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Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/08/2019 3:55 PM

Hi Everyone,

Well, I'm doing it. I'm buying a 1973 Alfa Romeo Spider in New York and driving it back to Los Angeles. Yes, a Forty Six Year Old Italian Two Door Convertible! In the summer, with no AC (except for the top down type). Am I crazy or is this a midlife crisis thing???

I'm looking for some advice and please no wise cracks - I am seriously doing this.

The car: 1973 Alfa Romeo Spider that's mechanically sound and has had all the maintenance done. New oil, plugs, coolant, trans oil, diff gear oil - along with some preventative work: new master cylinder, new fuel sensor (in trunk), mech FI oil filter, fuel filter and has had everything gone over: brakes, brake hoses (rubber ones), tires, radiator, radiator and heater hoses, radiator cap, seals and gaskets, electrical, gauges, odd noises, drive shaft, light bulbs, etc. The owner races cars and he feels the car is mechanically sound, however it is a 46 year old car and something could go wrong on a long trip. The car has a 2.0L twin cam 4 cyl motor with Hemispherical heads, four throttle bodies, headers, mechanical fuel injection with altitude compensation, 5 speed manual transmission, solid axle with limited slip diff, no Air Cond., manual windows, locks, mirrors and top. Two seats with lap belts, low and high beam headlights, wipers with washers. Gauges are: temp, oil psi, fuel, tach and speedo. The motor is aluminum with steel sleeves (the sleeves bathe in coolant, which is pumped from a belt driven water pump), and an aluminum head. The ignition has been modified to electronic (no points or mechanical advance). Oh yeah, the heater works and the heater core doesn't leak. 4 wheel disc brakes with power boost, hydraulic clutch, manual steering. Suspension was re-done a few years ago, so shocks, steering components and bushings were changed. Exhaust is a slight performance type.

The drive: I'm planning to pick up the car on Sunday the 14th, then drive to Cleveland, where I'll look at a 1971 Alfa Spider that I may buy, but if I do, I'll ship it to LA. From Cleveland, we'll go to Seneca Caves (anyone been there?), then we'll stay in Toledo for the night (or if anyone has a recommendation of somewhere close, it's highly appreciated). The next day, we're going to visit a school just west of Toledo (a sister school of the one I'm associated with), then off to Chicago to visit my mom, sister and friends. Then off to I80 for the trip west. Thru Illinois, then Iowa, then Nebraska, then Wyoming, before dropping down into Salt Lake City. Further west to Elko, NV, then Reno and up to Tahoe, then down the state on hwy 395 to I15 and the 210 to home. We don't want to take I70, due to elevation (don't know how the car will like 11K ft air) and I44 will be too hot when we're in Kingman, then the push west through the CA desert. The I10 will be even hotter, so we're sticking to I80. We'll hit 7K ft elevation in Wyoming, which will be okay for the car. Rain ... we'll deal with it. Humidity - expected. Sun - ahhh, some nice sun in a convertible!!! No night driving, unless we need to - I don't want to tax the alternator if we don't need to. We're also traveling as light as we can - the little 2.0 can get stressed on long hill climbs and we don't want extra weight making it harder. If anyone had advice or recommendations on places to visit or stay (or avoid), it's greatly appreciated!

Couple other things: The 2.0 make 129 hp and 130 lb-ft or torque. Surprisingly, the car weighs 2400 lbs (kinda heavy) and has a capacity of 661 lbs. It weighs 200 lbs more than my 2000 Toyota MR-2 Spyder AND only 500 lbs less than my Porsche Boxster! The motor breathes well, and with no cats, EGR, smog pump or other power robbing devices it goes from 0-60mph time is 8.4 seconds - yes, it'll beat a Prius! But it only get 22.3 mpg and has a small 13.5 gal fuel tank - 301 miles per tank - Yikes!

We plan to take a week to drive across country, but we have two weeks set aside for any surprises. Also, we don't want to go too far off the planned route.

Wish us a fun and happy trip!

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#1

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/08/2019 4:55 PM

It seems you have it pretty well planned out and it sounds like a mechanic has checked it out. You might invest in AAA and have a cell phone with you. Go for it, it sounds like fun!

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/08/2019 5:07 PM

I called my insurance agent and we're adding roadside asst. And two cell phones, credit cards, a bit of emergency cash, a lap top, and plenty of excitement!

Thanks!

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#42
In reply to #3

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/09/2019 11:07 AM

Duplicate keys! Mail a set home to someone who can fedx-em back to ya.

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#74
In reply to #42

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/11/2019 5:09 AM

What a great idea! Thank you!

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#2

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/08/2019 4:58 PM

Wow, sounds like quite an adventure! My advice would be to pack some sunscreen, a cooler with refreshments and emergency food, emergency road kit with flares, emergency battery jumper, first aid kit, a two gallon gas can nearly full, sunglasses with strap, spare v-belt, portable air compressor that runs off 12v, and a small tool kit, brake fluid, oil 2 quarts...you better go now before we exceed the weight limit, haha...

