Alfa 156 GTA

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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon May 05, 2014 11:54 am

So we had quite good weather on Saturday afternoon so after fixing the E-Type i decided to make a start on doing the rear suspension on the Alfa.
The transverse arms on the car didn't look in the best of shape, i am sure at somepoint only an arm or two had been replaced as some of the arms looked very rusty and the others not soo much. The bushes however felt very soft indeed, hence replacing them.
Once the car was jacked up in the air on the back with the wheels removed it was relatively straight forward. The easily accessible bolts came loose ok. The long bolts which run through the front and rear suspension arm and through the hub did require alot of persuasion to drift out. These were also replaced, i am glad because the old ones got a little battered and had got rusty. The toe adjustable bolts had obviously corroded themselves into the rear subframe, however this made it easier to hold them still whilst the nut was removed. It is important to mark these to make sure the toe settings are kept the same, as long as the suspension arms are same length of course. The nuts to remove the front arm were harder to get at because there is little space between the petrol tank and subframe. But the real problem came when i tried to remove the arms. The arms would not slide off the end of the bolts, therefore i had to drop the rear subrame to get these off.
This does mean that the car will need setting up on a proper alignment to check everything gets adjusted back properly. THis is not something you can do easily at home.
Anyway the new rear transverse arms with polybushes have been fitted on the car. Whilst i was at it, i also decided to fit the new upgraded Eibach antiroll bar. This was difficult as the rear plastic poor droplinks were and absolute nightmare to remove. I had to resort to using mole grips to stop the knuckle rotating whilst undoing the bolt. These are now fit for the bin.
Otherwise the standard rear antiroll bar came off easily. It has seen better days and the bar was very crusty around the bush areas. In time this will be cleaned up, painted and kept as a spare in the future. The new Eibach arb was simply bolted in with new polybushes.
This also gave me an opportunity to fit my DIY adjustable droplinks. I had made these for the front it turned out, so i had to lengthen as much as i thought was safe and still try to get the ARB in the right place.
I am happy that the arb is now sitting ok, i checked this after dropping the rear onto its wheels again. Because of the standard Alfa teledials alloys i can also access these without removing the rear wheel, so i should be able to adjust if necessary.
Since the front ARB has not yet been fitted and i am not sure when i will get the chance i have also set the rear ARB on its soft setting. As it is the setup will now cause the rear of the vehicle to react alot quicker than standard, also will allow a little more controllable and easier to induce lift off oversteer.
I never expected to finish this on Saturday but i did with loads of time left. Next job is to remove and replace all the handbrake cables. Since it has been sat for soo long they have corroded up and the handbrake is very stiff. The same for the gear selector. However this just requires a few new nylon top hat bushes. So that will also be next.
I am glad to see bits and pieces being done to her, can't wait to feel how much improvement all of the new parts will make.
Attachments
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Rusty old arms
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Rusty old arms
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careful to mark position of cam washer for toe-in
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Old arb removed
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Old arb bush mounting
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New arms going in with new bolts
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New upgrade Eibach arb with new polybushed suspension arms
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Drivers side DIY adjustable rose-jointed droplinks
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Passengers side DIY adjustable rose-jointed droplinks
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Droplink position after weight on rear wheels drivers side
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Wed May 28, 2014 8:28 pm

So on the weekend I thought I would get on with servicing and finish getting the car ready again for the road. Because of the length of the time the car has been sat idle the gearstick had got very stiff and would not self centre. Therefore I stripped the mechanism on top of the gearbox apart, replaced the plastic nylon bushes and re assembled greased up. Only a quick hours job. Gearstick now sorted. I will post pics and a quick procedure to show hows its done.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Wed May 28, 2014 9:01 pm

