Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
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!