First problem after 16 months of ownership
Thus far I've been very positive about the 159 ownership experience, posting balancing responses to several "my 159 sucks" threads. So in the interests of fairness I feel I should acknowledge that I have eventually had to get something fixed under warranty, after sixteen months of ownership. It is also an opportunity to rate the Canberra Alfa dealer (Gulson's) for the benefit of future googlers.
I was on a long drive (650km down to Melbourne) in damp weather. As we approached Melbourne, when the car was stationary at lights I noticed vapour apparently coming out from under the bonnet. My first assumption was that the engine was overheating but the temperature gauge was normal. Pulling over, I established that it appeared to be airconditioning gas escaping from somewhere in front of the driver. Before long it was apparent that the aircon was no longer functioning.
I returned to Canberra with the aircon off and booked the car into Gulsons. They quickly diagnosed a crack in a pipe which was apparently being fouled by part of the wiper assembly. Eventually the movement had caused fatigue. The good news was that there was no argument about it being a warranty job. The bad news was that this being apparently a rare occurrence, there were no spare parts in Australia, which meant a two-week wait for a replacement to be airfreighted from Italy. I should point out that this coincided with the warmest November temperatures on record for these parts, with a couple of days reaching 39 Celsius. It was not particularly comfortable.
Then the part arrived, and Gulson were unable to fit me in for almost two weeks, which made me a bit grumpy. On the other hand the weather was by now a bit cooler and it wasn't as if the car was undriveable, so I didn't make a fuss.
The part was replaced yesterday, and the service manager observed when I picked the car up that the pipe had been completely redesigned to clear the wiper gear by a long way. So obviously the problem wasn't completely unknown. Mine is a December 2007 build so presumably the redesign was part of the MY08 changes.
Something odd happened on the way home. After about ten minutes I realised that cool air was no longer coming out of the vents, despite it being 35 Celsius outside and the aircon being on full auto. I rang the dealer and rather tersely advised them that it wasn't fixed and that I would be bringing the car back in the morning. Then on the way home, after about five minutes it blew cool for about 15 seconds. After another couple of minutes, another short burst of cool. The intervals between blowing cool got shorter and shorter and by the time I got home about 20 minutes later it was blowing cool air continuously. It was almost as if it had been going through some kind of programmed cycle.
This morning I drove to work with the temperature set to minimum and arrived slightly frostbitten. So I didn't take it in, but rang the dealer and they agreed that it was behaving oddly, and advised me to bring it back on Monday if there were any problems over the weekend. After work today it was about 30 C and the aircon worked fine on the way home. 28 and 32 forecast for the weekend so we shall see.
Not too bad an experience overall. If a part had been available locally I would probably have been fixed up in a week or so. And Gulson were quite professional about it all, given that the various delays were not really their fault.
Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTD in Pinot Grigio