Classified SuperRedVerde page. This is a Supercharged Milano Verde built to customer specifications.
As of today 4-11-2007 only about a half dozen people have seen this page. Now that the car is done I can remove the customer's information and make the page available to Alfisti. Initially I will only mention it at alfagtv6.com as that's the internet hangout for the hard core Alfisti. At some point later I will have a link to this page on my main site and at the Alfabb. This article was being written as the car was under construction and I am now editing it.
The overall objective of the SuperRedVerde project was to take a nice 150,000 mile Verde and turn it into a powerful reliable street car that can be competitive at track events. Furthermore, it was decided that we would do this without rebuilding the engine. No low compression pistons, cams, or headwork. This was all done on a stock engine while retaining the air conditioning and power steering.
After performing a detailed inspection we found that the car was in excellent condition overall and work began. Although the engine ran well and had good compression it was very dirty inside.
ALL IMAGES ARE NOW CLICKABLE THUMBNAILS
There was over 1/4 inch of sludge built up in the oil pan and in all the crevices in the heads. This had to be dealt with because it's possible for sludge to build up enough to cause a loss of oil pressure and or accelerated wear. We got to it in time!
The next two pictures show how well it cleaned up. I am very happy with the results. Before cleaning fresh oil would turn black as soon as it was poured in! Now it stays fairly clean even after running the motor. It's not as clean as it would be if we rebuilt the engine, but it's clean enough so that the oil's lubrication ability is not degraded by dirt, and I don't have to worry about the inlet screen clogging up.
Here is the NON ABS conversion along with the brand new brake master cylinder and clutch master cylinder. This was a pretty big job. The lines are not hooked up in the photo because we were waiting for some new connectors (called brake unions). It's possible to retain the ABS system with the supercharger, however it requires a more restrictive supercharger intake port which would reduce performance. That combined with the fact that the ABS system didn't work and would have been expensive to fix caused us to convert it to non ABS. Another consideration is that the ABS system has some failure modes that scare me, while the non ABS system is super reliable.
Below you can see the shiny new supercharger pulley. That's the main drive pulley of course down at the crank shaft. I am proud of our pulleys. They are steel which is a little heavy but it lasts forever, that's why the factory uses steel pulleys.
This is the best steering wheel money can buy for the Alfa, and it's only $85 from Vick Autosports. The hub adapter however was another $95. When my dad changed the steering wheel he fixed various broken items, like the turn signal canceler. By the way the factory wheel was totally worn out and the factory plastic turn signal cancelers are junk. Now the car has a METAL canceler which won't ever break.
To match the cars expected level of power the customer selected some great suspension and brake upgrades.
The whole rear suspension was removed. Those shocks were pretty worn out and all the bushings were really really bad.
Here is the Dedion tube. Note we have removed the main pivot bushing at the top with our 12 ton press. This is a two man job, we used three, myself, my father and my son. The bushing came out clean with no problems. Notice we zip tied the axles so they won't flop around and become damaged. That's the attention to detail we have here.
Here is a Watts linkage bushing we took off the car. Notice how distorted it is. Every bushing on the car is like this.
Big Problem here. An allen bolt holding the brake disk on was stripped and there is NO room to grab it with vice grips. Removing this one bolt was a FOUR hour job! It seems with every big job you can expect to run into a few unexpected and time consuming hurdles. That's my dad studying the situation. We tried welding a tool into it but we couldn't make it work. We ended up drilling it out which is risky because if you don't do it perfectly you will wreck the threads in the transaxle's axle hubs. GOOD NEWS we did it perfectly, and I mean perfectly. It took a lot of time but there is no damage.
Pictured below is my dad working on the allen bolt problem.
This next photo shows the Allen bolt head in the middle. On the right is the tool I made to extract it. Unfortunately the tool was unsuccessful. On the left is the drilled out thread section of the bolt.
Water/Methanol injection was installed to provide an increased level of safety from detonation.
Detonation is the big threat with a forced induction engine. At high RPM it can destroy a piston without giving you a chance to hear or feel it. Water/Methanol injection can be used to provide a very high level of protection against this. If an intercooler has a problem, a fuel injector becomes partially clogged, or a problem arises with an engine managment parameter (either a malfunction or self induced) a good water/methanol injection system will greatly reduce the chance of damage. On the other hand it can also be used to allow a lot of extra boost greatly increasing power, but in this case that's not how the car is set up.
We used a trunk mounted tank and pump. This is the only system we plan to use in the future. On my personal GTV6 I have a complex tank system that involves two tanks hidden in front of the front wheels forward of the splash shields. These two tanks are filled through a tiny tank in the engine compartment that fed via two lines going to the two main tanks. I was very proud of this set up because it's neat and hard to see. However it's proven too slow and difficult to fill for practical customer use. It also tends to drain one tank faster than the other which triggers the low level light when the system still have as much as 60% of it's total fluid remaining. This has been a source of severe complaining from my wife. She doesn't like the big red low level light comming on at the track!
This new trunk mounted tank from Coolingmist is the only way to go. It offers a massive 1.5 gallon capacity and it's very easy to fill. There are no issues with the pump failing to prime if the tank runs emply and the low level warning is very consistant. SuperRedVerde uses this tank. The rest of the water injection system is from Coolingmist although it's a dual stage system which they don't even show on thier website. More on this later.
