Friday, July 25, 2008

The headlamp how-to: the screw that holds it together

There are 3 screws, 2 of which aim the lamp. The screw near my hand (ie top and inside) holds the lamp in place. The outer top and lower screws adjust the beam, so don't move 'em, or if you must move 'em at least count your turns accurately and screw them back the same number. A spring clip also holds the outer, top adjusting screw in place. Yes, you must unclip that. You then pivot the unit gently out from the body and up. There's a "prong" on the unit that fits into a hole behind the lower screw. It locates the headlamp unit in place. Job done!

The GTV headlight unit

GTV-headlight unit_0671
Originally uploaded by gtveloce

OK, I got it out and got the rubber boot off as well. The boot was tough to shift and I was worried about tearing the "tabs" that I pulled on. Make sure it goes back on properly, to keep the weather out.

3 screws matter. Top left screw (left as in the picture) holds everything in place. Top right adjusts (or aims, if you prefer) the headlamp, as does the bottom screw. Don't move these, or if you do ensure you set then as they were. There's a clip on the top-right screw that holds the lamp. And the bottom screw conceals a hole into which the lamp unit sits via a locating "prong".  

It's the lowbeam that blew, the centre single-spade connector. The other connector is for the parking light. I changed that 10 years ago so it should be fine ;-)

The 116 that blew a headlamp

Just before annual registration time, of course. It's a common and simple task, really, but also it's the first time in 10 years So I had to remember all over again how to do it... it's clear that you can't access it from behind, so it must come off from the front.

So here are a few pics on the subject of removing and replacing a 1982 GTV (Aussie spec) halogen headlamp. Bear in mind this is a low beam unit with parking light - not a sealed beam. I think the sealed beam unit fits on and is aimed in the same way though.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How it was...Catalina Park rallycross in the '70s

A different scene from the deserted, disused track it is today... funnily enough I like it better as it is now!

A lap around Catalina Park

An interesting lap around an overgrown Catalina Park as it is today, unfortunately going the wrong way...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Alfa Giulietta 2 1981

Alfa Giulietta 2 81
Originally uploaded by gtveloce
This just keeps bringing back memories. What a great car the Giulietta was... barely different from the Alfetta sedan, sort of a wedge-shaped interpretation of the 116 platform. Not quite an Alfetta, not yet a GTV. In between. If I collected Alfas in a parallel fashion (rather than serially) I'd have one of these again. (But not the plastic-coated 2.0 version.)

Interesting but full of rubbish

The Mi.To looks great, and is at long last the right size: ie, not a luxo-barge. There's an interesting read behind this link:Martinelli left F1 at the end of 2006, specifically to head up Fiat’s engine department. As such, he’s had a winning hand in Alfa Romeo’s new peach of a petrol plant, a lively lag-less little 16-valve 1.4-litre turbo that also does duty in the Fiat Grande Punto and Bravo, albeit with 4 kW less than Alfa’s 114.

Just beware, it's full of idle rubbish like: Let’s face it: Alfa is not what it used to be. With the exception of the 159, 156, Giulietta and a handful of Quadrifoglio or GTA models, the brand has sadly been scarred over the last 30 years by a long and steady decline.

Obviously not a fan of the amazing Alfasud sedan, ti and Sprint Veloce, the wolf-in-sheep's clothing Alfetta sedan, the Alfetta GT and GTV, the GTV6, the lovely Nuovo Giulietta, the 75 (AKA Milano), the 33ti or almost anything since! OK, the ARNA was a bit sad, and the 145 wasn't all that it could have been, but honestly...! ALFA Romeo must surely wonder what they have to do... isn't the latest crop, the 147, 156, 159 and Brera enough?

Apparently not. Most shocking of all was to find that Alfa had gone soft since its brief mid-’90s renaissance. Steering got dopey, gearchanges sloppy and ride mushy.. "Dopey" steering must refer to the 147's turning circle, not sure what else it could be. Sloppy gearchanges? Has this guy driven a rear-transmission Alfa? That is sloppy. And a mushy ride? Alfas soak up the bumps, and roll. Not as bad a French car, but obviously so. Only the hardened-edge of the GTAs truly eliminates the bodyroll and high-speed comfort of the classic Alfa. Yet they still run fast and corner hard. That is the essence of it.

I can remember swapping from a stiff-as-a-post Ford Escort with "Rally Pack" to a stock 1982 Giulietta and being amazed at the body roll. It put me off until I realised I was going 5-10kmh faster around sharp corners in the dry, twice that in the wet -and much faster again over bumpy roads that I had previously had to slow down on... simply a better suspension setup.

Yet most people when given a car to drive are clots and clods with no finesse and can't see or feel what they have... which is why we shouldn't trust anyone else's opinion, certainly not mine, just your own.

It's been done before but here we go again

Maybe this will work? Sharing some components with BMW's MINI makes sense, in fact it's high time the car industry woke up and realised it needs to rationalise all of the wasteful duplication of components, including engines. Some 'sharing' goes on at the supplier level already, and some also happens within a multi-brand company - Ford switchgear in an Aston, for example, or various components shared between VW Group products. But it needs to grow much faster in order to cut out waste and remove the carbon emissions that plague this industry.

WHAT do you get if you cross a Mini with an Alfa Romeo? No it's not a joke, Mini owner BMW really is joining forces with Alfa Romeo maker Fiat to build cars together.

We just don't want another ARNA debacle, Alfa Romeo ;-)