Author Topic: Busso V6 timing belt stuff  (Read 1315 times)

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Felix Kulakowski

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Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« on: March 08, 2020, 05:53:36 PM »
Just whilst I am on our beloved forum......anyone ( anyone ?? ) who noted my SOS post a few months back about doing the timing belt on my 3.2 V6 spider it all had a happy ending and I managed to complete the whole job all on my ownsome. ENGINE IN! Quite proud. The upside is I have quite a few bits and pieces and even some custom made ( NIDA sets workshop ) tools to help me complete the job. So if anyone else feels brave enough to tackle this frankly extremely challenging, knuckle stripping, swear the air blue job I have all the necessary bits and bobs for you to attempt it....including some phone numbers for suitable counsellors and Beyond Blue helplines........regards F

Italian Supermodel

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2020, 06:12:15 PM »
Well done Felix,  great effort.
 But why would you want to sell the tools of victory? (balance the finances perhaps!) .
  I would be framing them all up and they would be going straight into the Pool Room.
 Honesty the smile of satisfaction it would create every time you cast an eye at it would be priceless.

Bravo Felix!

Felix Kulakowski

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2020, 08:39:10 PM »
Many many thanks Supermodel. From the deafening silence from the Alfa community I was starting to thing it was all a storm in a teacup. But it certainly wasn't! It was my first timing belt, accessories belt, water pump job all in the claustrophobic confines of a 3.2 engine bay...so I thought I did pretty good! But I get the feeling in the current Corona Virus atmosphere we are all living in everyone has bigger fish to fry. I hope every one in the Alfa community still feels the need and want to reach out and talk freely about whatever situation they or their family are facing and I know for a FACT working on my little Spider is definitely helping me with the stress of it all. And a little call out to the home of Alfa....Italy and the appalling time they must be having at the moment.
che Dio vi benedica....Anyway with this time on my hands I finally sent off my Spider Across Australia story to the Alfa mag. I have tried to attach it to this reply in every format known to mankind without luck ( you listening Eddie ) ....seriously crap website in so many ways......and where are the Concorso 2019 photos???? I've given up so I will cut and paste it in this reply and see if that works....stay Alfa regards F
Spider Across Australia   by Felix Kulakowski

As a keen reader of classic car magazines and a particular admirer of British and Italian classics ; Alfa Romeo’s in particular having owned a few lower rung models in my time, it never ceases to amaze me the truly gobsmackingly unbelievably outrageous money bandied about for classics like  DB5’s, E-types and Ferraris or anything even slightly exotic. After converting to the feeble Aus. dollar we are talking about the price of a VERY large house in a posh suburb. Even quite  ordinary “classics you can afford” like Healeys or MGs or even Mini’s mean being an educator on an educators wage the chances of me ever owning a bottom of the rung  “in need of full restoration”  classic is as likely as me winning Le Mans in a 2nd hand Lancia Beta Coupe.
Which brings me to my tale of  finally acquiring what I call a VERY affordable future classic……The Alfa Romeo 916 Spider 3.2 V6 phase 3  and the quite incredible tale  of purchasing it in Perth W.A. and driving it the entire length of Australia to home in Sydney in 4 and half days. The story begins over a bottle of red wine at my then Alfa Mechanics workshop……….

So I’d made my mind up ala mid life crisis that I wanted a 916 Spider. I had  already owned a couple of 147s and considered myself a pretty good home mechanic cum alfa enthusiast. Why a 916 Spider? Simple…..Italian, convertible, pretty, sexy, sporty and unbelievably affordable. This was a car when released was called the most beautiful car in the world! And in true Alfa style devalue like they’re falling off a cliff. I mean very reasonable examples are for sale for anywhere between 5 and $10,000……..stupid money!  My mechanic persuaded my to go for the V6…3 or 3.2 ltr due to the rather heavy all galvanised chassis and I set my heart on the face lift phase 3 model…….like my 147.
Lots of online searching ensured with plenty of twin sparks available but few V6s. Then one night at said mechanics workshop ( which after hours tended to resemble more a scene from  Bada Bing in The Sopranos than an Alfa workshop ) we found a low mileage red 3.2 V6 phase 3 on gumtree for 10K! Perfect! Only problem was it was in Perth W.A. 3500kms away. Before I had time to think my mechanic was on the phone negotiating the price and telling the seller I’ll be on a flight tomorrow. Right. So how the hell do I get it back to Sydney? Put it on a freight train? “ No ……you drive it back” he enthused. I looked him square in the eyes and said “ are you F%$#@^& mad?” His reply has haunted me ever since and like a fool I fell for it……..” why, ….haven’t you got the balls?”

