Swirl flaps How To and MAF clean How To anywhere? 159 1.9 - Page 6 - Alfa Romeo Forum
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ok got it done today,what a piggy work,jeez from 9am to 6pm,broke the flaps off with pliers,took just 5 mins to break them off,two of them came off with little pressure so i guess i did them in time,woodruff key is built in on newer cars probably from 07,
if you want to wash all this gunk down quickly then petrol is your mate,took few mins to soak and wash all the carbon down,
drain the coolant,i forgot to and some coolant went into the valve area and had dry it out with special vacuum cleaner,
drove the car and everything looks good so another GT saved from failing
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(Post Link) post #127 of 410 Old 23-01-16 Thread Starter
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Well done mate. An Alfa that's got its life back. Good job.
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Aye well done. Definitely much better to get to the flaps before they fall off. I wish I had :-/

So what have you done with the EGR valve, is it blanked, or restricted, or left standard. Did you remove the swirl flap spindles and blank the holes, or just leave them to rotate pointlessly? And do you notice any difference in drivability with the swirl flaps now deleted?
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@alastairlever. Wow. Good news indeed. Even better, you don't have to put it back together yourself What made you take it to Autolusso for de-flapping? Were there any symptoms?
No symptoms at all. Didn't even notice any lack of low down power at low revs with the car running on only one flap. Took the car in to Autolusso for an EGR delete a few months ago and Ned pointed out the car should be de flapped while I was there. Only had the time to go a few days ago.
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Aye well done. Definitely much better to get to the flaps before they fall off. I wish I had :-/

So what have you done with the EGR valve, is it blanked, or restricted, or left standard. Did you remove the swirl flap spindles and blank the holes, or just leave them to rotate pointlessly? And do you notice any difference in drivability with the swirl flaps now deleted?

EGR restricted,probably will do delete and remap after while,spindles out and holes blanked,left the electric motor in place,
as for driveability couldn't fill anything in low revs but once it goes over 2k revs it throws the car forward,the engine works way quietly then before,don't know if it is due to flaps removed.had to take all manifold studs otherwise it wouldn't come out without grinding the base under the H/P pump
oh and when i disassembled the manifold and checked the flaps,two of them couldn't close fully and one side would touch the base living small gap on another side,spindles did have a play in these blue seals and first one actually was leaking a bit of oily stuff
tightened the pump 22mm nut to 50nm but forgot to use threadlock stuff as it was already dark and raining but hopely it wont come off

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I got the head off finally, just as it was getting dark, so these are only first dim impressions. I seem to have got away with only slightly visible impact damage on the piston on cylinder #3. A few slight indentations, but it's hard to tell as the piston has more carbon than the other three, which have virtually none. I'll need to clean the carbon off the piston crown before really knowing how much of a beating its had, but at first glance just a few superficial marks.

#3 was at TDC when I lifted the head, so I've not yet looked for bore damage.

The extra carbon is interesting. There's not a lot, but more than the others. I can only think of three possible reasons.
- Once the flap has gone, the combination of no flap/open port and EGR result in a sootier burn at low revs. I'd sort of expect that, if flaps do the job they're supposed to.
- Another is that #3 injector isn't working right - or wasn't, it was noisy before the Wynnes injector treatment but isn't so much now. I haven't looked at the nozzle for impact damage, or at all.
- Or bore or piston damage is allowing engine oil into the cylinder.

No trace of the missing flap. I couldn't see any impact damage on the head itself, but need to check more carefully.

I've not yet searched for flap #2 which is in the inlet port somewhere. Very, very lucky I decided to tear it down when I did. I saw it when I first removed the inlet manifold and it wasn't jammed in the port, just sitting there waiting to cause mayhem.

I had to take the catalyst off. I couldn't get access to remove the lambda sensor because the shield was in the way, and the only way I could remove the shield, catalyst and lambda was to undo the large circular ring clamp that holds the catalyst onto the turbo. Then they all come off together. Actually undoing the nut was easier than expected, I had a small deep spark plug socket (16mm) that fit perfectly, but the clamp itself was both corroded to the turbo and also had strong spring pressure holding it in place. A combination of tapping it and forcing the jaw apart did the trick eventually. That alone took me over an hour of trying different tools and approaches, for a 5 minute job. If I ever have to do all this again, it'll take me a third of the time.

I haven't yet got the manifold and turbo off the car, just off the head, as the inlet hose has one of those foul single-use clips which some Milanese sadist has arranged so that the clamp part is completely hidden and out of reach. I spent an hour trying to get that off too, but in the end I just left the whole lump of crap dangling to deal with later. It will now have to come off so I can check the turbo for damage and at least cleaning, as the actuator is sticky. I tried to cut through the band with a Dremel from above, but couldn't get access. From underneath, maybe. TBC.

