This is the first 'new' problem I've had since I got my 156 in September '09... All other bizarre problems came with the car and have been resolved a year ago. Therefore I'm finding this most upsetting and by the end of this, you might see why
I have the ABS/VDC Failure appear at some point during every trip in my 2003 156 Selespeed. Sometimes as soon as I start, sometimes after 5km, sometimes while sitting stationary, and other times after 100km (if it is a long trip). This has been going on for a couple of months now ever since the end of a long trip in November. I can't figure out how it 'knows' that I'm going on a long trip and holds off for 100+km, whereas for a short trip down to the shops I can expect to see it within 5km. Surely the first 5km of a long trip are the same as the entire 5km of a short trip - I've even tried driving the same route to prove the point (never happens at the start of a long trip), not that it really matters
Must just be a happy coincidence but it's happened dozens of times.
I tried replacing the brake light switch with a new one - no change. Cruise control has always worked fine. I tried a new battery and put the old battery in my 164 - no change.
I can't connect to the ABS ECU with Alfadiag or FIATECUScan, so I took my 156 to a specialist and the fault code read was C1215 - Unknown Code, which they had never seen before. I looked this up and the generic definition is ABS Inlet Valve Right Front Coil Circuit Open. I cleaned the ECU multiplug and the specialist ran the actuator tests - no problems - and of course a quick test on the gravel proved the ABS and VDC worked fine. Right up until 43km later, within 3km of getting home.
I'm a little worried that Bosch might use their own fault codes and that C1215 might be a red herring... see ModuleMaster | Bosch 5.7
I have obtained a second-hand ABS ECU and valve block which will cost $500 if I use it (about £250). I wonder if there are unreliable (German!) connections inside which can prove problematic? It would be a lot more cost effective to repair mine, since that's a week's wages for me and it would probably only take a few hours, if I knew that it could be repaired and that C1215 means what I think it does. If it is a broken solenoid coil sealed in resin, then that wouldn't be repairable.
Therefore, I can't decide what my next move should be. Perhaps it is worth a 280km round trip to the Alfa Romeo main dealer for the use of their latest diagnostic tool, just to confirm the C1215 error.
Any advice please?
In the meantime I almost cried when the warning came up today just as I pulled into a parking space after 3km, the same as it did yesterday for a parking space 48km away. It's getting beyond a joke, it's weird enough to drive me insane. You'll even catch me parking in the same spaces just to try and catch it out but no, unless it's the actual end of the trip, it won't. It will stay off until I get within a kilometre or two of my destination. Sometimes less. HOW DOES IT KNOW?!!!! (don't bother to answer that)