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Discussion Starter #1
Monday morning I fired up the trusty spider for a morning run and a nice cloud a blue smoke came streaming out the back --- not thick, but noticeable. I would really appreciate some suggestions on what diagnostic routines can I run to troubleshoot this issue? (I have a compression and leakdown tester).

I did pull the spark plugs and didn't notice any oily residue on the plugs. However, about a week ago I threw the fan belt and the car got slightly hot before I pulled off the road and reinstalled the fan belt. I started the car the next day and noticed some blue smoke. Lastly, I did check the cap and oil dipstick: no foaming was found.
 

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'Slightly hot' shouldn't be that big a factor, depending on how you define 'slightly' vs actual accuracy of the gauge.
Have you done any longer trips with it in the preceeding days before or since, like over 10 miles and perhaps with a bit of agression involved?

Perhaps there's been a cumulative build up in the exhaust that's just now starting to cook out (easy to do if the exhaust doesn't get hotted up regular like) or even something has started it running over~rich that happened to manifest about the same time.

As I'm only 1/2 a cup of coffee and 2 cigarettes into the day that's all I can come up with right this moment so you might wanna wait for a slightly more intelligent diagnostic though.
 

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it could be the valve guide seals if the car got hot. the symptoms are, smoke on aceleration, after slowing down on comression, and smoke if hitting the acelerator after crusing at a constant speed. rings usually cause smoke all the time. my spider did that after slowing down for a turnpike exit, real bad blue smoke cloud that cleared up.
cliff
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tifosi/Alfacliff - thanks for the feedback.

From your input, I am going to assume that it's safe to take the car out for a shakedown cruise. To date, I haven't taken the car on a longer drive.

Tifosi - Since the accuracy of the temp gauge is in always a question... I can tell you that the temp light was triggered but the gauge did not go into the red zone. The car was hot enough to blow some coolant out of the overflow bottle. After about 15 minutes, the excess coolant in the overflow bottle was sucked back into the radiator.

Alfacliff - Your symptoms are an accurate description of what i experienced (smoke on accel/decel). If these symptoms continue, perhaps it's time for a head rebuild?
 

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One other item to consider is the possibility of brake fluid being sucked into the intake. Usually when that happens the smoke is more white than blue however.

A defective master cylinder can leak brake fluid into the brake booster and then get sucked into the intake via the vacuum hose.

Check the brake fluid reservoir for loss of fluid.

An overly rich mixture usually causes black smoke but that can be appear as blue, too. What model year/fuel system Spider are we discussing?
 

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Other than failing smog checks for cars required to take them, I don't see a lot of inherent danger to the car just from burning oil. Yes, if you don't check the oil and it runs low you'll harm the engine. But if you check it periodically, relative to how much you drive it, you should be fine. My GTV needed oil rings for more than 10 years, but had good compression and otherwise ran well, so I just checked it, figured out my burn rate, and adapted accordingly. Eventually I rebuilt the engine, and no harm done, other than having to clean the rear of the car (and maybe discomfort to the eyes and noses of the folks behind me).
Andrew
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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x2 on the above and good compression, something else will break before you need to address that annoyance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Eric - we are discussing an 86 Spider (Bosch) with about 90k miles. The brake fluid level has not changed so, all is good there.

Speaking of compression: what is an acceptable compression range for an Alfa 2.0 engine? Should the engine be hot or cold when getting a compression reading?
 

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Do a compression test hot, with the throttle held wide open. You'd like to see numbers around 180, but down to 140/150, it'll still run OK and probably pass smog.
Around 120 I feel it's time to rebuild, though if they're even it'll still run marginally. Might fail smog though.
Andrew
 

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Another thing to check is how clear or open is the Oil Seperator Cannister is that acts like a PVC valve but recycles oil vapor. IF it is clogged too much pressure causes all kinds of problems. Oil leaks and oil build up back through the intake.
Just remove it and bang it around a bit to loosen rust and then flush it with solvent .. Gas .. Laquer thinner.. mineral spirits.. whatever. Then blow it out and insure free flow.
Reverse shop vac is a good air source for blowing it dry.
 

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May be late, but blue smoke is almost certain its rings. Like the fellow members said above, compression will show whats going on. I have about 125 psi in about all cylinders for years, and not much oil consumption....mostly it just leaks....LOL!!!

Hey, say you have slightly worn rings, maybe not a big deal. Like our friends suggested, wait it out to the end. If your getting blue ONLY upon acceleration from a dead stop, ok for now. Its when one is traveling /cruising steady at say, 50mph, and blue smoke all over- that is a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I am going to check the compression this weekend (and post the results). Thanks all for feedback.

I already warned the wife that the car maybe up on jackstands for awhile... which is fine for her. She is convinced that the darn thing is going to self-destruct at any time (LOL). I just enjoy driving the darn thing so much that I hate to have it out of service.

On the upside, if a rebuild is required, I finally get a chance to trace down that tricky/slow oil leak that appears between the bell housing and back of the block. ... it's not an investment, it's a hobby... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update:

Fired up the Spider and went on a fifteen minute run. No noticeable oil smoke on startup or accel/decel. After the car was warmed up, I got the following compression readings:

Cylinder 1: 140
Cylinder 2: 140
Cylinder 3: 140
Cylinder 4: 135

Based on the feedback to this thread, I am on the cusp of a rebuild. I am leaning towards building a new head and go from there -- but I suspect that if i go that far I might was well pull the engine and fix the core issue.

Thanks everyone for the input.
 

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A cylinder leakage tester is what you need and this will tell you precisely what the problem is. A kit is not expensive and shows you far more than a compression test.
 

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Update:

Fired up the Spider and went on a fifteen minute run. No noticeable oil smoke on startup or accel/decel. After the car was warmed up, I got the following compression readings:

Cylinder 1: 140
Cylinder 2: 140
Cylinder 3: 140
Cylinder 4: 135

Based on the feedback to this thread, I am on the cusp of a rebuild. I am leaning towards building a new head and go from there -- but I suspect that if i go that far I might was well pull the engine and fix the core issue.

Thanks everyone for the input.
Geez, scarab, why do you even want to consider a major rebuild with 145 psi in the cylinders??????? There is nothing wrong with that psi, from what I understand about engines. Unless you are a fanatic (nothing wrong with fanatics, of course), dont do it!! Ive been driving for years with 125 or so. No burning oil/blue smoke at all.

Kep the wife happy.....No rebuild!
 

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Of course, ifn you dont spend time on a rebuild, that means you have plenty of time to spend with her watching say, Lifetime movie channel/Opra/Dr Phil.....LOL

On second thought, do the rebuild.....LOLOLOLOLOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
alfazagato - are there any good resources on how to conduct a leakdown test? I have read that each cylinder needs to be at TDC to get an accurate reading. If this is correct, I am unsure on how to set each cylinder to get an accurate reading.

thanks.
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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If you can live with the decreased performance drive it and enjoy it. That will also give you time to buy parts as they come on sale and then at some point do the rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You guys are too much... really enjoy the good natured jabs. :)

It's time to quite worrying about perfection and enjoy the d*mn thing before the temp hits 100's. There's plenty of small fixes for me to keep busy before I have to spend time watching Lifetime (or the upcoming F1 season)!
 
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