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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

Advice required please;

In short, I have an oil consumption problem, and an engine pinking problem, which I’m not sure if they’re related or 2 completely separate issues, furhter to this I don't know what to do about them.

The car is an Alfa Romeo 156 JTS 2.0l Veloce - 52 plate, with 92K miles on the clock. It drives superbly, looks great & I love it.

History: -
I purchased the car back in May this year on 90K miles and it has what appears to be a full service history.
At 83K miles, in June 2009 the previous owner had the head rebuilt due to the cam belt snapping (I have the invoice).
About 4 weeks ago the engine management light came on with “Motor Control Failure” being displayed and the car went into limp home mode.
I took the car to my local main dealer and they tightened some pins in a connector block, successfully removing the problem. Whilst there they checked the oil & noticed it was low.
Since then I have recently checked the oil & it is low again, it took 1.3l to top up again and was after driving only 600 miles, I used genuine Selenia 5W/40 oil.
Also in the last week or so, the MCF light came back on for a few hours (without any drop in performance this time) it then went out again and has since stayed out.
My local dealer has advised that it is burning the oil one way or another as there are no leaks evident and therefore requires a wet/dry compression test to determine if its blow by (piston rings) or valve stems – but either way it’ll be expensive to repair…

Pinking Observations: -
Since owning the car I have noticed that the engine seems to pink, mainly while revving through 2-3krpm in 2nd gear (though can only be heard with windows down, without too much wind i.e. travelling 25-35mph)
It is worse in hot weather, after a long journey or with cheap fuel, but is always present to some degree, but barely noticeable (if at all present) when cold.
At worst it will pink when stationary, and pulling away can be particularly difficult then because the revs drop quickly as you engage the clutch, it’s as though there is a severe flat spot like the timing is way too far advanced maybe).
Performance wise, it feels good, though I have nothing to compare it too. In fact it seems to prefer it when I give it plenty of revs and drive it hard.

Oil Consumption Observations: -
I have noticed the occasional faint puff of smoke when revving it stationary whilst really looking for it, though it looks black and not blue as I’d have expected if burning oil.
The exhaust tail pipe is a bit sooty, almost as though it’s been running rich.

Other: -
The temperature gauge mostly sits bang in the middle at 90, but sometimes on the motorway or in traffic it creeps up, though it never goes as far as the ¾ mark, but the hotter it gets the worse the pinking problem becomes.
The radiator is slightly corroded, and the air-conditioning condenser is fairly dirty probably causing reduced air flow, but by how much I’m not sure… I’m not sure of the best way to clean it?

Questions: -
1. Is it normal for the temperature to mostly sit at 90, but sometimes going very close to the ¾ mark?
2. Could using the Selenia race oil 10W/60 help reduce oil consumption, & is it advisable?
3. Are there any additives that can improve oil consumption in these engines?
4. Could it be a simple issue such as a blocked breather or something else like that?
5. Is this level of pinking/oil consumption a serious problem, i.e. is it common with the JTS, can I keep driving it, will it progressively get worse am I causing further damage etc?
6. Is it possible that one of the cams or both could have been set one tooth out when the head was repaired (please see history below) & would this make it pink?
7. Could the oil cause a carbon build up and make it do the pinking I’ve experienced, or would you think this is unrelated?
8. Do I just need to face facts and have new rings/head cleaned/valve stem seals etc?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated, sorry for the info overload.

Thanks
 

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Hi All,

Advice required please;

In short, I have an oil consumption problem, and an engine pinking problem, which I’m not sure if they’re related or 2 completely separate issues, furhter to this I don't know what to do about them.

The car is an Alfa Romeo 156 JTS 2.0l Veloce - 52 plate, with 92K miles on the clock. It drives superbly, looks great & I love it.

