Timing chain, subframe and lower arm polybushes - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Timing chain, subframe and lower arm polybushes

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 fed! 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
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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.
Don't tell Old Engineer or Sizewell
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Ha! Can't argue with the logic, OE bushes ought to be the most compliant etc but all I would say to anyone who has doubts is to try a car which has them on. There are just no down sides that I can detect
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Ha! Can't argue with the logic, OE bushes ought to be the most compliant etc but all I would say to anyone who has doubts is to try a car which has them on. There are just no down sides that I can detect
you will find the downside once the bushes start to scream out they are there & got no downsides
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Squeaking? Do the new polybushes do this or was it just the original design? I'll update this if they start so if you hear nothing assume all is well.
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Has been already told 159 times here.
Chain issue is accompanied with P0016 hard and repeating failure code.
No P0016 no chain repair. Make sure it is available yourself.
For adequate price I am not a good advisor. Wait for compatriot.
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a job done properly usually means plenty of folding leaving your wallet, but that's why we drive italian cars. no point in doing a shonky job.
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Squeaking? Do the new polybushes do this or was it just the original design? I'll update this if they start so if you hear nothing assume all is well.
My almost 2 years old"new" polys does it...Like hell & sometimes tempted to suffer her because of...Also that...90% Italian car..Doesnt rust, except subframe & electronics are very good in them
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Poly bushes sometimes need to be be periodically greased.

The 159 does seem pretty rust resistant apart from the subframe, which is more than can be said for the previous 156.
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I doubt the front sub frame would be picked up on an MOT, they dont remove the undertray on a test so cant really see whats going on.
Autolusso advised me to have the sub frame cleaned up and painted and a full underseal job which I had done last year, wasnt too expensive, think the underseal was in the region of £80 and treating the subframe about half that.
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I doubt the front sub frame would be picked up on an MOT, they dont remove the undertray on a test so cant really see whats going on.
Autolusso advised me to have the sub frame cleaned up and painted and a full underseal job which I had done last year, wasnt too expensive, think the underseal was in the region of £80 and treating the subframe about half that.
Thing is...WHY did Alfa design this thing to fail...In Denmark cars are between twice to triple the price of cars in uk (180% tax on new cars!!!)...So they tend to last longer. In UK/rest of the world, a subframe that cost 800£+ whatever 100“s it will be to change it, could force owner to scrap the car (which otherwise could be healty for next 5+ years), due to the extreme expence, compared to buying another type of car that hasnt got this "design-flaw" which so easily could have been avoided, had they just rustproofed it like the rest of the car.

My thoughts are...I would (ATM) REALLY love to buy a Giulia when they become like 3 years old....But are design here the same? what hidden feature has they put into it, to be certain the car 90% sure wont get more than 8-10 years on the road, before a lot of them will get scrapped, due to insanely high repair of a single component only produced by Alfa. (it is, for the manufactorer), extremely easy to simulate how fast rust will make a component like an almost untreated subframe will fail)
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I doubt the front sub frame would be picked up on an MOT, they dont remove the undertray on a test so cant really see whats going on.
Autolusso advised me to have the sub frame cleaned up and painted and a full underseal job which I had done last year, wasnt too expensive, think the underseal was in the region of £80 and treating the subframe about half that.
The subframe keeps among other things, the frontsuspension in place..A failure of it would be catastrphic at speed...Its for sure not there just to get failed at MOT...Unfortunately
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My almost 2 years old"new" polys does it...Like hell & sometimes tempted to suffer her because of...Also that...90% Italian car..Doesnt rust, except subframe & electronics are very good in them
It is only the 159 upper bushes that squeak so we have stopped fitting them until we have a better solution

The OP's car is only fitted with the lower arm bushes so it won't be an issue

Ned
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Goody. We must tell Rolls Royce and Bentley that plastic bushes are just as refined as the more expensive rubber! They would also enjoy the reintroduction of grease nipples to prevent squeaking.
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Goody. We must tell Rolls Royce and Bentley that plastic bushes are just as refined as the more expensive rubber! They would also enjoy the reintroduction of grease nipples to prevent squeaking.
No grease nipples on mine!

OE, I know that what I have said seems counter intuitive but I have no reason to make anything up. If you could drive my car back to back with yours you would see for yourself.

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Goody. We must tell Rolls Royce and Bentley that plastic bushes are just as refined as the more expensive rubber! They would also enjoy the reintroduction of grease nipples to prevent squeaking.
Yes make sure they do, they won't listen to you either, you have to stop giving out bad advise, I don't know how you think you can even comment as you don't have them on your car or even driven a car with them fitted

We don't fit grease nipples, one customer did it and this was to cure the noise from the upper arm bushes that we no longer fit due to the noise

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No grease nipples on mine!

OE, I know that what I have said seems counter intuitive but I have no reason to make anything up. If you could drive my car back to back with mine you would see for yourself.
Don't worry he won't drive your car he is happy in ignorant bliss

Anyway sorry about nearly locking you in the other day and I am pleased you are happy with your car

Ned
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I don't need to try your joints. You forget that I'm a vehicle designer with endless miles (and years) of testing over very special test surfaces.

The plastic bush squeaking is because they are the wrong size. It's 'stiction' causing the squeak (slip bind slip bind etc). You need a new plastic mould slightly smaller. If nominally 40mm then start with 40.055mm. Test for a few thousand miles (and more to see how they operate and the end of their life).

Then remake your mould smaller at 40.054mm and then retest for thousands. Repeat until the squeak is sorted. Don't shortcut the steps because you'll go too far and get a knock. When finished repeat the test with dirty rain water and see how it performs with a gritty moisture.

Suspension design is one of automobiles most fascinating conundrums. That's why you'll find Tesla using Mercedes joints because it's an easier way of getting your car developed. Stab in the dark stuff is never going to work.

What intrigues me more is how drivers interpret the plastic joints.

PS
The plastic is used elsewhere in cars and we know it's properties.
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What intrigues me more is how drivers interpret the plastic joints.
I'm sure that wasn't intentionally patronising!

On my previous GTV I bought new expensive new spring arms because I didn't fancy the much cheaper polybush option for all the reasons you suggest. On subsequently driven a polybushed GTV i slightly regretted not taking the cheaper option as it felt no different to mine.

On this Brera I can detect no increase in harshness but I can detect that the front end feels better controlled. I can detect tyre noise, exhaust noise and a tiny bit of noise from the climate control but nothing from the suspension.

I have no vested interest in pretending they are better than they are but, as the daily driver of this car, I am qualified to share my positive experience.
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