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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all.

Livid at the moment. Truly livid.

Have a 159 petrol, which had a very slight rocker gasket leak.

Took it to a well known Alfa guy. The gasket was replaced, I thought nothing more and I went on a week away. Journey was great and did the 60 miles home. Pulled into my drive, turned off the ignition but then realised I had to swap parking spaces so fired her up again. Lots of smoke billowing from bonnet. Undid bonnet - to find an engine fire - aaaargh!!!!

Ran to get water and doused the fire - melted engine cover etc. Oil is all over the engine bay and seeping from the gasket all over (far worse than previous leak). Clearly restarting the hot engine has ignited the oil which was coating everything after it's long run had forced the oil out of the gasket.

This could have been far worse as I had missus in car and luckily caught the fire before any dangerous occurence - had I not been at home or halfway through my journey, it could have been game over.

How should I handle this? I won't name and shame until they have had right of reply but wanted some advice to arm myself with.

Thanks in advance.

Still livid.
 

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Hi all.

Livid at the moment. Truly livid.

Have a 159 mpi, which had a very slight rocker gasket leak.

Took it to a well known Alfa guy. The gasket was replaced, I thought nothing more and I went on a week away. Journey was great and did the 60 miles home. Pulled into my drive, turned off the ignition but then realised I had to swap parking spaces so fired her up again. Lots of smoke billowing from bonnet. Undid bonnet - to find an engine fire - aaaargh!!!!

Ran to get water and doused the fire - melted engine cover etc. Oil is all over the engine bay and seeping from the gasket all over (far worse than previous leak). Clearly restarting the hot engine has ignited the oil which was coating everything after it's long run had forced the oil out of the gasket.

This could have been far worse as I had missus in car and luckily caught the fire before any dangerous occurence - had I not been at home or halfway through my journey, it could have been game over.

How should I handle this? I won't name and shame until they have had right of reply but wanted some advice to arm myself with.

Thanks in advance.

Still livid.
Sounds like a bad one that,

I guess the car will need to be investigated to see their work was the cause of fire? Then I suppose they will be compensating you via their insurance.
 

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Sounds like a bad one that,

I guess the car will need to be investigated to see their work was the cause of fire? Then I suppose they will be compensating you via their insurance.
He needs to notify his insurers asap, even if he doesn't put in a claim and take plenty of photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi guys,

Thanks for responses. Been busy with it so only just got back to look!

Update: Caught the flame so quick that no other damage apparent - just bit of melt on edge of engine cover...

started car and smoke from bay. Got AA man out who cleaned all oil up and in the spark wells and corroborated faulty gasket or negligent fitting. Took it to guy who did the rocker, he was apologetic - he reseated the gasket and a layer of silicon as extra measure. He says there was nothing wrong with gasket but it is possible he pinched it (I struggled with this as surely it wouldn't leak from three sides?) Anyway, engine does not leak anymore - and have run it for an hour on drive and all seems ok.

Have noticed smoke (not major) from area under the left of engine - underneath the power steering pump? Could this just be oil burning off? How long should that take before I suspect another issue?

Also a bit worried that a flame ignited - have been told that oil dripping on exhaust manifold can do this but 9 times out of 10, it just smokes surely? - also confused that smoke happened after I had been on a 60 mile run and turned engine off - then back on again - almost like ignition started it?

Guy tells me not to worry as all seems fine and to keep an eye on it. He also said as he cleaned bay with wd40, it is possible that this ignited! Thoughts?

One last quick question -I know I'm being nit picky - but I'm due to sell the call and always ensure my cars are A1 when sold (when I sell an Alfa it is in much better nick than when I own it lol). Mechanic tells me that issue is cured but a fire in the bay is so nervewracking that I'm looking for another potential cause to be sure all is ok!! How much should coolant expand in the expansion tank? It is on max at cold but when hot seems to be a few inches higher - is that normal? Was wondering if it could be an issue?

Thanks guys
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok cheers. Last thing.

Why would an engine seem fine left on drive idling for an hour and when revved really hard - but if used for driving, get a hint of smoke from the engine bay? I assumed it was burning the spilt oil, but seems strange that it's only when driving - it should do this idling too??

thanks
 

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Driving puts it under a lot more load so generates more heat. It could just be burning off residue which it didn't reach while idling.

Keep a close eye on the oil level and check around for leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi all, thanks for input.

Happy to report car is A1 now.

Took it too someone very knowledgable who checked car over fully.

It was oil which had leaked when gasket had gone all over exhaust manifold which ignited - the smoke was indeed the remnants of the leak burning off. - Gasket is now good, oil has been cleaned off, did an oil change as well while I was at the garage, and smoke has stopped. Great stuff.
 
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