Re: Just got my first Spider - Nightmare ! HELP
My only advice on all of this is to take your Spider to an Alfa specialist near to you. I'm afraid those garages with little or no Alfa experience find that, once they lift the bonnet of an Alfa, a strange 'mist of uncertainty' descends on all the technicians and, lo and behold, all sorts of strange ****-ups ensue. Logically, this shouldn't really happen, but in reality there are certain foibles associated with these cars that, in the hands of an experienced Alfa technician, will present no problems at all (but in the hands of the uninitiated, may result in calamatous ****-ups).
So, get it to an Alfa specialist, tell him what has happened, and I'm sure he will check the following after hearing your story:
1) He should check to see if all the belts/tensioners/idlers/variator have actually been changed, hopefully with original Alfa parts for the belts (the variator at least must be Alfa). He will also check to see if the cam timing is correct, using the correct Alfa tools (locking camtools etc) If not, it's got to be done, otherwise 'you know what' may happen. Also, has the water pump ever been changed in the Spider's history? If not, get it changed at the same time.
2) The code warning light may just be due to the low battery etc. However, if not, and you don't have the brown 'Master Key', you will need to get the reset code from Alfa Romeo UK (if the car is an offficial UK import, they will have the code).
3) Whether your car is a Lusso or non-Lusso, it is very likely to be a manual hood. For Phase 1 cars (1995-98) the electric hood was an option only (and a very expensive one at that). The electric hood only came as standard for Lusso cars for Phase 2 1998 cars on. If you need a step-by-step guide to operation of the manual hood, please PM me.
4) Get the specialist to do a full check-over of the car, just in case. Also, when was the oil/filter last changed? If more than 6,000 miles/6 months, change it with the genuine Alfa filter and a good semi-synthetic or synthetic oil. Get the gearbox oil changed at the same time, with semi-synthetic oil.
Best of luck with getting your Spider back on the road. Don't get too fed up with the saga so far. If you get the car into the hands of an enthusiastic specialist your car will soon be running again as well as it should. You were certainly very brave to purchase the car from the supplying garage, but..... it's always easy to say that!