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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
Also I will say again that Alfa refused to put the port injection motor in my 2019 model year car when I had to get an engine replacement. I spoke with my service manager this last time about it and he told me that it would require changing a lot more than just the motor and that Alfa would never approve of doing that.
I don’t think they can legally do it. It’s pretty much an engine swap at this point, with a different emission system.
 

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Waste of time arguing with Giuliano that Alfa is anything but the bestest and all supposed problems are totally normal.
 

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No, I don't think this is happening. They do a deep investigation into the problem including requiring you to provide all service/oil changes etc. It's not that easy to get it replaced. You have to jump through some hoops and usually the car is in the shop for 3+ weeks from claim until engine replacement. I am sure those who had the engine replaced can comment further on the entire process from start to finish. I know it's not as easy as it seems.
Exactly what you said. It took 2 months from my car going into the dealership until I drove it out with the new engine. Alfa asked for all of the service records (I had to do some digging to get them from the previous owners’ dealerships).

Alfa Corporate also came close to denying the swap when I couldn’t produce records for 2020 (the previous owner had taken it in for the last interval service at the end of 2019, and it didn’t need the 30k service until early 2021 when I bought it). It actually felt like they were looking for any excuse possible to deny the engine swap, even though their technical team recommended it.
 

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Waste of time arguing with Giuliano that Alfa is anything but the bestest and all supposed problems are totally normal.
Not sure what bestest means but, assuming you meant that Alfa Romeo is anything but the best, you got that one right. I do not think I ever said that all supposed problems are totally normal. My points have been always related to root cause understanding and real solutions findings.
 

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I'm surprised they have so many "old" engines left in stock that they can do these swaps without thinking about it.

I am starting to see two distinct trends:

1. Direct Injection related issues (Carbon-buildup)
First-gen engines only have Direct Injection, with all the consequences that we know across most brands (Audi, BMW, Ford, Volkswagen...): carbon buildup. It seems like the Alfa engine is building carbon MUCH faster than most DI engines in A FEW cases, leading most likely to sticky valves. One of the most recurring symptoms we see matches that: misfires. I wonder if that can lead to cylinder scoring & low compression, maybe someone knows?

The only long-term "fix" is adding the port Injection, similar to what Toyota does (which they introduced in 2006 (!!!) because reliability was clearly an issue that was anticipated). Port Injection counterbalances the negative effects of direct injection by "cleaning" the back of the valves. Look at the photo below to understand better if needed (top injector is Port, below injector is Direct).

View attachment 113503

Really, there's nothing that can be done apart from walnut blasting, something Audi's owners among others are used to. But in our case, it doesn't seem to be enough because all of our friends here having undergone such procedure experienced symptoms again within weeks/months, showing that the pace at which carbon is built isn't sustainable.

2. Timing chain / Valve / Else - ticking noise
These engines have a ticking noise by nature, most likely a combination of the DI and the holes in the CF hood offering very little sound dampening. But in some cases, including a few members here, the sound is metallic and leads to more serious issues and metal ends up being found in the oil filter. Some cases were reported as a bad valve lash adjuster or a timing chain issue. I think we need to know more about that particular issue, I hope @Alfissimo will get enough information from the dealer.

I have a theory related to cylinder deactivation because we often see issues with cylinders on that very bank (Right Bank) - cylinders 1 to 3, the one with the cylinder deactivation. The system is quite complex, probably too complex for a gas economy of barely 7%. But yeah, there's basically a solenoid valve that acts to collapse and close the valves. Even the lubrication to the right bank turbo is stopped. I am just curious on reliability of that particular system and if it can be tied to the issues on the cylinders of that particular bank.
I really do find this theory with the deactivation bank interesting.

Doing some preliminary research and it could well be some of the problem.

There are 4 filters (for life) for the additional channels, to ensure a further filtering step for the oil that operates the tappet deactivation system .

113534


Additional Channels for Cylinder Deactivation



113531


Cylinder Deactivation Oil Filters
 

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I always thought that the QV cylinder deactivation system was a solution looking for a problem. A ton of engineering and unnecessary parts/complexity all to save QV owners maybe 1MPG on rare occasions? I bet not a single owner could give two shits.
 

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I think the big controversy on the cylinder deactivation system is not your reduction in fuel consumption but, reducing your impact on the environment. I though that the new automotive industry standard was cylinder deactivation system to somehow, contribute to the worldwide green targets. Evidently, will save few dollars (about 6% savings in gas) but, I do not think that savings was the driver. The good news, it can be shutdown (permanently with Alfissimo's button device !!!).
 

