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Coolant loss but no leaks

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Hi fellow Alfa lovers !

hope all is well in the world of owning an Alfa, I’m certainly beginning to experience it.

I have a 2.2 JTS petrol with 105,000 on the clock. I use it as my daily driver and recently noticed coolant loss. Did some basic checks ;

No leaks around the cap.
No leaks on the main pipe going underneath the coolant bottle.
No leaks at thermostat or oil cooler.
No leaks at the radiator.
No leaks at the bleed screws.
Car not overheating and stays on 90 dead on
Fan kicks in fine
Took the under tray off and observed with no leaks.
Next day I started it from cold and just let it idle and noticed after the car warmed up that the water level slowly rose all the way up to the top of the coolant bottle and water started spitting out of the little air vent hole at the top. After closer look I could see the top part of the bonnet was covered with coolant and around the brake fluid bottle and top suspension on the right. So it seems the water spits out from the hole. That can’t be right, that hole is to relieve pressure as the cap spring opens up, if I’m not mistaken? I’ve also bought a new cap.

so the dreaded head gasket words started entering my mind, but no oil or water is mixing. I did notice as I watched the coolant bottle at idle that bubbles would enter it every now and then from the bottom pipe. I let the car cool, took off the cap and then used the diy head gasket tester with the blue liquid. Let the car idle and the liquid turned yellow, which says possible head gasket compression leak or coolant contamination.

has anyone experienced this? If water is spitting out the vent hole of the coolant bottle then maybe it is the head gasket on its way? Not sure how much I should trust the tester, but I tried it on my wife’s car and it stayed blue.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

I’ve tried searching for a smiler issue on here but no one’s seems to have the issue where coolant is being loss from the top of the coolant bottle hole!
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Giuilietta veloce 1.4 multiair & Merc C180 coupe
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Hi Tickets

The engineering company requested the cams to be removed. Before removing them I made some marks along side the cam shaft and the bearing caps that hold the cam down, so I can put them back in the same position.
I don’t know why I wrote that as they won’t want to faff rotating cams to close valves. My mind was thinking get them to remove and reinstall if you were unsure. 🙄
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
I don’t know why I wrote that. My mind was thinking get them to remove and reinstall if you were unsure. 🙄
That’s fine, I appreciate the input. I’ve made the markings and taken loads of photos. The heads at the shop and I’m looking forward to the call tomorrow to find out the result of the inspection.

any advice of a particular brand of timing chain? I’ve seen some great prices which include both the timing and balance chain on eBay. Here’s a linkhttps://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/184520311129?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=BRhssXkBTme&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=lLL8bcIPQvO&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY £221 complete! Whereas a shop quoted me £400 for just the timing chain kit without the balance chain. It was a BGA make
 

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That’s fine, I appreciate the input. I’ve made the markings and taken loads of photos. The heads at the shop and I’m looking forward to the call tomorrow to find out the result of the inspection.

any advice of a particular brand of timing chain? I’ve seen some great prices which include both the timing and balance chain on eBay. Here’s a linkhttps://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/184520311129?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=BRhssXkBTme&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=lLL8bcIPQvO&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY £221 complete! Whereas a shop quoted me £400 for just the timing chain kit without the balance chain. It was a BGA make
Personally I wouldn’t buy something like a timing chain from eBay. I would stick to recognised factors and brands. With due respect to companies selling parts on eBay you need to be confident you’re buying quality. You don’t want to make things worse.
 

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Best to buy things like that from autodoc or any of your local reputable car part e-shops. I've personally found that actually prices there are often even lower than on Amazon/eBay where it's very hard to make sure you are getting genuine/good parts.
 

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That’s fine, I appreciate the input. I’ve made the markings and taken loads of photos. The heads at the shop and I’m looking forward to the call tomorrow to find out the result of the inspection.
Dont be misled or confused about cam position. The important thing is the position of the cams not only in relation to each other, but to the timing chain and that in relation to the crankshaft. You really do need to get yourself some technical documentation to follow, what you are doing can be a matter of life and death to the engine. Be careful if you are unsure of what you are doing. On a scale of 1 - 10 in difficulty, this is a 10 and an oil change is a 1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Dont be misled or confused about cam position. The important thing is the position of the cams not only in relation to each other, but to the timing chain and that in relation to the crankshaft. You really do need to get yourself some technical documentation to follow, what you are doing can be a matter of life and death to the engine. Be careful if you are unsure of what you are doing. On a scale of 1 - 10 in difficulty, this is a 10 and an oil change is a 1.
Thanks Topdown.

well the phasers go back only in one direction on the camshaft. Once I have them on I’ll line the camshaft up as per the markings to get it relatively to what I had it before removing it. BuT I won’t take the markings as 100%. The chain has markings on a link for both the inlet and exhaust cam phasers, so I’ll ensure the exhaust colour link on the chain is on the arrow of that cam and the same for the inlet. That will bring both the cam and the exhaust position inline in relation to each other and then of course the crankshaft. The Alfa Romeo elearn just says that.

Update:

1. I now have had the head back and it’s all been cleaned and resurfaced. I’m now going to check the block with a feeler gauge. Does anybody know what the acceptable feeler gauge size is? Unfortunately elearn doesn’t say.

2. The tightening sequence of the head bolts are mentioned in elearn. I’ve attached a screenshot. Can someone confirm the first sequence for me please. Why is there a - next 2.7? Or am I reading that wrong and the sequence should be that I tighten the bolts first to 2.7 then 3.3 then 100degress and then a final 65 degrees. The - is throwing me out a little.

The next couple of weeks I’ll be putting things back. Wish me luck lads. I appreciate the advice and support so far.
Kam
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Update fellow Alana owners.

