Alfa Romeo 164 Twinspark Super

Alfa Romeo 164 Twinspark Super

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Discussion

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Thursday 28th April 2016
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Madjoiner said:
Have you seen the article in classic car magazine this month?
Very complimentary about the 164.
Thanks for the tip - I'll pick it up tomorrow.

rxe said:
Good job on the wing!

Just noticed the jam jar lids - ingenious. I got a bag of stainless "repair washers" for about £1.50 on eBay - they're about the size of a small jar lid, and you don't need to eat a pot of marmalade to fix the heat shield. Actually I got several different sizes - so there are small ones for a tight corner, and whoppers where I have the space to get them in.
Thanks, first real piece of body repair on the car!

Ordinarily I would have raided my washer store, but unfortunately the heatshield has the consistency of dry toast and previous repair washer have worn through - I wanted to experiment with a washer that had a curved edge and saved these from a recent Eurostar breakfast. So far so good, and free!

carinaman

18,547 posts

149 months

Friday 29th April 2016
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Thanks for the updates. Good work on that wing.

bigkeeko

1,370 posts

120 months

Friday 29th April 2016
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Great thread and commendable commitment to what many would see as a lost cause.

I don't know how many times I've said to myself as a supposed `petrolhead` that I should buy an Alfa but have never got round to it. I`ll definitely be following your progress.

Reg Local

2,643 posts

185 months

Friday 29th April 2016
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I ran a 1990 164 2 litre twin spark "lusso" in the mid 1990s. I loved it - it had the comfiest seats I've ever experienced to this day.

If it makes you feel any better, it was almost as difficult to get parts for these when they were actually still in production. A hydraulic clutch pipe which ran from the master cylinder to the clutch (a complicated solution for the left hand to right hand drive conversion) corroded and failed. It took Alfa UK 8 weeks to source me a replacement, by which time I'd had a local engineering firm make me an original for 1/4 the price out of non-corroding stainless steel.

I remember it fondly though - I brought my (now 19 year old) daughter home from hospital in it when she was a day old.

Didn't put me off Alfas either - I swapped it for a 2 litre 156.

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Friday 29th April 2016
quotequote all
Thanks guys - I definitely didn't set out to restore this, but the combination of a challenge and cache of obscurity has become enjoyable. I think the fact that even in its 'tired' state it is so involving to drive helps. Plus the exhaust note is wonderful!

Several people pointed out that in the 80s some laughed at owners restoring the four door Giulias from the 60s, but they are now coveted. As MadJoiner highlighted - a buyer's guide in Classic Cars this month is always good to see, even if everyone obsesses over the 3ltr version.

Bigkeeko - I think now is a good time to pick up a late 80s/early 90s Alfa. There's never a bad time, but given the recent classic 'boom' these are still good value for something that you may be able to get parts and servicing for at a specialist.

My battery cover was one of the final rattles from the back of the car - loose, rusted bracket and torn carpet:

IMAG2767_zpsea6bwa5f by James Vincent, on Flickr

Luckily the donor car above had a perfect match. Now the only rattles are at the front of the car!

IMAG2783_zpsdkgalxdk by James Vincent, on Flickr

My brake master cylinder is being temperamental and needs seals changed - hopefully this can be done today in time for Brooklands tomorrow. No time to wash and polish. Blast.

Then it is on to replacement brake lines (cunifer), suspension bushes, gearbox, clutch and that perpetual idle issue...

Edited by Spinakerr on Friday 29th April 11:56


Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 16th July 15:02

beautifulbusso

701 posts

142 months

Saturday 30th April 2016
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I saw your motor today at Brooklands, it looks absolutely superb and is a real credit to your hard work smile

rxe

6,168 posts

80 months

Saturday 30th April 2016
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Brake lines are a horrible job. I've done it on the 155 and 156, at the back you need to drop the fuel tank and remove all the rear suspension, and the front involves removing most of the engine. Might be different on a 164....I hope it is for your sake....

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Monday 2nd May 2016
quotequote all
Reg Local said:
I ran a 1990 164 2 litre twin spark "lusso" in the mid 1990s. I loved it - it had the comfiest seats I've ever experienced to this day.

If it makes you feel any better, it was almost as difficult to get parts for these when they were actually still in production. A hydraulic clutch pipe which ran from the master cylinder to the clutch (a complicated solution for the left hand to right hand drive conversion) corroded and failed. It took Alfa UK 8 weeks to source me a replacement, by which time I'd had a local engineering firm make me an original for 1/4 the price out of non-corroding stainless steel.

