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(Post Link) post #1 of 6 Old 05-02-10 Thread Starter
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147 Selespeed

147 selespeed issues

Hi all,

im a first time alfa romeo owner and really didnt realise what i was missing in cars till i bought one. i bought a 147 selespeed (2002) last year and have had a lot of fun in it. ( i know they are reffered to as silly speeds, )

****please scroll down to the bottom if you want to avoid my sob story

however i need some advice from veteran alfa owners as i took it to a specialist initially when i bought and have been back there a couple of times since.
the specialist i took it to only does alfas not fiats or aything else they restore as well as maintain and they do have some beautiful examples of older alfas (pre 72's) that look stunning.

however i took my car in before christmas because it needed a service and i was having a couple of problems.

1) the tracking keeps coming out and despite getting it aligned properly 5 times its still not solved the problem. there are also some weird steering issues with it wandering.
2) i was getting a rattle sometimes when i throttled back, generally when the engine was warm but hadnt been running long (not when in neutral)
3) the engine was using an inordinate amount of oil. approximately 3 litres a month. i commute 50miles each way 5 days a week so its not like im just going to the shops or anything, but it shouldnt be using any oil at its ages let alone 3 litres a month
4) occasionally while sitting at traffic lights i would get an ABS/VDC fail warning which as far as i can tell turned the ABS off, this always disappeared if i switched the ignition off and restarted, and only ever happens every 2-3months and slightly more when its cold.

**im a fairly savvy car owner not massively technical, probably 3 haynes spanners. !

now the garage told me that the rattle was likely the camshaft variator and that maybe the cause of my oil problem.

so i left it with them, and they phoned me up during the day to tell me that the cambelt that was on it (which i had only had changed in april and had done 17k miles) was the wrong cambelt and that there was a continental belt on it, they suggested that i change it for a proper alfa belt and it wouldnt cost that much more. i agreed to to this and thought nothing of it. they said that everything had been sorted

when i picked the car up everything was fine.

they had changed the oil for HCX oil to see if the oil problem was better using that and they did a full service, filters plugs the lot. they also changed one of the rear lower arms because they said that was worn out.

however after 3 days the tracking was out and i got the ABS warning again. then when we had all that cold weather over christmas the car would squeal like the fanbelt was rubbing or the brand new and calibrated cambelt wasnt setup right and i still had the rattling sometimes when i lifted off.

additionally, the brakes now scrape at low speeds like the pads are worn out (rock on metal) not squeeling and can be a bit hesitant unless you stamp on them.

not a great result from a service which ended up costing me 1000, a week and a half before christmas.

i left it over christmas because they werent open and i was too busy with work and stuff.

a week after going back to work the gear selector display on the speedo started blinking in 5th then, 5th gear stopped working it would change but it wouldnt hold it in gear it kept jumping out.

so i took it back to them and left it with them and they showed my that someone had put the wrong ratio gear in it and that the syncro ring was smashed as well as the fork, and that the teeth had got worn out because it had been rubbing. so they fixed that and that cost me 550 to get that sorted.

a week later the gear selector light is now blinking again, the tracking is still out (and the tires are taking a battering because of it) the engine still sounds like a ford thats done 100k miles the brakes are soggy and make the nastiest noise when stopping at low speeds. and its drinking as much oil as petrol.

the questions i wanted to ask are these:

1)piston rings, is there a habit with the piston rings going on the 147s as the garage are now saying that the rings need changing but that will cost about 700, which im not really prepared to pay considering ive just spent 1500 with them and got nowhere.
ive also done an exhaust check and attempted to get it to smoke when accelerating hard but that doesnt work, a client of mine works for a GT2 race team as a mechanic and he said i could try soaking the pistons in a few drops of ring cleaner over night and see how much crap spews out in the morning but also that piston rings really just dont go in modern cars anymore.
2) tracking, is there anything else i can ask another mechanic to look out for in terms of why the tracking would be so bad, my tires have enough tread on them but im not prepared to change them till i know the trackings been sorted and it tracked perfectly before literally striaght as an arrow.
3) brakes, ive checked and the front and pack pads are fine there not low or anything. any ideas as to the noise
4) cambelt, was there any need to change the continental belt i had on there. it seems to me that during the whole service that was the only thing apart from the headlight bulb that i know got done.
5)ABS/VDC warning, im assuming this is a wheel sensor gone bad, but if they say they fixed it why is it still doing it.