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/08/2019 5:16 PM

We're thinking of the same things, though you gave me some other things I didn't think of.

We're also bringing towels to sit on. The seats are vinyl and not the best to sit on when it's hot and humid or rainy.

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#5
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Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/08/2019 5:25 PM

Oh, and a fire extinguisher....and a gallon jug of water....and some stop leak....

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#12
In reply to #5

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/09/2019 1:44 AM

I sure hope I don't need a fire extinguisher! Stop leak - good idea! Gallon of water - maybe a couple!

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#39
In reply to #5

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car? Window Cleaner

07/09/2019 10:52 AM

Window Cleaner in a Special Bottle

In the passenger compartment, carry a separately purchased atomizer (spray bottle) chosen for small size(~7" tall), fine spray(cosmetic dept.), and reliability. I got this one at Wally World for a dollar, forty nine if memory serves. The point is to have this at the ready at all times without it being too much in the way. Load it from a refill bottle of the blue window cleaner (2qt. Windex or some ~<$2 clone, avoid ammonia laced formulations) which you keep in the boot.

It is an inside window condensation surface tension lowering device so when you wipe the fog off it does not bead nor return as fast. It is a great small fire killer since the fine atomization dilutes the fuel surface and dramatically lowers the temperature simultaneously and there is no delay in the early critical seconds in figuring out how it works. It will also instantly lower the temp of any skin burns, often dropping the severity of the burn a notch if you are really quick about it. It will knock most flying bugs(especially, mosquitoes) out of the air so you can squash them. You can clean the really water resistant bug juice off your windshield if the wipers just smear it. It is a great sticky contaminant(spilled soft drink,...) remover for your steering wheel and door handles,... In short, you can squirt just about any problem to reduce its severity and follow up the squirt with a towel buff to make things like new again. I carry both inside the car and with me every time I exit since time is often of the essence. I touch up the windshield and return the juice and towel to a convenient spot near the driver's seat before I go inside a nice restaurant as I travel. If I am headed into a questionable rest room I do not stow the gear but hit the handles and seat before I touch them. Just do not forget the upgrade quality spray bottle and leave it in the head. I usually take a paper towel and do leave that towel in the waste basket in the head.

Some may criticize you for looking like an old time gas station attendant for carrying the bottle. So what ?! The point is your safety, convenience, and comfort, not their irrelevant snobbish opinion of you. BTW, the fine mist reduces the chance of steam explosion spreading gasoline which you would have if you used a water bottle to attempt to quench a gasoline fire using your drinking water out of its jug.

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PS Pack these upright, not laying down as shown because they tend to leak.

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car? Window Cleaner on Steering Wheel

07/09/2019 10:58 AM

No AC

I forgot to mention. Use the spray window cleaner to cool vinyl seats, steering wheel, seat belt metal, etc. when entering your car if has been sitting in the summer sun for a while.

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#73
In reply to #41

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car? Window Cleaner on Steering Wheel

07/11/2019 5:08 AM

No AC - that's correct. Except for the natural AC - wind from the convertible being open.

We decided to use towels over the seats for comfort and the vinyl seats don't breathe well, so cotton is a must!

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#106
In reply to #73

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car? Window Cleaner on Steering Wheel

07/12/2019 1:51 PM

That would be 120*f + , a/c during the day & 95*f + at night .

Enjoying that killer, top down wind across the desert, that is !

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#108
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Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car? Window Cleaner on Steering Wheel

07/12/2019 1:57 PM

The hot dry air is okay for me, but I don't think the car will like it. I'm also thinking that the sun is much hotter in the SW. In the early 90's, I went on weekly trips to Scottsdale for business. I learned quickly how to get in a hot car and to start the car without getting burned. I remember one time I touched the seat belt buckle and I burned my fingers! Hot, Hot, Hot!

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#120
In reply to #108

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car? Window Cleaner on Steering Wheel

07/15/2019 10:53 AM

Chrome loves IR energy and stores it very well!

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#71
In reply to #39

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car? Window Cleaner

07/11/2019 5:03 AM

Great idea! I didn't think of it! We can pick it up when we're at the store in Buffalo!

Thank you.

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#6

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/08/2019 5:42 PM

Only two three things to add.

1. Yes, you're a little bit crazy.

2. Check the date codes on all the tires to be sure they are under four years old, or newer. If not, replace them.

3. Have fun!

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#13
In reply to #6

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 year old car?

07/09/2019 1:50 AM

Thanks Lyn.

I figure if I don't do it now, I won't do it later. And I really hope that we have a good time. Maybe we can do another one next year?

And yes, date code on tires is important. I recently bought a 1974 Alfa Spider that had tires from 1983. Even though they're Michelin and show no cracking, the rubber is hard and the tires would spin easily - when I took it for a drive around the block. When I do the restoration, she's getting new tires!

Thanks again!

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#7

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/08/2019 9:18 PM

Become a AAA member...

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#14
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Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 1:53 AM

My State Farm Insurance has roadside assistance. They will tow a reasonable distance and cost, along with providing jump starts, running out of gas, getting stuck, etc. I hope I don't need it, but my agent puts it on all our cars, except the new ones that come with roadside asst from the manufacturer.

