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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am an automotive engineer and car enthusiast who loves to work on his own cars. i am seriously considering the purchase of a 1984 Lamborghini Jalpa with approximately 38k miles on the clock, and has been sitting for 3 years in a Lamborghini dealership showroom. I am trying to determine to what extent of tear down and rebuild will be necessary before this car can be driven with any degree of confidence that the engine won’t disintegrate. Based on what I have read on this forum, if the engine compression cylinder to cylinder is consistent and near factory numbers, then a complete tear down to the short block with replacement of the timing chains, valves, opening of oil galleys and feed tubes, seals and gaskets would be first order business , followed by going through the chassis and braking and cooling systems. Are there specific areas of this car that require special attention that is not apparent to this newbie to the Jalpa. I would appreciate any guidance or suggestions from all of you. Thanks in advance.
 

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-The valves and guides should be checked out at some point. Others can probably be more specific, but the general idea is..... the original valves were were sodium filled and the guides were cast iron. Guides wear out fast. The valves can break off in the cylinder. One theory is that the thin valves crack over time and the sodium explodes when exposed to the combustion heat, causing the valve head to pop off. The other theory is that the delicate valves hit the piston because of fine tolerances and poor timing. Whatever the cause, look into any records, or take a look at the valves and guides to see if they have been upgraded. They are a pain to get out.... those that have done it can advise you. LeeT will probably chime in soon. He had been rebuilding a Jalpa for years and just had valves and guides made and can probably help you with that project. I had mine done 10 years ago during a full rebuild. I hired the project out so I don't have first hand knowledge.

-Timing is chain driven. Check the tension pulley.

-There is a belt the drives the alternator and water pump. The distributor runs off of a gear in the water pump. Check that belt. If it is bad, call a specialist. There are 3 sizes of belt based on the year of the car.

-Check for fuel and oil leaks. Lots of hoses and clamps to go wrong.

-Brakes fluid should be changed and the master cylinder checked. Good chance master will need a rebuild. I had mine done twice and it was a bit of a fiasco. Brake boosters go bad a lot. Booster is more of a pain, than a danger. Let me know if this is needed and I can fill you in.

-If there is a sound like a blender full of ice when you start it up, the water pump needs a rebuild, or you have rusted cam bearings due to moisture.

Lamborghini made 410 Jalpa in total and the factory has few records. Be prepared for a bit of a scavenger hunt when you need parts. People on this site are great and it is well worth the time asking lots of questions.
 

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Here is a list of places to get parts

GT Car parts (Old place with quite a bit of old stock. Can be hit or miss.) G.T. Car Parts INC - Ferrari and Lamborghini parts supplier since 1975

Lambo stuff (Less vintage stuff in stock, good prices) LAMBORGHINI PARTS, SERVICE and RESTORATION

Italian Car parts (Less stuff on hand. Rebuild services offered.) Ferrari & Lamborghini Parts Supplier. Maserati, Alfa Romeo & Fiat Parts Supplier

Evans Auto ('80s Lamborghini specialist, mechanic, seller and owner. They do more Jalpa work than anyone, have used and new parts. Protective of their knowledge, so don't expect how-to advice.) Evans Automotive Repair Inc | Evans Automotive Repair Inc.

EuroSpares (These guys have a lot of parts and re-manufacture some things. Occasionally they will have a donor car in their scrap yard.) Order Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati & Porsche Parts Online | New & Aftermarket Parts: +44 (0)1787 477 169

Autoricambi (I have only used these guys a tiny bit.) Ferrari parts for your vintage and italian sports cars

.... and after you have contacted all of these places, you may find the part does not exist and it is time to get creative! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here is a list of places to get parts

GT Car parts (Old place with quite a bit of old stock. Can be hit or miss.) G.T. Car Parts INC - Ferrari and Lamborghini parts supplier since 1975

Lambo stuff (Less vintage stuff in stock, good prices) LAMBORGHINI PARTS, SERVICE and RESTORATION

Italian Car parts (Less stuff on hand. Rebuild services offered.) Ferrari & Lamborghini Parts Supplier. Maserati, Alfa Romeo & Fiat Parts Supplier

Evans Auto ('80s Lamborghini specialist, mechanic, seller and owner. They do more Jalpa work than anyone, have used and new parts. Protective of their knowledge, so don't expect how-to advice.) Evans Automotive Repair Inc | Evans Automotive Repair Inc.

