|The International Alfa Romeo 164 Cloverleaf Register|
Hello everyone, and welcome to the Spring 2011 news letter, unless, of course, you are in the Southern Hemisphere, where it's Autumn!
As we have seen, the numbers of cars in use and still road worthy is getting fewer and fewer. It is therefore important that those of us lucky enough to still have our Leafs' keep up regular contact, to share sources of spares, solutions for problems and general encouragement to one another.
It's been encouraging to note that recent editions of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club UK magazine have highlighted the lack of 164's in general on the UK roads, and the opinion seems to be that only with their imminent demise will they be seen as important cars in the Alfa Romeo story.
Please note that the SERVICE, SPARES and LINKS sections of this site have been closed down due to abuse and inappropriate content. Can I suggest that if you wish to share information with other Cloverleaf owners, you use the Yahoo Group that we have - this is moderated, so inappropriate or abusive content will not be tollerated or endorsed.
Having sourced a new 'side rail' to support the radiators on the Beast, I have set about the task of replacement - and it's turned into a much bigger job than I imagined, mainly due to the difficulty in removing stubborn nuts, bolts and screws, plus the tendency for many bolts/nuts to break rather than unscrew. I also encountered a number of Pozidrive type screws that seem to be very soft, with the resulting damage to the head making then useless. Releasing fluid is no help with this sort of problem, and I have to be a little inventive at times, like grinding a couple of edges on the screw head so that an open ended spanner would fit. This seemed to do the trick.
I found the removal of the radiator is quite straightforward, apart from two areas. First, the location of the oil cooler matrix and its attachment to the side of the radiator is a piece of design madness. Very difficult to get at to disconnect, and as the nut on the fixed bolt that runs through the lug on the rad had rounded off, it was a bit of a trial to remove. I have resolved to find a better way to suspend the oil cooler without attaching it to the radiator, and to provide some sort of ducting to improve the airflow over the matrix. Watch this space.
The other issue was with the steel pipe that runs across the bottom of the rad. The captive nuts underneath were no longer captive, so took some time to remove. I will replace them with conventional nuts and antishake washers or locknuts, and attach to the rail before re-assembly. I'm inclined to smother these exposed nuts and bolts with a generous amount of silicone sealant. I find this works well at keeping the elements out, and is easy enough to remove later, if necessary.
Once the water rad was removed, it was possible to judge the condition of the aircon rad. Although the top half looked ok, the bottom half below the bumper was falling to bits, so this is being replaced. I've managed to source one from http://www.autoairconparts.co.uk/ for £92.00 inc VAT and delivery. This radiator is attached to the rail by a bolt and captive nut under each end of the bottom edge. Again, these fixings were badly corroded.
While doing all this, I though it would be a good time to have the bumper off completely for inspection, and to also replace the fog lamps. I've had a couple waiting to be fitted for a few years now. It's almost impossible to replace the right hand side, due to the oil cooler matrix being in the way. Removal of the bumper is quite easy, apart from one area. There are three bolts that hold the top of the bumper to the frame, plus another one on eash side, underneath the headlights. So, the headlights have to be removed to gain access. This was the most difficult area I encountered.
The lights are held in place at three points; two screws onto captive muts on the inner wing, two screws and captive nuts through the plastic lug on the front of the light assembly, attaching to a metal angle bracket that is itself attached to the bodyframe by a further two nut and bolt fixings. Pretty well everyone of these fixings was corroded solid and impossible to move. A variety of methods was used to remove these. I had to resort to a cold chisel and lump hammer in the end, for the last three. When I come to re-assemble, I'll be using different fixings that won't degrade over time. Scrivets seem to be a thought at the moment - if anyone has used these, I'd be grateful for some feedback or comments.
Once the lights were removed, removal of the bumper was easy, although the final two bolts at each side of the car, through the wings, broke off in the process. How can these fittings be so brittle? I have yet to look into how to replace these.
Replacement of the fog lamps is easy, and the screws holding them in came away without any drama. I have some lens protectors for the headlamps, and have been wondering whether to make something to go over the foglamp lenses as well - just some perspex would do the trick I think, and cheaper than new lamps, if you can get them!
So, it's all in pieces now, so just a case of making the improvements I have identified, and getting it all back together, so a few weekends work ahead of me. I'll post some photos soon so that you can see what I'm talking about.
Update - May 12th 2011
Having sent a parts list to Mangoletsi, it's interesting to see what is in and out of availability.
The fixings for the sides of the front bumper are no longer available, neither is the two speed resistor for the radiator fan, or the water temp guage sensor. Cloverleaf badges are also out of availablility, although the 164 for the boot lid is still available. Fixing brackets for the oil cooler are not available, nor the 'protection' shroud, as the parts manual describes it. All a bit gloomy really.
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