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#35
In reply to #14

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 9:57 AM

Roadside assistance is great if you're in cell range....if not, then not so much...sometimes you have to wait for hours even if...but what's an adventure without some element of danger involved eh?

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#68
In reply to #35

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:42 AM

I can only imagine getting stuck some 50 miles from the nearest town. Our plan is to be on the road only during daylight - that little Alfa would get crushed by most any modern day car. And sitting on the shoulder isn't my idea of fun!

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#109
In reply to #68

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/12/2019 2:03 PM

There are some stretches on I - 80, where it's a bit more than fifty miles between the nearest town.

Other than a horse trough, there's a whole lot of nothing between salt lake & sparks.

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#8

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/08/2019 10:23 PM

No A.C. You may want to head to Oregon in search of cooler temperatures, then south.

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#15
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Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:00 AM

I was thinking about it - cooler temps are desirable and I have a cousin in Lake Oswego, OR, so we could visit, then I did a mapquest and it's too far out of the way. Thanks for the recommendation!

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#9

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/08/2019 11:24 PM

Well, I'm 80 years old and 2 trucks I drive occasionally are older than me--94 years.

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#16
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Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:05 AM

When I was in college, I drove a car that was one year older than me. It was a 1964 Chrysler New Yorker with a 413 CI Raised Block Wedge motor with a Carter AFB on top. 727 Torqueflight with push button controls! A pretty reliable car - started every day in those terrible Chicago winters!

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#10

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/08/2019 11:24 PM

This sounds like a great trip. I am jealous. You even picked the right direction, saving the wide open spaces for later in the trip.

You might consider deliberately taking a slight detour into the mountains of Appalachia. They are lower and less steep than the Rockies, but will inform you what up and down grades this old vehicle can handle before you get lulled by the long flat lands of the prairies.

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#17
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Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:16 AM

Detouring to the mountains early to "test" the car is a good idea. We'll be starting new Rochester and heading to Buffalo, then south to Cleveland. Do you know of a good road that goes a little into the mountains? It looks like we'll be on I90.

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#11

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 12:51 AM

Auto broker, you listed everything except an am/fm radio .

Anybody who would drive 2,789 miles without any tunes to listen to has got to be a little koo, koo.

Of course, there is always the endless rendition of : row row row your boat.

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#18
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Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:36 AM

It has an AM/FM/CD stereo system. I'm thinking of driving with the stereo off and listening to the beautiful music the twin cam four will be pumping out!

Every roadster I've owned has had a lousy stereo system. They're the worst of the worst! Low power output, small tinny speakers, no bass, etc. I think the real music is the sounds of the outside world. Much different philosophy than Lexus - the company that tried it's best to isolate you from the outside world.

For us, I think we'll be row, row, row, rowing the gearbox - up and down the transmission!

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#43
In reply to #11

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 11:33 AM

A radio is not needed! I prefer to listen to the car and tires talking to me--hopefully nothing ominous. And the wind, and the surrounding sounds that I can hear over the wind.

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#75
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Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:13 AM

Being in touch with the car - yes, agreed! That's what makes these cars so great to drive; the feedback they give you.

I own a 2018 Camry and 2017 Corolla iM with Toyota Safety Sense. The steering is so vague on both cars, because of the lane change assist system. Good for safety (helps avoid accidents), but very bad for knowing what your tires are doing.

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#19

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:38 AM

Here are some photos of the car.

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#20

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:39 AM

A few more:

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#21

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:41 AM

Here's the sweet twin cam!

Rear diff:

Front suspension:

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#36
In reply to #21

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 10:21 AM

If this is the ignition coil, I would change it straight away....cosmetically the car looks great, but I would change out the old rubber bushings for newer stiffer polyurethane or neoprene....

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#69
In reply to #36

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:45 AM

Coil does look old. Good catch! I'll do that right away.

I'm torn about the urethane bushings. I did it years ago on my 1980 Camaro and I'd get squeaks, though it tightened the suspension up.

Do you know if urethane bushings make the car ride harder? These Alfa Spiders were made to be comfortable for long trips, yet handle well. The suspension is compliant, but the structure is stiff. So the suspension absorbs hits, but the stiff structure helps with handling.

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#87
In reply to #69

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:53 AM

Take the old coil with you as a spare!

If you are replacing bushings, a good idea on an old car, make sure that you ONLY tighten them, with all 4 wheels on the ground, otherwise they will be slightly twistedand already programmed to fail!

Also, some suspension bushings can be lubricated with a light oil spray, to stop squeaks (mainly caused by tightening with the wheels off the ground, by the way!) but do check first.

Caramba was used by Mitsubishi when I bought a new one that squeaked.....but in the end they had to replace the new bush on a new car!

Why would urethane bushes make the car ride harder....? Even if they are harder, the weight and mass of the car will still "make them work!"

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#89
In reply to #87

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:59 AM

Yes, I'll keep the old coil as a spare. Good idea.

