severe oil loss - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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severe oil loss

Hello all. I have an 81 Spider, converted to Webers, and I'm losing ALOT of oil when highway driving.

The car does not smoke AT ALL, but after 60 miles of highway driving at 65-70mph I lose at least a quart of oil.

Again the car does not develop a lick of smoke, I can't believe the oil is being burnt, I've got to believe it is leaking out while the car is running at high speeds and high compression.

Of note, the car does leak a bit of oil when sitting - about a teaspoon a week.

Any thoughts about the most likely source of the leak? The oil pan always has some oil on it - but not a ton, I've looked for an obvious source - but can't find one.

Many thanks for any input!

'81 Spider (Weber's, Euro Bumpers, Custom Interior) Ivorio over Red | '54 Austin Healey 100-4, Bone Stock save for M cam, Carmine over Black.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 06:59 PM
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Part of the Weber conversion was a block off plate installed where the Spica pump was. It will leak like crazy while running if there's an issue with it. Passenger side front of motor. Bolts on. aluminum plate.

https://centerlinealfa.com/catalog/spica-block-off

78 Spider, Webers, header, Shankle cams, bumperless, lowered, Konis
78 Sport Sedan, header, Spica
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 07:22 PM
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That amount of oil loss would have to cause low oil pressure wouldn't it? But if the low oil pressure light didn't go off then maybe not.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msiert View Post
That amount of oil loss would have to cause low oil pressure wouldn't it? But if the low oil pressure light didn't go off then maybe not.
It didn't on mine. Just a nice high pressure leak.....

78 Spider, Webers, header, Shankle cams, bumperless, lowered, Konis
78 Sport Sedan, header, Spica
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 11:33 PM
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Severe oil leak should be easier to trace than internal (piston rings/liners etc... ) oil consumption. Suggest you look more thoroughly and on both sides from the top of the engine down to the sump with particular attention to :
1. Mechanical fuel pump (or blocking plate if this was converted to electric) on the lower front right of the block (behind distributor)
2. Head gasket, cam cover, and oil sump edges which may simply need retorquing (like mine did after the rebuild although a "severe" leak would be very unliquely there)
You may want to douze the area with chalk powder (or just some domestic flour) and leave it overnight then blow away the excess powder to zero-in on the highest point of the oil leak.
Hopefully it's not a cracked block or anything dramatic... An Alfa which doesn't leak is a car with no oil it...

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 06:01 AM
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Anytime I hear of a leak like this I think of the oil pressure senders. They will leak when going down the road and leave very little in the garage. Food for thought.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbadaro View Post
You may want to douze the area with chalk powder (or just some domestic flour) and leave it overnight then blow away the excess powder to zero-in on the highest point of the oil leak.
A higher tech (though perhaps no more effective) solution is florescent dye that you add to the oil. Run the engine with the dye for a time and use a UV light to look for places on the engine that now glow. The dye is inexpensive, harmless to the engine and available at auto parts stores or on Amazon.

See: https://www.amazon.com/ACDelco-10-50...-7-spons&psc=1
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 09:37 AM
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A quart in 60 miles is a lot! I'd think such a leak would be clearly evident. Does your model have an Oil Vapor Separator? If so, they help to scavenge the crankcase keeping internal pressures low. If it becomes clogged then the sump becomes pressurized - exacerbating any leakage points. Such internal pressure would tend to be highest while driving at highway speeds. If it used to have an OVS but it was deleted (blocked off?) when converted to carbs you might need to figure out how to properly vent the crankcase to eliminate internal pressure.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 10:29 AM
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There is also the oil pressure passage from the front cover to the main block, it can push the gasket out so there would be external leakage just above the oil filter. Otherwise I agree with the above comments, with that amount of leaking, you should be able to just stand beside your car while it idles and watch where it comes from. Put a clean piece of cardboard under the engine for added clues.

Cheers,
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 01:47 PM
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Get a power washer (cheap) or go to a $2 car wash ( used to be two quarters)... Power wash the engine BOTTOM and FRONT and Bell housing AND OIL FILTER .. forget about the rest for now.. Try to get everything between the firewall and cam cover and front of the engine around the water pump and crank pulley on top. Then the whole oil pan and wher it is bolted to the block. DO NOT get power sprayer DIRECTLY on electrics like coil, distributor, relays , distributor....water in the plug wells is inevitable.. soak it up with a towel..not an issue.. Then when you get home the water is dry and the oil will show where it is coming from. It could be from anywhere...leaky oil filter connection is my bet.. DID YOU CHANGE THE OIL RECENTLY?.. ONE 1/8 TURN ON THE FILTER MIGHT SOLVE THE PROBLEM . fILTERS DON'T LEAK UNLESS THE ENGINE IS RUNNING.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 04:32 PM
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I had an Alfa that developed a leak when the alternator was rubbing the oil filter and it wore a hole through it. I couldn't see the leak until I removed the filter. But it was bad enough to leave a trail of oil.

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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 04:42 PM
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If you can not see it your burning it...
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 07:39 PM
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what all this conjecture leads to is the fact that the OP needs to do some noggin pokin'.

78 Spider, Webers, header, Shankle cams, bumperless, lowered, Konis
78 Sport Sedan, header, Spica
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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These are all great suggestions - will look a bit more when I get home Thursday.

I did replace the sender for the low oil pressure light (the idiot light) on the drivers side of the block - it was leaking a bit, but it didn't fix the problem.

Plan to check the blanking plate for the SPICAs - that's a good thought.

Changed the oil about 6 months ago when I got the car, hand tightened the oil filter - but will check there as well.

1 quart in 60 miles would cause some serious smoking - can't believe it's being burned...

Stay tuned
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 06:48 AM
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Another thought - in the back of the head are two 'half moon' rubber pieces that fill a recess used to machine the camshaft bearings. These half moons are clamped down when the cam cover is installed. But if one should get knocked loose it can easily go unnoticed.

https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/eng...-supposed.html
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