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2004 916 2.0 JTS Spider
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the start of my investigation as to why this particular engine had massive oil consumption, aka three quarter dipstick to none in 45 miles or so in stop start motorway traffic a week last Friday

This resulted in a mechanical failure which is somewhere below the cylinder head, and it sounds like one cylinder.

This engine has done 85K miles, and was swapped into the car 8K miles ago by a previous owner.

The car was owned by an older chap for the last 6 years who only did about 8K in it.

I’ve done around 250 miles in it since it went bump and before this cured the gearbox fault and since sorting the latter I’ve cleared the engine fault codes by refitting the disturbed MAF sensor plug (dealers’ mechanic was messing with linkages to cure gearbox fault … it didn’t BTW)

I haven’t decided whether to put another engine in or rebuild it, but I’ll make the decision to do whatever when I look at what has happened.

I’ve read a fair bit about the JTS engine and mine is a typical coked up lump. It is pretty damn dirty, so presumably it has been neglected on top of the usual direct injection foibles.

I still have a day or so to get it out, just taking it steady, as I’ve seen no manual for this engine in a Spider, and although it is similar to a TS bottom end wise, I haven’t dropped or pulled one of these out either.

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I did lift the rocker cover off to have a nosey and I was pretty surprised to see much black stuff, worse than any diesel I’ve stripped

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Cheers for now
Mike
 

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You’ve some pretty bad wear on the cam lobes, look at exhaust cyl. 1 and inlet cyl.3. By the time all the problems are sorted a s/h engine of known provenance (if possible) could be a better option.
 

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I seem to remember Autocar or similar giving a good review of the JTS when it was new (apart from it having a flat spot near the bottom of the rev range).

That was before all of the reliability woes.

Imagine owning a JTS selespeed, that would be worse again.

I did like the older TS engine though, they were great for their time as long as they have been looked after.
 

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Looking at the 2nd photo again that reminds me of the ‘Oil Black Death’ that was seen in engines during the 80s. Often bits of the sludge/tar would break off and end up in the sump to then block the oil pick up screen. In some cases that would follow from a change to fresh oil or if someone inherited a car that had not been used ‘fully’ but once given a few revs the loosened sludge did its worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You’ve some pretty bad wear on the cam lobes
I don't disagree, but I'm sure this JTS engine will reveal more woes, and I suspect even a known engine will be a lottery, unless remedial work has been done. There should be no excuse for cam lobe wear in a modern engine, assuming it has got oil, and is made of the right materials. I was on my way home after working away, and ironically the right oil, filter and other parts were waiting on the doorstep, However this was always going to happen, so I'm glad I never used them with hindsight. I work with old air cooled engines, design and make parts for them, even pistons & rods, and these engines had design flaws too, so not sure what I'll find in this one, but there'll be a simple reason for any issue/flaw. :) I've read about the EGR trickery, and direct injection inlet area foibles, and it doesn't make good reading for long term ownership, more of a ticking time bomb unless you re-engineer things. I've read about the piston oil ring groove drilling to reduce oil wetting on the bores, and changing the ring set for a different oil scraper design to reduce oil consumption, so it'll be interesting to see what Alfa Romeo did vs others.
 

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Down here in New Zealand the JTS has not got a reputation for poor reliability nor high oil consumption. Traffic conditions are different down here though (less dense traffic, more high speed open road running and a greater range of engine revs). Alfas are also more expensive than in the Northern hemisphere, I think more highly valued by their owners and so tend to be better looked after with better servicing history. We also don`t have a rust problem so cars remain in much better condition so retain value and don`t descend to the banger category with the neglect that usually attracts.
The selespeed however has a reputation for unreliability and has a negative effect on the value perception of any model it is installed in. Strangely though to our market cars after 2006 with selespeed don`t seem to be affected by the same negative outlook.
 

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The operational word being ‘occasional’. I’ll take your word for it. I could have done a search admittedly, but quite honestly couldn’t be bothered as everyone I know who has had experience of the JTS has expressed negative thoughts.
 

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You want to run a workshop like I did. i would have seen a pretty good proportion of the cars equipt with JTS engines in the country, same as with the Twinsparks & V6`s. They don`t have a poor reputation.
I suspect however that those unfortunate to do most of their motoring in dense traffic or/ and at motorways were the cars run at constant throttle opening may suffer from what all direct injection cars of all makes seem to suffer from - carbon buildup and often high oil consumption.
 

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I was planning to buy a 156 about 10 years ago In Melbourne and went to one of the local Italian car specialists near by to ask them for advice as to which motor and gearbox was best. He showed me a whole shelf full of JTS camshafts with half of their lobes seriously ground away... I was gobsmacked (keep in mind the JTS cars weren't that old at the time). I bought a 2.5V6 with the old school auto and it turned out to be a VERY reliable car. The only thing that let it down was the Alfa Rosso paint – doesn't handle the Australian sun real well.
Al.
 

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Interesting. not a problem we`ve encountered. Were the service personnel using the correctly specced oil?
Re the red , not uniquely an Alfa problem -all manufacturers suffered the same problem with red . I`ve just completed the repaint of my Audi A4 turbo Quattro because of sun deterioration of its red base paint and its clear coat.
 

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Agreed, I’ve not heard a good word said about them. Anyone with a link giving a positive view of the JTS?
They are good when they're right. I look after a couple of really good 2.0 JTS engined GTs and 156s and they feel torquey and pretty quick and out of the box they handle the best.

I don't think I'd own one personally though, they're a lot of trouble and fragile. I'm probably about done with Twinsparks now too, unless I ever get another 145 or 155. I'd rather have a diesel or a V6 in anything newer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I managed a bit more on this, but working away in the week limits my time. I eventually got a M13 RIBE tool off Amazon, after noon sending the right one twice, and I also bought some Laser tools damaged hex socket screw removal tools, which didn't work on a stubborn driveshaft screw. I'll be trying the hefty Vise grips in a moment, then worst case MIG weld a bolt or nut on it, and crack it off that way.

I whipped the head off, and first up, it has definitely had a history of oil consumption, so that knock that occurred after the engine failure is probably a big end shell. The coking on the inlet side isn't as bad as I thought it'd be, but the bores are well shiny, aka with no honing marks visible, which might explain some of the oil consumption. There is no apparent stepping at the top of the bores, but the more I look at these pieces I've removed so far, I'm favouring a rebuild with new pistons, rings, bottom end, oil pump, thermostat (might check and clean old one) and a full top end rebuild with all new belts.

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Mike
 

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Looking at the 2nd photo again that reminds me of the ‘Oil Black Death’ that was seen in engines during the 80s. Often bits of the sludge/tar would break off and end up in the sump to then block the oil pick up screen. In some cases that would follow from a change to fresh oil or if someone inherited a car that had not been used ‘fully’ but once given a few revs the loosened sludge did its worse.
Vauxhall insignia diesels have that issue today.. Usually starts off with message saying oil pressure low switch off engine immediately when starting on cold days. Only goes one way after that unless oil pick up replaced in sump pdq... 🍀🍀🍀
 
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