Having updated most of the lights on the 159 and had the remap + DPF + EGR work carried out, the next and hopefully last major piece of work for the forseeable future was to replace the brakes.
I've already posted a couple of times about advice on the brakes - to avoid repetition, I had my local independent garage fit them for me today. Based on advice from this forum, I put these on the front and the equivalent size on the rear http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/159-SW-2-4...e#ht_858wt_952
. For the pads themselves I bought fairly standard ones - Bosch I think they were.
I'm pleased with the look of the results. I appreciate that these are not 'proper' vented discs, and probably wouldn't offer much more over the standard if I took the car on a track. However I'm not going to take the car on a track and I wanted the look they offered more than anything.
Now onto the dealer. I haven't had my car very long, and I first noticed a shrill squeak coming from the nearside rear about 100 miles after picking up the car. What followed is a probably very typical series of calls not being returned, excuses such as messages not being passed on etc etc. Anyway, as my Dad is retired he kindly volunteered to drop the car in with them so they could have a look. The car has a 12 month Alfa warranty so I wanted to see if the fault could be identified and fixed under it.
It turned out to be the brakes. The dealer identified that there was 20% wear remaining on the front pads and just 10% on the rear. The rear discs were also identified as being worn - fronts were ok. They didn't replace under warranty - probably not surprising.
Tonight I caught up with my indy after he'd changed everything. I do trust him quite a bit - he's serviced my last two cars for me over the past 5 years. There were a few interesting things he pointed out.
Firstly, in his opinion, the wheels hadn't been off the car for years. He had a real job getting them off and the nuts were partially corroded on. If true, the dealer didn't even take them off to inspect the brakes.
Secondly, the rear pads were virtually gone. The squeak was indeed the nearside rear brake. The disc was showing signs of severe overheating - basically it looked like whenever any sort of heat got into the disc and pad, the expansion was near clamping the pad to the disc. More heat was produced, and you can tell how this is going. The pad material was laminating off at the edges and the whole thing was disintegrating. How the dealer did not spot this is beyond me.
Secondly, whilst I'm talking about the dealer, they couldn't find the second key for the car at pickup. 2 months and countless reminders later and I'm still waiting. Unfortunately the impression is very much of a dealer that stops caring the minute the car leaves their premises.
Whilst I love the 159, I wonder how many other people have bought from them, had a niggle, received a stone wall when asking for help, and this has formed their opinion of Alfa. I'm struggling to think of another service industry that performs worse. I will never have my car serviced with them and will certainly never purchase from them ever again.
I don't expect anything else from this dealer (other than my second key!) and so have no hesitation in naming and shaming:
County Motor Works in Chelmsford, Essex. Authorised Alfa Romeo dealership
County Motor Works
I've put all the details on here as I sincerely hope that Google searches pick up this post! Anyone thinking of using them or buying a car from them beware!
Anyway, rant over - unless I don't get my other keys. I'm pleased with the way the 159 is shaping up. I've probably invested about £1,200 getting it to this point now and I'm really starting to feel at home with the car.