Who is Alfa Romeo? This history on the Alfa Romeo website and Wikipedia article provide a little bit of insight....Enzo Ferrari started his racing career with Alfa Romeo.
This 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C was purchased from Shawn Stuart at Airport CDJ in Orlando, he provided pictures and videos quickly on request and answered all of my questions- VERY responsive. First pics below are from the dealership ad along with the videos Shawn sent me.
I had been looking at the 4C since it came to the US but couldn't find the car or deal I wanted, they seemed to be mutually exclusive. And then Alfa announced the 4C Coupe would be discontinued for the NA market in February 2018 and corporate cars with little to no miles started to show up at greatly discounted prices. The first car I found was in NC, white with camel interior like my departed Viper, almost as well optioned as this car but the dealer became non-responsive to requests.....so on to the next car. This was the second car I found, I called the dealer as soon as I received the listing notification from CarGurus and beat some other people to the deal. This car had most of the available options, and one of the key things I was looking for which was the Akrapovic Titanium Exhaust.
Window Sticker HERE, AutoCheck Report HERE.
I would recommend that anyone buying one of these cars that has the oil changed as part of the pre-sales process check the oil type, I didn't know the oil had been changed but found the sticker on the windshield later as we were driving home.....5W20 ???? But I'm not sure they actually changed the oil, the original filter was on tight and the drain bolt had never been removed.....And all tires inflated to the front spec....
So much for trusting dealer service departments for knowledge. The first thing I did the following day after returning home was source Pennzoil Platinum Euro 5w40 (Technical Data Sheet HERE, forum thread on required oil HERE) from Advance Auto Parts, one of the few oils available locally that meets the required MS-12991 specification from FCA/Alfa Romeo, and a Mobil1 oil filter (P/N M1-110A) since it was also readily available at Advance Auto and comes with a warranty to back up whatever manufacturer warranty you have left on your car. I had already ordered the OE Mopar filter (Mopar P/N 68237532AA, Mann P/N W6014) in bulk from Rock Auto but not in time for this change (forum thread on oil filters HERE and HERE). Mopar Filter Guide HERE. This Mopar filter (aka Mann W6014) has a higher bypass pressure than most of the readily available McParts filters (similar to the Viper filter) so at the next change I will have and go back to OEM. RockAuto now adds tax and the price has gone up so EuroCompulsion may be another good source for the OE oil filters, they sell filters as a pair so don't let the price scare you.
To get the car in the air I used the Sector111 guide (archived HERE in pdf format).......and then reviewed the Alfa Workshop Oil Filter Change DIY Guide HERE and the forum guide HERE. Checking the oil level seems straight forward but there is some discussion on the forum whether 5 or 6 qts is the correct fill based on the dipstick HERE. Resetting the oil service reminder is detailed in an Alfa Romeo video HERE and EuroCompulsion has a PDF document HERE.....despite the aforementioned resources for resetting the "Change Oil" message that came on around 8400 miles and trying the pedal dance 1 or 100 times, nothing worked until I tried Philster's method (HERE, archived HERE) - SUCCESS .
Best way to check the oil is this Alfa Workshop method: car cold, crank and run for a few minutes, check dipstick- this is the only way I was able to see it on the top line (not over, not under) after adding 6 qts. The oil level is different on each side of the dipstick, most likely due to the entry into the oil pan at an angle.....go with the lowest side when checking, after a change and 6 quart fill it is dead on.
But really, as long as you find a way to capture all the oil that leaks out when removing the filter (on TIGHT from the factory with what felt like no oil on filter seal prior to installation so that will SLOW you down the first time while all the oil drains down onto you and the garage floor), you might be OK following this guide using a TopSider and accessing the oil filter from the driver side wheel well: Alfa 4C Oil Change Without Removing Diffuser.
I was not sure that the car would come with the oil fill cap removal tool so I ordered one, the dealer found it so now I have a spare. Tough part to track down online, but MoparOnlineParts had it, P/N 68320860AA. Makes for an easier time removing the oil fill cap without scratching it AND without having to remove the engine cover to access the cap.
