Apologies in advance for the slightly sycophantic tone of this post but but I'm really pleased with how Autolusso* have sorted some potentially expensive problems and hope this may be useful information for someone else.
Problem 1 - check engine light cycling on and off with timing related codes and a rattle at start up. My local Vauxhall specialists tried cleaning the cam phasers initially but then diagnosed a worn chain. They were reluctant to do the job because did not know how, if at all, different it would be to a Vauxhall and didn't want to start a job without knowing exactly what it would involve. Fair enough. One Alfa specialist quoted £1500 to change the chain, timing chain and take the sump off to clean it out. As much as I'd like to know all sludge has gone, I wanted a cheaper job. In the end Autolusso changed the chain, variatiors oil seals and gaskets for a great price. Conclusion? I should have gone there initially! It would have saved time and money. Would the first garage have realised the variatiors also needed changing? The unexpected bonus was that my engine now sounded great with the grating startup rattle gone.
Problem 2 - My front subframe, which sailed through the mot 2 weeks earlier, had some surface rust and I asked them to check it with a view to treating and protecting it. With the under tray off it was clear that it was absolutely f
ed! Holes everywhere and clearly would have been a waste of time to weld it. Tempting though it was to leave it for 12 months till the next mot, I wasn't convinced that it was even safe. I wish I had thought to take a picture. New subframes are very expensive so this was sorted with a reconditioned one from stock. I'm thinking I'll leave the under tray off now. So classic good news bad news; bad news your subframe may be far worse than you think, good news there is a viable solution available.
Problem 3 - lower wishbone bushes were well past their best. Polybushes solved this one (and a lower arm and a 4 wheel alignment) The ride and handling are transformed and there is no increase in harshness of ride at all.
So overall an expensive month but, good value and my car is transformed.
So thanks to Ned and Craig and I'm not even bitter that you tried to lock me in overnight!
* other specialists are available