What you write about installing bushings makes sense. When the car is on the ground, the bushings are in their normal state, so tighten them down there. When the suspension moves, the bushing receives a twisting motion, but only from normal state, not from one extreme! Great tip - thank you.

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#92
In reply to #89

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 10:30 AM

I am glad you liked it.

I bought a 4 year old car years ago, and the two main rear suspension bushes were worn out.

I replaced both, tightening them only when on the ground, and 8 years later, when I sold the car, they were still as good as new.....

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#22

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:42 AM

Clean spare tire well - these rust out on a lot of cars:

Tidy trunk - but small!

Rear valance and exhaust!:

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#23

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 2:55 AM

Clean outer rocker:

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#24

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 4:26 AM

Take as much of the 2 weeks as you can and maybe allow 2 days for something to go wrong. I'm sure if things go bad, you'll find a way to sort it out. I bet if you get it done in 7 days, you'll be kicking yourself you didn't take a bit longer.

Good luck.

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#25

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 4:39 AM

Have you thought of replacing the battery, you know the battery it is the thing that makes the starter whirr and the spark plugs spark. So easy to overlook and it will wait until you are out in the "boon docks" and say har I got you.

I had a battery go very sick once, it would turn the starter but the volts were too low for the ignition. Lucky I had a motorbike on the trailer behind so we used the battery from it to supply 12V direct to the coil positive with a couple of jumpers, all electricians have jumpers, no not the warm up in winter ones but the wires with alligator clips on the ends. That did the trick.

Have a great trip sounds like fun.

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#57
In reply to #25

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:05 AM

Thanks for the tip. Batteries can be load tested - should give a pretty good idea of the condition. And the good thing is that a replacement battery can be bought from Walmart!

Being a manual trans car, if worst comes to worst, it can be push started until we get to a place where we can buy one.

I'm concerned about a few other things. The mechanical FI system has a couple weak spots - the Thermostatic Actuator goes bad and the motor runs rich (not good for a long trip). Then there's the Compensator Link Spring - can be fixed on the road with a paperclip and rubberband. Or the SPICA cogged belt - a specialty item.

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#26

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 5:02 AM

Best of luck!!

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 6:03 AM

I'll second that! Car looks a treat.

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#59
In reply to #27

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:26 AM

Thank you! I think the world of these fine machines and the seller builds race cars, so I feel good about the car and the trip.

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#58
In reply to #26

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:25 AM

Thanks Andy! We'll post pictures as we progress across the country.

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#28

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 7:25 AM

I suggest a folding T shaped tire tool;Some lug nuts are very tight,and hard to loosen with the standard tire tool.A short piece of 2X6 large enough to provide a base for the jack on a soft shoulder,jumper cables,a gallon of water in case of radiator leaks,a military surplus folding entrenching tool ,a roll of Duct tape,a pair of vise grips(The real Vice Grips)..and a 3foot piece of baling wire... you never know,and some sort of personal protection;Better safe than sorry.When seconds count,police are only minutes away.I have driven cross country many times,and found need for all of the items I have recommended.The road is long,and full of hazards...be prepared.Good luck favors the prepared mind.

Good luck and have a pleasant trip.

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#44
In reply to #28

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 11:44 AM

On the lug nuts: Why not tke them all off before the trip, then put them back on with a bit of MoS2/oil/never seeze at what ever torque you can get off easily with the standard tool.

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#61
In reply to #44

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:29 AM

Great idea! At least I'll know if they'll come off, just in case I need to change a tire.

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#60
In reply to #28

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:28 AM

You always have such good advice. I didn't think about a 2x6, but what a great idea!

I have to ask, what's the 3 foot of bailing wire for other than holding something up?

Thanks for the advice!

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#90
In reply to #60

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 6:31 AM

Most radiator hoses fail where the clamp to the radiator is attached.This is where there is a lot of stress due to expansion and contraction,cooling,heating,etc.

A couple of narrow bands of duct tape and several wraps of wire,twisted,makes a good emergency hose clamp fix.

A broken muffler hanger temporary fix.

Even a substitute temporary belt can be made with a wire core and built up with duct tape.Good enough to limp along to the next point of refuge.

You may find many cases where it will prove handy.

Stressful situations spur creativity.

Good luck!

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#93
In reply to #90

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 1:43 PM

Good uses for the wire. We'll add it to our list.

Thanks again!

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#29

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 7:47 AM

Please keep the CR4 community informed as you take this epic journey! Glad to see that you're taking your laptop.

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#62
In reply to #29

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:30 AM

Yes, I'll keep everyone here posted as we drive across country!

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#30

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 8:55 AM

Make sure you have a hat! Top down experience can lead to a sunburn.

Have fun and share the story!

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#63
In reply to #30

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:33 AM

My better half is wearing a hat. I'm going to use sunscreen. On the weekends, I do the crazy weekend warrior thing. Usually 8+ hours of mid day So Cal sun hiking up mountains and with no sunscreen. So if I use sunscreen on the trip, I think I'll be okay.

I just noticed that you're in Dayton. Someone told me to skip Seneca Caves - have you been there and if so, what do you think? I've only been in one cave and it was the type that's formed when big rocks fall on top and form a cave (it's at Pinnacles National Park).