So, I decided to do the next oil change at 5k miles- I'll send a sample out to Blackstone and see how it looks before completely trusting the Alfa oil change intervals.
I also decided this would be a good time to install a stahlbus Oil Drain Valve M18x1.5x12mm from Amazon - Installation and Operating Instructions. I have used a similar product from NoSpillSystems (FEMCO) before with good results, P/Ns 10-18150-06 and 1002 would be a bit more expensive for this application and might not have worked as well given the tight access to the drain bolt area on the oil pan.
Forum thread HERE.
Gentex Series 8 Frameless Auto-Dimming Mirror with Homelink P/N 50-GENK80A (installation and user manual HERE) purchased and installed along with my faithful Valentine 1 radar detector (manual HERE, archived HERE). The mirror is a little wider but sits closer to the headliner so visibility is about the same. Some opt to remove the existing mirror mount and install a new one, but I found the existing mirror mount worked somewhat- not perfect but I really did not want to risk damaging the $3500 windshield I later discovered that although it appeared to be secure it really was not making great contact anywhere but at the lower end of the mount and the mirror did not slide far enough on to the OE mount to really seat.....it did vibrate a little after some time in the heat/sun so I ordered Dorman 76864 Rear View Mirror Bracket Assortment, 3 Piece and Versachem 11109 Rear View Mirror Adhesive from Amazon. OE mount removed and new mount installed without issue- lots of YouTube videos out there but this one is a good one - I used this technique coupled with vice grip pliers on the mount (not touching the glass), proceed at your own risk as there are many horror stories out there.
Pics below illustrate the process to access the passenger footwell fusebox and wire the 12v +power and -ground. All wiring came from the manufacturer with each product and included fuses. I did have to source an Add-a-circuit Fuse TAP Adapter Mini ATM APM Blade Fuse Holder to tap into an empty accessory socket in the fuse box, this also required trimming the ridge around the fuses so that the tap would fully seat in the fuse socket. For a ground I just loosened one of the Torx bolts holding the fuse box to the mounting frame, inserted both ground terminals, and retightened. The a-pillar trim can be removed by pulling at the top and then straight out. The foot well panel can be carefully pulled out after removing 3 screws (Look like Phillips head but are actually Pozi) at the base under the floor mat, one screw at the upper right, and another screw on the upper left under a plastic cover (this requires removing a plastic push pin rivet on top and two Torx bolts on driver/passenger side and pulling up/sliding the cover towards the firewall to remove)- hopefully you don't need to replace a fuse in some remote location because this is not a quick process. Wiring can be tucked under headliner and run over and down the a-pillar to the fusebox.
After a few weeks I see myself owning this car for a while (famous last words but only the second vehicle I have purchased an extended warranty for). Mopar/Alfa Romeo offers a Maxcare warranty option up to 8 years/125k miles from the in-service date. I purchased the Mopar warranty on our Jeep from Clay and he beat everyone else. If you need a Mopar warranty inquire with Clay Robbins via email, he is the owner at Robbins Motors (formerly GM/VP at Zeller Motors) and was very responsive to emails and quick to process our application and deliver the warranty.
MaxCare warranty FAQs HERE.
POWERFLEX Lower Engine Mount Bushing Insert (P/N PF1-1020) ordered from EuroCompulsion....installation instructions HERE and HERE. I chose the Yellow Street Durometer (75A), nothing super hardcore like replacing ALL of the mounts in the Lotus with solid poly.....felt great but made ALL rattle, including the passengers- YMMV I'm just trying to limit 'some' of the engine slop.
Forum thread HERE. Video that shows OE engine mount removal HERE.
