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Discussion Starter #1
Just a quick Q:

Happened to be at my mother's when she was pulling out of the driveway; as she pulled out, out of an upstairs window I saw a black streak on the driveway following the car. Called her phone and she stopped in front of the house, then backed up and pulled back into the driveway and shut the car off. I didn't know if it was oil or coolant until I got outside and saw the oil filter on its side in the driveway amidst a pool of oil.... Had heard of this sort of thing happening, but never saw it first hand.... Anyway, I checked the oil level and there was none on the dipstick. I wasn't outside by the time she shut the car off, so I don't know if there were 'bad noises' or not, but I imagine most of the oil got pumped out. She had the oil changed last week, so I imagine the filter just wasn't on enough and finally worked loose, or wasn't on tight enough and just finally spun off under cold pressure under start-up? Filter threads are there, so doesn't look like a filter problem.

Anyhow, the question is: is the engine lunched? I suspect that even though there weren't any audible noises, that there's nonetheless a chance that the main bearings might've been starved enough to score and fail shortly? It's a late '90s Saab with the Caddy CTS engine block etc, so oil is of course thinner than the 20/50 '80s Alfa enjoy, and so tolerance and surface film might not be as 'forgiving.' Car is on the way to the shop that did the oil change. Now just concerned that the lower end or rings might have a problem that becomes symptomatic in say 10k miles time or something :(
 

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Person who installed the oil filter did not lubricate the oil filter seal before installing. This causes the oil filter not to be able to be tightened on properly and it works loose as the seal crabs and does not slide on contact. An absolutely critical step.

Should never happen if installed properly.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds...

...right. For some reason I just immediately got to thinking it was just spun on and the phone rang or something like that. Didn't get my mind past that to thinking about perhaps he/she/they didn't lube the gasket beforehand. Friction won't allow it to be properly tightened then.... I can see where pressure under startup would spin it off then. Bearings are a mystery I guess.

Thanks again!
 

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So, is it at all cold in New Jersey this week?

I used to have an old BMW that would blow oil past the spin-on oil filter seal whenever first started on a cold day. The oil got so thick that the pressure limiting valve just wouldn't release. This sounds like what happened to your mother's Saab.

Bearings are a mystery I guess.
So did the bearings die? No idea. The shop will re-fill the oil, re-install the filter, start it up, and see how it sounds. No doubt they will pronounce it OK, and say it wasn't their fault.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Jay!

Jay so far I'm going with a poor fitment of the filter.... It was only 35 or so when the car was started--can't blame the weather. It got up to about 40 today--you've gone soft in California.......

Guess the car got to them at about 2pm, and no word back from them. Going to take the filter out to them tomorrow just so they can rule it out. If there was some scoring of the bearings, it might be hard to tell at first without opening it up, but will 'come a knockin' after a while...?

Weren't you on the Alfa Digest--going way back??
 

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Note that both sides of the seal need to be lubricated, which usually means you have to pick the seal out of the filter and oil it and reinstall ...

I don't have any experience of super cold starts though, never happens in Sydney.
Pete
 

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sounds more like they got the wrong filter, if the filter had backed off, the oil would have pumped out as it unscrewed. if the wrong size filter were put on, the threads might have heald a little, then blown off under cold temp high oil pressure starting. if the base of the filter is still on the engine, then the filter blew up. I hope the engine is ok, it might be, or not.
cliff
 

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Note that both sides of the seal need to be lubricated, which usually means you have to pick the seal out of the filter and oil it and reinstall ...
You make a good point, and I've never actually done that, always just the one side!
 

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Jay so far I'm going with a poor fitment of the filter.... It was only 35 or so when the car was started--can't blame the weather. It got up to about 40 today--you've gone soft in California.......

Weren't you on the Alfa Digest--going way back??
Yup, I've gone soft. As I was out picking oranges yesterday, in my polo shirt and shorts, I was really regretting how soft I've gotten since leaving Massachusetts 35 years ago. I sure envy that great winter weather you folks in the northeast are enjoying this year.

