New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Lick New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

Hi 156/147 owners,

After years of lusting, and building up my NCB, I've finally upgraded my 1.4TS 146 to a 156 2.5 V6! Hence my first post to the 156 lounge. I have to say some searches of past threads on here have been invaluable in making an educated purchase - sincere thanks to the many knowledgeable posters on here :-)

As you may suspect from the title - I'm looking for still more help...

The car is a '98 with 59k on the clock. AFAIK Fleet owned to 46k then privately since. It's had the spark plugs, lambda sensor replaced in the last while, and a repair to the power steering hoses (lambda and PS pump identified as weak points by this very forum). The cambelt hasn't been changed so obviously needs doing.

On driving the car, perhaps unsurprisingly, I found pretty much all the other common faults. I got a nice bit of money off the already low price by spotting these (thanks again...), to allow some money to fix them! The car has been very well kept and is close to immaculate inside and out, so I bought it "warts an' all".

I'd appreciate opinions on the following:

Cambelt:
Have contacted the wonderful Gerry at TI autos in Dublin to get it booked in. But he can't do it for over a month. Not only are Alfa dealers probably more expensive, but I wouldn't trust them following past experiences! In the mean time driving it is like walking on eggshells :-/ I'm fairly comfortable working on cars and have changed the cambelt on a punto before - has anyone here changed a cambelt themselves on one of these? Is it all that bad? I know special tools are required but E.B. spares will rent them... Am I being over-paranoid about waiting a month for Gerry to do it?

AFM(?):
The V6 sounds as great as I expected and has bags of torque at low revs (some people say it doesn't - but I'm coming from a 1.4!) However - when you put the boot down fully, it feels like it's being held back by lack of fuel or air, then hesitates badly @ around 4.5-5k revs as if it's hit a limiter. It performs fine @ up to half throttle and low revs. From my searches I think it seems like a MAF / AFM problem. However when I disconnect the sensor with the engine off, then restart, as suggested as a diagnosis - it won't rev at all and just idles lumpily. Could it be something else?

squeaking / creaking suspension bushings:
Seemingly familiar to all... will be taking a close look tomorrow to identify what faults I can. Again any tips appreciated as I will probably tackle this myself... Have seen arguments for getting aftermarket PolyV bushings rather than entire wishbone OE assemblies. Nobody seems agreed on solution of choice - or are you? :-)

airbag warning light:
So neatly disguised by black tape I never spotted it 'til the next day! Hoping it's the wiring under the drivers seat and ECU reset. If not I may be making further pleas for help!

Thank you so much again for help both before the purchase and anything you can help me with now. I will try to get sequential photos of any work I end up carrying out and post them here...

Paul
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

I can only really help you on the suspension front. IMO squeaking is caused by dry rubber bushes and does not mean they are worn out and need replacing.

If you have poor handling then yes think about replacing some parts but otherwise you need to lubricate the bushes with a silicone spray. Since most of the bushes are hard to reach this is not easy - hence so many people end up replacing the offending items.

From my experience the anti-roll bar bushes cause much squeaking – most noticeable when going over speed bumps – the rear bar is easy to reach the front is not. You can also spray the upper and lower wishbone bushes. Parts that commonly wear out are the following but the good side is that the suspension parts are relatively cheap.

Lower wishbone -£60 x 2
Upper wishbone – £30 x 2
Front Anti roll bar drop link -£10 x 2
Rear transverse arms -£10 x 4

For some reason the front ARB drop links wear quickly and start knocking but are easy to replace.

156 2.5 V6 24v, Cosmos Blue Metallic, Tan Leather, 17” GTA's, 225/45 Michelin PS2's, Full Zender body kit, GTA Headlights, Eibach springs, Koni FSD's, Eibach Anti-roll bars, Ferrari 360 Brembo calipers, DS2500 pads, Squadra ECU, 45mm Intake Runners, Carbon Intake, Dan & Wizard exhaust

156 2.5 V6 Qsystem, Red + Red Leather, Bilstein dampers, DS2500 pads...soon Brembo calipers, 17" GTV Teles
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascs
...IMO squeaking is caused by dry rubber bushes and does not mean they are worn out and need replacing.

If you have poor handling then yes think about replacing some parts but otherwise you need to lubricate the bushes with a silicone spray. Since most of the bushes are hard to reach this is not easy - hence so many people end up replacing the offending items....
Good call Pascs! I didn't think anything making that much noise could be in good condition but sure enough with the wheels off all bushes looked sound and everything was rock solid when pryed slightly with a crow bar. Invested in some silicone spray and problem is almost gone, except for bad speedbumps. Think this may be the front A/R bushing you mentioned as I only found the rear A/R and upper/lower wishbone bushings. Will take a look tomorrow... thanks for the help :-)

So, anyone got info on DIY cambelt / MAF work? Taking the air intake off tomorrow to check out a stiff clutch (hoping it's lubrication of lever(s) or at worst a haydraulic cylinder overhaul...) so I thought I might take out the MAF and try cleaning it as described elsewhere by soaking in alchohol.
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulmcd
Good call Pascs! I didn't think anything making that much noise could be in good condition but sure enough with the wheels off all bushes looked sound and everything was rock solid when pryed slightly with a crow bar. Invested in some silicone spray and problem is almost gone, except for bad speedbumps. Think this may be the front A/R bushing you mentioned as I only found the rear A/R and upper/lower wishbone bushings. Will take a look tomorrow... thanks for the help :-)

