I believe the power steering pump on my 159 has suddenly gone faulty.
Earlier this morning, it "graunched" whilst maneuvering, but the noise was not particularly associated with the steering on full lock as it occurred whilst having the wheels almost straight.
The noise re-occurred 10 miles later whilst driving in a straight line for about 5 seconds but stopped of it's own accord.
Whilst investigating the noise, I found with the air con switched on, which is how I normally run the car, it remains mostly quiet as normal, switch the air con off and the "graunching" noise starts immediately.
I did then wonder if it was associated with the air con compressor, but found that if I hold my hand on the power steering pump and create the noise by (my wife) turning off the air con, I can feel the vibration on the power steering pump. I'm pretty sure the vibration isn't coming up the belt as it were.
To add insult to injury, I have now been informed that Alfa in their wisdom have fitted a different pump to the 2.4 Q4which just happens to be considerably more expensive .....£410 reconditioned. Why the Q4 needs a different power steering pump is beyond me (then again I'm not an engineer) and I'd hoped that it would be generic on all 2.4s.
So the question is, how hard is this to change myself? As far as I can see (without taking a few more bits off) it is connected with 2 x allen bolts, 2 x pipes are crimped on and one pipe is bolted on. I would assume that I would have to take the tension off the belt?
What are the symptoms if the bottom crankshaft pulley is de-laminating, and does the noise sound like it could be the clutch compressor? I'm assuming that the noise is the bearing(s) in the p/s/pump, and by putting the air con on, the extra work going through the belt somehow loads the bearing and stops the noise.
I can't reply to any assistance until tomorrow as I am away to work in 30 mins.
Thanks in advance.