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Discussion Starter #1
As the title says, I'm getting a fairly strong smell of exhaust in the ****pit of my '91. It's pretty bad all the time with exception of when the top is up and the windows are closed. I've been advised by my mechanic that the 1-4 exhaust manifold is cracked but that once it warms up, the crack closes. He's also pointed out that it needs a manifold gasket. He also suggested that it's more or less natural that you smell the exhaust while driving, especially with the top down. Besides the discomfort, surely it can't be healthy. I'm not disparaging his expertise and advice but IS this sort of thing actually to be expected? I drove a '61 Spider while in college (in the 60's) and, though that was a long time ago, I don't recall smelling exhaust every time I drove the car.

Could the cracked manifold, perhaps in combination with a worn gasket be causing the problem or is there something we're overlooking?

Also, regardless, I could surely find a good manifold on AlfaBB, yes?

Thanks - I appreciate your help. J. Lowden
 

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Could the cracked manifold, perhaps in combination with a worn gasket be causing the problem or is there something we're overlooking?
Both could, yes. Exhaust smell while driving is not normal. That cracked manifold can also mess up your oxygen sensor readings which will cause rich running, which isn't good.

1-4 cracked manifold was a common problem. The later S4 cars had a piece retrofitted at the bottom of the cast iron manifolds (#1 in the picture below) to link the 1-4 and 2-3 manifolds together and help prevent cracks. The fix is documented in TSB 09.91.02

Alfa Parts Exchange in Tracy may have a used manifold, and they may even have the additional bracket.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Tom, for your quick reply and knowledge. I, of course, knew that neither Alfa nor drivers would ever accept a smelly car as normal. I'm in southern New Jersey. How do I get in touch with the Alfa Parts Exchange? Is Tracy the location?
 

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Tried the Alfa Parts Exchange to no avail. Funny guy...he said that I just had to be less sensitive. Still, I'd like to find a way to lessen the odor. I'll keep looking but are any of the available aftermarket manifolds viable? My mechanic tells me that those made of steel can't take the heat. There must be a 21st century solution.
 

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How was the alleged manifold crack diagnosed? Is it loud when cool and quiets down when warmed up? Is the mechanic willing to change the manifold gasket? (and how was that diagnosed?) How is the rest of the exhaust system?

Does the tailpipe end behind or in front of the rear bumper? You could try a simple slip-on exhaust tip extension - on the earlier Spiders a too short exhaust exit will allow exhaust fumes to get sucked into a low pressure area in back of the car. A longer exhaust pipe or a turn down tip will often alleviate that.
 

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I have a 1991 Spider and DO NOT have exhaust fumes coming into the cabin.

However, I did have this issue in the past.

The nuts on the exhaust manifold were loose. A good tightening and no more fumes.

Have you tried to tighten them up first?

Hope its as easy as that.

Good luck,

Vin
 

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RJ, Take it to Midas or another muffler place. Whenever I had issues they did repairs cheap , cheaper if CASH and had everything there to fix anything...

Where in Nj are you? I'm in Deptford BTW..

rob
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey, thanks for the interest and help. Hope I can do the same someday for others.

Since I bought it, I've had the car in the shop twice, initially to diagnose a noise coming from the engine - a metallic "tap, tap, tap." The noise sounded like a valve shim to me but I only thought that because I heard a similar sound on a YouTube video when a guy, rebuilding the same engine, tapped one of the shims in his collection as he was trying to find the one he needed. Same kind of "ringing" sound. However, after examination by my mechanic I was told that the sound disappeared when the manifold bolts were tightened. It seemed to subside for a while but eventually returned. I called him and he told me that it probably did need a new gasket. So over the winter I made an appointment to have the gasket replaced. Oh, and about that time it seemed to me that I was smelling fairly strong exhaust in the cabin.

I took the car back that second time to have the gasket replaced - both to cure the smell AND the noise (just a week or so ago). That's when he found the crack in the manifold. He would have liked to replace it but couldn't find another 1-4 manifold anywhere. Evidently, they ARE hard to come by. He also said that it might not be worth worrying about since the crack closes up after it warms up. Again, "it's an old car" and "you should be less sensitive..." kind of thing. The gasket was not replaced. It still smells and rattles worse than ever. Oh, it's an Ansa system with one straight pipe, just like all the Spider pics on Google.

I'm in Marlton.
 

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Jeff,

You could run a 'wanted' ad for an exhaust manifold in the ABB classified section, if you haven't already. If you have a cracked manifold and leaking gasket that needs to be fixed. Remember carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless gas that can kill. It would be a good idea to check for and correct any oil leaks in the engine compartment or transmission as oil hitting a hot exhaust will cause it to smoke and enter the ****pit.

There is an exhaust manifold on eBay for an 82-89 spider; I have no idea if it would work on your car -probably not.

Mark
 

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4 years ago I posted this link to Vicks for the 1-4 branch manifold for someone else (PN: 115.88.01.705.00)

the link still works (as if the piece is still available) but the price hasn't gone down much!!;)
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/4692922-post12.html

If your '91 has a cable throttle (running over the head) then it'll also have the heatshield, in which case you need the manifold that is drilled for the heatshield (drilling is on #4, on the 1&4 branch)
If you have the earlier solid rod throttle control, it'll have no heatshield.

Just one more thing to remember, as you have a classified up and running.....the S4 spider manifold is unique to S4 in that it is designed to clear the power steering box so make sure the PN is correct.
 

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RJ Falcones Bala Cynwd PA or ,Woody in Levittown Alfa Performance are ALFA Mechanics if all else fails..

rob
 
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