The rear brakes tend to heat up on transaxle cars causing them to boil the brake fluid. This is really only a factor at the race track as it's pretty tough to overheat the brakes on the street. The hot rear brakes also tend to heat up the transaxle oil greatly shortening the syncro life ESPECIALLY at the track. However Alfa Romeo solved this problem when they built the SZ by using vented rear rotors (they also installed a transaxle cooler). Upgrading a GTV6 or Milano to SZ rear brakes is a great idea. The upgrade kit from Performatek includes two rotors and all the hardware to space out the calipers so they fit around the wider rotors.
This picture shows one of your new SZ rear rotors. Vented rotors like these are far superior to solid rotors.
If I had to pick just one bushing as the single most important one in the car it would be the Main Dedion bushing. All the car's horsepower has to go through this one bushing. All of the effort of the rear brakes goes through this one bushing. When just one rear wheel hits a bump, this bushing alone keeps the wheels pointed straight. It doesn't have the large effect on cornering that the Watts linkage bushings do, however overall it's more critical. There are a few options here. I firmly believe in the SZ Spherical Bearing so that's what we went with.
Below is the SZ Spherical Bearing at the front of the DeDion tube. This is the factory part from the Alfa Romeo SZ.
This bearing is a 5 piece kit that's quite tricky to install. Some parts must be heated, some frozen and then it's pressed in. It also required a little special machining. Failure to install it correctly will result in binding and a lot of vibration being transmited into the car. This thing allows the DeDion tube to move smoothly and freely with suspension travel. It prevents the front of the DeDion tube from moving side to side. This gives the car tremendous directional stability under all conditions. It's a great mod and we know it last because one of them has held up for about 200,000 miles on my GTV6.
This next photo shows the driver's side transaxle mount.
Lets talk about Guibos (the rubber donuts in the driveshaft). A lot of people seem to have problems with them and say they don't last long. Yet they seem to last a really long time for us. My GTV6 has 200,000 miles on Guibos that were USED when I put them in. The car has had a supercharger for at least 20,000 of those miles. So what are we doing that other are not. Well, quite a few things, most of them are small modifications. One of them is at the transaxle mounts. These transaxle mounts have two sections of rubber sandwiched between three metal plates. As the rubber wears out the mounts start to sag and flex easily. This causes the Guibo's alignment to vary when power is applied. Under certain conditions the rear Guibo will hit the driveshaft tunnel (it was hitting in this car). The Guibos can take a lot of power when aligned correctly. To make sure they stay aligned correctly my dad drills a hole through all three metal plates and then puts a long bolt through all of them. The shiny nut visible on the mount pictured above is securing that bolt. The bolt is slightly smaller than the hole to minimize vibration transmitted to the chassis.
Note: in the photo above, it's backwards. We put the bolt in through the back with the nut welded to the front. This allow easy removal of the bolt if desired. At least one person has tried this mod and reported the vibration is caused was unbearable. I don't have an absolute explanation for this. It's worked for me on three cars. The point is you may need to be able to remove the bolt.
This next photo shows the transaxle.
Everything on the back of the car is ready to go in. We are just waiting for the clutch. This transaxle has been cleaned up. I think we have removed about 20 pounds of dirt and grease from this car. Those are the new rear calipers from Vick Autosports. They have spacers which make them wider to accept the vented rotors. This spacer kit came from Performatek and it's a very nice kit. My son's finger is touching the rear transaxle mount. This mount is another critical item for Guibo alignment. The old mount was sagging badly so it was replaced. We don't have any way of reinforcing this one but they last a long time.
Serious suspension upgrades!
Those of you that remember my "performance" page at the oldebottles site my recall that I explained that a coil over suspension was the only way to get absolutely top performance out of these cars. At the time I wrote that, no kit was in production to add coil overs. Now all that's changed. Ron Simmons in The Netherlands makes the ultimate suspension kit for these cars. Nothing else compares.
The front suspension is done. I am confident this is the the ultimate road/track suspension set up. It could be made a little more hard core with sperical bearings, SZ uprights etc. However for a road car this is about ideal.
The picture above shows the driver's side front suspension with the RS Racing kit installed. Everything on the front suspension is as good as new or better. To start with everything was cleaned up. It's no longer super greasy under there. It's not super clean either, but we are not building a show car here, and a little grease prevents rust. The lower A arm bushings have been replaced. This involves removing the torsion bar and pressing out the old bushings, it's quite involved. Then the lower arm's spacers were machined and the arms were spaced as closely as possible to the chassis to allow the maximum range of camber adjustment. The upper arm's inner bushing was replaced with a poly urethane type, custom spacers were used to keep the bushing in place. Poly bushings were also installed at the front of the castor rod. The Verde 24mm anti-sway bar has all new bushings (now replaced with the RS racing bar). It has stock bushings in the end links and poly bushings at the chassis mounts. This allows for a little bit of easy movement for minor surface irregularities while allowing only a little bit of bushing compliance in hard corners. The steering rack boots on both sides were replaced as were the tie rod ends. The ball joints were all recently replaced and are in perfect condition.