I remember it fondly though - I brought my (now 19 year old) daughter home from hospital in it when she was a day old.

Didn't put me off Alfas either - I swapped it for a 2 litre 156.
I think some pipes are goign to have to be made up - I have been prodding and muttering at various pipes that have clearly been exposed for two decades. We'll burn that bridge when we get to it...

The last owner similarly reminisced taking their newborn son home in it. Smart mafia transport for the next generation!

beautifulbusso said:
I saw your motor today at Brooklands, it looks absolutely superb and is a real credit to your hard work smile
You're too kind - it looked shabby and rushed, as it was that day unfortunately! Can't believe I missed the 90...

rxe said:
Brake lines are a horrible job. I've done it on the 155 and 156, at the back you need to drop the fuel tank and remove all the rear suspension, and the front involves removing most of the engine. Might be different on a 164....I hope it is for your sake....
No unfortunately not, it looks to be full weekend-of-swearings-worth- but I have to get the rear crossmember to my friendly blacksmith shortly so that might be right time to attempt it. I'm not happy with the state of the pipes around the ABS module:

IMAG2873_zpsayam08rc by James Vincent, on Flickr

Sooner rather than later...

Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 16th July 15:04

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Monday 2nd May 2016
quotequote all
This weekend's plan was to have Friday off work to clean and primp the 164 ready for Auto Italia at Brooklands. Unfortunately, the brake master cylinder developed a leak and left it with a local Alfa mechanic (and 164 tolerator) for the day. In true Alfa fashion, we couldn't replicate the leak, and the 164 lifted its nose at our attempts to detect which part was faulty. With the light dimming, I admitted defeat, just having time to cut the new wing and rear bumper fade to match the rest of the car. Before:

IMAG2814_zpsjnvo9vzq by James Vincent, on Flickr

IMAG2815_zpsp1dstciv by James Vincent, on Flickr

After, of course, was at Brooklands, without a wash and most definitely not even vaguely cleaned. Apologies to everyone who saw it, next year will be different I promise.

IMAG2819_zpsvxmutcfa by James Vincent, on Flickr

Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 16th July 15:05

beautifulbusso

701 posts

142 months

Monday 2nd May 2016
quotequote all
Well the next event is NAD on 10th July, so might see you there smile



Edited by beautifulbusso on Monday 2nd May 20:55

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Monday 2nd May 2016
quotequote all
After Brooklands, on Saturday I decided to address a long standing issue since purchase - mismatched tyres. I had put two part worn Kumho Solus' (Solusi? Sox?) on the front and retained the least murderous of the original wheels, a newish Nankang and an aged Firestone for the rears. Best not to mention the state of the spare wheel. Forgive the overexposure on these photos, twas a bright sunny Saturday.

IMAG2840_zpsww8qdk3b by James Vincent, on Flickr

IMAG2841_zpsk8vjdz3d by James Vincent, on Flickr

My favourite tyre warehouse allowed me a good poke around while the wheels were off. If only it had been used instead of the DeLorean...

IMAG2848_zpsd3znwaw5 by James Vincent, on Flickr

Further evidence of brake line attention required:

IMAG2853_zpsnr2civfx by James Vincent, on Flickr

But ultimately these make me feel a lot safer. Slightly wider but still a factory option (205 Goodyear Efficient Grips vs 195s):

IMAG2862_zpsd7kcfreb by James Vincent, on Flickr

If tyre manufacturers could insert a coloured pinstripe all the way through with the italian flag, that would be most appealing. I can't remember the last time I bought four new tyres from a good brand, but the smell alone it worth it for the first miles.

Today I replaced two melted fuses in the boot:

IMAG2865_zpsdcwenrge by James Vincent, on Flickr

Fairly common issue as the rear screen demister does not cycle on/off correctly, even when new, so owners do so manually. It's part of the 'driving experience'.

IMAG2866_zpsboyjoxw0 by James Vincent, on Flickr

For those of you following the uneven idle saga, I have been playing with some carb cleaner to track it down. One of the main seals on the idle control valve has aged to give a slight gap:

IMAG2869_zpsrj6nitzl by James Vincent, on Flickr

I put a supplementary O ring on the unit to see if this makes a difference. I doubt it.

IMAG2874_zps4hguq4wq by James Vincent, on Flickr


Also, the driver's foot rest was missing a retaining bolt and so flexed annoyingly.

