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Just thought I'd share with you guys what I went through to upgrade my beloved Alfa!

I have a stock standard Alfa 147 2.0TS Manual. I bought this car in 2003 brand new. It had a few issues along the way, as does every alfa, but I still loved driving it every day. The mileage is currently sitting at 141000km and its been for every service at the Stealerships. The only major problem I've had was the clutch would get sticky from time to time and lose pressure or just fall to the floor while cruising on the highway. The clutch slave n master have been replaced 3 times already.

So my hunt for some performance upgrade began around September 2010. I wanted a bit more oomf! Even though I was already driving it hard since day 1. I've done some research on this forum and the net and contacted various ppl. First I wanted to upgrade the exhaust n opted for Viper Performance Exhausts, but never got the time to do it.

I then got in contact with ATC Pino, who was just plain down unfriendly and rude. Wanted to charge be R1500 just for a one-on-one session to discuss possible options for my car. Needless to say, I didnt go down that route.

Then I got in touch with the Legendary Oom Dawie at Glenwood! Just talking to him put my mind at ease cause he knows what he is talking about. He already had a plan on what he will be doing for my car. I do not have the full list of everything to be done, but it goes along the lines of :
  • complete engine strip to check bearings and rings.
  • Polished crank
  • Porting
  • increase compression
  • Wilder Cams
  • Free flow
  • UniQ chip
  • Dyno

There are some other things to do, but I'll only know what he's done when I pick up my car again. Its currently at his shop n stripped! I miss my Alfa n cant wait to get her back!

oh, and when he removed the gearbox, he said bits n pieces fell out.......The thrust bearing was shot and I have a suspicion that this was the problem all along! The dealership just never bothered diagnosing the problem!

Ok I will give more details once I know, thats if anyone wants to know the outcome. Let me know and I'll fill you guys in.
 

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2004 Alfa Romeo 156 1.8TS
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Interesting - but expensive project!

Fit a lightweight flywheel from TTV racing while you're at it (approx. half the weight of factory flywheel). And get hold of a 1.8TS gearbox instead - it has slightly shorter gearing, so will help acceleration.

Exhaust manifold should be changed to remove pre-cats. Either by Supersprint manifold, or a CF2 manifold from 156. I'm however not sure how downpipe & centre pipe fits 147.

Be aware that higher compression pistons will affect longevity & reliability, if the increase is significant.
I'm curious why blueprinting is left out from your list above?
 

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What rpm do you think this engine will reach?

Are TS cranks known to be fragile and prone to breaking?

I've not heard that they are, which would lead me to susepct that that spending a fairly large sum of money on polishing it (a lot or work to do well) may not be very cost effective, and potentially might be counterproductive.

I don't know the metallurgy of the TS crankshaft, but if it has a factory hardened surface (such as 'nitriding', or even 'shot peening') then polishing it may remove or substantially thin that hardened surface in places. If so then this would weaken the crank rather than make it more resistant to cracking.

Polishing a crank removes surface stress risers (any imperfections or acute machined angles) that might be places where a crack may start. It does not make the crank any stronger in an absolute sense. Fatigue cracks tend to start at surface imperfections, which become more of an issue when the rpm is substantially higher than the stock red line. Surface hardening also does little to nothing to increase absolute strength, but adds to fatique resistance, i.e. a hardened surface is far less likley to form the initial tiny crack from which a fracture propogates.

I have read that a crank which has been polished should be re nitrided and / or re shot peened to restore a uniform surface hardness. If the polishing has resulted in a surface that changes from hard to soft to hard (etc), then the changes in hardness could act in effect as stress risers that potentially could give rise to cracking.

Unlike decades ago, most modern factory crankshafts are very well engineered from high quality materials to very vigh tolerances and with excellent quality control. As such most are very strong and resistant to cracking and consequent fatigue failures, even when used at rpm significantly higher than originally intended by the design engineers.

If you are expecting a performance increase, then yes a polished surface will have less oil drag is it passes through heavy oil spray inside the crankcase, but the affect on power is negligibly small, tiny, miniscule...

Regards,
John.
 

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I'm curious why blueprinting is left out from your list above?
In the bad old days engines from most car companies were not very well made. Quality control was poor, which resulted in lots of significant deviations from nominal specifications. Cylinder bores were not ceccesarily in perfect alignmnet with the crankshaft axis, nor perfectly in line with each other. Con-rods could be significantly twisted. Keys on cranks and camshafts were not necessarily milled precisely as per the drawings. Etc etc etc, most parts were were not really perfect.

It was easy to get a stack of undesirably out of spec parts and fitments to a degree that many engines were signficantly down on power compared to other engines made even on the same day on the same production line by the same people.

'Blueprinting' just means to make sure that all parts are as designed and fit together in the precise relationship that they are supposed to have (done by 'selection' of the best parts in a parts bucket and by re-machining). It is measure and assemble everything carefully 'by hand' to avoid parts and engines being 'near enough' as they tended to be coming off an assembly line where everything was made and assembled with a tight time constraint and to a strict cost.

It was common practice to 'blueprint' production engines before bothering to modify them for racing, or just to blueprint them in classes where no racing mods were permitted. It was more or less essential to do this because a significant amount of power was usually found, as well as increased reliability.

On the other hand, modern engine parts (last few decades) are machined using CNC equipment, each part is idential to the one made before it and the one made after it, there is no difference between parts made this morning or the parts made six months ago. All the engines fit together precisely, there is very little variation between engines, all will make almost identiacl power with similar reliability.

So, 'blueprinting' as such isn't really anywhere near as important as it once was. There is unlikley to be much to gain, though it can't hurt and some small benefit might be found. Modern engines are already very close to being as per blueprint straight off the production line.

Regards,
John.
 

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2004 Alfa Romeo 156 1.8TS
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So, 'blueprinting' as such isn't really anywhere near as important as it once was. There is unlikley to be much to gain, though it can't hurt and some small benefit might be found. Modern engines are already very close to being as per blueprint straight off the production line.
I agree that it's not as important as it once was - but the TS engines aren't exactly known for their high quality finish, with the out of round bores etc. IMO it'd be silly to have an engine taken completely apart with the wish for a tune, and at the very least not bother with proper weight equalisation & balancing.
 

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I haven't heard of less than circular bores being a common issue with TS engines, but then I haven't heard about a lot of things...

I'm aware that TS bore surfaces are not always the very best, and this is might be one of the factors affecting oil consumption (though I suspect this might be more to do with lack of drainage holes behind the piston oil rings...?).

Lack of windage tray might also see quite a lot of oil thrown up and onto the bores, which won't help oil consumption...

Regards,
John.
 

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2004 Alfa Romeo 156 1.8TS
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I haven't heard of less than circular bores being a common issue with TS engines, but then I haven't heard about a lot of things...

I'm aware that TS bore surfaces are not always the very best, and this is might be one of the factors affecting oil consumption (though I suspect this might be more to do with lack of drainage holes behind the piston oil rings...?).
Oil consumption in the TS has 3 factors. Out of round bores, bore finish & CF3 piston rings. CF2 engines are far better, as the rings are wider.

Speaking of oil.. When this engine is done, I highly recommend running Motul XPower 8100 10W60 - or just go all in and get some Royal Purple, but that'd be expensive ;)
 

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Keep it all standard and put a Eaton45 on it: will be less expensive and will give lots more useful power and driveability. 😉
 
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