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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone here had luck flushing out an engine that’s had metal in it? How long did it run?

Here’s why I ask:

After two oil PRV problems, thinking I would replace the pump myself, I purchased a new oil pump from a very reputable vendor. I found the engine needed more than just an oil pump, so the local Alfa shop completely rebuild the motor. It’s a nice street engine, new pistons / liners, balanced, polished, mild cams, electric fan, ‘74 exhaust manifold. I broke it in carefully and never rev till it’s warm. Highest I’ve revved it is 5,500 rpm.

Less than 5,000 miles later the oil pump / distributor drive gear is stripped and my new $7,000 engine is full of metal (see drained oil photo). It appears the drive gear was made of brass instead of bronze (see gear photo).

Since I supplied the oil pump, it’s ‘not really their problem’. Unless the engine is entirely stripped and reassembled, I’m worried it’s a time-bomb. I’m not working (COVID-19) and with the record this car has, I can’t justify another $3 grand labor-only rebuild after <5,000 miles.


If I flush the engine 4-5 times, how likely is it to run for 20 or 30,000 miles? Has anyone tried this, and how’d it work out?

Or should I flush it out, park it, and sell when the market picks up?


I hate to give up the hobby, the car’s been a lot of fun, but it’s totally kicked my ***. I’ve invested triple what I paid for it, in upgrades and repairs. It’s been flatbedded to the Alfa shop NINE times. I’ve been stranded with a fried relay wire, broken clutch shaft, dead fuel pump, failed throttle links, water pump, and now THREE oil pump failures.

I never cut corners on parts or maintenance, and spent hundreds of happy hours doting on the car. New shocks, ball joints, clutch, giubo, U-joints, exhaust system, all fuel and vacuum hoses, tires, brakes, paint, wind deflector, AC rebuild, carpets, seatbelts, battery, new mirrors . . .

I love the car, but it seems to be a Lemon. That man the snake is eating - is me.

David OD
Laguna CA
 

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There was a long thread about aftermarket oil pumps about a year ago and my conclusion was to not trust any of them. Some people have bought used ones and either rebuilt them themselves or have paid Gordon Raymond to do it for them. Gordon has posted information about inspection and rebuild procedures.
 
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So sorry to hear about that, David. I had the same issue with an aftermarket oil pump after about 2,000 miles. I switched back to the original pump.
 

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Change the pump with a good one, make sure there is no residual metal in the removed oil pan and carry on. Do a couple 500 mile oil filter changes and just drive it.
There is a lot of purest out there that would say take it apart and redo it. I agree put a new pump in and drive it. You have done so much for the car already. Spider are not worth a lot of money and all of us will never get our money out of them. They are not the biggest money pit in the car world but it does require some $$ every now and then. The Alfa hobby is driving and maintains of an Alfa. If you just want a driver then a Honda S2000 is the car. I hope you decide to keep it and have fun throughout the process. Heck what other car brand keeps you up at night! :)


Ken Smith
 

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There is obviously a difference in hardness and strength in brass as compared to bronze. The color is easy to see. You would think that the suppliers that we rely on would take a look at what they are getting from their suppliers.
Does anyone have a quick way to tell the difference.
 

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My understanding is that the problems with aftermarket pumps are more than just material of construction. Gear profile, relief valve dimensions,.....
 

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You must have noticed something prior to this failure?....some have heard a whine which they didn't know where it was coming from (till the pump failed) some have had too high oil pressure etc, etc

I if was mine I wouldn't run it, without stripping it down.
If those tiny brass dust particles got between your crank bearings....

The cheaper new oil pumps can be real junk these days, many many threads on BB about failures.

OKP sells one for 300 and one they call original for 700...
go figure.

Was it USA sourced? an alfa specific supplier?
or UK/Germany sourced?
 
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The $$$! one from Ok is OEM manufacture. The -$ one is aftermarket. As an oil pump builder, I assure you that time, tooling patience and ACCURATE clearances play a critical part in quality Alfa oil pumps! Materials on OEM pumps as well as hardening was up to the job. Pumps made "who-knows-where" are another story.
Google Alfa oil pumps made in China and see about those.....
A word to the wise should be sufficient!
This is only my opinion from my own experiences (and others) as usual.
 

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Is it time to stop protecting suppliers that do not monitor the quality of the parts they sell? I think if an owner has an obvious problem with a part and has
tried to get an adjustment from the supplier and can show there really is a problem
with the part I think that we all should know where the part came from. In this case it's clear (to me anyway) that the gear was brass and not bronze I think in all fairness to all of us that we should know where the parts came from. (In this particular case the problem could have been easily caught by a conscientious supplier. I know that there are legal issues here but "right is right". This is not the first time we have read stories like this in the past. I don't ever remember being told where the part came from.
We call out scammers so why not this problem?
Are there others who feel the same.
 
