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Hey guys I was just wondering if you could give me suggestions as to why my Alfa is so disfunctional at the moment. I tried giving it all the love in the world, but it seems surgery is iminent.

I got the car from some one who wanted to restore it but never got around to doing it properly. It has been running roughly ever since I bought it, and when it was driving if I was climbing up a hill or something the car would loose power and eventually stall. I would have to sit at the side of the road for a few minutes before I could move it again.
Reciently my father and I have been doing the brakes and the clutch, and I would turn the engine over every now and then. On monday I turned it over, and plumes of white smoke came out from the exaust, I went round the back of the car and placed my hand near the exaust and could smell oil. :(

What could it be?
I am thinking that its a blown gasket or rather a cracked gasket, it would explain why the drive got progressivly worse and why it runs roughly.
I'm assuming a compression test would be able to help diagnose the problem?

My father thinks it could be that, or an oil ring has gone, while my friend suggested the gasket problem or perhaps even that the head is cracked.

Any other suggestions?
 

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Black smoke is a rich mixture. It will leave speckles of soot on your hand.
Blue smoke is oil. It will leave a film of oil on your hand.
White smoke could be brake fluid from the booster, or it could be steam from a failed head gasket. Does your hand smell of antifreeze?

Ed Prytherch
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It didn't leave a film of oil. And we had alot of trouble from the brakes, and from the clutch as well, which is hydrolic. To be honest I'm not sure what antifreeze is supposed to smell like. Don't have any lying around to compare it too. :S
It didn't seem like any water was dripping from the exaust. And since I've had it, it hasn't overheated.
 

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The clutch does not have a vacuum booster. There is no pathway for it to get in the exhaust pipe. Brake fluid can get from the master cylinder, through the booster and into the combustion chambers, then out of the exhaust. Disconnect the master cylinder from the booster and check for brake fluid in the booster.
If you want to know what burned antifreeze smells like, drip some on a hot exhaust pipe.
Ed Prytherch
 

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1) check the antifreeze in the radiator for signs of engine oil. If you find oil in the antifreeze, frothy milky brown droplets, it's probably a cracked cylinder liner.
2) Do a compression test. If you find any of the cylinders low in compression, pour a table spoon of engine oil into that spark plug hole and check the compression again. If it goes up, it's probably a head/gasket problem.
If nothing else, you'll begin getting a picture of your engines health.
 

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Oil in the coolant is much more likely to be due to a failed O-ring in the head gasket. Cracked liners are very rare. Failed O-rings are common.
Ed Prytherch
 

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I agree, plus a leak down tester is more accurate that a compression tester as it will give you a better idea of how/where you are losing compression.
 

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Hey guys I was just wondering if you could give me suggestions as to why my Alfa is so disfunctional at the moment. I tried giving it all the love in the world, but it seems surgery is iminent.

I got the car from some one who wanted to restore it but never got around to doing it properly. It has been running roughly ever since I bought it, and when it was driving if I was climbing up a hill or something the car would loose power and eventually stall. I would have to sit at the side of the road for a few minutes before I could move it again.
Reciently my father and I have been doing the brakes and the clutch, and I would turn the engine over every now and then. On monday I turned it over, and plumes of white smoke came out from the exaust, I went round the back of the car and placed my hand near the exaust and could smell oil. :(

What could it be?
I am thinking that its a blown gasket or rather a cracked gasket, it would explain why the drive got progressivly worse and why it runs roughly.
I'm assuming a compression test would be able to help diagnose the problem?

My father thinks it could be that, or an oil ring has gone, while my friend suggested the gasket problem or perhaps even that the head is cracked.

Any other suggestions?

Remove brake master cylinder and check for brake fluid inside brake booster. If white smoke you are probably sucking brake fluid back into intake through booster vac hose.
 

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Oil in the coolant is much more likely to be due to a failed O-ring in the head gasket. Cracked liners are very rare. Failed O-rings are common.
Ed Prytherch
5yearplan: I agree, ....
Please try to comprehend the entire post next time. Had you done so you would realize that step 2) addresses exactly the point your raising in your attempt to poo poo my suggestions. Thank you ;)
 

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Please try to comprehend the entire post next time. Had you done so you would realize that step 2) addresses exactly the point your raising in your attempt to poo poo my suggestions. Thank you ;)
Now, now.....

I'd suggest, though, that if compression goes up after pouring oil down the sparkplug hole, the lack of initial compression is due to worn piston rings rather than a headgasket since the oil will help the rings seal. If compression remains low the rings are (probably) fine and the problem is in the head - probably either headgasket with your symptoms or valves, which normally wouldn't exhibit the symptoms you describe.
 

