My journey, late Thursday night, was interrupted with a series of flashing lights on the dashboard, along with a loss of power and a misfiring (rough sounding) engine. The engine management warning light was on, so too the anti-skid light and my fuel gauge would swing from half full to empty, with a periodic empty fuel warning light just to confuse matters.
The AA man scratched his head at the ‘multiple’ failures and early the following day, the car was despatched to my near Alfa garage in Manchester. Two days later, I am still none the wiser and the car is still not fixed and no indication as to when the car might be ready – not impressed one bit. Alfa have suggested that they might have to replace the complete engine management system (is this complex or just expensive?). The car is under warranty so this work will be covered.
But I am greatly disappointed, having sung the merits of these ‘new’ Alfa’s for the last 2 years, the sign of the AA truck towing the car away was met with familiar nods and chuckles. Of course, these things can happen to any vehicle but the timing could not have been worse.
I am in the process of replacing my 2 year old Alfa 159 SW TI and I was seriously considering a new 159. Now I am seriously considering buying something else! I can live with the running costs of relatively poor fuel economy and the great expense of replacing my 19” tyres more regularly than I would have wished, but I need ‘reliability’ more than anything else. As an aside, I have never been impressed with the lack of communications or support from Alfa UK (they have never responded to any query or question I have raised without multiple prompts) although I have no complaints about the garage I bought the car from (Piccadilly Motors). But things are starting to stack up against Alfa so it could soon be arrivaderci to my 159?
Anyone else experienced a similar 'engine management' problem?
I suspect I had the same issue you are experiencing. My problem started about a year ago; there was an engine hesitation sometimes (inconsistent, difficult to replicate whenever I took it to the dealer for service), usually when under strain going up steep hills before changing gear. Evenually, the local service manager told me about an issue that had surfaced on the local Australian importers tech web site. Involves a sticking shutter valve that is built into the inlet manifold; hence, the whole manifold has to be replaced to fix the problem. I was told it is about a $5k job in Oz. The service manager told me that it was a design fault and components were changed on later engines (mine is a 2007, built late 2006).
It went in for the job but the local distributor decided to try changing some gaskets (EGR valve gasket I think) before committing to the full expensive solution. It was OK for a while but started to show hte same problem just before Christmas. I started to think that it might have been caused by inconsistent quality fuel.
Heading up the highway with a full load (people and luggage) I suddenly lost power and it slipped into 'limp home mode' and the warning light you mention. Alfa roadservice arranged a tow to the nearest dealer (about 18km which is lucky in Australia as dealers are few and far between).
That dealer diagnosed the same issue with the shutter valve and told me the manifold would need to be replaced.
Got the car to my local dealer, they had it for 4 days. They did not replace the manifold, apparently at the direction of the distributor (ATECO in Australia). Over the four days they first cleaned the shutter and EGR valves, removed and lubricated top linkages. Put it back together and it was no better. So they pulled it apart again but soaked the shutter valve for 2 days in 'Rost Off'. That worked and they assure me the problem is solved. I've been away since it was fixed and drove today for the first time. Already I am getting a similar hesitation in some circumstances.
The car has 60k km on the clock. My fear is that if I have to have the 'Rost Off' treatment every 60k (or less, I put up with this for a long time while they stuffed around acknowledging there was a mechanical issue) it won't be covered by warranty and I'll foot the bill. Also, I am worried about it being unreliable and where I will be when next it breaks down - I bet I won't be 14km from the nearest dealer.
I believe they should acknowledge this design fault, especially given that they changed components on later engines, and replace the manifold. I need to seek some legal advice.