Originally Posted by arguti
I used to own a 1982 1.5 sprint which had the old inboard brake discs, etc.
Due to an attack of nostalgia, I now own a 1987 Sprint Cloverleaf with the outboard front disc and rear drums i.e. the setup lifted from a 33 and of course, some obligatory rust.
Whilst it is nice to have a functioning handbrake and a lot easier to service the front brakes, etc, I really feel that the pin sharp steering response and “feel” of the original Sud setup has been totally lost. The later sprint handles fine but just feels less of an Alfa and more eurobox-like.
Everybody seems to suggest that one changes the inboard discs to the 33-derived setup but nobody seems to comment on (any) change to the handling and steering.
Am I alone in my view?
Also, is it worth changing the rear drums back to disc brakes at the back?
I would be interested in your opinions.
Hi, I have owned both types of sprint and I have to say the earlier type with inboard brakes are far superior to the later types with the outboard types and not just when it comes to handling!
If you look at a formula 1 car you will notice that the brakes on the driven axle (in the case of an F1 car the rear wheels) are always inboard, this is common practice on most high performance cars where the mechanical layout physically permits this (have a look at non transverse engined Ferraris etc.. or the Alfa GTV6 (or any transaxle alfa) to name a coupe). The Alfasud was unusual in that it had its front brakes mounted in board.
The reason for mounting the brakes in board is that it reduces the amount of unsprung weight (this is the weight of all the components that move in relation to the suspension) and if you feel the weight of a pair of discs and callipers you will know this is not insignificant! with lower unsprung weight when compared with the sprung weight a wheel can, in theory, lift higher before any force is induced on the other side wheel. With correct spring and shock setup this will aid the handling noticeable (assuming you know what you are looking for! :-) ).
Notice how a formula one car has its front suspension components (shocks springs/torsion bars) mounted inboard, this is for the same reason.
The design of the original Alfasud was of no compromise. with the introduction of the 33 that basic design was compromised to allow faster and easier servicing. In turn the sprint adopted these compromises. So apart from being slightly more powerful the later sprints were actually a backwards steps from the original. Especially in the handling and braking department with drum rear brakes no sports car should have these!
I guess if you took this one step further the 1.7 (and even the 105 series 1.5 engines used in the green cloverleaf models) were a backwards step from the original boxer design. As the original design utilised adjustable valve lifters and twin lobe cam shafts (lighter), where as the later had hydraulic lifters or in the case of the 105BHP models shim adjusted and single lobe cams this allowed for less frequent servicing and cheaper manufacturing! In my humble opinion the best engine was the 1.5 95BHP models fitted in the sprint Veloces and later Alfasud TIs before the cloverleaf models these can easily be tuned to 120BHP anyway and a nice mod is a late 105BHP engine with 95BHP valves, cam boxes and cams (reprofiled to 105 spec) on it.... takes a bit of fiddling but worth it...
If you really want to sort the brakes out then go for inboard. They were only moved outboard to reduce manufacturing costs and making servicing easier and hence cheaper. One thing they are not are better then the orginal inboard design. Alfa were going through a rather bad time when the 33 was introduced and this shows in the compromises they made to the design. its more of a ford escort than an Alfa! So keep them inboard and convert them to vented discs, you can go for drilled or grooved doesn't really make much difference. I would recommend Brembo or Tarox with a good pad such as a Mintex. Use braided hose and synthetic fluid. You could also try a four pot calliper. Remember the inboard callipers are twin pot where as the outboard are single pot sliding callipers (Yuk). Also it is usually worth stripping and rebuilding re callipers as they have a tendency to seize. When setting up front brakes don't mess about with the feeler gauges etc... jack the car up wind each side of each calliper in in turn until you cant rotate the wheel then back it off a turn or two. A final trick you can try is a mini cooper brake bias regulator in place of the standard one. This is an old racing trick...
Hope this was of some us to some one :-)