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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys , just bought an alfa romeo 159 3.2 jts with an engine problem. The previous owner said it's the timing chain, i've also noticed that there coolant reservoir is empty. I got a new battery and tried to start it , it hardy started for 2 sec making a loud rattling noise and shaking.There's a video with the rattle as i try to start it . The car has 122000 km . What do you think ? What should i expect ?
 

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What diagnostic codes is it throwing up?
 

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Fingers crossed...others more knowledgeable will post on here and help.

Hope you get it fixed....the 159 is a lovely looking car.
There are no short - cuts with this engine. 122,000klms?

Take the engine out and rebuild it - or sell it for parts! Done properly, this is a very rewarding engine. If not, just give the dealers the details of your bank account so they don't need to bother you about the bills!

Either way, stop cranking the thing in the belief that somehow it will miraculously cure itself. Alfa will sell you a reconditioned engine for £12,500, or a new one for £16,500. So every time you crank the engine, you are adding to the cost of fixing it.

If the guy couldn't be bothered to keep coolant levels up - Christ, what is the crankshaft going to look like? Shards of bearings in the VVT passageways and the sump - jammed piston spray jets - cooked cylinder heads. They get hot enough with fluid, let alone without!

Park the car up and look for another engine. Then pull it apart to clean and inspect. New timing chains, guides and tensioners - con rods need checking, new bearings with crankshaft reground, maybe even straightened - spray jets need changing for the latest - new rings. Block and heads skimmed. The list goes on.

Sounds like the only thing in your favour at the moment is the electrics/electronics and the starter sounds healthy!

But hey, mine blew up on the track, so everything needed doing! Now? I wouldn't part with it. But it is a Q4, which is definitely worth saving!!!!!!!!
 

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I hope that it was really cheap as that is going to cost a small fortune to fix.
 

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I was being kind, it is going to cost more than the car is worth that is for sure, unless an engine from a written off car can be found and dropped straight in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for your answers.
@lussoman i don't have a diagnose tool yet , i'm gonna get one this week . Any recomandations?
@sizewell did you rebuild it yourself ? How much was it ?
As for coolant, 2 days ago as i went to see the car i'm pretty sure there was coolant there.How it dissapeared as i got it trailed to my place i can't imagine.Anyway is there any possibility to check the timing chains without taking the engine out ?
@symon i knew that it would cost more that the car itself but i fell in love with.
 

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The only good news I can think of is that is it not seized but it sounds to me like there is no compression. I would suggest it doesn't really matter what the codes are the engine is coming out as you need to separate the heads from the block. Drinking coolant could be anything blown waterway leaking into the heads.

Fingers crossed for you
 

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Thanks for your answers.
@lussoman i don't have a diagnose tool yet , i'm gonna get one this week . Any recomandations?
@sizewell did you rebuild it yourself ? How much was it ?
As for coolant, 2 days ago as i went to see the car i'm pretty sure there was coolant there.How it dissapeared as i got it trailed to my place i can't imagine.Anyway is there any possibility to check the timing chains without taking the engine out ?
@symon i knew that it would cost more that the car itself but i fell in love with.
The cost of taking out my old/wrecked 159 engine and refitting the rebuilt/modified Brera engine was £1000. This included moving all ancillaries from the wrecked engine, like yours it ran, to the Brera engine, but did not include contingencies/replacing components which although working, were at the end of their lives. So a new radiator, new A/C compressor and the garage insisted on a new clutch if they were to guarantee their work. Just as well, the clutch slave cylinder failed, although new and they replaced it at little cost to me - Supplier paid for the replacement and Half the labour, the garage picked up the tab for almost all the rest.

There were issues surrounding the hydraulic lifters, inlets differing from the exhausts 34mm & 37mm I believe, which added to the bill, but the engine builders refunded me for that! Overall £2400.

