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Alfa Romeo 145 - 146 Forum > General > You & Your Car
lancer778544
Hi all,

About a year ago, my brother, dad and I rescued a 1995 145 from one of my brother's colleagues over in Bristol. It had been standing since about 2010 and it wasn't a pretty sight:











We got it home and it scrubbed up well:







We got it running and after changing the CV joint and a burst brake pipe, it was thrown into an MOT where it did fail on quite a lot (mainly brakes and some odd things) but no rust issues. We did a compression check after trying to diagnose a misfire and 3 of the cylinders were at 170-odd psi but one was down in the 120-130 range. We were planning on dropping the engine out anyway to do the cambelts and clutch so it was moved from my brother's house down to mine and we set about taking the engine out and the results were not pretty:









A piece of the piston and rings had broken off, had a rumble around and presumably got shot out of the exhaust. It's left its mark on the way out, making a bit of a mess of the head but the bore has come out completely unscathed thankfully. The most amazing thing was it had very little blowby, nothing concerning and it didn't burn any oil so really surprising. I did notice that once the exhaust manifold was taken off the two cylinders on this bank were running very lean so I wonder if that is how part of this piston has broken off and been blown out. I'm planning on a new lambda sensor and getting the injectors sent off to be checked in case it was detonation and lean running that caused the piston to fail in the first place.

That was September last year. In the meantime, the piston has been replaced, the valves removed, ground and new valve stem and cam seals on the affected bank. The other head was removed and checked over and all pistons in tact but that head got new seals while it was off as well. The engine is still out of the car while we slowly go through it with last weekend having a new set of timing belts, pulleys and water pump fitted. We'll also be doing the core plugs while its out. I did send the Bosch 2e ABS pump off to be checked over since access is less terrible with the engine out but unfortunately the company I sent it off to wasn't able to check it (I presume due to it's age). That's been reinstalled along with new copper brake lines under the bonnet to replace the remaining original ones and I'm currently de-yellowing the brakes:





A few specs for you:

~ 124,000 miles
Monroe shocks & Apex springs (lowering springs I presume)
Ragazzon exhaust with 4-into-1 (I think) manifold
Some cheap ebay pod air filter that will be replaced with something different
Momo quick-release steering wheel
Momo cheese grater handbrake (will be going also)
Momo pedals (may be fitted, not sure at the moment)
Momo gear knob
Goodrich brake hoses
17" Excite multifit wheels (would prefer the later Teledial Speedlines but MOT first)

Plans are to get the engine in and running by the 4 day bank holiday weekend coming up. As you can probably see in the pics, it does have some body rust, mainly on the rear arches and the corners of the bonnet and some lacquer peel here and there along with a weird discoloured paint patch on the driver's door. Not sure what the plans are for that yet, I want it driveable first. My other car is a stage 3 2005 Saab 9-5 Aero (295bhp/420nm) but I'm really looking forward to driving the Alfa.
hazeyblue
Nice job, so far. Great to see a Boxer being preserved...
dante giacosa
Hey Lancer-

Welcome along- what an incredible effort you've managed to put into that!

Is the dashboard and centre console a different colour to the other trim? It appears light-grey? You don't see a lot of induction-kits on boxers! It'd be great to hear that car running now it's nearly running as intended.

Does the boxer have a catalyst? Do you really think that section of piston ring cleared th exhaust system?

What is the mileage on the car?

Terrific results so far- looking forward to hearing how the big-push goes...
lancer778544
QUOTE(hazeyblue @ 11th April 2019 06:56) *
Nice job, so far. Great to see a Boxer being preserved...


Thanks, still a way to go yet but we're getting there slowly. Howmanyleft.co.uk says there are 22 145 1.7s left with only one of them being licensed so I'm hoping to make that 2.

QUOTE(dante giacosa @ 11th April 2019 10:45) *
Hey Lancer-

Welcome along- what an incredible effort you've managed to put into that!

Is the dashboard and centre console a different colour to the other trim? It appears light-grey? You don't see a lot of induction-kits on boxers! It'd be great to hear that car running now it's nearly running as intended.

