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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

By no means is this an epic story of man vs. rust, or a total rebuild, however, I did a few bits to my car last night which reminded me that I love getting those little jobs done.

I'm 35 and used to love servicing my crappy old cars as they really responded well to having new plugs, fresh points and a bit of care. I've also had a couple of kit cars and liked to get stuck into 'improving' things on them, however, over the last few years I've had nicer cars which often needed specialist servicing, so haven't got my hands dirty in a while.

While it is my intention to have the GTV looked after by a specialist, I was looking forward to tackling the minor jobs and improvements all older cars need. With this in mind, I bought some bits last week and got into the garage last night.

After attending to a couple of minor water leaks I swapped the Alfa badges over for enamel "Milano" versions, fitted a new sidelight lens and pair of gaskets, put a new fuel filler boot in and found the old flap retaining spring, which was a bonus as I thought I'd have to buy a new one. I also fitted an inertia reel seatbelt to the passenger side so my wife can reach the window winders and glove box. The only thing which defeated me was fitting a new heater lever surround...

Getting the old one off was easy, the levers then promptly disappeared into the centre console and took some wrestling to get them back. I then found they were quite bent and the old surround had the middle bar removed to allow them to work. As I've got a new centre console on its way, I decided to refit the old surround and do a proper job of straightening the levers out when I swap the console and then fit the new one.

Tonight's job is either to fit the new quarterlight rubber or take the car for a blast...

As I said, nothing even remotely challenging, but I really enjoyed it! I'm going to order another few bits today so that I've always got a "To Do" list to get me into the garage.
 

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Good work - I'm like you, by no means a specialist but very happy to learn, have a go and get my hands dirty. Good job too, seeing as my car is in pieces....

I watched that awful Channel 5 classic car programme the other day with Quentin Wilson, it featured a male model, who had bought a classic Merc - they were explaining the huge effort that "he" had put into restoring the car to just the way "he" wanted it to be - by sending the car off to be restored by a specialist, from start to finish... where's the satisfaction in that?

Reading around 105 series cars on the internet, of which I am doing quite a lot at the moment, I find some threads where owners drag a car back from the brink with their own hands - some being obviously expert and some being amateur.

Then I read some threads where a car is basically "paid for", the owner simply choosing parts/details and spending it back to health. Nothing wrong with that if it floats your boat but I would rather it took longer, cost less and I have a hand in it all.

Going for a blast sounds like more fun than fitting a quarterlight rubber though....
 

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Alex, your 35? Before you were born (sorry!) I was a car mechanic. The 105 series cars and the other marques of a similar age were the cars I serviced and repaired for a living. Today our everyday cars go to the garage. However, I get endless delight in involving myself in some work well beyond the fettling. Just at the moment, I'm fitting new rear hub bearings, discs and pads and repacking the front hub bearings on our S2.

Adjusting carbs, setting points and plugs, enjoying the simplicity of these cars is a real joy, a trip down memory lane for me.

I'm really pleased to see a bloke like you getting the same enjoyment from these splendid cars.

PS, I see you are South Coast, I'm just north of Worthing.
 

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Thanks gents, I'm glad that I'm not on my own in that doing the job is as enjoyable as the outcome!

The car was brought up to about 8/10 by specialists before I bought it and could easily be left as is, however, these "icing on the cake" jobs are the ones I've got the time and patience for.

AlfaRed Brera, my Dad ran a garage in the early '70s and specialised in sporting models, his default service was to replace consumables followed by a "damn good thrashing"! He had customers queuing up for him to work his "magic" on their coked up E-Types and Fulvias which just needed to get out of the London traffic for a run. When I took him to see the GTV before I bought it, he said that he'd wanted on in the '70s but they were all rusty then, so couldn't believe the condition of my South African car.

Swallow, your thread is an inspiration!
 
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I can only do very minor jobs (like badge replacement, tightening loose jubilee clips and of course cleaning and polishing) but like you I get a real satisfaction out of it. When I retire I plan to learn more about these wonderful cars.
 

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I think the only way to truly understand and get to know your car is to work you on it yourself, however much or little you can manage, you do get so much satisfaction when you complete a successful repair or improvement. I do enjoy working on the cars just as much as driving them which is a good job really.

I started four or five years ago when I bought the Spider, I had very very limited knowledge or tools but my thinking was that the money I saved on labour would pay for the tools and the manual but mostly the collective knowledge on this site have been invaluable in helping me out.

I've got over 20 years before my retirement (if I'm lucky!) so instead I'm looking at ways I can change careers and make a living from being around these cars though I haven't got a concrete plan yet!

Happy fettling.
 

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Simon, stop! Warning!! Do not get into employment which has anything to do with your love of cars, or whatever. If you do, the fettling etc will no longer be the escape it is now. Your garage is your sanctuary.
 
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Simon, stop! Warning!! Do not get into employment which has anything to do with your love of cars, or whatever. If you do, the fettling etc will no longer be the escape it is now. Your garage is your sanctuary.
Good point
 

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I've got a 20 year old polo since we've had since new. For the most part I have been too poor to afford to put into a garage to fix it so i learnt things by reading a Haynes manual and joining forums like this. Same with my Sprint which had some lovely weber carbs on it...

I now have a 156 GTA but most of the work is specialist work I cannot do. I can do a belt with tip ex and a kit from ebay on the polo but would never attempt it on a Busso. Its a shame that technology has now moved on and its less and less practical to work on modern cars.

Its one of the attractions of running old cars - being actually able to fix em!
 