So I’ve spent my entire short winter day cleaning the block today. Been taking it easy and of course careful using the plastic scraper and nylon brushes to gently lift the old gasket. It’s getting there and I’m going to spend some more time tomorrow. I’ve attached some photos for your viewing pleasure. You can still see the marks of the old gasket after I’ve cleaned it all off, seems like it’s made a mark on the aluminium but it’s smooth.

Times like these I wish I had a garage.
 

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Update fellow Alana owners.

So I’ve spent my entire short winter day cleaning the block today. Been taking it easy and of course careful using the plastic scraper and nylon brushes to gently lift the old gasket. It’s getting there and I’m going to spend some more time tomorrow. I’ve attached some photos for your viewing pleasure. You can still see the marks of the old gasket after I’ve cleaned it all off, seems like it’s made a mark on the aluminium but it’s smooth.

Times like these I wish I had a garage.
Just sand it with a 120/180 grit paper. If you go too fine you run the risk of just riding over the debris. Best case scenario it takes ages. Worst case you leave some behind which has a negative effect on all of your work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Just sand it with a 120/180 grit paper. If you go too fine you run the risk of just riding over the debris. Best case scenario it takes ages. Worst case you leave some behind which has a negative effect on all of your work.
Hi is that ok to do on an Aluminium block? Also if I use the 120/180 grit should it be done dry or wet?
 

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Hi is that ok to do on an Aluminium block? Also if I use the 120/180 grit should it be done dry or wet?
Yes it’s fine. Use it dry on a rubber rubbing block if you have one. You won’t need much pressure and it will be much quicker. Are the holes for the head bolts blind or open. If they are blind make sure you clean them out before the head goes back on. Just run the bolts in gently until they bottom out to remove any oil or debris. If you don’t it might effect the torque on the head bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Yes it’s fine. Use it dry on a rubber rubbing block if you have one. You won’t need much pressure and it will be much quicker. Are the holes for the head bolts blind or open. If they are blind make sure you clean them out before the head goes back on. Just run the bolts in gently until they bottom out to remove any oil or debris. If you don’t it might effect the torque on the head bolts.
Thanks, yeah I’ve got a can of compress air which will help clean out the head bolt holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Anyone know where I can find these plastic seals? Im searching for camshaft seals, but getting different results. I’ve attached a photo of my camshaft end which has 2 black plastic seals and one is cracked. I’m might as well get these replaced. But when I search I get a seal which seems like a crankshaft seal. Any advice would be appreciated as always.

 

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I would contact your local Alfa dealer and get a price and the part number. If you’re not happy with the price at least you will have the part number to use as a search.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
I would contact your local Alfa dealer and get a price and the part number. If you’re not happy with the price at least you will have the part number to use as a search.
Parts have arrived, boxes in the house which the Mrs isn’t happy with. Exiting for me a though . 😂

anyhow, the rain isn’t helping so I’m a little behind finishing off the block. I’m reading that there is a particular motion of sanding ? Some say use a swirl motion like when your waxing a car, a bit like mr miyagi, wax on and wax off. So much info out there that it makes things a little worrying. Lol. I dont have a flat piece of glass the size of the engine block to sand, do I need one? Can I just carefully use 180 or 200 fine sandpaper with a standard small block and go over the block in sections slowly to finalise the smoothness.I’m not going for a shiny block, it’s flat, clean and smooth which is the main objective if I’m not mistaken.
Hopefully the weekend weather holds up and I can put the head gasket and head back on including the balance chain and timing chain and then, fingers crossed, plan for the fire up on Sunday.
 

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You can sand in whatever motion floats your boat. You’re not sanding the metal to remove metal, you’re removing dirt and debris. It’s not the same as prepping a panel for paint. I like to use a rubber block where possible but obviously dowels can get in the way. But you can use anything flat that fits in your palm. You may find there are areas where you have to use a bit of paper in your hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
You can sand in whatever motion floats your boat. You’re not sanding the metal to remove metal, you’re removing dirt and debris. It’s not the same as prepping a panel for paint. I like to use a rubber block where possible but obviously dowels can get in the way. But you can use anything flat that fits in your palm. You may find there are areas where you have to use a bit of paper in your hand.
The block seems to be ready, it’s level, smooth and clean. Thanks for he help and support this far.
I’m now preparing the head to sit back on the block and as I’ve taken it out the box and preparing it for a clean, I’ve noticed the edges of one of the cylinder areas on the head rough and it looks as if it’s not cut smooth round. Also next to it there seems to a little Knick in the ally. I’ve attached photos for reference.
I’ve also called the engineering shop and waiting for their reply.

I’ve marked the photo with orange marks showing where the roughness is on the edge of the roundness area where the valves sit.
 

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The block seems to be ready, it’s level, smooth and clean. Thanks for he help and support this far.
I’m now preparing the head to sit back on the block and as I’ve taken it out the box and preparing it for a clean, I’ve noticed the edges of one of the cylinder areas on the head rough and it looks as if it’s not cut smooth round. Also next to it there seems to a little Knick in the ally. I’ve attached photos for reference.
I’ve also called the engineering shop and waiting for their reply.

I’ve marked the photo with orange marks showing where the roughness is on the edge of the roundness area where the valves sit.
While you’re waiting for the engineering shop to come back to you, offer the gasket up to the surface of the head to see if the gasket will take up the bits you’re concerned about when under compression.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 · (Edited)
While you’re waiting for the engineering shop to come back to you, offer the gasket up to the surface of the head to see if the gasket will take up the bits you’re concerned about when under compression.
Hi Tickets

OK, so what I’ve done is taking a piece of sticky pad and placed it over the kink and then laid the head gasket over it and pressed down to see where the kink is in relation to the head gasket seal. The round edges of where the valves are (sorry don’t know what you call this) seem to be okay. I’ve attached some photos, what’s your opinion?
 

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