Twin Spark - Conrod disaster : Advice? - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 4 Old 11-08-10 Thread Starter
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Twin Spark - Conrod disaster : Advice?

I bought a W reg Spider 2.0TS three weeks ago from a local sole trader.

It seemed very well looked after, with an 83k mileage and FSH, and I enjoyed the first 500 miles or so.

Last night, I was travelling home on a busy dual carriageway and there was a massive bang and smoke.

I have a huge hole in the Offside of the Sump, so it looks like a conrod has tried to make its escape.
For a brief few seconds before the bang, the revs started rising, which was odd.

Obviously, my first call is to the retailer as the car had a one month warranty.

However, I would appreciate advice:

1) How much is the going rate for a recon/secondhand Twin Spark engine?


2) What could have caused the increased revs before the bang? I'm wondering if the piston rings went and let oil into the combustion chamber, creating that effect I've heard of on diesels when they run uncontrollably on their own oil? Or if it was something external, such as the ECU or throttle potentiometer? I'd like to establish this, as I don't want the same thing happening on a replacement engine.

There was no warning. Temperatures were fine, and the oil level was OK. Judging by the amount of oil that is now on the road, it wasn't a starvation issue...


I'd appreciate any advice and guidance.

Last edited by Redlake27; 11-08-10 at 08:22.
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Sorry to hear your tale of woe - but al least you have a claim against the seller - if it had been a private sale you'd have been in trouble. Difficult to diagnose what went wrong when you probably have an engine full of shrapnel - but my first check would be with the service history - when was the cambelt last changed - they should be done, together with all associated tensioners etc, at 36K/ 3year intervals......if it hasn't been, that would be the chiuef suspect. Equally if there is any suggestion that the belt has been done within the last 2-3K miles after a belt failure, it's at least possible that tjhe big0end shells weren't changed which can lead to catastrophic failure....as can the engine being run low on oil, of course.....

Can't think why the revs should have risen - petrols don't tend to over-rev on their own oil like diesels, AFAIK.

Cost for a replacement engine? - varies dramatically - I'll sell an engine as removed from an accident damaged car for 400, but with the caveat that there is no service histroy and the belts should be changed, otherwise no warranty. Or you can pay upto maybe 1500 for a rebuilt warranted unit. Alternatively you can pick up a cheap 156 (say) for 600 or so, swap the engine and try to recoup the cost in bits, as so many amateur breakers do - depends on your skill level and the tolerance of your neighbours/family

But in your case...a word with the seller and the magic phrase "Sale of Goods" act should do the trick.....

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Take it back and ask for a refund.

If he won't play ball threaten him with trading standards, and as Richard said the sale of goods act.

If he is am un-declared trader threaten him with HMRC

The problem itself was most likely caused by running low on oil in the past, or having the cambelt snap and not having the big ends changed when the repair was done.
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Thanks for your advice. I was just alarmed at how an engine could go from feeling so perfect to self destruction in seconds despite having correct temperatures and oil levels. However, your theories do make sense, as looking at the receipts the car did have a cambelt change at a 'non-service interval' kind of mileage, suggesting it was an emergency replacement.

The trader (who is an Alfa specialist) seems very fair to deal with, so I'm optimistic that the warranty will be honoured. I don't blame him, as one can't cost-effectively check engine internals on cars.
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