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#31

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 9:06 AM

In 1997 I bought a 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow I from the Benjamin Maltz estate in Beverly Hills CA (they lived right across the street from the Clampetts). I flew into LAX and and took 10 days to drive the car across the country to my home town of Pittsburgh, PA. Driving through the CA desert was white-knuckled (only due to my self induced fears), but the car had been maintained and ran fine (and I didn't see a single other RR the entire trip). The journey was a real pleasure so go for it (but the advice to get AAA or AMAC if you don't already have either is sound advice). BTW, I still have the car and still drive it regularly.

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#64
In reply to #31

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:35 AM

That's a great story! Roadside asst - check!

I'm glad you're enjoying your beautiful Rolls Royce - the best of the best, right?

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#32

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 9:25 AM

When I take my roadster on a long trip I wear a head sock (painters hood) and amber goggles.

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#65
In reply to #32

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:35 AM

What type of roadster?

And yes, I'm using sunscreen and good sunglasses!

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#33

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 9:26 AM

The only advice from this side is to remember to drive it like we did all those years ago. It wasn't built for modern speeds, so "chill out and enjoy the passing view" and the old reliable should serve you well.

Maybe a sign on the rear end "I'm on holidays, don't honk, just pass!" or similar.

Or you could put on a white "bowls hat" and pretend to be a Volvo driver. (This might not translate to the USA, but there is a standing joke in Aus about bowls players driving slowly (and believing that is cautious) while wearing their hats.)

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#45
In reply to #33

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 11:52 AM

Yes, don't hurry. Reminds me of a phone call my son got many years ago about the Great Race. Someone wanted to drive a 1920s fire truck. He said it would probably run all day at 30 mph, but wouldn't last long at 50 mph. Yours will go faster than this of course, but don't push the Interstate speed limits.

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#76
In reply to #45

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:15 AM

Thanks for the tip. We're limiting the miles we drive per day - which we base on our expected speed.

Higher speed = more work for the motor = more heat to dissipate = more chance of something bad happening.

Higher speed = more stress on moving parts (wheel bearings) = more chance to break = sitting on the side of the road

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#66
In reply to #33

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:39 AM

Here in the US, we have Prius drivers blocking the fast lane (sorry Prius owners - you're not all like that). They're trying to hyper mile their cars, but they have no concern about the line of cars behind them.

Agreed, I'll keep a moderate pace and stay to the right ... most of the time! Haha! Twin cam, hemi head, five speed, Italian masterpiece ... hey, time for me to slow down a bit!

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#91
In reply to #66

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 6:45 AM

In some states it is illegal to travel in the passing lane unless you are passing another vehicle.

If you see a big rig behind you,it is a good idea to turn on your emergency flashers for a bit,just to make sure the road weary,sleep deprived driver is paying attention.I have read of many cars being run over by highway-hypnotized big rig drivers.

I have seen big rigs slowly gaining on me, nearly on my bumper with no sign of passing or slowing down till I sped up and bumped my flashers a time or too,then it was if they snapped out of it,and backed off.

This does not apply to all OTR drivers of course,but you don't know the condition of the guy behind you.Better safe than sorry.

If you encounter thick fog,pull off on the shoulder, as far as possible,but DO NOT TURN ON YOUR FLASHERS:Other drivers may mistake you for moving traffic.

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#94
In reply to #91

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 1:51 PM

I like the law about using the passing lane for what it's meant for. Brings some order to driving!

Oh yeah, big rigs and drivers being in a road trance! A couple flasher of the hazards is a good idea!

Years ago, I had a weak alternator on my car and to top it off, there was thick fog - an it was at night. I drove slowly, because I couldn't see much in front of me. I also worried, because my tail lights were probably dim and if the car died I would have to pull over. I was on the back roads, 2 lanes with a dirt shoulder. Luckily, I made it home.

Thanks again for the tips. Good stuff that we sometimes forget.

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#110
In reply to #91

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/12/2019 2:50 PM

Actually it is texting, on the phone, makeup putting on , radio fiddling, day dreaming, indy 500 wannabe 4 wheelers that you really got to pay attention to.

Most of the big rig road jockeys got light years of experience over part time soccer moms and Ricky racers.

As for the misplaced advice of putting on your 4 way flashers, in most states it is illegal to cruise down the highway with the 4 ways on unless it is an actual emergency, doing so may catch the attention of the local yocal.

If you are driving on a two lane black top and you see a peterbilt coming up your back door, it may be better to stay in your lane, then when he passes, flick your lights on and off a few times to say, " thank you " .

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#111
In reply to #110

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/12/2019 3:25 PM

I did not advocate running with the flashers on all the time,only when you notice a big rig coming up fast from behind,and then only to get his attention.There are plenty of accidents where a big rig ran over a car from behind,even with their years of experience.Some of the OTR drivers(not all)use stimulants to stay awake,and do not take their scheduled rest periods,and they fake their logs.

