Alfa 156 (16 Twin Spark) burning off oil and water.
I'm posting on behalf of a friend who owns an Alfa 156 (16v Twin-Spark) '02 plate.
It has so far had a few problems, over the summer the oil cap was left off, emptying the oil all over the engine. After a new oil cap was put in place and the oil replaced, it ran fine.
A few weeks ago it suffered the terrifying bonnet-catch issue, flying open on the motorway. Fortunately no other damage aside from the bonnet, which has now been replaced.
However, it has over the past few days, been emptying all of it's oil and water. The temperature gauge is not working due to a fault with the thermostat which meant the fan didn't work. Using the age-old trick of bypassing the thermostat to keep the fan on permanently, fixed the issue of cooling, but as the temperature gauge wasn't working the first warning of overheating was steam coming from the engine. It is worth noting this was under normal driving conditions in sub-zero temperatures.
Inspecting it last night, fearing a head-gasket failure, we found it had no oil or water left in it. The car is always parked in the same place overnight, with no evidence of an oil leak on the ground, but I'm aware that the undertray may be catching a minor leak? No evidence of an oil leak on the engine itself, but does still have some old oil on it from the oil-cap incident. The radiator pipes (empty of most water) had some frost in them, so we used (mildly) warm water to free them up, then filled it with anti-freeze and replaced the oil. The car then ran fine for about 30 minutes, with no smoke from the exhaust, etc.
Then, the temperature suddenly spiked (we'd plugged the thermostat back in to gauge the temperature) and the water started boiling.
So, I'm wondering if anyone has had similar issues or if there are any known solutions to this? He'd really like to avoid taking it to a garage if it's something as simple as air in the cooling system or a water-pump, etc.