Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia Forum

Technical => 932 Series (156, GTV, Spider, 147, GT, and 166) => Topic started by: Cool Jesus on August 13, 2012, 11:32:13 AM

Title: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on August 13, 2012, 11:32:13 AM
Hey troops, I'm slowly bringing the new acquisition up to speed and have come across what I now believe to be a gearbox oil leak. When I had it up on the hoist for the new exhaust, the crud under the engine made me initially believe it to be a rear engine seal gone bad. At the mechanic for the timing belts they were pointing me towards a leak in the power steering system. Over the weekend I drained the power steering and refilled with new oil and stop leak, whilst I change a CV boot on the same side. While I had the car up on jacks I degrease and water jetted the underside of the engine to get a better look at what fluid was leaking.

The oil is blue in colour and very thin. Itís accumulating on the bell housing (engine side). It may be emanating from within the bell housing? Wife has mentioned that the clutch pedal has stuck halfway on release (may have something to do with oil leak); most likely thatís a clutch/pressure plate replacement.

Anyhow, has anyone had to replace any gearbox seals on this series? Where are they? Is the gearbox oil blue?

I'll be checking levels tonight and I'll throw a photo on as well. Was too knackered over the weekend and forgot to do this.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Gotta B Red on August 13, 2012, 05:22:06 PM
The clutch anomaly reported by the chief might be a big clue.Certainly a good place to start.
Does the collected oil sample match the stuff in the clutch resevoir .... if there's any left.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: colcol on August 13, 2012, 06:45:22 PM
In the old days before OH&S, i would say have a bit on your finger and taste it, if its bitter, then its brake \ clutch fluid, if its oily and smells like gearbox oil, then its a gearbox leak, have a whiff of new gearbox oil and brake fluid, and trust your sense of smell, don't taste it, thats only for grizzled old veterans who should know better, the clutch playing up, looks like a slave cylinder leak, Colin.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Paul Gulliver on August 13, 2012, 07:01:36 PM

So what do you have on your steak & chips every night . Engine oil or brake fluid :D

Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Gotta B Red on August 13, 2012, 08:57:34 PM
Whoa Guys,
I was only suggesting a look and maybe some touchy-feely stuff,  taste testing sounds a bit Cheech & Chong to me!
Nonetheless Gully I'd rather be eating at Chez Colin  .... steak'n'chips rule OK !
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: colcol on August 13, 2012, 08:58:20 PM
There are 2 types of slave cylinders on these to my knowledge, the early twin sparks had the slave cylinder mounted externally of the gearbox, which meant it was easyish to replace, the later JTS engined cars had the slave cylinder in the gearbox, means gearbox out for its replacement, no rebuilding nonesence here, get a new slave cylinder, they are not too pricey, if your brake fluid / clutch fluid level has gone down then this is the culprit, Colin.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: bix on August 13, 2012, 09:51:27 PM
Not sure if my TwinSpark is rated as "old" (MY2000), but the slave cylinder is also mounted internally and shares the brake fluid reservoir. I've just replaced it as part of a new clutch install. Locally Alfa want $250.00 for one, whereas one from EB cost less than $100 delivered. Some of the clutch kits come included with a new slave cylinder and is probably the most economical way to buy one should you need to change the clutch also.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on August 13, 2012, 09:58:06 PM
Ok kids, before you go playing what's this mystery fluid taste testing I have solved my dilemma. I must say, it really pays big time to degrease and clean the engine bay in order to diagnose any leaks. I can't recommend it enough, so do your self a favour and clean it up first then find the little expert!, I mean that drip that was under pressure.

First photo shows the fluid drip at botom of bellhousing, the oilyness of it was transfered engine muck giving me a false sense that it was a fluid oil of sorts. Before the clean up I thought for sure I had a rear main seal gone it was so black and oily. It had no smell and best I could guess was that it was gearbox oil of some sort. I even used tissue paper to see how it transfered off, although I didn't have the patience to see if it evaporated. Anyhow, having given the lower half of the engine a good belt with degreaser and waterjet the day before it was easy enough to trace the leak back up to the thermostat housing. Thank God for small miracles is all I have to say...

