GTV6 Web Site:  Featured Alfas

1985 Alfa Romeo GTV6 
By:  Michael Harris

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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).

... link to the 3 liter engine page! ... My car now has a slightly modified 3 liter engine...


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 plumbing.  
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 shoulder girdle. 


In this shot, you can see the very large side bolsters ... and they do bolster very well!  

There 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 service]  


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.

instrument panel

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 

June, 1998.  
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 performance immensely! 

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  

Castor Bearings


 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 hints.     
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 much quicker.  


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 hacksaw. 


Here is the completed installation!  A lot of work - but definitely worth it since I won't be changing worn out castor pads anytime soon.  


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The car is fast and reliable - and is (of course) a real blast to drive! 

  Send e-mail to Mike Harris