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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! First post, and first time Alfa owner.

I've recently purchased a 2010 Alfa Romeo 147 JTD and have had issues starting the car. The vehicle usually takes two to three attempts at starting, and once running, the vehicle idles quite roughly. Once on the road, the car drives beautifully although I wouldn't be able to determine whether it's running optimally or if running rough.

A mechanic said the car is difficult to start, rough idling, and running rough, however I didn't think it was running all that rough once out on the road.

After starting from cold, the vehicle produces a fair bit of a black cloud of smoke from the exhaust pipe.

Once warm, the vehicle is still difficult to start, although it usually only takes two attempts to start as opposed to three (or more) when cold. And when I say cold, we're talking about an ambient temperature of 9 degrees celsius or warmer (I live in Tasmania, Australia and we're having very pleasant temperatures at present.)

The vehicle has approximately 110,000 kms, and has been regularly serviced at an Alfa shop in Melbourne (Alfa Men as well as Zagame). The previous owner said he had the glow plugs replaced at the 80,000 kms, and a timing belt and water pump replaced at 63,500 kms. Other than that, I can see that the log book shows regular maintenance.

I've uploaded a youtube video here. The video shows the difficulty starting, although this isn't as bad as other recent attempts.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!

-Richard
 

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Hello rshaules and welcome. Your video is showing as unavailable, at least to me, for some reason. Anyone know why?
 

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Black smoke is poor combustion I would check boost pipes for splits,maf,map and possibly look at having compression check and injectors tested. Just had a thought egr valve another potential if it’s gunked up
Has MES been plugged in to see if anything is flagged up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello rshaules and welcome. Your video is showing as unavailable, at least to me, for some reason. Anyone know why?
Hi there, perhaps it's how I listed the video on youtube. I've changed the privacy settings, hopefully this works for you?
 

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Firing without starting like that and black smoke suggest poor combustion, I would try injector cleaner and an 'Italian tune-up' to start with. Also check that the battery and starter cable connections are good, a good cranking speed and healthy battery volts are critical.

Even when hot the high pressure pump, which is driven by the engine, has to raise the fuel pressure before the injectors start opening so starting isn’t instant.
 

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I reckon your manifold is coked up, worth pulling the map sensor and checking how dirty it is, as mentioned, EGR is also a common culprit - get it blanked out.

Not sure if your car has swirlflaps, I know some of the later JTDs did, but removing the actuator arm, and locking them in the open position helped mine loads.
 

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Not sure if your car has swirlflaps, I know some of the later JTDs did, but removing the actuator arm, and locking them in the open position helped mine loads.
Ha! Only took 6 posts to get to swirl flaps ;)

The 2010 147 JTDm will be the CF4 engine variant, so plastic manifold body, internal flap mechanism, plastic spindles, metal flaps - worst combo for dammage if/when the flaps break off.

More info here: https://www.autolusso.co.uk/swirl-flap.html

If you've never had them looked at, it's definitely worth budgetting to have them removed by a competant mechanic.
 

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Thought as much.

Your video seems to be exactly the same as my 159, albeit my smoke was white (unburned diesel) I changed the glow plugs 3 of which were correct, 2 different manufacturer, cleaned up all my earths and changed my battery - but locking open the swirl flaps had the most effect - I ditched them at cambelt time - still has occasional few turns before it'll fire, but nothing like before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I reckon your manifold is coked up, worth pulling the map sensor and checking how dirty it is, as mentioned, EGR is also a common culprit - get it blanked out.

Not sure if your car has swirlflaps, I know some of the later JTDs did, but removing the actuator arm, and locking them in the open position helped mine loads.
Hi amfalconer, Thanks heaps for your reply- can I ask what you mean by getting it blanked out? And does this have a negative impact on anything else? I live in a small rural town, and unsure what kind of equipment my local mechanic has, so if this would require special equipment, I'm doubtful the mechanic could do it... thoughts?
 

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The EGR valve needs a physical blanking plate to stop the exhaust gases re-entering the engine - on some engines, simply blanking this off doesn't cause issues - I suspect yours will throw an engine management light - you can get a remote EGR blank kit from Autolusso if garages/services are a bit sparse where you are:

https://newalfaparts.co.uk/147-1-9-modification/2613-remote-egr-delete.html

Unsure how it actually works though.. think you do it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi everyone and thanks so much for all the suggestions! I'm planning on having a look at the EGR valve this weekend and giving it a good clean out.

I've also taken another video with the wife trying to start the car, and a better view of the smoke coming out- not sure if I'd say it's more black or grey, and not sure if it matters either way? If anyone can have a look at the second video and let me know if your thoughts or suggestions change, that would be great!

 

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That 147 looks like new, so beautiful :blabla:

Well about start issue, it could be injector/pump/filter pressure lose issue or air inside hoses. Crankshaft and camshaft faulty sensor too inclusive if not related DTC is there.
 

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That's more of a white smoke - most probably unburned diesel - smoking from diesels is generally as per Black = poor combustion, blue = burnt oil, and white can be unburned diesel or water vapour.

The EGR most likely won't solve your start issues, it's just a good idea to get rid to prevent further issues - my EGR was a bit sooty, but worked properly and the same start issues remained when itr was working, or blanked off and mapped out - you may notice the car takes a little longer to warm up in cold temps, but otherwise it'll run cleaner and stronger.

The unburned diesel, if that's what it is could also be from a dribbly or worn injector - chuck a can of injector cleaner (forte or BG244K if you can get it) though and see if it helps - I still get a puff of smoke from mine and the injectors are the only things I haven't touched - although correction values seem OK.

My money's still on your manifold and swirl flaps though - it's about right for that age and mileage.
 

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Assuming it's a 16v see the Autolusso link in post #7.

Also see my avatar. BTDT.

A compression test will find any bent and leaking valves from swirl flap ingestion, which could be the source of unburned diesel and poor starting. Sorry to say this engine doesn't sound very healthy, consistent with weak compression on 1 or 2 cylinders.

If it's an 8v, none of this applies
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi everyone,

Just a quick update after visiting the mechanic.

A bit frustrated that I didn't get any real insight into the problem- the mechanic was able to see that there is a fault code p0520, "oil pressure switch invalid condition intermittent"

The mechanic didn't think this fault code was necessarily related to the rough start problem.

The mechanic said one of the four injectors was "weak" but functional.

The mechanic suggested the problem might be related to the glow plugs. He said he tested them, but didn't know the voltage to test with, and had a "dodgy multimeter". Don't know if this means he could actually test them or not, but I have no solid evidence of whether there is or is not an issue related to the glow plus.

He suggested I get it checked with an Alfa specialist, but alas, I don't have one...

Any suggestions could be greatly appreciated!
 

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Not a very good mechanic then if he didn’t know voltage to test at..... I would be looking for an independent to take a look at the car they will carry out the checks listed above and get to the bottom of it.

Edit, just seen your comment about no specialist. It is after all just a Diesel engine as fitted to many GM vehicles so a decent garage should be able to help you out. Where are you located someone on here may be able to recommend somewhere
 
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