Alfa Romeo 164 Twinspark Super

Alfa Romeo 164 Twinspark Super

Author
Discussion

Cambs_Stuart

1,706 posts

61 months

Sunday 20th March
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That looks like a great project. I always find it's slightly less stressful to work on a friends car.

e28525e

394 posts

118 months

Monday 21st March
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I just read the whole thread from the start. Well done, mate. I am a BMW man, through and through - but I currently own a little 67 step nose 105, which has sparked my interest in other Alfa-ry things. You have a great way of wording things and the little bits of humour really make the thread. Top work.

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Sunday 1st May
quotequote all
Cambs_Stuart said:
That looks like a great project. I always find it's slightly less stressful to work on a friends car.
Yes, and you can always call in some help on your own project down the line! This is a good one though, and he's got great plans for the 2300.

e28525e said:
I just read the whole thread from the start. Well done, mate. I am a BMW man, through and through - but I currently own a little 67 step nose 105, which has sparked my interest in other Alfa-ry things. You have a great way of wording things and the little bits of humour really make the thread. Top work.
Thanks, appreciate it and glad to hear its of interest - I do foresee something 105 shaped in my future, though values have gone slightly to boiling point of late.

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Sunday 1st May
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It was Auto Italia yesterday, a highlight of the year for me as Brooklands comes alive to the sounds of fantastic machinery and the sheer volume of awesomeness makes it feel like 5 separate shows.

This year, as always, I left it to the last minute to make the 164 respectible, though I took heart to the fact that while the car has picked up marks in the 8 years of ownership, under the bonnet and in key places it is looking better and better.

Obligatory snow foam shot, as I know you're all itching to see another one of those on PH. Super resin polish applied after a good two bucket scrub, the ultimate 'quick' I have found.



After a dismal week that had me cursing not wearing a jacket on my commute, I skipped downstairs at 7am, giddy as a spring lamb, as the sun started blazing in an agreeable imitiation of an Italian spring. This year some friends joined me for a small convoy, and after a traditional early morning cafe, we left at 8am to secure our prized parking spots.

How often do you see a Lancia Flaminia in your rear view mirror?



As we neared Brooklands, the quality of traffic improved dramatically - gone were lumbering SUVs and the graphite hordes of german solidity, in came the flocks of cars actually designed with care, exhaust notes tuned for intrigue not volume and a rapid increase in road manners and politeness. Imagine if this was the typical traffic jam:



THis year I was the only mk2 164 and only twinspark, I think, though it was exciting to park next to this immaculate V6 in white for a contrast:





What I really love about Auto Italia is the atmosphere. After lockdown and a grey winter, everyone was very keen to catch up, make new friend, excitedly point out tiny interesting car things and generally create a welcoming Brooklands. Maybe it was the weather or the hydrocarbons swirling in the air, but everyone was wearing smiles and genuinely excited to get back to a proper car show.

While I had finished my first Alfa parking duties, my friends in the Lancia had secured pride of place. I'll hand over to the photos now to give you a flavour of the day.





















A stuttering Zagato attracted the attention of my friend, and before I could stop him he was out twidling the screws on the carbs.... I am alwasy very careful when volunteering to 'help' on other people's cars, especially a Zagato! But fortunately he knows his stuff and got the idle back to a better shape for the owner.











There's a whole load of Ferraris and things but I'm guessing no one is interested in that. Also no one is interested in the Lambourghinis revving their inadequate ECUs to redline in the middle of crowd of people. It just marks them all out as failed carcasses.


MJK 24

5,596 posts

213 months

Sunday 1st May
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Another brilliant update! Thanks…

steve_naive

160 posts

58 months

Sunday 1st May
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That wee 4x4 Panda with a toboggan on top. Want one!

TR4man

4,566 posts

151 months

Sunday 1st May
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steve_naive said:
That wee 4x4 Panda with a toboggan on top. Want one!
You have that and I’ll pick that sexy Montreal!

MattsCar

428 posts

82 months

Monday 2nd May
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Lovely car....

Do you fancy another one? This caught my eye this week.... a 20k mile example for only £4k. It is based up in Scotland though.

Sorry if I am hijacking your post, but for anyone who has been inspired by this thread, it may well be worth a look.


Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Monday 2nd May
quotequote all
No I'm not in the market but that is a bargain for the amount of car and the condition it presents in!

Coincidentally I am about to embark on subframe rebuilds and it it a significant undertaking. That colour is correctly sinister for Mediterranean summer cruising, too.

Of all the cars at the show I was most keen on a a pale blue step nose 1600 but I think my window for purchasing is long gone!

Cambs_Stuart

1,706 posts

61 months

Wednesday 4th May
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The pictures from Auto Italia are fantastic. Some amazing cars. Hard to pick a favourite...
Have you fitted the coilovers? Wondering how they are getting on.

Edited by Cambs_Stuart on Wednesday 4th May 15:05

carinaman

18,541 posts

149 months

Wednesday 4th May
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Thanks for the Photos OP.

