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Discussion Starter #1
Driving along the other day I began to loose oil pressure and water temp started to rise. Quickly got home and realised most of my oil had leaked out of a faulty oil pressure sensor. Just barely got it replaced and now the exhaust is blowing white smoke. A lot. Mostly when you press the gas, it becomes a fog machine.

No bubbles in radiator when running, no 'chocolate milk' on dipstick, or oil filler cap, not losing any brake fluid, no nasty jelly stuff in radiator cap.

Just replaced cam cover gasket, so no oil leaking. Doesn't start smoking until after warmed up.

I am at a loss, any help would be extremely appreciated.

82' Alfa spider
 

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Water Going straight into the combustion chamber, making steam and going straight out through the exhaust. Head gasket blown so that it goes into c chamber rather than into the oil.
Be careful when you start it after leaving it to go cold. If you try to start it when water has gone into one oe more cylinders, you could bend a conrod, called "hydraulicing " in some parts.
Best to remove all the plugs, spin the engine over, and note if any water spurts out from one cylinder. If that happens, definitely head gasket gone and going into combustion chamber.
As you've said you're not burning brake fluid, this looks like the favourite
Steve
 

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I would have shut the engine down ... loosing oil pressure is the nastiest issue. The fact that the temperature went up post oil pressure gone could mean you have damaged your crank bearings and other things, not just your head gasket, ie. increased friction resulting in more temperature.

I wish you the very best but loss of oil pressure at any time means kill engine. Suggest you look for a seecond hand engine.
Pete
 

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You could, if you are somewhat brave, do as is mentioned above and remove the plugs, turn the engine over to get rid of any potential coolant buildup in the chambers, fill with at least the minimum amount of oil according to the dip stick, reinstall the plugs, and then try to run the engine for a couple of minutes to see what the oil pressure does. If the pressure stays low, you are in for bearing replacement, but if it comes up to close to the normal cold start level, you might get away with replacing just the head gasket.

One reason the temperature came up some was that oil splash in the crankcase helps in cooling the engine. If the oil level is down, you get less cooling. If the temperature went up because the bearings, etc, were not receiving enough lubrication, the bearings are probably toast. Hopefully, the crank is not damaged, although the journals can be turned down for oversized bearings. Cams would have to be inspected for damage as well.

Pity you drove the car with low oil pressure. Usually, one is advised to stop immediately to see what is wrong. If not fixable, then asking for a tow home.
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Hows the oil pressure now with oil. To soon to look for a new motor. Figure out whats going on. Run a compression check too.
did you actually see white smoke out the tailpipe or in the rearview mirror. I say that because when my oil filter came loose I had a fog machine in my rear view mirror but it was from oil on the exhaust manifold. The low pressure sending unit is also by the exhaust so you might just be seen oil burning off the exhaust manifold.
 

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Well, he did mention that the temperature rose some. You might be correct, but the temperature change is not a good sign. Hopefully it is because of low oil not cooling the engine interior as it should, not undue bearing friction.

Pity he continued to run the engine, though.
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Alfa motors are bulletproof, well bullet resistant is more like it. if the temp gauge wasn't pegged chances are head gasket is ok. Either way always check the simple stuff first, for several reasons.
 

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Hows the oil pressure now with oil. To soon to look for a new motor. Figure out whats going on. Run a compression check too.
did you actually see white smoke out the tailpipe or in the rearview mirror. I say that because when my oil filter came loose I had a fog machine in my rear view mirror but it was from oil on the exhaust manifold. The low pressure sending unit is also by the exhaust so you might just be seen oil burning off the exhaust manifold.
Lets hope this is the case :).

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #9
First of all thank you for the responses!

Secondly, when I said drove the car home I ment less than 100 yards to my house. Thankfully I was right around the corner when it happened.

The smoke started after I changed the oil sensor, and put it back together with new oil. When I pulled into my driveway after I lost pressure, there was no smoke at all.

Compression tested a little low in the middle cylinders. but from what you guys have told me I dont thing the bearings are bad.

When the head gasket comes in I will check the cams and whatnot. Is there anything else I should be checking while in there?


Also I dont think I have posted a picture of my car. And I know you guys love pics. :)
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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How much oil did you have to add and have you restarted it?
 

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You can take the lower pan off and check for bearing material and also look at the rods ends to see if they show any signs of being heated up.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think I ended up putting about 5.5 quarts in. It might have been less though.

Also I was looking at the car classifieds in my area ( I always and browsing through cars) and I stumbled across an 86 spider that is in pieces, but all there. It is only 600$ so I was wondering about engine compatability with my car now. Or if I could use it as a general parts car?

Here is the link :

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=13301084&nid=917&car=2007014&page=0&make=Alfa Romeo
 

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I had a head gasket go between the 3&4 fire rings. Smoked till there was enough coolant on the plugs to foul them. The plugs, and piston tops were as clean as new, and the compression in those 2 cylinders was fortunately very low. Shine a flashlight down the plug holes, and look for shiny piston tops. Did you start the car after you added oil? Did it still smoke? I don't know where your located, but in cool damp areas of the country water will condense in the exhaust. We don't drive these cars every day, and at least with mine, it takes a while for the condensate to burn out. Are there signs of coolant on the tail pipe? I'm just trying to save you the trouble of changing the head gasket.
$600!!! I'd buy that car, even if it's pretty rough. You could keep what you might need, just in case, and sell parts in the parts classified section here, and recoup your investment. Just my humble opinion.
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Most parts cars save those who buy them at the very least what was paid for them. You can never have enough spare parts!
How much is "a little low" compression on the middle cylinders? Have you driven it since you added oil? Does it still smoke? I wouldn't do anything until I knew that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The smoke didint start until after I let it cool down and put oil back in it. I was about to drive it when I saw all the smoke, and I let it run for about 3 minutes and it was only getting worse. There was some burning oil smoke from the engine bay near the manifolds, but the smoke coming out the tailpipe was very steamy, and was practically dripping with water.

I dont remember exact numbers on compression, but the outside ones were like 20ish psi higher than the inside ones. Also my compression tester is crap so not banking anything on the numbers, but 20 off was a little suspicious.
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Much better description! Ok, now it is really sounding like a head gasket. Now you are susceptible to the whileI'minthere diease!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Bad news. The machine shop that was planing my head just called and said that the head is cracked.... lame....

He said the crack is probably too deep to be welded up. So now I am on the hunt for a new head. Will an 86 head fit my 82 spider? That part car is still available. Or should I dish out the 600$ and get one from IAP??

Or should I consider putting a completely different engine in it altogether?
 

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How is the oil pressure now?
Did you find any evidence of metal particles in the oil when you changed it.
You will want to change it again once the head is repaired, coolant leaks into oil during disassembly.

I believe the heads will interchange, I would jump on the project car as spares.

On early cars changing a head gasket is no big deal, on injected it's a PITA but you have it apart so it looks like you should be able to handle reassembly.

Be sure to post the resolution of the project.
 
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