It is harder to do now,because large trucking companies have GPS trackers,and automatic data uploads that tell them the trucks' location, speed,engine rpm, any engine warning alarms,what gear they are in and lots of other info.They know if they are taking their required rest stops.The private owned rigs are a different matter,but you never know who is driving that truck behind you.

Better safe with a few blinks than to be picked up with a stick and a spoon.

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#114
In reply to #111

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/13/2019 12:09 AM

Hi tek red neck I'm really surprised at you, normally you're really up on things.

Truckers taking stimulants ?

This isn't the day of smokey and the bandit.

The stimulants today are black coffee and 5 hour energy or monster energy drinks.

Reds, vitamin c and cocaine went out in the 1980's.

As for drivers not taking their breaks and falsifying their logs is a thing of the past.

Haven't you heard of ELD ? ( electronic logging devices )

Let me help you out here : a mandatory 1/2 hour break is required after 8 hours of driving, regardless of how many miles have been traveled and in truck computers for company drivers is the norm today.

Owner operators have to log on a cell phone or tablet.

Yes, paper logs can still be used, but only if they are backed up by a digital record, again, ELD.

Automotive drivers are not required to take a break, log vehicle inspection, take a break or stop after 10 hours driving, or record anything related to operation of a motor vehicle.

CMV drivers have to take yearly drug, alcohol tests and are required to take a random drug, alcohol test, whenever a company official or peace officer asks for one. Failure or refusal will, not can, will result in a suspension of driving privileges.

Until the day comes, where common ( class c ) drivers are required ( by law) to be as professional as big rig drivers are, I, myself will be more wary of the average driver.

You want proof positive, look around your neighborhood, how many car drivers speed, run stop signs and red lights, change lanes without using turn signals and drive erratically and recklessly.

Compare that to the number of truck drivers that do and act the same way. You will find that the vast majority of truck drivers are safe, courteous , professional and polite.

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#116
In reply to #114

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/13/2019 7:20 AM

Knowing the difference in stopping distance of a big rig vs a car,I prefer to keep them off of my bumper.Everyone has their own comfortable safe space.My space between me and them is much longer than another car.Even with a totally professional,alert,wide awake truck driver,he cannot change the physics involved.If they will not pass or back off,I will change lanes and try to put another vehicle or two between us.As I said,most truck drivers are true professionals,but anyone can become "highway hypnotized" and lose focus for a moment.And a moment is all that is required.At 60mph,that is 88 feet per second.A tenth of a second is the difference between a collision and a near miss.Blink your eyes:That is 1/10th of a second.

I try to keep a 2 second interval between me and any other car,front or rear,but much more when a truck is behind me,more like 5 seconds or more.

Most professional truckers will observe safe following distances.

I did not say to be oblivious to other drivers,which cause more accidents than truckers,it is merely common sense to be situationally aware of all traffic,regardless of type.I totally advocate and practice defensive driving.

Insofar as digital reporting,I understand how it works.It would be great if everyone followed all of the rules all of the time,wouldn't it?

There is a constant shortage of truck drivers, on the East Coast anyway,due to violations of laws,drug use or accidents.The driver training schools are booming as a result.

To each his own,but I prefer my distance and awareness over trusting that everyone always follows the rules.

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#112
In reply to #110

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/12/2019 11:49 PM

Texting on a smart phone is crazy, but I see it every day - many times a day.

Ricky racers drive me nuts - passing on the right, crossing three - five lanes at a time. I get it, their cars are quick and handle well. But come on, my life is worth more than that!

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#34

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 9:52 AM

Not mentioned is ear plugs. These cars aren't really sound insulated in the best case, let alone with the top down (since no A/C) the wind, traffic, and road noise can get deafening. Especially when traveling and not necessarily getting the best night's sleep, it's nice to keep a minor headache from becoming intolerable.

They won't add much to the weight either!

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#67
In reply to #34

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 4:40 AM

Good one! Someone also recommended headphones, but I think it's illegal to drive with them.

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#37

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 10:26 AM

Wasn't it Fletch who did the first test of a spyder ?

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#99
In reply to #37

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/12/2019 7:18 AM

Fletch, as in Chevy Chase?

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#38

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 10:37 AM

I did this the other way back in 1988. Flew into LA with two friends and bought an 84 Spider and drove it back to PA. Yes three people in the car for 8 days. The third sat sideways on the package shelf behind the seats. Not bad if you are 23 years old and have the top down. Hardest part was the 18 hour stint from Bentonville AK to Pittsburgh.

This was pre-internet and we did not have a car selected before we touched down at LAX. Auto traders the next day, purchase and out to Vegas by the following. Lots of adventures along the way! No cell phone support either, but lots of help with an interesting car on the side of the road. :)

I am assuming you are an Alfisti and have some familiarity with these cars. They are good highway travelers, but you will probably want to throw in as much secondary roads as your schedule allows - more fun than staring at Tractor trailers. We found that evening travel worked best. Arrive at you destination late night, sleep for a couple of hours - see the destination in the day and then load back up around dinner time.

