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Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/27/13 4:13 p.m.

.... Coil on plug in 1994?

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
9/27/13 6:34 p.m.

Yeah, I was surprised at that too. The Alfa 164 was a pretty advanced car for its day. It's one of the first production cars to be designed with CAD and the 2.0L Twin Spark (which we didn't get in North America) had variable-valve timing a year before Honda released VTEC.

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
9/29/13 6:25 p.m.

She's starting to come back together.

I replaced the fuel filter while I was at it. I might have finished today had I not dropped one of the intake plenum mounting bolts. It took me a half hour of groping around under the car before I found it, and by then I had run out of daylight to keep working. I should be done tomorrow.

sethmeister4
sethmeister4 Dork
9/29/13 7:49 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote: .... Coil on plug in 1994?

The 3rd gen Maxima SE (92-94) had coil-on-plug and variable valve timing. I feel like I've seen quite a few early nineties cars that had it--it is weird to see, though, because it definitely wasn't too common then!

The Alfa is looking great!

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
9/30/13 6:24 p.m.

berkeley me!

I've finally got the Alfa back together. No leaking, which is good. However, I tried starting it three times, and each time there was a problem:

Start-up attempt 1: It took a few turns to prime the fuel (after all I redid the fuel lines and the injectors) and after a couple of attempts the engine slowly came to life. It sounded like it was idling OK. There were small white smoke pulses from the exhaust, but I think that was just condensation burning off. However, I could hear a random electrical snapping noise from the engine. I could not see any sparks atop the engine. I shut it down after about 1-2 minutes.

Start-up attempt 2: The car would not start. Every time I turned the key it would immediately stop, no turning over. It almost felt like it had jammed. I took a quick peek at the timing belt and saw no problems there.

Start-up attempt 3: I tried restarting after one minute. The car turned over this time, but I hear a loud grinding noise before it caught and immediately shut it down.

Might be a starter. I'm also concerned something may have fallen into the engine despite me plugging the intake and injector ports to prevent this from happening while I had them out. I had also checked the intake ports for any debris before I put the intake runners back on. I'm not sure if that snapping would have been the starter or perhaps something arcing against a spark plug because it was random and happened while idling.

So, what did I berkeley up here? I have video of the first start-up attempt. I will try to upload it.

EDIT: Video of the first start-up attempt. You can hear the electrical snap at 23s. My dad points it out right after he hears it.

http://s111.photobucket.com/user/ArtOfRuin1285/media/Alfa%20Romeo%20164/20130930_182149_zpsad62995c.mp4.html

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/30/13 7:31 p.m.
RexSeven wrote: Yeah, I was surprised at that too. The Alfa 164 was a pretty advanced car for its day. It's one of the first production cars to be designed with CAD and the 2.0L Twin Spark (which we didn't get in North America) had variable-valve timing a year before Honda released VTEC.

FWIW, Alfa had VCT back in 1982.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/30/13 7:34 p.m.

In reply to RexSeven:

Double and triple check the wiring to the injectors and coils.

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/1/13 5:35 p.m.

A fellow on the AlfaBB forums suggested I try cranking the engine by hand before I try to fire it up again, just to make sure I'm not feeling any resistance. I didn't get a chance to do that today, but I was able to remove the front plugs and check the wiring for the injectors and front coil packs. The wires were all plugged in correctly on both the front coils and all 6 injectors (the labels are still visible), and the plugs look fine to me. If the engine didn't jump timing then I'm guessing whatever's wrong occurred on or in the rear bank.

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/2/13 2:31 p.m.

I cranked the engine manually today. Front plugs out, rear plugs in. I got the engine to turn 3/4-1 revolution before it stopped completely. I didn't really feel any resistance until then.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce SuperDork
10/2/13 2:48 p.m.

Pull the heads?

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/2/13 3:20 p.m.

I'm going to try without the rear plugs next. I'm not certain if I'm stopping because of compression building or mechanical interference. I really, really hope it does not come down to pulling the heads...

mazdeuce
mazdeuce SuperDork
10/2/13 3:29 p.m.

Yea, that would suck. You could scope the cylinders too and see if you can see something.

Travis_K
Travis_K UltraDork
10/2/13 3:51 p.m.

I haven't worked on a 24v, but is confirming that the timing marks line up a possibility? I think that would be the first thing I would do, if you even suspect that the timing may be off it probably is worth confirming it is ok.

The_Jed
The_Jed SuperDork
10/2/13 3:59 p.m.

Hoping for the best.

