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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

My 164 TS takes a longer crank when warm and i've been trying to diagnose it for a while. Any help is always appreciated :)

The car starts up immediately when cold (1-2 seconds max)
When hot, most of the time, it starts fine too. But what I have noticed so far is that after running the car for even a very short while, and left off for around half an hour, it takes a longer crank (5-6 seconds) to start back up. Once it starts, it runs perfectly fine. No hesitation or sluggishness etc.
If left for over like 2-3 hours, it fires right back up even though engine may still be warm.

On the other hand, even after a very long run, if i shut down the engine and start it within a couple of minutes, it starts right back up immediately.

I rebuilt the engine head about 500km ago. I used to have this problem even prior to the rebuild. I just got used to living with it. (engine head was rebuilt after I messed up when adjusting the valve clearances by dropping a small nut in to the timing chain area and wasn't able to extract it. I gave up trying to find the nut and assumed it had slipped in to the oil sump. With my fingers crossed, I cranked the engine and instantly heard the chain popping. Turns out, the nut had wedged itself between the oil pump chain and chain gear. It just split the chain right off, causing at least 4 bent valves. REALLY BIG & EXPENSIVE lesson for me right there!)

What's been changed so far:

New original intake and exhaust valves.
Valve clearances adjusted to factory values.
New valve stem seals.
Factory recommended engine and transmission oils just changed (may not be related anyway)
Debeer red coolant (not related?)

New BOSCH Platinum 0 242 245 520 plugs
New plug leads
New Bosch coolant sensor
New thermostat
New crank position sensor
New air filter
New Manifold Air Flow sensor (AFM/MAF)
New bosch fuel pressure regulator

Almost all of these new parts (except for MAF sensor) were thrown in not to try and fix the issue, but because I was doing the head rebuild and it had been a while since they were replaced

Other things to note:
#Swapped idle actuator. no difference.
#I use lead-free 95 octane fuel
#O2 Sensor is pretty new too. Less than 5,000km since it was replaced
#exhaust leak near manifold down pipe was fixed.
#Check Engine light is off. No stored codes. (Flashing method)
#I checked the EGR valve. When disconnected, air can flow through. When i give it 12v, it closes up and I cant blow through it. That's how it should work?
#Checked for false air leaks. Can't find any. Replaced the small rubber vaccum hose to fuel pressure regulator. Sprayed soapy water around intake manifold rubber boots, air flow boot, idle actuator hose, idle actuator seat, oil vapor hose etc. No surging or idle drop noted. Checked vaccum hose to brake booster. all ok. Is there a better way to check for vaccum leaks? May be spray some carburetor cleaner instead of soapy water?

#I tried disconnecting different sensors one at a time to make sure I get a check engine light, and I did. So I assume all sensors seem to work like they should?

#checked and replaced fuel pump relay, idle control relay and ECU relay under the hood near radiator top mount. Still same.

# Throttle Position Sensor, Fuel Pump and Ignition Coils (Twin Spark engine has 2 large coil packs with 4 ignition out pins each) are the only related things I haven't changed so far.



I started the car on completely cold engine this morning to move it out of the garage and in to the drive way. Started right away as usual. The 'drive' was about 20 meters (65 feet) and lasted about a minute or two at most as I let the engine idle for a little while after it started. When I needed to move the car back in, about 45 minutes later, it again took a long crank to start (5-6 seconds). This is when I decided I need to ask for help on the forum! The engine, in this case, would have been just so lightly warm.

What am I missing? Where should I look at next?

TIA!
ZF
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
oh, and I did forget to mention, I checked the two hoses inside the fuel pump and they were fine. I replaced them anyway.
Fuel filter is also pretty new. May be 10,000km at most since I changed it.
Haven't found any fuel leaks in engine bay.

All 4 injectors were ultrasonic-cleaned and tested for leaks in an injector cleaning machine at a local service station. They all seemed to be working fine. I've read that a leaky injector could cause this problem too?
 

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Nature of the beast. My 164 QV 3.0L did it all the time. I seem to remember Alfa stating it is normal. lol Press gas pedal down and it should start after a short time.
 

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My 91S tends to do the same thing some times. Just depends I think on how hot the engine and fuel in the system on the engine are, how far I have driven, and maybe how hot the ambient air temperature is. Must be a little bit of fuel vapor lock, and holding the throttle open clears it faster.

