As time goes on, maintaining both prized vintage cars and newer models is becoming more difficult. Production lines, workshops, and even resellers all have their eyes trained on new electric cars. In the event that you do not have access to a workshop or trained and certified engineers, there are still certain things you can do to make sure your restoration goes smoothly. Here’s what you need to know:
When restoring an Alfa Romeo, the work begins within. You will want to have a look at the engine first. Generally, these don’t require a complete reassembly. However, in the event that they do, this can be done without too much trouble. Ensuring a thorough job here will save you a lot of hassle in the future if you choose to go on longer journeys or even ship the car elsewhere.
For example, the 105 Series engine from the 1967 Spider was relatively lighter. You could set this on any common stand and use a crankshaft to do any necessary bearing-work that might be involved. An important thing to note when it comes to inspecting engines is the maintenance of oil passages. You’ll want to use pressurized air or any other method to ensure that these passages are debris-free and that the rest of the engine is completely clean and free of dust by the time you are done.
If you do decide to take up a complete reassembly of the engine, it is advised that you consult a manual. Rest assured, the engine is the soul of any car, and any mistake in assembling it could have dire consequences for both you and your car if done carelessly. There are a few things you should keep a track of during this work:
- Are you using the proper pliers to fit piston rings onto the pistons? While it can be done by hand, they tend to be brittle and can warp very easily if something goes wrong.
- Make sure to use high-strength Loctite when installing the caps.
- Are you following a proper, thought-out sequence when installing the head of the engine?
Other than these, a few basic things to keep in mind while working on the mechanical elements of the restoration include: checking fuel pressure, installing clutch covers, making sure all your wiring is complete (including the ignition!). If you are taking the proper precautions and following a manual when in doubt, you will most likely be able to avoid having any pesky engine light errors.
Electrical issues are some of the most commonplace faced by Alfa Romeo owners. The first step to figuring out what the issue is will be troubleshooting. Some electrical issues will simply be due to a blown fuse, while others might result from faulty or degraded wiring. Electrical problems can also be diagnosed on sight if you are experiencing glitches such as the windows rolling down on their own, or not doing so when prompted. If you’re lucky, all you will have to do in certain circumstances is simply reconnect the wires to their appropriate spots.
For future reference, it’s good practice to use wire jackets that are color-coded after the restoration, so you’ll know what has gone wrong if problems arise in the future.
Other than engine errors and faulty electronics, there are smaller details that can’t be missed. One of the bigger hassles for someone looking to restore an Alfa Romeo is the heater box. Older models in particular are notorious for being difficult to maintain. You’ll find this box under the dashboard. Once you’ve got it out, there are a few things to check:
- Are the heater valves and fan units still in the box? It’s not uncommon to find them removed from heater boxes and replaced with aftermarket substitutes.
- Is the wire-routing correct? Heating issues can sometimes be caused by a lack of attention to proper wiring, which causes problems in heat distribution.
- Make sure you’ve cleaned the heater box properly after reassembly.
Restoring the mechanical aspects of the Alfa Romeo is only half the job. Depending on the condition of your car, restoring the appearance can either be relatively simple or constitute the bulk of the work you’ll be doing.
Rusting is pretty much a universal problem for enthusiasts looking to restore cars. If your Alfa Romeo has experienced significant rusting, you’ll have to get bodywork done. This process usually involves machine buffing, sanding, and lastly, giving the body a new coat of paint and prime. A general good practice here is to use a reliable rust-free coating of wax which will help future-proof your vehicle, this is doubly recommended if you are trying to restore an older version.
No matter the age of your car, this step will be common to most restoration projects. Certain highlights to look out for here include:
- Visible chips and cracks in the paintwork or the body.
- Corrosion on and under the doors.
- Your goal for how the car should look. Prepare according to your needs; should the Alfa Romeo have metallic paint or matte?
Restoration Done Right
As you can see, while restoring an Alfa Romeo is not exactly straightforward, it can be sliced into more manageable chunks. As a rule, it is always a good idea to either have an expert or a manual (or both!) at hand to help guide you through the finer points of this project.