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148 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
All the following problems have occurred/been corrected roughly in chronological order during my first year of ownership. Hopefully this may be of help to some of you.

1) Water on the floor before I even bought the car: Demanded a new radiator.
2) Petrol fumes from the rear of the car: Demanded a new fuel pump and fixed hole in the exhaust pipe.
3) Loss of power under heavy load: Possibly fuel ratio problem, solder pre-CAT oxygen sensor connectors.
4) Irregular running: Ditch the multi-connector that connects to the wiring loom on the top of the engine (solder 40 odd wires), clean the other connector and then attach both to the firewall so that they are subjected to fewer vibrations.
5) Airbag warning light came on after going over a bump: clean connectors in the RHS of the boot and or under the front seats.
6) Limited to 50% or less throttle and angry warning light: Poor connection to the electronic throttle pedal, remove the pedal and carefully solder without heating up the electronics a nice heavy duty connector so that it does not happen again.
7) Irregular idle: Clean the throttle body and if you are keen the intake manifold. This does not fix the problem but may make it smoother.
8) Rattle from the front of the engine: Tighten the heat shield nuts and hit the heat shield until it stops.
9) Gearbox disconnected from the gear stick: Ball joint bushing may have parted ways with the ball on the gearbox. Fix it temporarily by pushing it back on and then modify it or replace it later.
10) Clutch takes close to the floor after a long run but comes right after a while:

a) Replace the clutch fluid; this may temporarily fix the problem

b) Replace or recondition the clutch master cylinder (mine was leaking oil)

c) For good measure make a heat shield to go over the master cylinder
on the firewall side
11) Tinny rattle from under the car: Damaged flexi-pipe and or pipe clamp bushing. Replace or in my case repair the bushing and cut off the loose wire ends on the flexi-pipe.
12) Oil residue on the oil sump but no oil on the floor: Oil leaking around the base of the dipstick; remove dipstick, replace seal or apply rtv sealant.
13) Door speakers don’t always work: Clean and try and pinch together the connectors within the rubber multi-connectors that attach to the inside of the doors.
14) Misfiring:
a) Check for oil in the spark plug holes, if oily ‘clean immediately’ and
replace plug hole gaskets.
b) Get an OBD2 examiner and note down the problematic cylinder, swap
the coil pack with another working cylinder and then force the car to
misfire. Use the examiner to see if the problem has followed the coil
pack; if it does replace it, if not see ‘4’ and check spark plugs.
15) Irregular idle continued: replaced standard clips on oil breather pipes with screw type hose clips and slightly improved idle, also I noticed that the length of the pcv valve spring effects idle.
16) Replaced both catalytic convertors with two aftermarket ones as there was a P430 error, rattles from the cat and rattles from the rear muffler. Tip: only replace the catalytic convertors after fixing the cause of their failure.
17) Removed rattle from rear muffler caused by pieces of broken cat by removing the muffler then using a vacuum cleaner and lots of shaking sucked them out.


1) Subwoofer rattles at certain frequencies: remove the fabric cover and tighten in carefully with a soldering iron (you will have to take it off to know what I mean).
2) Rattling from the front of the dash: Remove the window demister vent and put some hot glue or felt on it.
3) Knocking noise over bumps: Possibly the front sway bar, my solution is to grin and know that I am driving an Alfa.

Useful Hints

• Get an OBD2 cable and download FiatECUscan or Alfadiag; trust me it pays for itself
• By some CRC contact cleaner or similar and some dielectric grease
• Don’t rush into fixing problems, properly identify them first
• Don’t always trust what the dealer says
• Expect to pay at least three times more for parts at a dealer especially if you live in New Zealand
• Read through forums but don’t assume that another’s problems are the same as yours as there are often multiple causes to one symptom.

Finally the best advice I can give is to take it to the race track and have some fun as other supposedly reliable cars break down.

2,627 Posts
Ha ha good attitude.

Summary of my 3 and a half years of 156 JTS selespeed ownership:

1. Drive it.
2. Is that a rattle? Nope.
3. Did the drivers door speaker just stop working? Yep. Gentle kick, working again.
4. Drive it.

Now that I've said that, it'll probably break down next week.

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
If that sums up your three and a half years of driving that is pretty damn good.

Personally I never like to say I have fixed my problem or that the car is driving really well (which it is), because quite often I get another problem within a few weeks.
I found out the door cards have wood chip in them so every time I make a comment to that effect I make an effort touch wood.

1,384 Posts
I've had my 156 JTS for two and a half years now and luckily have had very few of those issues. Only real problems have been suspension noises - new ARB, drop links and upper arms fitted so far - and the door speakers cutting out, which was solved by spraying electrical cleaner into the connectors. Apart from that she has been great....... (fingers crossed!!).

41 Posts
A summary of my 3 months of 156 Selespeed ownership; Bought the car at auction, drove it home, checked it out and discovered that although it had done 91,000km, the cambelt had never been done and the variator was rattling. Got parts and did belts, tensioners, idler, waterpump, variator, cam seals, cam cover gasket and thermostat. Drove and enjoyed car for a month, until, on my way south to Wellington, the Selespeed fell in love with 3rd gear and stayed there. Car is currently in Dannevirke salvage yard, waiting for me to pick it up... :(
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