Alfa Romeo Forum banner

2003 156 JTS 2.0 selespeed cold starting problem

3975 107
Hi
I’d welcome a few ideas on troubleshooting a morning starting problem with my old car that I need for work (done >250k klm)

Symptoms:
Used to always start first time, then took a while to fire up on first crank. It would stop cranking by itself even though the key was in the crank position (I thought this was weird). Now struggles to start first time, but cranks strongly until I release the key. Usually starts second go but sometimes not convincingly. Problem only occurs in the morning (20 Celsius), never any issues rest of the day.
Generally driving OK, no performance issues that I have detected, perhaps a the odd splutter
Battery tests ok with carbon pile load tester. Voltage drops from 12.6 to 12.3 over night. Having to keep on charger. Alternator is charging OK. Starting issues do not appear to relate to battery voltage
I know I have a main bearing seal leak and there might be oil in the bell housing… not sure if that can interfere with the crank sensor operation
No fault codes stored
Recent repairs:
Fuel rail pressure sensor replaced. Crank position sensor replaced after stalling/starting problems (last repair). New battery July 2020. Starter replaced Feb 2021. Alt replaced Sept 2017. Plugs not due to be replaced.
Cam belt due for replacement at the moment
Troubleshooting so far:
I thought maybe the fuel pump relay might be dicky and swapped the fan and fuel pump relay - no change
Ecuscan tells me the actuators and relays work, fuel pressure is regulated at ~50 bar, lambda signals from each bank are the same, battery voltage 13.7v at idle. Don’t really know what else to check.
I carefully sprayed some gas around the engine bay looking for keaks, no change in RPMs
Spark plugs were dry sooty black but that was after idling for 10 mins, electrodes OK
Sprayed the MAF with some dedicated cleaner
Thanks
Duncan
101 - 108 of 108 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #101 ·
Thanks Fruity. Bound to run out of ideas eventually. I will be able to conlusively assess fuel pressure today as the new gauge is due to be delivered.
I was actually wondering whether fixing any injector issues would be better done during a cycling head removal and clean, I assume the whole lot would come out together with less arm and hand damage
Might try an another can of cleaner.
May have to put up with it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #102 · (Edited)
New fuel gauge inserted in LP line
MAR - 4 bar and stable for at least 5 min
Started first go of the day (32C ambient)
Pressure was stable at 4.5 bar while idling
Gave it a rev - pressure was stable 4-5 bar
Back at idle - pressure bouncing around a bit 3.7-5 bar
OFF - stable at 4 bar for at least 5 min and I don’t expect it to drop over night as there was pressure in the line when I inserted the gauge and it had not been started for probably two days

I think we can rule out a problem with: fuel delivery, stale fuel, spark (new spark plugs), air delivery (new MAF and filter), crank shaft sensor (new), probably camshaft sensor is OK, engine immobilizer, spark advance operating, no vacuum leaks, battery voltage is good
Have not checked static timing

I think that just leaves injectors (injector or o rings) because the car starts easily with a squirt of ether.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #104 · (Edited)
It’s been my feeling that your “good days” have largely coincided with the warmer temperatures. Is this correct?
Not sure. Since this started, I don’t think you could really call anything a cold start, summer has been quite hot. I always used the term “first” start. This morning it is 16 C though, so cooling down, and it started first go after a few cranks, but not an hour later (I had only reversed in out of the drive and parked it)

Added a can of BG44K to a full tank and given the car to my wife to drive every day. See how that goes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #106 · (Edited)
9 months on…
Had a hand injury about the time of the last post and the car was starting reasonably OK through the Brisbane winter months.
Last week noticed that it was again struggling to start some mornings.
Replaced the injectors yesterday - pig of a job, no surprise ! I did it without removing the exhaust pipe but had to undo the rear engine mount, top engine stabilizser bar, unbolt left engine mount, and loosen the front right engine hanger mount, still a struggle to get the plenum out. I cut off the cable clips at the rear of the chamber so I could get it back in the car more easily (they kept catching on the firewall blanket).
Car running well and noticed smoother Selespeed shifting (maybe) (been rough for quite a few years; thought it was wearing clutch plate).
Quite a bit of oil has been leaking from the bottom of the Inlet manifold, I think oil passes from the head through the gasket to the variator. Let’s hope some Hylomar fixed that.
Just a question regarding the front right engine mount, timing side: I have tightened it up until I tightens no more, and some bush starts rotating , but I can see the bolt thread between the two halves of the mount. Is this as it should be, or are the two halves supposed to butt up on each other?
Thanks
Hand Arm Gesture Line Art
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,036 Posts
I think the metal threaded bottom of that bush is “keyed” and should engage in a slot on the bracket.

It’s common for the upper part of the mount (the bushing) to fill with standing water and corrode the threads, affecting ease of torquing.

Suggest you investigate the keying possibility, if so make sure it is correctly indexed and use a jack to bring the parts into mutual compression. While stabilised in this way, ease the bolt out, coat the threads with cavity wax or waterproof grease then reinstall.
 
101 - 108 of 108 Posts
Top