Project car - 1989 75 3.0 V6 [Updated 12 November 2021]

Started by shiny_car, July 05, 2011, 09:38:53 PM

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I thought I'd keep you guys posted of the (slow) work I'm doing on my 75. I bought this car in March, though have only just started the overhaul. In the past 4 months I've been buying new and used replacement parts (and also finished my Alfa 155, which was the main reason to defer the 75). The body is really straight, with only a handful of carpark dents, and a few small spots of surface rust. The interior is in great condition for one of these; perhaps the best I've seen in any that have been on the market (eg: no collapsed door arm rests, only a couple grab handles cracked; ARC fully functional). It's also low km's, at 135,000. But I don't think many of the original parts have ever been replaced (either haven't needed them, or previous owners disinterested). So a lot needs to be done, especially with what I have in mind for the car.

At the end of the project, I am aiming for a highly tuned (ie: performance upgrades), clean, and eye catching street car. No plans for track work, no plans for outrageous power, nothing garish. Just a car that hopefully, you will sit back, look at twice (or more!), and admire. I want to complete it in time for Spettacolo 2012.  8)

Stage I is the engine/engine bay. Lots to do here, so it will probably take a couple months, and still many parts to buy. Work will include:

*thorough clean/degrease
*respray/paint areas of surface rust and where paint has been stripped (brake and PS fluid damage)
*spray air plenum and cam covers
*new oil cap
*titanium Allen head bolts: to replace all visible bolts in the entire engine bay; a few will be stainless where Ti unavailable
*new hose clamps throughout: replace all visible clamps
*new cambelt cover
*new bonnet front edge rubber seal
*new clips for bonnet seal and bonnet liner

*upgrade groundwires
*upgrade main powerwires
*new covers over wiring looms
*replace split rubber boots
*replace damaged/poor terminals
*fit upgraded and refurbished alternator
*new deep cycle battery and terminals
*new ignition leads
*new distributor cap and rotor

*new cambelt
*overhaul hydraulic (de)tensioner
*new 164QV camshafts
*new inlet/exhaust tappets and reshim
*new gaskets and camshaft seals (not replacing head gaskets as no evidence of failure)
*new belts for AC, waterpump-alternator, PS pump
*new silicone hoses for vacuum lines and air plenum
*new air filter pod and silicone hoses
*fresh oil and filter
*new rear engine mount
*new fuel filter
*new lambda oxygen sensor

*new waterpump
*new thermostat
*new radiator
*new fan thermoswitch and relay and troubleshoot why fan not kicking in
*new expansion bottle
*new silicone hoses
*flush then fresh coolant

*troubleshoot why it's not working: could be electrical or mechanical and at least needs a regas; time to learn how AC works!

Phew, that's roughly it, plus a full 'tune up'. Full exhaust will be a separate thing. So far, there's probably over a couple thousand in parts for this stage alone, plus a lot of new workshop tools I've had to buy. But it should end up being one immaculate and bling engine bay!

Photos. To begin with, the front bumper, headlights and front grill were removed. A general degrease was performed a few weeks ago. It's amazing what 20 years+ of grime looks like!

Coolant was drained, and radiator and main hoses removed. This provides a lot more space to work with at the front.

It's worrying to think what gunge is circulating in the cooling system! I have purposely not flushed the system at this stage, because a lot of the crap is probably in the old radiator and hoses. Nearly all of it will be replaced - leaving only the engine block passages and interior heater matrix/hoses - so I will flush it once all the new parts are fitted. This was on the thermostat outlet:

Overhaul begins on the left/passenger side. The battery tray has surface rust:

The wiring loom has tatty coverings that will be spruced up:

The thin wire connecting the NEG battery terminal to the chassis was loose, and simply pulled out! Not a reliable setup, and looks like 10awg (5.26mm^2 cross section). I will replace it with 0awg (53.5mm^2). The thicker wire is the engineblock-battery groundwire, which is the main wire in the OE setup, and looks like 0awg. I will replace this with new 0awg.

Next to the windscreen washer fluid bottle, is a black wiring terminal block (cover removed in these photos). This accepts the main wire from the alternator, only 8awg  (8.36mm^2) thick, before continuing onto the POS battery terminal, and a branch feeding the main wiring loom. The alternator wire will be upgraded to 4awg (21.1mm^2). There is an existing 4awg wire that goes from the POS terminal to the starter motor; this will be retained.

