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James N
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Sick Alfa romeo 156

Hi All

I am new the disc group and could do with some advice about a sick Alfa 156 which has had the following faults. I'll try to be brief but here goes with a brief history:

1. Purchased Alfa 156 2.0 TS with Leather Sport Pack from AutoAalbers and imported it into the UK Jan 2000.

2. 19 months old and the car started to suffer from engine breaking problems: i.e. when changing gear it was very difficult to get a smooth change, often if left in neutral and the car was going down a hill or on the flat it would decellerate to a stanstill.

Went to dealer and they cleaned throttle pot and reset the ecu, seemed to improve for 1 week and then back to normal.

3. 19 months old took car back with above problem and a squeeky front suspension especially when going over speed bumps.

Checked again and diagnosed failed rocker cover gasket, causing oil leak/loss of compression. Squeek diagnosed as failed front wishbone arms. Took 3 months to order in parts by which time car tended to understeer and vibration developed at all speeds through front of the car, (also changed tyres to Potenza S03's from Pirelli's wished I had put Michelin on).

4. 22 months old, dealer finally fitted new front wish arms, repaired rocker cover gasket and the engine braking improved but the suspension did not. Main problem was car vibration all the time, through the front of the car and instability at speed.

Dealer agreed with problem and decided to 4 wheel align the car 4 times, no improvement. Ordered replacement front and rear shocks.

5. 24 months old fitted front and rear shocks.

No improvement.

6. 26 months old another 4 wheel alignment and replaced failed rear bushes (one was hanging off apparently - which would explain the occasional knock at the rear).

No improvement, the tech ordered another set of rear shocks even though I disagreed and said if replacing once made no difference how would another?

7. 27 months, replaced shocks again, no improvement, tested wheels (after having em balanced 5 times) and diagnosed 2 out of true alloys (the ones from the rear where bushes had gone).

Garage wanted me to fork out for the alloys but the tyre place was not convinced. Used 2 more alloys from the garage and it helped but did not solve problem.

8. Finally last week, garage tryed last through of the dice and 4 wheel aligned car and released nuts on all suspension components and they hear a big "clonk". After this the car drives much better and the only vibration I think is due to the out of tru alloys.

My questions for help are as follows: could the incorrectly setup suspension/failed rear bushes have caused both rear alloys to fail (and therefore allow me to claim on warranty). As there is no sign of kerbing on them and it would be difficult to damage both of them simultaneously.

Secondly I am getting more concerned as the engine breaking has not really gone away (just had more pressing problems to concentrate on). Do other 2.0TS drivers have the same problem. I am sure that when I first had the car it drove much better and was less erratic/jerky at low rev's/speeds, more smooth in gear changes. If this is a problem, what could I suggest the tech to look at, my guess it throttle pot/ecu....

Thirdly the car has in the last 3 weeks developed a squeek from the front of the dash in front of driver, any ideas?

Apologies for the long email but I refuse to sell this car as when it works it is fantastic, and having solved one fault am eager to sort the others out. The local alfa dealer have been ok (i.e. they could have told be to ***** off as it is in an import with an extended UK warranty), but they struggle to diagnose advanced faults...

On another note anyone with an import in the UK, must take out an alfacare warranty, as the dealer principal mentioned they are getting return rates on alfa's of more than 25%, and with labour rates at 50 p/hour, it could get bloody expensive.

If anyone could help it would be well received......

James Nelson [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Hi James as a non 156 owner cant really help in a specific sense but just wanted to say that after reading what must be an incredible episode of pure frustration lasting many months I have the greatest of respect for a true Alfisti in name and spirit when you can still look back an remember the first weeks wonderment and feel it worthwhile to continue to strive for a 156 that drives how it should!

I must admit I may even have contemplated throwing in the towel by now and buying another!

Hang on in there mate.

With utmost respect


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Hi James... keep in there, there is a fix for the squeak. Have a good read through our 156 forum.
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