1 2 3
Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
10/24/16 7:51 p.m.

After a long year, it is time for a crazy road trip. My son Tom and I are flying to San Diego on Monday and picking up a 1971 Alfa Spider we picked up from BringATrailer. Our plan is to drive the car first to the SEMA show, where we will work the show and then drive the car back to Florida. Assuming the car runs well, we were going to visit some friends and customers and take in some sites and spend a few days on the road together. Tom is nearly 23 now and has been with our company full time for nearly a year and involved a lot longer than that. I wanted to spend a few days with him to see how he is adjusting the real life in the business. If the trip goes well, it doesn't make a great story, but it makes for a nice trip, with time to look around and smell the proverbial flowers. In our case that means we are planning a visit to with Drew and Josephine Alcazar, of Russo and Steele in Phoenix, where we will photograph one of their cars for a story. We are also planning on stopping at Desert Valley Auto Parts in Maricopa and I have never stopped at Tombstone, which I know is a tourist trap. So from there, we will head towards Las Cruces, Austin, New Orleans and try to find some interesting car or other stops along the way. I want to take mostly back roads, but am a bit nervous to get too far from civilization with an untested, nearly fifty year old car. So, any thoughts of things to see and do along the way, and we are not opposed to a reader meet up or two, if we have time and there is interest on your parts?

wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
10/28/16 10:25 p.m.

Please do keep us in the loop. It sounds like it'll be a fun time and I know you two will enjoy it no matter which way the fortunes of the open road in an old classic take you. Enjoy, can't wait to here about it. one tip: check the oil alot, da.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
10/31/16 8:56 p.m.

So it begins! We made it to Las Vegas the first day. The car has some issues, but we will work around them or get them resolved.

Here's what we put in before we even arrived at our first fuel stop....

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/1/16 8:27 a.m.

So far we love the car and the new Michelin tires, our friends at The Tire Rack sent have been great. We are dealing with a starting circuit that quit working and turn signals that refuse to keep working.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
11/1/16 11:07 a.m.

Well, I just posted a slightly different version of the same story on the Grassroots board:

Tim and Tom have begun their adventure--the Craigslisted 1971 Alfa Spyder has been acquired, and they looked happy enough on the road:

Gauges look less happy:

Note the oil pressure--sadly, that was at 80 mph. Temp is creeping up, too. Last I heard from them, they'd made it to Las Vegas after buying some motor honey/bearings in a bottle.

I'm thinking I'll see them again approximately never, or they will actually have to stop and fulfill Tom's dream of buying a second E36 M3ter to leapfrog this one across the country. Stay tuned...

Margie

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 UltraDork
11/1/16 11:27 a.m.

I had similar oil pressure problems on my Opel GT when I got in running. Oil pressure would drop as the engine warmed up. A friend recommended Seafoam in the oil, I tried a half a bottle and planned on running it a while then changing the oil. The Seafoam brought up the oil pressure, still drops a bit when the engine is warm but nowhere near what it did. Only run 1/4 bottle in the oil now after the oil change.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
11/1/16 11:32 a.m.

Tim just checked in: Sounds like the oil pressure sending unit is toast, but there are plenty of other signs engine is very well worn, so it got some "just in case" bearings-in-a-bottle. Now the starter is crapping out. They are pretty ecstatic: Tim and Tom both love road trips, and they love fixing things.

Margie

petegossett
petegossett UltimaDork
11/1/16 11:44 a.m.

In reply to Marjorie Suddard:

That first pic reminds me just a bit too much of this:

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
11/1/16 1:19 p.m.

Pete, that looks about right.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/1/16 2:10 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: Tim just checked in: Sounds like the oil pressure sending unit is toast, but there are plenty of other signs engine is very well worn, so it got some "just in case" bearings-in-a-bottle. Now the starter is crapping out. They are pretty ecstatic: Tim and Tom both love road trips, and they love fixing things. Margie

The engine should have 20w-50 in it, so.... If can be limed home, the engine is very rebuildable- cranks tend to be quite strong. Just don't spin a bearing.

