Alfa Stage 7 engine preparation


 As childish as it sounds, when one details an engine for them self, one can do pretty much what one feels like.
This and the following, is what Biba Restorations felt like doing.

Now that you realize we we're up to no good, might as well confess we've taken a used, but sweet running '79 Spider engine and up to a point, turned it visually into a 1750 engine.

Should you not have accessed this page through the 'No Longer For Sale' '69 Alfa Spider - well, that's where it's headed. Before this discourse is over, we'll tell you how to spot the exterior difference between Alfa 2000 and 1750 engines.

If you're wondering what Stage 7 engine preparation is, you will soon see. However, the mechanical work shown on the right, is not included.

Since everyone likes prices, the Stage 7 engine prep is $500 over the cost of an engine rebuild (excluding outside costs) or $850 (excluding outside costs) should the engine not require rebuilding.

To help explain, the '79 engine was removed and went through several washings. This would normally be part of the restoration process. All of the peripheral parts of the engine (on the stand) was removed, and went through several more cleanings.

Should a client want an engine rebuild as part of the restoration process, all of these parts would have been removed, cleaned (but not necessarily detailed). Thus - $500.

Obviously our engine detailing would be $850, plus cost of mechanical work.

Stage 1 would include having the cam cover polished and the exhaust manifold sand blasted and painted with 1500 degree high heat paint. We're working on Stages 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 specifications.

Here is what was done before the aesthetic process began:

Remove clutch disc and plate. Fortunately almost new and were reinstalled. Removed Spica unit and the various inspection plates and thoroughly cleaned. Actually it was pretty clean including the small oil filter which was replaced. We're used to major sludge.

Lower oil pan plate was removed for inspection and again pretty clean. Large oil pan was also removed and both cleaned. Two rod bearings and two main bearings were checked for clearance and found to be within specs. The rear oil seal was replaced along with new 'cigarette' seals. The front pulley was removed along with the front crank seal (BR uses a special one). Side bar: The crank pulley, being from a later engine had two pulleys - 1750's only have one. The front pulley was machined off, the unit painted and installed. Obviously new gaskets were used wherever required. The oil pan was installed along with a 'fresher' buffed brass nut.

The valve clearances were surprisingly off by a fairly large margin. Speculation was that a skilled mechanic had worked on the engine, but was not necessarily familiar with the Alfa engine.

The cams / valves were reclearanced and replaced. Note dial gauge next to the spark plugs above the cams. It was used to find an absolute TDC (Top Dead Center) and adjust the pointer accordingly.

One mechanical problem not resolved is the entire front of this engine needs to be removed so that a small gear can be inserted to drive the mechanical tachometer gears. The '79 used an electronic tachometer. One will probably be used in the Spider.

Finally! We're finished with all the mechanical items and can now get to the Really Fun Part!

BR gives you exhibit A on the left.

Fresh propeller, sometimes known as a fan blade, new oil filter (black), new engine mount, new alternator belt, new copper exhaust manifold gaskets along with new brass nuts. Of course you noticed the single pulley on the crank, but did you notice the two unsightly pointed studs on the head have been replaced with correct new aluminum hex caps?

Finishes: As mentioned the exhaust manifold has been sandblasted and painted with a quality 1500 degree high heat matte black paint. The other black parts have been cleaned and buffed, then painted with gloss black paint.

Additionally, the block had some stains which were removed using a rather special 'coating' (not paint) which imparted a delightful sheen. Perhaps not permanent, but should hold up well with careful cleaning. The alternator also received a careful cleaning along with a special silver paint, then masked so the embossed black ring could be applied.

Doesn't that just knock your socks off?

Special match paint on the 1750 air box, new support straps, new (8) air idle adjustment hoses with zinc plated (16) clamps. New air box to inlet manifold hoses held on by (8) fresh zinc plated Alfa hose clamps. New air filters.

Note correct 1750 (only used by Alfa for a year) inlet manifold. Of course there's a new thermostat installed.

There are four welded up holes where the ugly plastic clips were on the cam cover. The cam vent is chromed.

BR is trying to locate six correct round hex cam cover nuts. If so, debating between chrome and gloss black powder coating. Do have ten domed head nuts in the chrome pipeline.

Additionally a correct oil filler cap with raised OLIO letters (as opposed to embossed) is also in the chrome pipeline.

Perhaps not mentioned is the vast amount of steel parts which were buffed and zinc plated. This included all of the Spica's hardlines and steel support items. Yes, several items which originally came black painted were zinc plated. BR's philosophy is that paint dulls and chips long before quality zinc plating does.

A rebuilt thermostatic actuator was installed. During the preliminary linkage adjustments it was discovered the inner Spica pendulum, which actuates the correct idle after warm-up, had a misaligned pin which was repaired.

And yes, that white cord hanging down is from a ('79) MirelliPlex electronic distributor. Perhaps a bit modern for our '69 Round-Tail, but should be more reliable than points type distributors.

About seven hours were spent on the air box alone. The box was sent (and picked up) at a sand blaster. Minor small dents similar to those on the left were attended to. The box was epoxy primered, then painted with a specific match paint. New support straps were sourced but the irridite plated metal reinforcements were changed out with silver zinc plated items. And as mentioned new idle adjustment and air box to inlet manifold hoses were sourced and installed. Four part, original type hose clamps were used after thorough cleaning, replating of zinc parts, and reassembled.

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