As you can see it isnt brake/clutch fluid coloured and I could have sworn the coolant was green, nope I open the resorvoir and it was blue, the yellowing of the tank gave it a green look from the exterior and old crystalised leaks around some pipes were from green coolant so they too gave me a false belief of the actual coolant colour.

Anyhow, the nuts are very tight, so I may aswell renew the thermostat and gasket this weekend, if it has gasket. From initial inspection it doesnt seem to use one, perhaps its incorporated on the thermostat ???

My Spider has the clutch slave on the exterior. I think the sticking clutch will reveal itself in due course and involve a clutch kit. Looking forward to that job like a hole in the head.

The clean up has also revealed a power stearing leak near the rack and pinion bango joints. gave them a clean tonight, see what tomorrow reveals. Doesn't look too accessable in there, manual indicates its complete removal, arghhh. I'm hoping the Lucas stop leak may start to work.

Thanks for the input everyone. Its good to get feedback, and read the banter between members. I'm for steak 'n' chips any day over gaskets and brake fluid :-\
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on August 13, 2012, 10:04:17 PM
and photos?
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on August 13, 2012, 11:05:45 PM
Found the gasket answer. Looks like they use an o-ring.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: colcol on August 14, 2012, 09:35:55 PM
If it is a Banjo joint leak, then fix the leak, it will be a aluminium washer or o ring, easily fixed, try not to use power steering leak fixer, all it does is swell the seals, leading to early failure, while you have the thermostat out, check to see if its opening at the right temperature, if its more than 2 years old, it will most likely need replacing, the o ring can leak, it can also leak around where the plastic hose pipe is pressed into the alloy housing, try bleeding the clutch slave cylinder, before replacing the clutch, it may just have air in it, you should bleed the clutch everytime you bleed the brake system, that is 3 years, or when the brake fluid has absorbed too much moisture, shocking habit of mine to keep tasting drips on garage floors or in cars, to pin point leaks, all you kids at home, don't do what uncle Col does, Colin.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on August 14, 2012, 10:42:48 PM
Shall do Uncle Col.

Have already added the stop leak into the power steer. Should I flush it out?

I'm looking at just replacing the thermostat. For $15 its not worth wondering if its OK, even though there's no temperature issues noticed. More for piece of mind, as i have no service records or receipts. The hoses have been man handled around the thermo housing (non OEM hose clamps). Service book soon to be obtained now.

Also looking at flushing coolant system whilst Im there with Red long life. I've never come across blue coolant, even my 2010 159 came with Red, so with no service references I'm assuming its time for a flush anyway. Does anybody know of the blue coolant? I think I read somewhere that the parafin blue was replced with parafin red ... is this correct?

Should probably flush the brake/clutch hydraulics too?
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: colcol on August 15, 2012, 09:44:32 PM
If you have just a banjo joint leaking, just fix that, yes i would do a power steering drain, otherwise your seals will swell up, there was a post on 156 power steering fluid change, about 3 months ago, quite a worthwhile and straight forward job, $15 for a thermostat?, no these days the thermostat is part of the housing, and is not replaceable on its own, try $90-$160, depending on Genuine \ Non Genuine \ temperature gauge installed \ not installed, quite a straight forward job, remove flexiable duct on air cleaner assembly for better access, and the original Alfa hose clamps have to be 'mongrelled' off, just replace with good stainless steel tridon clamps from Repco best to use the RED coolant, i use Nulon long life that has anti fungal growth in it for long life, i have used the 'blue' coolant in the 33, if i remember it was LOCTITE brand, don't use Nulon 'green' coolant, i did and it rusted up, but the Nulon 'green' is recomended for motorsport applications, as it contains no Glycol, which makes race tracks nice and slippery, when it leaks out, Parafin is what the English call Kerosene, the make of coolant as recomended by Alfa Romeo is PARAFLU, according to the sticker on my coolant tank, it can be obtained in Australia from Alfa Romeo dealers, after market Alfa spare parts places and the U.K. at places like E.B. spares, but freight is quite expensive due to the restrictions on fluid transfer laws, Colin.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on August 16, 2012, 09:53:27 AM
Thanks Col, I had my doubts about the thermostat so I didn't get the $15 item. The positioning of the hoses indicated the thermostat was built into the housing. It seems to be working fine so I'll just reseal the mating surfaces.

