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(Post Link) post #1 of 25 Old 2 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Imminent Alfa 159 owner

Hi All,

Joined as i'm looking for some advice in purchasing a second hand alfa 159 2.4 JTDm.... and i'm sure once a proud owner, I will find the wealth of knowledge on this site very useful.

So... I found a nice example (58 plate) close by (there aren't many around) drives beautifully, gearbox seems good, plenty of power, although i do find it sluggish in 2nd... perhaps i'm not used to this engine, and its better to shift down to 1st!?

Bad Bits:

Slight oil leak top right hand side of engine... my initial thought was rocker cover gasket, but looks like its coming from something else bolted onto the block... What is located top right of the engine? should I be worried about this?

Mot suggested excessive vapours/smoke, but I saw none of this... it was mot'd in February, so maybe just the cold.... also current owner is selling as he doesn't use it, so maybe condensation build up from being sat?

Slightly rough idle, I think it needs a good service, & run, perhaps injectors a bit clogged? wasn't too bad, but slight shudder every now and again

After test driving it, which as above it drove beautifully, and seemed very smooth... just a bit sluggish at low rpm. i noticed after parking and listening to the engine again there was the hint of a slight metallic knock in the engine bay, nothing you would hear in the cabin, and certainly didn't hear anything unusual while driving, could just be a vibration...

Basically, should I leave this well alone and keep looking? I'm struggling to find what I want in my location, so i'm reluctant to let this go if these are just normal minor issues that can be easily resolved... when looking at cars this age, they all seem to have some maintenance required.... just don't want a bad engine!


Any advice much appreciated.

Thanks
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(Post Link) post #2 of 25 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Welcome to the site, it's a cracking car, and once sorted, and remapped it's a peach. I'm by no means the font of all knowledge on these, but having the same car and engine, I'll give you the benefit of my experience.

1st and 2nd are a bit sluggish -3rd and 4th are the sweet spot I find, but it should pick up from about 1400rpm in most gears - just try and keep the turbo on boost if you can.

Not entirely sure which bit oil is leaking from, mine mists from the bottom of the oil filler neck - but the vacuum pump sits directly in front of this, and has also been known to bypass a bit of oil.

Smoke and vapours could be a DPF fault - make sure it's up to temperature and that any vapour goes away - a bit of white smoke on start is normal though.

Rough idle could be a multitude of things, bad, dirty injectors, clogged intake, list is endless, then again, it's not a smooth idler compared to most diesels, and a bit of clatter is normal with these, servicing with good oil and maybe a couple of tanks of premium fuel, or a dedicated injector cleaner might even this out.

Dual Mass Flywheel (DMF) can cause a rattle, which means it's on its way out - but it sounds particularly loud from passengers wheelarch side - it's a bit bill if it's gone, as means new clutch and release bearing also - plenty of threads on here about it, including a couple of vids - alternatively, it could be the crank pulley/vibration damper which tears over the years.

That aside, does if have much service history - were the cambelt and water pump replaced in the last 40k miles or so, any evidence of clutch/flywheel work? - and lastly, if you can have a look at the subframe, or whatever is exposed - they're known to rust and again is a big bill.

Posting from my phone - excuse spelling mistakes

Last edited by amfalconer; 2 Weeks Ago at 14:02.
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(Post Link) post #3 of 25 Old 2 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick response, appreciate your advice

Cam Belt & water pump were done in 2016, but it has only done 15k miles since then.... Has about 8 stamps in the service book... but not much info as to what was actually done. Clutch felt good, but there aren't many receipts with the car, so no idea if it has been changed...

only 3 owners (including the current one)

Current owner has only had it since September which rings alarm bells, but his reasons seem genuine... basically doesn't use it which shows in the recent mileage.... older couple who have 4 cars.

sub frame is covered by plastic trays, but i'll try and have better look if i decide to go back and buy it....

Its done 108k miles... AC not working which may just need re-gassing, is AC a common issue on these cars?...

i'm thinking of just going for it.... its the right price, and its in nice condition.... nothing else near me that really compares unless i want to pay £500+ more... i don't think its cheaply priced, just not many around selling privately.
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(Post Link) post #4 of 25 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Plenty of life in the cambelt at least - the service schedule is available online here - https://www.alfaworkshop.co.uk/alfa_...schedule.shtml so you'll know what's been done at a dealer at least - expect bare minimum from an independent garage - unless it's one of the well known Alfa specialist garages on here.

6 months(ish) is not a long time to own a car you'd have thought if it wasn't being used then they wouldn't have bought it - unless it's the old 'company car forces sale'

Subframe's generally get worse the closer they are to the coast, mine came from Basingstoke way, and mine's only got surface rust.