Of course the highlight is the RS Racing suspension. It's a very impressive kit. The whole thing is very well made. It's an incredible piece of work, and it just barely fits. My only real complaint is that it doesn't come with any instructions or pictures. Jim K. sent me some photos to help out. It does limit the range of castor adjustment but I don't think that's a problem. It's possible to machine the upper arm to regain some of that adjustment but we are not going to do that. After driving it my dad found that even without machining the upper arms there is enough adjustment range to set the castor up perfectly.
The car doesn't ride badly at all. In fact I would say its ride quality is between a set of 25.4mm torsion bars and the 27.3mm bars. In other words it's ride is nicer than a car with 27.3mm bars. In my opinion that makes any bars larger than 25.4mm obsolete unless cost or regulations are an issue.
The Front Brakes are done!
Pictured below is the back side of the Gyro Disk from Group 2.
These are the finest brakes I have ever seen. They offer increased surface area, increased pad area, 4 pistons per caliper and larger vent slots compared with the stock rotors. The also come with some nice braided stainless steel brake lines.
They come without wheel studs so we removed them from the original disks and installed them in the Gyro Disks. In the photo above you can see that they don't press right in because the hub interferes with the stud's backing plate. A little machining of the studs into a sort of 3/4 moon shape and they fit right in.
The photo below shows the completed right side.
The calipers and mounting brackets fit very nicely. We did have to enlarge 4 holes by hand with emory cloth to get a perfect fit, however that's almost certainly because of variations in the factory tolerances of the shank portion of the Alfa bolts and not a variation in the brake kit. All in all, for a modification of this magnatude it was very easy and the folks a Group 2 were always glad to answer the phone and help.
For some reason the folks at Group 2 failed to mention in thier literauture what is probably the single biggest advantage with these brakes. Can you see it in the picture below?
The advantage is the HUGE air slots that pull air in from the inboard section of the brake and sling it out. These slots are far bigger than those in the original rotors and will probably move well over twice as much air. This combined with all the extra metal to abosorb heat and the increased pad area will result in greatly improved fade resistance. Of course the new brakes also have a larger diameter giving the caliper more leverage on the rotor.
We did install the backing plates behind the rotor. I think this is important for a car that will see street use. A lot of people remove those for improved cooling. I don't know how much that really helps, and it may hurt so we put them back on.
I was extra happy to learn that the factory 15 inch Speedline wheels do fit over these brakes (I am not sure about the other factory wheels). That means we can get the front end back on the ground.
While we are waiting for the clutch we are taking care of all the smaller items that need to be done.
The front 24mm sway bar has poly bushings at the chassis points.
These poly bushings really help the front anti sway bar do its job. When using larger aftermarket bars it's necessary to reinforce the chassis at this point or the metal attachment points will actually tear!
We later put on the big RS racing sway bay.
This picture shows the underside of the left rear. (Oops the anti-sway bar is upside down in this picture. Don't worry we fixed that!)
This stuff is fairly boring but still important. All the fuel lines as well as the bushings for the rear anti-sway bar have been replaced.
Here is a close up of the rear bar end link bushings.
Milanos use a special rear anti-sway bar with this style of end link. These end links are often broken by people who tighten the nut without bracing the link properly. Fourtunatly these end links are in great shape. They have all new bushings installed and are as good as new. The upper bushing that connects the link to the bar is a bit of a chore to replace.
These are the old motor mounts from this car. As you can see they are pretty bad.
New Mounts were installed.
Motor mounts are critical on these cars, especially the left one. The good news is they last a really long time. As bad as the old ones were they still worked. However once the upper metal plate separates from the rubber, the motor is free to rise up off its mounts causing all sorts of trouble.
Removing a crank pulley is never fun. Actually we didn't have to remove it because the supercharger pulley can be put on with the crank pulley on the motor and in the car. The SDS crank position magnets are installed in the supercharger pulley so that makes things pretty easy. Still...removing the crank pulley makes things easier.
The reason it's always tricky to get the crank pulley off is that you can't get a sudden application of force onto the nut because the Guibos absorb it. However in this case it was pretty easy because the transaxle was out of the car. We removed the driveshaft and forward Guibo and made a simple device to hold the motor still while we removed the nut.
New Clutch disk
This clutch disk from Performatek is pretty cool. It's supposed to provide massive grip while still being streetable. It has more grip because the contact area is reduced on one side to these 9 pads ( I think the other side has 10 pads of a different material ) which increases the pounds per square inch of pressure. To prevent the smaller area from wearing too quickly they use an ultra rugged material for the contact patches. I think it's kevlar but I am not sure. It should grip well and last a long time. Notice it has a sprung center hub. I feel that's important and it's a feature some performance clutches don't have.
In addition to the new clutch disk the throwout bearing was replaced. The surfaces of the pressure plate and flywheel were in excellent shape. They were cleaned up and look as good as new. The splines were lubricated with lubriplate on reassembly. I don't think you could get a better clutch set up. This clutch works well and has held up to a dyno proven 276 rear wheel horsepower. If you are reading this and need a clutch, call Andy at Performatek and follow my instructions on this page for installation. http://www.hiperformancestore.com/guiboDSclutch.htm
The Rear suspension is done
It's all back together. The Watts linkage has new poly bushings, the SZ DeDion bearing works nicely and everything is hooked up. Right after I took this picture we put the wheels back on. You can see the SZ vented rear disks in this picture as well as the shiny rear calipers. We have not added fluid and bled the brakes yet because we are waiting for some minor caliper parts from Performatek. While it's far from spotless we did clean everything. It's pretty nice being able to work under the car and not get filthy from touching things.
