Cleaning chocolate cream from engine - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Cleaning chocolate cream from engine

So it happened. I opened the oil fill-up cap and saw the dreaded chocolate cream colored foam that indicates coolant has seeped into the oil system and the head gasket(s) need to be replaced.

I went to Centerline and they as well as any other supplier for Alfas do not have the Victor-Reinz head gaskets for a 1982 GTV6 2.5L, only for the 3.0L. So I investigated having a custom gasket set made by MLS (Multi Layered Steel) coated with Viton or custom Silicone. The advantages that MLS bring to the racing world are well documented, the problem has been, nobody has them for the street cars, until... I found a company that will make my custom MLS for the GTV6 2.1L for $500/set.

So tired as I am of changing gasket because they go south without notice, I decided to give it a chance and try them.

My question to the forum is: what would you recommend I do or use to clean the brown foamy chocolate cream from everywhere in the oil passages, sump, etc.??

I remember in the old days there was an over the counter product used to "wash" the old oil deposits and gunk (Marvel oil, Seafoam, Lucas???) by filling up the engine with this product, run it for a set number of minutes and drain. Repeat and drain again and you were set to go and fill up with the spec oil.

Any comments as to what should I do? I hate the thought of needing to disassemble the whole engine in order to clean it. BTW, the oil was clean to begin with and the engine has less than 10k miles since I refurbished it in 2012.

Thanks,

Namarena
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 11:34 AM
Del
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When I found chocolate mousse under the oil filler cap of my 91 164S, I just changed the coolant, oil, and filter, and then retorqued the heads to the maximum as shown in the workshop manual.

Turns out the head torques had relaxed to at least 10 ft-lb below the average workshop value, the front head was at 65, the less accessible rear head averaged about 55!! That was at 100k miles, and now at 190k miles, the problem has never returned. The engine runs just fine, with as new oil pressure, ~55 psi at hot 3000 cruise rpm, ~25-30 psi at hot idle. No oil in the coolant overflow tank, no chocolate mousse under the cap.

These engines do seem to require a head retorque every few thousand miles, maybe at 80k miles? I think that sometimes head gaskets are changed even if they really don't need it, just requiring a retorque per the specs.

"the engine has less than 10k miles since I refurbished it in 2012"

You should not be having this problem. Certainly didn't in my two GTV6s or our Milano, let alone the two 164s, except for loose heads in the 91S. Are you sure you are torquing the heads properly with high enough levels? I don't think you have a head gasket quality problem. Something else is going on.
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Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 06-20-2018 at 10:42 PM.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 11:45 AM
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Great answer and its free to check the current torque levels.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 11:49 AM
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Stop head gasket issue, change engine oil and water ... drive the car. Once engine has reached proper operating temp it will start cleaning itself of the "cream". It is just water in the oil ... if worried do an earlier oil change, but your first oil change will have removed most of the water and oil that was in the engine.

Pete

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, your answers is what makes this site so great. Thank you very much for the tips and advise about head re-torque, which I admit I did not do after the first 1000km.

So if I hear you correctly, I should do the following:
1- Open up valve covers on both sides and re-torque per sequence on engine manual.
2-Change coolant, oil filter and oil with same viscosity as called for (I was using 15W-50 Mobil One Synthetic).
3-Run engine for a 50 miles and check for coolant loss and see if oil gets new brown cream.
4-Do a compression or leak-down test???

Again, thanks for the ideas.

NAmarena
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 02:04 PM
Del
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Yes, that sounds good. I would use the higher value of the torque range. I think I used ~79-80 ft-lb per the workshop manual, although the recommended middle ground is ~75 according to the Centerline spec sheet.

I'm not sure 50 miles will give you enough miles to see if the dreaded mousse will start to appear. Just drive it more and have fun. I wouldn't bother with a compression or leak-down check, unless you are curious, lol.

Hopefully, all will be well.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 04:38 PM
Richard Jemison
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Torque valuse

Factory specs are too low on all the Alfa engines.
The short 12mm studs should be torqued to 75 lbft cold then again after a few miles of use while hot.

You might well get lucky with the re-torque stopping the leak. However water leaks around the liners is possible. Drain all the oil and coolent. add a "stop-Leak product you prefer then Re-torque the head. Replace the oil & filter, then fill radiator with water only.
This works quite often if the gasket hasn`t eroded.

Richard Jemison
RJR Racing

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 04:41 PM
Del
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"water only"

If you use only water, don't drive it for long, as you really should be using 50/50 coolant. Otherwise, as he says, retorque. try 75, but for myself I recommend the higher workshop manual value of 80, having success with that.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 06-20-2018 at 10:25 PM.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 10:01 PM
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Remove lower sump cover to clean engine

If you want to clean the engine internals it's easy on a Alfa due to the two part oil sump.

