Alfa 156 - 5 problems in 6 weeks! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Alfa 156 - 5 problems in 6 weeks!

Hi All AO users.
This is a post with a difference, in defence of my Alfa Romeo. I've had 5 distinct issues with my Alfa 156 2004 2.4 JTD. Yet none of them are Alfa's fault. All are user error!

1. Just 3 days into Alfa ownership, it wouldn't start. The garage I bought it from put in a new battery as part of the sales deal. However, it turned out to be undersized. Replaced the small battery with a bigger one, and it's been running like a dream since.

2. The fuse for the wing mirrors would occasionally blow, and the engine management systems warning would come on, occasionally. Here I thought would be the beginning of my Italian electronics nightmare. My trusted garage discovered that the car had Xenon headlights retrofitted, and the fuse/relay box in the engine bay was modified. The box was not reconnected to it's mountings and was resting on top of the transmission. The gear linkage and vibration had worn away the insulation on some of the cables. My trusty mechanic was amazed the car was running at all. The wires were re-insulated and the box correctly mounted. No more issues!

3. The (German) Blaupunkt radio would play up. The screen would turn off and sometimes the unit wouldn't power up. On closer investigation, the mounting bracket for the fascia was broken and the fascia was held in place with duct tape! I guess with the hot weather, the adhesive started to soften. I've since repaired the mounting brackets.

4. I lent the car to a friend to take her kids out on a rainy day while the husband was away on business. She then reversed into a post and cracked the rear bumper. Her husband will pay for the repairs. We're still friends!

5. There was a metallic grumbling rattling sound coming from the engine bay on idle. In gear or with the slightest amount of throttle, it would sound normal again. I was thinking, alternator or water pump bearings. I was also in the middle of France on business. Found a local Alfa/Fiat/Lancia specialist who could look at it the same day. As I pulled into the work shop, all eyes were on the noisy car that sounded like an old tractor! One mechanic said, sounds like transmission problems. Again, I was thinking, here's the start of my old italian nightmare. Turns out, I'd grounded the front of the car on a speed bump and broken the exhaust mounting bracket.

So, after all these issues in the last 6 weeks, my faith in the Alfa 156 is not shaken. These issues are all user error!
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Always good to see a "glass still half full" outlook. Got to watch those speed bumps, easy to come in a bit hot and graze the chin. I've now done it too many times after piloting an hydraulic CitroŽn for years!
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As you said, most of the issues are user error! I find this is generally true for a lot of the issues that people new to the marque encounter and ask for help about on this forum. Sadly it turns a lot of people away from Alfa but I am glad to see you are intelligent enough to realise that these issues are hardly manufacturer faults.

The low value of these cars these days can result in some people not being able to justify doing a job properly because they don't want to spend 400 quid on a car that's only worth 500. So they do bodge jobs left, right and centre and the end result is some poor bugger like yourself getting a car that has had some poor DIY and a dealer who was too cheap to shell out for a proper sized battery. Which obviously means you end up inheriting all these headaches and its very easy to sit there and jump on the Alfa hate wagon.

But its great to see that you are sticking with it and have a positive outlook! With that sort of attitude I am positive that the car will look after you as it seems it is finally in the right hands

Current
2000 Alfa 156 Sportwagon 2.0 TS CF3

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1983 Porsche 944
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(Post Link) post #4 of 6 Old 29-08-16 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by addo View Post
Always good to see a "glass still half full" outlook. Got to watch those speed bumps, easy to come in a bit hot and graze the chin. I've now done it too many times after piloting an hydraulic CitroŽn for years!
The full picture, I was following a van, perhaps a bit too close. I'm a recovering BMW driver.

He slammed into the speed bump and I didn't see it until it was too late. So I slammed on the brakes which dipped the nose even further.
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(Post Link) post #5 of 6 Old 29-08-16 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AussieAlex View Post
As you said, most of the issues are user error! I find this is generally true for a lot of the issues that people new to the marque encounter and ask for help about on this forum. Sadly it turns a lot of people away from Alfa but I am glad to see you are intelligent enough to realise that these issues are hardly manufacturer faults.

The low value of these cars these days can result in some people not being able to justify doing a job properly because they don't want to spend 400 quid on a car that's only worth 500. So they do bodge jobs left, right and centre and the end result is some poor bugger like yourself getting a car that has had some poor DIY and a dealer who was too cheap to shell out for a proper sized battery. Which obviously means you end up inheriting all these headaches and its very easy to sit there and jump on the Alfa hate wagon.

But its great to see that you are sticking with it and have a positive outlook! With that sort of attitude I am positive that the car will look after you as it seems it is finally in the right hands
Thanks. I'm a mechanical engineer and have been getting my hands dirty on project cars for years. So I gave this one a good look over and was still undecided. So I literally flipped a coin on the forecourt. Follow my head or heart? When the coin came up heads, I disagreed with myself. I've bought the sensible choice enough times. The wife's car is a 2011 A6 Avant.

So I talked myself into it. Turns out, it's still a sensible choice. It returns 54mpg and is also a wolf in sheeps' clothing. I out dragged a 4.0L S-type Jag 0-90mph the other day.

Still optimistic I made a good choice!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RikTD View Post
Hi All AO users.
This is a post with a difference, in defence of my Alfa Romeo. I've had 5 distinct issues with my Alfa 156 2004 2.4 JTD. Yet none of them are Alfa's fault. All are user error!

1. Just 3 days into Alfa ownership, it wouldn't start. The garage I bought it from put in a new battery as part of the sales deal. However, it turned out to be undersized. Replaced the small battery with a bigger one, and it's been running like a dream since.

2. The fuse for the wing mirrors would occasionally blow, and the engine management systems warning would come on, occasionally. Here I thought would be the beginning of my Italian electronics nightmare. My trusted garage discovered that the car had Xenon headlights retrofitted, and the fuse/relay box in the engine bay was modified. The box was not reconnected to it's mountings and was resting on top of the transmission. The gear linkage and vibration had worn away the insulation on some of the cables. My trusty mechanic was amazed the car was running at all. The wires were re-insulated and the box correctly mounted. No more issues!

3. The (German) Blaupunkt radio would play up. The screen would turn off and sometimes the unit wouldn't power up. On closer investigation, the mounting bracket for the fascia was broken and the fascia was held in place with duct tape! I guess with the hot weather, the adhesive started to soften. I've since repaired the mounting brackets.

4. I lent the car to a friend to take her kids out on a rainy day while the husband was away on business. She then reversed into a post and cracked the rear bumper. Her husband will pay for the repairs. We're still friends!

5. There was a metallic grumbling rattling sound coming from the engine bay on idle. In gear or with the slightest amount of throttle, it would sound normal again. I was thinking, alternator or water pump bearings. I was also in the middle of France on business. Found a local Alfa/Fiat/Lancia specialist who could look at it the same day. As I pulled into the work shop, all eyes were on the noisy car that sounded like an old tractor! One mechanic said, sounds like transmission problems. Again, I was thinking, here's the start of my old italian nightmare. Turns out, I'd grounded the front of the car on a speed bump and broken the exhaust mounting bracket.

So, after all these issues in the last 6 weeks, my faith in the Alfa 156 is not shaken. These issues are all user error!
a lot of issues can be sorted yourself with plenty of research here and great advice so don't fear your future with alfa Romeo should be a great one, though having said that its difficult for us alfisti to get mainstream maintenance and repair info unlike a lot of other manufacturers.
There's nothing quite like driving an alfa which ever variety, I've had a twin spark, a v6 and now a jtd.
Your in the right place here
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