Alfa 147 - Power loss..
Hi guys.. I appreciate you looking.
So the cars about 2000 miles off a service, just about to tick over to 90k. I planned this weekend to service the vehicle, and install some new spark plugs. I recently went over the history with a fine tooth-comb to see what had and had not been done. Apart from the regular Cam-belt change and service history, I found no evidence the spark-plugs had ever been changed - after speaking to the previous owner, he claims he had no knowledge or had never changed them himself.. I would say that the car was quick - but I always felt it was a little slower than it should be, so I figured fresh sparks would do nothing but benefit the engine.
On the way home last Thursday from work, I flicked through the trip-computer to see that my average MPG was at 34.8mpg. I knew something was fishy, sure - I was less enthusiastic than normal, but to see these gains when my average MPG has been stuck at 28.1 since I have owned it (fluctuated between 27.4 and 28.1, but mainly the latter) - I was suspicious to say the least. For a few days I had stuck rigidly to the 60mph limit (usually cruise between 60 and 70), and not worked the rev-range excessively on acceleration, but I was surprised to see a big gain in the average. 3 weeks back, we went on holiday to South Wales, and when driving calm with the wife and daughter in the car, we couldnt get the average above 28.1, despite covering 500 odd miles.
Anyway, suspicious as I was, this was also linked with the fuel needle plummeting faster than normal, so the two didnt add up!
Friday on the way home, I had followed 2 lorries and approximately 5 cars - all of whom refused to overtake on any stretch of straight road. They also limited overtaking opportunities as they were following right up each others arses! After 20 miles of 40mph, not far from home is a very long straight, enough to pass the vehicles in front with ease. I slotted it into third and slowly pulled out before giving her some beans. It seemed to deliver power slowly, and then at a certain rev-range it delivered more - when its usually a fluid torque delivery. I then put it into fourth and was approaching the rear end of the two lorries. I noticed that it seemed laboured, the revs were slow to rise, and the power was noticeably reduced. After what seemed like an eternity to reach 5k revs, there was what seemed to be a tapping noise (I think.. havent heard it since), I immediately took my foot off the throttle and then tried to re-engage the accelerator to hear much of the same, and next to no power at all, in fact the revs began to fall, resulting in a drop to third to climb the hill steadily..
Drove home - greatly disappointed in the beast.
Since then it has driven fine, I havent given her any beans as the power delivery through the gears is noticeably reduced.. However - I would add that the engine is sounding louder, and I am not sure whether this is me being paranoid - or having the windows open more due to this gorgeous weather, but its definitely louder.
Fifth seems to have no pick-up and go at all, and fourth which is the gear I use predominantly to deliver some smooth torque - seems to be much of the same, third just seems laboured, and then spikes in power delivery.. not violently - just you can fell the power kick in.
I have tried to drive in a range of manners today - in order to give you guys a better description. I would say my issue with power delivery seems to be associated with the 4k mark on the rev-counter.. There is also a stronger smell of unspent fuel every now and again - and I think its coming from my Alfa!
I have a few ideas, but I really need people that are in the know.. I searched another thread that seemed to have these symptoms, but there was no conclusive answer - so I figured I would ask you guys fresh.
-I am sure the spark-plugs are not helping the situation, but I will know what difference they make on Sunday when they are changed.. But is this the cause of the reduced power, and spiked delivery?
-I purchased the Alfa for around £600 when I was desperate for a car, it was the nicest spec car I could get for the money, pretty decent low mileage, FSH, and recent breaks change + 4 new tyres. I knew I had to perform a cambelt change soon, but only read about the variator requiring a change after it was done.. So the variator is nearlly 90,000 miles old, and does sound diesel'ish on start-up.. Would it be the variator causing these issues? Ive noticed lower-end power down for a while, but nothing significant..
Im in the middle of changing jobs so that I do not have to drive to work anymore, and earn more - which means I can save for a nicer Alfa, despite my love-affair with my 147. I am also currently Jurassic (skint), which is not conducive to owning an Alfa but there we-go, so if you can offer any advise on things I can check, that would be appreciated.
Also note - there are currently no warning lights, and no fault codes..