So armed with a bundle of cash, a selection of tools, change of clothes and my partner’s incredulous mutterings still ringing in my ears I touched down in Perth midnight the next day.  Morning and a short cab ride brought me face to face with my nemesis. It looked OK with the usual mixed shades of red and pink paint due to the aussie sun and the combination of composite, fiberglass and steel panels.   The black leather interior was in good nick and the engine in particular seemed very clean and had only 50K on the clock. A quick test drive found the 6 speed gearbox, brakes and mechanicals all pretty good and it came with 3 keys and a service wallet. Unfortunately apart from the usual service stamps there were no receipts or service history at all…..including timing belt. Well I’d come that far and I had a good feeling about her so we negotiated to $ 7,5K and off I went into the great unknown………Sydney or bust
Day 1 Perth to Southern Cross 370km
Before hitting The Great Eastern Highway I brimmed the tank, checked all the vitals and collected provisions like spare oil, petrol, water, tyre inflater                    ( remembering this is a car with no spare and pretty dodgy tyres ) and the all important roo whistles ( see pic ).  These are small plastic devices you fit to the front of your car powered by moving air that emit a siren like sound that hopefully scare off the dreaded roo’s and their suicidal tendencies to hurl themselves into your fast moving vehicle at dawn and dusk.  My aim was to be back in Sydney in 4 to 5 days and being a roadie in the 80’s and 90’s and having trucked my sound and lighting system pretty well all over the country I left in good spirits for the adventure ahead. It didn’t last long……..
 
With half a day already gone I figured on just doing as many Ks as possible, and get a feel for the car and the outback roads.  First impressions were how low to the ground the Spider is, and surprisingly heavy it felt but with light very quick steering. The full leather Momo seats are firm and comfortable enough but have no height adjust. The gear shift is long and a bit vague in particular when searching for  3rd and 5th but the 6 speed box is well matched to the V6 and even though the gap between 5th and 6th seems negligible I appreciated that last cog considering with 3,500kms to cover and petrol expensive I would be spending 95% of the time in that gear.  The real revelation though was the glorious Busso 3.2 V6.  It’s amazingly docile and quiet in the lower revs but go past the sweet spot and with a  delicious low growl the creamy torque pulls you like a train.  I never got sick of  dropping a cog  to overtake the never ending procession of road trains and looking in the rear view mirror to see the surprised look of the truckies wondering what the hell a tiny red Italian convertible sports car was doing in the middle of woop woop.  The highway at first seemed OK and well maintained considering the truly staggering distance  it covers and inevitable wear and tear from those  behemoth roadtrains.
Unfortunately the constant pounding manifested itself into a road ripple effect  causing constant vibrations which was mildly annoying to begin with but after a few hours in my low slung firm suspension sports car ……became rather more tiresome. It also meant I had no music from the CD player as it caused them skip and jump and of course outback radio had only 2 x stations…….country & western.
The amount of road kill was the real shock though.  The myriad of slaughtered creatures decorating the road is pretty stomach churning and in my little Alfa it meant I had to constantly weave to miss the splattered obstacles whereas the road trains could just blast on through.  On one section of road 2 x dead camels lay on either side of the road like some bizzare road kill monument. Imagine hitting that at 130kph!........in a Spider!!!
It was because of the road kill hazard I made the decision not to drive at night.
So at dusk I pulled into the dusty town of Southern Cross checked into an over priced motel ( its not like you’ve got much choice ) with not much to report except a speeding fine from two obviously bored country cops and a failed thermostat meaning the cooling fans were on all the time. Could be worse.





Day 2 Southern Cross to Balladonia ( W.A. ) 650kms
The next day took me deep into W.A. past  Coolgardie ,Kalgoolie and Norseman  where it becomes Highway 1 and eventually the Nullabor Plain.  This was the beginning of the truly mind numbing empty stretches of nothingness with the same boring scrubby vegetation, red desert, road kill and road trains as your only company sprinkled by retiree motorhomes and backpacker 4 wheel drives.  The tiny towns dotted every few hundred km’s were nothing but a servo, pub and a motel.
It was also the beginning of no mobile phone service which went from SOS only to nothing at all meaning I had to learn how to use a pay phone all over again. So near dusk I pulled into Balladonia, again paid too much for a room in a motel staffed by Swedish back packers and solely inhabited by road workers.  What a fun night that was.

