Adventures in Italian Car Ownership
So... what feels like years ago, but was actually just early May, the Alfa blew its head gasket mid-track day. Still drivable, I hauled ass to my storage unit, threw the Alfa in, still covered in its own coolant, and hauled ass back to the track in my Volvo C30 Polestar LE.
That was, as mentioned, in May.
And I quickly got to work replacing the head gasket.
Oh wait... the opposite of that.
Well today, ahead of the first snow storm of the season, I decided to go see the Alfa for the first time since May and bring it home so I could start wrenching over the winter.
So... old Italian car, having sat for 212 days... what could possibly go wrong?
Well on first inspection things looked ok! No obvious rodent damage, all four tires had air in them, and the dip stick had oil color oil on it. I unplugged the king lead and shorted it to the block, and gave the starter a go...
Well it cranked... which isn't terribly surprising as the battery has been on a tender this whole time... but sure didn't sound right. The crank had an odd cadence to it.
I'm going to pretend everything is fine there.
Once the oil pressure because acceptable I reattached the coil and gear up for the real deal...
And it fired up!
And fired up!
And stayed running!
The Alfa lives!
Time for an obligatory thermal photo!
I filled it up with coolant, of which it took an alarming amount, about a half gallon, bled the cooling system, crossed my fingers, and set off.
I'd be lying if I said it felt 100%, but it felt a good 80 - 90%. There was a lot of valve noise, the throttle was as sticky as ever, and the pull seemed... weaker than usual.
Either way, the drive home was mostly uneventful.
And then there was a car crash.
I wasn't involved, but it scared the shit out of me.
Unclear what happened and unfortunately my dashcam didn't have a SD card in it. As I was waiting at a red light I heard a horrible metal-on-metal noise. I look up and there is a F250 dually crossing the concrete median headed into oncoming traffic and clipped a sign on its way through. The truck proceeded down the wrong way until it left the road entirely, hit the shoulder, almost collided with some trees, and then re-entered traffic again. If it sounds like it all played out in slow motion, that is because it sort of did. The truck was going maybe 15 mph so this was a disaster but not a particularly dynamic one.
The the light turned green and I didn't see how the rest played out. I hope the driver is OK and didn't manage to hurt anyone.
The rest of the drive was uneventful.
I'm happy to say after 212 days of sitting with a blown head gasket, the little Italian made it home, no problem.
Obligatory thermal photo #2.
BicycleBuck last edited by
Do you have a FLIR thermal camera for your phone?
MM54 last edited by
Glad you made it home!
I once sat at a red light and looked up from adjusting the radio in the RX7 due to screeching tires just in time to watch an old hyundai t-bone a new hyundai at 30ish MPH. That was an interesting day.
jminer last edited by
Good luck tearing into it! Did you buy that new phone with the built-in thermal camera?
Chariotoflove last edited by
I was clenched in my seat reading that whole thing waiting for the other shoe to drop...and it never did. I can breathe now. I’m glad it’s running okay. Give it a good svending, would ya?
ITA97 last edited by
As with jminer, this seems like it might prompt questions about the resolution of your previous phone post. Glad the Italian made it home.
@chariotoflove ugh I should. The paint is crap (looks good but poorly applied) but I'm unlikely to do anything about that any time soon, so I should really make it as presentable as possible. I'm hoping I have the motivation to replace the carpets and recover the seats as part of this endeavor.
Or just fly @svend out and have him do it properly.
jminer last edited by
chan last edited by
Got all the parts?
RacinBob last edited by
Changing an Alfa headgasket is very easy says the guy who did one 35 years ago in his apartment parking lot. Drain the coolant, Make sure the crank is TDC and that you mark the cams. Then pull the clip on the timing chain and tie it down tight. Then pull the head and swap the gasket and make sure to install the oil rings in the head gasket. Also try not to disturb the cylinder bires as I believe they are held in by a O ring in the bottom. A couple of hours and you are done.
RallyDarkstrike last edited by
Yay! I'm just happy to see the little Alfa getting some love!
@chan If by all you mean none... then yes! That is January's problem. I figure with the little time I have between now and the offroad trip I might be able to pull the head and send it in for surfacing.
davesaddiction last edited by
@akioohtori In for more thermal photos!
Glad you weren't caught up in that wreck.