The Alfa gets a 65-mile maintenance run

With the front suspension rebuild finally done, it was time to entrust a front end alignment to a true professional. Ed Haggan, the owner of Haggan Tire & Auto, conveniently located 0.2 miles from my house, was able to schedule the alignment on my Alfa for this past Friday. Brian, the lead tech, ably handled the job, and didn’t charge me extra for leering over his shoulder as we both stared at the screen on the Hunter machine.

Hunter did not have specs for a ’67 Alfa GT 1300 Junior, but I handed Brian printouts from one of my Alfa manuals which called for positive caster of 2 degrees, plus or minus .5 degree, and total toe-in of 3 mm. There is no camber setting (well, there is if you purchase the optional adjustable upper control arms, an option on which I passed). Brian seemed especially pleased when I told him that I had left all the adjustment locknuts finger-tight. Actually, his facial expression made me think that he wondered what else on the car was only finger-tight.

Brian states the Hunter machine is so easy to use, he can do it with his eyes closed.
Brian states the Hunter machine is so easy to use, he can do it with his eyes closed.

A little over an hour later, I left the shop, and put 20 miles on the car. It was a revelation. The car tracked straight, steering effort was good, return to straight-ahead after a turn was amazing, and best of all, there was not a sound from the front end. (Before the rebuild, the front end clunked over every bump in the road.) Everything felt tight and right.

Today, with my wife along for the ride, we put another 65 miles on the car. (I’m also trying to consume the fuel from last November so that I can add fresh gas.) It was a beautiful afternoon for a ride, and the two-lane backroads of Hunterdon County were relatively deserted. After a stop for some photos, with the sun about 20 minutes away from leaving us for the day, we were home.

The Alfa on Higginsville Rd. in Neshanic Station. We don't see a lot of traffic 'round these parts.
The Alfa on Higginsville Rd. in Neshanic Station. We don’t see a lot of traffic ’round these parts.
The setting sun nicely silhouettes the Alfa. The hubcaps are in the garage, really.
The setting sun nicely silhouettes the Alfa. The hubcaps are in the garage, really.

Today’s ride reassured me that the front end was good, and so was the rest of the car. An oil and filter change plus quick once-over will be done tomorrow. I hope to have time for a wash and wax before departing on Sunday to drive to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz NY for the start of this year’s New England 1000 road rally.

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