On Sunday, when I was supposed to be getting my work done ready for Monday morning, I decided instead to finish the last couple of bits for my 156 project. I installed the front seats, front bumper, wheelarch liners, and grilles (which I had cleaned and painted semi-gloss black).
That means my 156 is now actually driveable after about two months in my garage! Obviously I couldn't work on it for all that time, but I managed three one-week bursts between other work. I also depleted my finances to the point where I don't have enough money to fill up with petrol
I spent about six month's income...
Since it went into my garage in early May, my 156 has...
- Repaired driver's seat, base and backrest, new foam from Alfa Romeo Italy and new red leather from Retro Vehicle Enhancement in Auckland
- Repaired demisting (vents were blanked off with tape!)
- Got the slack out of the Selespeed lever and changed its detent springs for softer ones
- Repaired door speakers (actually, connections to the doors)
- Replaced cracked plastic trim on the dash
- New droplinks
- Koni FSD shocks and Eibach Pro-kit springs installed front and rear
- Engine bay cleaned with a toothbrush dipped in kerosene
- New spark plugs - what a mission to get those and only the same price as four tyres, should have brought them in from England
- New tyres...
- Replaced handbrake lever - the chrome button was broken, exposing a red spring!
- Painted the panel under the wipers, fitted those fancy new Bosch blades, repaired windscreen washer leak
- Replaced pollen filters under the dash
- New clutch
- Polished the paint and badges, particularly between the letters of 'Selespeed'
- New clear side repeaters and chrome bulbs from England
- Small but long-term Selespeed pump leak fixed by re-annealing copper washers (good sign, means the pump was probably replaced)
- Took apart the Selespeed actuator more or less just for fun, but mainly because I'd dislodged the sensor linkages
- Repaired headlight washer (broken off), drilled out hole to 6.5mm and used an empty .22 casing
- New cambelt, balance belt, aux belt, tensioners and pulleys
- New variator - this cost the equivalent of 194 pounds and really should have been brought in from England too
- Replaced (selected from stock, cleaned, rebuilt) hydraulic tappets
- New alternator brushes and bearings
- New starter brushes, cleaned and regreased. It sounds a LOT happier now, quite silky
- New cylinder head gasket and all other gaskets for that matter. Whoops, another $750
- Polished ports, lapped in valves which were already mostly new, welded up a dent in the head from a previous cambelt breakage
- New big end bearings
- New piston rings (machined CF3 pistons to accept CF2 rings), honed cylinders carefully
- New engine mount or two
- New battery
- New gearbox seals to replace those damaged during removal
- New original HID gas-discharge (Xenon) headlights - these cost less than half the price of the car...
- Fitted suspension level sensors and made up appropriate wiring for headlights with cloth tape and split corrugated tubing
- New foglights
- Lots of detail work to go with the new lights, like repaired honeycomb grill and bumper, cleaned and painted radiators and other trims
- New strut brace (trying to improve rigidity without much success!)
Here's a 'before' picture - the car looked like this when I bought it. Pretty average, I think you'll agree. This is the first attached picture also, because I just can't get the 'img code' to work and didn't get very far with the Gallery either
All the brakes were immediately replaced and I fitted a new thermostat, calibrated the Selespeed, and got it driving quite well, especially considering the 237,000km on the clock. I replaced the antiroll bar bushes by dropping the subframe, fitted new lower and upper arms at the same time. I had three different flat tyres in the first two weeks (two of those tyres were new), so I gave up on the 16" wheels as being sheer bad luck
Bought the 17s from a guy who had taken them off a 2005 156 in 2007 (so, less than two year's use).
Here's what the same car looked like yesterday - this is also the second attachment:
Interesting what a difference the camera angle makes, isn't it? I love the way the panel gap between the bonnet and left front wing curves gracefully with the little kick near the windscreen
Funny how the colour seems to have changed too! It was still Grigio Stirling 694 last time I checked.
Unlike most 2003 156s, it's a Twinspark. When I bought it, I was hoping it would be a JTS
: (and yes you guessed, the third attachment)
Next on the list - a wheel alignment, and then... well, I've actually forgotten what to do next
Work on one of my other cars, I guess... the red 164 needs a replacement electric window switch, and the Uno needs the ashtray to be emptied (of chewing gum wrappers).