I wouldn't say AC is common, in fact both of my Alfas had great AC - worth a top up and check at a Kwik Fit - only about £45 and it used to be free if they couldn't get it to work.

I think at 11 years old and 108k miles, it'll always need something doing to it - even the newest of these cars are now 8 years old - I say buy it, expect bills, but that would be the same for most cars - the forum is a wealth of information, and the supplies and parts availability is pretty good.
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subframe will need to be checked

id tap the dpf too to find out if its full or empty, alot of these cars are having the dpf put back on

inlet manifold swirlflaps can be an issue too but i think most cars will have all the mods done to them by now
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Good shout from Cream about the DPF, it's common for them to be drilled out which prevents them from blocking, or just completely emptied, which is an MOT fail for sure.

Inlet manifold swirl flaps are an issue, but 2.4 ones don't cause catastrophic failure as they do on the 1.9 - best cure is new cleaned manifold with no swirlflaps (cambelt off job so could wait until due) and an EGR delete/blank.
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Thanks, what am i listening for if I tap the DPF? a hollow sound? I assume It wont be empty if its an mot failure, it just passed its mot in Feb
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should be ok if its just passed an MOT

the plastic cover on the bottom of the engine, covering the subframe helps the thing rot, 500-1k just for the frame
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Frame looked ok, I bought the car... drove fine for the 30mile drive home. Sat for a few hours, then I started it, and it took a couple of attempts, and ran really rough... possible misfire, not sure really... once reved a bit or driven, it’s seems to be very quickly resolved... but really really sounds rough before. Also seems ok when starting warm. In engine bay, I noticed some black around 2 injectors, possibly diesel? Might be old, didn’t look wet... I’ve put some redex engine cleaner in, and half a tank of premium diesel to see if it helps, I also have some particle cleaner additive for the dpf for next time I fill up... does anyone know a good Alfa Romeo specialist in the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire area? Thinking get it checked over, and a good service
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Well done on the new purchase! Your cold start issue is exactly as mine was, it's a clogged intake - you can make it better by locking open the swirlflaps, but the only real cure is new clean manifold with swirl flaps deleted, factor it in with your next cambelt change, as most of the labour involves taking the old belt off etc.

Your black around the injector might be a bit of old oil, or injectors letting by, often if they're been removed, new seals haven't been used or seats recut - can't advise on a good indie in your area, but sure someone will be able to help.
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I can recommend Gareth at Northern Alfa. He's based in Oldcotes which is the northern tip of Nottinghamshire.
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black gue around the injector means that the diesel is leaking passed (by a small amount) the injector needs to be removed to change the sealing washer (£3) but they can be a total ***** to get out, see a professional for that

They are really strong cars, enjoy it
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Thanks... is there a check for the potential clogged intake?... is it possible to clean the intake, or lock the swirl flaps open easily?... Cam Belt was done not that long ago, so I really don't want to be removing the cam belt... a quick search online suggests there are foam sprays to clean the inlet manifold... anyone had any experience using these?
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Generally they all will at that age, pull the map sensor from the back of the manifold (plenty of pics on here), if its caked in soot and oil, then the manifold will be too.

Locking swirlflaps open is relatively simple, if a bit fiddly, you need to disconnect the actuator bar from the motor, its under the manifold and works on cyl 5, far right as you look at the motor.

Seem to recall you pull the bar towards cambelt end and lock in place, I used cable ties.

No real method to clean the manifold in situ, you risk dropping huge chunks of carbon into the cylinders.
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How about Wynn's egr cleaner? lots of very good reviews, but sounds scary, with smoke and knocks reported during the process of spraying it directly into the intake whilst the engine is running:

Wynn’s diesel EGR cleaner comes in a 150ml aerosol can and is designed for use with all diesel engines. The formulation helps to clear and regenerate blocked soot filters without dismantling whilst optimising and lowering fuel consumption. The other benefits include cleaning the air intake system, airflow sensor, inlet valves as well as the EGR system.

I'm guessing best practise is to remove and clean individual components
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just a thought, if the engine is cold the injectors with black on them could be leaking more and sound worse until they warm up

eventually the seals fail all altogether

might be worth having those looked at

manifold cleaning is an off the engine job, getting the egr blocked will prevent this happening further on
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The EGR cleaner won't really dent the carbon build up, I'm sure it'll be OK on normal soot and mess found in the EGR valve, but the oily sooty mess inside the manifold is a lot harder to remove - if you clean one on the bench, you'll see why.