Shall also drain the power steer when I renew the copper washers over the next day or so. I'll see if I can't find that thread you mentioned.

Paraffin. Paraflu. I was close !!!  By the way, what's kerosene taste like?

Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: colcol on August 16, 2012, 08:17:25 PM
If the thermostat is leaking where it bolts onto the head, just get a new o ring, and torque the bolts up accurately, if you can't find the thread for the subject, just take the hose off on the lowest point on the power steering , at the front on the right hand side and let it drain, the hoses are clamped on by single use only hose clamps, so you will have to butcher the old ones off and get replacements, best are stainless steel Tridons at Repco, Kerosene tastes just like Parafin, but there is different types, blue kerosene is a bit more tart than clear kerosene, but you only get what you pay for, Colin.
Title: 916 Spider/GTV power steering leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on January 08, 2013, 10:50:18 PM
Well, I can now say that I've resolved the power steering leak. Over the weekend I was taking the missus for a nice picnic dinner at a beach/bay in Vaucluse, Sydney when along the windy hills of New South Head Road the two securing bolts for the power steering rack decided to exit stage left, bang, ting, ting ting somewhere down the road.... Well, the remainder of the trip was like steering in a bumper bowling alley, having to turn the steering wheel 3 or 4 times before it felt ready to take a bend in the road. Thank god for camber on the straight bits. Anyhow, happened to have two replacement bolts, locktite on this time round, replaced the copper washers on the inlet and outlet of the power steer banjo joints at the rack and no more leaks.
As a diagnostic symptom for others, in the lead up to this there was the power steer leak in the banjo joint area, due to them being flexed because of the rack being loose. Steering began to feel a little less responsive and sloppy. closer to the disaster there was a chain sounding jingle from the front stryt area aswell as a thud or clunking noise from under the floor pan area. The jingle sound would have been the washers on the bolts rattling around and the thud would be the loose rack. Hmmm very dangerous, very lucky, somehow it held together enough to get me home and then the workshop.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: colcol on January 09, 2013, 08:03:58 PM
I have never pulled a rack out of a 916 Spider / GTV / 156, but apparantly the bolts that go thru the rack assembly onto the mount, go into aluminium, and they cross thread very easily, so you would want to put some loctite on the bolts if possible to stop them coming loose, as opposed to doing up too tight and stripping the aluminium threads in the mount and make some sort of lock washer to go around the bolt head, i bet there is not much room around the rack, must check it out on the 156 next time i am under the car, drilling some small holes in the bolt heads and wire tying motorsport style would be a bit extreme, but would stop them loosening off, Colin.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on January 09, 2013, 10:24:16 PM
Yep that's right Col, it's just aluminium thread for all mountings in the rack unit and one of the bolts didn't thread as easy as the other, hmmm hoping it was just a little dirty in the hole. Wasn't heavy handed in tightening them for fear of shredding the thread however used locktite this time around. There is a torque setting for them but I forgot to bring the excerpt from the workshop manual with me, errrr. Also forgot the camera, so no photos either.