The wiring looms on this side were unplugged from all components and unclipped from the engine bay; then moved aside. The ignition coil, module, and bracket were also removed, and the washer fluid bottle. The belts and alternator were removed (passenger side engine mount required unbolting and entire engine jacked up a few centimeters to facilitate removal of the main alternator bolt), and the PS pump brackets removed and pump moved aside.

After further degreasing on this side, the areas of stripped paintwork are now accessible for repainting. The area at the back is where brake fluid would have split; a previous owner removed the rear brake bias regulator, normally connected after the master cylinder. I presume brake fluid leaked during this procedure, and precautions not taken   ::) . The stripped paintwork nearer the front is under the PS pump, so I presume a hose had a leak at one stage or was replaced, again without proper care or clean-up.

Nice clean alloy found behind the grease and grime! Most of the engine block will be cleaned similarly.

That's it for now. Once the weather improves, I will paint the exposed metal with a rust-prevention primer. There's also patches under the radiator, as well as the battery tray. Once that has cured, I have a can of specially-mixed colour-matched Alfa Red to respray the areas. The paintwork that isn't damaged will be hand polished to a nice finish.

Giulietta QV TCT . 1.75 TBi . Magnesio Grey - Black
GT . 3.2 V6 . Q2 . Kyalami Black - Red
75 . 3.0 V6 . Alfa Red - Grey


Nice!!!  8)
Faster in red, too  ;D.

ARQ164 Shane

nice work the posivite batt/ter not so posivite lol. Get new one from autopro I like mine $4.50 each, bloody awesome
Hi Neighbour,
1973 L beetle "Tilly" sold
87 QV 75 ALFA 2.5lt sold
92 auto 164 3lt RIP
91 white 164 Q
89 164 Q part car


Thanks guys.

I took the left manifold off, and there's more damaged paint right down to the PS crossmember. All fixable, but takes more prep and time.

I had better not tell about the wheels until they get fitted.  :D

Giulietta QV TCT . 1.75 TBi . Magnesio Grey - Black
GT . 3.2 V6 . Q2 . Kyalami Black - Red
75 . 3.0 V6 . Alfa Red - Grey


Quote from: paul edwards on July 09, 2011, 10:07:47 PM
One way to greatly improve a 3lt 75 is to up the spring rate a little, your ride quality we still be excellent, (in my opinion better) with some good quality shocks to go with it, by doing this you can lower the car safely for that look you want and improve the dynamic handling out of sight. :) :) :)

I would also like to suggest front suspension geometry changes like long shank top ball joints or drop spindles as well as more caster angle. The improvement in turn in and front end grip is very inspiring and goes along way to making the car a lot more agile.


Great post! I can't wait to see the next installment and it also gives me plenty of information about my own 75... Thanks!
1989 Alfa 75 2.5 V6 Auto
1999 Landrover Discovery S2 TD5
1995 Mitsubishi Triton Ute 2.6
1999 Kawasaki Drifter 1500


One thing I would do, is don't wait until the weather gets better to treat any bare metal or rusted and cleaned up sections. I would get on and treat such areas ASAP. If you wait and the weather is crap, it is only going to rust again. 

The other thing is are you going to repaint in the engine bay with the engine in place or remove it plus the wiring and plumbing, in the end it might be easier to remove all items from the engine bay and re-paint it properly.   Just a thought.
2003 JTS 156 sportwagon
1969 Giulia sedan (x2)
1969 AC Fiat 124 sport

Past: '76 Alfetta 1.8 GT 
        '76 Alfetta 1.8 Sedan
        ' 73 2L Berlina


Cheers guys. Thanks for the comments and tips. :)

I am pushing on, and today continued to clean up the left side of the engine bay where most of the paint damage is. Yeah, trying to complete the painting ASAP; virtually all the preparation is now done, so this week I can apply some rust proofer/primer.

I decided against removing the engine. One reason being I don't have an engine hoist (though of course I could buy one), the time/work involved (all do-able I suppose), but I think I can achieve what's required without doing it. Though agreed, once out, it would be easier! Overall, the 'difficulty' vs 'required repainting' lies in favour of doing things in situ.