I am not sure that orange peel on that Turbo i.e. tailgate is period correct. The tailgate on those is plastic.

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Thursday 5th May
quotequote all
Well let's just say this weekend is goign to be a big one...

Preparations underway for the front end after managing to finally secure all engine mounts, bushes and various backups.

The front subframe I picked up a few years back has been prepped to withstand the coming decades... any rust scabs or encroaching corrosion hints dispelled and removed.

I also prepped the NOS wishbones.














Full BiltHamber treatment with 80 rust converter, Electrox primer, a significant dosage of satin black and finally a slathering of S50 and Dynax UB.











The workshop beckons... wish us luck!





RicksAlfas

12,041 posts

221 months

Thursday 5th May
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Good luck!!

carinaman

18,541 posts

149 months

Friday 6th May
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That front subframe looks great. It's nice to see a 164 getting such an amount of attention and care.

lockhart flawse

1,953 posts

212 months

Friday 6th May
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Great work on one of my favourite PH cars.

Cambs_Stuart

1,706 posts

61 months

Friday 6th May
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Good work! Is there any other preventative maintenance that can be done while the subframe is off? Any hard to access bushes that can be changed when you've got the chance?

MJK 24

5,596 posts

213 months

Saturday 7th May
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Good luck!

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Sunday 8th May
quotequote all
Thanks all - its been a tough two days and the results are.. well.. you'll see.

Significant picture content of inner Alfa organs, though Phil did start getting annoyed with my constant photgraphing of every bolt (I need records for putting it back together!).

Caution is advised.

The Front

Day 1 - The Phil Time Menace

I wanted to tackle the front first as I was keen on the new subframe, and had not yet managed to strip and treat the rear subframe. The rear needs a professional with a full dipping and powder coating capability - one for later.

I loaded the car on 'Day 0' - many, many boxes and chemicals, PPE, but it all went in, a testament to the cavernous properties of the 164 boot.



Amazingly, the front subframe, wrapped in plastic from the still-curing waxoil, just went into the rear. Probably about 10mm on clearance!

I measured the 'stock' height at the front (670mm) from floor to top of the wheel arch, and went to bed.

8am on Day 1, the Alfa sprang into life, the sun started shining and I arrived at Phil's to the elated woofling of Senna the German Shephard. I know 50% of you are here for him, so here you go:



Naturally, the first thng Phil said was "Why did you waxoil it before you came? Do it when its on the car!". Oh well... I just wanted to get into all the nooks and crannies from the top... anyway...

First load disgorged before the car goes up.



Engine support on.



Wheels off, state of play inspected.







Wheel arch liners out several bolts later.





Phil's memory suggested struts out first, then start loosening the subframe after taking the front exhaust downpipe off. We got to work in chorus of swearwords, rust and perpetual hunts for the correct spanners and sockets. Pure joy. 13mm top nuts and 17mm main bolts had the original strut towers out quickly. Phil got started on the downpipe, which luckily had only been put on recently for the stainless exhaust.

Inspecting the new coilovers Phil was initially not impressed, grumbling that they 'looked too small' and 'couldnt even be bothered to put the aluminium spacer in'. These run in the gap for the lower hub mounting, and I used a selection of chisels and hammers to reclaim them.





While not actually broken or limp, the original springs and struts are about to start causing issues without proper attention.



Phil sauntered over and grumbled 'that's not doing much good is it'... the exhaust hanger bush I had poured a few months earlier had split through - too firm!



I explained my search for the correct bush, the experiment of pouring bushes and the exciting trip to Redhill for the exhaust. He glared at me, ferreted around in a box for a while and produced... the correct original bush.



Lesson learnt. Always ask Phil.

22mm spanner for the Lambda sensor, and various other bolts - the downpipe came off without issue.



The ABS cradle was not on the new subframe, so we had to save it - Phil suggeted hanging both the pump and the radiator from the upper crossmembers and mounts with cable ties. Done.



Separation of the drop links and some wishbone bolts next.. . a sea of brown ...



Next up, the gearbox mount, which is on the 'front left', the triangular bracket again needs to be saved while the mount will be changed.




Strut towers looked a bit ropey so, much the Phil's chargrin, I spent 90 minutes cleaning these up and coating them. I also spotted a few items in the wheel arches that needed tidying and treating - I'm not aiming to be here again for a while, so Phil went to poke a customer car, muttering that I was being precious...





Also this front left brake pipe looked to perhaps be weeping slightly. We'll come back to that little bother later.



More scabs identified and marked for the finger sander... on the right...



Purge in progress.



Halfway there...





...and on the left, slightly better.



Let that dry, then on to some sort fo coating. In the meantime, separate the steering rack from the subframe. Very awkward 15 and 13mm bolds, with various hoses and pipe clamps. This was the easiest...



This was the hardest...



Strut tower coating in progress. I went for the Hammerite Stone Chip Black as we are 'rushing' here - its tough, it dries quickly and is easy to direct.