Very happy to have found the power steer leak reason though, can now have the wheel alignments done. I'd be confident with locktite and proper torque setting for your daily driver, track cars being constantly hammered with greater forces would certainly benefit from a more secure retention method as you suggest.
Title: Clutch pedal remaining on floor
Post by: Cool Jesus on November 20, 2013, 10:03:18 AM
Well, I can finally tick off another issue off the list. I thought I raised this issue in a separate thread. Anyhow, dug up this old thread to post a resolution. To recap, my better half mentioned the clutch pedal was staying down and needed lifting back up with your foot back in Aug 2012. It was an issue which only occurred when she drove the car so a prioritised it appropriately. Well over the last few months it started to occur when I drove the spider. Can't have that, so it's priority status was raised.
Anyhow, looked for the obvious fluid leakage at the master and slave cylinders, none found and reservoir was at level. Clutch was recently replaced so the slave cylinder was doing its duty, even after manipulating the pedal back up in the car gear selection was fine. So I used my divine logic in diagnosing that the fluid pressure was flowing past the seals in the master cylinder, hence leaving the pedal whiskey limp on the floor. So I ordered a brake master cylinder seal kit off eBay and tackled the overhaul. From the workshop manuals and guides on the web, all indicated access from beneath the car. Having removed various components from beneath and above in the past, I felt it would be much easier to tackle the master cylinder from above. I was right, much easier.
It required removal of the air intake, throttle body, intake runners and the cover over the throttle and bonnet cable levers on the firewall. Even with my massive arms I was able to reach the various bolts along the way. The hardest part was configuring myself into a pretzel to remove the 2 bolts securing the master cylinder in the footwell. Make sure you place some rags to catch any fluid that may escape the cylinder and save your carpet. Also, to catch the damn bolts, the one and only open area near the steering joint is an abyss and sure enough my bolts found there way down behind the carpet.
Anyhow, clutch master out and yes the seals were knackered and only just big enough for the bore of the cylinder. So, opened up my seal kit and the rubbers were all different??? Did my best guess at which ones to use and sure enough it didn't work. After some head and arse scratching I check the seal kit packaging to verify it was for my model Alfa. Yes it was, I read it out aloud to my father I law "brake master cylinder" seal kit - WHAT! He says. OMG I bought the wrong kit.
Damn, late Saturday afternoon, the spider was in the pits again until I could source the right item. Arrrggghh!
Anyhow, a clutch master seal kit seemed non existent on the web so a new cylinder was the next option. Dads neighbour works at a dealership and came back with a trade price of $450. Naff off, not when I could source it for $100 delivered from the UK, but I needed the Alfa on the road and couldn't wait a week for it. The ring around slowly brought its price down until I found it a more respectable price from Domenic at Italian motor spares in Victoria. Highly recommend them, there customer service is second to none. Anyhow, part arrived the next day and I was back one the road in less than two hours. No more whiskey limp clutch pedal.
Sorry for the essay, but I just had to share my homer moment with this fix. I wouldn't call this fix easy, maybe 3 out of 5 spanners. Best tackled from above. At worst you may have to lift the car to reach the intake bolts with long extensions on your socket wrench. Much easier than removing exhaust and half shaft, let alone trying to do hose clamps etc from underneath.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on November 20, 2013, 11:24:25 AM
Photo of clutch master cylinder access from above. This would strongly suggest this method over the workshop's instructions. The yellow circle indicates the cover removed from the throttle and bonnet cable links to ease access even further. Imagine trying to do the hydraulic line and hose clamps from underneath...
Oh and that firewall grommet for the rubber feed hose, virtually impossible to reinstall even with ample access. I ended up just silasticing the gap around the hose.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on November 20, 2013, 11:28:14 AM
footwell view of the 916 clutch master cylinder and the two nuts that hold it in place. See the steering knuckle directly below it, thats the area 51 in the footwell for all things to disappear beneath the carpet.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on November 20, 2013, 11:33:09 AM
You'll probably find a spring and plastic piece come falling down from under the dash as you manipulate the master cylinder and clutch pedal. Its the clutch pedal spring, best replaced after the new cylinder is bolted in place and before attaching it to the pedal. Move the free swinging pedal about to refit it and the guide to the brake servo. Items indicated on eper as 7 and 9 are the ones which will fall off.
Title: Re: 916 Spider/GTV gearbox oil leak
Post by: Cool Jesus on November 27, 2013, 11:12:10 AM
Just wanted to add one last resolution to this thread. Fairly sure I posted it earlier, however having replaced the two rear seals and main seal on the engine, which resolved the engine oil leak, I still had a leak of clearer yellowish oil (gearbox) from between the bellhousibg and engine. Not enough to foul the new clutch but I've determined that it can only be seeping from the input shaft seal. So I've got a new seal now and am trying to build up enough enthusiasm to pull the gearbox out again to replace it. Once done that will sort out all my oil leaks. At the moment though, I'm finding it much easier to top up the gearbox oil every now and then with the few cc's if oil that leaks from it.
Thanks to all that had an input along the way. It really makes membership worthwhile having this forum, not to mention ownership of such a great marque that Alfa is.  ;D