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/3/13 2:06 a.m.
Travis_K wrote: I haven't worked on a 24v, but is confirming that the timing marks line up a possibility? I think that would be the first thing I would do, if you even suspect that the timing may be off it probably is worth confirming it is ok.

IIRC, there are no timing marks on the 24V's cam gears, unless PO added some. The factory way to set and hold timing while doing a 24V T-belt change is to take off the valve covers and install cam fixing blocks like these to hold the cams in place (look under rightmost injector in second picture):

If you know for certain that timing is OK, then you can skip removing the valve covers and use two DOHC cam locks, one on each bank:

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit UltraDork
10/3/13 9:17 a.m.

My fingers are crossed for you.

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/3/13 6:59 p.m.

I got the intake plenum off and had a look at the wiring to the coil packs and the spark plugs. The coil leads were connected to the packs properly. There was no damage to the spark plugs. None of the coil packs show any sign of cracks. I had to get to work before I could turn the crank over again by hand. I'll get to that tomorrow or Saturday. I will also check for any damage to the wiring insulation. The black jacket is cracked and hardened in many places but as far as I can tell, the insulation on the wires themselves are intact. The car was not making that arcing sound until after I had changed the plugs and swapped the three newer coil packs to the rear bank.

As for the idle, since I switched to newer Bosch Type III injectors, it's possible the exhaust note changed too. I will try to listen to the injectors to make sure I'm hearing a pulse.

Travis_K
Travis_K UltraDork
10/3/13 7:38 p.m.

That's weird that it doesn't have timing marks, the 12v ones have marks on the cam gears, and on the cam and cam bearing caps. I would still absolutely make sure that the cam timing is correct and the engine turns freely by hand before trying to start it again though.

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/3/13 8:41 p.m.

There may be timing marks on the cams themselves, which of course would mean removing the valve covers. I will double-check the FSM. NINJAEDIT: There are some timing marks on the rear of the cams but they are next to useless. Looks like I'm going to have to get those cam fixing blocks I mentioned above.

I'm starting to think the timing being off is unlikely. I spoke to a fellow Alfisti in NH, and he says it's very unlikely the T-belt jumped a tooth just from starting it. You usually have to thrash a 24V hard before that happens. Had I dropped even one valve, the engine would not turn over at all and the interference would have been loud and violent.

BTW, this Alfisti I mentioned owns 3 164LS 24Vs, a 164 Quadrifoglio AWD 24V, a 60's Giulietta Spider race car, and a third-gen Maserati Quattroporte. And I thought I was nuts for buying a 24V Alfa!

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/7/13 3:51 p.m.

I tried cranking the engine by hand with all of the spark plugs out. It's seized up good. Looks like I will be pulling the heads, as the timing may be off, or something worse.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy SuperDork
10/7/13 9:22 p.m.

Try pulling the starter. You may find that the nose is busted off. I've seen that twice, once on one of my SAABs, on that one the broken piece landed clear of anything that it could interfere with. The second time was on a forklift, that one jammed good and tight between the ring gear and bell housing.

Travis_K
Travis_K UltraDork
10/8/13 1:30 a.m.

On neons if the clutch cable breaks and you don't get the parts that fall off the end of the cable out of the bell housing, that can do the same thing too. From my understanding of the 24v, every time you start it and the timing belt doesn't slip you should feel lucky though.

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/8/13 5:40 p.m.

I was able to get the front valve cover off today and had a peek. Dropped exhaust valve in cylinder 5.

I will try to get to the rear cover later this week.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy SuperDork
10/8/13 9:11 p.m.

Where did the lifter bucket go?

Its probably just a coincidence that this happened when it did, I don't see how the work that you did could leed to that failure.

RexSeven
RexSeven UltraDork
10/8/13 11:19 p.m.

It's not there as far as I can tell. I don't see any evidence of any lifter bucket damage like broken-off pieces or metal shavings. The guys at AlfaBB.com are stumped too. Usually if any valves drop the rest come with it and it's game over for the Alfa V-6 engine, but this one might (key word: might) be salvageable. It depends on if the valve head snapped off and wreaked havoc in the cylinder, and also if something else went wrong elsewhere in the engine. They are guessing a PO or his mechanic borked something up, probably during a head gasket, valve cover gasket, or T-belt change (remember the locking blocks I posted above). Note the cam cap had a number 6 on it when the damaged valve is in cylinder 5. It should be matched.

For now my next step is to remove the rear valve cover and see if I can glean anything from there. I'm guessing I will have to pull the heads too. Motherberkeleyer, that's the LAST thing I need now, especially since the rear head is a gigantic PITA to remove. Time to start browsing for engines, I might need one.

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