Quote from: Duk on July 11, 2011, 12:41:51 PM
I would also like to suggest front suspension geometry changes like long shank top ball joints or drop spindles as well as more caster angle. The improvement in turn in and front end grip is very inspiring and goes along way to making the car a lot more agile.

Interesting ideas. I've read about drop spindles, but I don't know what long shank ball joints are, or how they'd assist.

However, I will be fitting the RS Racing coilovers at the front. These are apparently designed to fit the standard suspension components, and don't suit drop spindles so well from what I've read. At the end of the day, the compromise I will take is 'low', coilovers, no drop spindles. I accept that geometry may not be perfect, but it should be fine for a street car.

Giulietta QV TCT . 1.75 TBi . Magnesio Grey - Black
GT . 3.2 V6 . Q2 . Kyalami Black - Red
75 . 3.0 V6 . Alfa Red - Grey


August-update for work on the car. I've managed to do a reasonable amount of work in the engine bay, but really still only beginning the ground work!

Left-bank exhaust manifold was removed to increase access to the area beside the engine (only one nut securing the front pipe was really stuck by corrosion; Inox penetrating oil (you can notice the overspray) cured the problem). Full extent of the paint damage becomes obvious, but not a big deal, as it's all superficial:

All the areas of rust were carefully cleaned, sanded, and prepped for painting. Old newspaper and (cooking) aluminium foil protected areas against paint. 3M Cold Gal Primer was used for the base coat:

Next task, I cleaned up the slam panel, by removing old decals, then machine-polishing the paint. One section of peeling paint was sanded back and requires respraying, which I will do in the future.

I also cleaned the bonnet lock and polished it using a kit from Bunnings, that works well for small parts like this. It will be sprayed with clear-coat to protect against corrosion. Notice the new Allen-head titanium bolts securing the lock; similar bolts will be used throughout the engine bay:

The right-side of the engine bay was stripped of parts, beginning with the air filter box, to access the paintwork, for cleaning and repairs. Wiring looms will be cleaned and tidied-up. Notice the hotch-potch of hose clamps, different styles and some longer than required; these will all be replaced.

The air filter box is gone, as is the small plastic coolant expansion tank, and right-bank exhaust manifold removed. Heat from the manifold has presumably damaged the paintwork, and also caused cracking of the engine mount, so this will be replaced:

Timing belt covers removed. The hydraulic detensioner is weaping oil, which is expected over time, and will be rebuilt with new seals; I found the rubber boot covering the little piston had detached, exposing the piston to grime. Whilst some of you would replace the detensioner with a simpler spring-loaded mechanical tensioner, it's not as elegant, and some have failed.

The AC compressor was unbolted from its bracket, for cleaning and improved access to that area. Accessing these bolts wasn't much fun (tight bolts, grimey area):

Finally, I found the electrical plugs to the AC receiver-dryer are connected as shown, which is presumably 'reversed'. The AC currently does not work, and I am yet to determine if this is an electrical or component or gas fault, but can anyone explain why my plugs might be connected in reverse?

Hopefully by next month, repainting the engine bay will be completed, and I can start sprucing up the wiring looms, then start on the engine mechanicals, like water pump, timing belt, and camshafts.

Thanks for looking!   :D

Giulietta QV TCT . 1.75 TBi . Magnesio Grey - Black
GT . 3.2 V6 . Q2 . Kyalami Black - Red
75 . 3.0 V6 . Alfa Red - Grey

ARQ164 Shane

I see that it's all well in hand  ;) looks very good  :)I have just made a brace (strat brace) but 75 not have strats so  :-\ :-\
well its functional and now I am making 6x9's fit the rear parcle shelf . ;D

Hi Neighbour,
1973 L beetle "Tilly" sold
87 QV 75 ALFA 2.5lt sold
92 auto 164 3lt RIP
91 white 164 Q
89 164 Q part car


Cheers alphie75. :)

September update!

Birthday present from my wife: car shelter; now the car has a clean, dry place to live, and I can do work even if it's raining! And because I enjoy building such things, it was fun to put together.