IMAG2867_zpsg0on9xsi by James Vincent, on Flickr

M6 long bolt and nuts later, solidity attained:

IMAG2868_zps3cf0xpyg by James Vincent, on Flickr






Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 16th July 15:10

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Sunday 8th May 2016
quotequote all
beautifulbusso said:
Well the next event is NAD on 10th July, so might see you there smile
Ah you caught me while attempting to stop the 164 creep down the Brooklands banking! Definitely see you on the 10th July.

Since fitting the new boot struts the car has unfortunately developed a common 164 issue:

IMAG2879_zpsg1w8aurw by James Vincent, on Flickr

Not really clear? Well, these little blighters are stress marks in the panel:

IMAG2877_zps2ywfnh69 by James Vincent, on Flickr

Sadly the 'correct' new struts just push the panel out ever so slightly more than the old units.

One fix owners have used over the years is bungee cord to pull the struts in ever so slightly:

IMAG2880_zps7okdttic by James Vincent, on Flickr

IMAG2881_zpsfgdjqdyw by James Vincent, on Flickr

Hopefully that will stop the issue, otherwise I'll be looking at retro-fitting springs from the phase 1 cars.

Apologies for the admin update.



Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 16th July 15:12

rxe

6,168 posts

80 months

Monday 9th May 2016
quotequote all
Rear brake lines should have a union somewhere between the front and the back. On the 155 it is at the back, on the 156 it is under the passenger footwell. If you split the pipes here, you can do the back independently of the front. Doing front and back in one weekend would be a challenge.

Shadow R1

3,706 posts

153 months

Monday 9th May 2016
quotequote all
Enjoyed reading this, please keep us updated. smile

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Saturday 11th June 2016
quotequote all
rxe said:
Rear brake lines should have a union somewhere between the front and the back. On the 155 it is at the back, on the 156 it is under the passenger footwell. If you split the pipes here, you can do the back independently of the front. Doing front and back in one weekend would be a challenge.
Thanks - you are right. Given some of the labour quotes I've received for the brake lines I think I'll be pursuing it myself once I have a garage and a drive - hopefully by the end of June.

Recently I have been preoccupied with the aforementioned house move and rescuing a Nissan Micra (see my other thread). With that MOTed I turned my attention back to the Alfa.

The idle issue has been annoying me greatly - the above idle control valve fettling didn't yield results so I decided to inspect, clean and renew the plenum-forward intakes.

Firstly, I noted various mismatched rusty jubilee clips and those annoying spring clips:

IMAG2882_zps4u7l5win by James Vincent, on Flickr

Also one missing clip on the breather on the left:

IMAG2886_zpsrtyuj7lj by James Vincent, on Flickr

Some liberal carb cleaner and rags to tidy everything up:

IMAG2890_zpszybsqxsv by James Vincent, on Flickr

Split spotted by the idle control hose:

IMAG2893_zpsqlxvjemf by James Vincent, on Flickr

So I trimmed it a little to ensure a better seal given the new clips:

IMAG2993_zpsk3fxxohn by James Vincent, on Flickr

All other hoses and joints were intact, so everything was reassembled with satisfyingly shiny and uniform clips:

IMAG2887_zpst2az70vg by James Vincent, on Flickr

IMAG2994_zpsjzwgromf by James Vincent, on Flickr

Did this cure the idle issue?

...

No.

In annoyance I went back to cosmetics - the rear boot badge has faded badly:



New badges from the right era still turned out to be plastic rather than the original metal, which is an annoyance. I'm going to keep the original metal disc and see if I can repaint it myself in the lonely winter months.

IMAG2997_zpsh6bqqliu by James Vincent, on Flickr

This is a really easy job - peel away bootlid interior trim, carefully remove the tiny circlip (bottom left) and catch the spring, then carefully pull the badge, very slowly, from the outside, and ensure the spring (like a headlamp bulb retainer) is not bent.

IMAG2996_zpsbq0m9xav by James Vincent, on Flickr

Satisfying:

IMAG2995_zpsixwwjbwq by James Vincent, on Flickr

IMAG2998_zpsuz5lxgqg by James Vincent, on Flickr

Right, back to the idle issue this afternoon - I thought I would replace the fuel filter as couldn't find it in any of the history. A quick inspection revealed it was safely encrusted with debris in the offside rear wheel.