Buy or make a lower sump gasket
Drain the oil
Remove the lower sump, and clean it. If you find a lot of sludge it means the leak has being going on for a while.
Spray down the interior of the engine crankcase with brake parts cleaner (aerosol) and gently apply scotchbrite pads, and then button her up.

Hope this helps
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 10:25 PM
Del
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In this case, I don't think that will be necessary, unless he has a real problem with a bad coolant leak from something other than a simple "less than optimum" head torque gasket seepage. Otherwise, yes, he could. I certainly didn't have to, almost impossible in the 164, and that was 90k miles ago in my 91S, having had the same mousse symptom.

Now, if in his recent rebuild, he messed up an o-ring at the bottom of a cylinder or two, with resulting leakage as Alfar7 hints at, then the retorque will not fix that.

However, I strongly suggest he do the simple retorque first to see if it will eliminate the cause of the mousse. Never hurts. And no extraordinary internal cleaning should be required.

His choice of course.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 06-20-2018 at 10:43 PM.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 01:55 AM
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Make sure you clean the inside of the exhaust and heck don't forget the mufflers, foam side of the seat fabric, and inside of dash light bulbs ...

Pete

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Namarena View Post
So it happened. I opened the oil fill-up cap and saw the dreaded chocolate cream colored foam that indicates coolant has seeped into the oil system and the head gasket(s) need to be replaced.

I went to Centerline and they as well as any other supplier for Alfas do not have the Victor-Reinz head gaskets for a 1982 GTV6 2.5L, only for the 3.0L. So I investigated having a custom gasket set made by MLS (Multi Layered Steel) coated with Viton or custom Silicone. The advantages that MLS bring to the racing world are well documented, the problem has been, nobody has them for the street cars, until... I found a company that will make my custom MLS for the GTV6 2.1L for $500/set.

So tired as I am of changing gasket because they go south without notice, I decided to give it a chance and try them.

My question to the forum is: what would you recommend I do or use to clean the brown foamy chocolate cream from everywhere in the oil passages, sump, etc.??

I remember in the old days there was an over the counter product used to "wash" the old oil deposits and gunk (Marvel oil, Seafoam, Lucas???) by filling up the engine with this product, run it for a set number of minutes and drain. Repeat and drain again and you were set to go and fill up with the spec oil.

Any comments as to what should I do? I hate the thought of needing to disassemble the whole engine in order to clean it. BTW, the oil was clean to begin with and the engine has less than 10k miles since I refurbished it in 2012.

Thanks,

Namarena
Be advised that MLS head gaskets require a much smoother cylinder head and deck surface finish than do traditional-type composite gaskets; otherwise they might not seal properly. Consult with the the gasket manufacturer for their recommendations (they will likely have a spec in Ra or Rz). A quality machine shop should be able to measure and accommodate this specification. Of course, this process is easy for already-removed cylinder heads, but more difficult for the cylinder deck surface without engine removal/disassembly . . . .

I got a modern (single-piece composite) head gasket set for my '81 2.5L GTV6 from from Jason at Alfissimo, and I am pretty sure it was Victor Reinz brand.

Chris A: '81 GTV6 rescued from junkyard, "GT" car/'86 Porsche 944 Turbo track/street car/'73 BMW 2002tii fun street car/'74 Jensen Healey Lemons Rally car!

Last edited by cda951; 06-21-2018 at 08:51 PM.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 09:55 PM
Del
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Thus the essential requirement to keep the torque values up to snuff.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Hi CDA951; yes, for MLS the heads and block need to be less than 20 microinches Ra (roughness average). These MLS also have embossing on every oil and water port, so once they are torqued, it is almost impossible for oil or coolant to migrate into the junction of the gasket and the head or block, hence the reason why are they used so extensively in racing.

The GTV6 V6 engine was designed with the coolant ports too close to the fire ring of the gaskets or if you will; cylinder wall, leaving very little thermal conduction in the block and head metal distance between the ports and cylinder wall. This allows the heat to concentrate in the thinner material mass more than in the rest of the block/head. The corresponding area of the gasket, then experiences higher heat load and more pronounced heat/cool cycles, which is how fiber-based gaskets degrade.

Since MLS does not have fiber but stainless metal sheets, even if the heat/cooling cycle continues, there is no fiber to degrade.

I will however, do the re-torqueing as advised earlier to see if I can fix the problem. If it does not, then I'll go MLS.

Thanks,

NAmarena
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 01:09 PM
Del
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Please keep us posted.
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Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6
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