terence p. yorks

Alfa Romeo InformationGrand Teton with my 1974 Alfa spider veloce, April 2006
for the 2nd series Spider veloce:

Wiring diagrams -- in 'correct' colors

'Car Disk' -- table of contents for shop manuals, and access via Mac

Exhaust -- reducing external temperatures for the system

Rescue -- the process of rebuilding a 1974

for anyone:

Garage storage -- recycling a refrigerator more effectively

  This set was created within the principle of "the gift must always move", and intended to keep growing collection of miscellaneous experience with and about one of the world's better automotive experiments, especially designed for sharing with others who care about such things...

Spiders Constructed 1966-1993

   One of the more fascinating parts of being human is how we fit into what the rest of the species is doing. Owning a somewhat rare vehicle is a way of setting oneself both apart and as a part of a special group. Knowing how many others are out there with at least somewhat parallel visions is part of that process, and also helpful in estimating what possibilities might be. As a scientist, visualing relationships through graphs has been a particularly useful tool. The numbers are arguable in detail, but this should give a fair picture. The overall total adds up to roughly 2 years output of Corvettes, let alone the millions of more common types, but I am willing to bet there is a far higher percentage of Alfas, and very possibly total number, currently registered -- and being driven -- from these years.
Yearly spider production graph


    Wiring Diagrams -

focussed on my 1974 example (photo above, in April 2006 with the Grand Teton), but likely to have applicability for other years,
subject to manufacturer, and subsequent owner, whims

  A good engineer friend once said, "there are two nations that do not understand electricity, Italy and England." Yet, no one has ever built better cars than these, even if owners will regularly encounter practical snarls with this aspect of their design and execution. Alfa's own diagrams are the next thing to inscrutable, especially for those with older eyes, even if previous owners haven't made a dicey situation worse. In frustration with trying to trace a couple of elusive glitches, I scanned the original black and white diagram into Photoshop, and then used a blow-up in Adobe Illustrator and a Wacom pad to trace each wire, in more or less its original color, so following them might make a bit more sense. As with many such things, doing that taught me perhaps more than might pop forth without such effort, but I still expect that they ought to be more useful for others than trying to wrestle with the spaghetti tangle in the original drawings -- if one even has those.

  These are inherently not small files, except the index for the numbers on them, since so much is involved. What I've done is post a smaller, sample version of one below, and a list where clicking on the desired option will bring start a download of a 1 to 2 mb pdf version, which was set up to print at 300 dpi on 8/5x11inch paper, but can be scrolled around on screen, at what should be a reasonable level of resolution, with a variety of programs.

  The tracer's arthritic hands were sometimes slightly imperfect in following paths, and apologizes for not cleaning up all the flaws (e.g., oil spots) in the underlying scan, which was made from all too well used originals.

Basic wiring diagram, fuses 1-4

Index to the numbers on the diagrams, and the color of the wires.

Basic wiring (engine, instruments, essential support), primarily routed through fuses # 1 to 4.

Accessories (mostly fuse 6) wiring

Lighting wiring

Do note that there is a fellow I've run across recently who has made my effort look like a piker's. He has done diagrams for all sorts of Alfas, available through the free on-line bulleting board for the marque.


Car Disk

  International Auto Parts is among those selling the pricey (c. $60) but quite useful "Car Disk CD, Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider & GTV, 1971-1981", from Car Disk International, which contains scans of parts and shop manuals, thereby saving a lot of trees. However, the disk that I obtained in 2002 works without geeking on Windows machines, but the access there is clunky at best. The makers of the disk have never responded to my messages when sent to any of the addresses that they listed. Being a long-time computer abuser, I found that on the Mac with OS-X, the bundled program "Graphic Converter" can open the ".pic" formatted files on the "car disk", albeit only one page at a time.