Does the boxer have a catalyst? Do you really think that section of piston ring cleared th exhaust system?

What is the mileage on the car?

Terrific results so far- looking forward to hearing how the big-push goes...


Thank you. It's been a bit of a battle, especially the first blown brake pipe from the master cylinder to the ABS pump, that was pretty fiddly to do with the engine in but we've since routed it better now we have better access.

Do you mean the dashboard strip in the middle? In the before pics is does look light grey because I think it was bleached by the sun. It was painted black by my brother while in was up with him which does look a bit nicer but it'll need doing again as it has gained some pimples!

The induction kit was taken off for something and replaced with that cheap ebay pod filter. I think I have the original air box so I may convert it back but it does make a nice noise lol.

It has a "cat shaped object" in the system. I say that since it may have had the innards removed but I'll check it over before the engine goes back in.

It's done around 125k miles I think, it's been a while since I've looked.
JeremyG
That's great work - and amazing that piston failure didn't do more damage!!!

BTW - I may soon have a spare set of Phase 1 QV pepper pot wheels and tyres for sale if you're interested.
aero_mati
Hello and welcome,

Nice work you're putting into it. Good to see another 145 being rescued, specially if it looked like the first pics lol.

Cheers




QUOTE(dante giacosa @ 11th April 2019 06:45) *
Hey Lancer-

Welcome along- what an incredible effort you've managed to put into that!

Is the dashboard and centre console a different colour to the other trim? It appears light-grey? You don't see a lot of induction-kits on boxers! It'd be great to hear that car running now it's nearly running as intended.

Does the boxer have a catalyst? Do you really think that section of piston ring cleared th exhaust system?

What is the mileage on the car?

Terrific results so far- looking forward to hearing how the big-push goes...


Early Boxers (and some diesels I belive) came with grey interiors. Don't know if it was an optional or came as standard
lancer778544
QUOTE(JeremyG @ 12th April 2019 10:01) *
That's great work - and amazing that piston failure didn't do more damage!!!

BTW - I may soon have a spare set of Phase 1 QV pepper pot wheels and tyres for sale if you're interested.


Thanks and I was amazed (and very thankful) there was no other damage and the head cleaned up well.

Colour me interested in the wheels please, that would be great smile.gif


QUOTE(aero_mati @ 12th April 2019 15:14) *
Hello and welcome,

Nice work you're putting into it. Good to see another 145 being rescued, specially if it looked like the first pics lol.

Cheers


Thank you and it was so satisfying taking a pressure washer to the algae and moss, it came up really well.
lancer778544
Great news guys, the engine is back in and it runs great. No leaks, no funny noises or anything. Still a bit "poppy" through the exhaust if you give it a bit of a poke but the fuel in it is god knows how old. I've got a new fuel filter to go on and I'll chuck some fresh 98 in there when I can but a major hurdle overcome anyway.

No real dramas getting it started either, fired up first time and idled straight away. Some sparks reported around the starter motor mounting bolts so I'll double check those and maybe replace the ground bar thing with some direct earths to the battery.

My brother also dropped its original 14" pepperpot(?) wheels and a strut brace. The brace is for a twin spark unfortunately as the battery and BBOB are in the way on the boxer so I'll be putting that up for sale soon. Give me a shout if anyone reading this is interested in it.

Oh, the exhaust manifold is a fancy 4-2-1 tubular thing, definitely not the standard one.
lancer778544
So all the last few odds and sods before the MOT have all been done over the past few weekends. Finally had an opportunity to clean it too so here's some up to date pics for you:













After getting it cleaned and taking the above pics, it decided to have a sulk and not start. Turns out I had knocked the inertia switch under the passenger seat while cleaning and cut off the supply to the fuel pump. Reset and all was well again. Still want to get a new battery for the MOT too but its running much better after some fresh fuel and a new fuel filter.
dante giacosa
inspiring!

other than the cone filter- it could have just rolled out the factory!

MOT this week, Lancer..?