Simple, remove plastic elbow for intake, even easier if you remove the rubber elbow aswell, but i didn't.
Remove battery x2 10mm battery terminals and 13mm nut holding strap down, lift out battery, lift up plastic tray under battery.
Undo 4x 13mm bolts holding tray, then remove 1x 10mm nut at back which holds wiring loom to battery tray, then remove 10mm nut holding air filter housing to battery tray.
Then unclip 4x relay mounts with relays
Then unbolt battery tray which is held in place with 4x 13mm bolts
Then remove battery tray. You now have as much access as you need.
Then undo 17mm nut on gear linkage swivel housing thingy, leave nut on whilst you tap with hammer and suitable drift to push out linkage arm. Note there is nut, washer, then actuating arm with spring , this needs to be slid off whilst you drift out linakge arm.
Then once arm is removed you will see plastic bushes, drift these out. Its easy to drift out the back one and then i used screw driver to push down on front bush, hook out and remove.
Then with wd40 and sand paper clean out hole. Then apply lots of grease(lm or silicone not copper grease) to keep it all nicely moving. Push in new top hat plastic bushes with grease.
Then re assemble. Do not go mad tight with the 17mm nut, just nip it up(it is nylock)
I found that you didn't need to unclip cable from linkage arm, therefore less fiddly.
All bolts were put back in with dab of grease to help aid them come out next time.
Perfect smooth gear stick again.
Step by step pictures to follow
Last edited by Will01 on Thu May 29, 2014 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Thu May 29, 2014 11:49 am

Pictures
Attachments
DSC_2027.jpg
Loosen, rubber(silicon in my case) elbow from plastic intake pipe and remove. Remove battery once unbolted etc
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Terminals removed
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Remove 13mm strap nut to be able to remove battery
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Remove relay cover and unclip relays
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Unbolt 10mm nut holding wiring to battery tray
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Unbolt 10mm nut holding air filter housing to battery tray
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DSC_2020.jpg
Lift up lower plastic tray under battery and unbolt battery tray from inner wing held in place by removing 4x 13mm bolts
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17mm nut needs to be undone and nut/washer removed and drift out shaft
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See which nut i talking about
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DSC_2018.jpg
Once shaft arm etc has been removed, remove plastic bushes and replace with new bushes and apply grease
DSC_2018.jpg (96.19 KiB) Viewed 2852 times
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:56 am

So the next thing to do is to replace the handbrake cables, these only arrived last night so hopefully if it is dry enough i will get these fitted one evening this week. I am rushing the car on a little bit at the moment as i really need a car in the next month. My cheap daily run around is starting to shout out for some money to spend on it, i grudge spending money on anything that is due to come off the road in the next couple of months anyway.
Will add pictures and procedure once this job has been completed.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:45 am

So the handbrake cables were fitted with relative ease and now this works well.
The car was Taxed only the over day, however i have now noticed that the clutch feels very spongy and doesn't give good feeling and also causes the clutch to slip as it is not releasing quick enough.
I fear that being stood for soo long that it has seized up slighlty and the piston is sticking which is causing the clutch to not release properly and causes slipping.
After inspection as i was going to try and bleed it, i noticed there was a bit of fluid leaking out the piston. Therefore i have ordered a new slave cylinder.
It could not have happened at a worst time as my wifes Cooper S has blown a headgasket or has a leaking valve seat! I had also just SORN my cheap run about Corsa a few days before the Alfa was Taxed so i and my wife are car less! Doh!
Hopefully the cylinder arrives in tomorrow and i will then be able to get at least one of use to work with no issues.
I highly recommend no one to ever leave a car sat up on the drive motionless as it will bite you unexpectedly. I did this to try and save money but it is definetely eating into what i thought i had saved.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:22 am

So new clutch slave cylinder fitted, but after driving the car for about a week this new cylinder has developed a knocking sound. After checking it is slightly loose in its mount(hence the noise)
I think this part is a pattern as it is slightly small on outer diameter which is why it is not a tight fit.
Will be taking it out and repalcing with genuine item at somepoint, hopefully i can refund the pattern part as it is not fit for purpose.
Just another item that has showed to not being sat long is the anti-vibration crank pulley, when the car is running there is a slight squeaking sound which i put down to gunk or something else on the auxillary belt. However on closer inspection this pulley is wobbling slightly and i think the noise is coming from the auxillary pulley wobbling with the belt. Great!
I have already enquired and will be purchasing another item to replace. I will do this when doing belts etc and clutch job.
I may also have a look at the old one and modify slightly.
It seems the anti vibration pulley as two metal parts which are bonded together with a rubber mount, apparently the specialists say that when this gets old and perishes and the vehicle is left for long periods the auxillary belt tension causes the rubber to deform slightly. Then when the car is run the pulley starts to wobble and it causes this noise!
I will check this anyway and post some pictures to help confirm what is the fault.
This is getting very expensive!!!!
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:17 pm