Future removal of the DeDion tube and or transaxle will be much easier than with a normal Milano. The reason it's takes so long under normal conditions is that the nuts on the front of the transaxle mounts are nearly impossible to hold in position while you turn the bolts. Not a problem on this car, the nuts are tack welded to the mounts. This also means that installation or removal of the transaxle through bolts is a 5 minute job allowing for road vs. track settings.
The right rear RS Racing suspension.
The rear suspension is back together at last. Once we got the clutch disk it went pretty fast. We made two simple changes to the RS Racing kit. In the picture above you can see a metal washer below the spring perch. JVR and Jes have pointed out that the spring perch tends to dig into the mount on the De Dion tube. To stop this from happening they put a washer below it. As it turns out no washer I could find has a large enough outer diameter with a small enough inner diameter to work. So, I made two and put them in. They are a perfect fit.
The Top of the RS Racing rear spring.
The second change to the RS Racing kit is seen in the picture above. This was suggested by Jim K. You can't get a higher source of information on these cars! This one is simple. We sleeved the top of the coil spring in rubber using a high quality rubber hose. This does three things. It increases the ride height slightly, and this kit needs a little extra height for real roads. It also protects the chassis and finally, if you are working on the car and disconnect the shocks and drop the De Dion tube, it holds the springs in place.
FINALLY! SuperRedVerde touches the Earth.
I can't tell you how happy I was to get this car back on the ground. Not only because it's marks the completion of a lot of major work, but also because it frees up four of my six jackstands! In the picture above you can see we removed most of the front bodywork. This will make the intercooler installation a lot easier.
My dad has been working on the SDS injection/ignition system. I think he spent about a week making brackets to mount everything. You can see the coil packs mounted to the cowl on the passenger side. Everything that was mounted there had to be moved (A.C. idle solenoid, power junction etc.) so a lot of brackets had to be fabricated. You can also see the cover plate where the distributor was. This is a fairly complex bit of fabrication. It's not just a plate blocking off a hole. The distributor drive gear is below there and needs to be held down. You can't just shove something in there to hold it because it spins and will shower the engine oil in metal shavings if the hold down can't spin with it. The solution was complex yet elegant. It has a shaft that spins in a pair of bearings which is held in place by the stock distributor hold down. This shaft was a major project.
Out of sight is the bracket that holds the crankshaft position sensor. It's a critical item. I don't plan to post a picture of it but you will see it soon enough. According to SDS this bracket has to be strong enough to lift the motor. I think it is!
Here is a side view of the car just out of the garage.
I am very happy with the ride height. The coil overs are set at near maximum height on all four corners. The left side torsion bar is set about 1/8" higher which is about right to allow for driver weight. This of course means the left side of the car is 1/8" higher at rest. It may shift a little as the suspension settles. If so I can easily make small changes with the coil overs. The car could be lowered about 3 more inches with the adjustment range! Of course that would not be a good idea unless on a race track. As Ron Simmons is serious about race track performance, the maximum height of this kit is about the minimum height for a road car.
Well, This may not be the most exciting part of the car, but it's pretty critical.
The battery was relocated to the trunk and is located in this plastic battery box. That's a new battery with all new battery cables. The power wire is routed through the factory holes that were used by the ABS system. The box has a cover which snaps in place. My dad was not happy with this box. It's from Summit and was poorly made. The hold down system was way too weak to handle any serious driving. He set it up so it should be fine.
Main Electrical Junction
Because the power now comes in from the other end of the car, and because of new electrical needs it was necessary to set up a new main electrical junction box. This provides a place to use switched power or hot power for all the new items like SDS, the intercooler pump, water injection pump etc. Most of these things will be set up with relays. The main ground runs from the back of the power steering pump so the wire is out of the way. From there it's connected to the chassis via the junction box. The electical system in this car is first rate. My dad spent a lot of time on it but it's now probably the best electrical system in a Milano anywhere.
You can also see that the engine bay was cleaned up and any surface rust was removed and the effected areas were repainted. Most of these cars have minor power steering fluid leaks that eat the paint and promote rust. This car was no exception. It's now as good as new.
Here is a big upgrade, hopefully you will never even notice it.
The stock Milano alternators suck. They don't put out a lot of amperage, and they are well over $300 exchanged. This car is upgraded with a big BMW alternator. It's a standard Bosch item at nearly any autoparts store so it's easy and inexpensive to replace. It's usually under $100 exchanged or about $150 outright. Best of all you won't run out of electrical power even with the high beams on while listening to a loud stereo with the intercooler and water injection pumps running, all while everyone in the car decides to lower all four windows at the same time. It has plenty of amps! It did take my dad some time to modify the brackets and wiring to accept it but now that it's done removing and replacing it will be easy.
Along with the big alternator you can see all the power steering hoses were replaced except the high pressure hose which seem to be fairly new. There are a few other cool things in that photo, the poly castor rod bushings and a large portion of the supercharger drive system.
