Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
The temperature all sounds normal to me. 90-92 degrees is correct running temperature. In fact, most Twinsparks run at less than this due to a stuck-open thermostat, and those are the faulty ones.
One reason for oil vapours is that small jets spray oil upwards onto the underside of the pistons to assist with cooling under full-load operation. Because the pistons are very hot, this produces a small amount of smoke that circulates inside the crankcase and the breather system, and appears when you remove the cap or dipstick. This is common to many other engines. DO check that the oil level is correct though, as it is more noticeable when the level is low and the oil is overheated as a result of being low.
When assessing the temperature of the bonnet compared to other cars, remember that it is made of thick plastic rather than thin metal and therefore conducts heat poorly. It has sound-deadening material applied as well (more insulation).
It is normal for engines to feel 'hot', especially when the exhaust system is on the front of the engine and therefore radiates a wave of heat as soon as you open the bonnet. I would expect the plastic engine top cover to be touch-able, though.
The whistling sound could be many different things. It is possible for an air leak to make a whistling sound. To find this, get some brake cleaner spray, and spray it around the intake pipes on the top/back of the engine - also around the throttle body (where the accelerator cable connects) and around the rubber pipes on the side. Try also pressing/pulling gently on the rubber pipes (just enough to move them). If the engine note changes/stumbles or the whistling stops, you have found the air leak. It may require replacement parts or simply a tightening of the fixings/clamps to solve.
Hopefully you will also solve the inconsistent idle at this point - because an air leak is the most likely cause of that - so it seems very likely to me that the whistle is an air leak.
However, if you absolutely can't find any air leak, a whistle might also be caused by belts, particularly if the sound is coming from the end of the engine nearest the right side of the car (viewed from driver's seat). Try spraying a tiny amount of WD-40 (or CRC 5-56, or similar penetrating light oil) onto the flat multi-groove belt that drives the air conditioning and alternator. If the whistling goes away instantly and slowly returns, then your multi-groove belt probably needs replacing (also known as accessory drivebelt, ancilliaries belt, or serpentine belt).
If the above makes no difference, remove (or have removed) the multi-groove belt (it has a spring-loaded tensioner that you can reach once you have removed the right front wheel; you'll need a 15mm ring spanner to hold the tensioner back) and start/run the engine for a few minutes with the belt removed - quite safe to do this - to see if the noise is still there. (if not, spin/inspect the tensioner and other pulleys for noise).
Refitting the belt is a little difficult as, while holding the tensioner back against its strong spring, you must fit the belt with one hand and ensure it is on all grooves of all pulleys, plus you may like to take a photo before you take the belt off, as it can be difficult to see which way it goes when you are looking up from under the car - the belt is 1970mm (nearly two metres) long! You might like to get some help with this step the first time you do it.
If the noise is still there with the multigroove belt removed (and it is not an air leak - I still think it is most likely to be an air leak), then I suggest you book the car in to have the cambelt and its tensioners and idlers, and balance belt/tensioner, checked and replaced if necessary. Should be done every 5 to 6 years or 60,000km (whichever is sooner) to be on the safe side, and although noises might be minor, they might also be giving you an advance warning of a bearing about to fail, so you can't be too careful if the noise is coming from the cambelt area.
You can do the job of replacing cambelt/tensioners yourself, but if you haven't replaced a cambelt on any other engine before, this one is probably not the best to start with as it is recommended to use the special locking blocks (available from parts suppliers) and various other tools to hold pulleys/measure piston position/set belt tension. A mistake could ruin the engine - just something to keep in mind!
'00 GTV V6, '08 FIAT 500, shell and parts for a '71 FIAT 850 Coupe
Last edited by alexGS; 02-08-12 at 15:50.