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(Post Link) post #1 of 29 Old 20-02-08 Thread Starter
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Alfa electrics

Why is it that Italian cars almost always have bad electrics? I believe the motorcycles are the same. Is there a reason for this?

It can not be purely coincidence that most car and bike reviews I have read seem to point to the same thing - why?
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Re: Alfa electrics

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Originally Posted by xf8u View Post
Why is it that Italian cars almost always have bad electrics? I believe the motorcycles are the same. Is there a reason for this?

It can not be purely coincidence that most car and bike reviews I have read seem to point to the same thing - why?
Do you have a specific problem or is this a general gripe...?

I have not had many probs with electrics........with Alfa's

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Re: Alfa electrics

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Originally Posted by xf8u View Post
Why is it that Italian cars almost always have bad electrics? I believe the motorcycles are the same. Is there a reason for this?

It can not be purely coincidence that most car and bike reviews I have read seem to point to the same thing - why?
The instructions are in Chinese and Italians speak Italian!! - lol.
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Re: Alfa electrics

they do not almost always have bad electrics, that is an outdated myth. most brands use a lot of shared components, for example bosch make the same parts to the same standards for all brands so they are just as likely to fail on any car.

magneti marelli are to blame for a lot of the faults. the component quality isnt good enough, but more worrying is the design flaws that should never have happened in the first place, but they are rare. even wiring connectors have been bad designs in the past, but this isnt a fiat specific thing, they sell parts to many other brands, especially the french, and especially engine management and fuel injection management systems.

Last edited by jug; 20-02-08 at 15:33.
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Re: Alfa electrics

British ones ie. Lucas took a lot of beating for crapness.
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Re: Alfa electrics

The french have the same reputation. I think it boils down to the reputation of the old cars to stop working when the electric got wet. The problem being that it doesn't rain as much there so there were not as water proof.

I drive mine in heavy rain without fault so I don't think it is an issue.

It hasn't been without fault though but when you consider the amount of car you get for your money it is easy to see why! The switches feel a bit flimsy and cheap and probably are but that kept the price down and made it cheaper than a BMW or VW.

I have been reading a lot about alfa in auto car recently and it seems they are on a real drive to bring quality to the brand. Personally I don't think you are going to get more problems with an alfa these days than you would with anything else. They are certainly better than renault's anyway!
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(Post Link) post #7 of 29 Old 21-02-08 Thread Starter
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Re: Alfa electrics

Yes, Silvervalver, I agree. Without doubt the worse car I have ever owned was a '95 Laguna 2.2 non turbo diesel.
The heater fan didn't work, the heater radiator was blocked, the aircon didn't work, it was always overheating.
Every week there was something new to go wrong.
Having said that, one of the best cars I had was a Y reg Xantia HDi. No problems whatsoever. I don't think it's a French thing.
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Re: Alfa electrics

This is an urban legend.....it's like saying that Japanese cars all rust. Maybe there was some truth in the past but an AR is no better nor worse than any other car for electrics.

Even when I went into a dealer they blamed a problem on dodgy Italian wiring.........that was a cover for their own lack of troubleshooting knowledge.

I've yet to see any problems on my car that are poor electrics (other than the lights dimming slightly when I put on the indicators).
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Re: Alfa electrics

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(other than the lights dimming slightly when I put on the indicators).
also notice your blower motor slows with every blink of the indicators.
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Re: Alfa electrics

I have an Italian car (147 GTA) and an Italian bike (Aprillia RSV1000) and have experienced no electrical problems what so ever
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Re: Alfa electrics

moved to general alfa discussion
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Re: Alfa electrics

Fiat 6oo,early 127, 127 Super, 903 UNO, 903 Panda, UNO turbo Mk.I, Lancia HPE, Thema turbo 16v, no more problematic than the other assorted marques I have had.:
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Re: Alfa electrics

