Alfa Romeo GTV6 F.A.Q. @ GTV6.ORG
As with most documents on the World Wide Web, this one will definitely continue to grow. If you notice any errors (and there are bound to be some), please let me know. Also, if you think something should be included in this f.a.q. that presently is not, drop me a line, or even better, end submissions to be included herein.
This document is not an attempt to rewrite either the owner's manual or the workshop manual. It is written to address some of the more problematic issues related to owning, driving and maintaining a GTV6 - issues that were, in most cases, not addressed in the factory literature.
The abbreviation 'faq' (Frequently
Asked Questions) has been used when in fact no questions have been posed
- they are implied however - as in "Which workshop manuals and books
are helpful in maintaining my car?" You get the picture
The Factory Manual is a good reference. It
is really the Milano (Alfa 75) manual - but has extra chapters to cover
the GTV6. Unfortunately, there is no information on brakes (non ABS) or
even bodywork. It is useful to have the Haynes manual that covers the
4 cylinder Alfetta's as a supplement. This manual will have information
on most of the GTV6 bodywork as well as the complete (non ABS) braking
Fuel - the US version will run fine on regular 87 octane unleaded gasoline. If the car is modified for higher performance or the ignition timing is advanced, super 92 octane unleaded gasoline should be used to avoid "knocking."
Oil & oil filter - use a quality synthetic oil of a weight appropriate to the climate in which the car is operated. If synthetic oil is used, it is OK to change the oil every 6000 miles [about 10 000 km] (mineral oil every 3000) - but the filter should be replaced at 3000 mile [about 5 000 km] intervals regardless. I have had good luck with Tecnocar filters from IAP or UFI filters from Alfa Ricambi.
A K&N air filter is a good investment since it can be cleaned, re-oiled and reused and also provides a modest performance increase. They also claim to improve the effectiveness of the filter as far as removing more dirt from the air. The cost is about $50. This filter is a replacement for the stock, rectangular filer, not a conical replacement filter.
The fuel filter is located at the back of the car near the fuel tank. The fuel injectors easily become blocked if the fuel filter is dirty, and since they are fairly expensive (US$80 a piece), this is not a pleasant prospect. Be sure to use gasoline from reputable stations and change the filter frequently (every 20 000 miles or 32 000 km]).
Coolant - use high quality phosphate-free coolant and replace this often (every 24 months or so). It is a good idea to mix 50% with distilled water (not tap water).
Brake fluid - change & flush yearly or every second year (depending on climate). ATE DOT 3 or Castrol GTLMA DOT 3/4. Apparently, the silicone based DOT 5 fluid will cause the rubber seals in the hydraulic system to deteriorate so should be avoided.
Spark Plugs - Stock plugs in the GTV6 are Lodge 2HL. These are quite expensive - and a good alternative is the NGK BP6ES. One plug to avoid is the older (single electrode) Bosch Platinum which have been found to become fouled quite easily, though the new Bosch Platimun +4 plugs apparently work very well.
Head Gaskets leaks might allow oil to collect
in 'V' of engine, might allow the oil to enter the coolant jacket or even
allow the coolant to enter the oil. This last possibility is unusual and
will most likely occur only after protracted use with leaking head gaskets.
Keep an eye on the coolant reservoir bottle - any frothy white emulsion
on the cap indicates oil contamination and the probability of a leaking
head gasket. The oil leaks from oil feed holes between block and head
- the OLD design of gasket using 'O' rings to seal oil passage is the
culprit. The newer one piece gaskets work well - just came a little late
after number years of making these great engines.
As with most modern cars, the consequence of the Alfa V6 engine design is such that if the camshafts lose their synchronization with the crankshaft (after belt snapping for instance), the pistons and the valves will collide. For this reason, one cannot take any chances with the condition of any components near the timing belt. The belt itself should be replaced at 30 000 mile [48 000 km] intervals. If the car does relatively low mileage, it should be replaced more frequently than that since the age will affect the strength of the belt. Ensure that there are no oil or coolant leaks that might foul the belt, making it more prone to breaking or slipping. Parts to check are the water pump for coolant leaks, the camshaft and distributor drive seals as well as the crankshaft main seal for oil leaks.
Which tensioner shall I use? This is one
of the more controversial issues of V6 engine maintenance. All GTV6's
came fitted with a hydraulic timing belt tensioner.
Valve clearance needs to be checked often - every third oil change (9000 miles or 14 500 km) is advisable. The intake valves are operated directly by the cam lobe while the exhaust valves are operated by a short, transverse push rod. Because the exhaust valve train is more mechanically complex, the clearance tends to go out of specification more often than the intake valve clearance. Fortunately, the exhaust valves are easy to adjust - it is just a matter of loosening the set nut and turning the adjuster until the correct clearance is measured. If the intake valve clearances are incorrect, removal of the camshaft is required and the clearance is adjusted by using an appropriate sized adjusting shim (cup). Fortunately, Alfa have engineered the camshaft pulley so that it is possible to remove both cams without disturbing the cam belt or cam sprocket. The GTV6 valve train is a little 'vocal' - so expect to hear some ticking from the engine. It is when you hear no valve noise that you should be concerned, as this generally means that your valves are set too tight - and might get burned and damaged.
Water pumps tend to last only about 30 000
miles [48 000 km]. The good news is that they are moderately priced and
can be replaced during the 30 000 mile cam belt replacement service -
aren't you lucky!
