Ok, another update. This past week I have had to fit 4 more tyres at a very reasonable cost of £72 each all in (Acceleras). Fitted a new N/S/F wheel bearing, new N/S/R anti-roll bar tie rod / drop link, engine oil and filter change and full gearbox oil flush, the car is now at 84585 miles almost exactly 30k miles in my ownership.
The gearbox oil flush took much longer than expected. I had planned on a couple of hours to change the gear oil and the rest of the day filling in stone chips and attending to some minor scratches. In the end I only got the gear oil changed.
The process I used was to first loosen the filler bolt and then re-tighten to ensure I could refill with oil then I checked the level of the existing oil by letting the car idle whilst I removed the small screw inside the main gear oil drain. There was approx 100ml of oil came out. I then switched off the engine and drained the sump into a measuring container. I put the same quantity of fresh oil back into the gearbox. I then removed the gear oil cooler which was straightforward if a bit fiddly due to me not having a 3/8 ratchet which made using a 1/2" ratchet a bit tricky due to space limitations. The induction tubing gets in the way a little. I made up a small tool as per recommended by Xinoka http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-...l#post10455833
to hold a bit of tubing to the oil cooler to direct the oil into a container, but I didn't have a drill or metal bar to hand as he did so a bit of improvisation was needed. This took quite a while to come up with something that would work. I then started the car and selected R, N ,D, N, R, P with a couple of second increments to work the new oil into the torque converter and the old oil out. Once my container got to 2 litres I switched off the engine, put 2 litres of fresh oil into the gearbox and repeated the process 4 times. I refitted the oil cooler (again a bit of a faff), warmed the oil in the gearbox by idling the car for a while and then checked the level with the engine running. The first couple of checks the oil level was too low so I added 400 ml or so of oil and checked again. Eventually I got to the correct level with just 100ml of oil to spare!. Each time before checking the level I put the gearbox through R, N and D to work the new oil through the torque converter and to make sure the levels were fine.
I had bought 13 litres of oil thinking this was plenty but I probably could have done with buying 18 litres and flushed it a little more. The old oil was black and opaque, the fresh oil in the gearbox is now deep red and translucent if still a little muddy.
The tubing I was using to funnel the fresh oil into the gearbox was quite small and consequently it took an age to put even 1 litre of oil back in.
Before changing the oil the torque converter had started to grumble a little when asked to work hard. Now it's back to running silently and smoothly. A job well worth doing if for nothing more than piece of mind.