Tech Tips

Tech Tips

If you have a ( general ) problem or if you like to get a partnumber than please check first the more than 1200 pages thick SZ workshopmanual, the RZ supplement, the SZ partsbook, the body repair video, or the service manuals please. Copies available.

21.) Exhaust and airintakebox.
22.) Hydraulic - Mechanical camshaftbelt tensioner.
23.) Windows fogging up suddenly.
24.) More electric problems ( fusebox, door lock actuators, pulse generators ).
25.) Gear box, oil change. ( special procedure for SZ/RZ )
26.) Front bumper / Spoilerlip.
27.) Oil Cooler.
28.) Rod holding the hood up.
29.) Rear seats in the SZ / Interior modifications.
30.) Wheels.
31.) Seats.
32.) Wich sparkplugs to use.
33.) Changing the front blinkers.
34.) Changing the oil filter.
35.) Changing the air filter.
36.) Side windows going up and down slowly.
37.) Jack hole covers.
38.) Water pump.
39.) Third brake light.
40.) Cambelt jumps a tooth.

21.) Exhaust and airintakebox.

Taking away the cath. will give about 3-5 HP extra and even without catalist. the CO2 level normally will will be still within allowed ranges ( if you still have a good functioning engine ).

no cath.

Replacing the air intake box by an open filter will cost you about 5 HP. We testet it on the DYNO,.. but also the SZ book written by Piatti tells on page 81 the following about it: "After a series of adjustements had been made to the SZ, it was possible to create a sort of pressure chamber into wich the snout of the air intake dipped. The intake thus sucked in frech air and a part of the external air in a proportion wich increased with the square of velocity ( RAM air ). At high speeds this allowed the designers to dig out a little more horsepower,...."

air intake

The top litt of the airintake was "custom made by Zagato" to fit under the hood from the SZ. They used the air intake box from the V-6 75, some came out better than others.

22.) Hydraulic camshaftbelt tensioner.

a.) This tensioner is not for sale anymore,.. also not the tensioner bearing, but a repairkit is available.

tensioner repair kit

b.) If you can not fix the ( always problematic and too complicated hydraulic tensioner ) problem with the repair kit, than you better change over to a mechanic tensioner wich have been used in the first place on the Lancia Thema 3 liter V6 and Fiat Croma ie 2500 V6 and on Alfa Romeo's V6 12 valved engines.

*** If you have been granted full access to the hidden part of the site you can ask me for more information or pictures. ***

23.) Windows fogging up suddenly.

In rainy conditions that almost always happens, and there is not a real solution for that problem. Only thing to do when it happens ( better before ) is to turn on the heating as high as possible, directing everything to the frontscreen, vent on the highest position and the airconditioner fully on ! Rear window heating on also. If the fog is going away, than carefully turn the airco a bit back, ventilator from 3 to 2, heating back a bit,... and stay fiddeling around till the situation is okee for you. Avoid rainy clothes etc. in the interior, because if you don't, the fog will never go away ! A towel or anti condensation cloth nearby your seat is also a good idear.
All the SZ's do have that problem more or less and you will never get rid of it completely, but maybe you can make it less extreme by checking the following:
First thing to do is to check if no where rainwater is entering the interior from the car. At most cars it happens.
a.) It can enter via the frontscreen ( sealing is not good anymore and screen have to be replaced )
b.) At the Zagato company they often did not take off the partsticker from the roof panel completely and than they did put the window sealer over that sticker, causing water entering at that place, often at the left top side from the screen.
c.) Water can come in via the pedalbox sealing, often is tightening the bolts over there at the inside a bit more enough or / and put sealing at the outside ( engine bay ) around the rim from the pedalbox.
d.) Also possible is that the sealing around the cable tree - where it is entering the car - is not good anymore. ( entering at the engine bay, going to the fuse box )
e.) Check under the car if the end of the hose from the airconditioner is open. Endpiece from that hose can stick together, not letting the condensation water out of the system and causing that water to enter the interior.

24.) More electric problems ( fusebox, Door Lock actuators, pulse generator ).

a.) If water is entering via the "cable-tree" or pedal box it can cause all kind of mishaps in the fuse box area.
b.) Water can also run into the Door Lock actuators relay (about 10x3x2cm. black box, containing a few relays ) wich is hanging under the steering colum.


At the first series of SZ's that relais was mounted with the contacts in the direction of the frontscreen, causing water to enter easily into that relay and making the doorswitsches not functioning anymore. At later SZ's they turned the relay upside down, with the contacts directing to the floor.


Best to check it out and if not turned to the floor allready, than do it yourself,...the cable is long enough. I think for that "water entering reason" they replaced that relais in most of the RZ's to the top of the dash behind the glove box, but not all the RZ's do have it there, they changed during production. Wiring diagrams ecc. are available.

A problem with those Door Lock actuators can also be caused by a bad or a loose ground connection ( little red arrow in the picture ), so press it to have a good connection and then the door switches possibly will work again.

c.) If you ever take away the interior door panels than it would be a good idear to cover actuators with a plastic cover cut out of a plastic bag or so, also tape in the connectors. Those actuators are mounted "naked" into the doorframes and raindrops falling down from the top of the door can damage them or make them disfunction.



In general the central Door Lock actuators are to weak to do their job properly and often they will not function anymore over the years.

You can use the same as in the Alfa 33 or in the Alfa 75. id. number: AR.548916. The firm wich produced those switches is MES in Switzerland. This company still exists and they have those switches in stock. You only have to put a new one on the connector and that's it. MES door locks are Swiss made and can be ordered easily via Internet electrical automotive accessories shops.

Also possible to use cheap alternatives from the car part shop,..but that you have to experiment with the colours of the wires and connectors ecc.


d.) The computer for the pulse generator, behind the drivers seat under the carpet, can cause problems and making the KM. or miles counter disfunction.


Trough the floor of the car there is the cable from the pulse generator - mounted into the gearbox - entering. At that place, if the sealing is not okee / in place anymore, dirt and rainwater can enter and corrode the connector ecc. The RZ does have a smal "carpet-litt" on top, to enter it ( checking it is easy ) and in the SZ you have to take out the box in the middle first to reach that pulsegenerator computer.


25.) Transmission - Check of oil level - Change of transmission oil:

Because of the presence of a transmission oil cooler a special procedure is needed to renew the oil.

If you do not change oil by using this procedure, than there will be old oil left behind in the oilcooler, and that is something you do not want to happen !

*** If you like to know exactely how to do this, please let me know and I provide you with the pictures etc.etc. explaining the procedure. ***

My mechanic advises to use a synthetic oil 75 W 90 - GL5 from a good brand like AGIP.

26.) Front bumper / Spoilerlip.

a.) It is a good idea to put the same material behind the holes at the front-bottom side from the bumper as is used in the grille. The same or almost the same material is often sold in "car-part-shops". It almost cost nothing and it protects the ( aircon. ) radiator.

extra grille

b.) At the bottom of the bumper is the black spoilerlip. That lip is from a metal reinforced rubber, but even than most SZ drivers damage that spoiler beyond repair within 1000 km. That spoiler is totally no where in the world available, also not the 164 alternative. The only alternative that will look almost the same is the spoilerlip from the 147, but it is plastic, a thinner material, not reinforced and a bit shorter than the original spoilerlip,.. although ????..... at the most SZ / RZ's those "original" spoilers where made fit onto the car, often different lenghts and positions have been used.


The 147 spoiler lip ( partnumber: 0046746031 ) is cheap and the only thing you have to do is to cut off a small lip that is running from the left to the right side.


27.) Oil Cooler protection.

oil cooler

The location from the gearbox oilcooler under the car makes this cooler vulnerable to damage. Because of that some of the last production cars got a kind of protection around the cooler. ( best to check that on your car )

oil cooler

If you do not have any form of protection we might have found a very low budget solution which works:

At most most air filters for cars there has been used a perforated metal protection around the paper filter part. That perforated metal protection is ideal to use around the SZ / RZ gearbox oilcooler. So if you take that part off an old filter you can make your own "Gearbox Oilcooler Protection". At the picture shown this perforated part came from an Alfa Romeo 159 airfilter.

oil cooler

At the picture you can see that this protection part is fixed by plastic tie wraps. Because of the heat it would be wise to take in stead of that a piece of stainless steel metal wire or some stainless steel tie wraps.

oil cooler

28.) Rod holding the hood up.

At the "hook" formed base of this rod is a plastic plug with a hole in it to keep it firmly in place. But at most SZ / RZ's that plug is broken or missing completely, causing the rod "hammering' and scratching the paint, and falling out every time when opening the hood.


To avoid this problem and to prevent in the future the rod damaging the paint I found the following solution working perfectly:
Take a piece of thin walled hose that is just fitting around the rod, cut of about 10 cm. and put it for some minutes in hot water to soften it up a bit, put some soap at the hook end of the rod and slide the piece of hose around the rod as explained in the pictures.




Now the rod is sitting firmly on place and it never ever will scratch the paint again.

29.) Rear seats in the SZ / Interior modifications.

a.) Rear seats in the SZ

rear seats

In most countries I suppose a forbidden option,....but okee... !!

Some people did make a big job of having custom made rear seats, but also possible and much easier to take out the rear carpet and the plastic box under that carpet, than take the rear ( leather ) seats from a 75 and build them in at the free rear space. You also need to fill the gap under the seat with a piece of carpet.

As shown: a black RZ interior build in an SZ and using black leater rear seats from a 75. Also a beige rear seat conversion has been made in a black SZ. Looks very,..very professional and in the pics you can see how it is done.

!!!! WARNING: !!!!! make some heat protection at the rear window,..otherwise you will "fry" the children !!!

If you want to see a larger picture, click the thumbnail .

rearseats rearseats rearseats rearseats rearseats rearseats rearseats rearseats rearseats

rearseats rearseats rearseats rearseats

rearseats rearseats rearseats

rearseats rearseats


b.) "Granturismo" interior.

"Granturismo" interior

If you want to see a larger picture, click the thumbnail .

30.) Wheels.

Speedlines: The sealing in between the 2 wheel halfs can go bad after the years, causing air to pass and deflating the tyres in that way.


Many SZ / RZ's do have that problem, so always check the tyre pressure after having the car been stored for some time !!!

If the problem is very bad, than the tyre has to be taken off and the old sealing has to be ( partly ) removed and be repaired or renewed completely. You can use silicone sealing for that purpose ( tested on several cars ). If the silicone sealing has "hardened" the tyre can be put on again. Replacement sealings have been produced, more information can be provided on request.

As an emergency or temporary measure a "repair" can be done with a "tyre repair spraycan". ( "puncture repair in a can" )
In this case the repair stuff ( 'mouse' ) closes up also the holes / openings in the old sealing and prevents the tyre from deflating.

The original Speedlines are not for sale anymore, alternative might be the BIGGER wheels from Steven Chambers UK.

SZ wheels-S.Chambers

For more information:

31.) Seats.

The seats from the SZ and RZ's are all hand made, so the comfort is very different from seat to seat. Some are perfect, other ones brake your back. Often it is neccesary to have them "refilled" ecc.
An other problem is that in the SZ / RZ for many - not too tall - people the pedals are still too far away, even when the seats are put in the most forward position. Often the legs are just not long enough to push in the clutch completely.


You can win some space ( about 4-5 cm. extra ) if you take away the spacers that are mounted at the front side in the sliders ( rails ) under the drivers seat. Often that is just enough to reach the pedals properly.

32.) Sparkplugs.

Many stories can be written about the best sparkplugs for our Alfa Romeo's, certainly after the Golden Lodge sparks went out of production....but what is wisdom ?? It seems that every dealer / workshop / garagist / sparkplug factory has its own miracle sparkplug for the V6

a.) For me personaly ( I luckily have some stock for the next 20 years) best to use and strongly advised by Alfa Romeo and mentioned in the SZ / RZ maintenance manual are the 2HL sparkplugs from Golden Lodge. Those sparkplugs are with 4 electrodes and non adjustable. Because of the 4 electrodes etc. the flame is obviously devided perfectely in the cylinder / burning chamber ecc.



BUT,.... the 2HL from Golden Lodge went out of production in 2007, so Alfa Romeo needed an alternative.

They found it in a sparkplug, sold under their partnumber: 71736278. On those sparkplugs is a code 14NC. It probably is the Champion N7YCC, wich has been used on many Alfa Romeo's in the past as an alternative for the Golden Lodge 2 HL.
I myself used them for 13 years in my wifes daily driver a 1300 Giulia from 1974. Never ever had a problem.
For me it is good enough that Alfa Romeo themselve does advise this sparkplug.

In 2013 a registermember put a set new "71736278" plugs in his SZ engine and than made a tour over 5000 km. including 11 mountain passes and high speed travels. He used 3/4 liter of oil at this tour. ( wich is not much ! ) Those used spark plugs look fine to me.


Past years also used in many Alfa's as alternative multi electrode sparkplugs and also advized by my Alfa Romeo dealer are the Beru UX56 plugs.


WARNING >>>>>>> WARNING>>>>>>> WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!

