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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm unfortunate enough to find myself locked in a 10 day covid isolation throughouth Christmas. With plenty of time, absoluteley asympthomatic, I though to finally share the details of a 1.5 year resto journey with my Spider 916V6 on the forum here. I was quite active in few threads, but want to put it structured in this post to share the journey with you. I hope I can turn covid into something productive.

In the attemt to paint the background - I'm an alfa fan. It started early, with an 146 1.6TS. Got it as a gift from my sister after a cambelt failure. Never liked the looks of it when she had it, but once I took it and repaired it - I got to this unexplainable human-machine relation thing. I still think it was one of the best cars I've ever had. This is how I got into Alfas.

Since then, I owned 147 1.6TS, 156 1.8TS, 159SW TI 2.0 jtdm, Giulietta TB QV Line, Spider 916 TS.
I had other cars, some were great, but the "bond" never developed. Unconscious bias maybe, but the garage is currently settled on a Spider 916 3.0, Stelvio 2.2 Milano, and a very recent addition of a Giulia Veloce.

I always wanted to get something with the Alfa V6. Ideally not a showroom example, something I can spend a bit of time on, understand the car. A weekend toy for pleasure / hobby only. Started looking and was lucky enough to find a 3.0 spider - perfect fit for 2.0 spider replacement I had back then.

While seriously overpriced innitially ( £6k), the seller was very reasonable and understood that his car - although with pottential - isn't there yet. He got this car back in 2011 from Arnold Clarks - christmas treat. Paid 3.5k back then. Approx 60k on the clock. Throuhgout his ownership, 5k miles was put on it. He changed the oil once ( as he told), car came with just one key, and no other history whatsoever. Clutch was dead. Timing never changed, Low on fluids. Last MOT- 2016.
The car was mobile, but not roadworthy. Quick look underneath and I knew lots of work would be required. Corrosion, spider webs and other nests... what striked me though - it was all very original, everything within my inspection reach - absoluteley OEM. All appeared never touched - I've seen this as a good thing. Bodywork was OK'ish.
The example ticked the main points, structural corrosion was not looking concerning - We agreed on a price (£3.8k) and I became the new owner :) It was May 2020.

My innitial plan was to just put the car on the road, quick mechanical refreshment, main issues only. But it became much more. "Once I'm here, I'll do this, I'll do that" - C'mon - I'm already here, It would be stupid not to at least check it, I don't know the history of this car...etc" .
It ultimateley ended up with a full stripout - Including the engine. I wanted to have this car back on the road as quick as I could, so the pace of works was rather intense.
I also set a budget, but forgot about it rather quickly. All this is what I would like to share with you.

I'll try to group it by areas, Stripout, Floor, Rear Susp, Front Susp, Engine, Engine Bay, I will also add a cost sheet at the end, for indication.
The body and interior isn't yet finished, cleaned and rather tidy, but with work to do. I'll update with any progress when I'll make any.
I'm by no means a proffessionall. I'm a design engineer by trade dealing with Airframe sealing solutions, with a bit of background in electronics and software.Tampering with Cars is my hobby.


I'll start quickly with INITIAL CONDITION. Unfortunateley not much photos here, wasn't planning anything major back then. Should give a clue though.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So here with the Stripout. Again - I was not planning to build any extensive photo galleries back then, it was evolving while I was going along, quality and quantity of photos are unfortunateley reflecting that.

After purchasing the car, I've spend few months thinking, assessing, planning and generally contemplating how to kick start the works and to what extend.
I had mixed feelings as of my resource availibiity, space, tools, time. I was innitially considering getting the easier bits done by myself and rely on mechanics for the critical items, so enquired with few places for the engine works, but no alfa specialists closeby so had proper concerns as of the quality and commitment to work.

The biggest issue was the space and working enviroment I have available - tiny garage, not big enough to get the car in, works outside, winter coming etc.
All in all, while thinking and contemplating, I slowly started removing the components off the car. Rear suspension, Brakes, Bumpers. The decission sort of made itself at that point - there was no way back :) This is where I though - "hell yeah - let's do it", and with the blessing of my second half, I decided to drop the engine and just get on with it :)

Plan was adjusted to full stripout before winter, pack it all into the garrage, work on it all throughout the winter, and after winter, sort out the floor and start putting everything back together.


Below photos of the stripout, few others showing my working enviroment.







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Looks a nice example. I was looking at a red one parked at WAD Alfa a few weeks ago. It'll be great when you finally get it all back together, everything necessary replaced, fettled, adjusted, brake calipers freshly painted, levels topped up, ... first sunny spring/summer day, climb in, turn on, and away!
 

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Much respect for your adventure and commitment, A great colour combo, I am sure you will have the car you have always wanted once completed
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Turn for calipers.
Pleasant and easy work to do. There is plenty of information how this is to be tackled.
The biggest challenge I had here was the paint selection.
I had some past experience with the VHT caliper paints, and although it's extremeley easy to use, flows beautifully and the Red colour they have is great - It was always terribly "chippy" on me.
Lightest hit with anything and chip was imminent.

