Modifications for Alfa Romeo Spider

Central Locks

 




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The central locks were never introduced in the spider even in the last year of production in 1994. The central lock is relatively moderate to install for a do-it-yourselfer. You need 2 SPDT relays and a power window switch ($17), and a pair of power door lock motor (cylindrical push/pull type, not the twist type). The power window switch will go to the empty slot next to the existing power window switch and you need only two buttons (up and down) to lock and unlock both doors. The other two buttons can be used for other purpose, e.g., antenna up/down, top up/down (if you have the time and gut to install the power top), otherwise, just leave them alone.

To install door lock motors, you can anchor it using the existing bolt/nut that secure the window rail. Then, measure, bend and cut the arm that is supplied with the motor and find the right place to crimp with the existing lock. Note that the driver's and passenger's lock mechanisms are a little different, so you need to be a little bit creative and mechanically inclined.

Another important modification on the door lock switch (window switch if you will) is that you need to open it to gain access to the inside. Then you need to either cut or block a copper contact that is closed between the up and down switches when not pushed down. In other words, cut the connection between the up and down switch so that there is no connection between them in any case.

 

 

Sound / GPS System


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The existing so-called premium radio/cassette system is just enough for listening to news and some oldies. If you try to turn it up when cruising at 75 mph, you'll get really broken low-end frequencies. The speakers are just good enough unless you want them better, then replace it. That's totally up to you. A bass box can be easily laid behind the seats but you'll lose some space for your dog or a notebook bag.

For my case, I just pulled the Alfa cassette deck and replaced it with a Clarion AutoPC 310C, (Check out http://autopc.com) which operates on MS Windows CE. That means you can run a lot of softwares, e.g., address book, games, etc., just like a regular palm. Besides, it is also a GPS navigation system and requires a Map disk depending on your region (check out http://navtech.com for map details) If you need map discs or AutoPC software disc, please e-mail me at alfaromeo@thai.org .

You can talk with the AutoPC, i.e., tell it to show the map, tune the radio, turn volume up or down, or shut up. I also have the same unit installed in my Grand Cherokee but it took me 2 whole days to fit everything in the cabin, while it took me 2-3 hours to install everything in this Alfa. A lot of space and very easy to work on, not to mention how comfortable sitting in there without the roof crushing on your head.

The head unit is a regular single DIN size with a lot of connections in the back, e.g., USB to cd changer, to GPS (under the seat), to tuner (under the seat), to microphone, and pust-to-talk button. The antenna is a magnet placed behind the 3rd brake light. The GPS antenna lead can easily go through the driver side hole by erecting the top and opening the carpet.

I also installed a Clarion UC6 6-disc CD changer next to the right rear speaker behind the seat. In fact, you can hang it upside down in the trunk but the trunk space is already small so I wouldn't want to jeopardize an already cramped golf-bag space. This way, you can enjoy the songs from the changer while being able to use the navigation disc in the dash.

 

 

Alarm, Keyless entry, Windows up/down

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You need to install the central locks first before putting in an alarm or keyless entry.

I installed a Clarion Ungo 2-way 3-channel alarm. It has a remote-start feature but since it's a stick shift so, just leave it alone. The 3rd channel is for trunk opener, where you need to put the trunk-pop solenoid ($20). The remote is 2 way and has very long range with back-lid LCD, which acts like a pager when something happens at the car.

It would be a good idea to also replace the shock sensor with a $25 2-stage radar sensor so that nobody would take your belongings when you leave the top down. To explain what radar sensor is, when you stick your hand into the perimeter of the car, the alarm will chirp to warn you, if you put something in or take something out of the car, the alarm will go off.

Another cool thing to do is to put the power windows up/down module, where it rolls down windows when disarmed, and rolls them up when armed. I also put a 3-way switch so that I can select whether I want the windows to roll up and down along with remote arm/disarm, up when arm only (no down), or not at all. When you make a purchase for this module, make sure it's for 2 windows up and down (not up or down) or for 4 windows up or down.

 

Conclusions

Keep in mind that no matter what you do to your Alfa, try to keep it as original as possible. Try to cut as few wires as possible. What I did was pretty conservative and had to cut couple of wires for windows up/down module. There is a lot of space behind the transmission to stuff a lot of modules and wires you are putting on.

 If you have questions or comment, write alfaromeo@thai.org and wave when you see one of these.

Good luck with your installations.

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