Alfa 159 2.2 jts Head Gasket Questions - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Alfa 159 2.2 jts Head Gasket Questions

Hi all,
Long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm having a little (understatement) issue with my Alfa 159. A couple of weeks ago she overheated and blew the hose that goes from the thermostat area to the bulkhead - for cabin heating. Temperature only shot up to 130 for 20 seconds or so.

After a bit of detective work, I worked out the fan wasn't working. Pulled fan out and replaced, tested with alfadiag and all good. Temp sensors and relays etc all working normally. Car heats up to about 98 degrees according to alfadiag and the fan then kicks in and the temp drops back to 90 or so. All good I thought.

Changed oil as part of the maintenance as I had it up on the hoist etc.

Car drove fine for a couple of days - no issues with temp etc. But when I got home tonight after a 230k round trip, I noticed the coolant was a little low. Checked for leaks and couldn't see anything. Pulled oil cap - clean, pulled dip stick - oh oh. Milky about half way up.

So decided to pull the spark plugs. Cylinder 1 has water in it. Actually sitting on the piston. I'm guessing it got sucked in as the engine cooled? Ouch.

So to state the obvious, I'm guessing I have blown a head gasket. Car has 207,000 K on it. Is that something that would be expected for such a short over temp?

I plan to pull the head off in the next couple of days, but have a couple of questions. If someone could point me in the right direction that would be good.

What do I need to know about the jts injection system, pumps, etc?

How do I deal with the timing chain - All my other cars have belts.

Do the head bolts have to be replaced - seems to be conflicting information?

What do I need to have checked with regards to the head. Some people are talking about hardness.

Any pointers as to where I can find a how to? If not, I'll be happy to do one as I proceed.

I'm at the bottom of the planet in Van Diemen's land. Not a lot of mechanics who deal with alfa's here. I have a fully set up workshop of my own - hoists, cranes, the works. I have done a number of heads on BMW's and Peugeot's over the years so a not a novice. :-)

Cheers,

Carl
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(Post Link) post #2 of 14 Old 5 Days Ago
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I'm guessing that the head gasket could have caused the overheating issue. My old 164 had this problem. It overheated several times before the head gasket eventually went big style.
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I would say the head gasket or a cracked head was the root cause allowing system to pressurise and blow hose off.

I would get the head tested at the very least before even thinking of putting back on. With your location it might be worth seeing if you can get a recon head on exchange basis.

As for doing the job those 2.2 aren’t that bad to strip,if you have done BMW etc then you are more than capable. Just make sure you have timing tools to lock engine up. I would also change timing chain kit while I am at it as they are known to stretch.
No doubt someone on here will be able to offer some pointers as it’s been a long time since I was at Vauxhall and did them.
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I haven't seen anything with regards to timing tools for these engines. I'll look in to it.

I drive a Renault Sport as my daily and have the timing tools for it as that is an absolute necessity.

I'm pretty sure the fan failure lead to the overheating issues as there have been no signs of HG failure prior to the overheating.
The timing chain was replaced a couple of years ago by an Alfa mechanic in Melbourne. The car certainly isn't lacking in power. I've got code P0010 and P0011 showing up occasionally which suggests the selenoid on the exhaust cam may be failing. That is what I was looking at when I discovered the water in the oil issue.

The odd thing about the P0011 error is the engine check light seems to fire up at the same time as I put my foot on the brake pedal. Not sure if that is a coincidence, or if it may point to a faulty earth somewhere.

The joys of Alfa ownership. But hey, she is certainly pretty and drives so well.

Carl
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Anyone know if the inlet manifold can be removed without disconnecting the 4 small rubber hoses? Are the metal bands securing those hoses reuseable? I'd hate to have to replace them with worm drive clamps.
Cheers,
Carl
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You are correct my mistake the timing gear is marked,you just need to make sure it’s at TDC using a dial gauge.
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I've got the exhaust side disconnected and have removed the wiring harness to the inlet manifold from the computer and fuse box. Battery and tray are out. Looking at the intake manifold, I'm wondering if I can pull the head with the inlet manifold still attached with the wiring loom connected to it, then pull off the fuel rail from the head leaving it connected to the inlet manifold. Has anyone ever done it that way before? I'm guessing the harness may drop down to the back of the alternator looking at it, but I can get to that from the top.

Looks like I've found out about clic-r. Search is a wonderful thing. I've already found and ordered the appropriate tool, but will pull them off carefully without it to start with.

I've just got the car on jack stands as the Megane Sport is on my hoist at the moment having a timing belt change. I hate having two projects going at once hey.

What is the story with the metal bands? IE the hose clamps. Are the reusable and is there a special tool to work with them? I've got the remote radiator clamp removal tool, and I must say that was some of the best money I've ever spent when working on cooling systems. It makes removing spring clamps so darn easy. Vice clamps is such a horrible way to do it.

Cheers,
Carl

Last edited by cbap; 4 Days Ago at 10:28.
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Removed the head today. Can't see any obvious signs of a head gasket failure. The piston near the chain was a lot cleaner then the others though which suggests water was entering the combustion chamber. I did see water on that piston when I pulled the spark plug on Wednesday.

I guess at this point I will need to get the head crack and pressure tested as well as cleaned and resurfaced. How often do the blocks themselves warp? Anyone know?

Also I couldn't find any sign of timing links on the chain. Do they wear off with age? Also, how tight should the chain be between the cams. I can't feel any sign of wear in the chain, or any lateral movement. I put some nail polish on the chain to mark exhaust and inlet cams with the engine at tdc.

