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2007 GT Blackline 1.9 JTDm
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I bought my first Alfa, a 2007 GT with the 1.9 JTDM engine, a couple of weeks back and prior to that I was oblivious to swirl flaps existing.....now I’m paranoid!.It has the plastic manifold with the flap actuator assembly underneath.I think it may be a CF4 engine (how do I tell?).

The engine has done 117k with full service history, how likely is it that the flaps have remained intact?.I would like to delete them but I’m worried that once I get the manifold off I’ll find missing flaps that have gone god knows where.Are the steel flaps more resilient than the plastic ones?.Is there any way of knowing if they’ve been deleted in the past or dropped off.......seems like a big job to remove it all only to find it has already been done.

I understand the locking of the fuel pump pulley and pump removal but do these manifolds have coolant running through them?.

Having done engine swaps etc in the past, and having owned a 300ZX T-T in the past and being reasonably handy with spanner’s how long a job is it?, allowing for coffees and smokes!, and is there anything in particular to look out for? (Other than the key on the pump shaft)

sorry if this has been done to death in the past but getting a bit overwhelmed with different info on different engines etc.Any advice much appreciated 👍
 

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No the metal flaps are far more troublesome than the plastic ones. They are a ticking time bomb get rid ASAP in my opinion. If you do find some missing look inside the head to see if it’s wedged. One of mine was the other 2 that were missing had gone through damaging valves and turbo.
 

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I reckon if you are handy with the spanners you could have the job done and dusted in a day allowing for coffee and smoke breaks. And yes coolant would need draining down. If there is no recent history for timing belt being done it’s worth doing at same time. No real way of knowing if they have been deleted or dropped off already without taking manifold off.
 

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CF4 plastic manifold equals metal swirl flaps. No need to panic but get rid of them soonest. Worst case is they'll damage the combustion chamber before lodging in the turbo vanes and ruining it.... Remove manifold, remove swirl flaps (assuming they're still there) and blank off ensuring no air leaks. Be a good idea to blank off/delete the EGR valve at the same time. Nothing complicated, just time hungry.
 

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2007 GT Blackline 1.9 JTDm
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated 👍

cambelt and water pump were done at 98k miles so they should be ok I’d have thought, the engine is sweet as a nut and pulls like a train so fingers crossed all the flaps are sat in the manifold.

If the flaps are all present and I get rid of them can I leave the EGR on for now as I don’t want to drive around with the EML lit, I know the EGR can be sorted with software but that will have to wait for now.......how does a partial delete work?, is it a plate with a smaller hole that restricts the exhaust gases but lets enough through to keep the sensors happy?.
 

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Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated 👍

cambelt and water pump were done at 98k miles so they should be ok I’d have thought, the engine is sweet as a nut and pulls like a train so fingers crossed all the flaps are sat in the manifold.

If the flaps are all present and I get rid of them can I leave the EGR on for now as I don’t want to drive around with the EML lit, I know the EGR can be sorted with software but that will have to wait for now.......how does a partial delete work?, is it a plate with a smaller hole that restricts the exhaust gases but lets enough through to keep the sensors happy?.
Yes, you can delete swirl flaps but leave EGR functioning. You may notice torque at low revs (below boost threshold) drops off a touch. Once EGR is deleted, this missing torque will come back probably with even more.

IMO the EGR restrictor plate / "partial delete" is meaningless, it does nothing for performance or anything else. Maybe it helps stop the EGR clogging up if gas speed is increased.
 

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Your paranoia is not unjustified... I'd get rid of the flaps ASAP, if someone hasn't already been there, they're a grenade. It's so much easier and cheaper than repairing all the consequential damage. 5 years since I repaired mine, and I got off lightly without bore, catalyst or turbo damage, just a lightly planished piston crown, head damage and 2 bent valves. One flap did that, another was lodged in an inlet tract. It's been perfect since.

You'll likely find the interior of the inlet manifold is caked with oil & soot and has the gasflow ability of a bag of wet coal. Cleaning all that off is the sort of thing that might persuade you the EGR just has to be blanked off. I put up with the warning light until I could afford to have it mapped out. And then you have the dilemma that a Stage 1 remap is much better value than just having the EGR light turned off :)

EDIT: and yes there is a small coolant gallery through the inlet manifold, so mostly draining the system is a good idea.
 

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2007 GT Blackline 1.9 JTDm
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Discussion Starter #8
One question I have is how is it that Vauxhall’s with the 1.9 CDTi engine, which I believe is the same engine, seem to be capable of “moon miles” without swirl flap failure?.A friend of mine services and repairs cars for a local taxi fleet and some cars have done 200k+ miles and he’s never heard of a single flap failure in years of doing the job on multiple cars?.
 

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The engines are broadly the same across the marques however there are some differences.
I suspect vauxhall have the ally manifold as it is far more common for leaks rather than flap ingestion I could however be wrong but my brothers old Astra van of around 2009 vintage had the ally manifold with plastic flaps. So it’s quite possible that they do fail in big numbers but no damage is done and owner is unaware.

as halftone said the metal flaps are a problem, there have been numerous people who have had failures. as I said above recon head and turbo were needed,I was just lucky that no bore or piston damage occurred.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the replies guys 👍

For 10 years I worked at Perkins Engines building CV12 and CV8 Challenger and Warrior engines etc but weirdly none of them were as challenging as this manifold removal looks!!!......
 

