156 TI 1.6 - What's going on with my engine? - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 5 Old 28-05-10 Thread Starter
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Help 156 TI 1.6 - What's going on with my engine?

Hi all,

Apologies for the long post:

I own a 2004 156 TI which I bought in March @ about 93,500kms. It now has 97,600kms on the clock. When I was viewing the car I noticed that the engine oil was honey coloured and looked like the oil in a car that was serviced regularly. However, I noticed some creamy stains on the inside of the oil filler cap so I queried the condition of the head gasket. The garage disclaimed any knowledge of a problem but conducted a dye test on the engine for my peace of mind. They said the outcome was that all was well.

However, I checked the oil recently and it was an odd colour. Not so much black as a very dark colour tinged with a reddish hue. I do not remember if it was this colour after the dye test when I eventually picked up the car. Does anyone know if this is an after effect of a dye test or what? While I am a bit of an Alfa fanatic I must confess my knowledge of engines is not what it could be - as this thread proves.

I feel that the engine in the TI idles smoothly and quietly enough but does not either pull or rev as strongly or as smoothly as the engine in my old 156 1.6 Sportivo. It doesn't sound very Alfa-ish until well into the rev range. I've also just bought another 156 1.6 (a Sportwagon) and that too has a far keener, more sporting sound. (Both Sportivos I mention are 2002 models) The engine in my TI sounds somehow muffled and strangled. Would a head gasket issue cause this? Could it be that I need new spark plugs? MAF Sensor? Something even more sinister? I'm a bit lost here as you can tell.

So what's the verdict from the experts? Is the TI a lemon? Or were there some changes made to the engines between 2002 and 2004 that might result in a different sound and feel?

Has anyone got any advice, experience or ideas?
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I don't know when the engines change over but you probably have a euro 2 engine in one and a euro 3 engine in the others. I believe they did something with the CAT's (added an extra) but don't quote me on that. That would account for less grunt and it not being as noisy. The sludge in the filler cap is quite normal. If the car only does short journeys or is parked up for a long time (I.e sat at a garage and only taken on the occasional test drive)then you will get a little white stuff. You may notice steam out off the exhaust. A long drive will ussually cure both of these. If it persists then maybe the gasket is on the way out but you'd see the temp gauge fluctuate when you accelerated. Hope that helps

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(Post Link) post #3 of 5 Old 28-05-10 Thread Starter
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Actually... now that you mention it, sometimes the engine temperature gauge doesn't seem to be registering very much at all, i.e. it stays very low even when the engine should be well heated up. I noticed this more so in cold weather whereas in the recent warm spells it seemed to indicate that it was running at a much more normal temperature. Usually though, it doesn't seem to be showing what I would expect it to. When you say fluctuate, do you mean visibly move back and forth when accelerating?

I'll look into which engine the TI uses and see if there is a difference between 2002 adn 2004 models. I thought of that but then thought surely the changes wouldn't have killed off the distinctive engine note. I'll also watch for what happens with the gauge under acceleration.

Thanks for the advice.
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if your 2002 cars were pre phase 1 facelift (interior) then these will more than likely be cf2 engines with one cat under the car.

my 1.8 is a cf3 car, and it has the 2 precats in the manifold and the main one under the car, and compared to my mums cf2 car, its super silent.

i think 2002 was the crossover year, for the engines and the start of the phase1 facelift.

your Ti will be a cf3 car with the 3 cats metioned above

induction kit solved my problem
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(Post Link) post #5 of 5 Old 28-05-10 Thread Starter
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The 156 Sportivo 1.6 (per images on my profile here) was an April 2002 car with the original interior. The Sportwagon 1.6 is a very late 2002 car with the facelifted interior usually only seen from 2003 models on. The TI is a 2004 with the Phase II Guigiaro facelift.

Ok, so at least I know there is some good reason why there is a difference in sound between the 3 cars.

Thanks!
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