Jerky while decelerating and maintaining low speed. - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Jerky while decelerating and maintaining low speed.

My newly purchased 2nd hand 156 1.6T-Spark was giving me a jerky ride when decelerating and when trying to maintain say - 30 mph in urban areas.

Was it fuel starvation? Were the sparks missing?

I was told by the sales and service department at the garage where it bought it that it was an Alfa characteristic. This comment was eventually whittled down to only this model. Then I was told to go away and go back if it got really bad.

Two days later --- when I started the engine it just took it upon it'self to rev up and down, whilst the car was stationary in the drive with no foot anywhere near the pedal.

I rushed round to the garage and asked if this was an Alfa charactristic? No - was the answer, it was "hunting" they said at which point they lent me a 147 1.9 jtd with only 3k on the clock, and took mine in for repair.

A week later -- I was called to pick up my 156. They had fitted a new throttle, and I thought all would be well..

When I discovered it still did the jerky bit I tried hard to ignore it. After a week I could ignore it no longer and I was really pi**** off with the car. So I went back to the garage again, and they just brushed me off. Sneered at me. Treated me like a daft old woman (I'm a bloke!)and suggested that if I wanted to change the car I should stay away from the T-Spark engine which was "quirky".

I had already told them that I thought that if the problem was an Alfa characteristic, that no one would buy Alfa's; but my thinking was deemed to be warped because I traded in a Fiat Tipo TD SX, and an Alfa 156 1.6 T-Spark was a totally different type of car to drive!

Feeling frustrated and desperate I set to and looked for the source of the problem myself.

My thinking is this....the accelerator cable had so much slack in it that it was free to jump about, especially as it's anchor point on the air intake tubing had been destroyed. I took out the slack by adjusting that little clip at the end of the sleeve, and re-anchored the cable to the air-intake tubing. This seems to have cured the jerky ride, and, in addition it has cured the problem of having to rev the engine and slip the clutch when pulling away in 1st gear so as to avoid the dead spot, and the associated embarrasment of having an Alfa that didn't go very well.

The garage don't believe me of course, and still think I'm nit-picking.

I'm just waiting for the problem to occur again.

Or have I really fixed it?

I am a very dissapointed first time Alfa owner, but my car goes really well at the moment and I love it to bits. Time will heal the wounds perhaps.

I would be interested to know if anyone else has had a similar problem? Or is it an Alfa characteristic?
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Idle actuator, air flow meter or lambda sensor sound possible (I usually blale lambda for everything wink )...all common problems on the Twinspark engines.

Try doing a search for the above for full explanations

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I had the same problem a couple of months ago. When I was decelerating and trying to keep low speed with the RPMs between 2000-3000rpm the car was doing that jerky thing you described above. It was the first time after 18months I own the car and I thought it was time for injection cleaning (it had about 40.000km). The garage told me it's not the injection system nor the fuel filter(as I also claimed). Anyway I both got the fuel filter replaced and the injection system cleaned but the jerky behavour continued. The problem was to the fuel. The gas station I used to go, had very bad quality of fuel and I realised this by chance as I went for weekend off town and I had to fill up in an other gas station. The jerkyness of the car just stopped suprisingly!!!!

So first check the fuel quality and then fuel circuit. If it possible do a reset to the ECU in order to let the ECU to collect new data about the engine.

Good luck !!!!!
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U were lucky where is ur dealer u actually got a courtesy car........
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If you ask me the Dealer sounds the 'Jerky' type laughing
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Very interesting....

Thank you all for your contributions. I guess it is an Alfa characteristic after all...Hmmmmm.

Alas, my "fix" did not last and this weekend just gone it started the jerky business again. So now I must follow-up posted advice. It's a bit like that Alfa on your post "wrinx"

The courtesy car was a surprise to me also and it was offered without hesitation and faster than a 156. The garage in Suffolk here may have an image to look after. They are no good on "Alfa characteristics" though!? Makes me think I have a really expensive problem, and far too difficult to fix.

No doubt, if I ever get to the bottom of it I will let you know. Meantime, there's no chance of dropping off in that comfortable driving seat.


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I drive the 1.6 T-Spark, and have never experienced this. It never jerks when moving in traffic in 2nd or 3rd. I've owned a Pug 306 that did this, so I know what you mean. But it certainly never happens on the 156 1.6, in fact one of the things I like about it is the smooth running at low speed. Making rush hour a little easier.

So tell the dealer he talking crap. wink
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Well of course I figured the dealer was talking crap especially when I saw the replies on this post. I also told them that I thought if it had been an Alfa characteristic then no one would buy Alfa's.

Well I wrote to Alfa Customer Services and eventually had a reply from them, but not before I returned to the garage and booked my motor in for repair. They asked me what was wrong so I told them (same story!). Okay, they gave me a date to take the car in and told me they needed it for three days. Whilst mine was being done I was lent a 147 Selespeed model also a 147 1.6 t-spark. Strange thing was the t-spark model went really well, but that Selespeed - well, when it changes gear it was just like the kind of jerkiness I was getting on my own 156. I was almost confused into thinking maybe I had a selespeed gearbox in mine, or was it an Alfa characteristic after all. Anyway, the 147 1.6 t-spark was lovely and that's how I hoped mine would be when I got it back.

They had my car for three days, and on the fourth I went to collect it. This time they had fitted a new airflow meter and did it under warranty. The trouble was, when I drove it away it did exactly the same jerky business again. I couldn't believe it. I tried hard to ignore it. It thought it must be my imagination. I decided to give it a week then I'd take it back again. However, in the meantime I got so frustrated I decided to look again, myself, at the accelerator cable. I oiled it and tried to get oil up the cable sheath just incase it was sticking a bit. That improved things. This time though it continued to improve, and now it's okay. Mind you, I run it on Shell Optimax now as well. So after all that, I can now enjoy my Alfa the way it was intended. It is just great. I love it.

Thanks to everyone who added to this post and for your comments. Sorry for posting in the wrong section. Oh and by the way, Alfa Customer Services wrote to me and they did get in touch with the garage concerned and gave me details of an alternative place for a second opinion if I needed one. So all is well that ends well.

Pete - happy now

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decelerating , jerky , low , maintaining , speed

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