Well, it all started a year and a half ago. One evening when pulling out on the freeway I could hear and feel a slight tremble. I was of course slightly annoyed because this meant another blow to the bank account. However it wasn’t evident where the noise came from, but with all things mechanical, once they start misbehaving, it wont take long until the noise is so evident that one has to be deaf not being able to tell what’s the cause. In this case, unfortunately it wasn’t so.
Since the noise seemed to come from the right hand side, and only during acceleration, I decided to change the inner and outer right hand side CV joints, no luck. Since rumbling sounds can be very hard to pinpoint I then tried the left hand side joints, guess what, no luck either.
I work for a company that provides data solutions to a fair share of the Alfa dealers in Denmark, so I started to ask around, and they all said the same thing;, front wheel bearings. I tried replacing the left hand one first, then the right hand one, but to no avail, the noise is still there.
I’m at a loss now. The noise is speed related, so it’s not the engine, whats left is probably the intermediate shaft bearing, or, sigh, the gearbox. Anyone got any suggestions?
At the same time my Selespeed system started to misbehave. Up and downshift werent as smooth as they used to be, the colder the weather got, the worse. Especially up and downshifts to and from 4th and 2nd was a pain in the arse. Well, since it only affected some of the gears, I suspected one of the pot meters on the Selespeed hydraulic unit. Sure enough, unplugging the connectors and spraying them with wd40 made the car run great…. For almost a week…. Then I had to repeat the procedure.
Well, I ordered a new potmeter and replaced it and all was hunky dory. To be honest, the gearbox was a little hesitant to select 2nd and 4th, but rather that, than the previous jerky and rather unhealthy engagement of the gears. Well, by this time you’ll know my (lack of) luck. After one week of smooth driving, the gearbox suddenly refused to select reverse. After a few attemps, it finally did engage reverse, and I made it home. The next morning it completely refused to engage reverse, and even worse, it wouldn’t engage 2nd and only 4th after some grinding and struggeling.
I was of to my local dealer (Jensen Auto in Gentofte, Denmark), who kindly performed the gearbox calibration using the examiner, and the car was almost back to it’s former glory, all for the meagre sum of £18…
Well, lately it’s been getting a lot colder, and the jerking came back. And to top that of, the engine started stuttering when cold, the idle was fluctuating and there were a very noticeable flat spot in the powerband. MAF I hear you all say, and presto, that’s all that was needed. I replaced the MAF, and it cured the fluctuating idle, the flat spot, and best of all, the selespeed system is back to its former glory.
Before I end this longwinded tale I also discovered something far worse than the above mechanical faults; I discovered rust! Yes that’s right; rust, oxidation, the bloody red tin ants been having a meal out of my “pride and joy”. Some lame arse mechanic have at some point removed the inner plastic mudguard, and when fitting it back, failed to screw one of the self tapping screws into the plastic rivet, instead he wedged it between the rivet and the metal, thus exposing bare metal to the water running inside the plastic liner. Result, a 2 by 2 inch hole in the inner right hand wing. I’ve had older Alfa’s that didn’t require any welding at all
There’s also of course the tale of trying to cure the squeaking sounds from the front suspension, which until now, has cost me both upper and lower wishbones, a new anti roll bar including joint rods. I’ll save that story for later, and spare you from any more tales of misery, because, in the end, when I look at my 156; it’s the best looking Alfa I’ve ever owned, and when it behaves, it’s one of the best Alfa’s I’ve ever driven