EuroSpares (These guys have a lot of parts and re-manufacture some things. Occasionally they will have a donor car in their scrap yard.) Order Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati & Porsche Parts Online | New & Aftermarket Parts: +44 (0)1787 477 169

Autoricambi (I have only used these guys a tiny bit.) Ferrari parts for your vintage and italian sports cars

.... and after you have contacted all of these places, you may find the part does not exist and it is time to get creative! ;)
Thank you for your advice and information. The Lamborghini Jalpa is a beautiful car with beautiful sounding engine note. My garage is occupied by a 95 corvette z07 and an 88 Porsche 951which I have been in the process of restoring. Where as the Porsche has a full set of shop manuals and an extensive parts availability, the Lamborghini Jalpa appears not to have much service documentation and very questionable parts availability. While I can accommodate the lofty price of ownership, I am not sure About the maintenance costs associated with a shortage of service parts, perhaps that is why many of these cars are relegated to living out their days in heated storage units in a collection.
 

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The documentation for the Jalpa is:

-Owner's manual (Quite a bit of technical data in there.)
-Parts manual (This is key. Keep in mind, Lamborghini made upgrades and changes over the years.... and did not document it. You are looking at an early car, so the books and data are probably most accurate for such a car.)
-Urraco shop manual (A shop manual for the Jalpa does not exist. The engine in the Urraco is an earlier generation of the Jalpa engine. Closest you can come.)

I got copies the owner's manual and parts manual off of eBay. The Urraco 300 maual can be found at Books4Cars.com - Every Repair Manual, Service Manual, Owners Manual and Book for your Car, Truck and Motorcycle
 

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Jalpa parts sort of fall into 3 categories. Common off the shelf stuff, Lamborghini specific and NLA. Lamborghini is a tiny factory, so lots of the parts are off the shelf. Lots of Bosch electronics, Alfa and BMW stuff, various Italian part makers..... There are parts specific to the Jalpa and they can be a bit pricey when available. The stuff that wears out a lot has been largely used up. Door seals, the crappy side mirrors, brake boosters, shocks, window switches etc. Owners find ways to modify or tweak stuff that is similar. I have had my car a long time and have yet to find a situation that could not be resolved. I rebuilt my engine 10 years ago. No trouble with it since, other than typical carb needs. I got a new clutch master 9 years ago. No trouble since. I rebuilt my brakes a couple years ago. All good now. I have used my car quite a bit over the last 10 years. Once they have been sorted out, they are not much different from other performance cars of the era. They can be a headache when things do come up, but if taken care of, they are not anything too terrible. For a long time they were cheap to buy, but expensive to maintain. This led to a lot of neglected cars. You can read some of the threads here and see it is no walk in the park getting one sorted out, but once you do, you shouldn't have to do it again for a long time. You just can't neglect it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Jalpa parts sort of fall into 3 categories. Common off the shelf stuff, Lamborghini specific and NLA. Lamborghini is a tiny factory, so lots of the parts are off the shelf. Lots of Bosch electronics, Alfa and BMW stuff, various Italian part makers..... There are parts specific to the Jalpa and they can be a bit pricey when available. The stuff that wears out a lot has been largely used up. Door seals, the crappy side mirrors, brake boosters, shocks, window switches etc. Owners find ways to modify or tweak stuff that is similar. I have had my car a long time and have yet to find a situation that could not be resolved. I rebuilt my engine 10 years ago. No trouble with it since, other than typical carb needs. I got a new clutch master 9 years ago. No trouble since. I rebuilt my brakes a couple years ago. All good now. I have used my car quite a bit over the last 10 years. Once they have been sorted out, they are not much different from other performance cars of the era. They can be a headache when things do come up, but if taken care of, they are not anything too terrible. For a long time they were cheap to buy, but expensive to maintain. This led to a lot of neglected cars. You can read some of the threads here and see it is no walk in the park getting one sorted out, but once you do, you shouldn't have to do it again for a long time. You just can't neglect it.
I am beginning to think that i may have joined the Jalpa game a little too late. The car I have been looking at is a lamborghini dealership in Chicago, and the dealership has very little in the way of service records. Worse, for a car of approximately 39k kilometers, I now find out from the dealer that the car exterior was repainted in 2015, prior to when they received it as a trade-in. If not for collision damage, then the car was repainted because the original paint finish was beyond repair, which makes me wonder if this car was indeed neglected as you have mentioned. $98k seems like a lot to spend for a car that is not completely original. Buying high end cars is like buying stock, you need to buy in low and not high. When i bought my Porsche 951 in 2015, I paid around $5k, now unrestored versions are in the mid twenty’s, with fully restored examples or originals under 100k miles are in the forties. The good thing about Porsche is that they have a Porsche classics division which reproduces parts which were NLA for their older cars. For example, the upper strut mounts and steering shaft needle bearing were NLA in 2015, but are now available from Porsche. Parts are not cheap, about 700 for the pair of strut mounts, but their not astronomical like Lamborghini.
 

