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(Post Link) post #1 of 21 Old 12-11-08 Thread Starter
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Alfa GT finally "sorted"

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As a GT owner, I can agree with you that the GT ride is VERY bad on our Australian roads. Even though the road may not look at all bad, the GT's suspension is easily caught out and will often bottom out with a resounding CRASH! The suspension must be bottoming out very easily and must be crashing on the bump stop limits.

This is annoying me so much that I have ordered and received (but not yet fitted at this stage) a set of Bilstein dampers and a set of Eibach springs for both front and rear. My car has done only 35,000 kilometres at this stage so I have decided to not replace the suspension bushes at this time because of the huge additional cost. I can only source PowerFlex bushes and they are VERY expensive. (Maybe I should replace the bushes as well - what do you think?????).

I have also ordered (and still waiting for) an aluminium engine guard to replace the original fibre one - this will give additional ground clearance I am told. This guard is available from [email protected] but again, is very expensive, especially when you add in the shipping costs.

These new bits will be installed at my next major service when I will also be fitting a Q2 diff. The timing belt, idlers and tensioner will also be done at that time.

So, fingers crossed - I am hoping for a huge improvement in quality of ride and will report on my findings when the job is complete.

Stay tuned......Ciao
Well, I now know what is meant by a "well sorted" car! My beautiful silver 3.2 V6 GT is now the car I thought it would be when I first bought it nearly one year ago now.

It is a 2005 model and done only 39,000km. But back then, I didn't know about the "crashy" ride, the prone to break diff, the potential cam belt breakage problem and the cracked plastic water pump impellor problem. So one year down the track and with a thinner wallet and some barked knuckles, my GT is absolutely FANTASTIC and I can smile with confidence and joy every time I take it for a spin.

So why is it so good now? The first job was to replace the diff centre with the much discussed Q2 unit. I have reported on this in an earlier post but I say again, it is a job you can do yourself if you have the tools and a decent workshop (and hoist preferably). I also fitted Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs all round at the same time as the diff. The difference in handling is truly amazing and I don't have to worry about breaking the diff every time I accelerate away on left or right lock. Although the car is slightly lower, it is not causing a problem as I have fitted an aluminium engine guard in place of the old fibre one - this aluminium unit gives extra clearance under the car which effectively cancels out the potential lowering problem.

As I had now improved the handling so much, I decided to give it a full service which would include timing belt, auxiliary belt and water pump. Once again, I completed all of this work myself and the car is now just like new again, but with a completely different character.

The plastic water pump impellor WAS CRACKED (as mentioned on other posts on this forum) and as I said earlier, the car has done less than 40,000km! As this is a well known potential problem I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND that any V6 owners should have their water pumps changed to the matal impellor type as soon as possible.

The timing belt replacement was reasonably straight forward but I had previously purchased the special camshaft locking caps. I also replaced the auxiliary belt, idler pulleys and tensioner at the same time. The most difficult part of the whole job was to successfully tighten the new oil filter - I had to purchase a special 3-pronged wrench that locks in both directions (most only lock in the anti-clockwise direction that allows you to remove the filter).

So, as you can now imagine, I am a happy chappy and absolutely thrilled to bits with this beautiful well sorted Alfa GT. If any of you are worried about your GT's handling, go down the path I have described above - I promise you, you won't regret it!

Good luck....
Bill
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

Sounds like you know ya stuff bill....
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

great work if you've done it yourself.

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Originally Posted by Bill Jones View Post
I also fitted Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs all round at the same time as the diff.

Although the car is slightly lower, it is not causing a problem
curious to know, did the front end up lower? when i (had) fitted Eibach Pro Kit springs plus KONI Sport dampers, the front did not lower significantly at all (unless you call 'millimetres' as significant). i ended up having the damper-suspension fork join modified, to achieve a 15mm drop.

not sure if the Bilstein vs KONI would alter the result.

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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

Hi ShinyCar, you are quite right, the front and rear did not lower significantly (I don't think) but it was difficult to tell because I had one collapsed original rear spring which led to this whole suspension upgrade. The information supplied with the spring kit indicated that the suspension would lower by around 25mm (I think???). I have noticed that the front bumper just touches on the spoon drain entry to my driveway now so I have to slowly crab across on a slight angle. The new aluminium engine guard certainly gives more clearance underneath though.
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

cool. post up a (link to a) pic when you can - say side-on. i'd love to see how it looks now.

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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

nice gt bill! ive seen your montreal at a couple of alfas in clover events and all i can say is WHAT A CAR! you getting Q2?
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

haha maybe if i read a bit i might find out youve already got a Q2 woops.....!
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

hey, what you did on the suspension sounded extremely attractive.
I just bought a GT, but the suspension is indeed very annoying for roads in Sydney.

So bilstein shock plus eibach springs is the way to goo?

how much did it cost you?

would love to have a go with your refined GT though.
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

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Originally Posted by fdi777 View Post
hey, what you did on the suspension sounded extremely attractive.
I just bought a GT, but the suspension is indeed very annoying for roads in Sydney.

So bilstein shock plus eibach springs is the way to goo?

how much did it cost you?

would love to have a go with your refined GT though.
Sorry for delay in replying (have been on hols).