I'll post some pics tomorrow.
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One of the joys of doing this in the street is the procession of helpful friendly neighbours, who all stop to gawp in horror and amazement, give me advice, crack jokes about Alfas, adjusting my meds etc. The head, even when free, does not want to come off because the far LH (as you look at it) corner is trapped underneath the HP fuel pump bracket with only a few mm of clearance. Obviously there's a dowel. I had 3 neighbours arrive, one after the other, right at that point, and suck their teeth whilst the light went. Once they'd gone, I found it will come off, by lifting the opposite (= front RH) corner. I'll tell them that, next time I see them.
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One of the joys of doing this in the street is the procession of helpful friendly neighbours, who all stop to gawp in horror and amazement,
yeah neighbors were great crack yesterday whilst i was sweating trying to remove mani,one guy who's citroen is still in garage after being "fixed" a week ago gave me a lecture of unreliability of alfas as a tradition of this marque,love those experts
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:-) I hear all their cars out in the street. Half sound like skeletons shagging in a dustbin. Modern cars are just too complicated to stay reliable for long. Specially the shiny Ford MPV opposite that the bloke bought to replace his VW that caught fire. I can guarantee it's going to cost him more than I paid for my silly-cheap Alfa.
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Hope with further examination your in the clear halftone.

Iv spent the day cleaning everything iv taken off. Big tin of Gunk, selection of brushes, power washer on the ready and a bucket of soapy water.

Wishful thinking I'm in the clear, cus if I'm not today's efforts will be a waste of time.
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Good and bad news.

The good news is that the damage to the crown of the piston on #3 is IMO superficial, there is no bore damage, no indication of trapped rings (piston moves slightly sideways in the bore in all directions, same as the other pistons) or blow-by (brake cleaner doesn't leak away). I'm thinking just a light dressing with fine wet and dry, to smooth sharp edges, should be enough.

The not so good news is that the head has come off rather worse. Again there is no heavy damage to the surface that a skim wouldn't fix. But at least 2 valves are bent (1 inlet, 1 exhaust). Amazing that the engine seemed to be running smoothly, since the valves were barely seating. I'm sure a compression test would have shown up a problem. Probably all 4 valves on this cylinder need replacing and the seats re-cut.

I've learned some stuff today. The inlet port and swirl port are not siamesed in the head as I thought. There is no common chamber: the inlet port feeds one valve, the swirl inlet feeds the other. So when the flaps are closed the engine is running with just one inlet per cylinder, as they open both inlets supply air. And if a flap is broken off it's a direct path round a downward right-angled bend, to the valve and combustion chamber. The flap shown in these pics is from #2. I had to remove the inlet valve to get it out. It was just sitting there waiting to drop into the combustion chamber. Intriguing that it had bent before breaking off. I guess that shows the forces at work on those tiny welds.

The mystery is the swirl flap from #3, where the shrapnel went. There seems to be no damage to the turbine blades at all. This makes no sense, unless the flap was completely pulverised in the combustion chamber and departed as small particles - which might actually be the case given the pattern of damage. Having said that, the VVT actuator is only moving 1cm, and can't be pushed back toward the limit screw at all. Maybe there are chunks of swirl flap jammed in the variable flap mechanism. I'll have to look there next.

One nagging question: given the damage, is there the possibility of a bent conrod or big end shell damage? I really do not want to have to remove the sump etc unless I absolutely have to... not just the work, the costs of a new rod+piston etc (I'd guess 450-ish?) etc might tip this into being a write-off.
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I may be getting a little ahead of myself with the unknown still to come. But what the hell. High temperature paint only. Best way to get the alloy looking silver again too. Although a lot of prep work.

Not to everyone taste I'm sure. But at least it's going in theme with the 159 Ti and it red bodywork.

Manifold is black plastic so will stay as is. Coolant bar that runs across the the front of engine is shiny alloy anyway, thermostat is pointless, riddled with pipes. Will think about head once I see it. I'm pleased with the outcome.
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Just caught up on this thread.

Excellent write up and photos boys, really enjoying it.
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And the mysteriously intact turbine...
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Glad your enjoying verbout. Not sure we are, haha. Good to document this stuff, even though it may have been done so before on the forum, it's a good refresh for all those new members.

Once I get the head off myself, it'll be another learning curve on what I'm looking at and what do to. I'm glad you are one or two steps ahead halftone.

Just a question for when I get their, how do you clean around the top of the Pistons and top surface the gasket touches? I'm guessing however it's cleaned I will need to avoid anything running down into the chambers. Top tips please.
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Some scotch brite with plenty of plus gas will get most of the carbon and gasket remains off the block with a scraper for the stubbon bits.
Once its all cleaned and ready for assembly you must make sure there is no debris, oil or coolant in the head bolt holes, even a small amount can stop the bolts tightening down properly, blow them out idealy with an airline or solvent spray then poke a thin screwdriver down the holes to make sure they are empty of oil or coolant, the head bolts threads should also be cleaned with a fine wire brush and the threads and under the heads lightly oiled.

