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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new to me (3 months) Alfa 159 sportswagon, 2.4jtd qtronic stranded me for the first time tonight ? I still love it though.

Was driving along fine 60km/h, about 5 minutes into my daily commute when I noticed accelerator seemed a bit dead, pulled over.
Sounded a little rough at idle, switched it off, started again, it struggled a bit (it's usually fine) but tried to take off and the accelerator gave me nothing.

Poked and prodded a bit, didn't get too far, had to get towed home.

So it starts most of the time but has a very rough idle, kind of stumbling and stalled a few times.

In park or neutral it revs up just fine and the engine smooths out, then idles back down rough (with engine physically shaking more then normal).
As soon as I put it in drive or reverse though I can put foot to the floor on accelerator but the revs barely move from idle. The car can't even move forward up an incline (flat ground I can crawl on).

There are no fault codes for engine or gearbox (checked with AlfaOBD).

There is a smell. From inside the car, it's probably an exhaust smell but maybe a bit sweet? I've never had it before, it's new.
Some smoke at the exhaust, a little at idle, sometimes a bit more when I revved it in neutral. I think the smoke was a little blue, more than I've noted previously. I haven't really checked before at idle though so can't be sure it's new.
I tried unplugging MAF(?) sensor (one on intake, not on engine block) and it idles a bit better, still no accel in drive but kind of idles up and down, jumping around bit.

The dpf is still in place, over the obd it reads quite clean (68% clogged, regen ~130km ago, 4mbar differential pressure). This car gets about 15min @ 100km/h freeway on my daily drive and regens fairly regularly. I have had a couple of issues with it clogging in the past frw months and I think the previous owner did too according to the mechanics report. I don't think they were that regular on oil changes either :-S

About a month ago I put a physical blank over the EGR and cleaned the throttle, no problems with them since. Haven't remapped yet just regularly clear the EGR error (work in progress).

Does anyone have any suggestions I can try out over the weekend before mechanics on Monday? I'm quite hands on and can fix a fair bit but with no fault codes to start from I'm not sure what to try next. Thanks!
 

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Lock your swirl flaps fully open and try it. Did you remove and clean the MAP sensor in the inlet?
 

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Classic signs of a swirl flap issue, Mine had this so i popped off the swirl flap actuator and locked open the swirl flaps with a zip tie. it solved all my issues, I have just purchased a welded manifold to solve this once and for all!
 

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First thought would be the egr stuck open but you say you've blanked it, its worth checking that the blank hasnt failed and its that thats holding the valve open. Next possible is a failed injector thats loosing all the rail pressure down the return line but you will need multiscan to read the fuel pressure against desired pressure.
And the sweet smell is a worry, is it using coolant or overheating?
 

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First thought would be the egr stuck open but you say you've blanked it, its worth checking that the blank hasnt failed and its that thats holding the valve open. Next possible is a failed injector thats loosing all the rail pressure down the return line but you will need multiscan to read the fuel pressure against desired pressure.
And the sweet smell is a worry, is it using coolant or overheating?
A blanked EGR with no remap is not a good idea, the ECU will naturally think it’s operational and being that you have blanked it and not mapped it out will give you the problems your encountering, as far as the ECU is concerned the EGR is fooked!
 

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Inlet manifolds have a multitude of problems. Sticking swirl flaps, leaking swirl flap bushes, carbon build up internally, EGRs sticking, dirty MAP sensors.. Best thing you can do is just sort it all in one hit - assuming its never been done before - then you will know you will never have to do it again. All 159/Brera 2.4 JTDM models will need this work doing at some point in their life.

Remove inlet manifold, strip it down, clean it, clean the MAP sensor, bash out the swirl flaps and bushes, weld up the holes (don't forget the bottom one), re-seal the two halves of the inlet manifold, re-fit manifold to the engine with a full EGR blanking plate in place, then get the EGR turned off in the software. Sorted.

If you still have a problem after this, at least you have ruled out a lot of possibilities. It'll run better than it ever has too with all this sorted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the suggestions!
So cold start, really struggled to start, stalled a couple of times and some smoke. Still rough idle, still non responsive accelerator in drive but revs up in park.

