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Discussion Starter #1
Oh dear. How time flies! I was looking back through my records last night and wondered if I might be getting close to needing a service. Last year was a bit of a horrid one (Mrs Avocet had a nasty car accident) and I didn't use the Alfa much. Plus I inherited an end-of-life Freelander 1, which I spent a bit of time nursing back to health. Long story short, it turns out the poor Alfa last had an oil change in July 2018, not 2019! :oops: Air filter last done in 2013, cabin filter in 2009! Cam belt at the start of 2015...

Looks like I need to show it a bit of lurve....!

Still, it hasn't done many miles. 50,000 on the cabin filter, 30,000 on the plugs and air filter, 25,000 on the cam belt and only just over 5000 on this oil.

Anybody got any thoughts on the plugs? They're NGK BPR6EIX Iridium ones. I think supposedly good for 50,000 miles? They've only done about 30,000 miles, but have been in since 2013.
 

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I'd replace them if it were me, as they've been in there for 7 years / 30k miles. But the next person to come along may well say to leave them as they'll be fine for a while yet, which is probably true. They're a good make/spec so they should be fine.

They're not bad to replace on the 12v anyway are they - you can get to all of them as I recall without having to remove anything? (Except unplugging the HT leads obviously). The 24v is much more of a pain...
 

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You are forgiven.
I bet all is fine and I wouldn't bother with the plugs.
You could always inspect them and then make a call?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks both. Yes, the plugs are easy to get to. Just trying to spread the cost of the work though! Might leave them another year. It runs fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So... that went well....:rolleyes:

Oil change was uneventful (and it was pretty clean). Cam belt didn't look too bad when I got it off either. However, I have a time-saving bodge for changing cam belts, involving a piece of steel strip that I lock the two cam wheels together with when the crank is at TDC. This saves taking the cam covers off to look at the timing marks on the cam. Sadly, I was rushing because I had to take the youngest sprog to hockey practice, and whilst turning the engine by hand, I forgot to let the tensioner back to its normal position, with the result that the belt skidded and the back cam skipped a few teeth :mad:. No harm done, but had to take the plenum and cam covers off then, to re-align the marks. Back together now, and running, but still need to replace coolant and ancillary drive belts.

One good thing, as a result of the timing debacle, I had to take No. 1 plug out to check TDC and it did look pretty grotty. I think I probably will change them after all.
 

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We all make errors when rushing - the good thing is no harm done, as you say. Out of curiosity, are you using the newer mechanical tensioner or the original oil-fed hydraulic one? The latter is meant to be more robust but the former is arguably slightly easier to set up. Also, doesn't the 12v have timing marks on the front of each cam pulley, so that you don't have to remove the cam covers? This was the case on my old 12v 164 Cloverleaf and my current 75 project is the same. There's a template online that you can download which fits over the top of the pulleys so you can see when the cams are perfectly aligned.

Also, slightly off topic - I saw that in another thread you mentioned you may have a 164 Zender spoiler you might be willing to part with. I'd be interested if that's the case?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm still on the hydraulic tensioner (or rather, de-tensioner)! So far, it's not leaking oil, and the bearings in it feel fine. The bearings in the one in my last engine were still fine at 250,000 miles, so I'm not expecting to change it unless it starts leaking oil. They're easy to set up. There's a spring behind it, which provides an initial setting. I'd compressed the spring fully and nipped-up the locknut to hold it there with maximum slack in the belt while I put the new one on. You're then supposed to slacken the nut so that the spring pushes the tensioner pulley against the back of the belt with whatever force the spring exerts, and then nip the locknut up again and turn it over by hand a few times to settle the belt. I slackened the nut off and turned it over by hand, but had forgotten to nip it up again. :oops:. Even then, I'd probably have got away with it but was rushing and maybe turned it over a bit quick...

I've never noticed any marks on the pulleys on mine? There's a good mark on the bottom pulley and a pointer on the casting immediately behind it, so TDC is easy to find, but I've never seen anything on the cam pulleys? The manual doesn't refer to them. It refers to scribe marks on each of the cams and one if their corresponding saddles on each bank. Those are clear enough, just a pain in the backside to get to!

You're right about the templates. That's the "proper" way to do it, but more time-consuming. If I was bothered about the last fraction of a horsepower, I'd do that, but I never have. The belts are produced to superb tolerances these days so if it was running OK before, then I'm happy to just put the new belt back on in the same place. Right now, time is a scarce commodity for me!

Re. spoiler, will have a look at the weekend. I seem to remember it was an unpainted, untrimmed moulding.
 

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I stuck with the hydraulic unit on my 75 too, I've used the mechanical unit previously with no issues but I've heard one too many horror stories about them to be honest. I rebuilt mine with new seals and whatnot, it's very handy to be able to do that rather than seek a replacement every so often.