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I think the big controversy on the cylinder deactivation system is not your reduction in fuel consumption but, reducing your impact on the environment. I though that the new automotive industry standard was cylinder deactivation system to somehow, contribute to the worldwide green targets. Evidently, will save few dollars (about 6% savings in gas) but, I do not think that savings was the driver. The good news, it can be shutdown (permanently with Alfissimo's button device !!!).
You are thinking Start/Stop technology vs. 3 Cylinder deactivation on 2.9L V6. Two different things. Start/Stop yes with are deactivation device but for 3 cylinder shutdown, you need the Squadra tune which get's rid of the function.
 

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You are thinking Start/Stop technology vs. 3 Cylinder deactivation on 2.9L V6. Two different things. Start/Stop yes with are deactivation device but for 3 cylinder shutdown, you need the Squadra tune which get's rid of the function.
Sorry. My mistake. You're right. I was thinking on the supposed benefits of the Start/Stop technology.
 

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Or keep it in race mode where it belongs.
Yes, I drive it in Race-Mode 99% of the time but I am not sure what the previous owner did. But the other modes are nice especially for suspension. Race mode even in Mid-suspension is rough on some roads.
 

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I always thought that the QV cylinder deactivation system was a solution looking for a problem. A ton of engineering and unnecessary parts/complexity all to save QV owners maybe 1MPG on rare occasions? I bet not a single owner could give two shits.
I've said it before, the Alfa engineers (sorry, FERRARI engineers) are super proud of this system and we all just shit on it. I think it's amazing for all the reasons Ing. Pivetti states here: The 2.9 V6 bi-turbo explained by Gianluca Pivetti, head...

Great read. But yeah, we all armchair engineers here think we know better. I mean WTF does this Pivetti character know anyway, he and his team are all idiots. Amiright? Sheesh...
 

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Discussion Starter · #94 · (Edited)
I've said it before, the Alfa engineers (sorry, FERRARI engineers) are super proud of this system and we all just shit on it. I think it's amazing for all the reasons Ing. Pivetti states here: The 2.9 V6 bi-turbo explained by Gianluca Pivetti, head...

Great read. But yeah, we all armchair engineers here think we know better. I mean WTF does this Pivetti character know anyway, he and his team are all idiots. Amiright? Sheesh...
I get your point but really, just because someone put a good intention out there means nothing to the reliability of a system. Do you own cars? Not to be condescending (although your message felt like it) but thinking that because a car manufacturer, with all its well intentioned engineers, created a motor means that it is perfect is seriously naive.

I can’t even start a list, we’ll be here all night. BMW S55 spinning crank hub? AMG M156 head bolts? GM LS7 heads?

And on the topic of cylinder deactivation, even GM with the C7 has issues, with valve lifters getting stuck, breaking the cams.

I honestly think that all these marginal-at-best emission reduction systems are in reality making things worse. One engine without those gimmicks (cylinder deactivation, start & stops and oh well I want to throw DI with it) lasts longer, hence the car runs longer, uses less parts (engine parts, batteries, and so on) and on the long term, justifies NOT being replaced by another vehicle comes the day it’s too bad/expensive to repair.

Cars pollute a bunch before hitting the showroom, same goes with parts. For the sake of pretty numbers on Excel sheets that are relevant as a sale pitch (or to satisfy regulations), I’m sometimes wondering if these systems are not, over their lifetime, defeating their very purpose. Curious to know your opinions.
 

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I get your point but really, just because someone put a good intention out there means nothing to the reliability of a system. Do you own cars? Not to be condescending (although your message felt like it) but thinking that because a car manufacturer, with all its well intentioned engineers, created a motor means that it is perfect is seriously naive.

I can’t even start a list, we’ll be here all night. BMW S55 spinning crank hub? AMG M156 head bolts? GM LS7 heads?

And on the topic of cylinder deactivation, even GM with the C7 has issues, with valve lifters getting stuck, breaking the cams.

I honestly think that all these marginal-at-best emission reduction systems are in reality making things worse. One engine without those gimmicks (cylinder deactivation, start & stops and oh well I want to throw DI with it) lasts longer, hence the car runs longer, uses less parts (engine parts, batteries, and so on) and on the long term, justifies NOT being replaced by another vehicle comes the day it’s too bad/expensive to repair.

Cars pollute a bunch before hitting the showroom, same goes with parts. For the sake of pretty numbers on Excel sheets that are relevant as a sale pitch (or to satisfy regulations), I’m sometimes wondering if these systems are not, over their lifetime, defeating their very purpose. Curious to know your opinions.
Honestly it's hard to know. 6-7 percent fuel savings over the life of an engine is theoretically a lot of fuel.

But I'm not even going to pretend to know how much pollution it took to make these additional parts etc and compare it to any theoretical savings.

