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Greetings everyone, this is my first time posting but this forum has already helped me fix the umpteen issues that have come up in my two year adventure in owning an Alfa.

I've got an '08 147 1.6 TS that recently passed the 60k mark. A couple of months back I found a water leak was coming from the shoddy water pump the previous owner had put on so new pump and belts were put on about 20k miles ahead of their due date. This prompted me to look up servicing for 60k miles and found it wanted new plugs so I forked out for some NGKs which then sat around for weeks while I couldn't be bothered to do the job.

Then a couple of weeks ago I noticed an intermittent shake on startup that would clear after a few seconds tickover or a quick rev to 2000 rpm. Something to look into but nothing desperate. Then a week back I got the dreaded flashing engine warning light when pulling out of Sainsbury's that indicated a misfire (which makes sense re the shake I guess). The light went out after a couple of hundred yards but I decided it was time for the new plugs, which I fitted although they made no difference. While I was in there I found oil on some of the plugs (not cyl 1 so it wasn't spillage) so I replaced the cam cover gasket, I also cleaned the MAF which looked fine. Unfortunately I still had the shake more often than not and another flashing warning light incident that cleared. Yesterday (in another Sainsbury's car park) I had the flashing light on startup which then stayed on. Drove the car 10 miles home without a problem and sat around waiting for my KKL cable to come from amazon so I could plug in fiatecuscan. Fault codes were:

P0300 - Misfires detected
P0303 - Cylinder 3 ignition failures

Both no present but saved.

I cleared the faults, swapped ignition coils between 3 and 4 and went for a drive (they were my prime suspect). Given that previous engine lights cropped up when the engine was warm but had stopped for a bit (supermarket car parks, trips to the gym) I did a few short trips with pauses and low and behold, engine light came up with the same fault codes (so likely not the ignition coil).

So other than avoiding supermarkets, what's next? My research says fuel injectors, which I have no experience of. I read that they are dead easy to swap on the petrol TS engine although I can't find any pics or videos telling me how apart from a very grainy one on youtube that's in greek. I'm off to fumble around the engine bay and try not to break anything, but hints, tips, advice or fool-proof solutions would be welcome. While I'm learning fast (thank you, Alfa) I would still rate my spannering skills as only slightly above a chimp throwing excrement.
 

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Given your 147 is a Collezione, I'm guessing the ignition coil feeds both spark plugs for that particular cylinder.
(early cars had coils paired for 1&4, 2&3, 3&2, 4&1 but I think that changed around 2002).

Ok, cylinder 3 appears to be the fault but injectors appear to be very reliable and the fault codes state misfire issues. For now, forget injectors.

When coils 3&4 were swapped, did the swap include the HT wires to the spark plugs? If so and just to be sure, swap the spark plugs for 3&4. Inspect the spark plugs whilst doing so. Carefully inspect the white ceramic. Any cracks pr tiny hairlines= misfire and defective spark plug. Ensure a plug was not dropped to damage an electrode also.

Swapping coils, plugs and HT wires to plugs should move the misfire to cylinder 4.

When moving the coils, have a very careful look at the multiplug terminals for signs of dirt, oil/contamination and overheating. Are you completely sure the multiplug was fitted correctly? As you mention you are inexperienced, I think the issue may be there. Sometimes the silicone rubber seal around the terminals can displace and stop a good connection being made. The multiplug tends not to click onto the coil as easily and often needs greater force when the seal is displaced.

See if that cures it. If a seal needs repositioned, do so with a really small screwdriver. Sometimes lubricating wiring seals with silicone spray first helps (do not use WD40 etc) and do not contaminate the metal terminals either.

If a multiplug feels wrong, carefully compare it with others to see what has happened. Don't try to rush either. Report back afterwards please.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Fruity,

You are right, both plugs per cylinder are run from the same coil. When I swapped 3 and 4 I changed the coil and the attached lead/plug cap to the main plug but not the lead to the secondary plug as I didn't remove the whole bank of coils, which in hind sight didn't make much sense. The fact that there was an issue before I put in new plugs makes me think it's unlikely its them but I suppose it still needs checking. I've probably sold myself a bit short on my spannering skills - I'm not a total muppet - and while I'm pretty sure I connected everything up properly I'll make double sure when I do some more swaps.

I did take the injectors off yesterday and there was nothing visibly wrong, but having said I'm not a muppet I did send an o-ring flying into the dark abyss of my gravel drive when i pulled them apart so until a new one shows up (tomorrow) I won't be doing anything to the car.

Thanks for the advice, I'll keep you posted.
 

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Thanks Fruity,

You are right, both plugs per cylinder are run from the same coil. When I swapped 3 and 4 I changed the coil and the attached lead/plug cap to the main plug but not the lead to the secondary plug as I didn't remove the whole bank of coils, which in hind sight didn't make much sense. The fact that there was an issue before I put in new plugs makes me think it's unlikely its them but I suppose it still needs checking. I've probably sold myself a bit short on my spannering skills - I'm not a total muppet - and while I'm pretty sure I connected everything up properly I'll make double sure when I do some more swaps.

I did take the injectors off yesterday and there was nothing visibly wrong, but having said I'm not a muppet I did send an o-ring flying into the dark abyss of my gravel drive when i pulled them apart so until a new one shows up (tomorrow) I won't be doing anything to the car.

Thanks for the advice, I'll keep you posted.
Do a compression test. Mine burned an exhaust valve when this happened..
 

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Update - Put the injectors back together and fired it up no problem. Went for a run but the engine light wasn't triggered (not driven it other than that). Got a compression tester as Noctiluxx suggested and just did the test, results were 180-200 psi on cylinders 1,2 and 4 and about 160 psi on cylinder 3 where the fault had shown. I tried the old teaspoon of oil into the cylinder to check for worn rings but I don't think it had much or any of an effect.

So what do you guys reckon, exhaust valve burning out? If it is I'm guessing its not totally knackered yet. Is there anything that could be done to save it like putting some magic juice in the fuel? If it's a head-off job I don't have the skills and I don't really have the money either.
 

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160psi is lower than ideal but perfectly serviceable. I think the figures are good for an older car.

The engine shake is the misfire occurring which triggers the MCSF warning and fault codes. It appears not to be present right now but it may return.
If it does, funnily enough, atmospheric conditions can be the trigger. If you can, have a look at the HT leads at night (engine cover off, don't use a lamp or torch). Once eyes become accustomed to the dark, any visible electrical tracking on HT leads means they are past their best and new ones are needed.

If the insulation is weak, getting an assistant to rev car helps.
Do this by full throttle for 1/2 (0.5) second.
Do not try to hold an elevated engine speed.
The engine speed should always be changing and should not go above 2000rpm.
Full throttle places high electrical load on ignition system.


I underlined that as the vast majority of people cannot do what I described. I don't know why but it's probably similar to how most people cannot drift a car or control oversteer. I've tried to be clear; very brief full throttle jabs.

The fault also may not recur and perhaps the HT leads are just better seated now and are getting good electrical connections but try the night time visual test anyway- especially if it is damp and engine has just been started from cold.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the pointers, it's been behaving itself the last few days but I'm not taking it on any long runs for a while. I'll bury my head in the sand and hope for the best until the light comes back. I'll get a competent friend to do the revs as you described when I can.
 
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