History: -
I purchased the car back in May this year on 90K miles and it has what appears to be a full service history.
At 83K miles, in June 2009 the previous owner had the head rebuilt due to the cam belt snapping (I have the invoice).
About 4 weeks ago the engine management light came on with “Motor Control Failure” being displayed and the car went into limp home mode.
I took the car to my local main dealer and they tightened some pins in a connector block, successfully removing the problem. Whilst there they checked the oil & noticed it was low.
Since then I have recently checked the oil & it is low again, it took 1.3l to top up again and was after driving only 600 miles, I used genuine Selenia 5W/40 oil.
Also in the last week or so, the MCF light came back on for a few hours (without any drop in performance this time) it then went out again and has since stayed out.
My local dealer has advised that it is burning the oil one way or another as there are no leaks evident and therefore requires a wet/dry compression test to determine if its blow by (piston rings) or valve stems – but either way it’ll be expensive to repair…

Pinking Observations: -
Since owning the car I have noticed that the engine seems to pink, mainly while revving through 2-3krpm in 2nd gear (though can only be heard with windows down, without too much wind i.e. travelling 25-35mph)
It is worse in hot weather, after a long journey or with cheap fuel, but is always present to some degree, but barely noticeable (if at all present) when cold.
At worst it will pink when stationary, and pulling away can be particularly difficult then because the revs drop quickly as you engage the clutch, it’s as though there is a severe flat spot like the timing is way too far advanced maybe).
Performance wise, it feels good, though I have nothing to compare it too. In fact it seems to prefer it when I give it plenty of revs and drive it hard.

Oil Consumption Observations: -
I have noticed the occasional faint puff of smoke when revving it stationary whilst really looking for it, though it looks black and not blue as I’d have expected if burning oil.
The exhaust tail pipe is a bit sooty, almost as though it’s been running rich.

Other: -
The temperature gauge mostly sits bang in the middle at 90, but sometimes on the motorway or in traffic it creeps up, though it never goes as far as the ¾ mark, but the hotter it gets the worse the pinking problem becomes.
The radiator is slightly corroded, and the air-conditioning condenser is fairly dirty probably causing reduced air flow, but by how much I’m not sure… I’m not sure of the best way to clean it?

Questions: -
1. Is it normal for the temperature to mostly sit at 90, but sometimes going very close to the ¾ mark?
2. Could using the Selenia race oil 10W/60 help reduce oil consumption, & is it advisable?
3. Are there any additives that can improve oil consumption in these engines?
4. Could it be a simple issue such as a blocked breather or something else like that?
5. Is this level of pinking/oil consumption a serious problem, i.e. is it common with the JTS, can I keep driving it, will it progressively get worse am I causing further damage etc?
6. Is it possible that one of the cams or both could have been set one tooth out when the head was repaired (please see history below) & would this make it pink?
7. Could the oil cause a carbon build up and make it do the pinking I’ve experienced, or would you think this is unrelated?
8. Do I just need to face facts and have new rings/head cleaned/valve stem seals etc?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated, sorry for the info overload.

Thanks
can only answer Q 1 and 2 it is normal for the temp to be 90. Also the recommended oil is 10/60 not 5/40 but that said there are threads with different views on the spec to use............sorry cant help on other issues..
 

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I've had a couple of 1.8 T sparks that have done up around 150k miles both drank oil (quite alot) but went ok, alas one blew up cruising at 100+ the other night on a deserted motorway with plenty of oil and running at normal temp, but thats another story..

I was speaking to an experienced Alfa garage a couple of weeks ago and he said they all start to drink oil after a certain amount of time. I also had slightly hot running car when stuck in traffic, high speed cruising, the rad was a bit old and corroded and once this was replaced it was fine, again i've heard it said the rads are only good for 6-8 years??
 

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I would say that even if the car is run on 5w-40 the car shouldn't burn enough oil for it to smoke, even though the JTS was specifies with 10w-60 to help reduce consumption.

I am wondering whether the car has suffered piston damage when the cambelt snapped.