I'll post some photos tomorrow if anyone is interested.

Cheers,
Carl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbap View Post
Hi all,
Long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm having a little (understatement) issue with my Alfa 159. A couple of weeks ago she overheated and blew the hose that goes from the thermostat area to the bulkhead - for cabin heating. Temperature only shot up to 130 for 20 seconds or so.

After a bit of detective work, I worked out the fan wasn't working. Pulled fan out and replaced, tested with alfadiag and all good. Temp sensors and relays etc all working normally. Car heats up to about 98 degrees according to alfadiag and the fan then kicks in and the temp drops back to 90 or so. All good I thought.

Changed oil as part of the maintenance as I had it up on the hoist etc.

Car drove fine for a couple of days - no issues with temp etc. But when I got home tonight after a 230k round trip, I noticed the coolant was a little low. Checked for leaks and couldn't see anything. Pulled oil cap - clean, pulled dip stick - oh oh. Milky about half way up.

So decided to pull the spark plugs. Cylinder 1 has water in it. Actually sitting on the piston. I'm guessing it got sucked in as the engine cooled? Ouch.

So to state the obvious, I'm guessing I have blown a head gasket. Car has 207,000 K on it. Is that something that would be expected for such a short over temp?

I plan to pull the head off in the next couple of days, but have a couple of questions. If someone could point me in the right direction that would be good.

What do I need to know about the jts injection system, pumps, etc?

How do I deal with the timing chain - All my other cars have belts.

Do the head bolts have to be replaced - seems to be conflicting information?

What do I need to have checked with regards to the head. Some people are talking about hardness.

Any pointers as to where I can find a how to? If not, I'll be happy to do one as I proceed.

I'm at the bottom of the planet in Van Diemen's land. Not a lot of mechanics who deal with alfa's here. I have a fully set up workshop of my own - hoists, cranes, the works. I have done a number of heads on BMW's and Peugeot's over the years so a not a novice. :-)

Cheers,

Carl
"What do I need to know about the jts injection system, pumps, etc?" Nothing. Your head gasket failed so it has nothing to do with it. Just make sure what comes off - goes back on in the same order - take pictures to guide your rebuild.

How do I deal with the timing chain - All my other cars have belts. Check out the internet for videos on the process. Not difficult, It is just a four cylinder after all. Make sure all timing marks line up.

Do the head bolts have to be replaced - seems to be conflicting information? Yes - change them, not expensive.

What do I need to have checked with regards to the head. Some people are talking about hardness. - Forget what people say. Head will need dressing, so take advice from the engineering shop that is doing the job. Make sure the top of the block is not flawed though. Believe the gasket is stainless steel, so there should be no nicks on the top of the block. If there is - block will need dressing. Stainless gaskets need flawless seating. If your head is cracked - and no one knows, then it is a new head job. That being the case, look for an engine on the web.
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Thanks Sizewell.
I think the timing marks I made will do the job. I have ordered new headbolts. Not worth the risk to refit the old due to conflicting advice. It would have been nice to have been able to spot the flaw in the headgasket or sealing surfaces, but nothing was apparent. Will have the head in to engineering on Monday. I have the elearn which is pretty darn clear, and I always group bolts and fastners based on where I worked on the engine, I screw them back in when I can so there are no mistakes afterwards. Anything special I need to know about the injectors? Any issues pulling them out of the head?

I removed the head with the fuel rail and high pressure lines, pump. Will pull them off before sending the head out. Quite a bit of carbon on the inlet valves. I understand this is to be expected with direct injection though.

Cheers,
Carl
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Chilling

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbap View Post
Thanks Sizewell.
I think the timing marks I made will do the job. I have ordered new headbolts. Not worth the risk to refit the old due to conflicting advice. It would have been nice to have been able to spot the flaw in the headgasket or sealing surfaces, but nothing was apparent. Will have the head in to engineering on Monday. I have the elearn which is pretty darn clear, and I always group bolts and fastners based on where I worked on the engine, I screw them back in when I can so there are no mistakes afterwards. Anything special I need to know about the injectors? Any issues pulling them out of the head?

I removed the head with the fuel rail and high pressure lines, pump. Will pull them off before sending the head out. Quite a bit of carbon on the inlet valves. I understand this is to be expected with direct injection though.

Cheers,
Carl
"I have ordered new headbolts. Not worth the risk to refit the old due to conflicting advice." Stretch Bolts - need to be changed - single use only.

Removed my 3.2 JTS injectors, just eased out nice and steady. But, if you have a good engineering shop to skim the head, just give the head to them complete. They will have all the tools and it won't/shouldn't cost that much more. Port clean, valves cleaned, seats and valves lapped and "Get New Valve Stem Seals"

Inlet valve crud typical of direct injection.
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2.2 JTS don't use TTY (stretch) bolts anyway do they?
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Originally Posted by alfaitalia View Post
2.2 JTS don't use TTY (stretch) bolts anyway do they?
I'd be very surprised if they don't. Previous generations had "Torque Washers"

Bolts M11, 2.7 - 3.3 Nm - in the correct sequence. Then +100 degrees, in correct sequence. Then + 65 degrees in the right sequence.

The procedure puts the bolts into their correct "Stretch Band/Range" allowing for expansion/contraction of the engine over its working temperature range.

Last edited by sizewell; 6 Hours Ago at 10:21.
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I think you are right.....2.0 Twinnys don't use them....think that's what I was thinking off.
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