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I have only seen 2..... maybe 3 "original" Jalpa. Most of them have had work done to address known issues and perform better. I would be nervous driving a purely original car much.The Jalpa has been, and will continue to be for some time, a great weekend tinker's car. Great sound, style, and heritage. Swap out a few sketchy parts and enjoy it. If you want an investment, I think there are better ways to go. The fact that car has been sitting at the dealership for 3 years should tell you something about the price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have only seen 2..... maybe 3 "original" Jalpa. Most of them have had work done to address known issues and perform better. I would be nervous driving a purely original car much.The Jalpa has been, and will continue to be for some time, a great weekend tinker's car. Great sound, style, and heritage. Swap out a few sketchy parts and enjoy it. If you want an investment, I think there are better ways to go. The fact that car has been sitting at the dealership for 3 years should tell you something about the price.
Thanks for the references to the manuals and books. I am going to purchase as much of the technical manuals for the V8 cars for reading over Christmas. I am curious about the Bosch ignition system in this car with carburetors prior to the onslaught of digital engine controls. I love to study the technical details and development of these cars from the seventies and eighties. As for the Jalpa in Chicago, I think the Lamborghini dealership rode the appreciation wave for the last several years and now they are trying to unload it. I do see other sorted out cars on the market for about 20% lower in price, so I will continue to study the market and contact the other sellers to ascertain the condition of each car as to it’s originality.
 

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Thanks for the references to the manuals and books. I am going to purchase as much of the technical manuals for the V8 cars for reading over Christmas. I am curious about the Bosch ignition system in this car with carburetors prior to the onslaught of digital engine controls. I love to study the technical details and development of these cars from the seventies and eighties. As for the Jalpa in Chicago, I think the Lamborghini dealership rode the appreciation wave for the last several years and now they are trying to unload it. I do see other sorted out cars on the market for about 20% lower in price, so I will continue to study the market and contact the other sellers to ascertain the condition of each car as to it’s originality.
I have always understood that original ignition control for the Jalpa was poor. Mine and many others were switched over to MSD ignitions. Inexpensive switch and it makes the car run much better.

Have you been to Lamborghini Jalpa Home Page Another great source of information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have always understood that original ignition control for the Jalpa was poor. Mine and many others were switched over to MSD ignitions. Inexpensive switch and it makes the car run much better.

Have you been to Lamborghini Jalpa Home Page Another great source of information.
Hey, thanks for the Lamborghini Jalpa Home Page link. It’s awesome! That’s where I‘m going now....:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh yeah! One last resource for information. I think this pretty much sums up what is out there.