The Supercharger is installed
As you can see the basic supercharger kit is installed. The silicone plenum couplers are in place as well. I have found these special plenum couplers and clamps to be important on a forced induciton motor. The supercharger intake piping, filter and cold air box will be on the driver's side of the car with the filter and cold air box located where the battery is normally found. By removing the old fuel injection system and moving the battery to the trunk a lot of room was freed up. The supercharger is sealed with clear shipping tape so nothing can get in while we work on the car. I will actually pull the blower off the car again to remove the tape when we get ready to run it. Removing the supercharger is very fast and easy. Of course it will need to come off again to put the headers on anyway.
You can see our belt tensioner set up which is first rate. It tensions the belt very well and provides a lot of belt wrap around the pulley. This allows us to use fairly small pulleys without slippage.
There are a lot of things about the supercharger kit you can't see in this photo. The most striking thing is how closely everything fits. It has about 1/4" clearance on all sides. The oil dipstick is extended so it's pretty easy to grab and contrary to what you may have heard the supercharger does not need to be removed to change spark plugs. Servicing the car with the supercharger installed is pretty easy.
I test fit the air to air intercooler today and just wasn't happy with it. It sort of fits. It would need some cutting of the grill and bumper assembly to fit properly. While these alterations wouldn't be visable I just hate cutting holes in cars. We are definatly going with the liquid to air unit you sent.
The liquid to air unit fits and it will cool the air really well. The only problem is that large oval outlet. I need to make an adapter to transition it to a round tube. That's a little tricky. In fact all the intercooler piping will be a little tricky because the optimal size is about 2 inches yet the supercharger's outlet is 3", the intercooler's outlet is a about a 4" oval, and the throttle body is 3.25". So the pipe needs to transition from 3" down to 2" then from 4" to 3" and then up to 3.25" all while making a number of turns. Of course that' why the supercharger is on the car, so I can get started on that.
Somehow I forgot to take pictures of the SDS system. That's been a large part of the labor expense. It's actually not so much the SDS system itself, but all the brackets and needed for both SDS items and other items that needed to be moved because of it. Also the distributor block off plate had to be made and it's excellent.
I have not updated in a while, and the last time I did I was in a hurry.
The amount of work my dad put into the dash was pretty massive. Everything works and fits nicely.
The picture below shows the boost/vacuum gauge, the red low water/methanol light, and the intercooler discharge air temp gauge. As you can see it's 57F right now.
The next photo shows the tach and green water/meth status light. It's too bad you can't see the lighting. The tach lights up with a red glow and the boost/vacuum gauge with a blue glow.
Here you can see the big red shift light. I thought it should be near the tach but my dad said this is where you wanted it. Now that I think about it, that makes sense. If you are not looking toward the tach this light should alert you.
I tried taking more pictures of the dash but I just couldn't get any that did it justice. This dash looks fantastic in person, especially at night.
Engine supercharging stuff:
The picture below shows the intercooler adapter pipe I had to make. I had to smoothly transition the oval outlet to a round tube. This also has a flush mounted water injection port on each side. One is visable in the photo. The bypass/blowoff valve is on the bottom. That's a Porsche 993 Turbo valve with all brass internals, not the crap that comes with most supercharger or turbocharger kits. The adapter pipe and the welds are stainless steel. This pipe and all others were TIG welded and the welds themselves are stainless. We had to have someone else do the welds as this is a little beyond my welding skill. It may seem like a dull part but it took a lot of time and it's really nice.
Here are the coil packs for igntion and all the SDS relays and wirings. It's layed out in a logical fashion and should be easy to service. All this wiring was very time consuming for my dad.
We felt an oil pan guard would be a good idea. We are having more of these made up as it turns out they are out of production. You got the prototype.
Here you can see the SDS crank position sensor and bracket. The magnets in the supercharger pulley are barely visable. The metal lines at the bottom of the picture are cooling tubes for the power steering. As you can see that's all cleaned up and looks nice.
The big front sway bar from RS Racing is seen here.
The sway bar setup is nice and the front jack point has been retained. The sway bar has heim joint end links which are nice. I don't think this car is going to lean much in the turns.
Here is the full engine compartement. It's pretty much done except for tuning.
Considering how much is in that engine bay, it's really not too cluttered. The SDS system eliminates a lot of stuff which contributes to the neat appearance. There is far less clutter in this Milano than in my GTV6. That's remarkable when you consider the Milano has power steering, air conditioning, an intercooler, and a dual stage water injection system none of which my GTV6 has.
Overall, access for servicing is probably improved compared to the stock setup. Oil filter and spark plug access are definitely easier. There is a special extension to make it easy to get the oil dipstick. The supercharger itself can be removed in just a few minutes, although you would only need to in order to remove the driver's side exhaust manifold. The only servicing issue that's tougher is replacing the accessory drive belts because the SDS crank position sensor must be loosened to remove those belts. Of course all the belts are new so this won't be a factor anytime soon. Even so, it's no big deal.
I am very happy with the intercooler set up. It took a lot of stainless steel to make that happen. The outlet from the supercharger is 3". It connects to a 90deg coupler than shrinks down to a 2.75" pipe. That pipe shrinks to 2.5" for the first bend then to 2.25" and then 2.0". These transitions are fairly smooth, if you look at the picture closely you can see them. The pipe stays at a 2.0" diameter until it exits the intercooler through a large oval outlet which transitions to a 3" pipe. This is where the water injection nozzles and blowoff valve are located. From there the coupler transitions it up to 3.25" for the throttle body connection.
Cold Air Box!
