Blowing Smoke - Not EGR or Glow Plugs - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 8 Old 08-09-13 Thread Starter
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Blowing Smoke - Not EGR or Glow Plugs

I've been getting a decent puff of smoke on start up when the car has sat for a while. 2007 Brera 2.4l diesel.

I'd recently swapped out the glow plugs. So I tried the old ones and cleaned out the EGR and throttle body. No joy.

All the breather pipes have a coating of oil in them so I guess its the Turbo
Is this able to be replaced while the engine is still in the car? Or is there a slim chance I'm missing an easier fix?

Found one for 600 smackers so while its not great Its not the end of the world
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Check your oil may be doing what mine does and generate its own oil during a regen. (Made worse because the formulation of deisal has changed and now longer evaporates) Causing an excess of oil...causing smoke in start up
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(Post Link) post #3 of 8 Old 08-09-13 Thread Starter
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Ohh will do, I like the sound of that!
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turbo can be changed with engine in the car. I know as I had to have a new turbo about 18 months ago.

slight amount of smoke (small puff!) after standing a long time (couple of days say) may be considered normal by some; i find it depends more on how the car was run just before stopping. eg a short cool run leads to a more smoky start.

Beware increasing oil levels: they can lead to very bad consequences.
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(Post Link) post #5 of 8 Old 08-09-13 Thread Starter
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Small puff 6 hours, bigger puff overnight. Normally a 13 mile run to work and 13 miles back.
So I'll check the oil level but is a Turbo fit doable at home?

PS. Wouldn't need to mess around as much if Alfa would get their fingers out and make a replacement Car, & please not in the same styling as the MiTo (a mans car!!!)
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mate - if it is your turbo causing the issue I'll eat your shizz!

That pipe you've got hold of there is the cam casing breather pipe.

The cam shafts (which it sits at the end of) are lubricated with engine oil. All cars have a breather system to relieve pressure that builds up in various ways, all of which is quite normal. The breathers will carry oil vapours and excess gases away from the engine to stop it building up too much pressure and breaking something.

What happens with these engines, if you trace that pipe you've got in your hand it runs over the EGR to the back of the engine into a separator pot, then round the engine to the front of the car and feeds into the intake pipe just above the cold side of the turbo. If your car generates a lot of oil vapour (wear and tear and random luck will dictate how much you generate) then you end up feeding this directly back into the cold air into above the turbo, so the oil will run down into the cold side of the turbo.

There is a video explaining this here (video is of 1.9 4 cylinder):

Youtube linky

I believe this works the same on the 2.4s.

Also don't forget breather pipes are for gases and oil vapour - so don't be surprised they've got oil in them!!

You also need to decide whether or not it is actually oil you are burning of if the smoke is unburnt diesel - which should carry and distinctive strong smell.

Previous Alfas:
1999 156 1.8TS Sport Pack 3
2001 166 3.0 V6 24V Super
2003 156 GTA 3.2 V6 24V
2005 156 1.9 JTDM-Jet Sport
2008 159 1.9 JTDM Lusso

Current Alfas:
1997 GTV 2.0TS Lusso
2001 147 1.6TS Lusso
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My favourite thing, check your new glow plugs are ok. Several of us have found new ones failing straight away or lighting up on the side rather than the tip. You need to take them out one at a time and check them across the battery to do it properly.
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I have a 2.4 JTDM Brera and have the same puff of smoke. There are a number of threads on this subject and it could be down to a number of potential issues, some people debate oil (leaking down the valves, or in the turbo) and some debate diesel.
What was happening with mine was if the car had been standing for a while (Over night) the first start of the day would give a big puff of blue (ish) smoke which lasted for about 10 seconds then would disappear. Not too much of an issue you may say, especially when selling as clearly you would fire up the engine before. However when you have to reverse off the drive each morning back through your puff of smoke then it becomes a smelly issue in the cockpit! I've been doing regular long motorway mileage and on the basis I have had little/no reduction in oil level, I put my investigations down to fuel.
Things to initially consider, fuel treatments (valve cleaning stuff plus DPF regenerators) and also oil treatments like hydraulic valve lubricants. I did all this, worthy exercise to condition the engine but unfortunately the puff of smoke didn't go away.
The main thing I did to stop the smoke was to remove all of the Injectors. A bit fiddly having to remove the fuel pipes etc but took about an hour. They were sooted up, so gave them a good birthday (clean up) and got all of the carbon out of the grooves etc so they came up like new. I also soaked the ends in a carbon removal fluid to ensure all of the holes were clean. I was thinking about replacing them but at 200 each for a refurb I wasnt prepared to spend a grand on this! What was happening that one or two injectors weren't closing properly as carbon had got in. These injectors are like syringes , they pop open under pressure and close up again on each fire. So, as the car stood overnight enough diesel was seeping into the cylinder heads, so as it started there was excess fuel hence the burn off of smoke, plus the first few starting revs were noisy and juddery as the engine wasn't burning efficiently. Once all cleaned then to reassemble back into the car NOTE as I found out you can not reuse the seats (copper washers)at the end of the injector. These are soft and pliable which squash down under torque to make a perfect compression seal. (I had to remove them all again as everyone leaked pressure !!) so before you start the job buy a set of 5 washers (5 on ebay 8 from dealer). Now I get no smoke and the start is quieter and smoother. PLUS the car is generally pulling harder as the revs are more responsive. Total time to do 2 hours! cost 8 , a worthy Saturday morning exercise with any Alfa diesel with a puff of smoke.

Last edited by Chillihotrodder; 28-10-13 at 15:06. Reason: Typo
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