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Right then, here we go. Mrs Shiney has just bought herself a very nice 156 TS Lusso, 1.8l, 2001 'Y' plate in red with 107K on the clock. Very lovely it is too! It drives a treat, much better than the BMW she had previously.

As you'd expect on a 9 year old car, there are one or two little niggles that we want to get sorted out before too much longer.

1) The temperature gauge barely gets above 50 in normal driving conditions, occasionally nudging upto 70 ish in a queue. Everything I know tells me this is the thermostat stuck open, apart from the warm air blowing from the vents. Normally (on most other cars anyway, Alfa's may differ) a stuck 'stat will leave you with no heat from the vents. Am I right or should I be looking elsewhere?

2) Paintwork. There's a bit of a scrape on the osr arch, where it looks like the prev. owner has got a bit close to the garage door or gatepost, as well as a couple of stone chips and carpark dings. Where's the best place to source a touch up pot and where will I find the paint code?

3) Doorhandles, the button sticks in, which isn't the end of the world but it's a bit of a nuisance. Do I need to strip it down to lube it all up, or will a bit of WD40 sort it out?

4) It's had an aftermarket stereo fitted. If you're listening to the radio and switch on the heated rear screen, the radio reception disappears. I think it's probably a bad earth on the stereo, but I just wondered if anyone else has had this...?

5) Rear windows are dead as a dodo, both sides. I don't think it's a fuse as according to the magic book of ownership they're individually fused, and share a circuit with one of the fronts. Is this a common thing? Do I need to go relay hunting or get busy inside the door with a circuit tester?

I think that's all for now ;) and sorry for the long post, but i thought i'd get it all done in one hit. Any help, information, abuse or general comments gratefully received!
 
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Hey there,
I think you've just described everything anyone owning a 156 has experienced.
1. Thermostat for sure.
2. Paint code should be on the boot lid. On the inside, of course.
3. Cold weather tends to do that to the button. WD40 does the trick for me.
4. Have the same issue, there's a thread on here somewhere that describes possible solutions. Just do a search.
I just live with it as there's no need for it in my neck of the woods.
5. I'm assuming you cannot operate them from the front either? Either way, someone will be along to provide you with some solutions. I just send it an electrician.
All the best with getting these things sorted.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies guys. Very helpful.

I found the demister / radio thread >> here
 

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If your rear window switches illuminate, but don't operate the windows, chances are the motors are seized; an all too common problem.
Radio reception: the aerial is actually the rear screen element (unless you have a SW) and relies on an amplifier to work. As you have an aftermarket stereo, check that it has ben wired correctly to power the aerial amplifier when turned on. Also check the connections on the amplifier itself (located behind the o/s/r c-pillar trim).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If your rear window switches illuminate, but don't operate the windows, chances are the motors are seized; an all too common problem.
Radio reception: the aerial is actually the rear screen element (unless you have a SW) and relies on an amplifier to work. As you have an aftermarket stereo, check that it has ben wired correctly to power the aerial amplifier when turned on. Also check the connections on the amplifier itself (located behind the o/s/r c-pillar trim).

I am a little concerned about the stereo wiring. It doesn't switch off with the ignition, which means it's fed off the permanent live. Hmmm. Wouldn't surprise me if the aerial power hasn't been hooked up. :mad: That's one job for the weekend.
I sat in a quiet carpark earlier and played with my... window switches. The NS one i can hear a relay click coming from it, but the OS one is totally dead. I'll check fuses at the weekend but I have a feeling I need to take the doors apart.:cry:

Anyone chuck any light on replacing the bulb behind the fuel gauge? Did you see what i did there? Bulb? Light? Never mind. *gets coat
 

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I am a little concerned about the stereo wiring. It doesn't switch off with the ignition, which means it's fed off the permanent live. Hmmm. Wouldn't surprise me if the aerial power hasn't been hooked up. :mad: That's one job for the weekend.
I sat in a quiet carpark earlier and played with my... window switches. The NS one i can hear a relay click coming from it, but the OS one is totally dead. I'll check fuses at the weekend but I have a feeling I need to take the doors apart.:cry:

Anyone chuck any light on replacing the bulb behind the fuel gauge? Did you see what i did there? Bulb? Light? Never mind. *gets coat
Taking the doors apart isn't too bad on these...