I-80 sucks across IL, IA and NE (I live in NE with family on the east coast). Rt30 parallels and would be much more interesting, but slow. I-90 is faster and less trucks. Throw the Black Hills and Rushmore in as a stop - excellent roads around there.

Sunscreen and water - Pack light. Keep a positive attitude. Many people in the middle of the country have never seen an Alfa Spider (including the town mechanic)

Let us know how things go!

Mark

PS - are you on the Alfa BB? The guys there would be interested in hearing of your progress as well. (and may be able to lend a helping hand if needed)

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#70
In reply to #38

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:00 AM

Great story Mark! Youthful exuberance! I thought we were crazy when we drove my friend's 1987 Celica GTS (brand new car) from Chicago to Ventura County! It was in 1987 and my friend just got a new job in Pt Hueneme, CA. We piled in his Celica and we traded off driving. The back seat was a joke - had to sit sideways - I think the term negative legroom was created for this car. I can only imagine driving a Spider with one person sitting on the package shelf - ACROSS COUNTRY!

I have the Alfa bug - pretty badly! It started with an '83 Spider. I then learned about SPICA and bought an '80. Ooops, wrong year! That one has the single throttle body with a Cat, smog pump, EGR and it's a lean burn engine. Next came the '71 Spider with dual Webers! Fun, fun, fun, until I broke a piston - don't ask! I just bought a '74 with 43K original miles. Someone put a terrible paint job changing the color from Silver to Gray! A few minor dings and she needs the body side molding removed and the holes filled. The floorpan on the drivers side has some small holes (not sure if I should replace the entire pan or spot fix). The seat covers are bad - gonna go with a nice Classic Soft Trim or Katzkin leather cover. And she needs a new TA, but I just got a brand new Shankle Sure Start straight from the source. If you know anyone that needs one, Brad still has some in inventory. I asked if he has the Shankle suspension upgrades and he said he does. I still own the four Spiders, though I'm going to sell the '80 when I bring my new '73 home. I'm looking for one more to replace the S3 1983 Spider. The Bosch LJetronic made the FI more reliable, but part of the soul of the car was lost. The pre-cat Spiders breathe so well!

Black Hills and Mt Rushmore! I've never been to either and I've always wanted to go. I'm going to mapquest to see how far out of the way they are.

And yes, I'm on AlfaBB. I have a post there similar to this. Great guys there too and very helpful.

Thanks Mark and yes, I'll keep my posts up here!

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#40

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 10:57 AM

Sounds like you have it well covered... everything I have thought of has been covered.
Hopefully this car doesn't have a load of unnecessary electronics to go wrong and drain the battery.
Maybe a bow and arrows?
Del <exits left whistling duelling banjos >

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#72
In reply to #40

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:06 AM

It's a pretty simple car, so not much in electronics. Lights, horn, starter, gauges, fuel pump and some old school sensors. And a radio or heater if we need it.

No dueling banjos, we won't be in that part of the country!

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#46

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 12:06 PM

I think the world record for endurance should go to my uncle and aunt that drove from NC to California in a 1968 LTD with 8 children in the car.

The kids were small,including a set of twins,and the car was big,but sitting on each other's laps was rotated at intervals.

I cannot imagine stopping for gas and 8 kids scrambling for the bathroom,and a million"are we there yet?"questions.

They had a U Haul with food and other supplies for the trip.

And that was only half of the story...they drove back after a visit with my Aunt's sister!

They both said they enjoyed the trip!

That being the case,your trip should be a breeze.

Have fun and may you have nothing but good luck all along the way.

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#47

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 12:56 PM

I didn't see anyone mention it, but I believe if I were embarking on what is bound to be an epic journey ( yes, I AM jealous! ) I would take a few minutes to see what parts supply places for your car are nearby. Easy enough with a smart phone, I just think I would plan the trip accordingly so as to not get too far away from someplace that you can limp into for quick repairs if need be.

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#77
In reply to #47

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:18 AM

I've already made a list of friendly places where help is nearby. The Alfa community is super helpful - they want people to enjoy their Alfa's. We're odd in that we want others to experience the pleasure an Alfa can bring - we also want to help our Alfa brothers and sisters from feeling pain too!

Thanks for the tip!

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#48

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 6:55 PM

My father bought a used Alfa Romeo 2-door/2-seat convertible around 1962 and found that if the speed was over 50 mph he could drive in the rain (top down) and never get wet. He got lots of surprised looks from others on the road! I suspect you will have the same experience.

If you are worried about desert heat, you might find that the desert at night is awesome, with such amazing views of the stars. Don't worry too much about the heat's giving you problems, because it is dry and the evaporation of sweat will keep you reasonably cool. If you have had no problems with high engine temperature before you get to the desert, you should be fine even in 110-deg heat.

--JMM

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#78
In reply to #48

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:21 AM

I bet your dad loved his Alfa!

I think I saw a Top Gear show where they drove fast in a convertible to prove the aerodynamics could keep the driver and passenger dry. I remember it working!