The cold air box seals to the hood blocking out engine bay heat. It takes in fresh air from a duct under the driver's side headlight. This is a high pressure area when the car is moving. A lot of people like to locate the filter in the fenders forward of the wheels. That may work well for dyno testing but when the car is moving 100mph those areas usually have low pressure, not what we want. The inner fender location also subjects the motor to the risk of hydrolock. For performance and reliability I think this is the best set up. The filter can be removed and reinstalled for cleaning without any tools. The pipe from the filter to the supercharger is heavily insulated against engine compartement heat. I am disapointed I couldn't get stainless steel for this box. It's made from regular steel just painted. It's fine, but I wanted stainless.
This picture shows the SDS system wiring, coil packs, and water injeciton plumbing.
Anything you see that's brass is involved in the water injection system. Starting right behind the plenum almost out of sight is the check valve. This prevents water from being sucked in when the engine is off boost. Normally the hose from the check valve would go to the brass "T" just to the left in the picture. (Right now it goes around to another brass structure bypassing the "T" because we are testing the system.) From the "T" one line goes to the brass system status monitor and then to the primary injector (left side in the photo) and the other to the solenoid. A line from the solenoid goes to the secondary injector. Sadly the solenoid doesn't work correctly so we have to get another one. That's why the lines are not connected as I described. The pressure switches that control the whole thing are mounted on the shock tower and are connected to red vacuum lines. One turns on the pump causing one nozzle to spray. The second one triggers the solenoid to activate the secondary nozzle. All the wiring and plumbing is amazingly neat and tidy thanks to my dad.
This system is set up so that the first stage fires at full throttle around 2000rpm and the second stage around 4000rpm. This keeps the water/fuel ratio fairly constant throughout the rpm range. A single stage would have to put out way to much water at low rpm in order to have enough at high rpm. The converse of that would be true to. If a single stage puts out the right amount at low rpm it won't be providing enough at the high end. The dual stage system does a good job of keeping the water/fuel ratio at least in the ball park at all times. Ideally a Coolingmist "controller system" would be used as that can proved a water/fuel ratio that's exactly correct at all times. However since this car's system is intended as an additional safety feature I felt it best to avoid the complexity and possible user errors with a computer controlled system.
All running has been done with a 25% methanol and 75% water mix. That's a cheap combo you can buy for $1.30/gallon almost anywhere in the country. It's possible to use a 70% methanol mix. The pump and the entire system can actually handle 100% methanol, however going beyond 70% is detrimental to performance. In fact a 50/50 mix is usually best except at extreemly low temperatures. This car is so mild that if freezing conditions will not be encountered 100% water can be used.
Water injection is a complex subject. Just explaining what mix to run and how much to inject would take too long to explain here. I am writting a book on supercharging and it seems like the water injection section is taking up most of the space!
If you look really closely below the primary nozzle you will see a tiny red cone filter with a chrome top. That's the air intake for the manual aux air valve. This is used during cold starting and warm up. It's location near the exhaust manifold improves cold running. It makes a whistling sound when activated so you won't forget to shut it off. If you forget to shut it off you will have a high idle speed and reduced supercharger boost.
My dad put the front end back together. I think it looks really straight. The hood is slightly damaged but it closes fine. Notice it looks stock. The heat exchanger for the intercooler is right behind the grill and is virtually undetectable.
Because we retained the air conditioning the heat exchager has to be really far forward. So far forward that you can't hit anything, or damage to something will occur. The heat exchanger will be pushed back and either it will be damaged or the air conditioning condenser will be damaged. Worst case, everything could be pushed back into the engine's radiator. If you do hit something and find coolant is leaking determine if it's leaking from the heat exchanger or the radiator. If it's from the intercooler drive home off boost. If it's the radiator, obviously you can't drive the car. The only way to solve this issue would involve cutting up a lot of the car and we didn't want to do that. Or a custom heat exchanger made just for a Milano would solve this issue.
We have driven the car about 50 feet in our driveway. The clutch works perfectly. I am happy about that because it didn't work quite right when the car arrived. The car seems very solid and it seems to really want to go.
I will be posting a video of it running with the hood closed soon. It's really pretty quiet inside when off boost. When on boost it will sound mean. We also set up the Porsche 993 bypass valve as a blow off valve. SDS enabled us to do this. This makes an exciting whoosh sound when you shift under boost. The outlet is near the firewall so you will hear it. Everyone here loves the sound.
Everything under the hood is done. The car drives as smooth as a brand new Buick and pulls hard under full throttle. We did need to go with Magnacor Spark Plug wires because the original wires copper cores caused an electrical interference problem with SDS. These new wires were custom made for this car. They are the best fitting spark plug wires I have ever seen. The interference problem is gone, the car runs perfectly.
We set up the water injection system today. Stage 1 fires at about 2000rpm with a 3.75gph nozzle. Stage 2 fires a similar nozzle at just over 4000rpm. This dual stage system keeps the water/fuel ratios in the .25-.43 range when in use. A water/fuel ratio in this range causes no measureable loss in power but has strong anti-knock capability. Just how much? As an example a NACA test showed an allowable increase of knock-limited boot from 3.2psi up to 8.9psi. Your engine has about 7.5psi and it could live at that level under most conditions without water injection so it's providing a huge level of safety.
