Alfa 156 GTA

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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:18 pm

Just cleaned up and replaced with new pads as I am going camping holiday next week. Looking at the caliper I may have a job fitting a 20mm vented disc, but I reckon I could get away with using a 16mm width disc if I machine the caliper and mount very slightly.
I also renewed the relays under the bonnet as my a/c hasn't been working and found some corroded relays. Ac is now back and working which is good news for this heat.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:50 pm

I have been told that I should have used red silicone grease for greasing sliders on brake calipers as copper grease and other mineral based greases cause the rubber to swell up. One of the slider pins has a rubber sleeve which swells if the wrong grease is used. How much truth is in this? Does anyone know where I can buy a tub of this high temperature red grease from? I think I may ask a rubber technologist at work but would appreciate any help from anyone else in the know.
Will
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:01 pm

So today I took out the slider bolts that I greased yesterday and cleaned them of all copper grease as recommended. Then borrowed some silicone grease to lube them back up. Brakes all working nicely in time for mot and camping holiday up north.

I will take some pictures of the second hand calipers and carriers I purchased and share with everyone the plan about modifying them so they are suitable to run a vented disc on the rear. Maybe of interest to some out there?
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:23 am

After giving the brakes a good service and run in i did also treat the car to a good wash and polish. Looks nice and shiny but unfortunately also shows up all the stone chips and scratches.

Anyway i thought i would show a few pictures of the brake calipers in question and try to give a rough idea what i am trying to do.

So the initial brief is to improve braking on the rear to prevent discs from warping and hopefully last longer by keeping temperatures reduced slightly.
It may end up being a waster of time, but i like these little challenges to make the car my own.

The standard setup on the rear uses a single piece 10mm wide disc. I want to try and keep weight as close to standard as possible, less is better but not a necessity. I also want to try and keep a standard size caliper without investing in upgraded calipers and mounts to suit etc.
After getting a hold of the calipers my first thought was to cut them and make them wider to allow a vented 20mm disc to fit, however for the slider at least this is not a good idea.
The next idea which i where i am at the moment is to take the carrier and machine a wider groove to allow the disc to run inside. The planned disc for this would be a vented 16mm wide rotor. I think i can get away with widening by only a few mm's and measurements will confirm if the pads will still run ok inside the slides. Then i would need to modify the caliper by machining a little bit off the fork at the end of the caliper and re-inforcing with an extra brace. I may even have to slightly machining down the face of the piston by a few mm's also.
These small changes may then allow me to run a 6mm wider disc with pads.

I will do some more calculations and draw up some sketches, but i pretty sure i can get this to work.
With the discs i have already mentioned that i will be adopting 2 piece bolted bells and rotors. So the next thing to do is to confirm the measurements of the disc bell with the panned changes to the caliper & carrier.
I will update when i know more.
Attachments
DSC_0593.jpg
Rear Caliper Alfa 156 GTA
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Carrier
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DSC_0595.jpg
Carrier, slides for pads visible
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DSC_0596.jpg
Caliper
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:04 pm

Will01 wrote:I have been told that I should have used red silicone grease for greasing sliders on brake calipers as copper grease and other mineral based greases cause the rubber to swell up. One of the slider pins has a rubber sleeve which swells if the wrong grease is used. How much truth is in this? Does anyone know where I can buy a tub of this high temperature red grease from? I think I may ask a rubber technologist at work but would appreciate any help from anyone else in the know.
Will
So to update everyone, i have sought a bit more of a professional answer about how rubber responds to greases etc.
It is true if a Natural Rubber or EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) Rubber is used with a mineral based oil/grease that the rubber will swell up. This is due to the hydro-carbons in the rubber.
However if the rubber is part of a Polar group, these become resistant to Oils/Greases e.g. HNBR (Hydrogented nitrile butadiene rubber) is part of the Nitrile group.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:48 am