It would be good practice to use some fresh but cheap oil for when you first start it, then after its run for a short while, drop it and fill with you regular oil and fit a new filter.
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I may be getting a little ahead of myself with the unknown still to come. But what the hell. High temperature paint only. Best way to get the alloy looking silver again too. Although a lot of prep work.

Not to everyone taste I'm sure. But at least it's going in theme with the 159 Ti and it red bodywork.

Manifold is black plastic so will stay as is. Coolant bar that runs across the the front of engine is shiny alloy anyway, thermostat is pointless, riddled with pipes. Will think about head once I see it. I'm pleased with the outcome.
Resolution, your painted bits of engine look lovely. I admire your optimism I haven't even thought about cosmetics yet, I just want to get to the end of the bad news/shopping list. It's going to take me a while to afford all the parts, so I'll have plenty of time to tart things up. I'm thinking maybe a Roy Lichenstein cartoon-style 'BANG!!!!' pop-art cam cover.

I used Scotchbrite and brake cleaner to clean down the head and piston, and lots of careful wiping. 5L of brake cleaner + a squirty bottle costs the same as about 1.5 aerosols - 11 or so. There are sellers on eBay among other places. It's a powerful degreasant that leaves no residue and evaporates off readily. Basically the same as carb cleaner, toluene based. But you can use paraffin or (with danger of death) petrol or acetone.
NB after using any of these, don't forget to lubricate parts that need oil.

Scotchbrite is a lot safer than steel wool or any abrasive paper, but you don't want any of it in the engine. There are times when you have to use more aggressive abrasives but you then have to be super careful to remove every trace. Plug everywhere you don't want crap to go, because it will. If you do use a scraper, try to use only plastic or aluminium on alloy parts. One slip with a steel blade will gouge an alloy surface to b*ggery.
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Once its all cleaned and ready for assembly you must make sure there is no debris, oil or coolant in the head bolt holes, even a small amount can stop the bolts tightening down properly, blow them out idealy with an airline or solvent spray then poke a thin screwdriver down the holes to make sure they are empty of oil or coolant
Cotton buds are excellent for this, you may have to tape them to a screwdriver, but they soak the fluid up.
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Cotton buds are excellent for this, you may have to tape them to a screwdriver, but they soak the fluid up.
Air line and brake cleaner

Ned
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Most diy bods working on a driveway don't have air lines
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Still struggling, not with the mechanics, with the weather. Its really holding me up. I'm gona try today and put a 10ft x 12ft tarp shelter over the front end and a little extra. Lets see what the neighbors think of that
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Heads off today. Just as a reminder, all my swirl flaps where gone, unknowingly as the cars been running fine, broke down after a tinny noise and drop in performance. When I took the inlet manifold off (mainly to clean it and see the swirl flaps condition) I used a camera to look inside the air track for the swirls in the head, I could see one stuck inside and the others not to be seen. With evidence of the carbon buildup on the swirl spindles, 3 of the flaps must have come off many miles ago. Current mileage 100k.

Base of the cylinder head is in the first 5 images. The one swirl flap I could see stuck in the head before removal (still their) is in cylinder 3. As it is stuck there there is no damage to the base of the head, but I'm unsure of any other damage.
With head off and being able to see better into all the air tracks, I found another swirl flap stuck in cylinder 1. Again as its stuck inside, there is no cosmetic damage on the base of the head, but unknown inside.

The other two flaps are missing. I found a small amount of shrapnel which I'm pretty confident is from one of the flap which is embedded in the carbon buildup on piston 2 (on next post), which has pitting on it, although I'm unaware if it is bad or not. Also cylinder 4, where iv not found a flap, shows signs of pitting where a the flap has passed through and been hammered.

I will take the head for inspection and skimming tomorrow.

Halftone, or anyone, how did you get the valve out to see it was bent?
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Last edited by Resolution; 27-01-16 at 16:43.
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Top of the engine block with the tops of the Pistons visible. Piston 2 shows a piece of shrapnel stuck to if from one of the lost swirl flaps. Piston 2 and 4 have pitting damage. How do I inspect this for damage or what should I be looking for other than the pitting?
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I'd say two flaps have passed through your engine judging by the pictures. Doesn't look to have done too much damage though.
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I'd say two flaps have passed through your engine judging by the pictures. Doesn't look to have done too much damage though.
That's a promising 1st comment. What do you mean "through the engine", can you elaborate on that? You think the shrapnel has blown down the exhaust? What do I need to do to the top of the Pistons?

I'm taking the head to a place tomorrow that can recondition it.

The attached picture shows the two flaps, front and back, that I found stuck in the air track of the head.

What's your background Pud237? Are you a mechanic for one of the well know garages?
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