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they do not almost always have bad electrics, that is an outdated myth.
About 20 years out of date.
My two 33s are 20 years old.
I've had a speedometer fail, my headlights sometimes fail to work only on low beam, my electric window can randomly vary its speed, my brake light once decided to start flashing instead of my indicator... One of my cars' rev counters wavers around close to 2000rpm at idle yet drops down to the correct value once you raise the revs slightly, and the other car's has a random intermittent wavering at 3000rpm, I've had a fuse melt and fall out of the fuse holder without even blowing, wipers that won't return properly with the switch in the off position, courtesy lamps that stop responding to certain doors, I've got the usual poor designs like fuel gauges that slosh around when the fuel does, a boot courtesy light that is only on when the headlights are (even if the boot's closed), and alternators that won't start charging until you hit 1500rpm. Press the hazard light switch too slowly and you'll reset the radio. I've chopped off and replaced so many rubbish quality connectors now that it's becoming like a reflex action. "Oops! Factory Alfa plug, problem located!"
And this is in a car that wasn't electrically complex even by the standards of the day.

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"PS and you agree with Ben so you must be wrong "
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Re: Alfa electrics

I've had four alfas and zero electrical problems.
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Re: Alfa electrics

The only ( so far, touch wood ) electrical problems I've had in over 30 years of Alfa ownership which could be attributed to design rather than just " normal " faults was the rear number plate light on the 'Suds. The earth return for this was provided by two spikes on the lamp base, needless to say these rotted away even more quickly than the rest of the car ! Simple to cure but what automotive electrical design genius thought this one up ?
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Re: Alfa electrics

This is my first alfa..but have noted a few electrical problems, Firstly heater did'nt work all, dealer said main wiring loom behind dash had not been conected at all ! & after moving steering wheel ajustment i know have a message telling me rear numberplate light is out, even though it's not ! ..........But i still love it !!!
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Re: Alfa electrics

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also notice your blower motor slows with every blink of the indicators.
I've noticed that. Are they both fed from the instrumentation voltage regulator?

I've actually had more electrical problems with my wife's Toyota than on any of my Alfas.
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Re: Alfa electrics

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Having said that, one of the best cars I had was a Y reg Xantia HDi. No problems whatsoever. I don't think it's a French thing.
Oh it is! Citroen are way worse
than Renault, who are already bad.

The 2.2 Lagunas were terrible and
had major ECU problems.
 
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Re: Alfa electrics

Alfa 155 widebody 10 years of ownership and apart from the odd blown bulb not one electrical fault, 8 year old Alfa 145 one blown fuse and again the odd blown bulb otherwise fine, 10 month old 159 2.2JTS one blown bulb otherwise perfect from an electrical point of view
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Re: Alfa electrics

I once put my window down to go through a toll bridge and it refused to go back up. even after stripping it and cleaning everything it still wouldnt work. then two days later when i went back to start some more checking into it, it worked fine

Similar to ben, I've had the speedo tell me im doing 70 when sitting in traffic, had ALL the rear lights come on at the same time for no apparent reason, had the speedo stop working then come back to life 30 minutes later, have an indicator that ramdomly stops working, a reverse light that has a mind of its own, central locking that only works on three doors (sometimes), and a rear window heater that will only work once the cars been running for 20 minutes. Im still on all the original alfa connectors though
In fairness though its a 16 year old car that wasn't exactly top of the range when new.

All that aside, I've had more electrical gremlins in a '01 seat during 12 months of ownership than I've had in the alfa so I dont think italian electrics are worse than any of the other manufacturers. Its just an easy cop out.
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Re: Alfa electrics

The only electrical problems I have had with any of my Alfa's have been down to Bosch parts.
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Re: Alfa electrics

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Originally Posted by Fluffyduff View Post
I once put my window down to go through a toll bridge and it refused to go back up.
I had mine refuse to go back up when using the car on company business. I had to leave it parked on main street with the front windows 2/3 down. Turned out to be a poor connection in the fusebox.