Three different areas being worked on simultaneously:
1. repainting engine bay completed
2. modifying chassis to fit Euro style bumpers
3. respraying section of slam panel and mount for bonnet rod clip

Right side of engine bay degreased and cleaned up. Areas of paint damage and exposed metal coated with primer.

Engine bay painted Alfa Rosso 130 (original colour) using simple brush and roller. The roller created a slight texture, which looks good.

Original 'America' bumpers are fussy and heavy. They have shock absorbing 'pistons' that mount onto steel box sections attached to the chassis.

The box sections hide factory holes and nuts that secure bumper brackets for the 'Euro' bumpers. The nuts are welded in position, and visible from the engine bay.

My car will be converted to Euro bumpers, so the box sections needed removal. I discovered they are mounted by multiple spot welds, plus a very solid seam weld at the rear of each box. The left side was first to go; I started using a hand-held saw with hacksaw blade, and crow bar. I drilled through some of the spot welds from inside the engine bay. Attempting to saw through the main rear weld was proving impossible. Good excuse for a new power tool! So I bought a Makita reciprocating saw, and completed the final cut within minutes. The awkward access and angle, meant I could not cut straight through the weld, but cut a crescent of metal out of the box section; no big deal.

Removing the right side box section was quicker, but I still managed to butcher the underlying the chassis slightly. Once cleaned and painted, it will be fine.

Trial fitment of Euro bumper bracket on the left side, bolted through to the existing welded nuts.

Each side cleaned, and painted with primer.

Slam panel and bonnet rod clip mount masked, ready for respraying.

Each section sprayed with aerosol Alfa Rosso 130.

That's it for now. Next up, I will gently sand the resprayed sections, then spray with clear coat, then machine-polish. The chassis areas for the bumper brackets will be painted, and I will hopefully make a start on the engine mechanics once a few more parts arrive from overseas.

Giulietta QV TCT . 1.75 TBi . Magnesio Grey - Black
GT . 3.2 V6 . Q2 . Kyalami Black - Red
75 . 3.0 V6 . Alfa Red - Grey



Hey johnnyc. Yes, a bit of progress. I am due for the October update, which I will endeavour to post before the weekend is over.

Thanks for asking. :)
Giulietta QV TCT . 1.75 TBi . Magnesio Grey - Black
GT . 3.2 V6 . Q2 . Kyalami Black - Red
75 . 3.0 V6 . Alfa Red - Grey

Anthony Miller

Hey Richard, where did you get, or are going to get, the veloce bumpers from?
Now-  '99 156 2.5l V6 (rosso)
         '88 75 3.0l V6 (grigio)
Then- '81 Giulietta 2.0l transplant (ol whitey)
         '82 Giulietta 2.0l transplant (ol brownie)
         '82 Giulietta 2.0l TS transplant (ol red)


Hey Anthony

I'm not going with Veloce bumpers, I'm going with Twin Spark bumpers. Sorry if the labelling in the pics is confusing; it's because I cross-post some of the photos in other forums incl

However, if I wanted a Veloce kit/bumpers, I recommend contacting Vlade at Arese Spares in Sydney. I believe he can supply genuine UK used kits, and he freights for reasonable cost.

I have deliberated a lot over the bumpers: original America bumpers vs Twin Spark vs Veloce/Evolutione kit. IMO, the original bumpers are too fussy looking, and heavy. I love the look of the Veloce kit, however I think it's a little too aggressive for my liking and a little bit too 'tarty'; kinda like seeing an HDT VL Commodore. It makes the Commodore look a lot tougher, and in its day it stood out, but these days it's a little OTT. The other thing that turns me off is that it's fibreglass, and therefore would crack and sustain bad damage if it was hit. Mind you, what I do have in mind is adding a splitter to the front bumper, and I presume the one I want is fibreglass! But at least that's just one piece that will be fibreglass, and I might even buy two splitters to have one spare.

You can send Vlade an email. He shows the kits on his website:
I am buying a Recaro interior from him, and he's great to deal with, and I know other Alfisti that speak very favourably of his service.

Giulietta QV TCT . 1.75 TBi . Magnesio Grey - Black
GT . 3.2 V6 . Q2 . Kyalami Black - Red
75 . 3.0 V6 . Alfa Red - Grey