Speaking of the Urraco, wheeler dealers did a segment on one and you can watch that on YouTube. It is a very interesting segment on car, the car was in Poland and trucked back to their workshop in the U.K. where they performed and engine out service. The book you recommend is one of my picks from internet book store you referenced earlier. Looking forward to reading it over the holidays.
BTW, there are currently 4 Jalpas on the market, two of which i have followed up on and both have had engine out service. One in California had a timing chain failure resulting in a valve strike by a piston, requiring a complete engine tear down and rebuild. That can still has the original paint finish, could be a good car, especially as the price is nearly $10k below the car in Chicago. I guess these cars take several years to sell, so it is a good opportunity to study each offering to determine the best car at the best price.
 

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If you have an automotive engineering background, or lots of wrenching experience, or fabrication experience, Jalpa’s are great cars. There are lots of cross referencing that can be done to find the typical parts that wear out— Jalpa CV joints are 100mm Porsche/VW units. Front brakes Almost BMW units. The list goes on. The biggest money is the engine. instead of refreshing my engine, I went the powertrain swap route. I took a look at the car in the Chicago downtown dealership 1.5 years ago. It seemed pretty clean and complete. At the end of the day, a Jalpa is a carbureted car with an electronic engine module. They are not that complicated once the electrics are properly grounded and sorted. I find that they are fun to drive, and fun to own. If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you have an automotive engineering background, or lots of wrenching experience, or fabrication experience, Jalpa’s are great cars. There are lots of cross referencing that can be done to find the typical parts that wear out— Jalpa CV joints are 100mm Porsche/VW units. Front brakes Almost BMW units. The list goes on. The biggest money is the engine. instead of refreshing my engine, I went the powertrain swap route. I took a look at the car in the Chicago downtown dealership 1.5 years ago. It seemed pretty clean and complete. At the end of the day, a Jalpa is a carbureted car with an electronic engine module. They are not that complicated once the electrics are properly grounded and sorted. I find that they are fun to drive, and fun to own. If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.
Thanks for your advice. To me, the idea of owning a Lamborghini Jalpa is to possess and experience the essence of a Lamborghini that you will not find in any other car. It is not a fast car by today’s standards, yet it is uniquely beautiful and the quad cam engine produces that uniquely Italian sports car sound. For a car of this caliber and price, I am looking for a car that is original and reasonably well maintained within the technology of its day. respectively, for me, altering the vehicles sub-systems by swapping out hardware etc. might ruin the very essence of what a Lamborghini Jalpa is all about, ie driveability, weight and balance, engine sound, etc. altering a car to improve its deficiencies while preserving its goodness is a fine line to walk. When I was looking at upgrading the powerband on my 25 year old corvette z07, any changes I could have made would have adversely affected its driveability and it weight distribution, so I kept it stock. Instead I bought a late model Porsche 951 and by stroking the engine, upgrading the Bosch engine management with a vitesse system, and a custom turbo, I am able to nearly double the powerband and keep everything else about the car intact. In the end, it’s all a matter of what is important to you.
 

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Sorry to chime in so late.If you will look at all my older posts, there is a wealth of info. I am currently rebuilding mine again , this time with Carillo rods and pistons,3.9 liter sleeves, victory titanium valves and reground cams. I expect 10,000 rpm and 500HP.. The real weak links in the motor are the valves and the aluminum. It is extremely porous. If you replace the valves with titanium and beehive springs , it will rev like a banshee. The rods are forged but not that good. Get some better ones. Pistons are the same . Bore 30 over and get some higher compression JEs or carillos.Head gaskets can be gotten from cometic. Italian car parts has gasket sets. Rod Bearings on ebay . You have to consider there were only 400+ Jalpas ever made. They have very good downline investment potential. Scope the bores and run a leakdown test. If good ,the motor may be sound. If not, lowball the dealer , showing him the info from the test. It will cost 10 to 20 to rebuild right. Lee
 
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