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If you have any confidence in the oil FILTER.. you should be fine. The operation of the engine is to suck oil from the sump and push it through the filter BEFORE any crap gets to the moving parts of the engine.. If you starved the engine because the pump failed ..that is one thing... If it had no clatter or prolonged knocking going on when you shut down.. I would roll the dice with a new pump. The debris you are concerned about should have been filtered out and remain in suspension in the filter. Just my two cents. I would not be concerned with the internal oil circuitry of the motor..
 

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Is it time to stop protecting suppliers that do not monitor the quality of the parts they sell? I think if an owner has an obvious problem with a part and has
tried to get an adjustment from the supplier and can show there really is a problem
with the part I think that we all should know where the part came from. In this case it's clear (to me anyway) that the gear was brass and not bronze I think in all fairness to all of us that we should know where the parts came from. (In this particular case the problem could have been easily caught by a conscientious supplier. I know that there are legal issues here but "right is right". This is not the first time we have read stories like this in the past. I don't ever remember being told where the part came from.
We call out scammers so why not this problem?
Are there others who feel the same.
I thought forms like this is to get insider knowledge. I agree if there is low quality parts being sold out there. We all should be alerted. The parts dealer should stand by there product and deal with there source.


Ken Smith
 

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I thought forms like this is to get insider knowledge. I agree if there is low quality parts being sold out there. We all should be alerted. The parts dealer should stand by there product and deal with there source.
I don't think that's fair. The supplier that I bought my pump from is a small shop that has been devastated by the failure of these pumps. When they found out about them, they immediately stopped selling them and did everything possible to get their supplier to do right by the pumps, but the supplier refused.

Punishing a mom-and-pop business that we rely on that doesn't have the resources to refund for out-of-warranty parts is not the right answer. If the concern is whether the supplier I purchased from got the message and is working harder to avoid problems in the future, IT HAS! If the concern is that someone might buy one of these defective parts from that supplier, the answer is NO because they haven't sold the defective pumps for a couple of years since learning about the issue.
 

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Sloboy89: I guess I did not make myself clear. I was addressing the 3 or 4 large
retail national shops they we generally buy from. I was not talking about the small Ma and Pa shops like the one you buy from. I'm glad that you still buy local. I for one can not do this so I rely one the "big guys". In this case from what you say, "but the supplier refused". Then that is the company that we should be made aware of. You are not the OP in this case but we (in this case, I) would like to hear the whole story about what is was that "the supplier refused ".

To coin a new phrase: "Alfa Parts Matter". (also)
 
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I don't think that's fair. The supplier that I bought my pump from is a small shop that has been devastated by the failure of these pumps. When they found out about them, they immediately stopped selling them and did everything possible to get their supplier to do right by the pumps, but the supplier refused.

Punishing a mom-and-pop business that we rely on that doesn't have the resources to refund for out-of-warranty parts is not the right answer. If the concern is whether the supplier I purchased from got the message and is working harder to avoid problems in the future, IT HAS! If the concern is that someone might buy one of these defective parts from that supplier, the answer is NO because they haven't sold the defective pumps for a couple of years since learning about the issue.
I agree I never want to put a small business in a negative situation. I always prefer to work with a small business versus a box stores. I like your prospective for the small guy who will take action and stand behind the work. I believe most of us are level head and would never want hard on a hard work honest business owner.

Here is my point I grown up in a small family business and quality of the product was my dads # 1 concern. If he did receive a low quality part and it failed after returning the product to the customer, he would deal with it. I am not saying 100% reimbursement. He was happy to understand the items is not quality and he could work with the supplier. Really it is not the suppliers fault too. It really comes do to the manufacturer.

What a slippery slope. If I could avoid buy a poorly made part with the information provided in this form, then we are all ahead of the game.
 

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Sloboy said that he did not buy the poor pump from one of the big nationals so how the heck can he call them out?
 

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Alfapartical: See my note just above. (#15) .
(I know you were typing while I was typing....) JD
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just emailed the vendor yesterday and they have not had a chance to respond yet. I consider them a quality outfit and will keep the board posted on their response.

If someone has a simple way to tell brass from bronze, please let me know.

David OD
Laguna CA
 

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I am sorry I got on such a jag, but I am been seeing so many of my favorite business go under to the big box. I enjoy the whole experience of going to the store or shop. The owner or staff knows your name. I they can answer question. I have been seeing on the TV advertisement for carvona? Push a button on your computer and a car is delivered to you! No thanks - I still like to kick the tires and see what I am buying.

Back to David's problem change the pump and add oil or take apart the engine, clean it and put it back to gather. I guess David has to asked him self this question. Do you want to spend the funds for the rebuild or hope your oil filter did its job? tough decision.
 
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