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Oh Perkins engines I have fond memories of head gaskets fuel pumps and compressors on them when bolted under a train. I would rather an inlet manifold than a compressor on a Perkins 2006-TWH that’s for sure
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh Perkins engines I have fond memories of head gaskets fuel pumps and compressors on them when bolted under a train. I would rather an inlet manifold than a compressor on a Perkins 2006-TWH that’s for sure
The BREL engines!, I remember them well......the one based on the straight-six Eagle TX engine?, they were all built by five guys in their own assembly area.I built the first 10 gas converted TX engines that were made for ERF.......happy days and best job I ever had
 

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That’s the ones noisy as hell,air operated fuel rack and needed max power to pull away. On a train they have 7 power notches anything below notch 5 and they couldn’t pull your foreskin back all revs and no go. It was a case of all or nothing reliable lump though happily go 500k miles between changes with only a few issues along the way. Don’t work on them anymore but plenty of them still out and about. I deal with the MTU 12V 1600 R80L these days.
 

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The BREL engines!, I remember them well......the one based on the straight-six Eagle TX engine?, they were all built by five guys in their own assembly area.I built the first 10 gas converted TX engines that were made for ERF.......happy days and best job I ever had
365 engines for the train fleets plus any extras were built by 5 guys is rather impressive mind!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
365 engines for the train fleets plus any extras were built by 5 guys is rather impressive mind!
when I started there in ‘89 you picked a crankcase off the line, they were a sub-assembly with the crank/cam/liners fitted, and it went in a trestle that would rotate 360 degrees and one man built the engine up from there.Cylinder heads etc were also sub-assemblies.That was the same for both the Eagle inline engines and CV engines.At one time the inline engine build area had around 24 build trestles and everyone had their own bench etc

Before I left in ‘99 both the inline and CV areas went to a rolling line system with one man doing one particular stage, which was nowhere near as satisfying as building a complete engine, but from memory the BREL build area stayed as a trestle build.

When it was the old trestle build system the average build rate for the 12L Eagle engine was around 1.5 engines per man per day but if you got a spurt on you could build two complete engines ready for test......but it was frowned upon by the old guys as it made them look slow!

The place is a Caterpillar reman plant now but I was talking to someone who works there now and apparently there is still a BREL engine area still there!.
 

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How things change over the years I doubt there’s a great deal of hand building anywhere these days.
They still recon the engines that are in service so that will be why there are still guys on the BREL area. from memory warranty is 500k miles so once they reach 490-495k they are swapped out for a recon one and the old goes back to Perkins. They must be kept fairly busy there still given amount of engines in service and 495k can be done inside 2 years.
 

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For 10 years I worked at Perkins Engines building CV12 and CV8 Challenger and Warrior engines etc but weirdly none of them were as challenging as this manifold removal looks!!!.....
It's not too bad, once you get your head round it. The clutter on the bulkhead (fuel filter etc) has to be removed, then the vacuum oil separator that bolts to the back of the block. Difficult because it's hard to see where the (3) fixings are. Putting it back is even trickier :)
The HP fuel pump has to come off, but the drive pulley can be bolted to the support bracket using an M6x30mm bolt. There's a hole in the pulley that aligns with a threaded hole at about 10o'clock. Do so means no need to disturb the cam belt.

I didn't realise until after I'd taken off the manifold that just 2 Allen-head bolts secure the plastic plenum chamber to the stub manifold. It's much easier to remove that first since doing so allows far better access to the manifold studs and nuts. You will have to remove the studs, and although I did it once with a stud extractor, locked nuts work better. There are just quite a lot of them (~10).

You'll find a lot more about all this, blanking swirl flaps holes etc, including photos, within the megathread at Swirl flaps How To and MAF clean How To anywhere? 159 1.9 - as two of us blundered through swirl flap repairs on 159 and 147 1.9 16v in stereo.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies folks, must admit I’ve wimped out and booked it in with an Alfa specialist to have the swirl flaps deleted and the cambelt/water pump done at the same time.

Next job after that will be to get the sill damage sorted as some muppet has jacked it up on the sills at some point, then get the wheels refurbished.......then get the parking sensors working.

After all the work I did/had done on my 300ZX I vowed that was it but Mirabella the GT has got me hooked! 🥰
 

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While you're making a list... Do also keep an eye on the oil cooler pipes/unions.They rust and eventually fail, meaning all the engine oil escapes, which is disaster. Any sign of oil drips on the ground just in front of the driver's side front wheel are a sign of imminent failure. Autolusso sell an aftermarket kit using a Mocal cooler which is rot-proof and much cheaper than the OE parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
While you're making a list... Do also keep an eye on the oil cooler pipes/unions.They rust and eventually fail, meaning all the engine oil escapes, which is disaster. Any sign of oil drips on the ground just in front of the driver's side front wheel are a sign of imminent failure. Autolusso sell an aftermarket kit using a Mocal cooler which is rot-proof and much cheaper than the OE parts.
Thanks for that, I’ve had a look through the receipts I have with the car and it turns out the oil cooler pipes were replaced this time last year 👍.

Turns out one of my parking sensors has packed up, the one to the right of the number plate, so picked two sensors up today and will replace the two either side of the numberplate once I get round to taking the bumper off.
 
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