I know I had a C7 Corvette and that damn thing would get an insane 30 mpg on the highway. Up to 32-33 if your really just cruising on a flat surface. Nuts for a sports car with a big V8. I never experienced any issues from mine.

But I haven't from the Alpha yet either so maybe I'm just lucky.

I think potentially there could be an issue if Euro is really running true 98 octane fuel and people over here in America are running 91. Assuming the same octane rating method. I can't imagine someone at Alpha did not stop to think about the difference between Euro fuel and USA premium. But we will never know.
 

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The second engine I have has only ever been run in dynamic and race modes. I have refused to put it in a and n just to see if it would help. Also most of the now 1700 miles on it have been in manual mode with the engine revving over 3000 rpm. Not conditions for the cylinder deactivation, it doesn’t seem to have helped.

I believe the valves do get a lot a carbon on them and get sticky, and I believe the actuators for the valves that allow the valves to be closed constantly for cylinder deactivation are very weak. Therefor they cannot over power the sticky carbon and open and close the valves. Which leads to nasty things happening inside the engine.

Maybe the lower octane gas here in the US leads to the engines producing a lot more carbon and that is why the problem is so prevalent here.

Hope all that made sense, it’s just speculation. It’s what I have believed the problem is for a while now. The only fix to this design flaw is the port injectors to clean the carbon off the valves.
 

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I think Oil quality and fuel quality play a big roll in this as well.

My tech at the dealer who has replaced a good amount of engines thinks so as well. He did state to me very few issues with the port injection engines although not totally out of the woods as he has replaced 3 of those.

"However, my hypothesis is that people running them low on gas, or poor quality gas, causes them to run lean and get detonation, causing a little bit of damage to the rod bearings. Eventually a little flat spot in a rod bearing eventually causes them to shit the bed. And, like shitting the bed, it's contaminated afterwards and the bed/engine has to be thrown away."
 

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The second engine I have has only ever been run in dynamic and race modes. I have refused to put it in a and n just to see if it would help. Also most of the now 1700 miles on it have been in manual mode with the engine revving over 3000 rpm. Not conditions for the cylinder deactivation, it doesn’t seem to have helped.

I believe the valves do get a lot a carbon on them and get sticky, and I believe the actuators for the valves that allow the valves to be closed constantly for cylinder deactivation are very weak. Therefor they cannot over power the sticky carbon and open and close the valves. Which leads to nasty things happening inside the engine.

Maybe the lower octane gas here in the US leads to the engines producing a lot more carbon and that is why the problem is so prevalent here.

Hope all that made sense, it’s just speculation. It’s what I have believed the problem is for a while now. The only fix to this design flaw is the port injectors to clean the carbon off the valves.
I tend to agree with you. As mentioned I also think oil plays a huge roll. Not mentioned though in this thread yet is software. I also think the ECU maps are probably not working well enough. This is not a plug for the Squadra tune but it does eliminate the cylinder shut-down for good.

"
“One of the biggest problems with direct injection is that the fuel is no longer being sprayed onto the backside of the intake valves,” Laskowski said. (WE KNOW THIS BUT...)
This mist of gasoline actually helps keep the intake ports clean. In addition to fuel quality, he said things like valve and injection timing are key factors in carbon buildup.
Additionally software plays a huge role. “What I think is most overlooked is the PCM calibration itself,” the engine-control computer.

I believe it’s the absolute key to preventing the bulk of this buildup by making the air and fuel burn as completely and cleanly as possible.” Laskowski also said a simple software update can yield dramatic results."

"I think even though direct-injection technology is far superior today compared to a decade ago that with varying fuel qualities, different driving techniques and overall aging of the engines it will be an issue for some,” Laskowski said."

source: https://www.autoguide.com/auto-news...a-problem-with-direct-injection-engines-.html

That said, I have done a few runs in my old 2.0L car, we logged it. I ran 91 Chevron Fuel. The graph showed the timing being retarted several times in the graph which indicated bad gas or not burning efficiently. So yes I also think it is fuel quality. In the future I will pick up fuel from Shell stations that are busy and my wholesale distributor who also has 100 octane, 5-6 gallons should do for bringing octane level to 95. If no tune is done to tune out cylinder shutdown, I think Race-mode or D mode but keeping RPM's up to keep it from engaging is important while also driving the hell out of it too.
 

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I think if it was as simple as software update FCA/Stellantis (the now 4th largest automaker in the world, with very deep pockets) would have done that already. Pretty sure it’s unfixable to have to continuously have to replace expensive engines under warranty.
 

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I think if it was as simple as software update FCA/Stellantis (the now 4th largest automaker in the world, with very deep pockets) would have done that already. Pretty sure it’s unfixable to have to continuously have to replace expensive engines under warranty.
¯\(ツ)/¯ True, if they cared to.
 
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