This motor has many levels of anti-knock safety. First SDS provides good fuel control and it's set up to run a little on the rich side below 2000 rpm. Second the intercooler lowers the discharge temps reducing the chance of knock. Third the water injection system has dual nozzles with a clog detector on the first stage. Fourth you have plenty of gauges and lights to make sure everything is working. The systems back each other up so a failure of just one shouldn't be disastrous.
Did I mention power? SDS gives us a lot of information about fuel flow. I appears power is between 300 and 330 horsepower at the flywheel. My son and I got it up to 90mph in a distance much less than a 1/4 mile. When the shift light comes on in second you are going about 75mph, put it in third and you are going 100 really soon!
We set the fuel up for an air fuel ratio of about 11.5:1 up to 2000rpm and 12.2:1 from there up to redline. A ratio of 12.5:1 is ideal for power but the richer mixture is a little safer. The timing curve is about the same as stock. We will need to get that dialed in at the dyno because we can't feel 10 horsepower either way in this car.
The windshield washer system is now functional. As I said, everything under the hood is done. The only tuning left is done via the SDS programer.
The car is DONE and delivered to the customer on the East coast. It made the drive from Oklahoma without incident.
Of course before we delivered it we did dyno test it. The car put down 265hp and 250 lb/ft of torque at THE WHEELS on just 7.5 pounds of boost. Using commonly accepted formulas this equates to over 320 flywheel horsepower. This is the most power I have ever seen from a 12 vavle Alfa engine that's stock from throttle body to catalytic converter. Now that I think about it, it's the most powerfull 12 valve Alfa I know of that runs just 7.5 pounds of boost. All in all I am very happy with the amount of power the car has.
Perhaps more important than the peak numbers is the amount of power the engine has throughout the rpm range. It has a massive 220 lb/ft of torque at the wheels at just 2000 rpm. That's more than most 24valve 3.0s ever have, even highly modified ones. When you hit the gas in this car at any rpm it charges forward instantly! There is no waiting for rpm to build, it just goes.
The engine idles smoothly, more smoothly than a purely stock L-Jetronic Verde and runs smoothly all the time. It got 25mpg on the trip to the east coast which is about what a dead stock 3.0 gets driven under those same conditions.
I do wish to point out that when we dynoed the car it put out an ACTUAL 276 rear wheel horsepower due to the conditions at the time of the test. That shows that Performatek's clutch can hold that much and that my Stage 3M injectors can support that demand.
Where does it end?
People seem to always want more and more power. For this car, without an engine overhaul 265 hp at the wheels is all I want to risk with stock pistons. Of course headers and a bigger heat exchanger would add more power. Low compression pistons and more boost will help a lot. If we add in a more advanced water/methanol system we can crank to boost way up.
This car is now back at our shop. Its valves hit the pistons causing a loss of compressoin on multiple cylinders. This was a strange deal because the timing belt did not slip or fail in any way. The mechanic that took it apart (somewhere in Conneticut) determined that the valves floated. This was probably related to RPM, or simply worn valve springs. In any case, the owner decided to turn this into an opportunity to upgrade and sent it back to us for the work.
The upgrades planned for the engine include forged non interference pistons, an MP62X supercharger, more boost, a better heat exchanger, and bigger fuel injectors. We are hoping to get it up near 300rwhp.
This is the new heat exchanger. It has about the same coolant capacity as the previous unit, however, it has over 70% more frontal area. That translates into about 70% more airflow through the core. More airflow means more effective cooling of the liquid, and that means lower intercooler discharge temperatures. The red ducting you see in the picture below is designed to force air through the core, rather than allow air to go around. The duct is sealed to the intercooler. This heat exchanger is also thinner than the previous unit, which allows a certain amount of bumper travel before damage occurs.
Pictured below is the other side of the heat exchanger. You can see it's set up to seal to the front of the radiator (not yet installed). This prevents pressure from building up between the two units and impeding airflow. This also helps the cooling fan draw air through both units.
The short block has been assembled. It's clean and went together very well.
These are the 8.8:1 non interference forged pistons.
I really think these are the ultimate pistons for a street Alfa 3.0. They are ultra strong, and completely safe in the event of a timing belt or tensioner failure. The 8.8:1 compression ratio allows for a lot of boost, yet it's high enough so that off boost fuel economy and driveability don't suffer.
This is the bottom of the engine. The THS JK rods are installed.
Jim K. did a nice job designing these rods. They are light, yet ultra strong. The stock rods are the weakest link in the engine after the stock cast pistons. These rods can handle twice the horsepower of the transaxle, and more RPM than we can get without valve float, so they are not a limitation anymore.
Just another closeup view of a rod.
Here you can see a few rods from another angle.
Between the alloy pulley, the rods, and the Venolia pistons and pins, we have taken quite a bit of rotating and reciprocating weight out of this thing. Technically that doesn't mean much for horsepower as measured on a dyno, but it will make the engine more responsive, and it will make the car quicker, especially in the lower gears.
Big supercharger crank pulley
This crank pulley is one of a kind. It's the largest crank pulley we have, made specifically for a maximum performance MP62x setup. This pulley is aluminum for light weight. It's cross drilled for further weight reduction. The whole think is nickel plated for long life, and it has an internal lip to insure it stays centered and doesn't move around on the mounting bolts. It was expensive, but worth it. The pulley has SDS magnets installed for accurate reliable crank position sensing. It's almost a shame this pulley is largely hidden from view. It's beautiful.