Getting ready for the massive overhaul now. The wife's Mini i hope is now fixed and ready to go.
Before i start taking another car apart i am going to run for a few weeks whilst i wait on a few orders arriving.
I will post some pictures of the parts as and when they arrive and try to give a good plan to work that is being carried out. No doubt this is going to go completely over budget as i am sure we will find plenty of things that we will want to change whilst the car is stripped.
Maybe try a few DIY modification aswell.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:40 pm

So the car is definetely calling out for some much love, i really do think we have pushed it enough with the overdue clutch change.
The parts have now at least started to arrive after raising orders over the weekend. New Valeo OE clutch arrived and some other smaller items are on the way. So will be a nice new Quaife Torque Biasing Diff to help keep the car working for longer(these cars have tendency for diff exploding!) and also help put the power down better.
Many other parts still to arrive, its nice to see the nice weather has also rolled in to make this a nice experience over the holiday period. Unfortunately this all has to be donw outside so wish me luck with taking complete Engine and Transmission from the vehicle!
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:44 pm

Last night a box of goodies arrived for my 156 GTA. A big thankyou goes out to Dan @ Autolusso Penrith for helping me out.
Its also nice to see that we have an Alfa specialist in the North which might make servicing in future alot easier. We used to have specialists in Carlisle but these were lost unfortunately.

From what i have mentioned previously the car is due a large service which i had been putting off for a bit too long. It was also quite hard to seperate with such a wad of cash as i am sure there are plenty other things i could have spent it on. But so far i am glad i didn't.
Got Rocker Cover/Spark Plug rubber gaskets for when the rocker covers are removed to aid timing belt change.
Purchasd an OE Gates Timing Belt(which is made in the factory where i work). I also have new idlers and tensioners to fit alongside a new Aux crank anti vibration pulley as my old one is wobbling about due to the rubber perishing.
Also got new gearbox mount, this is common to go soft in high mileage cars and causes excessive movement in engine which can lead to difficulties with fitting equal length front pipes. Whilst on this subject i also have new exhaust gaskets to allow fitment of CF2 (2.5/3.0v6 pre 2001) manifolds, which do not have pre-cats. Means a good weight reduction and helps improve flow and efficiency.
I still have got to purchase equal length front pipes, i have a few options here but i will let you know what i decide when it comes to it.
I also purchased new hub nuts as the driveshafts will be removed and given new boots and greasing or rebuild if required.
You already know that i have a complete OE Valeo clutch kit to fit, but i now also have a nice Quaife Torque Biasing diff to fit with new bearings and seals. This will make a huge difference in the way this front heavy front wheel drive car will handle. It should be remembered that this is being done as a sort of preventitive maintenance and also to make my family car a bit safer.
I also need to fit my new Eibach front ARB with polybushes and numerous other jobs which i have on my list.
Attachments
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Rocker cover and spark plug rubber gaskets
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OE Gates timing belt to be fitted alongside new tensioner and idlers
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New Aux crank pulley
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Gearbox mount and hub nuts and other parts etc
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Exhaust manifold gaskets
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New seals and bearings for diff
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Quaife torque biasing diff. I am really looking forward to seeing how much difference this makes to the car. Some report a huge difference so i do have high hopes.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:55 pm