I've disconnected the swirl valves (was surprisingly difficult to get the ball joint off, ball arm bent a bit). Moved the valves back and forth a couple of times, checked all 5 were attached and moving. Zip tied the arm hard to the left, towards the cam belt, away from battery.

Car wouldn't start the first time, turned over and over. Then started with a big cloud of smoke from exhaust and a couple of fault codes.

P0111 air flow meter air temperature signal
P0101 air flow meter signal drift

Haven't followed these up yet, will do tomorrow.
Cleared them, haven't reappeared yet.

The idle was smoother though so I drove around the median strip.

It's more like a classic limp mode now, accelerator does something but it's gutless, won't rev to 3000. The turbo gauge does move up a bit when trying though where before it was solid 0.

Pulled up again and now back on idle there is constant whitish smoke from exhaust, I've attached a photo.

Coolant doesn't look low but I'm not sure if it might have been a little higher before. No visible leaks but yeah exhaust smoke and smell, could be an internal leak somewhere.
 

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Ik woud check the particle filter of its nota cloged, have seen it before.
No faulth codes and limp mode.

And maybe handy to mark the cooling reservoir level when it is cold, so you can see if it consumes cooling liquid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A blanked EGR with no remap is not a good idea, the ECU will naturally think it’s operational and being that you have blanked it and not mapped it out will give you the problems your encountering, as far as the ECU is concerned the EGR is fooked!
I thought it was quite common to blank EGR and use obd dongle to automatically clear the errors? I've been building a blanking dongle (I'm an electronics engineer) and generally keeping the error clear in the mean time. Either way clearing the EGR error didn't change the behaviour yesterday ? and the car is still stuck in limp.
I'm going to pull the EGR off tomorrow and check the state of my blanking plate. I've actually got a more solid restrictor plate in the mean time and I'll probably put that in until I get a remap. I'm in Australia so expecting to have to do that myself, bought a couple of ecu flashing tools but haven't had time to deal with that yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ik woud check the particle filter of its nota cloged, have seen it before.
No faulth codes and limp mode.

And maybe handy to mark the cooling reservoir level when it is cold, so you can see if it consumes cooling liquid.
The scan tools are showing the dpf as not really clogged and I think the differential pressure is pretty low. I took logs of a number of sensors including dpf pressure and fuel pressure, I'll review them tomorrow. The fuel pressure seemed to match expected pretty closely though.
Also took a photo of the coolant reservoir level, although it probably wasn't completely cold then so might not mean much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
And yeah, regardless of what I achieve tomorrow, the positive change in behaviour from locking the swirls today leads me to believe I probably do need to get them fixed permanently, so I expect to be off to alfamen on Monday (haven't been before but heard good things). I had wanted to clean the inlet since blanking the EGR and cleaning throttle body but it's a bigger job than I'm willing to take on. It's just a shame the cam belt and water pump were done barely 5k km ago, right before I bought the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Ding ding ding we have a winner!

First thought would be the egr stuck open but you say you've blanked it, its worth checking that the blank hasnt failed and its that thats holding the valve open.
So unbolted the EGR and slipped out my blanking plate. This is what I found:


I naturally started to freak out at this.

Pulled the EGR completely off and peered inside, found this wedged inside:


Once it was out I cleaned it all up a bit, looked inside the inlet manifold as much as possible (couldn't see anything worrying), reassembled it all with the new, thick solid restrictor plate:
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/EGR-Val...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Set up video recording of the exhaust and turned the car over, it started instantly. Smooth idle.
Check the video, not the slightest hint of smoke. This was the first time I'd turned the car on today so it was completely cold.
Happy times!

Checked for fault codes, it had a P0401 EGR Value issue, the same one I'm used to clearing regularly from the blanking plate. Cleared it.
Went for a drive around the block. Stopped and restarted a few times as I did, then checked the obd scanner. P0401 was there again already (but hadn't yet triggered check engine light).

So I'm not sure if my restrictor plate has too small a hole, or if I've blown the EGR valve by jamming it.

I've also still got the swirl valves disconnected and zip tied hard over (high quality black zip ties).
Is it safe to leave the swirl values like this long-ish term?
Or is it important to get the intake manifold cleaned and sealed professionally?
 
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