I have finally found the solution to each of the problems listed below, all experienced with my 1.9JTDM GT Blackline (registered Jan 2008) over the last 8 months...
Main "issues" experienced to date:-
- Leaking Driveshafts
A design fault meant both my driveshafts leaked dry of grease - needing replacing. The damage also affected the gearbox and it was partially re-built.
- Window Wipers
The offside wiper arm has fouled the bonnet and taken a large chunk of paint with it. The dealer was suprised the car had got to 15,000 miles without needing a complete new set of wipers and linkages, as this is a "known fault".
- Clutch Master Cylinder
A new master cylinder was required in attempt to resolve my gearbox issues. See below...
- Clutch "Damper"
Apparantly I needed a new "damper" too, to resolve a horrid lumpy/gritty feel to the clutch. I hasten to add this didn't fix the problem!
- Gearbox Linkages
Excessive vibration of the gearstick in high-end gears, made worse under acceleration that made it difficult to change gear. The proposed solution was to replace the cables between the gearstick and the gearbox.
- Corroded INTERIOR bolts
Alarmingly quite a few bolts around the dashboard and gearstick rusted and had to be replaced under warranty. No idea why these rusted so fast - poor build quality perhaps?!
- Corroded exterior bolts
AS above, but this time outside the car. Not suprisign on a 18 year old Sierra, but on a new car not what you expect. The main culprits were the bolts on the doors that hold the locks in place. Also affected is anything metallic under the bonnet, or on the underside of the vehicle.
- Rusted Wheel Nuts
Yep you guessed it - these rusted up too. Mine were replaced after 9,000 miles as the original set had completely corroded. The new ones already show signs of oxidisation.
- Faulty Electric Windows
Quite a common fault and easily fixed with a day at the dealer to replace the "nodes" that control them. Before hand they wouldn't drop correctly when the doors were opened, or would sometimes move up and down uncommanded.
- Accelerated Tyre Wear
My front tyres went bald in the centre within 3,000 miles. The cause of the problem was identified and ARUK admitted they had misled me as well as given me duff information - they forked out for a new pair after 2 months of arguing by letter.
- Faded Badges
The paint on both rear badges (the Alfa logo and the Blackline limited edition one) rubbed off!
- And on, and on, and on...
Anyway, I finally stumbled across the solution to all of the build quality issues I've been having. Not to mention resolving my issue with the fact that Alfa dealers and ARUK seem to have forgotten the definition of the phrase "customer service". I found the solution at a Honda dealer near me, and if you are having similar problems with your Alfa this will work for you too...
Honda Civic Type-R GT with Sat Nav, HFT and Rage Alloys
Just as good-looking as the GT (in my opinion), and 1,000x more fun to drive and I beleive Honda's reliability and build quality will surpass the GT's (maybe just?).
Alfa Romeo have a pretty awful reputation when it comes to build quality, and like most people on here, I put up with my fair share of banter from mates and colleagues when I first got the GT. "What have you done buying an Alfa!?" they would ask - to which I initially defended my choice with a response about how passionate I was about the car, and how good it looks. After 8 months all I can say is I would strongly avoid the brand in the future.
No matter how stunning the design is, the only people that seem to benefit from her good looks are passers by at the dealership, who regularly got to see my car up on the ramp! Other beneficiaries are the dealers, who are able to keep their mechanics busy with warranty parts and labour - all paid for by ARUK.
When I used to own a little Ford Fiesta I was a member of a forum just like this one. A collection of like-minded individuals who loved their cars. The difference was, everyone on the Fiesta forum was talking about how to have fun with their car and enjoy it - not what their latest problem was! The same can be said about a lot of car forums. I'm not saying Alfa Owner's don't have fun (by any means), but here I see a considerable amount more traffic relating to technical problems, most quite serious mechanical or electrical failures. The problems seem to span across the board - from brand new Brearas, 159s, 147s and GTs, to beautifully kept classics.
Good luck to those of you who have chosen to perservere with your Alfa's. I understand what drives you, but enough was enough. I want to use my holidays to relax and enjoy good wine and company - not to take my car in to the garage!
Goodbye GT! And apologies in advance to your new owner!