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Car, car, car, car, car - trouble!

Discussion in 'Help Me ? Non bike' started by count von count, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. count von count

    count von count * Reg. No. FOR SALE!!!

    (Adam and the Ants ear worm for you oldies there in the title :D ).

    My old Alfa (an acronym of Anotha Loada F*ckin Aggro) came to a shuddering halt yesterday, all flashing engine management light and engine sounding like a tank. As luck (?) would have it, there was a workshop nearby so matey came out with his tools, whipped off a cover and identified a spark plug loose in its housing, a knackered coil, and much anxious rubbing of chins.

    They're going to replace plug and coil and then do a compression test to ascertain whether there's serious damage inside.

    Now, questions.
    1, this is likely to be terribly expensive, isn't it? Valve or piston or head damage, multiplied by six cylinders, subtract 100,000 miles, divided by a residual value of less than a grand, probably equals terminal damage, no?

    2, how does a spark plug just come loose? Doesn't that point to shoddy workmanship on the part of the last person to replace said spark plugs?

    3, looking back through the service records it appears the spark plugs have not been changed in years, 30,000 miles or so. I thought plugs were up there with oil, filters, etc, and in need of regular replacement?

    4, subsequent to 2 & 3, given that it has been regularly serviced and always at the same independent Alfa specialist, does it sound like I have grounds for a rant at them?

    5, completely unrelated to this thread but where's Eyore? Haven't seen her post on here for ages. Hi Kim, hope all is well.

    The good news is that the garage that was handily placed right where I pulled up has loads of 5-star positive reviews on approvedgarages.co.uk ; the bad news is that they all appear to have been written by the same person! :eek:
  2. SeanGee

    SeanGee Member

    Wouldn't expect a loose plug or knackered coil to do any other damage.
  3. Mad_Dog

    Mad_Dog Well-Known Member

    :eek: Yikes, that sounds like a bummer.

    Not a mechanic as you probably know but a couple of spurious thoughts ... as far as I'm aware only something like a cam chain disaster can wreck all six cylinders at once, so as long as it's not that then the damage is likely to be limited to one pot. I vaguely remember a bike engine incident where the spark plug was dislodged from below in the erm 'carnage'. Modern spark plugs can last a very long time and on older cars good independents don't usually just throw away good ones.

    Anyway, on a brighter note? Remember that although the car might only be worth a grand on paper, replacing it with something that isn't just someone else's trouble is likely to cost 3 or 4 times that so if the car is otherwise in good nick it might be worth repairing.

    Fingers crossed anyway.
  4. Thought the same myself, but I thought someone may know her better and have inside info, so said nothing.

    On the car front, Hmmmmm. Don't see why a loose plug would knacker your engine but maybe, on the off chance, bin the Alfa! It'll be cheaper in the long run.:)
  5. Mad_Dog

    Mad_Dog Well-Known Member

    I've PM'd her this morning, but I think she was scheduled to be at some boat show in Portsmouth or something this week so I'll not be too alarmed if she doesn't reply for a while. I think she's still on the list for Dent this weekend :dunno:
  6. whatty

    whatty Active Member

    Kim did say was going to the Southampton boat show after next weekends BOATRACE as she was suggesting riding back with me

    Not heard from her lately
  7. count von count

    count von count * Reg. No. FOR SALE!!!

    Reports coming in suggest a crossed thread (i.e ham-fisted tightening of Sparky McPlugface) is the cause of the grief. So far I'm in for a plug, a coil and some kind of thread repair / insert to replace the knackered one.

    I've pleaded poverty so hopeful they will keep the costs down. :(
  8. Mad_Dog

    Mad_Dog Well-Known Member

    Good news / Bad news. Got a reply from Kim and she's fine but really busy. Probably not reading many, any, or this thread, 'cos of it's super relevant (to her) title. :rolleyes:

    Doesn't sound like she'll be at Dent though.
  9. Edders

    Edders Well-Known Member

    So whats the verdict on this one :dunno:

    Poverty? Mobile again? Looking for a car ?
  10. count von count

    count von count * Reg. No. FOR SALE!!!

    All of them! Cost about ?350 which I thought was a bit salty but I wasn't in a position to argue. Back on the road and no further issues. Thinking of raiding La Contessa's piggy bank for a new car and keeping the Alfa for comedy value.

    To be fair, we've had it for 12 years and 80,000 miles and it's been pretty reliable overall. Certainly none of the legendary Italian temperamentality of yore.

  11. Mad_Dog

    Mad_Dog Well-Known Member

    So what proved to be the diagnosis?
  12. count von count

    count von count * Reg. No. FOR SALE!!!

    As per post 7, cross-threaded spark plug. Not sure how that damaged the coil but the solution was a rethreaded thread, a new coil and a plug, plus labour, plus vat.
  13. Edders

    Edders Well-Known Member

    I looked at an Alfa once for a company car, the advice was not to get one as you would look good standing on the hard shoulder next to it, don't believe it but d enough to watch an Alfasud disintegrate before your very eyes
  14. count von count

    count von count * Reg. No. FOR SALE!!!

    The Alfasud was legendary in its shitness and set the company back a decade, reputation wise. They're much much better now, and usually good fun to drive as long as you're not saddled with one of the smaller engines.

    Currently in Sardinia with an Alfa Giulietta as a hire car. We were offered that or a Nissan Qashqai. No brainer. Despite being diesel and automatic it's a hoot to drive.

    I do hope the forthcoming Giulia is as good as promised, Alfa need to get back into the family saloon market. They currently have only two models - the Giulietta (Focus-sized hatch) and Mito (mini).

  15. Edders

    Edders Well-Known Member

    I agree that they they are just a bit different from the mainstream and generally look good

    I like Sardinia, been there a couple of times and always enjoyed it, how come you get an Alfa, I had Fiat Postman Pat van :cry:

    I stayed up near Castelsardo on the first trip and Cala Ganone of the second
  16. SteveT

    SteveT Retired Hooker

    I knew a Sardinian bloke who used to work for the European Commission in London.

    He met Ian Paisley at a function & Paisley sad to him, "I suppose you're a Roman Catholic then, Gian Carlo."

    "No, Dr Paisley", came the reply. "I'm a Sardinian Catholic.":)
  17. count von count

    count von count * Reg. No. FOR SALE!!!

    We're in the south east corner, a place called Villasimius about an hour from Cagliari. I'm currently too poor for the beautiful but costly Costa Smeralda on the north east coast.

    Lots of bikers touring here, mostly on GSs, although the Africa Twin is doing a roaring trade it would seem , have seen plenty of those. Just the one Sprint spotted but a few Tigers in the mix.

    There is a fab road linking Cagliari to the coastal towns of the south east and eastern side, fun in the Alfa but would be epic on two wheels. :)

    Unfortunately it's 50 kph and no overtaking for very VERY long stretches. :mad:

    Fortunately there doesn't seem to be much law enforcement going on. :D

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