Where were we? Oh yes, the new coilovers. Phil thought it best to get them in to hold the hubs, and I also thought wise to sense check they were roughly the right size before we started delving any more into the innards of the beast.

Following a setup guide on AlfaBB of several owners who had attempted to get stock height, I went for 180mm of thread showing on the main strut. Looked a bit short, but difficult too know how much the spring rates differ and 'settling amount' is.



Well, at least it looks better.



There's one thing Phil is very picky on - bolts being clean. He wire brushed down ever bolts, sometimes the nuts too - or just generously gave me new ones and washers throughout.

A few choice spanners later, they were both in!



Now for the main event - two supports under the frame - constant checking of all loosened hoses, brackets, bolts... lots of big, heavy bolts to come out...



Wishbones unbolted at this stage and swung out of the way... roll bar loosened... gently....



Gently...



Done!



Ah yes. Rust.



All brackets, spaces and supports removed. Some bolts for the wishbones can only be taken out with the engine mount off at the rear. Ouch.





Final project for the day - tidy up the items being reused.



Time was off the essence, so a solid wire wheel, sanding and either rust treatment or straight on with a concoction of underpaints.

There was more stuff, but it was very late. So late Phil took pity on me and lent me his 100HP Panda rather than forcing me onto the bus.



I probably should have just bought one of these.

Day one done!


Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 8th May 09:10


Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 8th May 11:43

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Sunday 8th May
quotequote all
Day 2 - Attack Of The Frames

After a good soak in Swarfega, some plasters and a good night sleep I leapt into the Panda and sped over to Phil's.

Senna was up, sun was out.



What could possibly go wrong today? We had all the parts, and we knew how everything went together. Easy.

I gleefully unwrapped the new subframe and moved it into position.

Phil looked at it. I looked at it...









... it was not right.


The rear right corner had a different mount for... who knows? An earlier model? The 12V?



The original frame:



Aargh!

Double Aargh!

After storing it for 5 years, spending a significant Sunday prepping and painting... it was the wrong part! For reference, it apears to be an earlier frame, number 60508282. The later frame, mine, appears to be 60563610.




It was early. I was about to make a snap decision, so we instead ordered a breakfast and coffee.

We inspected the old frame. It was not actually rotten anywhere, but I would need to do some seriously speedy prep.

Phil went to work on another car. I entered a trance and got stuck in.

[cue montage music]













This was 2.5 hours I could have done without but... it was done. As with a lot of rusty items that are solid and not actual holes, it actually didn't clean up too badly. I left it to dry and had a little lie down in the shade.

Phil cut the old wishbones and ball joints off because they were 'a pain'.



Not pictured as I was slightly giddy by this time - several coats of stone chip, black paint and a few wax cavity sprays in the subframe.

I started cleaning all the bolts and laying out items for reassembly while Phil worked on his own car.



First mounts back on, along with the radiator support bracket.





The bolts for the wishbones went in before this rear mount!



Now we're getting somewhere - state of play before lunch - all new mounts most definitely in!



Anti roll bar bushes were NOT for a 164 - incorrectly advertised, as always on that auction site.



Old ones had to go back on, but Phil said they looked only a few years old and weren't cracked. We swapped their sides so the stretched portion was least impactful. Indeed, I check the folder and he had swapped them out with the drop links 5 years ago. New wishbones and ball joints affixed.

Newly treated and painted brackets back on. Anti roll bar and ABS cradle back on, plus the top of the gearbox mount.



Back the way it came... sorry for the bad photos but an hour of steering rack, pipe arrangement, careful lining up of items, new washers, now bolts, a swathe of copper grease and it all came together.







Consulting the cardboard to do list, only a few more items like drop links and ball joints to go.



Correct exhaust mount pressed in, downpipe secured.



Mmmmmm matt finish with rubberised coating... lovely. Waxoil cavity to follow - but not today!





Everything just looks so much better here.



A number of checks later... and a few double checks - all secure. All bolts in, all items tight. All bracket back, hoses placed, secured.... done. Are we done? Phil said - 'I'm done with it. Up to you if its done!'. The struts were adjust per the supplied documentation to '12 clicks' from the top... engine hoist off... we were done!

As the wheels touched the ground I measered the ride height - 680mm! As that may settle over time and a few miles, incredibly I may have attained the original height. Phil didn't say a word. So I must have done something right.

By this time I was two hours late for my wife, though as she is understanding she just said to go home, soak and rest up.

That was it. The Front was finally done!



Now, where is that rear subframe....


Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 8th May 11:47

carinaman

18,541 posts

149 months

Sunday 8th May
quotequote all
Spinakerr said:
Now, where is that rear subframe....
Hopefully it's not been purloined to help make a set of dentures for a hen!

Great update, though having heard of the difficulties of sourcing that part I'm looking forward to the rear update.

The Panda and being lent it is cool, but trumped by the dog and the biscione tattoo.