End of 2012 suddenly a GoldenLodge replica appeared in France, Germany and in the UK. It seem to be Chinese replicas and the quality is inferior to the original. Some Japanese register friends had bad experiences with them. It seems that there can break down pieces of the porcelain around the central electrode at these spark plugs. You do not want to have that falling into your cylinders.


b.) Several alternative single electrode sparkplugs have been tested for the SZ / RZ v6 engines. The sparkplugs from Denso had the best results on emissions and idling, but in the end no one could guarantee me if they also would be better or just as good for the engines / pistons material as the original Golden Lodge 2HL's.


33.) Changing / refurbishing the front blinkers.

To remove or mount the blinkers on the car you do not have to take the complete bumper off the car ( as mentioned in the workshop manual ).... but you can do it at trough the hole in the mudguards ( sitting in front of the front wheels ).
You have to take off the litt from that mudguard,..also better to take off or to turn the wheel outside to have some working space. Behind the litt you can feel the nut on the blinker. Turn it off.
Than ask someone to take a look between the front lamps, while you wiggle the blinker a bit. Between the front lamps you can see the bracket moving where the other side is mounted on. To remove the nut there is possible, but sometimes usefull to take out the battery / air filter housing or a front lamp ( bracket ) to make some extra room.

If you do want to install a new blinker it is a good idea to go with a finger with transparent silicone around the side of blinkers surface where the glass is attached to the housing. Those blinkers where famous because of not being "watertight".
At Alfa Romeo they put some tape around that blinkers in the later series, but over the years also that tape will have gone bad, making the blinker not "waterproof" anymore.

front blinkers

front blinkers

If you want to see a larger picture, click the thumbnail .

front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers front blinkers

If you own one of the first 13 ? produced SZ's, than you possibly need to take off the complete bumper afterall, because those cars did not have the holes in the mudguards and they had the front lamps also possibly mounted in a different way.


Because of that you possibly also need to take off the complete front bumper if you need to change a front lamp / bulb !!

34.) Changing the oil filter.

The original oil filters used on the V6 engines are a bit difficult to replace, because of the fact that the aircon. pipes are mounted very close to the ( BIG ) oil filter, making it a bit cramped over there, but a skilled mechanic ( with small hands ) can manage to get it out without taking the car apart. Is also discribed in the workshopmanual how to do it.
The original Alfa Romeo's part number from the oil filter was: 46805831 and it was also used on many other cars, like the 164, 155 but even also in the 105 series and in some Fiats and even Innocenti used them for some cars. The partnumber from this filter was used by Alfa Romeo till April 2001, after that it has been replaced by an oilfilter with the Alfa Romeo part number: 60507080, and at 02-10-2003 the part number changed again into 71736160, wich is the latest number.


BUT,... if your hands are not small enough it it also possible to use the original oil filters used on 4 cylinder Alfa's like the 75, they are a bit smaller and with the nowadays high quality oils not a problem, altough,... when FIAT changed over to another marque filters ( nowadays in black ) they where allready smaller than the ones originally sold via Alfa Romeo. So if you use the old part number to order a filter, than it will be smaller that you would have gotten 18 years ago.
Fitting filters are also for sale in the after-sales car market. The companies MANN, FRAM, Champion, Mahle ecc. ecc. have them in their catalogue. Most of those companies have fitting "budget" quality filters but also "high" quality versions. To be better "save than sorry" it is the best to go for the high quality versions. The original filters in those days where produced by the company FIAMM, but as far as I know it does not exist anymore. The filters now used by Alfa Romeo seem to be from a company called "SOGESI"..... never heard of it ???

35.) Changing the air filter.

That is a straight on job, and does not need any explanation. But the original Alfa Romeo air filters ( AR part number: 60522009, also used on the 75 V6 and Turbo Diesel ) are possibly not available anymore. There are aftermarket alternatives like the Fram air filter (PA-4505) or Mahle ( Knecht ) LX 457 or even better the K&N filter (33-2545).

36.) Side windows going up and down slowly.

This problem can have different causes, but the windows will never be very quickly up and down, because the window winder motors to move those glasses are a bit weak and slow themselves.

1.) First check out the electrics:
a.) The various contacts / connectors can be corroded.
b.) The switches can be worn out, making bad contacts,.... best to replace them all three.
c.) A worn out window winder motor. It has to be replaced. Not available anymore via Alfa Romeo.