Oh, for reference, while heavily advertised as such, this is not the right filter:

IMAG3089_zps0bn83ezq by James Vincent, on Flickr

This is the right filter, despite the spelling, with screw thread fittings, 0 450 905 087:

IMAG3092_zpsotsmnoro by James Vincent, on Flickr

Wheel off, two 8mm spanners and plenty of penetrating fluid release the holder:

IMAG3093_zpswa4vmx3y by James Vincent, on Flickr

IMAG3094_zpsom5vo90s by James Vincent, on Flickr

Then it was 17mm, 19mm and 21mm spanners (depending on the level of surface rust) for the banjo bolts:

IMAG3097_zpsc2jg6j55 by James Vincent, on Flickr

A tray underneath to collect the petrol (no hose clamps required, just a small amount in the filter) is a good idea, and with some persuasion it was freed:

Old and new. Might be the original factory item:
IMAG3098_zpsnpy23tdu by James Vincent, on Flickr

Luckily all the bolts cleaned up nicely with a wire brush and some washers were reused as their desiccation tessellated uniquely. I decided to fire it up just to ensure everything was working before full reassembly, and waited for it to properly warm to test the joints for leaks.
IMAG3099_zpsrh8rfeny by James Vincent, on Flickr

I didn't have time to get it properly warm to test the idle issue. At least the list is getting smaller!

An autopsy on the old filter revealed it to be cruddy but intact. Cause of death: hacksaw.
IMAG3100_zpsvxjjgwlh by James Vincent, on Flickr







Edited by Spinakerr on Sunday 16th July 15:20

Paul S4

1,140 posts

187 months

Sunday 12th June 2016
quotequote all


Really like the wheel...

I have something similar on my 2005 Alfa 156 JTDM 150....managed to find this....




Transforms the way the car drives IMO, as the original facelift wheel ( same as the Alfa GT) is too thick and 'lumpy' .

I much prefer the wooden wheel which is beautifully made, and IIRC was an Italian market only option. Great to use on a track day...

rxe

6,168 posts

80 months

Sunday 12th June 2016
quotequote all
On the idle issue - does the ECU have that 3 pin diagnostic socket on 164s? My (older) 155 has it, and you can get an adapter to connect it to Multiecuscan for about £15. It might be chucking some fault codes at idle if it is the lambdas.

My money is still on an air leak - I think the only bit you haven't looked at is the rubber bits between the intake plenum and manifold proper. If they are anything like the ones on the 155, they will be cracked to glory and pretty porous.

_Nathan_

505 posts

225 months

Sunday 12th June 2016
quotequote all
For future reference; try infopart.org - it is very useful

It has the MANN-FILTER WK8306 listed as a compatible part

http://infopart.org/bosch-0450905087-part





Spinakerr said:
Oh, for reference, while heavily advertised as such, this is not the right filter:



This is the right filter, despite the spelling, with screw thread fittings, 0 450 905 087:

Spinakerr

Original Poster:

778 posts

122 months

Sunday 12th June 2016
quotequote all
Paul S4 said:


Transforms the way the car drives IMO, as the original facelift wheel ( same as the Alfa GT) is too thick and 'lumpy' .
That looks much better on the 156 - did they do a matching gearknob? The differences are the same with the 164 wheel - slimmer, smarter and a much nicer place to rest thumbs.

My Italian work colleague is helping me uncover the secrets of italian auction sites - hopefully to much needed parts incoming over the summer.

rxe said:
On the idle issue - does the ECU have that 3 pin diagnostic socket on 164s? My (older) 155 has it, and you can get an adapter to connect it to Multiecuscan for about £15. It might be chucking some fault codes at idle if it is the lambdas.

My money is still on an air leak - I think the only bit you haven't looked at is the rubber bits between the intake plenum and manifold proper. If they are anything like the ones on the 155, they will be cracked to glory and pretty porous.
Thanks (again!) rxe - I am assembling the parts required, and have some refurbished injectors, just need the correct rubber 'necks'*4 for that stage of the rebuild. Let me know if you have the part number - can't work out if they are the same as the 3ltr as they changed when the plenum changed to plastic!

_Nathan_ said:
For future reference; try infopart.org - it is very useful

It has the MANN-FILTER WK8306 listed as a compatible part

http://infopart.org/bosch-0450905087-part
Thanks - bookmarked to use in future to double check, much appreciated.

Paul S4

1,140 posts

187 months

Monday 13th June 2016
quotequote all




No idea if Alfa did a matching gearknob to 'my' wheel, but there were 156 wooden trim options on the early models, (as well as carbon which looks quite good ).
You could definitely get a wooden knob for a 5 speed 156, only thing is that they are glued on and are difficult to remove !

I got my wheel from Autolusso ( it was not cheap !!) so they may be the people to ask.

By the way, in the above pic...I made a wooden 'plinth' for my iPhone below the ashtray if anyone was wondering...!