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This is exactly what I am currently doing.. started as a simple brake pipe repair but has now escalated into a bit of a full refurb! How did you remove the rear seals on the hub? I tried leaving the nut on the spline but the hub just pulls over?








Alex, your 35? Before you were born (sorry!) I was a car mechanic. The 105 series cars and the other marques of a similar age were the cars I serviced and repaired for a living. Today our everyday cars go to the garage. However, I get endless delight in involving myself in some work well beyond the fettling. Just at the moment, I'm fitting new rear hub bearings, discs and pads and repacking the front hub bearings on our S2.

Adjusting carbs, setting points and plugs, enjoying the simplicity of these cars is a real joy, a trip down memory lane for me.

I'm really pleased to see a bloke like you getting the same enjoyment from these splendid cars.

PS, I see you are South Coast, I'm just north of Worthing.
 

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I started working on my vw beetles some 20 years ago... after owning one for 10 years I was getting the knack of stripping it down and rebuilding it!

Working on the S2 is similar in some ways but challenging in others.. It's satisfying to do some thing yourself...

Mind you I do rely on a certain Mr Steve C for invaluable help and advice... a top guy:thumbs:
 

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roony, you should be able to leaver the oil seal out with either a proper pry bar or a large screwdriver. This will of course damage the seals, so you should have new ones to replace. If my description doesnt make sense, just let me know and I will post a photo which will explain everything.

I just put the first front hub back on the car this evening. Tomorrow I get the rear drive shafts back having had the bearings pressed on.
 

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Thanks.. Yes I have some new ones to go in... out off interest apart from repacking the bearings with fresh grease, did you put much grease into the centre of the hub? mine seemed to have quite a bit packed in but I can't understand why it is needed?

So long as the bearings and the area that they sit in are fully greased am I ok?


roony, you should be able to leaver the oil seal out with either a proper pry bar or a large screwdriver. This will of course damage the seals, so you should have new ones to replace. If my description doesnt make sense, just let me know and I will post a photo which will explain everything.

I just put the first front hub back on the car this evening. Tomorrow I get the rear drive shafts back having had the bearings pressed on.
 

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So long as the bearings and the area that they sit in are fully greased am I ok?
Yes, dont overpack the bearings. But do wash out all the old grease first.
 

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Hi All,

By no means is this an epic story of man vs. rust, or a total rebuild, however, I did a few bits to my car last night which reminded me that I love getting those little jobs done.

I'm 35 and used to love servicing my crappy old cars as they really responded well to having new plugs, fresh points and a bit of care. I've also had a couple of kit cars and liked to get stuck into 'improving' things on them, however, over the last few years I've had nicer cars which often needed specialist servicing, so haven't got my hands dirty in a while.

While it is my intention to have the GTV looked after by a specialist, I was looking forward to tackling the minor jobs and improvements all older cars need. With this in mind, I bought some bits last week and got into the garage last night.

After attending to a couple of minor water leaks I swapped the Alfa badges over for enamel "Milano" versions, fitted a new sidelight lens and pair of gaskets, put a new fuel filler boot in and found the old flap retaining spring, which was a bonus as I thought I'd have to buy a new one. I also fitted an inertia reel seatbelt to the passenger side so my wife can reach the window winders and glove box. The only thing which defeated me was fitting a new heater lever surround...

Getting the old one off was easy, the levers then promptly disappeared into the centre console and took some wrestling to get them back. I then found they were quite bent and the old surround had the middle bar removed to allow them to work. As I've got a new centre console on its way, I decided to refit the old surround and do a proper job of straightening the levers out when I swap the console and then fit the new one.

Tonight's job is either to fit the new quarterlight rubber or take the car for a blast...

As I said, nothing even remotely challenging, but I really enjoyed it! I'm going to order another few bits today so that I've always got a "To Do" list to get me into the garage.
Hi Alex - I'm a habitual fettler and have been slowly improving my S2 for the last three years - that also involving modifying stuff especially electrics that improves the car, fitting a 123, headlight relays etc etc.
Beware tho; it becomes an itch that needs scratching on a fairly regular basis - if I had a perfect car I would be bored - yes the driving is great but the driving after working on it is even better, one thing about Alfa's is there is always something that needs doing and that's part of the reason I love them.

"I watched that awful Channel 5 classic car programme the other day with Quentin Wilson" - to hear him and that terrible Kidd woman wittering on is really painful - best to tape it and skip as soon as they start talking, only CH5 could get it this wrong
 

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I think the only way to truly understand and get to know your car is to work you on it yourself, however much or little you can manage, you do get so much satisfaction when you complete a successful repair or improvement. I do enjoy working on the cars just as much as driving them which is a good job really.
I'm with Simon on this. First-and-foremost, I love driving my Alfetta - it's why I've got it! That said, I love working on and improving my cars too, and (for me) these two things are linked: I wouldn't want to drive a 35+ year old car con brio unless I knew for sure that the maintenance had been carried out to a very high standard. And what better way of knowing that than learning about the car and doing it yourself?

My 'everyday Italian' (Fiat Stilo 2.4 Abarth) is currently having some paintwork done at a local bodyshop, and I've realised just how much I'm missing being able to pop outside and do those silly little job on it! So I'm polishing things on the Alfa that don't really need polishing... :happy:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the comments all, its interesting to hear most people enjoy the little jobs as much as the driving and major projects!

I didn't do much to the car over the weekend other than spending a couple of hours washing it and taking it to a local show.

I'd ordered some chrome polish and hard wax from Amazon but it didn't arrive in time, however, after a good wash and polish the car still looked great. Polishing the chrome is going to be worth it, but there is a fair bit and I think it'll take a while...
 
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