So although the weather was not great and i didn't have access to a dry garage i decided i had to make a start on this now rather than wait. First job was to get the car up on jacks and start prepping the car ready for removing the engine.
I know alot of people leave the inlet manifold etc etc on, but i have decided to remove to give extra clearance when removing the engine.
Again the manuals say take out the top, however as i have other jobs to tackle e.g. replacing anti roll bar and clutch and diff change i have to remove the subframe. Therefore i will be dropping engine out the bottom.
Because of this fact i have removed the front bumper and radiator/fan with cowling to allow the engine to slide out from underneath.
The front of the car was driven up onto ramps to give an initial height to start jacking from(which is much safer than just jacking form the ground). The lower radiator panel i managed to get to 2 feet above the concrete and with the radiator and lower panel removed i have sufficient height to slide out the engine on a trolley i made previously(i hope). Also means i have flat secure place to rest the car for the next few week months to take my time with.
Being as the car is now 12 years+ i was expecting to have a few difficult bolts etc. To start with everything came apart fine e.g. suspension as i had it apart recently when polybushing the car before. Unfortunately one bolt on the lower radiator panel sheared off which is going to be a right old headache and only 1 out of 10 nuts came off the exhaust, the others either sheared or had to be cold chisseled off!
I have noticed that the standard lower front pipes are heavily dented and damaged, so this is a perfect excuse to upgrade with equal length front pipes to improve torque. Also gives perfect excuse to fit non pre-cat manifolds to help with flow which should help reduce fuel economy and power.
I didn't get as far as i wanted due to the hold ups and the porr weather, but thankfully i wasn't alone and had one of my younger cousins for company who also loves tinkering on cars. Big thankyou to Matthew Wright :).
Starting to build a shopping list already for parts i have seen so far and parts i need to clean up.
The metal strip that sits inside the bumper has rusted out on one side, so it looks like i will have to re-manufacture this part. Got a long list already of nuts and bolts to replace.
Whilst i am at it, i am also planning on a few preventative maintenance items e.g. replace coolant hoses for silicone etc. Hopefully my wife can give me a hand aswell as they are lots of metal items which could do with stripping down and re-painting to make it look nice and clean again.
As for the engine service with belts, i am toying with the idea of sending engine to specialist to get it done properly as i don't have the specific tools to do the job which are hundreds of pounds. I may still try to hire, but we will see.
Attachments
DSC_3049.jpg
Disconnecting driveshafts and front forks
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Just some of the big parts removed so far!
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Jacked up ready to go
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Bumper removed
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Engine before stripping back
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Taking off the engine 'pretty' covers
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Removing plenum
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Removing inlet runners
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Removing front radiator
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:23 pm

Bad weather is definitely slowing progress at the moment, however i did manage to make some progress. Unfortunately my phone has died again( only been in for repair several times, lucky it will be replaced in a few weeks) so i have not been able to take any photos. Although i will try to rectify this.
I have removed one driveshaft (drivers side) already and because the boots are both split or perished i have started to split the joint apart. Before re-assembly i will be cleaning out the old grease and replacing the inner and outer boots. They may also be treated to a clean up and lick of paint aswell.
Unfortunately i wasn't able to remove the passenger side driveshaft as the 8mm hex sockets i have kept shearing and shattered (Draper Expert, normally i find these quite good, but for this job they are just hopeless). Hopefully the Halfords professional hex sockets will last a bit better.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:39 pm

So the weather was absolutely brilliant over the weekend and still is now whilst i write this email. Halfords pro hex socket worked brilliantly and you can fell there is no flex unlike the previous ones. I have confidence in these tools at least.

I have been in contact with a local Alfa specialist in Penrith who has been helping me out with an ever expanding shopping list of parts. I have never spent soo much on any car, i kind of hope i don't need to again for a very long time. After she is back on the road i estimate i would have spent as much on her as i did when i bought her back in 2009! Ouch!

Anyway i had some help from my Dad & Wife over the weekend and together we managed to strip the complete front end of the car away with engine, box subframe etc etc.
I have already cleaned down the front sunframe and fitted the Front upgrade Eibach ARB with brand new polybushes. I think i may remove again before fitting on car as i want to try out a few little mods etc. Maybe add some more paint etc.

Engine & Box came out relatively easily in the end although we did take our time not to break or pull on any wires or pipes etc of which there are alot. Now the GTA looks like a flinstones mobile haha.
The original plan was to service and clean up everything back to standard etc, however since quite a few parts need serviced i have decided to upgrade some parts for preventative maintenance, so mild steel coolant pipes are being replaced with Stainless Steel. Coolant hoses are being changed to Silicone(Red) and the rubber intake gaskets changed to Silicone(Red). All hoseclips will be replaced with stainless clips. The engine will be cleaned and painted by my wife, nolonger standard colours, but yet TBA. I have faith it will look good and not tacky like some boyracer piece of poor.
I will add pictures as soon as i have a camera phone that works properly, not buying a Sony Xperia again(useless in my opinion!).