6) can anyone recommend a good knowledgeable mechanic in the surrey area that is good with alfa romeos,

as an example of how bad it was, i spoke to them on the phone about the engine running badly before i took it in to do the gearbox the words i used were "the engines running really rough when its cold and sounds really bad first thing in the morning" when i picked the car up i was told that the CAR is running rough in the cold because the ABS is kicking in all the time. !

any help you lot can give would be appreciated and would be met with immense gratitude on my part.

i will buy an alfa for my next car, i loved the first 6months i had it. it just seems i was sold a bit of a duck. any recommendations for the 147 2.0 manual ? or will i have the same problems.
Wally135 is offline  
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Wow!!! Feeling for you bud.

Alfa twin spark engines by design use oil, and it is something you must check weekly and top up when neccessary. I think the manual says 600ml per 1000km or something.

First off as standard protocol now if you own a Selespeed you must buy the Alfadiag Software and a cable from Rarebear...that software will become your best friend. That will then let you see what the ABS fault is and diagnose it yourself, possibly even fix. Same with the 5th gear issue, either you will get a fault code and description or you can calibrate and perform routine maintainence of the system and see if that helps. Could be some mechanical not even part of the Selespeed system clutch for example.

Tracking?? No idea, try taking it somewhere else, maybe ask them to check over all suspension components to check for wear in the bushes, on the rear as well as the front.

Without hearing the rattle on over run itself it's hard to diagnose, could be coming from anywhere really, gearbox, clutch, engine, driveshafts maybe someone else might be along that has had this issue before.

How far away from Proalfa or Alfaworkshop are you? There are some thumbs up on here for those guys.
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The ABS/VDC error could be as simple as a dodgy battery. Mine was doing the same on cold mornings, yet had no problem starting. It's due to the Selespeed pump drawing extra current which, reduces the voltage to the body computer (which controls the ABS/VDC) and it shuts down the ABS system as a precaution. Unfortunately, most spares places don't have a specific battery listed for Selespeed models. I bought one specced for a 147 JTD and have had no problems since.

I also get a grind when braking at low speed. My pads and disks are all fine, it still brakes in a straight line and I've put it down as a characteristic. It could be that one of the pads isn't fully contacting the disk, giving slightly uneven wear. Nothing massive to worry about.

To change the variator, the cambelt will have had to come off anyway and they're not expensive so I wouldn't worry about that.

Tracking - track rods maybe?

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(Post Link) post #4 of 6 Old 05-02-10 Thread Starter
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apparently they checked the track rods and ends when they did the tracking (one of 6 garages to have "fixed" the tracking problem now) one of the garages told me the camber is out on the F/PS wheel and i should get it sorted but the indy garage i took it too told me you cant adjust the camber and something must be broken (the same garage that told me they had checked everything). im not worried about the ABS problem massively its annoying but when i get around to it ill change the battery.

apparently the variator has been changed, they did everthing that was needed (including the balance belt and stuff) but didnt change the water pump. ill see if i can find a recording device that will allow me to record the noise at a decent qulaity. does anyone know of a quality alfa specialist in surrey? ive looked at proalfa and there miles from me (32 to be precise) and alfaworkshop are 60 miles away. sigh

ill search the alfaworkshop site and see what i can find, ill also buy the alfadiag software and see what i can get from it

thank you for your help youve given me more hope and happiness with regard to my car than ive had in months.
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(Post Link) post #6 of 6 Old 08-02-10 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by purple145 View Post
hi unfortunately i went to them and they didnt help at all, im starting to think that my problem is that im too young. im only 24 you see and generally get treated like im a newbie when it comes to cars despite my father being an engineer all his life and teaching me most of what e knew. to the level of "ive just driven off your garage and the tracking is still out" "no it isnt" (kwik fit. i ask you. ill try the "indie garage" thread and see if i can find some where else near sutton.

p.s. hope you all had fun on sunday, meant to come down but ended up working on sunday.

Last edited by Wally135; 08-02-10 at 14:32.
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