I just removed the bottom panel (no need to remove the diffuser) and then the smaller panel covering the mount- T30 for all bolts. There is a heat shield on the mount, slide clip off and remove. I was able to get a breaker bar on the 15/16 bolt to break loose, then used 13/16 and 15/16 Gearwrenches to remove the bolt/nut- you can pull the mount down and push the exhaust up to get the bolt out. An E18 (External Torx) is used to loosen/remove the other bolt. Mount removed and rubber cleaned up where mold lines are at, at large end insert small black bushing into bolt hole and yellow bushing into mount voids. Reinstall mount (don't forget the metal washer/spacer on top) and torque to spec- I was able to line the motor/trans up with the mount to insert the bolt by hand, reinstall heat shield, reinstall panels- DONE. I did have the thread wear in the large end where the mount moves against the bolt, the small black bushing should fix that.
Went for a ride in the N. GA mountains and did not notice any additional NVH but shifts were more positive and throttle response seemed a bit better without the play this mount insert eliminated- cheap mod, should be at the top of the list.
Some pics from 2018 August mountain drives in North GA/SC/NC/TN.
Alfa Romeo did not give us an AGM battery so I decided to try the Odyssey battery I had from my last car see if it would work. An Odyssey PC1200MJT from Amazon (Battery Mart) installed using a hold down strap from Poly Performance (SKU WCB-HDAS-METAL - West Coast Battery P/N HDS-1200/1700) as recommended by Odyssey for this application....I also elected to add a piece of foam weatherstrip to the inside top of the mount. This was NOT plug and play but involved some additional modifications to the hold down strap. I had already modified the hold down strap for the last car (detailed HERE) but had to grind a little more to get it to fit the Alfa tray. I also fabricated an aluminum clamp (which I may paint black later) to hold down the rubber cover since I had to eliminate the OE retention strap (rolled up and tucked between battery and mount). Saves a little weight but that was not the main reason for upgrading- I don't have to worry as much with an AGM battery.
Videos that show how these batteries are made HERE and HERE.
OE vs PC1200:
EuroCompulsion V1 Intake that works with the OE airbox ordered. Did not purchase as a kit but sourced the EC silicone/Kevtek hose/clamps from a forum user (they didn't have the filter) and then ordered the Sprint air filter from EuroCompulsion, all new at a ~30% savings versus just ordering the kit.
Analysis HERE shows why Sprint filters are better than the rest (PDF version HERE).
[NOTE] If you decide to go to the V2 Intake after the V1, EuroCompulsion offers an upgrade HERE. I never installed the V1 but did order this upgrade so with your V1 hose and clamps and the upgrade filter and clamps you have a EuroCompulsion V2 Intake.
V1 Installation instructions HERE, V2 Installation instructions HERE, Tech document HERE, forum V1 discussion HERE, forum V2 discussion HERE.
Air filter cleaning instructions HERE, air filter cleaning kit HERE.
Personally, I don't find the V2 that loud and even my wife was used to it after one drive......but this is very subjective. I do wish that EC had included some type of bracket for the current filter like the one they had on the original V2 Sprint filter. The filter can be tucked towards the front to avoid contact with some sharp edges but it CAN flop around a bit- some have used zip ties to keep it in place. I may have to engineer some type of bracket that utilizes the old mounting points for the OE filter box. Also some forum users have complained about the "Phillips" screw that attaches the intake funnel to the airbox, how it is tight and feels stripped.....well, that's because it is not a Phillips screw but a Pozidriv screw- but I didn't know about these either until Lotus ownership. This article explains the difference.
Time to upgrade the intercooler hoses with this, EuroCompulsion Complete Intercooler Hose Kit. Why upgrade the intercooler hoses? Your answer is HERE. Docron's write-up on the upper intercooler hose he installed HERE. Lower intercooler hose intro from EC with another Docron writeup starting post 23 HERE. Alfa9 Supply also carries a hose kit.
All clamps were able to be removed with the screwdriver prying method except the middle hose/front clamp- that one required a Dremel and cutoff wheel. I tried for an hour to use a screwdriver/wire snips and no go, 2 minutes with a Dremel and off...but be careful, you don't want to cut anything but the clamp, I was able to cut just through the clamp most of the way and break the clamp off with a screwdriver, no hose damage.