What's up with the starter? Most- the solenoid starts to stick badly- so the starter will spin... A few tries and it will go. But an alternate solution- get out with a long rod- and bang the solenoid, it should free up.

I'm interested in hearing the development plans for it. Mostly because I love how my engine turned out- which is some very mild porting, some Wes Ingram cams, and a matched SPICA overhaul to go with it. It runs really nice and strong.

Fun, and one of the better looking Spiders.

edit- interesting that it's running warm. On my GTV, it was an indicator that the head gasket was starting to go out.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
11/1/16 3:48 p.m.

Not sure there's an actual development plan yet--a lot of it hinges on whether I like it, because Tim wants to replace my beloved BMW 528e with it. And while I love me some Spider--my first car was an Alfa Spider Veloce--not sure I'm ready to commit to one for my new almost-daily. I guess we'll see when/if they get back here with it.

Margie

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
11/1/16 6:06 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: Tim wants to replace my beloved BMW 528e with it. Margie

Nooooooo....

wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
11/2/16 7:02 a.m.

It'll make it. Just keep dumping thick oil in it. Here's a quick story, my first car was a 1950 Plymouth with a flat head six. (yeh I know a real racer). Anyway It rattled and knocked and just sounded terrible. but my buddies and I would jump in it on a Saturday morning and drive about 45 or 50 miles to a resort area to party for the day. On the way up i would stop at a local SCAT gas station where they sold recycled aviation oil for $1.00 a gallon. I would buy a whole gallon and dump the whole gallon into the crankcase as once. On the way back late in the day, I would stop at the same SCAT station and dump another gallon in before i headed home. That car was still running when I sold it 3 years later.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/2/16 7:11 a.m.

In reply to Marjorie Suddard:

So it's unlikely that the car was anywhere near challenge $$.

It's going to be interesting to me how this one plays out. For once, one does not have to tell the prospective owner that they need to drive one to see if they fit or are comfortable in it. You already know that answer.

Then the question- "what is not good enough", if you don't like it as a partial DD. Is it something that can be dealt with or not. And the other side- "some things are better than expected" would be an interesting note, too.

For me, the biggest reason I don't like DD's my car is that good ones are really hard to find. But, technically, it's a good cruiser and DD for my route. The Spider's biggest problem (relatively speaking) is the flexibility of the chassis- but there are fixes for it, too. At this age, my GTV leaks water- just not as much as a convertible top.

(People will say rust- but every car from that era has a rust problem, and wiring problems which are related to the rust problems. Others may say reliability- but one has to know that Alfas do require some more care and feeding than other cars, which isn't a big deal since we are supposed to like doing that- but with you owning a Spider before, and Per having a GTV for a few years- you guys already know that)

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
11/2/16 11:36 p.m.

Tim while you guys are still in town; due east of the convention center by about 3 miles is a Mexican place called Lindo Michocan, excellent food. If you are still in town Saturday there is a stage really south of town, see Seed 9 Rally. Finally if you guys get stuck or need to effect some repairs I.E. Need a place to work just let me know. I'll PM the boss with my number.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/4/16 8:32 a.m.

Tom1200, thanks for the offer. We are leaving this afternoon. The starter needs to be rebuilt as it has a bad spot in it. Apparently, thanks to the excellent advice Joe at Centerline has been giving us, it is a rare piece. It still works intermittently, so we are going to keep going. We met with Lucas at the show, who has some great stuff for worn out cars and we are going to add some oil stabilizer today. They also make a Seafoam like product now that supposedly doesn't have all the solvent in it.

We are stopping in Phoenix tomorrow to work on the car at our friend, Drew Alcazar's (Russo and Steele) shop. We plan on starting the day at the Cars and Coffee in Phoenix.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/5/16 8:12 a.m.