Actually, I was skiing at Lake Tahoe one of the times my BMW Bavaria's filter came off, so it really was winter. That car had a conversion kit to accommodate at spin-on filter, instead of the stock canister (just like Les Hurlock makes for 1300 - 1750 Alfas). The BMW kit wasn't as well engineered as Les' product - it lacked a groove for the filter's square O ring to nest into, so the filter's seal couldn't resist much pressure.

Yes, that was me on the old Alfa Digest.
 

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I've replaced hundreds of oil filters in my time, that being said if you really want some excitement try going 80 down the interstate and looking in your rearview mirror and seeing a MASSIVE cloud of white smoke behind you then seeing the guage go and then the light come on. Pulled over and the da#$%g fiter had come off. I had tightened it down and must have not put it on tight enough, can't blame it on anything else, I guess I was more worring about having to stab it with a big screwdriver to get it off on the next change. That is when I bought a good oil filter wrench. I now tighten by hand per instruction and then give it another quarter turn with the pliers/wrench just to make sure. Had to pull the engine to check mains and rods which were fine but I had to know.
 

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The filter gasket blew out on my Spider when my daughter was driving it and she did not stop it in time. The crank, block, front cover and rods were toast.
 

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I have a large hose clamp I put on my filter to stop it from backing off more that a fraction of a turn. Worth the hassel of tightening it every oil change.
 

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I have a large hose clamp I put on my filter to stop it from backing off more that a fraction of a turn. Worth the hassel of tightening it every oil change.
Confused :confused:, your 1750's should use the canister type filter not the screw on ones?. There would not be a problem with the canister type.

Pete
 

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You are right. I switched to a cartrige filter using an adaptor made by a guy named Hurlock (?). I think I saw it in an add in Alfa Owner 15 or 20 years ago. Very simple and elegant.
 

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Can't say that's so....

Even withthe canister, it's possible to mess up ;^)
First oil chang on the Super.....
pulled into the driveway to see the dreaded black line from under the car heading up my street.
Just had the canister ****ed a little bit. No leak on start up, but when I hit 6k RPM.......
No damage
The streak is still on the driveway !
 

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Me too. Actually believe if we did a survey, we'd find oil filters backing off and spewing on the Alfa Nord engine is not a rare event. I solved the problem forever with this HP-2004 - K&N Oil Filters, Oil Filter ...notice the lockwire hole in the nut end. I use it!


+1 for the K&N filter! - it has a 'nut' on the end to ease removal
and a small hole for a lockwire to ensure the filter can't unscrew itself...



.
 

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****, those are sweet looking Berlinas! congrats!
 

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As I said before, if the filter was laying in a pool of oil, it didnt unscrew. they dont unscrew so fast that the oil is all there in one spot. it would have started with a leak, and gotten worse as it unscrewed. if the base is still on the filter, it was the wrong one. the hole in the center was too big for the threads to hold. if the base is not on it, it blew off under pressure, leaving the base on the engine.
 

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Person who installed the oil filter did not lubricate the oil filter seal before installing. This causes the oil filter not to be able to be tightened on properly and it works loose as the seal crabs and does not slide on contact. An absolutely critical step.

Should never happen if installed properly.
Pete
Pete,

I have seen the results of spun off oil filters a couple times at the Alfa Romeo Conventions TT's and I had it happen to me too when unloading my Alfa from a trailer once................very common IMO. At one of the dyno's way back the filter came loose again but caught it in time when it was just started to leak pretty good. I have always used Centerline filters which is an Alfa filter so can't blame that.

I worried that I trashed the engine too since I'm pretty sure it bleed all out but the car was just idling. It turned out good, after 2 years of running a mechanicl oil pressure gauge the oil pressure has not changed........and after cutting the filter open twice had zero metal

I was planning on adding a band strap to give me a little insurance this winter.


Me too. Actually believe if we did a survey, we'd find oil filters backing off and spewing on the Alfa Nord engine is not a rare event. I solved the problem forever with this HP-2004 - K&N Oil Filters, Oil Filter ...notice the lockwire hole in the nut end. I use it!
Nice filter looks like it will fit my 91 Spider might be a better option then a band clamp anchored to a pan bolt..............might do both.
 
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