I also discovered that some of the OE hoses are notched so they only go on one way during assembly. Several ways to approach this (or not at all) but for my OCD the only options were to Dremel the plastic tab off or cut a notch in the new hoses so that they would go all the way to the stop. I elected to snip notches in the new hoses so that my path back to stock was open.
Hint: Sex lube IS the stuff to get these new hoses to slide right into place, I laughed when I read the forum advice but it is true....a little goes a long way.
After reading THIS THREAD (EC comment HERE), I decided to proactively order the Gale Motor Sports Turbo to Intercooler Pipe- Installation Instructions HERE (install pics below).
I installed this when I installed the new lower IC hose above, I don't really notice any additional noise and the OE turbo to IC pipe (turbo muffler) was not broken (yet) at ~8k mostly street miles.
4C Lift Kit from InoKinetic (aka Sector111) installed. The addition of these parts reinforces the rear diffuser/undertray so that the car can be lifted from the center.
Installation/Use instructions HERE, Forum threads HERE and HERE.
I use a hockey puck with my floor jack to somewhat cushion the diffuser.
I really missed Android Auto and a backup camera so Alpine to the rescue: Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 Audio/Video Receiver (Owners Manual and Installation Manual).
I had originally ordered the Alpine rear camera but decided to stay with something close to OE. I discovered on this thread that the Fiat Grande Punto camera works on our car, it replaces the tag light on one side and I ordered one of many from Amazon, ASIN B078X6TYZ2.
Many good threads on rear cameras and installation on the 4C forum:
Installation- Wiring, easy since I had the OE Alpine radio, I just had to move two wires that were missing in the OE plug from the new plug. Small pick used to release/remove wire pins and then inserted in correct position in the plug already in the car. Other than this and the camera wiring I will need to do at a future date, plug and play. I knew I would need to fabricate a way to support the radio since it is REALLY designed to bolt to the chassis mounts used in other cars. I just kept the existing sleeve for the OE radio in place and moved the rear locating PIN to a custom bracket that slides into place on the new radio. Only caveat with my custom bracket is that it required installation from behind/below after the radio was partially inserted into the sleeve, this required some yoga/contortions in the passenger side footwell. After installation it was SOLID. One trick to note is that the display should be mounted before pushing the radio all the way back, no way to assemble completely before the chassis is inserted and no great way to assemble with it inserted all the way. The chassis allows for a closer screen mounting position to the dash but this will not work, just leave it as it comes. I also purchased a MicroBypass Parking Brake Override Bypass for Alpine (instructions HERE) so that I could access functions without tapping into the parking brake wiring and having to use the parking brake, this gets you most of the way there but I opted not to install the GPS antenna (my phone acts as the GPS antenna when using Android Auto and this Alpine does not have NAV) and I found you cannot set the clock without the GPS signal (WTH Alpine?)- no worries since we have a clock on our display. After installing this head unit I was pleased but left scratching my head as to why some things were engineered the way they were. The display is large and close to the right stalk and key but I don't mind making small compromises as long as everything still works. The OE speakers sound significantly better with the new head unit and Android Auto works as well as it did in the GT350 with factory hardware. Rear Camera on the way.......
[UPDATE] I saw how an installer had installed this head unit in another forum member's car and decided to try adjusting the display depth/height/angle to replicate that. Depth is all the way in, as it comes from the factory, height is adjusted one hole up from the bottom, and the angle adjustment screws are just left out- it seems tight enough without them...and with them the angles won't work as it makes contact with the top or bottom of the dash, the issue I had when installing the first time....I like it better, we'll see how it works out. If it doesn't I'll just slot the angle adjustment holes...
Fall (October 2018) - Quick run up to Dahlonega for brunch and to drive the 60>180>129 loop with a friend, landmark rock pile roped off due to construction....... Story of the rock pile and Trahlyta can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE.
(November 2018) - Quick run up to Joe's BBQ in McCaysville for lunch and to drive the 60>180>129 loop. Joe's is now closed for business
Pictures below are of a dirty car but hopefully show how good these wheels look.
