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RexSeven UltraDork
12/19/13 8:56 p.m.

The moment of reckoning is postponed a little longer. My friend who did 80% of the work on the Alfa (not gonna lie, he's a lifesaver) is flying out tomorrow, so between that and me being in the middle of my work week we were not able to finish putting the car back together.

The good news is that it only needs a handful of parts to be reassembled now, namely the intake tract, headlight, coolant, and ATF. Before leaving the car was turned over as-is with the fuel pump relay out and got good oil pressure. It was hand-cranked when the timing belt was replaced and shows no sign of interference. I should have the Alfa home this weekend. With the weather looking good, I hope to have it back together soon. Stay tuned.

bigdaddylee82 HalfDork
12/20/13 9:16 a.m.

Good news, believe it or not I was thinking about you/you're car yesterday. Checked a few times last night hoping to read good news.

Fingers crossed! That moment of satisfaction, when all of your hard work finally roars back to life sure is a sweat one. I'll keep checking.

  • Lee
RexSeven UltraDork
1/1/14 8:03 p.m.

After a two-day thrash to try and beat the oncoming 12" of snow barreling my way before my work week starts, the 164 is mostly buttoned up. I still need to reinstall the passenger side fender liners, fill the transmission with ATF, and burp the coolant.

As it sits I was in a good position to try and start the car. After crossing my fingers and holding my breath, I was met with... nothing. The battery had died. After getting a new group 31 battery (those suckers are HEAVY, BTW) and installing it, I once again held my breath and... the engine turned over! No mechanical interference anymore. It had some trouble at first holding an idle and sputtered and even backfired once, but I eventually got it to idle. I was going to take video of the idling, except I saw what looked like smoke coming from the front of the engine! I shut it down immediately. No fire, luckily. I couldn't keep working on it, as I was running out of daylight. So, no winter car yet. I have to borrow my sister's Hyundai instead to get to and from work.

So, a few things:

  1. The smoke is likely something on the front exhaust manifold not tightened down. It certainly smelled like it...

  2. I also noticed coolant leaking from the engine's front (pointed toward the passenger's side. Something else is not tightened down enough. The timing covers have to come off.

  3. There was a constant squealing as the engine ran. Could it be the serpentine belt? It's brand new and tight, plus it's pretty cold out (20° F). Maybe it just needs to stretch out a little?

If/when I tighten up the coolant and exhaust leaks I will post video of the idling.

alfadriver GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/2/14 7:45 a.m.

Actual life to the engine? BIG progress.

You need to be looking when you run the engine- to see if the smoke is a real concern or not. It's as likely that you have spilt something as it is something is leaking.

Mezzanine Reader
1/2/14 10:35 a.m.

As alfadriver says, take a good look at the smoke- any time you tear an engine apart, there will be all sorts of residue and fluids where it doesn't belong... Any oil left on the exhaust manifolds will smoke something fierce for a little bit.

RexSeven UltraDork
1/2/14 9:04 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: Actual life to the engine? BIG progress. You need to be looking when you run the engine- to see if the smoke is a real concern or not. It's as likely that you have spilt something as it is something is leaking.

I'd be happier about the engine turning over if a) I didn't see the smoke and coolant, and b) I wasn't trying to thrash the Alfa together in time for the snowstorm. Still, I'm quite glad the engine is turning over. I'm 99.9% certain now that one of the Volvo injectors was stuck open.

I plan to have a helper start the car after I fix the coolant leak to try and find the smoke source. I know there is some drips of oil on the downpipes, but this smoke looked too thick to me.

I did have to reuse an old exhaust gasket on the front exhaust manifold-to-downpipe connection because I only had one new gasket on hand and used it on the harder to access rear manifold. That might be where the smoke is coming from. Whether it's sealing or not, another new gasket is on the way.

RexSeven UltraDork
1/5/14 5:27 p.m.

Didn't have much time today to work on the Alfa (lots of shoveling to do after that nasty snow storm). I didn't track down the coolant leak yet. The good news is that it only appears to leak when the engine is running. I also found a spare inner CV boot kit in the car and tracked down the power steering leak to the hoses coming off the cooling coil. I can get to that leak and the CV boot later. The passenger side inner CV boot is torn.

I did have time to top off the transmission fluid with 3 quarts of Amsoil ATF to replace what was lost during the rebuild. I was thinking I would need to replace all of it. Since I bought a case I have plenty of extra. I will use some in the steering once the hoses are replaced. The Alfa uses ATF in the steering system.

RexSeven UltraDork
1/7/14 2:46 p.m.

No luck finding the leak yet, but I have a more pressing issue right now. Please see the video linked here.


Any thoughts as to what might be going on? (EDIT: Link fixed)

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
1/7/14 3:05 p.m.

Link not showing up.

RexSeven UltraDork
1/7/14 3:52 p.m.

Fixed link.

The check engine light is on. In order to get codes from a 164, you either need to mash the throttle five times quickly to make the CEL blink out the codes, or use a (rare and expensive) Magneti Marelli tester to pull the codes. I could not get it to blink the codes, instead it billowed out lots of smoke from the tailpipe when I mashed the throttle.

I do have a program on my computer that is supposed to be able to pull codes from European market 164s. It might work on USDM 164s. I will give it a shot tomorrow as it is too dark to work now.

