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Hi all. I have just joined this forum as I've recently become an Alfa owner. After wanting an Alfa for years, I finally gave in and bought myself a GT blackline (jtdm 150) about six months ago, however I've had a few niggles with it, the most recent being temporary/intermittent lack of power...

The other day I'd just taken the car for its MOT, and it passed with one advisory (seal around fuel filter slightly leaky). I picked the car up and drove no more than three or four miles, and it started making a VERY loud knocking noise from the engine, along with the motor control system warning light illuminating on the dash. I had it looked at by a mobile mechanic who said it was a faulty injector. I then took it to a different garage following this advice to have the injector changed, and the mechanic told me that he'd cleared error codes down, road tested it and couldn't find a problem!

Since the car was in the garage I have been driving it normally, and the loud knocking noise has not returned once. It does seem down on power at intermittent stages though. I did some digging and found the EGR valve commonly gets clogged up on these jtdm units, so I cleaned it up with the help of a thread on this forum, but it made no real difference (although a lot of soot came out of the EGR)

I am now very worried that the problem still exists and will rear its ugly head again. I have a few important long journeys to do soon, one of them being a funeral, and really don't want it breaking down on me at the worst possible moment.

Whilst cleaning the EGR I did find the pipe in the attached pictures to be loose. Is this supposed to be loosely attached to the engine or fixed properly? I could just lift it out with my hand, no effort at all. Could this have something to do with the power loss maybe?

Also, is it a good idea to add tank additives to the diesel to clean the system up or should I steer clear? I'm wondering if this will help with the power loss, but I have heard a few horror stories...

Any advice gratefully received

Thanks :)
 

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That brass pipe into the vacuum oil separator seems to quite often be loose. Mine is like that. It is supposed to be clamped into the body of the separator by a lift-collar clamp (like push-fit plumbing), which fails. Some people get an oily mess as fumes escape but I do not, so I've left it. Fixing it means replacing the separator body, or devising some other means of holding the pipe in place. It doesn't cause any other problems.

I am going to sound like a worn-out record by Leonard Cohen on a bad day but your loud rattle followed by some loss of power is the classic sign of a detached swirl-valve flap having entering the engine. I see from the pic that you have the 'plastic' Magneti Marelli inlet manifold, which is the culprit. My avatar shows a swirl-valve flap recovered from my engine, which had lost 2 out of 4.

You can read all about it here Autolusso - Swirl Flap Delete

A long thread wherein Resolution (with a 159 1.9 JTD 150) and I (147 1.9 JTD 150) fixed our cars in parallel.
http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa...s-how-and-maf-clean-how-anywhere-159-1-a.html

A compression test is likely to confirm this is your issue, since you'll probably have a slightly bent valve or two.

There have been a lot of these, you'll find a lot more info by searching the forum. Sorry :(

EDIT: If the car is usable, it's unlikely to get any worse in the short term - the flap will have done its worst and gone out the exhaust port in small bits. My car did 4,000mls after the first flap detached and went through the engine, c/o previous owner who knew 'something' had happened but not what. It was down on power a bit and had a top-end rattle, and a slightly uneven tickover, and MPG had dropped. I think the worst case of serious piston and bore damage is pretty rare. Mostly a reconditioned head is all that's needed.

It's quite common for people to discover 2 or 3 flaps have gone missing over a period of time, and they had no idea why the car was a bit unwell. So whilst there's obviously a slight risk of another flap breaking off and causing worse damage, it will likely stay as it is. I would just take it easy, though, short shift, keep throttle openings small. It's also common for a detached flap to sit harmlessly in the inlet tract for a while, and better it does than get sucked in.
 

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Thanks for your reply.

Would taking the manifold off and replacing swirl flaps be a massive job? And how about if the valves are bent? Sounds time consuming and costly :(
 

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Thanks for your reply.

Would taking the manifold off and replacing swirl flaps be a massive job? And how about if the valves are bent? Sounds time consuming and costly :(
bottom end in normally OK...but yes it is a head off thing and it is costly, don't beat yourself up about it, its not just an Alfa thing but quite a few of that generation of diesel engines had the flap design and most manufacturers executed it poorly, it's a well know fault on the BMW diesels as well.

best case is one or two bent valves, worst case is it can and does on occasion take out the turbo on the way through and can damage bottom end but it sounds as if you are ok on this front..if you are doing it you will have to do the cambelt of course and might as well do the water pump while you are their.

re replacing the flaps well no point, removal along with EGR and re map and you will be a very happy man.

I think all in this will be around £800 , depending on what they find. dependent on where you are based I would choose between these guys. Autolusso luton,bournemouth, penrith, or the alfa wokshop in Royston

I have dealt with Loz in Bournemouth,Ned in Luton and Jamie in Royston, and I have heard only good things about Dan in Penrith they are all top drawer trustworthy operations and will do the job right without open wallet surgery.

stay away from main dealers ,any decent Alfa specialist should have a fixed price on this job or be able to give you a very good idea having likely done it before it should be a similar labour charge to a head rebuild after cambelt failure on a diesel which is normally a handful or rockers and the belt ,tensioner ,pump and idler.

good luck with it.:thumbup:
 

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As Joeymannero said: take it to a specialist, get the flaps deleted and EGR deleted and mapped out, and you will have a better JTD than it was when it left the factory with most of the recurrent problems banished for good.
 

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As Joeymannero said: take it to a specialist, get the flaps deleted and EGR deleted and mapped out, and you will have a better JTD than it was when it left the factory with most of the recurrent problems banished for good.
...until the oil cooler falls off :biglaugh:
 

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...until the oil cooler falls off :biglaugh:



ever the optimist t3yls !:biglaugh:

mine is ok and often checked and one of the ones undersealed properly ..but yes it is yet another weak point on these cars..

its funny as the JTDm is a fantastically strong engine, the tuning possibilities are testament to this but oil coolers,wishbones,egr valves,swirl flaps ,water pumps,and thermostats all take their toll ,and the result is almost every year past about 60k you will be doing something major along with the regular servicing. and by the time you finish, its time to start all over again!
 

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Yeah i literally caked mine in waxoyl years ago. Looks terrible, but i just want it to hold.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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I gave mine the Kurust + Hammerite treatment while I had the head and turbo off, and it looks like it has a couple of years left in it, but it's on the list to replace this summer.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all for your advice. I'll take it easy for now and get it to a garage when it's due its next service in 2k miles :)
 
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