I even quite like those wheels!
lancer778544
QUOTE(dante giacosa @ 7th May 2019 08:30) *
inspiring!

other than the cone filter- it could have just rolled out the factory!

MOT this week, Lancer..?
I even quite like those wheels!


MOT soon, maybe not this week - need to find some reasonable insurance first.

I like the wheels too, they fill the arches well but the conditon of them isnt great and the multifit PCD puts me off a bit. The tyres all have great tread too but all mostly useless since they have pretty big cracks in them from dry rot and one has a pretty bad leak, I'll have to see what the MOT man says about these. If it'll pass without the tyres then fantastic, I can decide wether to keep the wheels and just fit new tyres or go for a different set all together. If it'll need tyres to pass but not much else, then that's pretty much forced my hand then. We'll see. I'm very much a pessimist but I think it may pass with a couple of advisories perhaps. If/Once it passes then I'll start tackling the bodywork and paint then and also sort out the ICE and dump those Alpine speakers in the doors.
VROOM
That looks amazing considering how you found it. Are you going to return to a factory steering wheel with airbag?
lancer778544
QUOTE(VROOM @ 7th May 2019 19:58) *
That looks amazing considering how you found it. Are you going to return to a factory steering wheel with airbag?


I will admit I quite like the Momo wheel and it has the quick release boss too but I don't think I have the airbag ECU (its been removed) and I haven't got the original steering wheel either.
lancer778544
MOT booked for Saturday 15th June and a reasonable (£360 a year) insurance quote found. Will let you guys know the outcome. I think there will be more stuff to do, main concern being the ABS light. It will go out after a couple of quick ignition cycles if it doesn't go out the first time but since we've not been able to drive it any distance, I don't know if it'll stay off when it does go off. My only other concern is the emissions but a new cat and fitting kit can be had for less than £50 delivered so no biggie.
Ganz
You done a great job there mate! It looks fantastic! coolio.gif Hopefully see it at NAD smile.gif
lancer778544
Well she's in for her MOT. Drove the 7-odd miles to my preferred station without any dramas, no warning lights, gauge at 80 degrees all the way. No clonks or other untoward noises and the only bit of smoke out of the back cleared up quickly. Considering this is the first journey its done in 10 or so years I'm very pleased.

I still don't think she'll pass but at least it'll give us a list of what we need to do but I do think we're a hell of a lot closer than we were last year.

I'll let you guys know the outcome when she's home.

Edit: Yep, it was a fail as expected but we're getting there. Basically tyres, emissions, handbrake/rear calipers and a bit of welding to be done. No ABS issues which I was dreading nor any problems with the headlight aim either. A couple more weeks and it should be ready for the re-test.
donutty
All the best 145s pass second time wink.gif
lancer778544
So current plan is to drop the rear subframe, refurb and re-bush it with the polyurethane kit from Bulgaria, tackle the welding with a sill repair panel (and replace the front brake disk shields I didn't realise were missing) from Taros Trade and sort out anything else the MOT highlighted. Pics to follow hopefully this weekend if the weather's kind.

If the above + tyres allows it to pass an MOT then long term plans are remote central locking kit to replace the old Philips alarm, major ICE overhaul (looking forward to this bit) and then tackle the bodywork. After that, rock up to some shows with possibly the rarest car there tongue.gif

While I'm here, any tips on dropping the rear subframe gents?
lancer778544
So quite a productive weekend just gone. The front wishbones and ARB droplinks were replaced (really should have polybushed the ARB while I was there but oh well) and the cat was replaced as well. The Alfa was then turned around and work started on dropping the rear subframe to refurb and give extra access to the bit of welding to be done at the back of the offside sill. The tank came out without a fight but the fuel that came out did not look too good despite being mostly fresh stuff by now so some fresh 98 will be going back in when its reinstalled. The subframe also came out without a hitch:





There was one snapped bolt on one of the trailing arm ARB bolts from a previous refurbish by the looks of it but 3 more snapped in the process of stripping the subframe. 3 of the 4 came out by welding a nut to the top of the remains of the bolt but the 4th needed to be drilled and retapped. A quick Gumtree scour procured a cheap BNIB needle gun which made light work of the flaky rust and a quick hammerite later had the subframe looking much more presentable:



Still needs a few more coats but it's better than it was. The bushes also didn't put up a fight as they were very past it and the rubber had parted from the metal sleeves:



The polyurethane replacements have arrived from Bulgaria so our hydraulic press will be put into action soon to install them. The only item of concern found was a bodged brake compensator spring which was held together with terminal block but thankfully still seems available from Alfa. No horrors found when the subframe was dropped and the underside of the car will be suitably undersealed before everything goes back in.

