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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, '97 Ph1 Cf1 2.0TS Spider.
I've had an oil leak, resembling the cam cover leaking initially (oil leaking front left of engine), since having a cam belt change 18 months ago (even though the timing was done wrong... another story...)and despite 3 cam cover seals, multiple attempts at seating it, with and without sealant in the cam bearing cap corners, another cam belt change due to poor timing and oil soaked belts, advised and had new cam bearing seals and a cam bearing cap seal, I'm still getting oil running from the front of the cam belt cover and now from underneath the crank. The belts are covered in oil again and I'm at the end of my bloody tether with it. Where could it be coming from to get all over the belts? I can't afford to keep having cam belt changes done because the belts are getting contaminated. The cam seals themselves seem oil free, but there is oil from the cam cover all down, but nothing I do with it seems to make end difference, which is why I'm thinking it must be something else. It only drips after running, not when just sat, so the oil must be under some pressure to be forced out of wherever. I'm getting a good few drips when I park up, not just a smear amount. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all, James.
 

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The two rubber rocker cover gaskets are notoriously weak on the Phase 1 2.0TS GTV and Spider. It is recommended to change them for new with every cambelt change, and you also need to be very careful how they are positioned on the rocker cover prior to fitting. The two weakest spots for these rubber gaskets are on the left side closest to the cambelt assembly, and the inner gasket which surrounds the port for spark plugs numbers 7 & 8. Overall, it really is a crap design!

As a start, I would suggest you take off the rocker cover, replace the gaskets with new items again, and possibly reinforce them with a gasket sealant placed sparingly around the entire circuit of the cylinder head where the rocker cover and gaskets sits. Use a top quality gasket sealant. The technique is to use a very thin line of gasket sealant, and then gently spread this with a finger so that there is a thin bit wide layer of gasket sealant for the gasket to sit on. This acts as a membrane for the rubber gasket to achieve a more effective seal. I have watched my specialist do this, and it works every time.

Finally, when replacing the rocker cover, don't overtighten the bolts holding it all down. There is a temptation to make them very tight, but this has the opposite effect, literally squeezing the rubber gaskets until they are really quite compromised.

Alfa did of course revise this design for the Phase 2, where the gaskets are much more robust. Not much help though for Phase 1 owners!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The gasket is new, as of 2 weeks ago... And you're of course quite right, but they're not overtightened, and I've tried multiple positionings to stop it and nothing changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh and I also tried good gasket sealant underneath a previous but still new gasket too, still no change.
 

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I'm no expert but could it be something like a cam seal rather than a gasket? I don't know anything about these engines so don't know the layout.

Alternatively could it be the mating surfaces where the gasket sites are not flat? Could be corroded, a crack or a small nick where someone has accidentally damaged something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cam seals have been replaced, and they seem dry. I'm starting to wonder if it's possibly the crank seal, as the amount that seems to come out now is more than you'd get from just a weeping seal face, and more like under pressure. A diagram I found seems to suggest that the pressurised oil pathway goes from the pump, through the filter and then on to the crank bearing at this end. I'm not certain though. Probably time for a call to the garage.

Thanks for all your ideas though folks.
 

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The cam caps that hold the cam and seal in place need a thin film of sealant on the face that matches up to the head.
 

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It looks like that has been applied from what I can see.
Balance shaft seals were weeping on mine. It runs down to around the crank area then. I disconnected the balance belt so they don't turn anymore and no more leaks.

Sent from my S40 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It's currently at the garage being looked at. It's not cam cover seal, doesn't appear to be balance shaft or crank seals, all plugs in the head have been taken out and thread-locked back in. Apparently it doesn't do it if on the ramp at idle or revs, it only does it when driving i.e. under load. It's coming from somewhere, getting onto one of the pulleys and being blasted around off the belts. The last update was that it had been washed on that side again, taken out for a quick run then inspected, and the only oil seemed to be coming from the bolt holes that hold the variator onto its cam pulley...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Out of interest, how does it run without the balance shafts connected? Any discernable difference? I've read some varying opinions on the subject of disconnecting the balance shaft belts.
Balance shaft seals were weeping on mine. It runs down to around the crank area then. I disconnected the balance belt so they don't turn anymore and no more leaks.

Sent from my S40 using Tapatalk
 

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Out of interest, how does it run without the balance shafts connected? Any discernable difference? I've read some varying opinions on the subject of disconnecting the balance shaft belts.
I can't really say what the difference is before and after balance shafts being immobilised as I never drove the car before.
It's had a lot of work done over the few months I've owned it but it certainly drives well now.
Doesn't seem to have any vibrations I can detect and it certainly revs freely.
I'm just sorry I bought the full set of belts and tensioners when I only used the cambelt parts :blabla:
Anyone want to buy a balance shaft belt kit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
UPDATE:

So for anybody who may be interested (or not!) we found the reason for the leak. Despite the options offered by members here such as cam cover and balance shaft seals etc I wasn't convinced and the garage backed this up upon checking. Firstly it seemed it might be a weeping plug/thread in the side if the head, but it turned out not to be. Now, the symptoms as discovered by the garage was that oil was spraying liberally everywhere off the cam belt, but where the source was was a mystery. It wasn't doing it at idle or when revving on a ramp, but when taken out for a drive (I.e. under load) then it was appearing. After a good wash down followed by a short blast the garage found the only oil to seem to be coming from the bolts holding the cam pulley to the variator... even though this seems to make little sense! So a somehow faulty variator was diagnosed. So duely swapped out for a new one it was. Sure enough the leak had now stopped, following testing on ramps and driving tests. This is of course good news, but how the hell does a variator leak through a solid body?! Well, here's the answer. The main body of the variator is actually made of two parts, a "case" containing the helical spline, and a pressed in cap which has the locating diameter for the cam pulley. The cap is pressed in then welded (laser welded I believe) to ensure no oil comes out. Well the weld on the "original" has a hairline crack round it's entire diameter, and the weld hasn't adhered properly to the cap diameter either. So when the variator has heated up, the case and therefore crack has expanded, and when the variator has engaged under load, hey presto, oil is forced onto the cam pulley and sprayed out onto the belts. No wonder I couldn't find the problem! A one in a million fault. That variator was only 18 months old... OI000288.jpeg OI000286.jpeg OI000287.jpeg
 

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That's a new one to me. Worth noting for future reference. Now it's done enjoy the car before the good weather goes.

The lettering on the variator seems rather apt!
 
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