   To ease use for either system, I put together a rough index to the file groupings, and translated the various tables of contents within them into the more widely useful ".gif" format. To make work more practical, after isolating the appropriate section, I just print the pages needed for the project of the moment, then add them to a ring binder. For the nonce, reproduced below is the basic index that I derived, for at least for me, knowing where to search amidst a very long file list was the key, using Mac's Finder, and use made easier through this distillation, with my notes in red:

table of contents for the Alfa Car Disk


  After I acquired my ’74 Alfa spider in 2001, I was more than annoyed by the hot-foot syndrome that arose from the muffler postioned directly underneath the throttle pedal, and by high under-hood temperatures. When it came time to replace the exhaust system not too much later, my background in physics suggested that black body radiation could be notably reduced by the closest coating to white one could get. Having tried white paint on my Guilia headers and finding that they did not stay white for long, I painted it, using a brush, after hours of careful hand sanding, with high-temp aluminum paint from the local auto paint specialist. The positive difference for the feet was dramatic. With that experience, the same procedure seemed worth trying the manifold.

painted exhaust headers

  As with the easier to apply drag racers' wrap I used around my wife's RX-7 headers, the under-hood radiated temperature difference was quite satisfying. After 3 years and at least 8,000 miles, it still looks and acts well, no cracks or problems -- other than I did learn that sanding between coats is requisite to reduce a tendency of the outer coat to flake away with inadvertent contact (the paint shop says it'll happen no matter what), and that one does need to have lockwashers on the manifold nuts to reduce their tendency to work loose. But, then again, maybe it doesn't hurt to check their tightness every so often anyway.

  Part of the issue for others becomes how the machine is going to be used. Hard racing, long distances, or even regular heavy traffic and its temperature raising delays are going to be quite different in their impact on header stresses than what older vehicles like ours, each of which gets about 3,000 miles a year of use, or for others which get less modest use have to endure, so results and need for thoroughness of treatment will vary accordingly. Headers have got to deal with temperature differentials in a lot of dimensions in the best of cases.

  My solutions cost less than $50, total, to treat two cars. The Mazda work isn’t very pretty, but even that could be improved, like the Alfa’s might be with a more sophisticated form of paint application, but even as is the latter looks much better, as well as working better, than the rusty state the Alfa headers deteriorated to in just a few years after a quite careful overhaul by the Previous Owner.

  Additional related points may be found in a discussion on the Alfa Bulletin Board.


  Refrigerators die long before they should, having long been engineered inadequately and increasingly built even more ineptly. After their inevitably premature death, one either pays to have them hauled off to clutter landfills, or, at the moment, may get $30 for doing the same, since newer ones tend to use less energy. However, when ours, an early energy star unit that had been rebuilt once already, gave up again, and was probably too big for its space, I was noticing how nice some of its shelving was, and already needed more effective storage in the garage, not least inaccessible to mice, so I went hmmmm...

   It fits neatly in a corner, and almost disappears visually when closed. Stuff goes great in the various bins and shelves. One could even have the light inside work, but I prefer not to mix electricity and solvents. It all works better than most alternatives, even the quite expensive single purpose cabinets that one could purchase, of the same size.

dead refrigerators for storage
dead refrigerator storage closed

  When posted on the Alfa bulletin board, the garage images generated this amusing response, worth remembering, "What I'd like to know is how you got that '6-Point-Buck' to stay in that can long enough to snap those photos?!?"

   Incidentally, looking back on this, I should note that I've replaced the PO's idea of goldish wheels with properly schemed silver versions.


Images of a 1974 Alfa restoration, as done and photgraphed by the late Greg Larson in 1994; from 4x6 prints scanned in 2015 by TPY
Ready to roll. into the future.

Images and site design © 2007, 2008, 2015 by Terence Yorks; all rights reserved -
Individual use of the data presentations by other Alfa owners is allowed, though donations in exchange are hardly discouraged, since it was expensive to create these! --
Further distribution or postings in any form without written permission are strictly forbidden -
hotlinks to what you find interesting are encouraged.

For permissions, donation inquiries, or other questions, please
contact me. 

About the author:

Yorksite Origins  /   Active Projects   /   Illustrated Experience  /   Education  /   Formal Publications  /   Epigrams & Quotes  /   Portfolio of fine Prints  /   Selections from Web trolling  /   Slow Blog  / Changes

updated 1 April 2015