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can you replace the head gaskets while the engine is still in the car? i was wondering if the head bolts are too long on the rear head to get by the firewall.

thanks
 

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Yes, it has been done. Basically, you need to tilt the engine to get the head to clear the top engine mount bracket at the chassis. One suggestion is to remove the transmission mount and let the transmission rest on the subframe. You might want to take the cam pulley off and tilt the engine forward also.
 

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Yes it can be done as stated above. You don't need to drop the subframe. Just remove the transmission mount/bracket and rest it on the subframe. This will cause the engine to tilt right side. and then remove rear enging mount point and jack it up the oil pan (toward rear) and engine will tail forward. You must remove the rear exhaust cam pulley before you can lift the rear head. Removing false firewall will give you more space to work back there but not required as you can see from the picture attached. When lifting the engine, it is also not required to disconnect the drive shaft/axle as required the manual. Oh, almost forgot but you must remove the alternator or engine will not tilt forward enough. I had to remove the exhaust manifold shield/cover to clear and take the alternator between front head and radiator.
 

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Will this work on a 12V 164S? Thinking about replacing my head gaskets this way.

Publio
 

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Basically same process on 12v but I think if you remove aux shaft pulley on 12v rear head it helps head clear upper engine mount area better.

I find removing right headlight makes it so much easier to remove alternator.
 

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I will be doing a compression test on it tomorrow morning to assertain the necessity of a head gasket replacement. Still getting the white smoke but losing no coolant. Burning quite a bit oil tho. I am going to use Greg Gordon's page and redo the heads while they are off the car. Any suggestions about things I should do in this entire process?

Publio
 

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Wowee, in tj's pictures, look how simple it will be to change the oil filter, same one I use. It is right there. Also, I note the general purpose Alfa tool sitting on the coolant tank. Come in handy, don't they. Surprised you didn't lay a towel over the front head intakes so that crap doesn't fall in there without knowing.

The pictures really illustrate just how that engine is crammed in that compartment. It is no wonder that things get overheated and fail.

btw, tj, I've got to return your steering pump. I'll just drop it off one of these days. Thanks.

Publio, did you retorque the head at all, just to see what happens? What is the oil consumption rate now, compared to when you bought the car?
 

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Del,

I did retorque the head and the smoking continued. It is eating quite a bit of oil. I put in about a quart a week depending on how much driving I do, sometimes every two weeks.

Here's my concern. The PO talked about the rear head having its valves replaced due to it rolling backwards in gear. The shop that did the work for him was not an Alfa shop. They are a shop that works on european imports. So I am concered either the reason for the rear head work was a lie or the shop did a non-alfa job to it. I talked to the shop and they slightly recalled doing the car but really could not give me any real significant information. So, to make me feel better, I am going to perform surgery on her as soon as I am sure my spider is A-OK. The 164S runs fine just lacks power and smokes. I think it will be sufficient until the Spider is completely sorted out. Say a month or two.

Publio
 

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The smoking is a distressing but not fatal sign, I assume it is out the exhaust, not from in the engine compartment. Blue is oil, white is coolant. Make sure you are not leaking it somewhere, or taking it into the engine intake through a plugged up oil recirc system drain. The one on my 91S was plugged big time, and the system sucked oil into the intake, would also cause a little white smoke on startup.

A quart a week or so, but how many miles is that? If you drive 70-80 miles per day average, then that is about 500 miles to the qt. Easily liveable (mine's done that for at least 10 years), but if you drive less, then yes, the engine is hungry for oil.
 

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Del,

It is definately from the exhaust. It looks white but it could maybe be blue. Hard to tell. I am going to replace all of my hoses this weekend with greg's kit. Would that possibly fix what your talking about? If not where is this oil recirc system drain?

I do not drive that much. It is about 10 miles to work everyday and sometimes I "get" on it..LOL.

Publio
 

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The oil separator can is on the back side of the rear cam cover, and there is a little ~3/8 inch rubber hose leading down from the bottom of the can to the top of the oil pump drive. It can be seen in the parts cd, or maybe in the Alfa Parts Catalog web site. The oil vapors from the engine come up through the large hose, pass through the can, condense, drain back to the engine, the remaining vapors pass on to the intake at the big rubber bellowed intake tube.

I disconnected the top end and pushed a stiff piece of insulation coated electrical wire down it till it bottomed out hard. When I pulled it out, it had hard gunk on the bottom. I used a little WD-40 to loosen whatever was down there, not enough to hurt anything or dilute the oil. You could remove the top plate of the oil pump drive, it's held on with only one bolt at the front top.
 

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Getting to top plate on rear head that hose is attached to is the trick. If you can disconnect seperator black can from intake you can see little hose attached to it and head and maybe get to nut to remove plate but it has a oring on plate that holds it pretty tight into head.
 

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Know this is old thread but have a full gasket kit and about to take off cam/rocker covers while doing timing belt and supect my head gaskets are weeping... How much more work/complexity is it to take the heads off on a 24v 3.0?
Do new head bolts need to be used and, if so, I notice they are long studs. Silly question as Alfa but easy to remove?
 

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Remember that retorquing the heads on the 24V engine is not as simple as the 12V. It's a more involved procedure, requiring turning the nuts so many degrees after initial low level torque take up.
 
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I really don't think you want to go there on a 24v unless you nave a real serious head gasket leaking problem.
 

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Thanks Del and Steve,
was aware of there being a different final torquing method on 24v. Have decided to postpone the gasket change plan for the moment as makes no sense to have an Alfa for fun and not drive it.

Heads will need doing at some point soon. Have plan to drive to Italy, once rules allow, and would rather replace them first - rather than risk failure in Milan or, more likely, after full chat on German Autobahns.

Can the original head studs/bolts be re-used? And am thinking of taking the heads of as units rather than stripping them down. Would mean leaving original valve seals in place. Not ideal but thinking it will save some potential complications. Would it?
 

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Studs stay in the block, nuts and washers reused.
 

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When i installed my new cylinder head gaskets, I have not changed the head studs/bolts, there is no need to replace them. The cylinder heads of my engine had 237000km and the old seals were a little damaged but the engine had no symptoms. The heads are tightened in three passes: 25nm / 120 ° / 120 °

 

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Great. Many thanks to you both for the info. Picis great too - had wondered about the order/extra turn requirements.
I suspect a slight amount of oil getting into coolant from head - as a bit brown/frothy in expansion tank, despite being mostly new coolant.
 
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