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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all you genius'

I was driving my Brera very sensibly the other day and the engine suddenly changed note very slightly and the engine light came on. Performance was affected minimally in that it stuttered a little at low revs.

I gingerly got to somewhere safe watching the temp which did not move at all.

When I could I put the diagnostics on it that said exhaust cam position sensor and misfire on 1,2,3 and 4.

I bought a new sensor and fitted it but it still has the same rough idle issue and now has very little power.

My mechanic now has it and after his diagnosis he reported that it has jumped a tooth and probably sustained catastrophic engine damage meaning I should give it to the scrappy for $200.
The car is immaculate otherwise, a real gem that I looked after meticulously.

What do I do from here?

I need to know for sure tat its that bad before I let someone drag it away.

Thanks
Martin
 

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Don’t drive it otherwise it will only be fit for a 200$ cash-back!

First, if the engine was totalled, you would not have got it to the garage.

Second, if it has jumped a tooth, it would have retarded the valve timing and one tooth is a lot less than your VVT advances or retards your cams. But don’t risk skipping another tooth.

Thirdly, one presumes you are going to need another car, but the fix for yours could be a lot less than that.

Fourth, get another garage to do a proper assessment and an estimate for the work. If the worst is a wrecked engine, there are plenty of companies that can source you a second hand unit. All of your ancillaries will transfer across.

Then if the worst comes to be the worst - scrap it for parts.

Good luck!
 

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Hi Greenie,

My 3.2 skipped a tooth (lower chain had stretched), no engine damage just timing out.
I bought a Mace chain kit and replaced myself with engine in situ.
I posted on here my DIY journey. Seemed daunting but was relatively simple in the end.

Good luck.

Roop.
 

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I find that 99% of engines that have "sustained catastrophic engine"....don't run and never will again! Catastrophic is seized solid or a block that has been ventilated by a conrod! Sound like he's been a bit over dramatic! I've seen cambelts two teeth out and nothing has even touched.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for your responses. I have decided that the mechanic is in fact being an Alfa hater and taken it for a second opinion. (on the back of a tow truck)
The very fact that it still starts and idles (rough) suggests to me that there is not catastrophic engine issues and that the car is still worth more than $200.

I stumbled across a pair of very helpful and clearly passionate mechanics that had a bunch of classic alfas and projects in their garage and keenly left it with them to assess.
The previous mechanic told me that the compression was down but I'm hoping that this is purely due to the cam being out of sync by a tooth or at worst two and will be sorted by replacing the chain and associated gears.

Thanks again for your help thus far.
 

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You are quite right, if the timing is out due to skipping a tooth, the valves may not be fully closing on the compression stroke - hence the low figure.
 

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It appears that your valves survived, which is the crucial issue here. The cam belt jumped for a reason, which probably is because it has a slack, so don't start the engine again before the cambelt etc. are replaced. Probably needed it anyway. Consider yourself lucky.
 

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It appears that your valves survived, which is the crucial issue here. The cam belt jumped for a reason, which probably is because it has a slack, so don't start the engine again before the cambelt etc. are replaced. Probably needed it anyway. Consider yourself lucky.
The hydraulic timing chain tensioners are a flawed design. Ford used a similar mechanism and racers modified them to limit the extent the piston can be forced back into the cylinder as the hydraulic pressure and auto adjust sprung element in their system too, was inadequate.

My advice to anyone with these engines - particularly the 3.2 JTS is, “Never” park it in gear, particularly on a hill. Seems counter-intuitive but, the transmission system can force the oil out of the lower tensioner - in particular - and the piston is pushed back into the hydraulic cylinder as the tension transfers from the driven face, to the back face. And when one comes to start the engine, the crankshaft sprocket releases the tension and the chain drops away from the sprocket - skipping teeth.
 

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As already been said catastrophic damage would equate to either a non runner or a very bad runner.
See what the 2nd opinion says but if it has gone out of time then a chain kit should sort it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone for your help.

Its the 2.2 JTS.
I have found a fabulous pair of enthusiasts here to help me.

The general train of thought is exactly as you have suggested.

the chain probably slipped a tooth and the hope is that a new chain, gears, tensioners etc and a good full service will sort it for me.

It was sickening for a moment to feel that a fundamentally great car could be reduced to scrap just like that.
The guy it's with tells me that even if there is valve damage he hopes to be able to remove the head and replace it or repair and that the top of the piston will be ok.
The fact that I drove it is worrying but also suggests that if the valve touched the piston at all it was just a kiss and not a full on smack.

Thanks again for your time replying.
 

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Thanks everyone for your help.

Its the 2.2 JTS.
I have found a fabulous pair of enthusiasts here to help me.

The general train of thought is exactly as you have suggested.

the chain probably slipped a tooth and the hope is that a new chain, gears, tensioners etc and a good full service will sort it for me.