Day 3 Balladonia to Ceduna ( S.A. )  984 kms
Realising it was day 3 and still in W.A. I left early determined to clock up some real miles.  A few hours of pretty mundane desert driving finally brought a small reward in Eucla, the S.A. border and a glimpse of the Great Australian Bight. It doesn’t sound much but with my spirits pretty low the sight of the sparkling Southern Ocean opening up into a huge vista of land, sea, sky that only the outback can provide cheered me up for all of 20 mins. I know I should have stopped and turned off at one of the little trails leading to what I’m sure is spectacular views of said scenery, especially going by the increased number of tourist buses and 4 x 4s but with the roads immediately improving the moment I hit the border I plunged even deeper into the famous Nullabor Plain. 
At this point a few of you might be wondering with that glorious V6 under my right foot and thousands of km's of almost empty long open road,  what sort of speeds I was travelling at and why didn’t I max it, go for broke and get home a day or 2 earlier?  Well I already explained the night driving decision. Even hitting a dead roo at speed would have probably sent me and the Spider to Alfa heaven. No I decided with the tyres although well enough treaded but nearly 14 years old AND with no spare I would keep it to around 130 kph. A sensible compromise between 6th gear fuel economy and wanting to get home ASAP.  A situation though did arise where the V6 really came in handy was overtaking a road train outside some godknowswhere town which turned into 3 roadtrains in a row! As I pulled in front of the last monster truck I looked down to see the speedo hitting 200 and still barely breaking a sweat. Lovely.
I stopped for petrol in the middle of the Nullabor ( see pic ) and with the skies finally clearing I put the roof down for the first time. Being the middle of winter I plonked on my furry Russian hat, overcoat and scarf and headed off
with the comical sight of a little red convertible sports car in the middle of the desert becoming even more comical eliciting plenty of horn honks and looks of disbelief from truckies and tourists alike!
So a 1000kms later I pull into the port town of Ceduna another crap Motel and a well deserved sleep.




Day 4 Ceduna to Broken Hill 880 kms
Waking to a clear sky and the harbour of Ceduna right behind the Motel, I had a very quick squiz around the quaint town which is surrounded on 3 sides by the sea……and being on the edge of the Nullabor made it feel quite surreal.  Today I had to make a fairly major decision after making Port Augusta whether to continue to Sydney via Adelaide, Mildura, Wagga Wagga and the Hume or take the more northern route to Broken Hill then onto Dubbo, Bathurst and the western Highway.  Via Adelaide drive I had done many times in my roadie days and knew the route well. Via Broken Hill I had never done and had no experience of that route at all.  After a delicious plate of oysters at Port Augusta and with the Flinders Ranges clearly in view and almost beckoning me I made the fateful decision to explore new territory and head for the “Hill”.
The Flinders Ranges finally delivered some challenging roads to test the Spider’s handling and road holding.  Lovely twisting bends and mountain scenery were a welcome break from the staring straight ahead, don’t hit the dead roo monotony of the past 3 days.  Unfortunately it didn’t last long and the rest of the day was back to desert driving with the landscape becoming even more lunar like with nothing but little prickly round bushes covering the red rolling sands the only vegetation of note.  As night fell and a bad moon arising I finally arrived at the thoroughly creepy town of Broken Hill spirits low and running on empty.  During the daytime I’m sure Broken Hill is a perfectly fine caricature of a rough and tumble outback town…..but at night lost amongst the dark strange hilly streets it just seemed like the perfect place to get stabbed or shot.  So I checked into the first motel I could find which turned out to be an extra crappy backpackers hostel!. Sitting in my freezing room lying on a filthy mattress under a scratchy blanket all I wanted was to make it home. The sense of adventure had thoroughly worn off. I was determined to up at the crack of dawn, hit the road and be home the next day no matter what!
 