I'm not too concerned about our comfort - with the top down, I think we'll be okay. I'm worried about the car. I don't think it gets to 110 in Italy, so the car may not be engineered for extremes like this. Just a thought - maybe I'm thinking too much!

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#49

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 10:29 PM

Done it, sorta, across Australia, from Perth to Townsville...a lot farther...and in a Holden Sandman Ute (google it) with a 308 V8....
One bit of advise...treat it with respect...the adventure is worth it

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#79
In reply to #49

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:33 AM

Thank you!

Your car is like the one on Mad Max, but his had a camper shell on top. A 308 V-8. I wonder if it's based on the Chevy small block. We had displacements of 265, 267, 283, 302, 305, 307, 327, 350 and 400. The 302 was a high revving motor - it was in the late 60's Camaro Z28 - it was a race car engine in a production car!

Was the 308 a hi-po motor too? Just curious.

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#97
In reply to #79

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 10:55 PM

Yes, a sort of Aussie version of the 307 or a scaled-down 350. (Targets on my back start shooting)
And yes, the 308 became/was a very capable race engine first in the L34 guise, then the A9X...the A9X being a particular favourite - one of which I still own.
I then discovered the 2.3 litre BMW 6-cylinder (323i) in which I did the trans-Australia thing a few times and then the 3.5 litre BMW 635 CSi that I did similar.

All ranging from 40 down to about 30 years old - I also have old Norton motorbikes. 63, 55 and 41 years old respectively.
All were very fast and capable in their day (like me) but age requires respect and maintenance. (And a glass of wine and some cheese along the way)

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#101
In reply to #97

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/12/2019 7:30 AM

Here in the US, the L34 was a big block 396 CI monster from Chevy! I believe 1969 to 70 it came out.

The old 323i (Euro version) was gray marketed here in the US. A friend of mine had an in the early 90's. He said it didn't run right, because he had to add the smog stuff to comply with CA emissions. He said it choked the engine. I've never driven a 635CSi, but I've heard a lot of good things about them.

Norton bikes! Wow, that's really nice!

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#125
In reply to #101

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/16/2019 6:59 AM

Note, they live indoors ...I have a very understanding missus

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#115
In reply to #97

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/13/2019 4:57 AM

How about we turn the whole discussion south to Australia :)

L34's & A9X's are very desirable muscle cars down under!

I Googled up some history on the GMH 308 V8 and came up with a great article here: https://www.whichcar.com.au/features/history-of-the-holden-v8-part-one-red-motor-253-308-f5000 which included this: "Silins investigated the Chevrolet 283ci, Olds 330ci and Buick 300ci V8s in 1964 and believed he could take the best practice from each and build a lighter engine. A design weight of 525lb (238kg) was set, with the 308 expected to produce net figures of 263lb-ft@2400rpm and 161bhp@4000rpm." (from memory, it was ~240 hp upon release) and "...SL/R 5000 Torana’s L34 performance pack in 1974, which included stronger rods, improved crank, light flywheel, baffled sump, roller rockers and new headers. In race form, with a cam and carb change on top, L34s were said to be good for 350hp or so" (the A9X would have improved upon that)

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#50

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 10:58 PM

Forty-Six Year Old Italian Two Door Convertible!

Before you hit the "road" you should at least leak check the roof seals! It could turn into a soggy trip for you!

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#80
In reply to #50

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:36 AM

Seals were checked and only leaks when very hard winds and rain hit. No, I don't want to be wet in the car, with the top up - a humidity nightmare!

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#51

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/09/2019 11:46 PM

It looks like a great, well maintained vehicle.

Go for it.

What could possibly go wrong that you couldn't fix?

Keep us updated on the trip.

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#81
In reply to #51

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:38 AM

Thank you!

My big concern is overheating and a head gasket. Other concerns are wheel bearings or the SPICA mechanical FI - though I have a guide that shows roadside repairs - some with a paper clip and rubber band!

I'll keep putting up posts as we progress.

I can't wait to go.

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#52

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/10/2019 2:49 AM

You mentioned seat belts? I don't know what the rules are in America but here in Australia they are required by law and they are required to be worn at all times, by all passengers when driving. I feel naked without them on. I hope you intend to use them on your trip. I normally would be jealous but the wife and I are about to head off north from Victoria to Cairns so we will be having our own adventures. Happy and safe driving.

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/10/2019 3:31 AM

It may be that in an old car, the "laws of the day" the car was first built/sold apply, but I would not feel safe myself without them.

Cars even back to the early 60's, usually had the mounting points, at least in the UK, so it might just need to buy and install, though they will probably not have the "roll up" versions, as that came later.

An expert on older Alfa cars would probably know exactly....

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#83
In reply to #53

Re: Advice on a Cross Country Drive in a 46 Year Old Car?

07/11/2019 5:44 AM

The S2 Spiders (1970 and up) have lap belts. I own a 1971 Spider and it has this really cool lap belt. Behind the parking brake lever, there's a big chrome "U" shaped piece that the belt buckle hooks to. Then you pull the belt tight on your waist.

The 1973 Alfa has the retractor type lap belt. The seller confirms that the belts work.

Thanks for checking in.

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