It was sickening for a moment to feel that a fundamentally great car could be reduced to scrap just like that.
The guy it's with tells me that even if there is valve damage he hopes to be able to remove the head and replace it or repair and that the top of the piston will be ok.
The fact that I drove it is worrying but also suggests that if the valve touched the piston at all it was just a kiss and not a full on smack.

Thanks again for your time replying.
Keep us all informed and good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
While I'm going through this procedure gents, is there anything I should be mindful of or jobs I should get done while its in bits?

I'll get the chain and all associated components renewed but if the head is off is there anything worth doing to either ensure longevity or even improve performance of the unit?

It seems like a good opportunity to drop some hotter cams in maybe?
Is tuning these JTS engines a thing?
 

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While I'm going through this procedure gents, is there anything I should be mindful of or jobs I should get done while its in bits?

I'll get the chain and all associated components renewed but if the head is off is there anything worth doing to either ensure longevity or even improve performance of the unit?

It seems like a good opportunity to drop some hotter cams in maybe?
Is tuning these JTS engines a thing?
I like your logic - and the positivity!

I have re-cam-ed my 3.2 JTS but to justify the cost, a whole lot of other stuff needed to be done.

I would advise against it, for the moment. However, getting rid of your manifold cat would be my NUMBER 1 to do!

That will do your engine so much good it will justify your keeping the car and getting your guys to sort out your chains and possibly head. Oil temperature will drop like a stone - retaining viscosity between oil changes better. And yes, it will pass emissions.

Progressively, you can then look at doing the rest of the exhaust system and you will see good returns on them and the car will sound better.

This way you can get some genuine improvement as and when the pocket allows.

Lastly, in common with what Alfa did with the twin spark, I would just change the inlet camshaft. The exhaust cam profile/VVT has more to do with emissions than out and out performance so you will only see about 15% less improvement than if you did both cams. So if you gained 20 bhp with both cams swapped out, to leave the exhaust alone you would see 17 bhp instead.

CB cams are excellent and you may see an even better figure that I use for explanation purposes.


However, you would save yourself a lot off hassle changing the exhaust camshaft would bring.

The 3.2 JTS is a heavy lump although the Q4’s are top draw with regard to potential. So yours; along with the Petrol Turbo, are probably the best front wheel drive versions. And with manifolds, exhaust and cams would give it a run for its money.

Unless of course, someone had “Blue - Chipped“ their 1.8 turbo!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I like your logic - and the positivity!

I have re-cam-ed my 3.2 JTS but to justify the cost, a whole lot of other stuff needed to be done.

I would advise against it, for the moment. However, getting rid of your manifold cat would be my NUMBER 1 to do!

That will do your engine so much good it will justify your keeping the car and getting your guys to sort out your chains and possibly head. Oil temperature will drop like a stone - retaining viscosity between oil changes better. And yes, it will pass emissions.

Progressively, you can then look at doing the rest of the exhaust system and you will see good returns on them and the car will sound better.

This way you can get some genuine improvement as and when the pocket allows.

Lastly, in common with what Alfa did with the twin spark, I would just change the inlet camshaft. The exhaust cam profile/VVT has more to do with emissions than out and out performance so you will only see about 15% less improvement than if you did both cams. So if you gained 20 bhp with both cams swapped out, to leave the exhaust alone you would see 17 bhp instead.

CB cams are excellent and you may see an even better figure that I use for explanation purposes.


However, you would save yourself a lot off hassle changing the exhaust camshaft would bring.

The 3.2 JTS is a heavy lump although the Q4’s are top draw with regard to potential. So yours; along with the Petrol Turbo, are probably the best front wheel drive versions. And with manifolds, exhaust and cams would give it a run for its money.

Unless of course, someone had “Blue - Chipped“ their 1.8 turbo!
Great info mate. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey fellas

A little update on the Brera with a jumped timing chain. The new guy (god bless him) has changed the chain and ancillaries and checked everything over. Mechanically it all checks out, good compression on all cylinders, starts and runs - bloody brilliant.

What a relief.

However, when warm the idle is shocking and its a bit low on power.
The latest suggestion is the timing solonoid that controls the valve timing. Apparently the resistance changes dramatically during normal running. Not a nice rhythmic change but an erratic random change.
We are gong to fit a new one on Monday in the hope that it is just telling confused lies to the ECU.

What do you think?

I feel so much better to know that mechanically nothing got damaged and we are just ironing out little gremlins now.
 

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That's great news.

Maybe for the erratic idling try diving for a few days and see if it sorts itself out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What a relief, I'm picking it up tomorrow.

All is sound and its had a more than full service, many sensors renewed the rest cleaned.
Throttle body removed and cleaned, gearbox oil, coolant, engine oil and filter, spark plugs, cleaned K and N air filter, new cam chain and tensioner.

Thanks for your help fellas, happy to say it survived.

The idle issue seems to be it simply needed a code reset while the engine was running.

😁
 
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