Just waiting on the sill repair section and the brake disc dust shields from Taros Trade and some replacement brake hoses which seem to have gone AWOL but happy with the progress so far. In the meantime, I'm gonna get the injectors sent off to be tested and get some new HT leads.
lancer778544
Another productive weekend. The polyurethane bushes from Bulgaria arrived and were pressed in. The subframe was given another coat of Hammerite and looks much more presentable now:



The trailing arms were also refurbished with new bearings and such. One has been replaced before but was done again anyway as they'd got one of the pieces in the wrong way round and just stuck the seal in the end. The other side appeared to be original and was well overdue replacement:







We have also made a start on the sill repair. The repair section from Taros Trade is a great fit and underneath the previously repaired section looks bad, but is still very solid. The inner sill will be suitably rustproofed before the repair section goes back on. You can also see some of the other repair work that was done before we got the car:







The injectors have also been sent off to be tested and one was found to be too badly gone to repair. I stupidly didn't number them on removal so it may have been the injector on the cylinder that had the damaged piston but I guess I'll never know now. Oh well. I've also got some polyurethane ARB bushes that I should have fitted when I did the front end work to go on along with a NOS genuine Alfa AFM and some new HT leads and coil.

Hoping to get it ready for another MOT by the end of July but we'll see how we get on with the welding.
lancer778544
Minor update - welding done last weekend and subframe reinstalled. Also had 4 new Michelin PS4s fitted. Total overkill I know but Costco's various discounts made them less than £70 a corner down from £100-ish usually made them a no brainer. Refurbished injectors, NOS AFM, new HT leads and coil and some fresh fuel means its now running better than ever.

Gonna try and book another MOT for next weekend and see how she gets on.
lancer778544
Well there are now 2 145 1.7 boxers on the road. Passed the MOT this morning with no advisories, though one of the rear calipers is a bit sticky so I'll look into getting a second hand pair and refurbishing them. Already done 40-odd miles in it today and apart from a flickering oil pressure light at idle once its properly hot, no issues at all. It's currently got 10w40 semi-synthetic in it so I'm planning on moving to the fully synth 10w60 Alfa recommends for "highly sporting use" along with a genuine oil filter (which is the same as a Delta Integrale apparently..).

I'll use it as much as I can over the weekend before making a start on the small stuff like the remote central locking, audio and whatnot. Then it'll be the bit I'm dreading, bodywork and paint.
lancer778544
140-odd miles done over the weekend, no issues at all. Will give it a rest now this week and change the oil next weekend to the 10w60 and see if that improves things. Also, I'm happy to report the stalk illumination works (though the temperature gauge illumination does not):

VROOM
I never knew the stalks illuminated ! Will have to check mine now. I've only driven it in the dark once so can't say I noticed them which makes me think they don't.
lancer778544
So it's been about 400 miles since the 145 passed its MOT and it's been great. The move to 10w60 oil has helped with the oil pressure when hot and the light goes straight out on starting. Since my last post I've fitted a new Exide battery so its spins over really well now and has also helped with the ABS light. I've also fitted a new aerial and rebuilt the wiper motor and linkage (thanks to the how to guide on here) to resolve the juddering when on intermittent and fitted some Aerotwin wiper blades to go with it. I've also fitted this in place of the cigarette lighter:



About £16 off Amazon. 2x QC compatible USB ports and a little voltmeter. The voltmeter probably isn't very accurate but it'll be fine for keeping an eye on if the alternator is keeping up with demand. With suitable cables, you can also close the ashtray door and route the cables down the side gap so it's nice and neat.