So i just got back from a rather nice camping holiday up and around Scotland in the Alfa.
The car run faultlessly even after clocking up 1000miles on some very rough roads. Managed to visit many beautiful places and a few not soo nice.
The trip included driving up the west coast Oban/Fort William then up the Great Glen (Loch Ness) and then down to Stirling and Home.
The only thing i have noticed is that the car doesn't feel quite as tight as it did before we left and there are quite a few groans and knocks coming from the front suspension. Looks like the car is now crying out for suspension overhaul.
To start things rolling again new polybushes will be ordered this week and some nice new uprated adjustable antiroll bars will be in the post when i get paid again.
I am also trying to locate a set of replacement exhaust manifolds and down pipes as the originals have taken a battering whilst away. The car was loaded up to the max and was running very low so kept bottoming out on the bumpy roads.
I will update again once the parts have arrived, a small overview will also be created on how to change OE bushes to polybushes.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Had a bit of good news today, whilst I was looking through an internet auction site I came across some cf2 Alfa 156 2.5 v6 exhaust manifolds. They were at a good price so after a little research they were purchased.
For all you guys out there the GTA has cf3 manifolds which have pre-cats built in. This is done to help emission control. The car also has two main cats underneath aswell. The problem with these cats is that they reduce the engines ability to breath and also get very hot. The ecu also runs the car richer to help keep the pre-cats cool. Theory is that the cf2 manifolds help the engine breathe and increase fuel economy. Throttle response is also improved.
I have now been in touch with Gus at Alfatune motorsport and I will be purchasing a set of equal length front down pipes to help improve the install. All in all both the manifolds and equal length pipes should liberate a little power and a bit of torque. I will attach pictures when possible.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:57 pm

So another day and yet more parts bought for the Alfa. Today saw a full set of polybushes purchased from Strongflex. Had bushes from them in the past and have been impressed with their customer service. They are alot cheaper than more well known manufacturers which has most to do with use of bright zinc plated metal parts. However these will be re machined in stainless before being fitted.
Also spent a little time this evening stripping the standard rubber cheese bushes out the new upper front suspension arms I bought last year. These have been fitted with some newly designed Powerflex bushes. I will add pictures of these tomorrow.
Looking forward to next week when I can get on and uprate the other suspension arms with the new polybushes.
These should help to improve the feel of the car. I was careful to choose the soft variety as I don't want to make the ride too harsh as it is to be driven daily. Like the rear bushes I have already fitted they should make the car feel tighter.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:17 am

Heres some pictures of the Front upper suspension arms with polybushes being attached.
I haven't done this before (on these arms)and had lots of people telling me it was a real pig, they suggested drilling and cutting with hacksaw blades and using a blow torch.
I did try drilling them but the aluminium arms are very soft and i kept getting alu swarf. I then tried cutting the tops of the bushes off with a hacksaw, but this was no use either.
In the end i actually found it easier to clamp the rubber/metal bush in a vice and then with alot of brute strength twisted the arm until the bush started to rotate in the arm, then i just twisted the arm at an angle so the bush popped out.
Ok so it hurt my arms, but it did no damage to the suspension arms at all, which is a good result and made it easier to clean and prepare for the polybushes.

Before fitting or greasing the bush i first cleaned up the arm with some fine sand paper to make sure all sharp edges were removed and also to make sure the mating faces were smooth.
I then used copper grease and used plenty of it to fit all the bushes correctly and to make sure they hopefully do not squeak once fitted.

I will start preparing the lower front arms tonight since the polybushes are in the post. For the front lower arms there are 3x bushes per arm (one inner front, one inner back and one outer bush). I had previously been bought the outer bush by my wife as a Anniversary present, but in the kit i have in the post i also have another bush of the same type but different hardness. I will be able to fine tune this depending on what i feel is best. But for now i will start with the softer bush.
Attachments
DSC_1110.jpg
OE Upper front arms with soft poor rubber bushes
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DSC_1111.jpg
Pulled out the rubber bushes ready for Polybushes
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DSC_1112.jpg
Powerflex bushes fitted and greased up nicely
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DSC_1113.jpg
Close up of Powerflex bushes fitted
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:54 pm

So after another couple of hours I did start polybushing the front lower suspension arms with outer bushes from Strongflex. As previously mentioned I will have a choice of hardness for this bush, however have started with the softer type.
Plenty of copper grease was used to prevent sqeaking in the future.

