Take the Long Way Home...over-heating woes. - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Take the Long Way Home...over-heating woes.


This summer, my 155 Sport needed a fair bit of attention.

It sits patiently garaged over the winter, exercised every now and again by my kind brothers in law and comes out for 6 weeks for my wife and eldest to use as they stay with the in-laws.

This year, having driven from Valladolid to the province of Leon, some 100 or so miles, everything appeared normal. After a few days though, the warning light came on and the needle climbed to the 100 + mark on the temp gauge.

I wasn't there so I couldn't get to grips with the problem but coolant was being forced out of the cap. It had had a new thermostat around 3 years ago. I had always feared a slight leak as the coolant tank was a dirty brown colour - same colour as the earth and dust in the region and I wondered if the dirt was getting sucked into the system as it depressurised. I couldn't detect oil in water or vice versa.

Local garages either had not got a clue or simply wanted 1,000 euro or more to do the job as i feared the head gasket had gone. Back it went for 120 euro on the back of a tow truck to Valladolid to my brother in law's local garage.

Yes it was the head gasket. That brown colour in the header tank was rust! Take a look at the pictures. That's not a head gasket but a collection of rusty bits. There was some slight rotation of the water pump plastic turbine or paddle on its spline but not to the point of effecting performance, the over heating had cooked the thermostat. The internals were pretty filthy and pipes were clogged. The rad seemed to be OK though.

Spanish garages seem to make plenty on the parts but I only paid 30 euro per hour labour. The final bill came to 600 euro (about 426 on exchange rates) with parts including head skim, water pump, gaskets, rad sensor, water p drive belt and of course anti-freeze. The car was delivered back to our village. I opted to supply the thermostat as they could only access an expensive one on a long delivery.

Car drives better than ever...and they have done a great job. I asked them to replace the fuel filter, done for very few euro. That must have been years old...it was on the urgent list.

Over the winter I'm going to get them to replace the clutch and then set about servicing the suspension. They are happy with me supplying the parts.

Other niggles:

Injection light appears and coincides with speedo failing. I did tighten some of the hex bolts on the back of the board but thought the stepper motor was failing...seems to be OK for the time being. Everything clears with a bit of a rev.

Window switch on passenger (lhd car) side needs replacing.

Rattling on tickover not as bad as it was but must be the variator - that'll be on the list too.
I really could not do this with the head gasket...

Clutch slips and the release bearing is noisey.

This 1.8 8 valve piles along at the speed limit 4 up, crammed full of luggage. It handles well too, of course.

I don't know why folk rave about the 33...as the wide body 155 in particular looks miles better.
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