SS 00121 engine rebuild 5: assembling for real this time

Saturday December 5th 2009. I arrived at the shop at noon after eating three Al Pastor tacos from my favorite taqueria -sounds like a lot but it’s not. Initially my plan was to do some more scraping of paint from the engine compartment and front wheel wells but my hands are pretty beat up from the last session doing this, and I’m tired of moving internal engine parts around when looking for things so I decided to do more work on the engine, namely install pistons and liners, water pump and get the oil pan ready for assembly.

It went like this…

giulietta sprnt speciale engine

Beginning at the end as usual. I had just installed the water pump and pulley hardware as 5 pm struck -time to go home. It’s got my name on it!

liners in block 00121

The 1600 liners have a particular orientation that needs to be observed if they are going to fit. A close consideration of this picture will reveal that the liners have two flats, 180 degrees apart. One cuts about twice as deeply into the liner as the other. The deeper cuts on liners 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 go toward each other which leaves the smaller cuts going toward each other on 2 & 3 and pointing outward from 1 and 4. Look closely, you’ll see what I mean. I installed the liner base o-rings before dropping them into place. The chamfers in the block the o-rings seal against were in good shape so I didn’t use any sealant.

heat gun on pistons

The piston pin is a tight fit made easier to deal with if the piston is heated. I install one circlip then get it hot enough so it is just on the verge of being too hot to handle (sounds like a late 80’s hair band song title) which is about 80 degrees C. I put a little Redline assembly lube on the pin and slide it into the piston a little ways. Then you stick the connecting rod into the piston, line up the small end bush and the pin and slide it all home. The pistons are symmetrical so the orientation doesn’t matter, but the detailist in me likes to see the marks on the piston tops all lined up when it’s assembled so some planning between rod numbers and offsets is required.

alfa 101 1600 pistons

Working through the process takes time because the rods are numbered and the rod itself is offset a few millimeters from the big end bearing center to the small end bearing center. The off-sets go outward on 1 and 4, and toward the center on 2 and 3. If you will remember from the 1300 rebuild, even after a lot of care I managed to get #2 in backward and rectifying this was a lot of work!

4 piston connecting rods together

Part one of the assembly is done here. The circlips on these standard piston sets are pretty easy to install, unlike those from some racing sets I’ve seen which require a special tool

piston ring comressor

Here’s a clever tool, the ring compressor courtesy of my local chain auto parts store for $9.99. Next tedious job is spacing the ring gaps. They basically need to be 120 degrees apart. This isn’t the most important thing in the world so I don’t go nuts with a protractor or anything. I set the top ring gap toward the intake valve, then the second and oil control rings point to either side of the exhaust valve.

ring compressor on piston

I soak the rings with WD-40 then tighten the compressor around them. The tightening is a 1/4 inch square drive so I use the nut driver in the foreground.

sliding piston in to liner

Glenn told me that since the base of the liner has a big chamfer it’s easier to install the pistons from the bottom on the bench. He was right. Good thing the liners come out of the block without much fuss.

piston in liner

Installed. Next comes the big end bushing and aligning the rod offset.

piston in liner

Red line assembly lube all over the big end shell. Care has to be taken getting this assembly into the block but it’s not too bad.

I got carried away and forgot to take a few pictures but the pistons and liners are all installed to the block with the rods in the correct numbered order and with the correct off-sets. I used some big washers and deep sockets as makeshift liner retainers then flipped the engine over and snugged up the main bearing caps and big end bolts. I still need to get at all this with a torque wrench, but I need to borrow or buy one so that will come later.

oil pump pick up

Once the piston/liner set up was satisfactory I went to work on the oil pump/pan. This is the Veloce pump, it requires a new o-ring between the pump body and front cover and a new gasket between the pick up and body. Nuts all have new lock washers and are tight.

veloce oil pan bottom off

I paid $1100 for this pan last year and it was worth it since everything is in great shape -no rust in the traps, no broken studs, no cracks etc. Separating the bottom heat sink/labyrinth from the main pan body was tough but persistence paid and I eventually got it apart

oil pickup screen junk

Good thing I got it apart, there was a valve shim and fine thread nut stuck to a magnet that was also stuck to the inside of the pick up screen. Everything will come apart and get cleaned.

veloce oil pan pickup spot

This is under that screen, more crud, but not too bad. The pick up end seen 3 pictures ago comes through this hole and seals against the pan bottom via a big rubber seal.

veloce oil pan gasket scraping

Gasket scraping is another of those jobs that in your mind goes quickly but with razor in hand can take an hour. Once the gasket remnants were removed I had about 20 studs to chase the threads of.

windage tray and course filter

Here’s the windage tray, pick up screen and clip clean and ready for their big meet-up with the engine.


Here’s the clean pan and bottom. I have to make or buy gaskets and seal. Also need a bunch of M6 nuts and lock washers for the pan bottom and windage tray. Also need a drain plug and copper washer/seal. If you look closely at the oil-ways in the pan bottom you will see they form a maze. The oil comes through the pan in the maze dead end at the middle of the base in this picture. It has to flow through the maze and consequently across the wind cooled, finned surface of the pan bottom to get to the pick up point, about where the part number is in the picture above. Very clever.

The above work took me about 4 hours if you subtract an hour of the time I was at the shop for the time I spent organizing. There is a lot to do still, 899 hours if you are counting, but a lot of parts that had been hanging around in my way are now assembled where they belong. Plans for today include setting up the plating kit (so I can plate the head nuts and valve cover nuts and finish the assembly) and probably some more body work. I might even go get one of those wall mount deals with all the little drawers and organize my hardware. Watch out!

The next installment is here.

The last installment is here.


3 thoughts on “SS 00121 engine rebuild 5: assembling for real this time

  1. I needed some El Gordo today. Nice work – looks beautiful. (How many engines can you say that about? It’s almost a shame they are subjected to actual use.)

  2. the question is about the oil pumb.
    you mean that a ‘veloce’ oil pump could fit on the 1600 ss engine, with a new o ring and new gasket?
    pls let me know with more details if possible.
    thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s