We made it to Phoenix without further incident. We are putting the car on a lift today, as I want to get a good look underneath. The car bottoms out in the rear over the slightest bumps and the headlights point to the sky. Looks like there could be more trouble in River City.

That said... damn this is one of the nicest highway cruising classics I have ever driven. Very little wind with top up or down, cruises at 75 effortlessly, comfortable, good seats that recline. I am quickly falling in love and as much as I hate to say it, would put this thing above my British cars in that department.

wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
11/5/16 8:36 a.m.

I think I know what you mean about the Alfa's comfortable cruising manners. But it wasn't the because of the interstate cruising manners that we love our Little British Cars. Unless your getting old!!!

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/5/16 9:16 a.m.

wannacruise. It is just nice to have a car that looks and handle like this, but is comfortable at highway speeds for long distances. I think I might have found my new favorite car to take on our Orange Blossom Tour.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/5/16 9:20 a.m.

In reply to Tim Suddard:

Do you have pictures of the car from the side? Someone may have cut the springs to lower it, and/or taken out the proper spacers.

Ironically, the choices for springs can be found in a stock car shop- as the rates, lengths and diameters are the same as some American cars that regularly see circle tracks. So springs can be cheap.

edit- oh, and don't take pictures of the car going around the corner- Alfas lean a lot. It's how they work.

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 HalfDork
11/5/16 7:59 p.m.

Tim, you need to drive my TR6 sometime. It loves to gobble up miles at 75 MPH. That said, I love Alfa Spiders. I sat in a Duetto at an auction and the interior was way better than any Triumph. Such beautifully styled cars with a sweet engine. Making trips like this is what life should be about. Enjoy.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/5/16 9:44 p.m.

JoeTR6. I have a TR6 and love it. This car might just be a bit smoother and more refined. It is not as fast as TR6 though.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/5/16 9:45 p.m.

We are now in Globe Arizona. Decided to get off wretched I-10 and skip Tucson. Wow, it is beautiful out here.

We did get to the cars and coffee and they were celebrating pre-1975 Italian cars.

From there we got the car up on a lift and went to town. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the rear end. The coil springs are just worn out. Quick temporary way to fix that is to get some spring knuckles, that you used to use to jack up your Chevelle on the cheap. This solved the problem nicely, until we we get home and order new springs.

The blinkers constantly shorting out was caused by some previous owner leaving live wires against the body sheet metal when installing a radio. Why do people, who don't know what they are doing, touch old cars?

Lucas Oil Stabilizer gave us a significant boost in oil pressure.

We desperately need a starter new or used. Please help! We can pick it up along the way or pay to have it shipped. It is a long way from Arizona to Florida having to push start the car every time we shut it off. I am getting paranoid about stalling it in traffic.

The front end started to squeak badly, but we bought a grease gun and lubed the lower A-arm bushings and it is fine now. Certainly not as much work was done on the chassis as I was led to believe when I bought it.

The brakes are a bit soft and pull to the right. I am afraid the master cylinder or brake booster are starting to fail. This would account for the mushiness, but not the pulling.

And coming up a pass, the fuel pressure light came on. We drove for about ten minutes this way, but we when we headed down hill, the problem corrected itself. I suspect a clogged fuel filter, as the car has sat for a long time. I hope I did not damage the injection pump.

Ah the joys of being a dumb ass and driving an old car across country. Still my son and I are having a heck of a good time and are really falling in love with this car. Can't wait to tell the whole story with pictures in our publication; Classic Motorsports. My son will also be posting pictures on our website in the next 24 hours.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/6/16 7:27 a.m.

Have you made an appeal for parts on alfabb.com? There has to be someone on your intended path.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/6/16 7:43 a.m.

I have made an appeal on alfabb.com and they have been super helpful. We might just be heading to Nevada TX today!

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners
T9Vi5RJJLPnP1iE8xjuwDH27q70ipWCMTzlIcmPd3gixktXn7skoMkvc9r19yDfF