hi rarebear! haven't seen you for ages.
thanks for the support, though i suppose i will have to give my husband some credit too....
this is a really silly fault that can see people being charged a lot of money to replace what may be an otherwise perfectly healthy pump. i've tried to put plenty of detail(!) into the thread as i figure that if someone has the exact symptoms then they'll hopefully have a diagnosis and cure. it's just a shame that my thread title isn't a bit more specific.
my next mission is to find out if we can replace the end of the actuator inlet pipe (shown above), because, in manner of all things alfa, getting the pump working quickly and efficiently again (yipee!) immediately
resulted in the above oil leak worsening (huh.) i can see exactly where it's coming out but have no idea why, though i assume the worsening is because now that the oil pressure is healthy, the leak is more, well, leaky.
on the plus side, the AO members in my area have recommended a really good alfa mechanic, so between you guys and him i hope we'll sort it.
if it's a dodgy actuator though, one beautiful alfa may be last sighted rolling into the river clyde (though of course, we'd probably have to push it there.