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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All – I have just bought a Spider 1750,1970, and driven it back from Munich, Germany, to my home near Copenhagen, Denmark. Though, it’s in a very good condition, bodily and mechanically, there are some points that needs attention before I present it for its MOT and general maintenance before I starts to drive it regularly.
Therefore, I hope somebody with experience of the 105 in general and Spiders in particular like to share some advice of the following.
1. The oil gauge generally reads 4 kg cold and driving hot, 2-2,5 idling hot. But much of the time it flickers between 0 and 4 kg. Is this the gauge or the pressure sender?
2. The locks for the triangular (draft) windows have fallen off. Then best thing would be to have holes drilled in the glass but does any locks exist that would fit the window and frame? If not, what sort of glue could anyone recommend?
3. Which way is the best to make lasting electrical connections in the harness? One day one light does work, next another and then all lights works the horn doesn’t. The typical Alfa electrical syndrome!
4. It got an aprox. 5-year-old top in very good nick, what is the best product to keep it stay in good condition?
5. The engine is a 5000 (well, now 6500) old rebuild with a type 116 head (probably bottom, as well) so it should be all right for unleaded but anything higher than RON 95 octane is difficult to get in Denmark. Should I use an octane booster?
6. From what I’ve read, there are two religions on spark plugs, the traditional Golden Loge 2HL brigade and the NGK B7ES. What are the pros and cons? It came with just fitted NGK BCPREIX or something like it. Before, from the rebuild on, I should think, it had NGK B9ES fitted (but they had become dirty from too short drives – it had only done 400 km I 2½ years) which came with it. That are the opinions on these?
7. What are the preferred oils for the engine, gearbox and diff. (both rebuild, as well)? Modern fully synthetics (like 15W-40/50 for the engine) or mineral oils specially formulated for older (classic) cars. I’ll be using it both for good whether commuting and longer holiday journeys, but not much really fast driving – got a modern 156 for that.
Thanks in advance for all forthcoming advise.
Alfisti regards
Erik
 

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Congratulations Erp with your spider.

I am not a specialist with classics because I pay people for maintenance. So I can't really help you. But here's my try:
6. I have the Golden Lodge 2HL spark plugs. Don't know about pros and cons.
7. Don't use synthetic oil with your classic. 20W-40 Mineral oil should be the right choice for the engine.

Where are the pictures? ;) If you have them I could also add them to the 'your alfa' section on my site, www.alfaclassico.com
 

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Hi elp, welcome to AO, I can't elp (!) that much on these points either, but I will offer some thoughts and more importantly bring the thread back up for some others.
My Oil Pressure doesn't fluctuate, I suspect that's a faulty sensor or a loose connection.
Electrical connectors seem to be a bit low rent on mine as well, (1968 1750GTV), but I don't have all that many problems. Earth connections are the usual culprit if something stops working.
I run mine on 97RON, Super-unleaded, or occasionally leaded 4 Star. If it wasn't available I would use an Octane Booster, probably the Miller's Oils one.
Was there a 116 eries 1750 Engine :confused:
I have the Golden Lodge Plugs, which seem fine so far.
Synthetic Oils aren't necessery, but I was still tempted into it and use Miller's Classic Sport. Not sure if it's available on the continent, but it's a popolar choice for 'Performance' classic's in the UK.
I can't comment on the windows, except to say that the Quarter lights on the GTV are a bit delicate as well, the rears are so loose that I fear the gglass might fall right out if I opened them and drove over a rough Road.:(

Good luck with your new Spider, and I hope you enjoy her.. :)
 

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IanM said:
Was there a 116 eries 1750 Engine :confused:
Yep. I'm almost sure that the 1750 and the 1.8 (as fitted to Alfettas) are the same engine. The capacity of each is 1779cc, but the lump was originally named after the successful pre-war 1750.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hallo Mitch - Thanks for your reply. I've heard lots of good of Miller, but I don't think their products are marketed in Denmark. I'll go for Castrol's octane booster.
I think I'll do as you and stick to Golden Logde, I never had probs with these when I drove my pre 16 valve Alfas.
Yes, it's a 1750 (i.e. 1779 cc) engine type 116. Before the oil change I'll seek some advice from my old and trusted Alfa-Specialist. He'd recomented Valvoline MaxLife 10W-40 for my 90k miles 156 2,0, I probably had a too thick (10W-60 Castrol Racing) in earlier for my type of driving.
The electrics will have to waint untill we get some warmer weather, cold and damp weather isn't exactly an elderly Alfa's cup of tea.
Thanks for now
Erik
 