There's a bulb at the back of the gauges, which are 1 complete unit. You need to remove the centre console trim to get at them. Not too hard, but you'd need to take that radio out as well. ;)

Yes, the radio's fed by a permanent live. Some people switch it to power from the cigar lighter feed, which isn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks F/O and Iainfm.

Ok, more niggles. The trip counter randomly reset itself this afternoon, which is odd, and now the engine management light has come on. I've done a search and a couple of posts suggest this might be something to do with the faulty 'stat. Thoughts?
 

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Thanks F/O and Iainfm.

Ok, more niggles. The trip counter randomly reset itself this afternoon, which is odd, and now the engine management light has come on. I've done a search and a couple of posts suggest this might be something to do with the faulty 'stat. Thoughts?
Can't really think why...what reason did the other threads give this?

My first thought was a low battery (produces weird random electrical phenomena!).
 

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Aaaaaand she wouldn't start this morning. Bless her little italian socks, she doesn't like the cold or the wet or the sleet. (Hey, who does?) Battery barely turns over the engine, so i'm getting a new one. Battery, not engine. This will probably fix the warning light, and might fix the low temp. reading, according to another thread. We shall see!
 

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My engine management light came on a while back and the fault was diagnosed by the main Alfa dealer as a faulty thermostat. Sounded weird to me, but the new stat certainly fixed the problem. The light sometimes went out, but would generally come back on (and then stay on) when going downhill round left hand bends! I can't remember what the explanation for this was, but the dealer had one!

The rear window motors do tend to seize up. I could hear mine trying to open the windows without success. In the end I replaced both units, which comprise of a motor, cable and window guide. I bought two complete assemblies, reconditioned, from the main dealer for about £60 each if I remember correctly. They are available more cheaply elsewhere, but I would avoid buying secondhand non-recon units as there is no telling how much life is left in them. If you search this forum there is an excellent guide to dismantling the doors, including some great pics. The first side took me over an hour, the 2nd side took 30 mins :)

Yes the radio is on a non-switched live feed. If your reception disappears when you turn the rear window heater on, look for breaks in the heater elements. These are most easily spotted while demisting a misty window. It should be possible to paint over the gaps with conductive paint (Maplin).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's aliiive!!! :cool:

Well, she starts anyway. Didn't fix either the temp gauge or the fault light, but at least it can move under it's own steam again! The new battery is 67 Ah (i think) as opposed to the 75 Ah that came out but i can't see that's a problem.
 

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Apparently the e/mgmt light switched off when Mrs S took the car for a spin this evening. Marvelous!!:)
 

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Update, for anybody interested ;)

The thermostat has been done, along with one of the rear windows, under warranty by the indy we bought the car from. She now runs at a smidge under 90degC on the road, and bang on in traffic. The OSR window now works, and he's waiting on the motor for the NS one.
I have some conductive silver paint for the rear screen, and i'm getting in touch with one of the local mobile scratch repair chaps, who is the mutts nuts apparently, so it's all good!

Massive thanks to anyone who contributed and to Rick over at Solo Italia in Yarnton for doing the work!
 

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Yes, the radio's fed by a permanent live. Some people switch it to power from the cigar lighter feed, which isn't.
ahhhh i wondered about this. my radio switches on independant of car... bummer. bit annoying having to turn it on and off every time you're in and out of the car
 

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There is a good guide on door button sticking on Fun starts @ 3000! Its under the tips section. I have done both very successfully. A couple of tips that I would add are, you only need to under the 2 linkages at the door handle, not at the bottom. One is held in place by a clip that you rotate off the linkage, and then it drops out, this is the lower one. The other requires a medium to large flat bladed screwdriver under it as it meets the door handle and twist it to pop the linkage off.
ALSO when reassembling, once the window guide is back in place, just do the two nuts up finger tight, lower the window from the driver side switches, or if doing the driver side, temporarily connect the switch, then tighten the nuts up before raising the window up. I did not do this and the window stuck and I had to redo it all again.
 
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