before the MOT and it does look well, in red in the sunshine. Pics when its polished and MOT'd.

Happy Friday!

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  • tommotech changed the title to Tommotech Shite, Who Doesn’t Love an Alfa - June 2021 Now For Sale

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