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Hi Elp,
It sounds like you've got yourself a nice car. :) I don't know if I'll be able to answer your questions, but I'll have go at them.

elp said:
Hi All – I have just bought a Spider 1750,1970, and driven it back from Munich, Germany, to my home near Copenhagen, Denmark. Though, it’s in a very good condition, bodily and mechanically, there are some points that needs attention before I present it for its MOT and general maintenance before I starts to drive it regularly.
Therefore, I hope somebody with experience of the 105 in general and Spiders in particular like to share some advice of the following.
1. The oil gauge generally reads 4 kg cold and driving hot, 2-2,5 idling hot. But much of the time it flickers between 0 and 4 kg. Is this the gauge or the pressure sender?
One of the American parts catalogues (which I don't have in front of me at the moment) is famous for printing something like the following: "Alfa oil pressure gauges are notoriously unreliable." ;) :D The usual "fix" is to leave them alone and install a whole new unit somewhere discreet. I think I've read about possible fixes on alfabb.com but don't quote me on that. Once you get to know your car better, you'll be able to judge when the gauge is just reading 0 (and everything is fine) and when it's really 0 (or some other scary low number). I believe the term for this particular "quirk" around here is "Alfa character."


elp said:
2. The locks for the triangular (draft) windows have fallen off. Then best thing would be to have holes drilled in the glass but does any locks exist that would fit the window and frame? If not, what sort of glue could anyone recommend?
I'm not sure about availability in Europe/Denmark, but you should be able to find replacement window fasteners somewhere. They attach with a special glass glue/epoxy that you should be able to purchase from your local windshield replacement shop. Be careful when you glue the new locks on, and give them plenty of time to cure/dry. Also note, if the weather gets really, really hot, the glue can "melt" and let go. :rolleyes: It's just another "quirk" that you need to keep your eye on. ;)

elp said:
3. Which way is the best to make lasting electrical connections in the harness? One day one light does work, next another and then all lights works the horn doesn’t. The typical Alfa electrical syndrome!
Sorry I can't help you here. Electrical work isn't really my strong suit. Basically just make sure you check all your connections and they are all secure.

elp said:
4. It got an aprox. 5-year-old top in very good nick, what is the best product to keep it stay in good condition?
I'm of the "minimal maintenance" type of owner. I don't go for a lot of different products or treatments. My top gets washed and rinsed when the car gets washed and I use the same soapy mix on it that I do on the body. Personally I think the best thing you can do for it is just to make sure it doesn't rub anywhere.

There is one company http://www.renovointernational.com/ that seems to be the preferred convertible care product manufacturer cited by Alfisti. I have personally never used the stuff, so I can't recommend it, but I recall that somebody here on AO did purchase some of it. I'm not sure if that person is still around anymore, but you can try a search of past posts. I hate to bring up Alfabb again, but I think some members there also have experience with the product.

elp said:
5. The engine is a 5000 (well, now 6500) old rebuild with a type 116 head (probably bottom, as well) so it should be all right for unleaded but anything higher than RON 95 octane is difficult to get in Denmark. Should I use an octane booster?
Personally I don't bother with that stuff. Usually I put in whatever premium fuel is offered at the closest gas station. If gas prices are too high that day I'll opt for the mid-grade or regular grade. In reality I can't really tell the difference based on how the engine runs. I think putting in the high grade stuff works as a placebo on me. ;) :D I think my brother once tried octane booster in his '66 Mustang, but it didn't have any effect, so just sticks to the high grade stuff for his car, and it has been running just fine for years.

elp said:
6. From what I’ve read, there are two religions on spark plugs, the traditional Golden Loge 2HL brigade and the NGK B7ES. What are the pros and cons? It came with just fitted NGK BCPREIX or something like it. Before, from the rebuild on, I should think, it had NGK B9ES fitted (but they had become dirty from too short drives – it had only done 400 km I 2½ years) which came with it. That are the opinions on these?
A spark plug is a spark plug. :D At one point I was thinkgin of putting in some platinum tipped ones, but after looking at the price tag I changed my mind. :D Honestly I don't even remember what I've got in the car now. Personally I think the time to worry about spark plugs is after you've got everything else on the car running and looking exactly as you want it. Then you can play with the little things.

