apologies for the length of my first post but I just wanted to ask a few things and hope you can help. I have been lurking on the forum for several months now and very much enjoy keeping up to date with what's going on. I'm also new to the Alfa fold having bought a mid-year 2006 159 a few weeks ago (1.9 JTDM Lusso, Oceano Black, Tan leather - great combination IMO).
I looked around for 2 months before buying (considered 3 Series etc) and eventually took the plunge and bought mine from a car supermarket with higher mileage and FARDSH, after rejecting several other lower mileage but more 'tatty' examples. I got all the books, keys etc (excluding the radio code). I've even got the old service records, and it looks like bar a reconditioned EGR at 50K the car has been really reliable - no DPF issues etc. I believe that my MY06 car has the latest possible of the 3 ECU software variants for the year, so maybe this counts?
The car is immaculate inside and out and has been a real joy to own, and is a real head turner, though I did need to get it in for a 72K service.
I took it to Gus at Alfatune a couple of weeks ago - who did a sterling job, changed belts etc. He clearly knows what he is doing. I now wear the Alfatune sticker in my back window with pride
However, I have a number of issues/questions:
1) I've just checked and I also have the Red (wrong) power steering fluid. I too have the clicking steering wheel, as described perfectly by Johns159 and other posters (mine feels like ball bearings dropping round the steering wheel when cold). Also I've felt a certain 'vagueness' when going in a straight line, like it needs slight corrections. My tyre pressures were low/unbalanced when I first bought the car and I pumped them up to 36 PSI all round, which helped a bit. Gus still found them to be out and rectified at the service, and the steering felt much much better, though I would not say totally perfect. It does seem like being 1 PSI or so out on a tyre can be critical here as I was suprised at the difference when Gus pumped them up to the correct pressure. It also makes a mockery of compressor accuracy at the local service station and my own compressor back home. My previous car (Audi Sportback) was much more forgiving in this respect.
The steering, bar the clicking, now feels 'OK' but with all the noise on here about rack failures I am not totally at peace, and given the car is still under the 3 month car sale warranty, I want to be totally sure there is no underlying steering problem.
Despite others' tales of woe, the car supermarket I bought from have been fantastic on after care so far and have offered to replace the PS fluid for me and check the steering system. I do want to manage my risks carefully and so I get the feeling I'm better having it thoroughly checked by an AR dealer - track rod ends, links etc.
I rang Mangos and described the clicking, and they advised to get it in for a check as it 'could' be premature wear. I'm considering getting the PS fluid done at the same time just to save on costs/visits.
Does this seem over-cautious? Have I caught Alfa hypochondria? I'm not the car techy type, so is diagnosing rack problems straightforward stuff - ie a car supermarket will find this straightaway? Why wouldn't it have shown in the pre-sales check? Could the wrong PS fluid cause the 'clicking', or are they likely to be unrelated?
Some other questions as a new 159 owner:
2) where's the best place to get Oceano Black spray/touch up paint from?
3) is there anything wrong (paint compatibility wise) with my detailing combination of Dodo Juice Born to Be Mild shampoo, Meguiars mild clay with Dodo Juice Born Slippy, Autoglym SRP, Dodo Blue Velvet and Purple Haze wax (with a tin of Meguiars #16 as a fallback)? Are the softer waxes better for Alfas?
4) at the service Gus also advised that my front discs are starting to 'lip' and will need sorting with new pads in a couple of K miles. Can I get the discs refurbed - anyone know a good place to get this done in the north of England area (Yorks)? I take it that I dont have comeback on the car supermarket here as the brakes still operate fine.
5) I've got Michelin Primacy 225/50 R17 94Y rubber all round, but will need new fronts in a few K miles. Can anyone recommend good partners for the Michelins, or am I better sticking with them? Road noise is (as expected on a 159) noticeable, but not deafening.
Anyway, still very much an enchanted new Alfa owner with a car that is a joy to drive