Alfa Romeo GTV6
By: Michael Harris
I had the car painted shortly after installing the 3 liter engine in May, 1999. The
shade of red is borrowed from Brian Berger's
Car - and is a factory Ferrari colour - Rosso Corsa (racing red).
|I have owned my first GTV6 Alfa since April 1995 and have
become quite well acquainted with the mechanical workings of it. [Check out its factory Pedigree here!]
When I purchased it, it was not running because of a broken clutch throw-out bearing. So
before I had even driven the car, I was forced to remove the transaxle to make the
necessary repairs. At this time I took the opportunity to replace the drive shaft couplers
as well as bearings in the drive line.
I also installed the new mechanical timing belt tensioner which is a very worthy
modification to any V6 Alfa Romeo.
|First impressions are the large plenum that directs air to
all 6 cylinders. I am planning to polish this along with both cam covers the next time the
engine is apart.
The cam covers are very large - covering the camshaft as well as the six transverse
push-rods that actuate the exhaust valves. The spark plugs are contained in wells within
this cover - placing them at the very center of the combustion chamber (optimal position
for best combustion!)
The alternator is at the front right, the starter at the back left. AC compressor resides
at the front left corner along with the oil filter. By sports car standards, most things
are easily accessible.
The large item at the bottom left is the air filter with the air flow sensor and intake
The brake master cylinder and booster is at the top right of the photo along with the
coolant overflow reservoir.
|[My seat is black - this picture is from a Sparco
vendor's web site]
I have installed a new Sparco
drivers seat. It is the Rally/Star model. It has an adjustable
seat back so that the rake may be adjusted (many racing seats
have a fixed seat back which are probably less comfortable).
I used the original Alfa mechanism to mount the seat to the floor - which means that it is
fully adjustable and slides back and forth. It was necessary to manufacture two adapter
plates to secure the seat to the sliding rails. I was careful to make the adapters as thin
as possible so that the seat is as low as possible. I found the previous seat a bit high -
in fact, my head touched the roof (and I'm 6' 2"). With the new Sparco seat, my head
is about 1 1/2" from the roof.
The Sparco seat is made is Italy and appears to be very
well manufactured. It is very well thought out - for instance, the foam is scalloped out
more under the left leg since this leg has to travel down a bit more than the right leg
(to operate the clutch pedal). The 'wings' on the top of the seat back support the
|In this shot, you can see the very large side bolsters
... and they do bolster very well!
is also allowance made for a 4 point harness (the two slots in the seat back) - with an
Autopower 5 point harness installed. Of course, the greatest thing about the seat is
how firmly it holds the driver when cornering heavily - it's difficult to appreciate what
a difference this makes if you have not driven a car with a seat of this type. With the
seat holding the driver firmly in place, more attention can be given to driving accurately
through the corners.
|This harness was installed in 1998. It is a Cam-Lock
type which makes it easier to get into and out of which is nice since one needs to do it
MANY times over the course of a time trial weekend (and even more at a drivers
school!). You can just see the new Autopower roll bar behind the seat. I
appreciated the quality of the Autopower parts. Installation was quite
straightforward and fit is excellent! All necessary hardware (including nuts and
bolts were provided).
|The steering wheel and gearshift are not stock on this
car. The wheel is a Momo and the shift lever is by
Nardi. It makes sense to spend a little extra money on the two most used controls on the
vehicle. The steering wheel is fitted by means of an adapter - which also functions as a
spacer. I think that this improves the driving position since it moves the steering wheel
out towards the driver. The diameter is also slightly smaller.
|The wooden steering wheel pictured above unfortunately had
to go! Several racing technical inspectors had commented on the propensity for
steering wheels like these to break in accident situations turning into lethal wooden
barbs! I bought this Momo Montecarlo leather wheel - its a great improvement!
|I have installed a Sanden, 5 cylinder rotary compressor
from an Alfa Milano. More details may be found here.
|A transmission from a Milano Platinum was installed in
January 1998. More details may be found here.
|[Shankle rear springs and Shankle front anti roll bar]
Matching (Shankle Super Sport) rear anti-roll bars as well as 27.3mm front torsion bars
were added shortly thereafter.
|[Walker Dynomax Stainless Steel exhaust. Tail pipe
modified to allow the exhaust to exit in the centre of the car - eliminating the S curved
original pipe. This results in less back pressure]
|[Shankle stainless steel braided brake lines. Installed
23th March 1997. These improve the pedal fee by replacing the stock rubber brake hoses
which swell and expand as the pedal is depressed. It should improve the brake feel as well
as improve the safety since the old hoses were cracked and brittle after 10 years of hard
|New Spax shocks installed in May 1997. Allow adjustment
without removing the shocks from the car - which makes them ideal for a dual purpose
street/track car. You might be able to make out the adjusting screw right at the bottom of
the shock cylinder. There are 14 adjustment positions, maximum rate (fully clockwise)
being very stiff.
|Cooling problems have been solved by installing this
Milano (75) radiator cooling fan - which has proven to work a lot better than the stock
twin fan setup. It bolted on quite easily - though a little grinding was needed to
allow the shroud to clear the sides - and allow it to fit as close to the radiator as
possible. Note that I also needed to grind away a bit of the mounting bracket
indicated by the red arrow. As you can see, the aluminium adapter brackets attach to
the GTV6 radiator using the stock mounting positions and hardware.
|One of the problems associated with installing a Milano
gearbox is that the speedo does not work properly with a mixture of (early) GTV6 and
Milano speedo parts. The solution I came up with is to install the innards of a
Milano speedo in my GTV6 speedo housing (a late model '85 or '86 housing must be used).