elp said:
7. What are the preferred oils for the engine, gearbox and diff. (both rebuild, as well)? Modern fully synthetics (like 15W-40/50 for the engine) or mineral oils specially formulated for older (classic) cars. I’ll be using it both for good whether commuting and longer holiday journeys, but not much really fast driving – got a modern 156 for that.
Oil is oil. ;) Seriously the general consensus seems to be don't put fully synthetic oil into an old engine, but I know people who do so and who don't have any problems. I dump the same brand of oil into my Alfa as I do my daily driver: either basic Castrol GTX or Canadian Tire Supreme (national auto parts/hardware chain in-house brand). It all depends on which one was on sale. ;) As long as you dump enough oil in, I don't think the engine will be too picky. As for gearbox, and the differential, my car is running on whatever was sitting on the shelf in the garage. Sorry, but I don't remember the brand or specifics.

elp said:
Thanks in advance for all forthcoming advise.
Alfisti regards
Erik
As you can tell I'm pretty much a no-fuss, no-bother type of car owner. I don't mind putting time and attention into my vehicle, but I don't believe in fussing with it and treating it like a baby either. I'm also a bit on the frugal ;) side, so I don't waste a lot of money on snake oil and miracle elixcirs. I'd rather make sure that all the basic mechanicals are sound. I don't know that my approach will work for you, but I do hope you have lots of fun with your new buggy. :D And remember, pictures are expected. ;) :)
--Toronto
 

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Be a little carefull Tor.. :D
Don't forget Carbs can be a bit more finicky than your Spica, if you run them on 95RON juice it will probably not behave itself.
Modern fully synthetics, like Selenia 20K, or Racing, will probably drop straight out of the seals on a 105 Engine, you need to use the right grade, 20/40 from memory, lots of modern Oils are too thin.
Certain types of Plug WILL burn the tops of the Pistons, It doesn't cost significantly more to use the right one's and could cost a heck of a lot less if you loose a Piston.
 

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Mitch,

Of course what you said about the importance of picking the right grade of engine oil. Note that's one area I didn't even go near. I know what the right grade is for my car given my geographic and weather conditions. I don't presume to tell somebody living half a world away what grade to use, although I probably could make an educated guess. ;)

I also cautioned him as to what the general field of thought happens to be about fully synthetics. The fact that some people still use the modern stuff is a personal choice, even if it isn't the smartest one possible.

I still pretty much stand by the concept that oil is oil -- with a few minor exceptions. I really doubt there is going to be too much difference between major brand name oils. I mean just because Alfa recommends the Selenia brand, it doesn't mean all Alfa garages or Alfa owners use it, or more importantly need to use it.

I still think the most important oil issue that for any Alfa driver is to make sure the oil is checked frequently and topped up when needed. That's at least half the battle.

As for the gas situation I still don't think an octane booster is necessary. As I said, my brother has been running his old, less techologically advanced ;) Ford on premium fuel for over 15 years and has never had a problem. I should note that the highest grade fuel currently available here only meets the bare minimum octane level that his car is supposed to require. And that was leaded fuel. We don't have the option buying leaded gas (and haven't for decades) and as I said, his coupe has been running fine without pouring extra gunk into the tank.

If elp wants to try octane boosters, lead additive compensation fluids, etc. that's fine, but I think it's best to try without them first. Then at least he will have a baseline to use to compare the car's performance after he starts on the additive plan.

I've never run into the problem of plugs burning the pistons. I don't know if that's because I always try to use decent plugs or if I've just been lucky -- probably a bit of both. I do think that spark plugs are one of those automotive items that people tend to throw money at, expecting miracles, and most of the time the results don't support that faith. Like anything else, however, your mileage may vary. ;)
--Toronto
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank for the advise guys.
To Toronto. I'm probably i bit to mecanical minded to follow your "les afair" advise. Anyway, your are right that you can get to papperous with your bella.
As said midway I'll go for 2HL sparks (Mitch is right about burned/holed pistons, I've seen them) and for the rest go for my first impolses. It's pinking on 95 gaz/petrol and 98 is unavailable so I go for octane booster with or without lead substitute.
I soon post some picts.
Alfasti regards
Erik
 

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No problem elp. :)

Don't get me wrong. I'm pretty picky about making sure my car is running sound mechanically. It's just that part of my philosophy about being mechanically sound involves not requiring a lot of wasted purchases on quick-fixes and miracle cures.

I don't see the need to spend $10 on quart of oil if a $4 quart works just as well, and I'd rather have the engine set up to run well on whatever gas is available rather than having to worry about being able to purchase the right type of additive at the right parts store and combine it with a particular brand and octane of gas.

