- Clean cars ready to drive

My Alfa Life: Rattle and Squeak

26w ago


After a 3 month hiatus caused by a ruptured Achilles' Tendon I'm finally back driving and I've been trying to take advantage of the remaining sunny days to drive my Alfa Spider. It was Sod's law that I'd be unable to drive during the hottest summer for 40 years. Having discovered the week before my accident that the pedal setup on the Spider is perfect for heel-and-toeing I've been using the fact that it works the muscles and tendons I need to strengthen as an excuse to drive it daily.

One thing I have noticed is that it has developed a bit of a rattle on start up and the occasional squeak from the rear going over bumps. The rattle was a little concerning at first as the normal cause on a Twin-Spark engine is the cam shaft variator which if it fails would stop the VVT mechanism working, taking some of the fun away. Thinking about it that couldn't be the problem though as I had the variator replaced when I had the cambelt done and have only driven 8,000 miles since. So the problem must be something else. My local Alfa specialist found the fault, its a crack in the exhaust manifold. It should be okay for the immediate future but I've got it booked in to be fixed.

The squeak is something that's been around for a while but is getting worse. I really noticed it when it began to show up on videos like the one below.

You can hear it pretty consistently whenever I hit a slight bump in the road. This is caused by worn bushes on the rear dogleg suspension arms. Its relatively common on these cars and something you need to budget for. There are two options to fix it, the first is to buy replacement OEM arms with bushes fitted, the second is to get, and fit, a set of power flex bushes. These are polyurethane bushes to replace the original rubber ones and last a lot longer.

New rear dogleg arms

The powerflex ones are cheaper and last longer, so of course I went for new OEM arms with bushes. This may seem like madness but there are differing reports about the relative ride with the polyurethane bushes. The ride isn't as pliant also if you are going to make the switch you should change all of the bushes, not just the dogleg ones. So that's more work overall. In the end its a personal choice and I like the original setup so will go with that.

I will keep the old doglegs though, and get a set of polyurethane bushes for them, either to fit next time or sell on to someone who is in need.

I'll keep using the Spider as my daily for the next couple of weeks but will then drop it off for the work doing and switch back to the Maserati. I've then got a track day booked, in the fixed Spider, so that should be the subject of the next instalment.