Not an easy job - but can be accomplished with a dremel tool being used to modify
the existing GTV6 instrument face. The only problem I have experienced so far is
that the illumination is poor at night ... this will be addresses as soon as I have time
to deal with this... Note that the actual 'guts' of the Milano speedo mechanism
screws into the late style GTV6 housing - but extensive carving is needed to make space
for the circuit board etc.
|Milano Verde 3 liter wheels fitted late 1998.
|An adjustable fuel pressure regulator
allows the fuel pressure to be increased to enrichen the mixture as the engine is
modified, and also has a diaphragm which responds to manifold vacuum to richen the mixture
briefly when the throttle is opened. This adjustable fuel pressure regulator
was purchased from Demon Tweeks in England.
It was supposed to be a bolt-in part - but it just did not fit in the stock
location beneath the front of the plenum. For this reason, I had to mount it in a
remote location using high pressure fuel hose. The new regulator is indicated by the
red arrow just to the side of the bonnet catch. This new mounting position also
allows easy adjustment of the fuel pressure. The only difficult aspects to the
installation are finding the correct fittings to make the extension hoses. I had the
new hose bards made up by a local hose company and so far it is completely leak-free.
The spark plug wires are Magnecor
8.5mm race wires - very good quality with excellent fit.
|Details of the modified instrument panel include the added
VDO vacuum gauge and oil temp gauge on the lower right. A small temp sender was
inset into the engine oil sump when the engine was out. The oil temp seems to stay
consistently around 185 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Cyberdyne Air/Fuel mixture gauge
and digital voltmeter are on the left (in the old clock pod). I would not be without
either of these two gauges!
I also added an oil pressure warning light - in fact, the GTV was already wired for it and
all that was needed was a wire from the ground side of the instrument bulb to the spade
connector on the sender (only found on Milano (75) engines).
The window switches are from a Milano (I know the arrows point in the wrong direction ...
I also moved these switches over because it makes a bit more sense from an ergonomics
point of view.
Moving towards the SZ ZAGATO!
deDion pivot bearing
Check out the Overheard Cams
web for the reasons why I decided to make these modifications to the suspension.
The bottom line is that removing rubber components from the suspension improves handling
Here is the
business at hand. The spongy rubber bushing (on the left) has been removed from the
front of the deDion triangle. This is accomplished by removing the 'stakes' that
hold the bushing in place and then driving the old bushing out. The rubber bushing
must be replaced by this spherical bearing (on the right) that Alfa installed on the SZ
Zagato. Note that the unit on the right actually consists of an aluminium adapter
and the spherical bearing (they come entirely separate).
I used only one of the metal disks that Alfa
originally used on top and underneath the original rubber bushings - you can actually see
it in the photo in its final resting place at the bottom of the triangle apex hole.
The aluminium adapter sleeve could then be pressed
in. The metal must again be 'staked' to prevent the bearing coming adrift.
This is not exactly an easy task since the metal is very hard. I eventually found
that I needed to buy a special punch to make the correct 'stake.'
|You absolutely need a shop press to install the
SZ Zagato bushing. Here you can see the front part of the deDion triangle under the
ram of the press. The back half of the deDion is sitting on the table in the
background while the blocks of wood are shimming the back up so that the under surface of
the front of the triangle is exactly parallel to the stage.
Once the bearing is fully seated, the circlip
must be installed. Check the thickness of the new bearing carefully compared to the
old rubber one. I found I needed to use two 1.5mm washers - one on either side of
the bearing when I installed it back in the cross
| This is a picture of the area where the
old rubber castor pads used to reside. See the Overheard Cams
Web site for a discussion on this - it is what I used for
Basically, this is a modification done by Alfa on
the SZ Zagato to remove the castor pads & replace them with a castor ball joint from
the 115 series GTV. The hole needs to be enlarged (a lot!) and the two 8mm holes
drilled. I must also warn you that once you start hacking the sheet metal away,
there is no going back - so make sure you know what you are doing and definitely "measure twice - cut once!"
Again - mark VERY carefully because there is
not much room for error. I made a template of the back of the ball joint to act as a
guide and mark the area for cutting/grinding. The metal that needs to be
removed is also quite thick (3mm?). I started out using a pneumatic die grinder
(took ages!), but ended up using a large half round hand file which took the metal off
|Here you can see the components. I
decided to cut about 10mm off the end of the castor ball joint because I was worried that
even with both rods fully turned in, the castor measurement would be out of
specification. The threaded end of the castor joint can easily be cut with a sharp
|Here is the completed installation! A lot
of work - but definitely worth it since I won't be changing worn out castor pads anytime
|The car is fast and reliable - and is (of
course) a real blast to drive!