I'll attach a picture of the template I'm referring to - it's something I've used on my 75 and 164, and it makes the job even easier. The 12v engine is nice to work on, much simpler than the 24v unit.

Re: the spoiler, that would be great. Thanks ?
 

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933639
 

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You can just see the scribed marks on the cam wheels in that picture too. They line up with the markers for 69 and 72.5 degrees respectively.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Very good! I'm pretty certain I don't have any marks like that on my cam pulleys but I'll check again now that I've seen them in your photo. I take it those are the cam positions when the crank is at TDC on a firing stroke for No. 1 cylinder?
 

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Yes that's correct.
 

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Hey guys i know im a bit late to the party, No comment about the cam timing setup, you guys are far more knowlegable than me, but regarding the spark plugs, i remember reading that your standard copper spark plugs (BP6E for the 12V 164 iirc) perform better than these iridium and platinum types because of their increased conductivity and heat resistance albeit with a shorter service life, but you did mention spreading the cost and i know the copper ones are dirt cheap
 

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I confess that I don't know much about spark plugs... I just put my car's details into the NGK site, which gives me their recommended plugs, and off I go :) I've used Iridium plugs in the past (IX on the end of the part number in NGK terms) but didn't notice any difference. Perhaps they're longer life though. However I know that the old Golden Lodge plugs are meant to be the best for many classic Alfas, including the 12v V6 cars (not sure if this also applies to the 24v). That's if you can find them of course, and when you do they're not cheap...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've just put a set of NGK BP6E ones in. Seems fine. Like Haydn I don't know a great deal about them ("get the right heat range and make sure they fit in the hole", are about the only words of advice I can give)! They replaced a set of NGK Iridum plugs that had been in there since 2013 and had done 30,000 miles though. When I took them out, the ends were pretty fouled. Early 164s burn a fair bit of oil and I wonder whether those plugs (which should be good for 50,000 miles) are really designed for more modern, cleaner-burning engines? That said, it ran OK. Maybe idles a tad smoother now, but other than that, didn't notice much difference.
 

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Re the cam timing template, 70 degrees is optimal and it’s easy to convert the pulleys to kind-of-vernier to allow spot-on adjustment.

Without having that fine adjustment it’s pretty much impossible to expect to get it perfect due to the tolerances in head height, block height, gasket thickness and the way the parts move relative to one another because of the V angle.

Another benefit of the template beyond the obvious of not having to strip anything is it‘s more accurate and reliable too.
 

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I confess that I don't know much about spark plugs... I just put my car's details into the NGK site, which gives me their recommended plugs, and off I go :) I've used Iridium plugs in the past (IX on the end of the part number in NGK terms) but didn't notice any difference. Perhaps they're longer life though. However I know that the old Golden Lodge plugs are meant to be the best for many classic Alfas, including the 12v V6 cars (not sure if this also applies to the 24v). That's if you can find them of course, and when you do they're not cheap...
That is really the advantage they have, longer life, but I do wonder how much longer considering the price premium and whether it's worth it when they don't actually perform as well on paper.

I have heard golden lodge are the dogs too, I'm guessing having the 4 tips always keeps the spark consistent, it's a shame they are out of production now, supposedly they do make a noticeable difference to smoothness
 

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I've just put a set of NGK BP6E ones in. Seems fine. Like Haydn I don't know a great deal about them ("get the right heat range and make sure they fit in the hole", are about the only words of advice I can give)! They replaced a set of NGK Iridum plugs that had been in there since 2013 and had done 30,000 miles though. When I took them out, the ends were pretty fouled. Early 164s burn a fair bit of oil and I wonder whether those plugs (which should be good for 50,000 miles) are really designed for more modern, cleaner-burning engines? That said, it ran OK. Maybe idles a tad smoother now, but other than that, didn't notice much difference.
To be honest I only know a little because I like to nerd out on the interweb when I'm putting something new in my car it can make anyone the expert ??

I agree, the more exotic plugs are really for modern engines, my Giulietta QV had them and I think all newer vehicles do tbh. Interestingly my GTA also uses iridium plugs (as recommended by ngk) but I did wonder if would do any harm to fit the copper alternative, whilst the 24v is more modern it really is still the same fundamental design
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Could I ask, Chris, if you have any experience with what happens to the power output with a small discrepancy? When I did mine recently, I ended up losing the timing on the back sprocket, so I had to do it from scratch. I had a dial gauge down No. 1 plug hole and I did notice that it didn't QUITE agree with the factory pointer on the bottom pulley. Hard to say, but maybe half a degree different. I just wondered what sort of difference half a degree of crank rotation would make to power output?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes, the last time I managed to get my hand on some Lodge plugs, the car idled noticeably smoother.
 
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