Costs from Car Torque Products here in Adelaide are:

2 x BIL-BE3-2797 Bilstein rear shock absorbers - $181.82 each
2 x BIL-VE3-4721 Bilstein front shock absorbers - $363.63 each
1 x E-1010-00400222 set of four Eibach springs to suit Alfa GT - $454.54

Good luck...
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

they are Bilstein B8 (short piston) dampers btw.

nice. the Eibach springs were quite reasonably priced, which is good to see. they haven't really increased over the past couple years.

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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

Hi,

Nice job! What is the slow-speed (i.e. under 80mph) ride like? I'm bored at getting my bones shaken whilst poodling around town and considering an upgrade..

Have you fitted a strut brace as well or just the suspension?

Thanks!

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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

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What is the slow-speed (i.e. under 80mph) ride like?
hee,hee, that makes me laugh. cos in australia, standard street limits are 50-60km/h, with freeways/highways mostly at 100km/h, and some at 110km/h.

80mph is well above what we are 'allowed' to do, let alone what you might consider 'high-speed'!

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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

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80mph is well above what we are 'allowed' to do, let alone what you might consider 'high-speed'!

Well, the speed limit on UK Motorways is still 70mph (left over from a time when nutters kept trying to do a "Ton up" the M1 with cross-ply tyres, leaf-spring suspension and drum brakes; fun I believe was "ruined" after a Jaguar employee was caught testing an e-type at 150+ on said motorway in the 60's*).

Anyway, as I was saying Constable; I'm interested to know what the "slow" speed ride quality was like because that is the only speed I ever drive at..




After several motorway runs I've come to the conclusion that the ride on my car is better at 65+, pooding around at 40-60 is not only deeply unsatisifing but also deeply unconformatable...





*Possbile urban myth
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

will be interesting to hear what BJ says.

in the meantime...

my GT has been through 3 different 'suspension' setups:
1. factory, including Bridgestone RE050 225/45/17 tyres
2. Eibach Pro Kit springs + KONI Sport (with Bridgestones)
3. (Eibach/KONI) with Toyo Proxes4 225/35/19 tyres

there was an improvement in ride comfort - including 'slow' speeds - with each upgrade. and that includes changing from 17" wheels/tyres to 19s! well, 'general' driving around town and roads, the Toyo's have more compliance than the 'Stones (grip well too, but slightly more road noise which is annoying). though there is no overcoming 'lack of sidewall' with bigger bumps/potholes, and that is the only time it 'crashes'/thuds more.

i don't know how the Bilsteins compare. and the last point: it is subjective. there are definitely many people out there who consider KONI Sport too 'firm', whereas i think they are perfect!


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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

hey,

when you say firm, how does that feel like? shocks not getting absorbed enough?
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

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will be interesting to hear what BJ says.

in the meantime...

my GT has been through 3 different 'suspension' setups:
1. factory, including Bridgestone RE050 225/45/17 tyres
2. Eibach Pro Kit springs + KONI Sport (with Bridgestones)
3. (Eibach/KONI) with Toyo Proxes4 225/35/19 tyres

there was an improvement in ride comfort - including 'slow' speeds - with each upgrade. and that includes changing from 17" wheels/tyres to 19s! well, 'general' driving around town and roads, the Toyo's have more compliance than the 'Stones (grip well too, but slightly more road noise which is annoying). though there is no overcoming 'lack of sidewall' with bigger bumps/potholes, and that is the only time it 'crashes'/thuds more.

i don't know how the Bilsteins compare. and the last point: it is subjective. there are definitely many people out there who consider KONI Sport too 'firm', whereas i think they are perfect!

Good comments Shiny.

I am running Yokohama A Drive R1 directional tyres on standard 17" rims. They are a little noisy and some might consider my Koni shocks to be too firm but I like the feel of a firm suspension and the handling is great.

One of our fellow forum members is visiting Adelaide this week for the Down Under bike challenge and he is going to test drive my car to check out the suspension upgrade. I will get him to post his findings on this forum (Gerard, please note).

Cheers...
Bill
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

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when you say firm, how does that feel like? shocks not getting absorbed enough?
no, 'firm' as in 'too hard'. of course, not just the shock absorbers confer firmness, but also the springs and tyres.

some people want the ride comfort of a holden commodore omega or ford falcon XT (for those in australia). it's not like that. it is 'harder', BUT the actual damping rate is spot-on as far as i'm concerned: great compression compliance, and great rebound damping. makes for a very sporty drive with no untoward wallow or loss of traction. just grip and control.

but again, some people don't like that, and have no desire to drive fast or enthusiastically along twisty roads.

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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

Is there any easy,quick and safe way to check if a GT 3.2 v6 has already got a Q2 diff installed. Was there a certain time in the production run ?
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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

never fitted as standard - was not a factory option. you would have to see receipts to know it was fitted, and/or discuss with the workshop that installed it.

aside from this, 'how it drives' is a good indicator. particularly torque-steer, say when accelerating out of a slow-speed, sharp turn.

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Re: Alfa GT finally "sorted"

Cheers for the heads up. Right where's my wallet
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Does your Alfa have a Q2 diff?

There's a really simple way to do this, and a wet car park or similar large space would be your best bet - put some lock on before setting off quicker than you think you can get away with, raise the revs to where you feel the greatest torque, as you set off, and if you've got a Q2 you'll hear a noise not that different to a high pressure turbo, and acceleration without wheel spin - i you haven't got a Q2 you'll just get wheel spin :-)
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