festy - a pair of alfettas down under

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festy
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festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by festy » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:26 pm

Hi all,
Long time listener, first time caller - I've been lurking around the forum for months, but haven't pulled my finger out and posted here yet :oops:

I've had a pair of Alfetta GTVs since for ever, a red '79 2L and a (now) red '77 2L.
I'm sure you'll all ridicule me and question my manhood based on my lack of cylinders, so go ahead and get it all off your chest now guys ;)
My first car was a '79 Alfetta 2L sedan, which was replaced with the '79 coupe which means I've owned it for about 15 years now - but it's been off the road for the last 10 years or so.
For my 21st birthday, my wife bought me a parts car - the '77 gtv.
It was brown and rusty and didn't have a single straight panel, and had been sitting under a tree for a few years slowly being overgrown with weeds - but it was more or less complete, and it was cheap.
The plan was to swap the transaxle into my sedan (which had a smashed housing due to a rear donut letting go - which is what prompted the purchase of the '79 gtv) and scavenge a few bits and pieces before sending it to the crusher...
It never happened. I bought a few books and a welder, and learned how to repair the rust and dents.
Another book or two and an air compressor, and I'd painted my first car.
AR 501 Red of course, because this was still a donor car and now the panels matched my '79 ;)
It stopped being a parts car around the time I put a 6 point cage in it, and took it to the track a few times.

Then when the kids came along, I didn't have time to play with my "toys" any more so they both sat untouched for a few years, and I didn't think about Alfas for a long time.
A year or so ago, I got sick of the sight of two non-running alfettas up on blocks and started getting to know them again.

I converted the '77 to EFI - years ago I was so sick of the carbs playing up at the track that I decided I wouldn't take it out again until it was fuel injected.
Having a total budget for the upgrade of roughly nothing, the conversion consisted of what parts I had in the shed, whatever I could scrounge from friends/wreckers/ebay, and the rest I'd have to make myself.

I'd had an L-Jet spider manifold and plenum tucked away for this project, but once I fitted it to the head I found so many problems with the setup.
With the injectors being low impedance hose tail units and the plenum pointing the small throttle body over the fuel rail towards the exhaust - and the thermostat housing interfering with mounting an o-ring injector rail.
spider_manifold.jpg
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After trying unsuccessfully to work out a way to make everything fit, I gave up and made a quick plenum for a holden v6 throttle body, and knocked up an o-ring injector rail with extra-long bosses to clear the thermostat.
rail1.jpg
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Next was to do away with the distributor and switch to DFI so added the required slots to the balancer and re-purposed an old ABS sensor as a CAS
triggerwheel.jpg
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The ECU is an old GM unit with some modifications to the hardware and firmware to make it more flexible, the loom was from an early 90's Nissan Pulsar (which ran a GM ECU here in oz), the ignition setup is from a similar vintage Chev something-or-other, sensors are a mix of Bosch spider and junkyard GM, and the injectors and FPR are off a late 80s saab 9000 turbo.
It looks like crap, but it all works together very well - and the whole setup owes me less than $300 so I can't complain ;)
77_enginebay.jpg
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Next I'm looking at ideas for brake and suspension upgrades, and low boost turbocharging.
I don't know when this car will see a track again, with no budget but lots of ideas it will probably take me another 10 years before I get anywhere near finishing it :(
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by SydneyJules » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:44 am

Festy, welcome mate! Great job with the resurrection and love the ingenuity with the injection set up!
We all know that it's awesome to have less weight over the front wheels, so we'll excuse you for having less cylinders!

When you get that hair dryer sorted, you'll have more power AND less weight!
Fixing it bit by bit....
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by festy » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:13 pm

If I'm trying to solve a problem that has an easy and a hard solution, for some reason I'll usually ignore both options and dream up a long and complex answer instead :oops:

After getting the EFI conversion up and running, I wanted a datalogger that didn't involve carrying a laptop around.
I consider datalogging extremely important for financially-challenged track car development, and with a few additional inputs it can be a great aid to improving an inexperienced driver (i.e. me).

Rather than just go and buy a commercial logger that speaks ALDL (the GM OBD protocol that my ECU uses) or use a generic logger with it's own sensors, I chose to cobble together my own.

I did a bit of reading up on the protocol and it didn't look too complicated (it's pretty well documented, compared to say the Motronic protocol) and looking through my junk box I found an old wireless router with a USB port. My ECU modifications already included a USB port, so I started writing some logger code for the router.
I added a LCD screen to the router, and a USB stick to store the configuration and logs on, and used the router's reset button to start/stop logging, and it's LEDs to show status signals.
I used spare input pins on the ECU for triggering things like lap completion, so the logger's display not only showed the engine parameters and warnings but also lap count, last/best lap time, lap time delta etc....
The other advantage of using a wireless router is the wireless bit - it would enable me to send live telemetry back to the pits via wifi, and being 2 way communication you could also re-tune the ECU from the pits while it was out on the track :twisted:
That is, if this car ever makes it to a track again...

