156 SW 2.4JTDm- Brakes and Front Suspension - Alfa Romeo Forum
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156 2.4 JTDm 20v

156 SW 2.4JTDm- Brakes and Front Suspension

Hi All

Had my Sportswagon now for 10 months and done about 26000 miles
The car has been excellent and performed well.

As expected the 2.4 diesel with veloce suspension bottoms out on undulating roads and is heavy on the front brakes.

Any good advice / results on:- ( without going crazy )

1. Replacement front discs and pads (using original calipers)

2. Possible front suspension upgrades ( Not Lower than standard )

3. Use standard oe replacement parts?


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Hi Andy,

I considered this problem when looking for a 156 JTD as they are known for cracking sumps.
I've got the lighter 1.9 16V lump but still want to save myself the worry (lost 2 sumps on my previous lowered 155 2L 16v).

1. Brakes - i'm afraid you're stuck with original size discs and pads unless you change to bigger calipers. You can get good aftermarket replacement discs (eg, Brembo) or performance drilled/grooved discs but they will be the same size and will be similar (if improved) performance. Could get some grippy pads (good standard or fast road) like Ferodo DS-2500.

2. Front suspension - any uprated (harder) springs available will be lowered by some amount, usually a minimum of around 30mm. Uprated shocks will reduce the speed of the initial dip when hitting a road level change, but manufacturers will advise matching of spring/shock parts to standard or lowered sport or majorly lowered super hard, etc. If you use uprated shocks with standard springs the shocks will be doing more of the work and i'd imagine they won't last as long, but could be worth a try if you dont want to lower at all. If your current shocks are pretty worn through high milage or heavy wear - which i wouldn't expect at 26k miles - replacement with OEM or aftermarket OEM would improve things a little.

I have seen some journalist comments on websites stating that Alfa went through a period where they used slacker suspension for the UK to make them a little softer with a less harsh ride (around the middle of the era of the 156 model) which has helped lead to the reputation particularly for 2.4's to eat sumps for breakfast.

I'm probably going to go for an eibach progressive spring + shock sports kit with about 30mm lowering.

Sump protection:-
My first plan is to find a way to fit the famous front lower strut brace to a JTD (bolts on to wishbone bolts on each side sub frame across the sump). They don't fit the JTD's or V6's so a friend who's good with welding will be appropriated at some point to make one that can go round the exhaust downpipe. This should then give the sump a bit more protection (providing an impact on the strut brace won't twist the subframe/chassis at all, i'm hoping the bolts will shear first). This should sit just a little lower than the sump to protect it. Then i want to get an aluminium undertray under that to give combined redirecting of force from speed bump hits and bottoming out.

Here's some links and info/comments i've collected relating to 156 suspension options.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Mark.


Car review: Alfa Romeo 156 (1998 - 2005)

2.4 JTDs prone to cracking their alloy sumps on speed humps. Check for damage before buying, especially drain plug.


Fun starts @ 3000!

Suspension shocks/springs discussion:

Bilstein (B6 sport/comfort shocks)
Eibach (Eibach ProKit Sports Spring Kit - lowers approx 30mm)

Koni (adjustable shocks) (Koni FSD?)
Koni (lowering springs)
H&R (lowering springs)
Autodelta (lowering springs)

"Bilstein B6 can be used with up to 30mm lowering"
"B6's and standard springs totally transformed my car!"

Eibach ProKit Sports Spring Kit
Alfa Romeo Shop - Tuning, Styling, Fanartikel und Modellautos - Alfa 156 Tieferlegungsfedern - Eibach ProKit Federnsatz Eibach ProKit Federnsatz 4372x

Bilstein Gas Pressure Sports Shock Absorbers (B6 sport/comfort shocks or B8 shocks for lowered cars)
Alfa Romeo Shop - Tuning, Styling, Fanartikel und Modellautos - Alfa 156 Bilstein Sportdämpfer vorn Bilstein Sport-Gasdruckstossdämpfer 43850-43872
Alfa Romeo Shop - Tuning, Styling, Fanartikel und Modellautos - Alfa 156 Bilstein Sportdämpfer hinten Bilstein Sport-Gasdruckstossdämpfer 43851-43873

The "B6 Sport" version is for cars without lowering (or lowering less than 30mm)
The "B8 Sprint" version has shortened piston rods and is for cars with a lowering of 30-60mm. Lower doesn't automatically mean better. Not the appearance of the car determines its quality but the optimal tuning of suspension, springs and shock absorbers. With this in mind Bilstein has specially developed the B8 Sprint for cars with lowered bodies.

Eibach ProSystem (Eibach springs + eibach dampers?)
Alfa Romeo Shop - Tuning, Styling, Fanartikel und Modellautos - Eibach ProSystem Komplett-Fahrwerk für Alfa 156 Eibach ProSystem Fahrwerk 4372x
(549.00 Euros = £473 sterling)


User comments from parkers (156 diesels):

"Front suspension is just not sturdy enough to cope with extra weight of the diesel engine.
Bottoms out very easily on bumpy roads"
"but does tend to bottom out over poor surfaces"
"Seriously dodgy front suspension. Car bottoms out a lot and is expensive to replace sumps...
...I have replaced five, yes FIVE, sumps at a cost to me of about £515-525 a go"
"under floor engine cover ripped off (it was too low and car kept bottoming out on road crests)"


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156 , 24jtdm , brakes , front , suspension

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