Day 5 Broken Hill to Sydney via Menindee 1, 369 kms
Before I start this final chapter a short disclaimer. What you are about to read may in your mind seem foolish, illogical and down right crazy. You’re right. My only excuse is exhaustion, avoiding too much road kill and the feverish want to make it home and a lovely bath. So please feel free to have a good laugh at my expense, or pick on me next time we meet at an AROCA meet up. The fact is ……it makes a bloody good story.
So after the worst nights no-sleep I can remember I rose to the inky blackness of pre-dawn, filled the tank checked the map and readied for the final off. Except on my phone crap-nav there seemed to be a 2nd route via Menindee that would cut a big chunk of the journey out.  Ok…give that a go. As the sun rose a pretty good road revealed itself lined with literally hundreds of roos ( probably wallabies ) feeding on the grass verge either side of the road just waiting for a chance to commit hari kari and obliterate the elegantly formed Spider nose.  And of course it had to happen. Two roo’s did the classic dance of indecision right in front of me and as I slammed on the anchors one of the little bastards hit the front and went right over the top of me.  I can only put it down to the super low profile and composite build of the bonnet that it escaped unscathed. It still didn’t stop me running after the mammalian menace yelling every expletive under the sun. Fuelled by this near missed I headed on even more determined until the road around Menindee just stopped.  Eh? Panic started to set in so I headed down a freshly graded mud road at top speed with road workers waving and yelling in disbelief. Then the mud road ran out and found myself facing a bush track that the average 4 x 4 would baulk at. It was at this point I realised the so called road showing on my crap sat-nav was probably an ancient surveyors dirt track or layline.  Ok….now panic really set in. I couldn’t face going back the way I came on the world’s worst goat track so I plunged even deeper into uncharted wilderness hoping to double back to Menindee in my low slung fragile red Italian sports car. Having a good laugh yet?  Good for you. And then wouldn’t you know it , I came across a huge river blocking my path. I sat there staring in disbelief, got out, had a really really good cry, got back in, somehow turned it around in amongst impenetrable scrub and went all the way back. Yep.  Back. I finally met up with the road workers I passed earlier killing themselves laughing wondering what the hell I was doing. I looked down in shame and just muttered the words…..I’m a F$%$#@& idiot.
So with most of the morning gone I had to drive all the way back to the cursed Broken Hill and start again.  Damage to the Spider??? Well I’m either the greatest driver on god’s planet or incredibly lucky cause it seemed unscathed. Later on I found damage to the oil cooler perched low behind the radiator….but really that was all!  So back to Sydney version 2 begun feeling really depressed and nothing but hundreds of boring outback miles, stomach churning road kill and stinking road trains to cheer me up.  Near Wilcannia I pulled over to top up the tank with my spare fuel with the disgusting sound of a giant red roo still grunting and moaning even though it had just been flattened by a couple of semi’s. How delightful!  Past Cobar and as night fell 200km’s out of Dubbo exhaustion and hallucinations started kicking in as all the blinding semi’s coming the other direction starting blending into one. “Concentrate boy! “
On the home stretch to Bathurst and the western highway interspersed by horrible coffee and quick  calls to my partner to say I’m still alive, the miles seemed to take longer and longer. But I’ll say this this: the Spider seemed to get stronger and stronger like a galloping horse smelling home and never missed a beat.  Well about 2am I pulled into my home street, shed a little tear, kissed my little red Alfa, staggered up the stairs to my flat and bleary eyed partner, kissed her and said nothing……..I mean what could I say? Got into the bath realising I just drove 19 hours non-stop. Was it all worth it? I certainly didn’t have an epiphany or see the meaning of life or even gain any real appreciation of the vast vast empty outback that covers most of our insanely large island of Australia.
But as I said before…gee it makes a bloody good story!



Roo Whistles










The Nullabor S.A.
















                    Somewhere in the desert















Ceduna  S.A.   


   

           
                     


                      Balladonia  W.A.


bonno

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2020, 08:35:31 AM »
Hi Felix
Good to hear you got your 916 spider repaired and as Italian Super model has indicated there is nothing more satisfying than doing it yourself. With respect to your comment on photos/videos of Concorso 2019, find attached link to this forum of several videos specifically the Veloce Productions and AROCA NSW facebook page. Your purchasing story is quite incredible and as a true Alfisti willing to go those extra yards to just make it happen. 
http://www.alfaclubvic.org.au/forum/index.php?topic=19675.0

Additional comment added
Please refer to the following link on How to Upload phots and images to the forum PS Need to reduce size of file and max of 4 photos per post.
http://www.alfaclubvic.org.au/forum/index.php?topic=55.0
 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 09:13:43 AM by bonno »
now
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past
00 156 selespeed
72 1750 GTV

Felix Kulakowski

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2020, 01:21:38 PM »
Cheers Bonno......all very appreciated. Yep...I'll follow the link to add some photos so it all makes a bit more sense.Stay Healthy.....F

bonno

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2020, 01:57:09 PM »
Hi Felix
If I am not mistaken here is a photo of your car at the 2018 Concorso event, which from memory took out 1st place in the 916 class. 
now
83 Alfetta GTV
05 156 JTS manual
past
00 156 selespeed
72 1750 GTV

Felix Kulakowski

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2020, 06:41:44 PM »
By jove old chap....your not mistaken. great photo...cheers

Felix Kulakowski

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2020, 08:05:41 PM »
The problem with the attaching photos is the quite ludicrous tiny file size limitation. 156KBs???? In this brave new world of 4K and 5K.... photos are approaching hundreds of mega bytes. I would probably need my fathers Brownie camera to produce a photo less than 156KBs. But of course I guess I can try and compress them.....just being a pain ??? :)

pyrsol

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 09:08:16 PM »
Nice to finally hear your story. When I last saw you, I gave you a hand fitting the resprayed composite panels. You had very little to say about your trip back from W.A. Now I know why.
Cheers
Dani

GTV6FLETCH

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Re: Busso V6 timing belt stuff
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2020, 10:42:41 AM »
LOL,
Good story mate ,
Glad you and the Alfa made it back ok.
I have done that trip 3 x times in my life and you explain it so damn well.
I was in a ford ranger though with company to keep me sane ,
strange thing though 2 x of the treks I did it was wet and raining which meant many more bloody roos as they were drinking the water of the road.
The last time I did it I was gobsmacked at the amount of Goats this side of the Hill , though they were not as stupid as the roos.
Fun times. 8)

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