I have been reading with interest the ongoing saga of the V6 rattle problems. I am a semi retired Alfa enthusiast who has owned V6 Alfas for 13+ years culminating in an exciting 156 Sportwagon GTA which was great but unfortunately fragile. I have a motoring background (father a fully trained mechanic (in REME in WW2) and a garage manager till he retired), I have competed in motorsport all my life since starting karting when 13 (you couldn't any younger in those days!)) and am a chief engineer with a leading international defence manufacturer. Enough about me - just trying to put across that I do know a little about cars, engines and engineering!
I live in Dorset and my dealer is Meridien Milano in Bournemouth, a 30 mile drive away.
Well we decided to buy a new car before we were too old so bought a Brera 3.2 Q4, ordered it 3 months before delivery in October 2006, it has almost every extra available and at first we were very pleased with it. It developed the engine rattle on cold start within a week of delivery and I have been fighting for a resolution ever since. It does it for a few seconds or for up to 20 minutes but my problem is that the dealer can't make it happen on demand, it has just spent almost 3 weeks with them but they couldn't make it happen, I have it back and it has happened 4 times in 2 days!
If it was an engine I had built I would switch it off quick and take it to bits, but I have never built an engine with a rattle like this!
All of the discussions on the forum are interesting - my thoughts.
The petrol pipe and other pipe theories are unfounded, my car has had all of them.
The steering pump problem is valid but not the cause, my car had this problem for 2 days, different noise, the dealer did the mod, that problem cured.
Not come across the CAT theory before but the noise is in the engine, just in front of the driver and is engine speed related, I would bet a lot of money on the fact that it is a cam follower or timing gear related fault. Yesterday the temperature here was about 10degC but the wind chill was high and the car having been parked outside showed the problem for several minutes, I drove it 3 miles, parked it for 2 hours started it and problem back!
I am now getting a bit stronger with the dealer as the warranty is outand I am waiting for the bang!
The problem is now logged with customer care in Italy and "Technical" in UK. The lady in Italy seems very nice and guarantees that Alfa will fix it if they can hear the problem and diagnose it, unfortunately it has taken 3 years to get it logged!
The biggest problem is that Alfa are saying they are not aware of the problem, my dealer says he has not heard of the fault before and will not do any more until he hears the problem and diagnose it. My dealer is 30 miles away, by the time I get there it has gone! I recorded it at home (digital camera with sound) from the passenger seat showing the rev counter, put it on DVD, played it on my laptop to the service guys and the technician at Meridien on the actual day it went in for its first MOT (October 2009). A copy has gone to Alfa UK but they still say they are not aware of a problem and how can they fix it if they can't hear it!
I am also convinced that when this rattle is present the car is lumpy on tickover, both my wife and I can feel the imperfection through the whole car when it idles.
I think Alfa have lost their way with this engine, the car has 260bhp, does 20 mpg and doesn't perform like it should. The GTA engine flew, did 30+ mpg on a trip sounded lovely was much more responsive! I know the 4 wheel drive makes it heavy but it shouldn't make this amount of difference.
Other problems I have had - injection pump failed when parked, took out fuse box, some wiring and flattened battery (between AA man and me I did get it home from 130miles away but it spent a few days at the garage) broken exhaust bracket on rear 3 cylinders, still has exhaust rattle, failed oil sensor, suspension and steering misaligned, parking sensors, brake assist failure warnings, rear lights get condensation inside them, burglar alarm goes off when it likes, fog light reflectors completely gone, alloy wheels - finish deteriorated dramatically in spite of weekly cleaning, passenger mirror silvering going, + a few others. I have to say the most of these have been fixed under warranty and hey it's an Alfa and I really am quite patient!!
I forgot to add the car has done a massive 20,000 miles in 3 years, not my normal mileage but the wife has a nice normally rattly Mondeo diesel Estate which I have much more confidence in for long trips!: