Alfa Romeo Forum banner

1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As always, advice appreciated. I’ll try not to ramble, but there’s a decent amount of info I want to convey in order to hopefully get some reasonable advice.

Car details:
  • 98 CF2 2.0TS
  • 130k ish miles.
  • Fast road cams and remap fitted 5k km ago.
  • New spark plugs fitted at same time. Car does run somewhat rich at idle due to the cams.

Symptoms:
  • Excessive oil usage
  • Blue smoke from exhaust only during v. hard acceleration.
  • Excessive oil around and in spark plug wells
  • Significant oil leak causing wetness around end of engine block/gearbox seal

Some other background info:

Its had a long-standing oil leak from between gearbox and engine for years. Recently had a second hand g’box fitted and had the rear main seal done at the same time. I trust the garage that did the work and they say the old one was indeed knackered and needed replacing. Since replacing the box about 1k miles ago the bottom of the engine/g box area is wetter than ever and I come to an oil puddle the size of a 5p piece every morning. Its impossible to tell if the wetness on the box/bottom of engine is still coming from between the g’box and block , or from higher up and dripping down.

Recently during a spirited drive with mates, they warned me I was making occasional smoke clouds (blue smoke) during hard acceleration.

The plug electrodes look good, but there is a LOT of oil in the spark plug wells, and the plugs on cyl 1 &2 look particularly dirty on the plug body.

Oil consumption has been about 1L per 1000 km. Up until (today) I have been running the car on full synth 10w-40 oil. After reading about a bit, ive just done an oil change to 10w-60 FS today. Will see how that goes. I must stress that the car is always and consistently driven v. hard. Itll see the redline every time its driven, so I suppose I could have worn something out!

Ive questioned the usual things:

-Piston rings: Done a compression test today, results 160-155-152-151 psi. That seems OK? I know the rings can be badly matched on the TS from the factory, but surely this would show with poor compression.
-Stem seals: No blue smoke at all on idle or cold start.
-Head gasket. No oil or water mix and consistent compression test results.
-Rubber seal on top of engine (cant think of its name!). Replaced when new cams put in.

I appreciate this is a bit of a tough one, because there are potentially two problems. One to do with the RMS or other seal on end of the engine, and one potentially at the top of the engine.
Could the balance shaft seals be at fault?

By the by:
-Economy is great. 20mpg when caning it and 35-40 on a relaxed drive.
-Performance is spot on. Engine runs sweet apart from the oil loss. No funny noises or other worries.
-Exhaust is sooty and will blow some black (carbon I suppose) water droplets on cold start. Plenty of white condensation mist form the exhaust on cold mornings, but its done that since new!

I know this is a problem I wont fix myself. The plan is to arm myself with as much info as possible before shipping the car off to the garage that did the cams over the winter period for a definitive repair. The garage is at the other end of the country and I know if the head has to come off etc then it WILL be EXPENSIVE. :( Forewarned is forearmed in this case I think.

Thanks all :)

Oil around top of sparkplug area. Worst around cyl 1:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v70/alexisbad/alfa romeo/DSC_0017_4.jpg

Cyl 1 plug. These are only 5k km old (6 months!).

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v70/alexisbad/alfa romeo/DSC_0026_1.jpg

You can see the oil pooling here around the top of the plug wells. I am always v. careful when filling the oil, so its not a case of me spilling oil everywhere.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v70/alexisbad/alfa romeo/DSC_0019_4.jpg
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
23,077 Posts
130kish miles.

Despite what others might say I think this is a lot for a TS - particularly if tuned (cams and remap) - so I am not surprised at excessive oil usage and blue smoke from the exhaust.

To be fair I got through two TS engines in my previous GTV and, despite prodigious care, both failed miserably before 150k.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,729 Posts
Rocker cover gasket can leak oil into plug wells. Check the cover isn't cracked. It's very easy to over tighten. We're valve stem seals replaced at cam change?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Stem seals were not changed when the cams were done.

Rocker cover seal is the word I was looking for! That was done were the cams were out, but the rocker cover itself being cracked is potentially a good call.

Im very interested to see what (if any) the thicker 60 weight oil will make to consumption. Its Castrol Magnatec stuff in their now, if that seems to slow the rate down ill probably switch over to Silenia stuff with the extra anti-evap additives etc (2-3x the price of Castrol though)!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
Leaking filler cap? Looks like the oil originates from that end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,476 Posts
When they did the crankshaft seal did they do the balance shaft seals at the drive end of the engine as well? They are known to leak. The Lancia versions of the seals are of a higher specification, compare the two versions and you'll see what I mean.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,552 Posts
I don't think a remap etc is good idea on a high milage engine. If you had had the engine re-built that would be different. I find Valvoline Max-life oil excellent in my TS, it's a semi synthetic designed for higher milage cars. Older engines don't need to be thrashed and given a bit more consideration. I suspect the rocker cover gasket is the problem with the oil build up in the plug wells.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,729 Posts
With that sort of mileage I would expect a bit of smoke if you're ragging it. I don't think I've been over 5000 rpm in mine (176k miles). Can't afford it to go bang. Show the old girl some respect :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Balance shaft seals not changed when RMS done - although I asked them to look carefully to see if they needed doing. I would presume if not changed, then it wasnt needed.

I think my first port of call (particularly as its DIYable) is to have the cam cover off, inspect carefully, replace if needed and also replace with a new cam cover seal.

Would a blocked breather system also cause these sort of issues (making too much pressure in the head), im not too familiar with how the breather set up works on these cars...

With regard to the remap and 'thrashing' older engines - whilst I do know where you are coming from, I cant agree. I buy my cars to drive and enjoy, the Spider is the weekend toy and gets driven as such. It also gets well taken care of. If things wear out, ill replace them, im not shy about spending money on the car. The Remap is sympathetic and designed to take advantage of the lumpier cam. As I mentioned before, apart from self-lubricating the outside of the block, the motor runs fantastically, is quiet, full of power and goes like stink (for a TS).

The oil/engine is always carefully warmed through and the car gets a minute or two to cool/settle before switching off after a long/hard journey. Oil and filter done every 3-5k miles (once per year, minimum). Once its warmed through, its game on. If a bit of smoke is normal, no worries and ill do nothing about it :)

I cant imagine the point of buying a car to have fun in and then pootling around like Miss Daisy ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,627 Posts
I had similar symptoms a few years ago. Like you I had good compression figures ( more like 180 in my case ) and I was utterly baffled. A leak down test didn't indicate anything wrong and lifting the head and putting oil in the bores also indicated the rings were good ( oil levels did not drop ).

Eventually, after eliminating all other possibilities, I dropped the sump and removed the pistons.

This was my No 4 piston -

http://i1134.photobucket.com/albums/m615/pkr1/Samples/2012-05-12_18-09-44_DSC_0008.jpg

The bits of metal at the top are not broken piston ring. They're from the piston itself - between the rings.

The rings were good, but with the piston working there was nothing supporting the rings so oil was getting past them. With the engine stationary, they were fine.

Luckily, there was no damage to the bores in my case.

I've no idea how that could be diagnosed and eliminated as a cause without dismantling the engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,327 Posts
That isn't an NGK Platinum plug is it?

And when you sat cylinder one, which end are you starting? Cam belt or Thermostat? Oil in plug holes at Cam belt end is invariable over-spill from oil filler.
 
A

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Here's what I read:

Some might recommend a fully synthetic oil, but this tends to drain away far too quickly leaving the top end of the engine starved of lubricant at start up. This is especially true of twin-spark cars fitted with cam variators. Semi synthetic oil has much better cling characteristics and will preserve your engine. That's why Alfa Romeo specify semi-synthetic, the engine was designed for it, and it was originally filled with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Here's what I read:

Some might recommend a fully synthetic oil, but this tends to drain away far too quickly leaving the top end of the engine starved of lubricant at start up. This is especially true of twin-spark cars fitted with cam variators. Semi synthetic oil has much better cling characteristics and will preserve your engine. That's why Alfa Romeo specify semi-synthetic, the engine was designed for it, and it was originally filled with it.
The Alfa recommended oil for high milers or hard worked engines is the Selenia Racing 10w-60, which is a Full Synth oil.

Im aware of the differences and the relative merits of both - indeed I have used both full and semi synth in the car.

Fact remains Alfa recommend a FS oil though :).



PKR - interesting photos and something ill bear in mind. Definitely a last resort getting the engine taken apart to that degree though....

Ive ordered a replacement cam cover gasket today. Next time the minime allows me some garage time, ill take the cam cover off and give it a once over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
That isn't an NGK Platinum plug is it?

And when you sat cylinder one, which end are you starting? Cam belt or Thermostat? Oil in plug holes at Cam belt end is invariable over-spill from oil filler.
Plugs are Alfa OE (whatever they maybe).

Cylinder one is closest to oil filler (left of engine when looking at it) :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
772 Posts
And when you sat cylinder one, which end are you starting? Cam belt or Thermostat? Oil in plug holes at Cam belt end is invariable over-spill from oil filler.
If its clean oil it is spilt oil from topping up, if its dirty oil it has probably been forced passed the oil filler cap seal by excessive crankcase pressure and points towards a defective crankcase pressure relief valve. A defective pressure relief valve caused dirty oil in cylinder 1 spark plug hole in my engine once, the old valve looked OK but the problem was cured after it was changed. If it is the same as on the JTS engine, it was a bit difficult to get the old valve out, it is a push fit, but the new one just push-clicks into place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
definitely dirty oil.

im going to look in to the breather system / valve a bit more :)
 
A

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
The legendary opie oils dude seems to have a pretty dim view of 10w-60. 70% Thicker than 10w-40 @ 100degc.

Additional friction heat and wear, reduced BHP, lower fuel consumption.

Even though Alfa does mention it, he's perplexed by their reference to it.

Perhaps go for a 10w-50 if your red lining it a lot to give some extra protection, but not to that extreme?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Stepping down to a 10w-50 is perhaps a good idea.

You certainly feel the difference in the engine using the 60 weight.
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
Top