Trying to keep an Alfa going here is difficult enough, so I just try not to add complexity to the process. I mean I want to be able to walk into the parts store and buy spark plugs or an oil filter. I don't want to have to place a special order to an American parts store, wait x number of days for the parts to be delivered (assuming they're in stock in the first place), pay a premium on them because they are Alfa-specific parts, pay an over-inflated exchange rate (because I've going to be stuck with whatever rate my credit card company decides to charge me) and then pay Canadian taxes and import duties on the delivery. I also don't want to have to go through the hassle of filling out the paperwork the Customs department requires. :rolleyes:

For the record, I don't think I can even buy Golden Lodge spark plugs or Selenia oil, or any other number of Alfa "basics" in this country, so as you can see I have to start making compromises with every step I take in trying to keep my spider on the road, so I just try to make sure that the ones I make are going to be practical.

If you find your engine needs the octane and or lead boost, then by all means use it. I just think that when the weather gets better it might be worth having a look at it just to see if there is anything you can do to improve the situation and reduce your dependency on additives.

As for your spark plug situation here is what IAP, one of the two major Alfa parts suppliers in the States, has this to say about spark plugs.

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cach...IAP28.pdf+"golden+lodge"+and+spark+plug&hl=en

Yes, IAP is in the business of selling products, but the people there seem to know their stuff, and their advice is usually dead-bang on. Actually it is the IAP catalogue that offered the "advice" about Alfa oil pressure gauges. They offer a number discreet, after-market solutions to compensate for the faulty original gauge.

Yes, I'll admit that mine acts up as yours does, (as do those of a number or other owners I know) and yes it's on the list of things to attend to on the car, but it's not that high a priority. There are other things that need attending to first, but when the car is in storage for six months of the year and completely inaccesible, there isn't a lot of time left during the driving season for major mechanical repairs. I have to pick and choose what gets done when. If fixing something major means living with something niggly, then that's what I do. As I said, Alfa ownership around here is a game of compromises. ;)

I wish you good luck with your car, and we're all eagerly awaiting pictures. :)
--Toronto
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi guys, thanks for the interest you have shown my new bella.
Here are the first picts from the drive home and finally a some after having washed the road dirt off.









Toronto: We are looking on the technical matters quite differently.
But let me explain my fussiness.
1 Gas: Neither a 105 or 116 1779cc engine needs lead or lead-substitute, but at least European versions were designed to run RON 98 or higher octane. Running them on 95 will cause pinking and can be dealt with by retarding the ignition timing or adding the octane booster. As restarted ignition will cause pure running, loss of a little power and slightly higher fuel consumption I prefer to add the booster. Ignoring the pinking will in the long rum harm the pistons and bearings resulting in an expensive repair.
2 Spark Plugs: Until some year ago all Alfa engines were designed to run Golden Lodge plugs of different variants according to model. Fitting other plugs, even of the correct temperature, often caused burned piston tops which were in fact not a rumour but something that often happened. Lately, the new generation of Alfa engines are designed to run NGK plugs, a special long life variant (100000 km) that cost a small fortune (8 are needed for the 4 cyl. Twin Sparks) and many Alfisti have fitted NGK plugs to the older variants and claim better running, longer life and no holes in pistons. However, Golden Lodge plugs might be difficult to find and cost a lot in the US and Canada, but they are still easy to find and reasonably priced (US$ 3,50) in EU – and no hassle with customs or the likes.
3 Oils: This is a religious issue with many petroheads. From my previous experience with the Alfa Nord engines (Guiletta Nouvo and 75(Milano)) they are alright with synthetic oils without burning or leaking more than normal; the gearbox and diff actually work better on synthetic gear-oils. The engine of my new classic Spider was rebuild less than 7000 km ago, so why not use a good 15W-50 fully synthetic oil. On the 1500 km motorway trip back from Munich + 200 km before putting it away for spring it neither used much or leaked any oil (probably Castrol GTX2 15W-40). On the other hand, I’ll probably not drive more than 5-6000 km thou the season and will be changing it before storing it. Selina oils (owned by FIAT (formally Olio Fiat/Fiat Lublicanti)) were not the recommended brand then my Spider was new, Agib or Shell might have been, but I don’t care. But buying just any stuff, no. This might be alright for an engine on it last legs, but a newly rebuild, no way.
4 Oil gauge: I too, would prefer a mechanical gauge and will substitute a defective one with one. Anyway, a local Alfista have told me that it probably a pour cable/sender connection that causes the flickering.
For me, the precautions are for peaces of mind, so I can enjoy the wind in hear drives near or far away.
But I don’t either go to extra complications for the sake of complications.
Alfisti regards
Erik
 
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