Re: hello - my 147 cambelt's just gone!
In reply to your post, Matt; the cambelt went on my 1.9 JTD 147 about five weeks before Christmas (a 16 valve model, fully serviced etc) which had only done about 37,000 miles at the time.
I was particularly uhpset because, prior to buying the Alfa from a local main AR dealer in Tun Wells, Kent last January I had done a lot of research, having heard that camblets on Alfas tend to give probvems. In any event, the upshot of this research was that I was assured by quite a lot of people, including the dealer, that cambelt failures on the diesel models were "pretty rare". They still maintain this, but look on this website and you will, I beleieve, see evidence to the contrary.
In any event, I really like the car driving and stylig wise, but was pretty upset when my wife rang me one evebing in late November to say that the car had broken down about three miles from home, resulting in it having to be towed to the garage. A few days later the dealer range me to let us know that the water pump had overheated and melted (their description) and that this had somehow (inexplicably to me, I must admit!!) caused the camblet to breakl after which the pistons went through the head, causing around £1,700worth of damage.
As the car had only covered around 37,000 miles I took this up with Alfa and they agreed, without protest, to cover the full repair costs, somthing of a "result", I felt. However, it then took over a month to source a cambelt for the car from Italy (AR Customer Services were very helpful and extremely apologetic in keeping me informed, but the Alfa supply chain does not seem great) , after which the car was fixed and I now have it back. My message to you is take up the matter with AR Customer Services ASAPand see wht they will do to help.
I should also add that, up until about a week ago, when the dealer finally replaced the ECU at Alfa UK's suggestion, I had had the Motor Contol Failure light come on regularly, every few weeks, since acquiring the car. The dealer had had the car in for this eight or nine times, replacing sensors etc, but to no avail. Touch wood the replacement of the ECU seems to have cured the problem, but for how long I don't know.
I think the car is a great drive (particularly in terms of low down torque and mid-range acceleration; contraty to some car magazine review it also handles well: I sometimes wonder whether some of the critical reviewers have actaully driven a 147 at all), but I have to say I have been disappointed in the car's unreliability. This is a great shame because AR undoubtedly make some of the best-looking and most enjoyable to drive cars on the market. (My other car is a Focus ST which is an even better drive and, to date, 100% reliable, powered by an absolutely brilliant Volvo 5 cylinder turbo engine. All I can say is roll on the rumoured Focius RS in 2009. My past cars have included an "onl-style" Civic Type R, tow Lotus Elises and a Subaru WRX; all good, but none of them a patch overall on the ST!)
I did test drive an Alfa 147 GTA before buying the Focus and have to say that, had I not been concerned about the potential reliability of that car, I mght have bought it in place of the ST. It definiyel had the edge in looks (over my ST's ASBO orange), but I think I made the right decision. Wish you luck in your effort sto get your cambelt problems resolved, All the best, Jonathan