I've also fitted the ICE so now it's running:

Kenwood KDC-BT73DAB headunit
Infinity Kappa 65.9CS front speakers
JBL Power P552 rear speakers
Helix HXA400 amp for front and rear speakers
Vibe Blackair P8-V6 subwoofer in the spare wheel well
Vibe Powerbox 400.1 amp for the sub

I'm really pleased with the audio now, especially how good the grilles for the Infinitys look compared to the old Alpines:





The 145 was missing the front grilles when I got it and I hear they're hard to get hold of now so I chose this route rather than trying to find the original grills.

Going forward, there's still the paintwork to do but the current problem is trying to find replacement engine mounts. They've been long discontinued and I'm not having much luck getting replies from the manufacturers that used to make them on if they still had some on a shelf somewhere. I fear I might have to make something up if I can't source any replacements or find some used ones and modify them a bit.
dante giacosa
hey Lancer-

This is truly inspiring to read; I admire the methodical way you are chipping away as these issues as part of a process.

Can I ask about your oil-pressure issue?

What pressure issues were you having when hot, and what was going on with the light when starting?
lancer778544
QUOTE(dante giacosa @ 14th October 2019 10:44) *
hey Lancer-

This is truly inspiring to read; I admire the methodical way you are chipping away as these issues as part of a process.

Can I ask about your oil-pressure issue?

What pressure issues were you having when hot, and what was going on with the light when starting?


Hey Dante, i'm not sure what the actual pressure was but it was low enough (sub 10 psi I think but not 100% on that) to flicker the oil light when it was hot and idling. If you brought the RPM up a smidge (100 rpm or so) it would go out but it was enough of a concern that I swapped from 10w40 to 10w60 along with a genuine Lancia/Alfa oil filter (same as a Delta Integrale apparently) which stopped the oil light from coming on when it was hot. 10w60 is what Alfa recommend for "highly sporting use" for the 16v boxer.

The light going out on startup what just an observation of mine, it's just nice to see it going out quickly as if the oil pump was worn, I don't think I'd be able to find any new ones to replace it. I was flirting with the idea of fitting an oil pressure gauge but haven't researched into where to tap into on the engine yet.
lancer778544
I managed to find a new front engine mount suitable for the boxer 145 but I'm having no luck finding the pair of rear ones. The front one is the same as a 33 so it's a bit less rare but the back two are unique to the boxer 145/6 so are pretty much unobtainable. They're not the most complicated of designs so something like a bobbin style mount might work as a replacement which is what I'm thinking would be best at the moment. The front mount was ordered from Bertelsbeck Automotive in Germany and arrived pretty quickly and I managed to get it installed on Saturday. It required quite a lot of disassembly but I wanted to flush the coolant and replace it anyway so the radiator having to come out was no big deal. As you can see, the old mount was definitely past it best considering it's meant to be one piece:







Knocking on for 600 miles since it was made roadworthy now without any major issues and the engine is running better than ever. I've still got a clonk from underneath the car that you can feel through the floor to investigate. I made sure all the subframe and anti-roll bar mounting bolts were tight and the ARB mounts had about 1/2 a turn put on them so that and the new engine mount will hopefully sort it but I haven't had chance to drive it since as I was elbow deep in a Renault Scenic today.

Future plans are to source a better set of headlights since most of the reflector has flaked off on both of mine and to source or make some suitable rear engine mounts.
dante giacosa
Hey Lancer-

that's an serious task for this time of year; for the engine-mount- hats-off to you, for not shying out of it. Well done.

it's refreshing to see such a major part totally renewed right under the main pulley.

Can you include a link to where you got it from in Germany?; to help other owners in the future.

I'm currently making the acquaintance of a 1.7 boxer owner, locally- although we are yet to meet.