So, anyone got info on DIY cambelt / MAF work? Taking the air intake off tomorrow to check out a stiff clutch (hoping it's lubrication of lever(s) or at worst a haydraulic cylinder overhaul...) so I thought I might take out the MAF and try cleaning it as described elsewhere by soaking in alchohol.
Hopefully I've saved you some money

Front ARB mounting is hard to locate and even more difficult to lubricate. With the wheel off follow the bar in towards the engine until you locate the mounting tucked right up next to the steering rack. The mounting is riveted together so you can not open the mounting.

I'm sure if you removed the 2 bolts that hold the mounting in place (probably need to do both sides at the same time) you should be able to work the mounting a bit at the same time as using the silicone spray.

Never tried this as I have Novitec ARBs which require the mounting to be split and once loose these are easier to lubricate.
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

Its worth a try to clean up the AFM. You may never get the fuyll performance back but its a useful way to see it that is the problem part. IMHO it probably is so if you get an improvement, buy a new AFM to get the full benefit.

Changing the cambelt is a big job on the V6. As you probably already know you are best advised to change all auxillary belts as well as tensioner etc at the same time. My frist belt change revealed a probelm with the Crank pully felt washer (?) which required a HUGE spanner to sort out. One of the advantages of being in a specialist or dealer garage is that they have any odd bits you might need such as this, unless you can stand the off-road time.

If you have no service history of the belt being changed over 5-6 years then be afraid. Drive very carefully!
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

Hi guys,

Only managed an hour or so of productive daylight with the car today so didn't have time for further investigation on the suspension side. I can live with the creaking 'til next weekend :-/

Disconnected the MAF and the car seemed a bit better at high revs... so I removed it and cleaned with carb cleaner before reconnecting. Doesn't seem to have improved much, if at all... Anyway my friendly neighbourhood Alfa specialist has said he'll get a MAF in for me and I can call over to try it - I don't have to buy it if it doesn't work :-)

As for the cambelt, I'm still torn on whether to attempt it or not. You have a point Chris on what if something unexpected crops up... but the ~300eur labour is hefty! (probably fair, but hefty all the same...) Does anyone know if the cam locking tools are necessary for the V6 change? I managed to download the 156 service manual and it specifically mentions the tools for the T-Spark belt procedure, but not the V6?

Thanks for the help so far...
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

meant to mention that perhaps I should leave the new MAF until after the cambelt change... at least with a faulty MAF one is encouraged to drive sedately at low revs!!!!
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascs
I can only really help you on the suspension front. IMO squeaking is caused by dry rubber bushes and does not mean they are worn out and need replacing.

If you have poor handling then yes think about replacing some parts but otherwise you need to lubricate the bushes with a silicone spray. Since most of the bushes are hard to reach this is not easy - hence so many people end up replacing the offending items.

From my experience the anti-roll bar bushes cause much squeaking – most noticeable when going over speed bumps – the rear bar is easy to reach the front is not. You can also spray the upper and lower wishbone bushes. Parts that commonly wear out are the following but the good side is that the suspension parts are relatively cheap.

Lower wishbone -£60 x 2
Upper wishbone – £30 x 2
Front Anti roll bar drop link -£10 x 2
Rear transverse arms -£10 x 4

For some reason the front ARB drop links wear quickly and start knocking but are easy to replace.
yeah.. talking about squeking suspension, I just had experience that last week whenever going through speed bumps. And I spray with silicons and the sound disappear till today. hopefully it does not require me to change them any time soon.
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulmcd
Hi guys,

Only managed an hour or so of productive daylight with the car today so didn't have time for further investigation on the suspension side. I can live with the creaking 'til next weekend :-/

Disconnected the MAF and the car seemed a bit better at high revs... so I removed it and cleaned with carb cleaner before reconnecting. Doesn't seem to have improved much, if at all... Anyway my friendly neighbourhood Alfa specialist has said he'll get a MAF in for me and I can call over to try it - I don't have to buy it if it doesn't work :-) ...
Perfect situation - try before you buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulmcd
As for the cambelt, I'm still torn on whether to attempt it or not. You have a point Chris on what if something unexpected crops up... but the ~300eur labour is hefty! (probably fair, but hefty all the same...) Does anyone know if the cam locking tools are necessary for the V6 change? I managed to download the 156 service manual and it specifically mentions the tools for the T-Spark belt procedure, but not the V6?

Thanks for the help so far...
Yes, you need locking tools.
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Re: New 156 V6 Owner - DIY suspension / cambelt work

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulmcd
Anyway my friendly neighbourhood Alfa specialist has said he'll get a MAF in for me ..
Paul,
is this Gerry by chance? Hope it's another as a network of Alfa specialists around the city is a very useful thing to have!
Got a V6 T-belt done with Gerry before Xmas, bout €300ish labour but the car got good checkup to boot. The man is a legend!
Have a 166 service cd with all the details on the V6's if that's any good to you.
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