Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent
I have just joined Alfaowner.com, but have recently experienced a significant mechanical problem with my Alfa Romeo 147 JTD (16 valve version - registered Jan 2004), which I wanted to draw other members' attention to and see if they have similar experience, or can offer any advice/comment.
I am a great car enthusiast, having owned cars incuding 2 Lotus Elises, a Subaru WRX PPP, a Honda Civic Type R ("old" model) and, most recently the Alfa (and a Focus ST, which is by far the best of the lot, even if it's "only a Ford"!) in the past 5-6 years.
Anyway, while I drive the ST most of the time currently, I bought my wife the Alfa 147 1.9 JTD in January this year from a main Alfa dealer in Kent and havve generally very much enjoyed the car to date.
But, and this is a big BUT, over the past six months particularly the car has been back into the dealer on at least seven separate occasions due to the Motor Control Failure light coming on whilst driving. On ecah occasion the dealer has attributed the sudden appearance of this light to a faulty (Lambda) or other sensor.
This in itself, whilst mildly annoying, had not seemed serious, but about a week ago my wife broke down in the 147 about a mile and a half from our Tunbridge Wells home, and found that the low oil pressure light had come on. The car would not re-start and she had to call out Green Flag to tow the car the mile or so to the Alfa dealer. She had actually coincidentally checked the engine oil level that morning before going to work and it had been fine. The car also has a full service history etc.
In any event, after about five days of the car being with the dealership I have now discovered that an "internal water pump" apparently failed ("melted") (The dealer has had to remove the head etc and strip down the engine) within the engine block somewhere, a belt broke (I am awaiting confimation for the dealer of which one, but the car has only done 38,000 miles, so a broken cam belt would seem odd, to say the leasy) and the valve assembly / camshaft etc is now irreparably damaged.
I do have an after-sales warranty (the Alfa manuafcturer's original warranty has expired) under which my dealer say they could potentially claim, (although there is a £1,000 maxuimum single claim limit on this, and the repairs will cost signifcantly more than this) but the dealer is now, off their own bat, approcahing Alfa on my behalf to see if, given that the car still only has a low mileage on the clock, Alfa will pay for the repairs out of goodwill.
My point, howwver, is, that I bought the Alfa on the basis of extensive research beforehand (I am a trade journalist so am used to research!) which had led me to believe that Alfa petrol engines were the ones most prone to problems and unreliability, not the (reportedly!) trusty 1.9 JTD diesel engine.
If any members have had similar experiences or can comment (particularly if they are technically knowledgeable and can suggest why this pump might have packed up and why there was no warning of any kind - audible or visual) I'd much apprecaite it.
While the dealer is doing all it can to help and rectify things, I do intend to talk to Alfa Romeo Customer Services just to register my disappointment/concerns at buying a car which I had thoguht would give me and my wife lots of pleasure, but is currently just causing lots of stress.