2.) The screen can have pushed the rubbers - where it slides in - out of place. This happens because over the years the glue holding the rubbers in place is not working anymore. Rubbers have to be glued in place again. In NL I always use "Bison kit" for that job.

3.) Adjustement from the screens is needed. If you take off the door panels ( have to be done in a special way,.. so first read the workshopmanual ) you will find several possibilities to adjust the movement from those screens. Over the years the right position could have been changed. It is a bit of a delicate job to put them in the right place again, so read the workshopmanual first, or have it done by a specialist.

4.) The screen sliding mechanism is in a way constructed that it can move also a bit to the left and right side in a kind of slot holes. It is a good idear to put some teflon spray / grease at those places to make the screen slide to the left and right a bit better.

5.) If the screens are not adjusted / mounted in the correct way, they can push out the rubbers, BUT also they can push the screens out of the rubbers and you have the risk the screen will brake in a million pieces, because it is hardened glass. ( not available anymore via AR ) etc.

6.) Check this also: If you put the screens up, than normally just before they arrive in the highest position ( lock side ) they slide into the top corner from the door. If those screens are not fitted well, than they allready slide into the rubbers half way, and that also causes the screen to go slowly and rubbers to be pushed out of place ecc.

37.) Jack hole covers.

Often those covers get lost during driving. The problem is that they are since many years not available anymore via Alfa Romeo ! At a bright moment - some time ago - I noticed that the wheel center covers where the same, only with the Alfa Romeo symbol in the hart.
It is possible to paint that metal Alfa Romeo logo black or to take the metal piece carefully out off the plastic cover and than you have your replacement.
The downside is that since 2007 those wheelcovers are also not available anymore via Alfa Romeo.

jackscrew cover

There are some replacements, but they do not look the same. The positive thing is that those original covers where also used on many other Alfa Romeo cars, so second hand you probably can find one easily.

38.) Water pump.

If you have a leaking water pump than you are in trouble. It was a typical SZ / RZ item with the partnumber: 60553249.
Over the last years I got some tips / advises from all over the world.
Similar types of pumps have been also used on the 75 / 164 / but also the V6 90 and on V6 Alfetta's... but all a bit different in type of pulley ( bolted or pressed on ), flange and axle length ? and / or thickness.

Some types of pumps.

 164 / 75 /Milano water pump

SZ - 75 QV water pump

Differences at the outside: the pump for the SZ / RZ has a different type of pulley and flange.

SZ/RZ pump

If you want to see a larger picture, click the thumbnail .

waterpump waterpump waterpump waterpump waterpump

The SZ/RZ pumps flange has a conical front and the pulley is bolted on that base and not pressed on directely on the pumps axle.


If you are lucky you will find a pump with the correct axle lenght and thickness as used on the SZ / RZ, than you "only" have to pull off the flanges from the SZ/RZ pump and the alternative pump and than press the conical SZ/RZ flange on the new pump and screw the pulley back on.


In 2012 we have an alternative pump been put together for the SZ / RZ. If you would like to have more info, please ask me.

39.) Third brake light

a.) To improve the safety aspect of the car you can fit a high-level, third brake light, as fitted to most modern vehicles. It is very easy and takes about 10 minutes. From an accessory shop it is possible to purchase an LED unit which sticks inside the rear screen. The unit is positioned in the centre of the screen as low as possible to avoid the heating element and conceal the wires. Inside the boot next to the latch are some holes covered with an adhesive patch. Peel back a patch and pass the unit wires behind the rear shelf and through the hole into the boot. Attach the wires around the boot to a rear lamp. Unclip the brake lamp red/yellow/black cable from the harness and terminate the unit lamp wire to the red cable and the unit earth wire to the black cable. Reclip the connector, step on brake pedal and admire your work.

b.) Another possibility ( maybe not allowed ) is to put a flat strip of leds behind the center cover on the boot. Than the looks from your car stays the same and also possible to do this on an RZ.

40.) Cambelt jumps a tooth.

If, on starting the car, the engine backfires it is possible for the cambelt to jump a tooth on the cam pulley. If you are lucky and no damage is done, then the belt can be refitted correctly. However, if the engine would still not run correctly. The backfire was diagnosed as a faulty crankshaft sender, at the front of the engine next to the crank pulley. This can be changed and all is well again.

If you have any TechTips that can be used for Alfa Romeo SZ or RZ, I am intrested to know about that.
Please email me if you have a special Tip or solution for a problem,..thanks,...Ed.

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