A zillion years ago, my father had a Cadillac which would a few times get vapor lock in the summer but not in the winter. He would have to bleed the fuel line at the carb just a little to reestablish fuel flow. Piece of junk, that car was. Far worse than any Alfa I ever owned, much to his irritation.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
guess what? Just hours after posting this, I was driving across town and when I came to one traffic stop the engine suddenly decides to drop below normal idle rpm a couple times. May have dropped to about 500 before picking back up and dropping back down. I didn’t want the engine to shut off so I gave it some throttle and the issue went off completely. What was that??
Possible failing idle actuator?

What would be the biggest indicator if I have a failing, but functional fuel pump? It’s definitely 10+ years old. I think it’s time for replacement anyway?
 

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"the engine suddenly decides to drop below normal idle rpm a couple times. May have dropped to about 500 before picking back up and dropping back down"

That happens with the 91S several times during the year of daily driving. It just does it, no worries IMO. Runs fine otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, folks :)

I guess I’ve learned a new lesson on Alfa’s ��

On a side note though, doesn’t it bother you guys? Haven’t you tried to at least try and figure out what’s causing it? Or is it just me? ����
 

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"the engine suddenly decides to drop below normal idle rpm a couple times. May have dropped to about 500 before picking back up and dropping back down"

That happens with the 91S several times during the year of daily driving. It just does it, no worries IMO. Runs fine otherwise.
Ours does this also. It's almost as if the old girl is clearing her throats right after start up. Usually a cold start. The slow start when warm is characteristic of the Busso V6. My 2.5 V6 in the GTV6 I owned was the same on a warm or hot start.

Oddly, on those slow to start warm or hot starts it seems to help to press down the gas pedal and slowly release just as you may have done with a cranky old carburetor equipped engine. Should make no difference to L Jetronic or Motronic, but it does.
 

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Keep in mind that the engine and it's equipment is a collective electrical/mechanical contraption, and it's just not perfect. Would be extremely rare to be close to ideal performance every time.

Opening the throttle helps clear the intake of weirdness, and ensures a fresh flow of air/gas mixture.

Just don't do this with a Milano or GTV6 on a cold start at least. Otherwise, 'pop' goes the weasel, so to speak. Don't ask...
 

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Keep in mind that the engine and it's equipment is a collective electrical/mechanical contraption, and it's just not perfect. Would be extremely rare to be close to ideal performance every time.

Opening the throttle helps clear the intake of weirdness, and ensures a fresh flow of air/gas mixture.

Just don't do this with a Milano or GTV6 on a cold start at least. Otherwise, 'pop' goes the weasel, so to speak. Don't ask...
Ah yes, the real reason for the tea tray inset into the hood.....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Alfa’s sure are adorable, lol :D

I’ll just hook up a fuel pressure gauge and see what it reads when cranking while warm. For some reason it feels fuel related to me. Lately Ive felt a slight hesitation when under load too. Power takes a little while to kick in.

I understand we’ve got to live with this, but it just irks me you know! I think I won’t let this go without a fight.
 

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Lol, I'd rather have a beer and read a good book, or just go for a nice drive in an Alfa, not worrying about idiosyncrasies.
 

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"not perfect" struck a chord in my head that just popped out a brain fart.

Everything interesting is imperfect in some way. Anything man made is not yet perfect.

And to be married to the perfect woman would be an unbearable burden. How could one possibly live up to that?

The most intriguing aspect of any car is the personality of the people who built it. If you like the idiosyncrasies of a particular marque you have the makings of a very enjoyable drive. Despite the deficiencies or even because of them.

Example? My Subaru BRZ compared to the Porsche Cayman I very nearly bought instead. The Subaru is deeply flawed and highly entertaining to drive as a result. The Cayman has only two flaws: cost (truly outrageous even though it delivers much better value than any 911) and the NOISE, my goodness they can be deafening inside when you really open them up. My BRZ is just noisy all the time, lack of sound deadening. But it is always noisy and never reaches unacceptable levels. The Cayman lacks individuality, imperfections that provoke development of a relationship. My BRZ never fails to put a grin on my face, especially when it goes sideways for really no good reason at all.

A Giulia has that whereas a BMW does not.
 

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Friends of ours have an Audi A6 which is a beautifully made car. Everything is just so, and finely finished. Goes well, I'll give it that, but it is totally boring, emotionless in character. Too perfect in a sense. Wouldn't buy one since we like to drive and feel involved doing that.

Same for his Boxster S. Drives very well, and nicely made, but no emotion involved. No sense of actually driving unless you are near the limit, which is when the police get involved, lol. It remains a garage queen because of that I suspect.
 