It may be thet the impact has caused the ring grooves to close up and pinch the rings, and this is preventing a seal. Of course excess burned oil can also cause carbon buildup, and that can cause pinking.

There is also a chance that a bit of valve or stray metal caused a scratch on the bore, but I wouldn't think that was too likely.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thansk for your comments, and please keep em coming...

I am now considering getting my old mechanic tools out and blowing the dust off them to give it a go myself, anyone stripped a JTS down before?

I used to work on V12 engines at a back street Jaguar garage, so hopefully there shouldn't be anything too scary unless I strip a thread somewhere or something.

PS I just discovered that JTS stands for Jet Thrust Stoichiometric.... What a great name, though does this mean my engine is only theoretical :rolleyes:
 

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Hi, I'm interested to learn how this has evolved. I have an 03 JTS with the same problems.
High oil usage and pinging/knocking. No blue smoke from exhaust but have seen some black smoke occasionally as if running rich.

Could a faulty variator be responsible for the pinging? What about an incorrectly installed timing belt as already mentioned? The belt was done 15,000 miles ago but it was done privately, not through a commercial garage.

Is there any way to retard the timing on the ECU to see if the pinging goes away or is this only for old school distributors and rotor buttons?

Thanks.
 

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My GTV (TS) drinks oil....it's always been bad but recently its going through about 0.5 litres every 150 miles; however, I've been told its probably best just to wait for it to go bang, and that it could go on for years like that.
 

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I've had this problem with my 156 2.0L TS. I've had the engine stripped and rebuilt after an spectacular failure 18 months ago. When I was runing it in, the oil consumption seemed fine. 500 miles to first service and no movement on dipstick. Got it serviced and oil changed at 500 miles, took it easy for a further 1000 miles, then it started using it again. I typically get 300 miles out of a litre which might sound horrendous but it runs great, no pinking, good fuel economy, great performance. I do quite short journeys to work all week and do drive the car hard (after I've warmed it up though). I have notice that consumption does drop considerably on long journeys though.

I've even had my mate drive it and followed on in his Mazda 6 sport (which is a 2.3 with 163bhp) and couldn't a) see any blue smoke out of the tailpipe on hard acceleration or even the overrun (although there was a slight puff of black on the gear change) and b) catch the bloody thing!!


I just top the car up every week. At least it's always got fresh oil!


:lol:
 

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has the timing belt been replaced recently? sounds like it might be a tooth out.
they can also slip a tooth if the belt or tensioner is worn. maybe worth a look?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
has the timing belt been replaced recently? sounds like it might be a tooth out.
they can also slip a tooth if the belt or tensioner is worn. maybe worth a look?
The head was rebuilt 7k miles ago, though the car runs too well for it to be cam timing... or so I have been told...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have an update, Good & Bad news...
The good news; my local garage beleives they have found a leak, and can explain the soot on my bumper because I have a coil that's on it's way out (common with JTS), and not burning all the fuel properly, which also explains the pinking quite probably!
The bad news; it's quite probably the rear oil seal - gearbox off job! Still that'll be a lot cheaper to replace than piston rings though me thinks!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi, I'm interested to learn how this has evolved. I have an 03 JTS with the same problems.
High oil usage and pinging/knocking. No blue smoke from exhaust but have seen some black smoke occasionally as if running rich.

Could a faulty variator be responsible for the pinging? What about an incorrectly installed timing belt as already mentioned? The belt was done 15,000 miles ago but it was done privately, not through a commercial garage.

Is there any way to retard the timing on the ECU to see if the pinging goes away or is this only for old school distributors and rotor buttons?

Thanks.
I don't think you can adv. ret. the timing on any modern cars without a laptop and dealer software realy, which is a bummer! Though maybe you have a similar problem to mine?
Mine never really had blue smoke though it was difficult to tell & it was never that much, but now I'm convinced it is sooty black smaoke due to unburnt fuel caused by a dicky coil.
 

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