Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Tell us about your Seven and show us some pics of your car
This is for completed cars on the road.

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Super7Alfa
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by Super7Alfa » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:30 pm

I got the car back from Leitch Motorsport today, no oil in the footwells on the way home so that's good :D They found that someone had drilled a hole, presumably for the rear mount from the gearbox to the chassis, which had gone right through the casing - and then plugged it with a piece of hardwood dowel :o When the oil got hot it oozed out through the wood :( A proper repair has been effected, plus a decent new rear mount. The ride height has been sorted out and the car is now much more stable on the road. Just need to get out and drive it a bit to give it more of a shake down before the (hopefully) last bits and pieces get finished off.

Super7Alfa
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by Super7Alfa » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:11 pm

Well, it's been a long time since I've posted anything here but the car has been having (more) work done by Leitch Motorsport and by me. The list of jobs to do is gradually getting shorter, although in the time-honoured method of adding two new jobs for every one completed! I decided to replace the carburettor mounts as, although they weren't leaking, the rubber parts were showing signs of cracking and there was no way of telling how long they'd been on the car or how long it would be before they gave trouble. Rather than fitting a new set of the original rubber mountings, I opted for a set of alloy mounts with rubber "O" rings and dome washers to give the flexibility needed and a longer life (plus they look good!). Fitting wasn't as bad as I'd expected, given the limited clearance around the engine, it took me almost as long to refill the cooling system and get rid of the air locks :)

The mounts
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The fittings
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I then found that the thermostatic switch that runs the electric radiator fan had stopped working. Annoyingly, it's fitted in the top of the radiator and is an unusual type - an Otter switch that plugs in with a rubber grommet and a clip. I eventually sourced one from the UK (from the firm that supplied the one in the car back in 2008) and have since found another supplier (also in the UK but at half the price :( It seems that Lotus used the same switch on some Esprits and Excels. While I had the coolant overflow bottle empty I gave it a good clean out (using dishwasher tablet, a tip from the mechanic at Leitch's) - it was a secondhand one from a breaker's yard and was pretty gungy,as was the (similar) oil breather catch tank. Both cleaned up beautifully and tidied up that corner of the under-bonnet area.

While I was checking round the car I found that the rubber seals on the front suspension trunnions (Lotus used Triumph Herald uprights on the 7 and Caterham carried on) were very hard and not actually sealing. As the trunnions are brass and lubricated by oil, I thought this wasn't good and decided to replace the seals, available off the shelf from Caterham. I also ordered a few bolts and nylocs to replace some rather dodgy looking ones, including 2 x 4-1/2" by 1/2" ones to hold the rear dampers onto the axle. E.Hayes & Son in Invercargill had the bolts at over $6 each so a fraction over 1GBP each from Caterham more than paid for the postage on the whole order :) While I was at it, I thought I might as well replace the badly scored front brake rotors as well. Having been quoted $100 each from one source, I got them from BNT at $100 the pair, apparently Triumph Herald/Spitfire/GT6 rotors aren't that easy to find and aren't cheap in NZ. Caterham had them in stock at 30 GBP each but I don't think they would have worked out much cheaper by the time I'd paid for freight, and the front suspension would have been in bits for 2 weeks! Another day in the garage and the front suspension and brakes were looking a lot better, time for a few trips to see how it all felt :D The first thing I noticed was the driver's seat cushion has lost its cushioning, I think the foam has disintegrated, so that's another job to add.

After a few local trips to check things out, purge any remaining air locks from the cooling system and make sure the radiator fan was working, it was time for some proper motoring. We went out with the Gore Vintage Car Club yesterday on a trip to Te Anau. We ended up doing just under 300 miles, Riverton to Gore to Manapouri for lunch and then on to Te Anau and back via the Southern Scenic Route through Clifden and Tuatapere. The only problem we had was that it was incredibly windy, the car was being knocked about by the gusts and the buffeting with the roof off was quite tiring. I've been experimenting with a wind deflector on the roll over bar and that made quite a difference, using thick bits of cardboard tie-wrapped to the roll over bar to try and establish how big it would need to be before getting one made up in perspex and properly fixed. The wind was so strong it blew the cardboard off the tie-wraps before we got to Manapouri, so we got the full blast of the wind for the rest of the journey :( Apart from that it was a great day out, the sun shone and lunch at the Manapouri Lakeview Motor Inn was delicious.
At the Waiau River lookout
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It's the furthest we've gone in the car so far and I was pleasantly surprised to find my wife had no complaints :D Fuel consumption seemed reasonable, we filled up at Gore and again in Te Anau, 100 miles later and got 20 litres in. The fuel gauge is a bit "individual" and I'm still trying to sort out what the readings mean. After the trip I now know that "Full" means full and "1/4 full" means about 1/2 full, just need to establish where "Empty" is on the gauge :!:

What next? Well, the seat needs re-foaming (although a folded up blanket works OK at the moment!), I still need to get 4 new tyres, the clutch slave cylinder looks as though it might be leaking slightly, the wind deflector needs sorting and I need to clean the windows on the canvas roof. I got some plastic polish from Paul Walbran Motors and it's done a very good job on the sidescreen windows and looks as though it will be well worth the $40 it cost as I can now actually see through the sidescreens :D
Last edited by Super7Alfa on Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

7dreamer
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by 7dreamer » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:55 am

If you need bolts go to blacks fastners on bond street opposite boc ask for pete he truly knows his stuff and is a bit of a motoring man and a lot cheaper than ehayes

Super7Alfa
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by Super7Alfa » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:49 pm

Thanks, I'll bear that in mind next time :)

AndyB
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by AndyB » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:55 pm

A guy that joined our Fall Run last Sunday in a Hayabusa Seven had an aluminum deflector mounted on and above the windshield. He claims not only did it work as a wind deflector but I'd imagine it would double as a sun visor.
I'm not sure he was a club member as it was his first visit but I will try to contact him and obtain a photo.

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KiwiBirkin
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by KiwiBirkin » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:16 pm

Nice post, I did that drive in Grace once and it was a lot of fun, definatly miss the mountain driving in the Seven but it looks a little cold judging from what your wife's wearing in the car.
Why walk when you can accelerate through life in a 7..... :lol:

Super7Alfa
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by Super7Alfa » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:09 am

KiwiBirkin wrote:Nice post, I did that drive in Grace once and it was a lot of fun, definatly miss the mountain driving in the Seven but it looks a little cold judging from what your wife's wearing in the car.
Yes, it was a great drive - and not cold, just VERY windy :D

7dreamer
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by 7dreamer » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:31 pm

I think I may have seen you out for a drive in the rain on Tuesday I tooted from a maroon surf on the lornevile dacre road looking good

Super7Alfa
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by Super7Alfa » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:41 pm

7dreamer wrote:I think I may have seen you out for a drive in the rain on Tuesday I tooted from a maroon surf on the lornevile dacre road looking good
Ah, that was you, was it?! Yes, it was me :)

Super7Alfa
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Re: Alfa-Romeo powered 7

Post by Super7Alfa » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:18 pm

Well, I took advantage of the showery weather on Labour Day to spend some time working on the 7. I replaced the spacer between the fuel pump and the engine block to try and cure a persistent slight leak and re-routed the engine breather pipe slightly. Then I had a go at the clutch slave cylinder. I'd had another look at it and decided it was leaking, so got a repair kit for it. Annoyingly, one of the invoices that came with the car included a new clutch slave cylinder, but that was in 2008, since when the car has done less than 1,000 miles. It came off more easily than I'd feared, once I got the car up on axle stands so I could get right under it. When I stripped the cylinder I found the piston had marked the bore where it had been sitting and there was some surface corrosion around the inside of the cylinder under the rubber boot but beyond the piston. I cleaned everything up, replaced the seals etc and bled it out without too much trouble and will see how it goes. I think I've also finally cured the slight leak from the coolant overflow hose by tightening up the clip ;) I got everything finished in time for a short test drive before dinner - all seemed well, so it was fingers crossed for good weather the next day.

Keeping fingers firmly crossed, I went out with the Gore Vintage Car club again yesterday, but only a short run this time, about 150 mile round trip, out to Gore and on to Riversdale. We had a look round a member's shed, then a secondhand shop and lunch in a cafe in Riversdale followed by another shed. The sun shone all day and it got hot enough to do without a coat driving back to Gore. Unfortunately the weather turned on my way back and I got caught in a fairly heavy rain shower for about 5 minutes just before and after Dacre. Luckily I only had to slow down once for a right turn and didn't get too wet - and I'd dried off completely by the time I got back to Riverton :) The 7 was running really well to begin with but the misfire kicked in again between Lorneville and Dacre - once the car had got well and truly warmed up I suppose. It went away every time we stopped (presumably when it cooled down a bit) but came back as soon as I got going properly. I stopped a couple of times to check the plug leads after the last run but all seemed OK. When I got back home I had a proper look around and the clutch fluid level hadn't dropped, the fuel pump oil leak seemed to have stopped and no coolant was leaking out either, so that was all good! One of the plug leads seemed a bit loose going into the top of the distributor, so I went round and tightened them all up and gave it a quick blast down the road for about 20 miles - all seemed well but time will tell.... I'm now waiting for a chance to do a good long run again to check it out properly. It might be a case of replacing the leads and maybe the condenser, points and rotor arm) as the distributor cap is new but I don't know how old the other bits are :( I could also see that there seems to be an oil leak from the dipstick tube - there's a (40-year-old?) rubber seal on the stick that looks as though it isn't sealing anymore so oil mist is blowing out the top of the tube and then running down the outside. Not a major problem but it collects on the top of the sump wing and then runs all over it :(

Still, it was a good day out and I enjoyed the chance to get out again even if it's still a case of two steps forward and one back with the list of jobs to do ;)

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