[UPDATE] At less than 2 weeks old, I was on my way home from the airport when these wheels were damaged by a monster pothole on the Langford Parkway on-ramp to I-85 North. With traffic at night and at highway speeds, there was nothing to do. When I got home I found the passenger side front/rear wheel edges had taken a beating but other than that they held up great- STRONG wheels, after repair they were road-force balanced without issue. After looking at several local wheel repair shops, I remembered a guy I had used ~25 years prior and as it turns out he was still in business, the go to guy for high end dealers and tire shops in the area. His work is as good as I remembered it, my wife and son were amazed- they couldn't tell where the wheels had been repaired. If you need your wheels restored to like new condition, call the Wheel Wizard. They add metal where needed and reshape the repaired spots, amazing and undetectable work. Other shops just grind away sharp edges and repaint, but you can tell......subpar.
Attended a Tail of the Dragon/Cherohala Skyway run with the local Alfa group, and stopped by Bell Mountain on the way.
To avoid hacking/cutting the factory wiring harness I sourced Metra 72-5600 speaker harnesses from Amazon that happen to also work with our horn plug- you only need one but since they only come in a set you'll have spares or some to share. You may need different spade connectors for the horn and I actually had to sand down the end of the plug a bit so it would click into place, YMMV. Thanks to forum member Knievel for the info.
To start you'll need to get the car in the air, at least the driver side front corner, and remove that wheel. The front part of the fender liner is held in place by a variety of fasteners so you'll need a Phillips screwdriver, 10mm Gearwrench/socket wrench, T30 socket/wrench, and 5mm Hex socket/wrench- don't forget the two screws on the bottom.
I made a new bracket for the horns out of flat aluminum bar stock, although you could also drill a hole in the OE horn bracket and re-use that. There was an existing hole and great location for the horn compressor to mount. Since these horns were from a prior car, I went ahead and replaced the tubing. I did replace the 10A fuse with a 20A fuse, the 10A fuse didn't blow right away but after a few uses.
I had been thinking about Quadrifoglio emblems for a while but could not swallow the price tag for the OE Giulia/Stelvio parts that really would not fit the 4C fender contours 100%.
EuroCompulsion carries the Novitec emblems in both Alutex (White CF) and Carbon Fiber. Decisions, decisions.....I ordered one of each to see how they look and decide which one to use.
Attended our first Mitty race at Road Atlanta, the featured marque this year was Alfa Romeo.
Official Race Schedule (final revision) HERE.
When I purchased the 4C it was evident that someone had tried to use the horn by pressing on the center slightly denting the airbag emblem....not noticed by anyone but my OCD self. The only way to correct was to buy a new airbag or source a new emblem. I found the emblem I wanted but unfortunately it only came as part of a set from Madness AutoWorks, so I just bit the bullet and ordered the set.....maybe I'll use the other pieces at some point in the future, but for now just the steering wheel emblem- carbon fiber with yellow Alfa Romeo logo. E6000 High Viscosity Adhesive was what I chose to use since it has worked well in the past. I used blue painters masking tape to make a grid around the OE emblem, using the lines of the Milan cross to mark the masking tape and make sure the horizontal and vertical were straight. Cleaned both surfaces with brake cleaner and put a small dab of E6000 in the new emblem, placing it over the old emblem and getting it centered/straight- held in place for a few minutes and then left to set, periodically checking (E6000 can run if too much is used, viscosity is low, temps are high, etc.- this would make a mess in the seats and floor mats so it might be a good idea to place some paper under the steering wheel just in case....). E6000 takes 24 hours to cure and 72 hours for max strength.
New emblem looks great, OCD issue solved!
Replaced all non-LED bulbs with LED. Started off with name-brand Sylvania ZEVO bulbs- THEY DO NOT WORK!
Next tried AUXITO from Amazon after reading the good reviews, so far so good and BRIGHT. Docron's 4C Forum thread was helpful.