EDIT: I was doing it wrong, car was not supposed to be running. Oops. Interpreting blink read out now.

DOUBLEEDIT: Might be ground-related. Tune back in tomorrow for more of RexSeven's Misadventures in Alfa-Land!

Sonic SuperDork
1/7/14 6:35 p.m.

Try getting the codes by pressing the throttle with the engine off but the key in the run position

RexSeven UltraDork
1/16/14 8:50 p.m.

I have a new idle air control valve on the way. I will give it a shot since the CEL blink code was for the IACV. I don't think the squealing is from the serpentine belt as I originally thought. The squealing (or whistling) sounds like it is coming from the top of the engine anyways, where the IACV is located (on back of intake plenum). Luckily the IACV is a standard Bosch product and easy enough to find.

I also made a nice score on some new Koni front strut inserts. A few months ago Koni discontinued their Yellows for the 164 and the front inserts practically turned into unobtanium overnight. The rear Koni strut assemblies are easier to find, but obviously I can't wait too long to pull the trigger on those.

crankwalk HalfDork
1/22/14 5:34 p.m.

Bless you for fighting the good fight with this car.

RexSeven UberDork
1/22/14 7:10 p.m.

Yeah, well I berkeleyed up by installing used injectors without testing them. I feel like I gotta own up and get the 164 back on the road, since it was running peachy before I screwed with it. I still plan on using upgraded injectors, but I'm going new next time. I don't want to tear this engine down again.

Anyways, I found a loose ground and replaced the IAC valve. The idle improved somewhat (it's not dying on me this time), but it's still not stable. The noise is also there, but I think it's whistling now, not squealing. At least the serpentine belt is not doing the squealing as I initially thought.

I'm going to start looking for intake leaks next with some brake cleaner. I've discovered the threads have stripped for one of the Allen screws holding an intake runner down. That would do it, I think. I have a Helicoil set on the way to add to the soft aluminum intake manifolds, but I want to make sure there are no other leaks either. The manifolds are stubby things the runners bolt onto and are easy enough to remove.

And here is a video of how the car is running currently (sorry for the shaky cam!).


RexSeven UberDork
1/29/14 6:33 p.m.

Intake manifolds are out. I'm in the middle of my work week so hopefully the Helicoils will be done by Sunday. I bought a full gasket set for the engine rebuild so those tired, possibly original gaskets went in the trash.

That's a lot of propeller seeds. I got a mini vacuum cleaner for Christmas, time to put it to work!

The_Jed SuperDork
1/31/14 7:43 p.m.
crankwalk wrote: Bless you for fighting the good fight with this car.
  • Eleventy Billion!
RexSeven UberDork
2/10/14 5:19 p.m.

I got my intake manifolds back from the machine shop today. They did a good job. The machinist bead-blasted them before installing Helicoils into all 12 intake runner threads, so the manifolds are all purdy-like.

I had just enough sunlight and feeling in my fingers to install them. I did drop a washer into the abyss (a.k.a. the engine valley) so one screw needs a new washer.

Tomorrow, the intake runners go back on. Cross your fingers, here's hoping this is all I need to get the idle corrected.

DaveEstey UberDork
2/10/14 5:24 p.m.


sethmeister4 Dork
2/10/14 11:59 p.m.

Fingers are crossed! Good luck!

mazdeuce UltraDork
2/11/14 7:06 a.m.

The saga of this car never fails to impress me, although it's getting much closer to being a spring beater than a winter beater.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
2/11/14 7:48 a.m.

nice grab

RexSeven UberDork
2/12/14 7:25 p.m.

The intake manifolds and runners were installed, the battery reconnected, the engine started...

...and I got the same stumbling and erratic idle.

Since this is a "family-friendly" forum, here is a sanitized version of my reaction:

I'm trying to get in touch with my friend in NH now to see if he can lend me his timing tools. I think I may need to adjust timing next. Dammit.

2/12/14 7:47 p.m.

Have you put a vacuum gauge on this thing yet?Vacuum gauges have to be one of the least appreciated diagnostic tools out there.

RexSeven UberDork
2/12/14 7:59 p.m.

No. I have been spraying around the vacuum hoses with brake cleaner to try and find any leaks. Besides the loose intake runner, I did not see any change.

Something else I'm looking into may be a mixed-up wiring connection. The IACV and knock sensor use the same Bosch 3-pin connector and they are not labeled. I did put sticky labels on the wires during the rebuild, but they fell off somewhere along the way. I'm trying to confirm with the AlfaBB.com members.

RexSeven UberDork
2/16/14 3:46 p.m.

WOOHOO! It's idling again! Turns out the knock sensor and IACV connectors were mixed up! It's not perfect, but I will take it!

I'm still getting a 1233 CEL blink code (it went away for a little while after swapping wires, but then came back). The idle RPM also went way down while I cycled through the gears to check the ATF level, which was still a little low. I topped it off with a couple more quarts of Amsoil ATF. The connector to the knock sensor is broken, so I need to get a new one. Not to mention I may need to reroute the knock sensor wire because it won't reach the connector, so right now the passenger side knock sensor is not hooked up. I didn't see a coolant leak but it was cold outside again so maybe it simply didn't warm up enough to open the thermostat. I am getting loud tappeting noise.

Still, this is very encouraging!

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