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Hello

I have the same engine in my car and as I was reading your post, it was like you are writing about mine :)
I haven't found any solution so far either.
What I noticed: It seems to act up when the temperature gauge on the dash shows 60-70 celsius. If I stop the engine and attempt to start immediately, it starts right up. It has to sit approx 20-30 min, after I have to crank for a long time (5-10s) After starting there is no strange behavior like you said too. Also mostly does it with less fuel in the tank and in warm weather (summertime). However I experienced it with more fuel and in the winter as well :)
Other thing is which I seem to notice, when this problem happens, I can smell a very strong odor of gas but then it disappears.
I suspected a failing fuel pump, but there were more occasion when i could hear the pump, but the car started after long crank.
I consulted with more technicians about this symptom, they all said different thing: One said, that my fuel pump is going bad, the other said right away that my injectors are bad, he cleaned them, but the issue remained, a third one said that I have a vacuum leak somewhere.
So far I learned to live with this issue, but it bugs me and i would like to find a solution.
Maybe somebody can give a helpful tip :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I guess daily-driving a Toyota for 4 years is what has turned me in to this 'perfectionist' :D

The Toyota has given me absolutely no trouble except for having to replace a rubber boot on of the coils and replacing the tappet cover and sump gaskets IN 4 YEARS! And its just turned 10 years old now!

I was going through the service & diagnosis manuals from the 164Register site. The very first thing Alfa recommends to check in case of a hesitation to start when warm is the Coolant Sensor. So I swapped mine with a used one I had laying around. Guess what? Problem Solved!

I was baffled, for I certainly knew the coolant sensor had less than a couple thousand KMs on it. I had no CEL either. Disconnecting the coolant sensor used to throw on the CEL immediately. I therefore assumed it was working fine.
So taking a closer look at the sensor, I think I realize what may have caused the it to begin to fail or read wrong.

I had the engine out for head-overhauling and when putting everything back together, I sprayed a dash of WD-40 on all electrical connectors and grounding points. I live about 500m from the sea, so leaving anything exposed for even a couple of days is enough to build up some corrosion or oxidization.
I remember using a tissue to dry up excess WD-40 before putting everything back together. Turns out, I sprayed the coolant sensor with a little too much of it. When I turned the sensor upside down, quite a bit of WD-40 drained out from the connector. I am assuming some of it entered the internals of the sensor and started messing around with the resistance, throwing off the readings to the ECU.

I drove the car about 30km today, taking multiple long breaks (switch off engine) and never once did it take longer than a second or two to start up.

So the Coolant Sensor turned out to be the culprit (or was it really my fault?) in this case.

Quick question, what do you guys recommend using to keep out moisture from electrical connectors? I think I'll stick to using WD-40 only for home/general purpose!

Who doesn't love driving a trouble-free Alfa! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hello

I have the same engine in my car and as I was reading your post, it was like you are writing about mine :)
I haven't found any solution so far either.
What I noticed: It seems to act up when the temperature gauge on the dash shows 60-70 celsius. If I stop the engine and attempt to start immediately, it starts right up. It has to sit approx 20-30 min, after I have to crank for a long time (5-10s) After starting there is no strange behavior like you said too. Also mostly does it with less fuel in the tank and in warm weather (summertime). However I experienced it with more fuel and in the winter as well :)
Other thing is which I seem to notice, when this problem happens, I can smell a very strong odor of gas but then it disappears.
I suspected a failing fuel pump, but there were more occasion when i could hear the pump, but the car started after long crank.
I consulted with more technicians about this symptom, they all said different thing: One said, that my fuel pump is going bad, the other said right away that my injectors are bad, he cleaned them, but the issue remained, a third one said that I have a vacuum leak somewhere.
So far I learned to live with this issue, but it bugs me and i would like to find a solution.
Maybe somebody can give a helpful tip :)
In your case, I would definitely first look at the submersible hose inside fuel pump assembly. Over time, they soften up and rupture from direct contact with fuel. I've had this problem before. Also, i think it explains why it happens mostly with low fuel in tank?
I would also look for tiny fuel leaks in the fuel lines in engine bay. That could explain the cause for gas smell although if there is a leak, the smell should be there at all times.
 

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Dielectric grease should be used to waterproof electrical connectors. WD40 is not really the best electrical contact cleaner. It disperses water and does clean some corrosion but electrical contact cleaner does a much better job of restoring conducting surfaces.
 
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