Quote:
I've had the speedo tell me im doing 70 when sitting in traffic..
I had a 33 where if you tried to start it with a dead battery, the speedo would start increasing and the odometer would start clocking up kms with the car stationary and the engine off!
Quote:
had ALL the rear lights come on at the same time for no apparent reason..
That's a new one..
Quote:
had the speedo stop working then come back to life 30 minutes later
Loose connection either at the plug at the back of the instrument cluster or the one near the brake booster (RHD). I've had that happen just in time to fail a WOF inspection, but I've also had genuine failures on the speedo circuit boards.
Quote:
..have an indicator that ramdomly stops working..
Stops working (bad connection in bulb socket or in connectors) or stops flashing (worn flasher relay)? I didn't include blown bulbs or flasher relays in my list of faults because I consider them consumables.
Quote:
..a reverse light that has a mind of its own..
Does it stay on if you hold the gear lever down in reverse and drive backward a few metres (wear in the gearbox meaning reverse light switch doesn't get pressed)? Or does it flicker randomly (bad connection anywhere between switchon gearbox and bulb socket?
Quote:
In fairness though its a 16 year old car that wasn't exactly top of the range when new.
Buy a 16-year-old Jap car from the same price bracket and see which one's electrics have held up better.
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Re: Alfa electrics

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Originally Posted by Ben_NZ View Post
About 20 years out of date.
My two 33s are 20 years old.
I've had a speedometer fail, my headlights sometimes fail to work only on low beam, my electric window can randomly vary its speed, my brake light once decided to start flashing instead of my indicator... One of my cars' rev counters wavers around close to 2000rpm at idle yet drops down to the correct value once you raise the revs slightly, and the other car's has a random intermittent wavering at 3000rpm, I've had a fuse melt and fall out of the fuse holder without even blowing, wipers that won't return properly with the switch in the off position, courtesy lamps that stop responding to certain doors, I've got the usual poor designs like fuel gauges that slosh around when the fuel does, a boot courtesy light that is only on when the headlights are (even if the boot's closed), and alternators that won't start charging until you hit 1500rpm. Press the hazard light switch too slowly and you'll reset the radio. I've chopped off and replaced so many rubbish quality connectors now that it's becoming like a reflex action. "Oops! Factory Alfa plug, problem located!"
And this is in a car that wasn't electrically complex even by the standards of the day.
Ha, ha, ha. That brings back many happy memories of my beloved 33. I had forgotten about the boot light only being on when the headlights are on. My speedo used to like sleeping most of the time and then wake up with a start, wanting a piece of the action. The best was Alfa Control..... completely out of control more like. The only thing it could reliably tell me was when my brake lights had popped again. It quite liked doing that. Still miss that car ten years after selling it.
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Re: Alfa electrics

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Originally Posted by Fluffyduff View Post
I once put my window down to go through a toll bridge and it refused to go back up. even after stripping it and cleaning everything it still wouldnt work. then two days later when i went back to start some more checking into it, it worked fine

Similar to ben, I've had the speedo tell me im doing 70 when sitting in traffic, had ALL the rear lights come on at the same time for no apparent reason, had the speedo stop working then come back to life 30 minutes later, have an indicator that ramdomly stops working, a reverse light that has a mind of its own, central locking that only works on three doors (sometimes), and a rear window heater that will only work once the cars been running for 20 minutes. Im still on all the original alfa connectors though
In fairness though its a 16 year old car that wasn't exactly top of the range when new.

All that aside, I've had more electrical gremlins in a '01 seat during 12 months of ownership than I've had in the alfa so I dont think italian electrics are worse than any of the other manufacturers. Its just an easy cop out.
You will find a LOT of the above can be cured by one action. ( I was ready to torch my car and threatened it with giving it a new home as a trade in at the Toyota garage... ) There is a large earth connection on the second bulkhead under the bonnet. Remove this and clean all the connectors with wire wool then reassemble.. tightly. It will fix most of your problems in one fell swoop and you will be licking your bonnet with pleasure. Well it worked for me, anyway.
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Re: Alfa electrics

thats very true, a rotten earth strap was the cause of many problems.
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