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Hi,

I recently bought an Alfa 156 JTS. I wasn't aware of the problems with these Alfas - oil consumption and big ends failure. When I inspected the car I was stupid enough not to check the oil level, because the engine seemed to work perfectly fine, no knocking sounds when cold or warm, starts first time, no smoke. Anyway I just changed the oil and noticed it was below minimum :rant: and quite black. Obviously the previous as****e neglected the car, good thing is he had it just for 5 months and 3k miles. Anyway I've just put Castrol 10w40 Magnatec known for it's protective qualities hoping it will prevent any future hard wear of the engine. I really can't find a fault with the car, it just works fine. When I started reading about these problems here I was shocked and I don't know what to do now. As far as I understood this failure happens if the car has been running low on and right after the next oil change, which means I should be expecting it every moment :eek:
My question is what can I do to prevent this failure or to inspect the condition of the big ends, does it make sense if I check the compression or I just have to wait for the BIG KNOCK? How fu***d up am I right now, please be brutally honest!
 

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Take the sump off & change the big ends now if you aren't confident in them. A new set is only about forty-fifty quid. Better than a new crank or a new engine when one fails.
 

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Take the sump off & change the big ends now if you aren't confident in them. A new set is only about forty-fifty quid. Better than a new crank or a new engine when one fails.
I think that would be best, but I've never done this before and don't have many tools either. I'll probably take it to an Alfa specialist for an inspection of big end bearings.
Shall I switch to 10w-60? I see the previous owners have always put 10w-40.

I just had a quick scan from the receipts of previous owners and there was a service called "ROD 156/147/GT" with a Product Code: 51749713, about 14k miles ago. Do you know where can I check the product code? Thanks. :)
 

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You could check the product codes by doing a search on FIAT ePER
 

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Number 7 in this one FIAT ePER Rear suspension arm.
 

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The TS should have 10w-40. The JTS should have 10w-60. As 10w-40 is common in a lot of engines most shitty garages just bung this in when it is not specified. :tut: The 10w-60 was specified to reduce camshaft lobe wear as far as I can remember. Still change to this. As for your shells You could change them and save yourself a lot of hassle as pud said. It's not the end of the world if you run the bottom end out. If you catch it early you can quite often get a way with a crank regrind, cambelt kit and a set of overszed shells. Still. Its easier to just do the shells ;)
 

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The TS should have 10w-40. The JTS should have 10w-60. As 10w-40 is common in a lot of engines most shitty garages just bung this in when it is not specified. :tut: The 10w-60 was specified to reduce camshaft lobe wear as far as I can remember. Still change to this. As for your shells You could change them and save yourself a lot of hassle as pud said. It's not the end of the world if you run the bottom end out. If you catch it early you can quite often get a way with a crank regrind, cambelt kit and a set of overszed shells. Still. Its easier to just do the shells ;)
I have a feeling the JTS was spec'd with 10W60 to keep TS-type oil comsumption & bottom end problems at bay, they also have a higher geared oil pump and reatrictors fitted in the oil ways up to the cylinder head. These 3 things all limit oil flow up to the head, and I reckon its what contributes to the top end wear that Twin Sparks don't seem to suffer from. But JTS's running on 10W40 tend to burn more oil, run dry and then rattle out the bottom end... Horses for courses in my opinion, but if I had a JTS I'd be running it on a high quality fully synthetic 5W40, checking it twice a week and changing every 6k. JTS cams are expensive, I don't think 10W60 does them any favours.
 

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I have a feeling the JTS was spec'd with 10W60 to keep TS-type oil comsumption & bottom end problems at bay, they also have a higher geared oil pump and reatrictors fitted in the oil ways up to the cylinder head. These 3 things all limit oil flow up to the head, and I reckon its what contributes to the top end wear that Twin Sparks don't seem to suffer from. But JTS's running on 10W40 tend to burn more oil, run dry and then rattle out the bottom end... Horses for courses in my opinion, but if I had a JTS I'd be running it on a high quality fully synthetic 5W40, checking it twice a week and changing every 6k. JTS cams are expensive, I don't think 10W60 does them any favours.
So I got it back to front:lol:
 

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Running low on oil should theoretically not affect the bearings in any way, since the oil pump intake is situated at the sump bottom (except with a very low oil level or near-empty sump, in which case you would have seen the oil pressure warning light coming on).

Running low on oil may increase the wear rate of the sleeves and piston rings, since the lubrication of these are dependent on the splash feed of the oil by the turning crankshaft. A very low oil level may result in some areas not getting splashed with oil as frequently as with a normal oil level.

I therefore recommend that you just keep an eye on the oil level in future. If frequent topping up is required, it is an indication of worn sleeves and rings.

If the rings and sleeves has worn to a state where you start considering an engine rebuild, you may do an economic break-even analyses. You will find that you can do a lot of topping up with oil before a rebuild is economically feasible. Normally a rebuild is only required when a loss in compression results in a loss in performance that is no longer acceptable to you.

For a long engine life, it is important to change the oil (and filter) frequently (not exceeding 10 000 km) since:
- there is an exponential build-up of impurities in the oil, contributing to increased wear. The main 3 impurities are:
1) silica, from fine dust passing through the air-filter.
2) iron, from wear of engine components.
3) carbon residues from burning fuel.
- the molecular hydro-carbon chains of the oil gets broken with use. This results in the oil getting thinner with prolonged use, resulting in a lower oil pressure, due to oil escaping more easily through some of the pumped oil-ways, and other oil-ways suffering from oil starvation.
 
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