Headlight-wise; you could maybe try these guys as a contingency- I've had them in the main-beam for a year and they are serious; I'm just about to move on another pair for the dipped-beam also

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pair-Of-Osram-Ni...AOSwiCRUfQ35352

(I think we are on H1's aren't we?)
lancer778544
Thanks Dante, hopefully it'll give a noticeable improvement. Here's where I got it from, reasonably priced in my eyes too considering the rarity. For reference I paid €60 delivered for it, ordered Monday 11th November, delivered on Thursday 14th from Germany via UPS, not bad going. They list quite a lot of parts for the 145/146 so I'd highly advise a browse.

I've already got a full compliment of Osram Nightbreaker Laser bulbs fitted but the problem is the reflector is flaking off the bottom. Have a look at this pic especially at the driver's side headlight, you can see the flaking pretty clearly:



I've also had to rewire the lamp units a bit. I believe the previous owner fitted, or at least tried to fit, a HID kit as there was a load of ballasts in with the spare parts I got with it. In doing this, a lot of the wiring inside the lamp unit got messed about with resulting in some burnt out connections. I've replaced some of the wiring inside as far back to the connector as I can mainly as the insulation on the original wiring was brittle and falling off and I wanted to make sure there wasn't any dodgy joins or anything left. I did email the companies who were still making new headlights about whether they had the LHD/RHD switch arm in them but not one of them replied and I don't fancy trying to make a new RHD one up out of new and old parts.
dante giacosa
Crikey Lancer-

what a resource that place is!

Unfortunately not all items have translated, and some don't have pictures, which makes it a little difficult to work out that's going on (but that's MY problem, not their's)
It's truly a goldmine!

You don't know where we could source rear-trailing arms from, do you? (I'm asking because of your success in sourcing these guys)

HID's eh?
The fun never ends with those things. The FIAT coupe guys are all obsessed by them- totally illegal on cars without auto-load-compensation of course. I've always marvelled at how good the 145/6 lights were actually; but then I've got a 'new' lights following a front-end smash before my ownership. Plus the lenses are glass which save a lot of performance loss over time.
I WOULD buy LHD units actually, and try and swap 'em over. it can only be a mount-adjustment on the lamp within the unit that distinguishes them; and you've got one to copy already...

keep up the good work!
JeremyG
I bought LHD units for my former 145 - mainly because the plastic adjuster bars had broken on one headlamp. What I found was that they were identical to the RHD units, apart from the dip beam projector units which obviously had the “kick up” on the beam pattern on the right rather than on the left.

There was an adjuster on the projector - but rather than flipping the “kick up” from LHD to RHD it just removed it altogether. I guess this could be legal in the UK, but it wouldn’t be as good as the correct RHD beam pattern.

Anyway, long story short, I decided to stick with the new unit and transplanted the projector unit and glass lens from my old unit. This gave me an OEM look with new innards - and the new light was slightly brighter than the original unit on the other side - I assumed because of the fresh silvering on the reflector.

So this would definitely solve your reflector problem - and removing the glass lenses just needs heat, whilst the projector units are just screwed to the reflector.
dante giacosa
straight from the horses-mouth!!

Well Done, Dr G!!
lancer778544
Thanks both. I might try and source a used set to use for now while I refurbish the originals with some new units.

My brother has also found some more pics of the Alfa when it first arrived with us so I'll add them to my first post.

Edit: Hmm, doesn't look like I can edit my first post so I'll add them here instead:









dante giacosa
that looks SO cool without the front regy plate!

It's truly some transformation.


Going back through this thread, and reading VROOM's comment on your illuminated stalks. I don't remember you doing that- only the net result at the end. Did you follow the thread on here to complete it...?
lancer778544
QUOTE(dante giacosa @ 18th November 2019 20:14) *
Going back through this thread, and reading VROOM's comment on your illuminated stalks. I don't remember you doing that- only the net result at the end. Did you follow the thread on here to complete it...?


Nope, the stalks were illuminated from the factory on the early 145/146's and since this is quite an early one (manufactured date 28/12/1994 according to ePER) it came with them from the factory. I did just go looking for that thread and holy moly, that it a lot of intricate work...
dante giacosa
No way!

so, you've got that as STOCK!?

TOTAL kudos!
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