After a few tests I came to the conclusion that the old wireless router was just a bit too slow to do all this, I was only able to record data at about 1/3 the speed that I could with a decent laptop connected, so I shelved the project until I could find a better platform.
When the Raspberry Pi was released, I thought that fitted the bill nicely - a $35 credit card sized computer with a decent CPU, heaps of RAM and plenty of I/O lines.
Unfortunately there were constant delays in shipping the R-Pi, and by the time mine arrived a few months later, I'd lost interest in the project :(
It's on my list of things to get back to, but at least the wireless router setup works well enough to be usable until I do...
log_laptimer.jpg
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festy
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by festy » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:18 pm

Another modification I did a while ago was to the Watts linkage.
I started out planning to replace the bushes with spherical bearings, but ended up casting a solid aluminium pivot block.
I've received mixed feedback on this - more negative than positive, actually :(
Not everyone seems to share my confidence in the strength of my casting, but a test to destruction showed it was significantly stronger than the factory part it replaced, so I'm satisfied it's not going to be the weakest link.
Famous last words maybe? ;)
watts1.jpg
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by festy » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:25 pm

The engine has been in pieces for the last 6 months after a recently-installed exhaust cam failed - and destroyed the head in the process.
Getting hold of and preparing a new head, valves, cams, gaskets etc on my budget (plus moving house in the middle) has taken ages, and there has been plenty of bullshit to deal with along the way.

And I mean that literally :shock:

A couple of months ago I'd pulled the old head and stripped it, sourced a replacement head and had it all cleaned up ready to start work on.
I was doing this just inside my shed, with the roller door open to let the light in.
And working on the floor of course, as I had no clear bench space.

So there I was, sitting on the floor minding my own business measuring shims and sorting by size, when a huge, cranky, soaking wet bull came bolting through the doorway!
I immediately lept behind a bench out of harm's way as the very irate bull charged into the back of the alfa and crapped all over my disassembled heads and tools - then proceeded to slip on it's own poo as it spun around, and trampled all over my nice, clean valve train components before finally charging the side of the car on it's way to the rear of the shed, leaving a trail of shit and destruction in it's wake.

When I finally got him out, I surveyed the damage and found he'd destroyed a few valves and buckets plus a few tools, bent some of the valve springs, and somehow smashed a shim. It took me a week to clean up all the crap, and a lot longer to get it out of the oil and water passages in the head :(

I guess after a week of rain, the poor bull probably had a tummy ache and envied me being warm and dry in my shed :?

Here's some of the carnage...
bull.jpg
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by fedezyl » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:36 pm

this has to be one of the crazyest stories i`ve read in a while! :shock:
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by festy » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:44 pm

fedezyl wrote:this has to be one of the crazyest stories i`ve read in a while! :shock:
That's why I took a photo - I didn't think even my wife would believe me without proof it happened :mrgreen:
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by GTV27 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:47 pm

if not for the picture, I'd call BS ... sorry, bad joke!

re the alloy watts pivot, I'm no engineer, but I'd expect other bits to still be the weakest link. It will certainly be strong enough for normal tyre loadings and would only be under pressure for transferring extreme side loadings (like a spinning car hitting a kerb) and in that scenario, lots of bits are likely to break anyhow.
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festy
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by festy » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:33 am

Here's a very dodgy video of one of the first test drives after the EFI conversion.
Trying to steer, change gears and hold a phone steady all at once is not an easy task :(

I'd been fiddling with the rev limiter settings a few days beforehand and had set it to 3k, and forgot to reset it before this drive so if you listen very carefuly you might just be able to make out where I hit the limiter :mrgreen:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/62D0pLDV2DY
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by Jim K » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:26 am

HAHAHAHAH!! BUUUUULLLLL-SHIIIT!! HAHAHAH! That's a GREAT story Josh!!
:lol: :lol:
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by Mats » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:51 pm

festy wrote:
fedezyl wrote:this has to be one of the crazyest stories i`ve read in a while! :shock:
That's why I took a photo - I didn't think even my wife would believe me without proof it happened :mrgreen:
Wtf...? We sure have different problems in the garage on this forum but you Sir, have definetly set a new standard!! :shock:
Is it your bull or does wild bulls just wander around where you live?? :)
Was the car badly damaged? Sounds like bent metal to me. :cry:
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by MD » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:21 am

Don't mess with this guy. He has even harnessed poo power. :shock:

Man, it's gonna take a special post indeed to beat this one.

Love your never say die attitude festy. :D
Transaxle Alfas Haul More Arse
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by kevin » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:46 am

Holy crap ! Most bizarre workshop story ever . Worse than in a China shop . The weakest part of the watts linkage is where the bolts go into the body . Also if the locknuts on rose joins come loose then the thread has no tension on its surface and it can strip out due to the " play" but only after some serious special stages . Seen it once. It nearly out.
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by GarthW » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:12 pm

Is your car running very rich? Your AFR is very low, even at idle it should be much higher than that.. :wink:

But f@*k me that was a lot of poo....all over that poor drill. :shock:
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Selling 1985 GTV6.

Ecu and injectors, lightened.....plays music.
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Re: festy - a pair of alfettas down under

Post by festy » Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:46 pm

Mats: Not my bull, and not a wild one either.
It broke down a fence to come and hang out with my horse.
No significant panel damage, the bull had a traction problem (it was slipping in it's own poo) and so it was more like it "fell" into the car.
It left a decent snot trail. and a bit of a scratch from the ring through it's nose but no serious panel damage.

kevin: I'd assumed the sheet metal would be the weakest point.
I've replaced all the 8mm bolts in the watts with 10mm, so will keep an eye on the body mounts and plate them if necessary.

GarthW: I assume you're joking about the AFR, seeing as the MAP is 10kPa and RPM is 0? ;)
I know idling at ~11:1 AFR my plus would foul almost immediately, I doubt it would even fire at ~7:1 (unless I was running methanol).
There were no sensors connected when I took that pic.
Here's a short clip of it with a running engine (wideband still isn't connected in this one though):
http://www.youtube.com/embed/x9GyRrYKxSk
The screen is too jumpy, hence the re-design...
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