Disaster! The death of the twin-cam

Today was the most difficult day in the garage yet. Since my last post, three months ago, much time, and energy, and effort, and blood, and sweat, and tea has gone into the Alfa’s little twin-cam. The cylinder head which was so sorely missed in Part 2 was taken back from the engineers who had taken it on (after I discovered , to my horror, they hadn’t even looked at it after six months) , and delivered to the always helpful, and unsuspecting Robin Phipson. He must have squeezed about 400 years worth of work into the last couple of months to get the head back in working order. It really was one of the ugliest ones out there.

Robin helped me line up the gearbox with the block, as the were no dowel pins on the engine at all, and he sorted a crack in the water jacket. He also pressed the new barrels into the block. So, with all my worries behind me, I started to put the engine together.






The cylinder head went on with no drama at all (with help from Robin) . Very unusual for this car. As even simple things such as putting on the wheels involved a terrible panic and help from AK Components.
















After the engine went together with so little trouble, it got me thinking: What’s the next challenge this thing’s going to throw at me? And I thought the answer came in the form of the mysterious clutch issue. Which was simply (?) a poorly set up pressure plate. All good to rock and roll?


IMGP4390The car itself has been complete for a while, awaiting that pretty little motor.





IMGP4346All was going brilliantly. Thought I’d drop the engine and gearbox in this weekend. So I hooked up a small pump to pump oil through the engine to get it ready for its first firing. Surely I was finally out of the woods. The engine filled up nicely. I watched as clean oil filled up around the cams (good psychology apparently) and was satisfied that everything was good to go. My last job was to replace the copper washers sealing off sender units and such. And as I undid the water jacket drain engine oil poured out from the thread. What’s engine oil doing in the water jacket? Something must be very wrong indeed. This must be Giulia’s terrible secret, the fault that wrecked the engine at the start.


Where to from here? I don’t know. I feel like I could cry. In the morning I’ll get on the hunt for a new engine block. A year and a half worth of work is about to start all over again.

On the bright side; I went to the travel doctor, where I got five million injections so I’m now immune to EVERYTHING, except common sense.


  1. Robin Phipson says:

    This is unbelievable!!

    Thank god you did pump oil.

    I wonder where it is getting through from water to oil side.

    Maybe it is something simple.




  2. ROBIN PHIPSON says:

    Sorry, oil to water side.

  3. Sorry Jeth. If it is any consolation, your photos are utterly gorgeous. Make a pot of Earl Grey Blue Cloud loose leaf tea and who knows what magic might happen?

  4. Yay! Well, I’ll make a pot too – might choose delicious Tanzanian Organic – to celebrate your adventure with positive African vibes.

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