PROGRESS on PHIL STORR'S ALFA 2600 Berlina

No work has been done on the Sprint for about eight months but I now have some AR509 two pack paint and am waiting for some suitable weather to paint under the bonnet so I can start to reassemble the car. My plan is to get the front and rear suspension back on, and the brakes back in so it is a rolling chassis once more. I hope to have it a rolling chassis once more by the end of the year and perhaps in the paint shop about Easter 2001. In the mean time some work will be done on the Berlina.

My aim for the moment is to stop work on the Sprint for a while (not that I have restarted yet) and do a bit of cosmetic work on the Berlina so I may have a chance of taking it to next years Alfesta in Victoria. Not a lot to do to get it going, and looking acceptable to the Registration department.

I have started the process of getting the Berlina running. Recently my Nephew and I (an Alfa nut also and not many years younger than me) took the carbies and manifold off, the radiator out, and pulled the top off the dash board and the instruments out. The motor has been rebuilt some time ago but it has not been started because the previous owner was going to put the Sprint tripple carby setup on. I want to retain the Berlina two carby setup and so I will have to make the gaskets, find the linkage, and fix a few faults in the wiring loom. The first problem was a missing ignition switch and two cheap plastic toggle switches replacing a broken head light switch. Much of the wiring was a mess, in particular around the headlights, horn and alternator.

A quick check of the instruments, lights and other electrical accessories soon revealed some problems in that area. The rear blower worked but there was no sign of life from the either of tweo front heater blowers. As I pulled these out the problem soon became obvious. The right hand blower motor was missing and the left had one was melted solid. These cars have two heater cores and two blower motors, one mounted in the front of each guard. The motors are exposed to the elements so it is no wonder they fail. I will need two more of these, if all else fails I could use the rear one out of the donor car for one side.

The month of June 2000 was spent making a new wiring loom for the 2600 Berlina and planning a similar loom for the 2600 Sprint. I decided to replace the looms in both cars because the wire had gone hard a brittle from the heat and the various connectors were corroded. I am cheating a bit. Although the original 12 fuse fuse box is still be in place in the engine compartment it is not used for the same circuits Alfa intended.

The high current circuits pass through blade fuses in two eight blade fuse boxes, hidden under the dash. The old fuse box only protects the back and front parking lights, the indicators and brake lights and the low beams. A fusable link hidden under the old fuse box protects the main power circuits and they are terminated on there instead of on the big lugs on the fuse box.

The alternator on the Berlina and the generator on the Sprint, will be replaced with new 85 Amp alternators and this means putting in much bigger feed wires from the alternator and the back of the starter motor. These will go to the fusbale link and from there suitable heavy wires will feed headligh and ignition circuit relays. All the non standard bits will be hidden under the dash, well out of sight for Concours purposes.

Those old black fuse boxes

The old fuse boxes used in most older Alfas are a problem due to the aluminum rivets that hold the contacts and fuse clips in place. I have drilled out the rivets, cleaned the brass bits, and put them back together with stainless steel bolts and nuts. The joining bars between the circuits have been re-arranged to suite my new uses for the fuses. See the "before and after" photos below. I have done this to other Alfas. I would sooner replace the fuse box with modern blade fuses but I want to keep it looking original. I have self resetting thermal cut-outs protecting the ignition and fuel pump circuits, I do not like using fuses for such vital circuit.

     

I replaced the missing Ignition Switch with a nice Hella one with an accessories position and the starter lockout position found on most other Alfas. It looks very much like the original. Soon after buying the new switch I found the original one in the big box of parts that came over from Western Australia some weeks after the car. The missing carby linkages were also in the box.

Over the weeks of July 2000 I found time to take most of the front of the car apart and stripped the paint from the front, the front guards and the side sills. The left hand sill I just cut away as it was mostly rust and when I cleaned the paint off the right hand sill I decided to cut this one off and replace it also. It had small rust holes along its length.

     

I cut away more of the back of the right hand guard and then found out why the left hand head light pointed to the left. The repair there was a mess with the repaired bits welded on too low so the light is lower than the one on the right hand side.

   

What I realy need is these two section off another car. I have a lead in South Africa, I will give that a try. If this does not prove possible, or is too expensive, I will have to look at calling in a favor or too.

At the end of August 2000 I took the doors, bonnet (hood) and boot (trunk) lid to Minus Paint to be paint stripped and de-rusted. This costs about A$70.00 an item but saves a lot of effort and does a far better job than I can do myself with paint stripper. It removes all the tar and rust from the inside of the door. I also sold the doors and bonnet off the parts car to a fellow fixing a 2600 Sprint in the Country town of Waikerie here in South Australia. Another 2600 Sprint we did not know still exist, and there is also a parts car there.

Nothing much happend to the project during September but on the 29th September 2000 I got a phone call and fax from Walter Rossi in South Africa and he is able to supply quite a few of the parts I need for the Berlina project.

Windscreens and rubbers ?

Having gone this far with the project, I have decided to take the windscreens out and replace the hood lining. Much of the interior cloth and foam rubber has been eaten by moths or silver fish over the years the car has been stored. What I need now in a supply of front and rear windscreen rubbers without paying a Kings randsome for them. It will be safer to remove the windows by cutting the rubbers, if I break the screens I will be in BIG trouble. I can get glass from South Africa but transport costs would be high.

Door rubbers, an idea

Another interesting problem is the door rubbers. These are available overseas but with the poor state of the A$ this year, they are going to be expensive. The door rubbers are a strange setup and have a wire frame holding them into a shallow groove around the lip on the door opening. This frame is held in place by small metal tabs, many of which have rusted away.

I have an idea at the back of my mind that involves cutting this lip off and using "Pinch Weld" style door rubbers like used in most other cars. I can get a wide range of that stuff here and should be able to find one to do the job. This will not be original and the "Plastic Pinch" will show around the door openings on the inside, but in my opinion this will provide a better seal.

The 2600 Sprint has a different setup again and uses black anodised moldings to finish off around the inside of the door openings. I could use Pinch Weld here also and do away with these tacky black moldings. Advantage: a better seal made from locally available materials at a much lower price.

In October 2000, I picked up the panels from Minus Paint and sent the rear doors from the 2600 Berlina away to a friend who is fixing them for me.

Parts needed for the 2600's The 2600 Project index The 2600 Berlina page More progress on both cars

Written by and Copyright ©, Phil. Storr, last updated 4th January 2005