Here are some pictures of the 4cyl kit. My father has driven this car about 12,000 miles in the last four months! It has been absolutely trouble free. It's fast, economical and fun! I don't need to go into too much detail because I know you have actually seen and driven the car.
The new air to air intercooler is light and has no moving parts. It's not quite as effective as the liquid to air unit, but it's very good. Its off boost temperatures actually stay lower than the liquid to air unit because it doesn't get heat soaked from sitting in the engine compartment. Again, it's not as effective when on boost as the liquid to air unit, but it's darn good. The intercooler is almost exactly twice as large as the Callaway GTV6 Twin Turbo's unit. It has enough capacity for about 400 horsepower.
The kit is actually designed for the Alfa Spider, but for a number of reasons we are using the Milano to test it. My dad will probably put 10,000 miles on this engine in a matter of months so it makes a lot of sense to use this vehicle as the test mule. When installed in the Spider, the kit is identical except for the shape of the discharge port's tower.
The following pictures are classified.
Pictured below you can see the air filter, next to it is the pipe going from the supercharger to the intercooler. You can see where we had to enlarge a hole in the body to get the pipe through. We did this on both sides. The amount of cutting is pretty minimal.
I apologize for the delay in getting up pictures. With all that's going on here (primarily the impending death of my airline carrer) I just sort of forgot to take a lot of pictures. However work has been progressing well, the transaxle parts problem delayed us a bit, but it's otherwise gone quite well. At this time I am not switching these to thumbnails so the page may take some time to load. Once you have seen all the images i will make them into thumbnails.
Here is the engine installed in the car
I think the Nickel plated head covers look great. The entire supercharger kit is also nickel plated, except of course for the supercharger itself. The engine compartment has been fully de-rusted, cleaned and painted. You can see the crank position sensor, although it has since been reinforced.
Other side of engine
Not too much more to see, just the other side of the engine.
Here is the completed engine compartment.
It's all together in this picture. Notice all pipes are powder coated, they more or less match the powder coating on the supercharger's nose drive. I think this is the best looking Alfa V6 engine bay I have seen.
Another shot of the completed engine.
You can really see how nice the nickel plated parts look. The headcovers, and the supercharger kit including the tensioner and crank pulleys are nickel plated.
Here you can see the crank and tensioner pulleys.
Exhaust Front Section with the Magnaflow "power Y".
There is no better way to set up the front exhaust section with what you see here. The pipes are the same diameter as the exhaust manifold's outlets, and the "power y" merges the two pipes together in an optimal configuration. Notice it's flanged so this front section can be used with other systems. The only setup that would be better would be one that uses high quality headers. The outlet from the "power y" is 2.5". However the exhaust is restricted later as you will see.
Exhaust Center Section.
The muffler shown above is a Magnaflow straight through unit.
Exhaust Rear Section.
As you can see, the rear exhaust has very little room to get over the axle. For this reason all Milano's have a restriction here. On a stock engine it probably doesn't matter. With more and more power it starts to become a factor. This exhaust system is as good as it can be in this area, but it's down to 2.0" and is slighty crushed to fit. I can't stress enough, it's as good as it can be with a single rear exit. You can also see how close the exhaust is to the brakes. Temperature gun tests done by Gerry Lehman have shown the brake on the exhaust side runs about 40F hotter at the track. The only real fix for this is side exits. However, you can also see that without the spare tire well, it's possible to run true duals. It would not be as good as side exits, but it would work.
ANSA rear exhaust.
This is the ANSA rear section. You can clearly see what I mean about crushing being necessary for clearance. The part on your car is better, but it's still a 2.0" pipe with a slight crush. Most American V8s with this power level would have dual 2.25"s.
The Castor rod issue.
Ok, you can probably see the problem. The alloy spacer's hose can NOT be made to line up with the factory hole. It's a little tough to see in the picture, but the chassis' mounting point has a lot of curvature on the inboard side. For that reason the alloy spacer can't be moved any farther inboard. Turning it around doesn't help, I have tried all possible angles here. What you can't see in the picture is that even where the spacer is located it still doesn't fit flat due to the curvature I mentioned. In order to mount it flat I would have to grind a lip on the chassis, or a slot in the spacer and move it a little farther outboard.
It's a small ridge, but the ridge my finger is touching would need to be ground off in order to move the spacer outboard to make it fit flat. That would put the castor rod about 15-20mm outboard of it's normal location. (note, the hole in the picture is round, even though it doens't look that way in the picture)
On another note, I just read the instructions you sent from Ron Simmons. They refer to a "third plate" in step 3B. We have no third plate, so I tend to think this isn't the same kit. I have made a few calls to Group2 to discuss this, but so far I have not been able to talk to Chris who is the guy there that installs these things. Ron does mention that you need to "rework the shape of the plate". By that I think he means grind metal off the alloy spacer so that it has some curvature and can fit flush against the chassis. I will look at that more carefully, but off hand I don't think I could grind off enough metal to move the spacer inboard enough to line up with the factory hole.
That's all for now,
The car is essentially done. There are a few things like bleeding the clutch, tuning etc. Other than these few minor things, we only have the transaxle cooler to work out. If you decide to go with side out exhaust, we would need to buy one muffler and have a local shop do the work.
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