As said, factor it in for your next belt change - it'll probably want doing at some point next year anyway and depending on mileage - buy a used manifold online and give it a clean, get the swirl flap plug holes welded up and give it to the mechanic to fit along with cambelt - you can always sell the old one to recoup a bit of the cash - should only add a couple of hours or so labour on top of the belt change.

In the meantime, lock the swirl flaps open, it'll make a difference starting.

Last edited by amfalconer; 2 Weeks Ago at 13:59.
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I’m going to see if I can have a look at the inlet manifolds over the weekend.. just to confirm this is the problem…. I’ll do as you have suggested and lock open the swirl flaps… I may try some EGR cleaner spray to see if it helps…. Can’t do any harm… can it!?

For the injectors, for now I will clean the black area, and monitor it to see if it returns
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Have a look for the power loss for diesels guide on here - shows you how to clean numerous bits and bobs on the manifold.

Check the top of your manifold also, you'll see the swirlflaps, no.5 most likely will have black gunk around - its also directly opposite the egr outlet.

If locking swirlflaps open helps with starting, its your manifold for sure
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This might shed a bit of light on what you're dealing with:

https://youtu.be/IOfL_-Pcgis
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So it would appear swirl flaps were already disconnected. Bar appears to be permenantly to the left towards cam belt... I’m beginning to think it may be the injectors... pretty sure 2 are leaking externally at the seal a small amount... would this cause rough idle/start? Having said that they might also be clogged... what average mpg to people get with these engines? I’m struggling to keep mine above 30mpg but Having had the car less than a week, I’ve only done a few short journeys yet. ...it only takes a few good revs to stop the engine spluttering... bit of black smoke with these revs. Noticed my cam belt cover was missing a Bolt , and was a bit warped... replaced the bolt, and I think the housing was rubbing on the cam belt or sprockets, so loosened it off again.
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Oh, that's a surprise - I wonder if it's anyone on here's former car??

A clogged injector is certainly going to result in a poor spray pattern and inefficient combustion, I'm guessing that depending on how bad the injectors are letting by will only compound the issue - I'm still putting money on it being your manifold though - whilst mine started heaps better after locking the swirl flaps open it wasn't until I got a proper cleaned one that I noticed any difference with smoke and rough idle.

As per mpg - I'm getting approx 30.3 as per trip computer, but that's mainly A & B road driving, and a with a bit of lead foot - but there are numerous factors pertaining to MPG, mine's been fairly consistent - do a check on this thread at what you can check: https://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa...els-guide.html (Power Loss with Diesels: Guide)

The cam covers only have 3 bolts (IIRC), and mine warped when I changed my belt - speaking to one of the guys at AlfaWorkshop, they confirmed it happens often, there was already evidence of the belt rubbing inside when I removed it - I gave mine a clean up, and spaced it slightly with a couple of washers glued to the inside of the cover behind the bolt holes - no more rubbing.

I'd be tempted to run it down to the within 1/4 of a tank, chuck a can of BG244K or Forte (check ebay) and run it up and down the motorway keeping the revs higher than 2.5k for 10 or more miles - that said, your leaky injectors will need to be pulled to have the seats re-cut and new washers added, so depends if you want to check there first.
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Thanks for all the advise, I'm going to run it up to Alfa Technico next weekend, definitely want the injectors looked at... I'll report back here on the diagnosis
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Update: so having chatted briefly to AlfaTecnico, the are of the same opinion... Manifold. Quoted £900 to remove and clean... didn't recommend removing swirl flaps, and suggested this may still cause issues starting.

Quoted £120 for re-seating all 5 injectors with new seals (apparently you have to do all 5)

So... really don't want to spend £900 at the moment... thinking about just living with it for the time being, I might even reconnect the swirl flaps, just to see what effect that has considering Alfatecnico suggested they shouldn't be removed. obviously aside from the annoying cold start issues, it does seem to run ok when warm.... by delaying this job, am I going to cause further issues, or damage to the engine?

Injectors I think i need to get these done, leaking seals are just going to get worse and cause damage to injectors & head... if they haven't already
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I can see where AlfaTechnico are coming from, but others recommend an EGR delete along with swirl flap delete - I guess the fresher air leading to a better burn - i.e less need for swirls.

With the EGR left in situ, it'll just gunk up again over time - and as for the swirl flaps, it they're letting by, the bushes will be worn and leaking boost - not sure if there's a fix for that or not though.

As mentioned, it's a lot of work and necessitates the cam belt coming off - so it's sensible to get done along with the cam belt - you should be fine running as is for the foreseeable, I ran mine like yours for about 8 or 9 months before the laboured smokey start got too much to cope with.

You'll probably find it much better in the summer months anyway.
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