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Now, now.....

I'd suggest, though, that if compression goes up after pouring oil down the sparkplug hole, the lack of initial compression is due to worn piston rings rather than a headgasket since the oil will help the rings seal. If compression remains low the rings are (probably) fine and the problem is in the head - probably either headgasket with your symptoms or valves, which normally wouldn't exhibit the symptoms you describe.

If the rings are fine, then oil is added sealing the rings even tighter, you're suggesting the compression does what then? :confused:

Please explain? Do you see my confusion here after what you posted above?

Further, GeoffSGT describes plumes of white smoke which is what raised the initial thought of a "possible" cracked liner, as I have seen this twice before. What I'm thinking here is white plumes of smoke combined with serious compression loss driving uphill, adds up. If there is oil in the anitfreeze and he is losing a substantial amount of coolant, then a cracked liner is suspect. Before starting to hunt down other scenarios, I would first check to make sure the coolant is fine, the compression is fine, then move on based on the symptoms being described.
 

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I had plumes of white smoke and it was the brake booster pouring brake fluid into #4. Sort of like a smoke cloud to hide a destroyer. Cool stuff.
 

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Had exactly the same thing, A gasket change soon followed in the middle of summer!
If you 're running water be prepared for a stuck head and lots of patience, vinegar works miracles in stud holes :)
 

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If it was a lot of white vapor, I would not even dare turn the engine over again without checking the plugs first! If you have a cylinder with enough water in it you could crack the cylinder sleeve.

First thing I'd be doing is pulling the plugs, look for wet plugs ... head gasket leak. Look for plugs that are black and fouled with oil for the other.

How many miles are on this thing anway? If you're up near 100K you're do for a head job anyway.

GV
 

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My take on this;

1) looses power under load = fuel feed problem (assuming carbs)
2) smokes after doing brake and clutch work = rear seal in the brake master cylinder went bad leaking brakefluid into the booster (assuming hanging pedals)

Unless I missed it, what year/model Alfa?
 

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Please try to comprehend the entire post next time. Had you done so you would realize that step 2) addresses exactly the point your raising in your attempt to poo poo my suggestions. Thank you ;)
I agree, plus a leak down tester is more accurate that a compression tester as it will give you a better idea of how/where you are losing compression.
Hmm, I wasn't poo-pooing your suggestion. Notice I said PLUS, meaning in addition as opposed to "instead." I was merely making a distinction between the two main ways of testing for compression as many people haven't heard of a leak down tester. So there :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
papajam: I have a pair of dellorto carbs and I have the pedals that come up from the floor. Its someware between a 1964-1966 stepnose sprint GT veloce.
It had a 2L motor dropped into it at some point with some strange hydrollic conversion done for the clutch.

Otherwise I'm not sure how many miles are on the motor. I know next to nothing about the cars history. :(

~Geoff
 

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I would do a fuel pressure and volume test.

For the smoke, I'd remove all the sparkplugs and crank the engine with the starter. If no liquid comes out of the sparkplug holes, install the sparkplugs. Then disconnect and plug the booster vacuum hose. Start the engine and run it for a short time at high idle. If the smoke goes away, the booster is at fault. If the smoke remains, further diagnosis of an engine problem will be necessary.
If however liquid comes out of the sparkplug holes when cranking, suspect an engine problem. Also look at the sparkplugs. If one or more plugs are white as compared to the others, this could indicate coolant getting into that cylinder.
 

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If the rings are fine, then oil is added sealing the rings even tighter, you're suggesting the compression does what then?
I'm suggesting that low compression is typically due to either worn rings or leaky valves (or both of course), mostly due to worn guides and seals. This is assuming a situation where no catastrophic event took place such as bits breaking off valves or holes burning in pistoncrowns etc.

The way to check which is by pouring a tablespoon oil into the chamber and then checking compression again.

I'm suggesting that the oil spreads across the pistoncrown and creates a very temporary seal between the cylinder wall and the piston. If compression is otherwise blowing by along the piston due to bad rings, the oil will seal this leak for the duration of the compressiontest and give a higher reading.

If the rings are good there will be NO DIFFERENCE between the readings before and after adding the oil, since the rings were already tight and the leak is thus in the head (valve guides and seals). Occasionally a leaky headgasket can result in low compression if the leak is between two cylinders but this is rare IMHO

Now you tell me what you believe is happening when you add the oil? :)

Incidentally I believe this is going OT and that the OP should follow Jim's advice under any given circumstances.

I know I would. :rolleyes:
 
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