I spend some time looking what the best paint system would be, consideder poweder coating, but decided not to go that route. I found a caliper refurb place nearby - bcs automotive - they offer a service to good quality, but the price wasn't to my likings.
They also offer the paints they use themselfes - polyurethane 2k high temp paint - and this is the route I went with. They also provided great info on the rest of the process they follow which I applied

So the process was straight forward:
  • bead blasting, cleaning, maskin
  • Etch Primer + filler primer + Wet sanding
  • Paint ( BCS automotive)
  • Alfa stencil + White Paint
  • Clear ( quartz crystal 2k)
  • Assembly

I painted with a spray gun, in my not too proffesional, yet handy - portable spray boot - £40 gazebo :)
All seals, rubbers, brackets ( other than the rear handbrake bits) were changed to new at this point. All torqued as per books. My calipers unfortnateley showed some pitting as well, but nothing I could do really. Regardless - the result was motivating

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Time for few smaller bits, Driveshafts, cooling fan motors, front struts bearings
CV joints replaced, support bearing replaced, shafts painted ( bilt hamber 2k epoxy), new boots, plated bolts + new lock nuts to right tensile.
Cooling fan motors dissasembled, cleaned, plated, bearings changed and all put back together.
Front Strut bearings were badily corroded, but still moving and not showing any concenring wear - so got them blasted, then zink primed, then epoxy painted.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Time for the big one - the floor.

Overall - It wasn't in the worst of condition, but still plenty of surface rust, terribly buthered sills, and 3 areas that requred cutting and welding. I managed to put the sills back to their geometries, opening some of the sections up to clean the rust from inbetween the panels. The three areas that had to be pathed were on the rear section on the floor pan, the rear wheelarch wall, and the back of the rear wheelarch where it joins the outer quarter panel.
All in all, I removed all the corrosion ( spend few weeks on it), then threated it all as follows:
  • Hydrate80 on the repairs
  • Upol Zinc182 on the repairs
  • Bilt Hamber epoxy mastic on the repairs
  • Dynitrol401 seam sealer on all damaged and cleared seams + my welds
  • Dynitrol447 rubberised coating , 2 layers on the repairs, 1 layer all over
  • 2k Paint - 2 coats all over, colour RAL7025
  • base colour, metallic on the arches to replicate the factory overspray plus the sills

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The Fuel Tank Cover on, threated with 2k Epoxy, Heatshields cleaned and back on.Floor Sort of finished.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Rear Subframe.
Rather straight forward. All disassembled, blasted, powder coated. Fasteners and brackets plated, nuts replaced with right tensile grades.
Few areas I've spent some time on thinking - polybushing? decided not to. Sticked with rose bushes where they were originally, polibushed only the originally rubber joints. Got the rose bushes from a Polish maker "TedGum", decent price and quality.
Upgraded the shockers to koni STR, New bearings, stainless brackets and other fittings from totally alfa. Rottinger brake discs - not very popular in UK, Polish brand I have great experience with and phenomenal on price ( £100 for discs all around). Anticorrosion coated.New hand brake lines.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The contunuation - The engine bay.

This for change was far from straigh forward. I initially planned to just clean it all in there, spot repair some corrosion, clean up the hydraulic and other lines, bracketary, rewrap looms.

The firewall lining / soundproofing turned to be so crusty, that any attempt to clean it, was damaging it. I found myself at a point where I just had to take it off and replace.
Easy as I thought, but it turned to be unobtainable. I gave it a go with butyl mats and fabricating the insulation, but took it all off as it looked terrible.
After weeks of searching, I came accross a place - Cloverbrakers - who were keen enough to take it off a spider they had on the yard and sell it to me.
Not the same type - the original was black/fabric/felt outer - while I got the all aluminium version from an older 916 - but I couldn't care less at that point
I gave it a cleanup, repaired few areas that collapsed with epoxy and aluminium film and was sorted as far as the firewall soundproofing goes.

I also replaced all the brake lines, which were quite badly corroded especially in their lower parts. All the bracketery was powder coated, fasteners and other brackets re-plated.
The whole engine bay was cleaned for corrosion, repairs epoxy primed and then the whole engine, primed, pained and matt cleared.


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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The 3.0 Busso.

Far the most complicated and scarry part for me. I had few head gasket changes in my history, and other deeper engine repairs some of which are still on the road today, I never went for a full engine stripout. There was technically no reason to strip it, It only needed the clutch and timing change, but as I knew nothing about this car, drove only few miles in it before the works started, but found an empty top up oil bottle in the boot, and water dissapearing from the water reservoire ( radiator had some leak signs, but you can never be to sure), having it all on my bench decided to pull it appart and give it a comperhensive refreshment. I don't regret this decission.

So the below happened:

  • complete dissassembly and inspection, thorough cleanup - overall - the engine was in a good condition, nice and clean, nothing mechanically worn to any levels of concern
  • Bottom End Measurement - i did it by myself innitially, but got it verified by Stubbs Racing Engines Derby, confirming my measurements and appropiate shells selection
  • bottom end bearings change - didn't change the thrust bearings, unobtainable, the mains and cons were difficult enough to find.
  • Heads checkup, skimming, valve seals change ( done by a local engine machinist), few helicoils on the exhaust ports
  • every single o-ring / seal / gasket in the engine - compression set on all o-rings was massive - it would be a matter of months I would have to deal with leaks.
  • All rollers, tensioners, belts, sparkplugs, pumps, thermostate,
  • Alternator and starter motor refurbed
  • all outer bolts, pulleys re-plated, all brackets powdercoated, chrome inlet runners re-chromed ( expensive!!!!), cam covers and plenum aquablasted but later painted as I wasn't happy with the effect.

Photo details below.

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