Once i have put it together i will post a list of Standard & Modified parts that we have fitted to the car and show some before and after comparisons. But i am really looking forward to the end result. SHould serve as the family car for a bit longer and it be nice to show it off at shows now it is becoming a 'modern classic'.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:13 pm

So i stripped the gearbox diff cover from the box to reveal the diff and crown wheel.
New bearings and seals were fitted to the various parts on the gearbox, the hydraulic press makes installing bearings and pushing on seals very easy.
Jobs still to do with this is to rotate box over few times and check the float on the newly installed Quaife differential and add some Loctite to the crown wheel bolts to help prevent them coming loose.
Then its just a job of resealing the casing and getting the box cleaned up a little more ready for re-fitting.
Whilst i was at it i also greased the thrust bearing actuating arm as it was a little dry.

Driveshafts have been split apart, just waiting on getting some new lithium based CV boot grease and these will be re-assembled ready for re-fitting.
New CV boots have been ordered as it makes sense to give them a full overhaul whilst they are off the car.

Next jobs are to carry on with engine cleaning and prep work for new belts and idler and tensioners etc. Engine covers need to be properly cleaned up ready for high temp paint. We will have to wait what the finished article looks like, but anything will be better than it was.

Also i have been busy prepping the CF2 exhaust manifolds which have come off a 156 2.5 V6 Alfa. The pipes where they meet the heads are internally welded so i have had them welded on the outside and i have spent today grinding and cleaning up the internal shape of the exhausts. Its not perfect, however alot better than having giant nuggets restricting exhaust flow. I have been very careful to make sure the step between head and manifolds has stayed.
These manifolds do not have lambda sensor holes, so the longer manifold needs a boss welding in. The shorter one will have the lambda sitting in the front pipe instead. I have ordered a lambda boss M18x1.5 from a company which arrived very quickly from our friends in Poland. I have also ordered step drills and will be installing this in the longer manifold as soon as possible. This will need a bit of fettling but should all be good. I am hoping for a good improvement in the engine as the pre-cats are no good.

As always pictures will follow.
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Will01
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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Post by Will01 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:08 pm

So as promised here are a few more pictures. I was going to do a strip down sort of manual for this, but have decided against it as there are alot! of pictures.
Engine was removed, lots of parts had to be disconnected and removed, pushed out of the way(sorry i don't want to list everything as i forgot some items).
Engine hoist was used to drop the engine downwards after i removed the subframe from the car. Lots of rope was needed and we took our time not to damage anything.

Once subframe was off the car and engine on the floor comlete with box, i looked at removing the standard old antiroll bar ad droplinks and bushes etc. The bush mounts have to be seperated with a chisel as they are pressed together. I then replaced ARB with Eibach upgrade thicker and stiffer ARB and fitted with new polybushes which were copper greased up. We also have some upgraded Meyle HD drop links to fit from ARB to front suspension once re-fitted.

Engine & Box were then seperated to check condition of clutch which we knew was slipping. Turns out the clutch plate was ok but the pressure plate had worn where the thrust washer pushes on it. Hence why on some days the clutch was fine and other days the clutch slipped like mad. Bit of overheating visible on flywheel which was cleaned up ready for new clutch kit. I am using a standard Valeo OE kit as it is known to be suitable without extra expense and downsides of performance clutch kit. Performance clutch kit £300+. Ouch!
Inlet manifolds were removed from the engine and the ports were blocked up and taped up to prevent crud getting in the engine. Then exhaust manifolds were removed carefully so as not to break or strip anything. Ports also blocked up. Threads have all been cleaned up with tap to prevent cross threading later on.
Manifolds removed to allow fitment of older CF2 2.5 V6 manifolds without precats.
Gearbox diff housing was split apart and Quaife differential with new seals and bearing fitted. Hydraulic press is a must for this type of work. Makes job easy and less risk of bearing damage.
Attachments
Photo174.jpg
Engine stripped ready for going down
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Subframe removed
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Photo183.jpg
Old vs New Eibach ARB and droplinks
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Photo184.jpg
Subframe was cleaned after this(had to remove arb again) Thanks to wifey for good cleaning
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DSC_1250.jpg
Engine out
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Me feeling very cold
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Subframe cleaned up
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Old Precat manifold vs new (older) CF2 de precat manifolds
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