Ok, I was in potential buyer mode today and got to play with his 147.
Answers to your questions first;
1. does the thing change through the gears with the ignition on but the engine is not running?
You can select R,N,1,2 - nothing else seems to engage...
2. can you hear the pump start up on opening the drivers door
3. does it run for 5-7 seconds or much longer? (longer indicates the pressure is not obtained or being lost)
Yes it seems to run for about 5 seconds...sometimes a bit longer but not staying on for ages
4. is the sele resrvoir full of sele oil, of has some numpty filled it with screen wash?
Its brimming with lovely red tutela juice
5. does it work in city mode, whereby it goes up through the box itself, or is it just the paddles or stick that will not go beyond second?
In city mode its the same and only goes upto 2, then if you still keep your foot down engine speed keeps increasing then it cuts out and nothing much happens - instinctively I kep pressing a paddle so it went back to semi mode back to 2 - on a couple of occasions it went into 3 or 4.
In semi mode it will only change upto 2, then if you built up a bit of speed one of three things happen;
a) it seems to disengage the clutch as for a second the engine revs go up, but then nothing, you have to stop, N, press brake, select 1 then carry on.
b) as a but then you coast for a bit and carry on in 2.
c) change up to 2 build up some speed, wait for nothing to happen, move the stick to N and then it chages into 3 or 4 - if you get 3 sometimes it lets you change up into 4 but not 5. Then it doesn't seem to change down and your only option is to stop, brake pedal, N then 1 and continue.
Basically I was running out of road and annoying other road users even though it was early morning and on business park roads. I think I annoyed it as it flashed up 'selespeed failure' on three occasions in response to my various combinations of paddle presses (and swearing at it) but once I started getting the hang of coasting, selecting N and it gong into 3 or 4 - it didn't give me any more messages like that.
The other thing which is did was to indicate N on the dashboard but when you turned the key the car lurched forward as it was actually in a gear...
Now, after the test drive, I had a good nose about and I noticed on the front of the gearbox there was a connector hanging down and a plug on the front of the gearbox casing with nothing in it. I didn't try connecting it - Yes I know its probably the plug hanging down that goes in there but I'm one of those people who won't stick their hand into a hole in the wall without first shining a torch in...
The other thing I noticed, I had the heater on and when coming to a stop the engine cuts out - when I turn the heater off it seems fine - gremlin or coincidence?
depends on how good his price is, and access to someone who knows what they are doing. And if you mind your make being mightily upset if it turns out to be a £30 sensor.....
either way, sounds like a trip to Smaky's
Haha yes, but I won't tell him it was a £30 sensor (or that I just plugged in the loose connector
) seriously he's just annoyed with it and I asked him about his 'alfa specialist' he said it was the guy in Royston - (Alfa Workshop?!?) unless there is something he is not telling me I would have expected that garage to be able to precisely diagnose the problem OR maybe they have and recommend a replacement box/actuator/full rebuild and thats what my mate is trying to keep quiet...?
Not sure I fancy a trip to Smaky's in 2nd... or possibly 3/4 by doing the 'coast and select N' trick.
1. He got the car 5 months ago, it passed MOT in June and the problem started a month ago.
2. It does seem the gear selection is limited to R,N,1,2 (limp mode like alexGS suggested) apart from when you select N and it just goes into 3 or 4.
3. I'm a bit concerned now that he clarified his Alfa specialist is the Alfa Workshop and that he asked them to fix it but they didn't - either he's not being straight with me or the repair estimate is huge (and obviously he doesn't want to tell me-he is studying law so I guess slowly withdrawing from the concept of telling the truth
What do you guys reckon?
I'm tempted to offer him £750 and chance it, which leaves a couple of hundred to source a replcement box/actuator...