Also the exhaust manifolds off an older 156 2.5 V^ arrived, these will be cleaned up and wrapped ready for fitment. More details will follow.
Attachments
DSC_1114.jpg
Standard lower suspension arm for the front
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DSC_1115.jpg
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DSC_1116.jpg
Outer bush removed with use of the hydraulic floor press, polybushes ready to mount
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DSC_1117.jpg
Outer bush removed with use of the hydraulic floor press
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DSC_1118.jpg
Polybushes mounted
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DSC_1119.jpg
Close up of outer bush
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DSC_1120.jpg
2.5 V6 CF2 manifolds
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DSC_1121.jpg
2.5 V6 CF2 manifolds, bargain buy
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stdexhaust.JPG
see standard exhaust manifold with pre-cat installed
stdexhaust.JPG (26.89 KiB) Viewed 1414 times
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:58 am

So during last week the bushes did arrive from Strongflex.
Then i spent many of my evenings trying to remove old bushes and fit the new polybushes.
The front lower arms were and absolute pig, i would recommend to pay someone to do it. In fact if i ever do this again i will pay for someone to do it.
Unfortunately i did find that one of the bushes for the front lower arms had the wrong size metal internal sleeve, however after looking online i have seen that aftermarket arms do have a slightly different diameter pin. Not to worry as i will get these machined to fit at my locals engineering firm.

I also set about pushing the bushes out of the rear transverse arms, again i found that some of them were the wrong size. However after being in contact with Strongflex they did advise me that Alfa did use transverse arms over many different years with slightly different size bushes. They have also kindly forwarded me some new replacement metal sleeve which should help me go forward.
I am very impressed with communication and customer service of this company and its great they have a 2 years warranty on their products.
The only thing i see about fitting new metal sleeves in the transverse arms is that the arms themselves are very flimsy and to help strengthen the bush fitting i will be welding the metal sleeves in as i don't want them coming apart. I will also look at bracing the arm a little to strengthen it as i am not happy at how bendy they are.

I also polybushed a spare top engine mount as you can see in the pictures. This was relatively easy and quick.
Attachments
DSC_1151.jpg
Both arms together. I am not kidding when i say it took a day just to get the standard rubber bushes off and clean up the parts
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DSC_1143.jpg
Top engine steady mount
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DSC_1145.jpg
Looking neat
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DSC_1146.jpg
Rear transverse arms for front and rear of hub on rear suspension setup
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DSC_1147.jpg
One side setup of transverse arms for rear suspension, one short one long arm. Bushes pushed out ready waiting for metal sleeves to be pushed in
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DSC_1149.jpg
Bushes finally removed, lots of hard work to get this far. Not recommended
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DSC_1150.jpg
Bushes fitted bar one, you can see one of the bushes has no metal sleeve fitted yet
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:18 am

Good news, the new larger metal bushes arrive din the post last night and i have already cleaned them up and pushed them into the rear transverse arms.
All that i need to do with these now is to get them welded in straight and then painted as i have had to remove the bright zinc plating to allow them to be welded.
Then only need to push in the polybushes.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:02 pm

Picked up the lower front arms from the Engineering shop on the weekend after the metal bush had to be modified.
All that is awaiting these are a little bit of weld to help hold them in situ.
The front suspension is all ready to go. Looking at the front tyres today i saw that the inside edges are starting to wear so it is a good sign that the tracking is not quite right, i wouldn't be surprised if the bushes are at fault. Hence the reason to upgrade whilst replacing.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:43 pm

So finally got the metal bushes fitted on the lower front arms. Getting these bushes in place was a real pain. I really do not recommend doing this yourself, it is easier and quicker to buy them already sorted. That's what i will try next time.
Before fitting i will give them a lick of paint, but for now you can see.
Attachments
DSC_1158.jpg
Both front arms with PU bushes fitted and ready for fitment to vehicle
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fingers99
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by fingers99 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:32 pm

as i have had to remove the bright zinc plating to allow them to be welded
Not sure if you've done it yet, but but I find hydrochloric acid by far the best and quickest way. Sounds terrifying, but, degrease the bits, put them in a plastic container (outside or in a fume cabinet), pour in acid, stand back, retrieve when the fast initial fizzing stops. Cold rinse followed by 2 hot rinses, blow dry and weld away without zinc fume (which is actually more painful than dangerous, but zinc inclusion makes for a horrible weld). Obviously, splash proof goggles and decent nitrile gloves.
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