The cooling system is very efficient - the
large radiator with twin electric cooling fans and "wet sleeve"
cylinder design work very well to keep engine temperatures under control.
A recent development (1998) is that the plastic
coolant reservoir tank has become difficult to find,expensive and of inferior
quality compared with ones produced a few years ago.
It is also possible to install a Milano (75) radiator cooling fan - which seems to work better than the stock twin fan setup. It bolts on quite easily - though a little grinding is needed to allow the shroud to clear the sides - and allow it to fit as close to the radiator as possible. Follow this link to find out more ....
Power is transmitted to the rear mounted
transaxle by means of a centrally located drive shaft. This drive shaft
comprises two sections, which link to the engine and gearbox by 3 large
rubber 'donuts.' These donuts absorb the full power of the engine, so
tend to wear out occasionally. The center donut is the most long lasting,
the front the least. If any vibration is felt through the floor pan, chances
are that a donut has gone bad - possibly having even lost a segment of
The front brakes are usually trouble free.
Early cars were fitted with ATE calipers and later models with Brembo
calipers. There is, of course a lot of discussion about which pad is the
best - but a good starting point is the AXXIS Metal Master pads. These
are the old Repco brand and will work well, providing less brake dust,
good rotor wear and also great stopping ability.
The Alfetta rear mounted gearbox is an innovative
design (even in the 21st century), but makes for problems with the shift
linkage due to the length of the rod. This results in a sloppy feel to
shifting since any wear in the joints is amplified by the length of the
An extensive discussion on installing new syncros can be found in the Digest Clippings Page or on the Transaxle upgrade & rebuild page. Be very gentle with the gearbox when the transmission is still cold. When the car is stationary and you wish to move off, engage second gear first, then slide it forward into first gear - this will decrease the "crunches" produced by the protesting gearbox!
Check the mounts on the rear cross member holding the front of the clutch in place. If either mount breaks, the drive shaft rear spider will foul the shift linkage and cause the clutch cover to explode to pieces! Replacement mounts are not very expensive. (See the Clippings page for details)
If you own a '81 --> late '85 GTV6 without
the isostatic shift linkage and find that the replacement trans mounts
have an extra 3mm plate welded to the back of the mount, it is probably
better to grind off the welds and remove these spacer
plates prior to installation. If you leave these plates on, you
might notice increased drive-shaft vibration once the mounts are replaced.
Cars destined for the American market had
the front ride height set to comply with strict headlight height
and bumper requirements. This of course does not mean that they are set
at the best height for optimal performance (handling). Someone conducted
a poll on the Alfa Digest asking GTV6 owners to measure their ride height
- from a level surface to the bottom of the engine oil sump (front of
the sump). It appears that stock US ride height is near 7 inches but several
owners have lowered their cars ride height to about 4 1/2 inches.
The rear ride height can be adjusted by purchasing performance springs - which will generally lower the car by one inch - while making the suspension somewhat stiffer.
A small, cylindrical object with two spade
connectors mounted in the transmission case (not to be confused with the
reverse light switch). The speedo sensor can go bad and it makes speedometer
operate intermittently, or not at all.
If a Milano (75) gearbox is installed in a GTV6, the Milano speedo sender must be retained. This can be made to work with the GTV6 equipment by using the amplifier from a Milano (installed under the rear seat) as well as a speedometer from a 1986 (or late '85) GTV6.
This device would work for a long time in
most cars but in the GTV6 the exhaust manifold is situated rather close
to the regulator (on the back of the alternator) so tends to overheat
The Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection is very reliable - the vast majority of problems are caused by faulty ground connections and dirty connections between the sensors/injectors/ecu/air flow meter and the wiring harness. The Bosch connector plugs are quite fragile and tend to break when removed from the fuel injectors or the temperature sensors. It is possible to replace the faulty Bosch plugs with new ones. A small, flat screw driver should be inserted in the front of each connector wire to flatten down the small clip on the bayonet clip - you can then removed the wire from the old Bosch connector plug by sliding the wire out the back. New plugs may be purchased from various vendors - try Fuel Parts on the web.
If mirrors rattle at hi-way speeds , use silicon on plastic frame to mirror assembly contact points. Relocate mirror switch - if it gets bumped frequently and fails to work. One place to reposition switch is middle of ash tray, saving face plate from ashtray, drilling large hole for switch, wiring harness is longer than required for new location. BTW- Audi & Saab use same toy motor assembly (Mabuchy) for their el. mirrors and whole mechanism is made by IKU.
This part can fail at the plastic flange on the header valve from aging hard use / or extra friction from temp selector levers. The best protection from a broken heater valve can be obtained by installing a secondary heater valve from a VW (not sure of the model) in the engine compartment - splice it into the hose near the firewall before the coolant enters the interior of the car. If the stock valve fails, you can simply switch of the coolant supply to the interior with the secondary valve.
It is difficult to set the proper tension
on the front wheel bearings because the stock castelated nut allows only
a few positions of adjustment. A Mercedes 230 nut can be substituted with
1) Ignition controller retard
This section is critical enough to be at
the top of this f.a.q. - but I have not had too much experience with the
dreaded it yet!
According to "Alfa Romeo Production Cars" by Stefano d'Amico and Maurizio, GTV6 production totaled 22,381 between 1980 and 1987.