Sump modifications, Oil Cooler/Filter unit modifications/ heads and block skimmed, valve seals, crankshaft straightened, reground and balanced + new crank bought from Rev - High in Aus., plus one new conrod and oversize main and big end shells. New Oil Pump, Mace uprated Timing Chain Kit with Idler Sprockets. Bearing bolts, Cylinder head bolts - actually all Stretch to Torque were new - again from Mace - Aus. New crankshaft also balanced - just in case the original one could not be pulled back into alignment. There is a lot of bruhaha talked about straightening crankshafts. It really depends upon how far it is out of alignment. My was inspected and as it is a forged crankshaft, was seen as redeemable. That work was done by Ivor Searle a highly respected engineering company near Cambridge. It was then peined to relieve any stress that developed as a function of straightening. Costs ~ £2700 all in.

In total, with incidentals that just fall out of the equation, about £7,000.

But it didn't end there as components were so hard to track down and even a Company in America was sourcing components - the Director as a personal favour to me. This started first with the latest version of spray jets but developed into quite an extensive list. Keen to acquire as many spares as possible, with the intension of restoring my wrecked 159 engine - I now only have the cylinder head bolts, valve stem seals, and oil pump to get, and I will have everything for its rebuild; acquiring a new set of rings and six new con - rods and another new set of spray jets along the way. On taking the 159 engine apart, it was found that three of the rocker arm bearings had also collapsed, so a new set of those were also sourced from my friend in the States.

My car is not Concours, but very easily could be, had I not chosen to spend my time and money investigating it's poor reputation, including buying a set of Autodelta Headers and a set of Colombo Bariani Camshafts and then following up with a complete Supersprint Exhaust system, including a 100cpi sports - cat.

Virtually everything mechanical is new, with rear diff mounting bushes and Powerflex Bushes fitted to the trailing arms - they developed them using my arms and gave me the set free - what an amazing little company they are! New front lower arms and a new steering rack. Lots of other incidentals which add to the cost but invariably I neglected to itemize.

All in all, I must have spent over £13,000 on the 159, which like you I bought cheap - it cost me £3,000. But what would I get that is as good for that outlay? In my opinion, only the QF is a better car, and as I have not driven that yet, I may find it inferior to the 159 Q4 - insofar as on my local roads, the Torsen derived four - wheel drive is always actively adjusting to the surface of the road, whatever my speed! At what point does the QF's clever Torque Vectoring come into play? Don't get me wrong, the QF is brilliant. But with 500 + horses on tap, it seems it is directed at controlling them, rather than the piddling 50 60 bhp I would be using on our country roads - as they say, "Horses for Courses".

Was it worth the outlay? Yes and No is the answer. Yes because it is a greatly underrated car and it reminds me to a degree of my Berlina - a true sports saloon which can take four adults on long journeys in comfort and at distance devouring speeds, without complaint. Yes because it makes all the right noises. Yes because I don't know of a safer car - the four wheel drive being brilliant - probably the best I have come across. Yes because in and around town it is as quiet and sedate as a Rolls Royce. And Yes, because, for the first time in a lot of years, it feels very Alfa - ish.

If I had thought about owning it for a short period, moving on to something else in a year or two, then No! Despite all the work done, it would still only be worth CAP and everything I have done would go down the pan.

Ultimately, the kind of outlay anyone spends on any car, must surely depend upon whether they see its ownership as a long term commitment. I doubt the next of pseudo - Alfa's will be as good. And with care, it should provide many years of pleasure. Although my car is a lot more powerful than when I started, the exercise was to see just how much could be achieved, with conventional techniques of my youth. I like to think I achieved most of what I set out to achieve. Beyond this, I suspect, I won't be driving it like Fangio - but neither will I be driving like my granny!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@sizewell i'm willing to keep it for the next years so i'm gonna invest in it .
Thanks for all your support guys and infos guys , i got my tester today and the car is giving the following codes :
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Get the engine out, disassemble it, inspect it and rebuild it. Then check codes again.

As said above, there are no short cuts.
 

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Get the engine out, disassemble it, inspect it and rebuild it. Then check codes again.

As said above, there are no short cuts.
But it is Brilliant - I Love it! There isn't a hole anywhere in it's performance. Forget about economy - if you want performance, you have to pay for it, and it isn't something which puts me off!
 
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