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Alfa 156 2.5 V6 - Camber Sensitivity??

5016 Views 35 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Kendr
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Calling all 156 2.5 V6 owners....!

Heeeelpp!

I bought my Alfa 156 V6 from Westover Motors in Bournemouth in October last year. Have been absolutely delighted with the car except for one thing....the fact that the car always seems to want to pull to the left!

I have been told by the dealer (after investigating tracking and certifying in spec) that the 156 V6 Veloce (with sport suspension and 16" wheels) is very sensitive to camber i.e. in pulling to the left, the car is actually just following the natural camber toward the nearside on most UK roads.

In most situations I can put up with this, but on a straight and level Motorway, I only have to let go of the wheel for a second or two and I'm heading for the hard shoulder. This gets very wearing on a long drive.

Had the tracking investigated by a third party and they concur that all looks OK.

Do any other 156 V6 owners have the same experience?

Please comment, it's driving me mad!!
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
OK first the good news, I have just driven a 156 2.5V6 manual with sports pack and 16inch wheels and 205/55/16 tyres, it came in today for some work and I just happened to claim it so I could test drive it for your fault. The vehicle had done 24000 miles and had no apparent wear in the suspension or steering. I tried it accelerating, on over run and braking and it drove dead straight in all cases. It did drift down the camber of the road but was as any other car would be, (I drive about 2500 cars a year). I tried it on my normal "camber" test route and with no camber the vehicle was perfect. The fact that you said earlier that you can drive on the wrong side of the road and it will go UP the camber means the car is NOT camber conscious.
The bad news is that this means you DEFINATELY have a problem and you need to take it back to the dealer. Unfortunately I don't expect you to get very far as it doesn't sound like they can cure it for you. By the way the front wheel geometry was changed last year, I haven't found out why yet but the settings are now 0+/-1 mm or parrallel +/- 1mm. They were toe out 2.07mm +/-1mm, now from my racing experience toe out causes oversteer and may possibly cause this pull. I will speak to Alfa tommorrow regarding this and will post back anything I am allowed to release.
By the way could you email your chassis number so I can check the data.
 

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Jon,

I think you need to take the car to someone who specialises in setting up suspension geometry/steering. Assuming the toe, camber & caster are okay on your car, one of other the settings on the sheet I sent you is 'steer ahead'.

Now, I remember having a chat to an 'old-timer' mechanic in the know about this years ago. I understand that steering racks have to be 'centralised' otherwise they can cause the car to pull to one side or the other. I'm afraid I don't know what the process is exactly, but an educated guess would be that the rack is set in the centre of its travel, and the steering rod ends then adjusted to set the wheels in the ahead position (with the appropriate toe-in/out) and then finally the steering wheel set in the centre position.

The chap I spoke to said that most garages/dealers hadn't a clue about this, which explained why this fairly common problem seemed to go unresolved in many cases.

I can imagine this not being done properly at the Alfa factory, & I wouldn't expect a main dealer necessarily to be able to sort it out, so it really is worth checking it out with a specialist.

The only other thing I can think of is a soft damper on one side (I know the car is new, but it could be a faulty component), or a slightly grabbing caliper on one side.

Keep the forum updated on your progress, as I think it is a farily common fault.

Cheers
Vish
 

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You would keel over if you knew what i had changed/spent on my car to try and resolve this!

Its similar to what he describes.

That sounds feasable Vish i agree, it makes sense but who on earth would do that?
 
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
OK, I have contacted Alfa Technical and they have told me they know of no problems with steering pull on 156's, they would like you to post up the readings obtained by your four wheel alignment checks so that I can check them over. They also asked if the wheel base was even on both sides, has this been checked? I did find out why the FWA figures have changed and apparently this was due to excessive tyre wear. Obviously people don't realise that if you generate more grip you wear tyres out faster. Anyway get me the chassis number and the suspension figures and I will try to help.
 
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Hi all,

You amaze me with the amount of time you are prepared to put into helping me - thanks so much. Sorry for the delay, been out of the country this week (no, not in Italy trying out 156's for camber sensitivity!).

Numan Racing,the details of the car are as follows:

***Edited by alfaowner*** I didnt think you should post that information here I mailed it to Numan racing for you and deleted the chassis and reg details etc.

As for the suspension setup details, the dealer didn't offer any information, and I guess I should have asked for it, but didn't.

Bear in mind, that both the sales manager and the service manager are of the opinion that this cannot be sorted out - I will ask for the suspension setup parameters, and they may or may not give them to me. Will let you know result of this call.

Cheers,
 

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I too am suffering the same problems with my 155. I have had the rack done the wishbones, tyres tracking several times. two new front rims, what else can be done? Im thinking a jig next!!!

This time I need help people, its driving me mad
 

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Odd, isn't it? Whenever there is a complaint about an Alfa pulling to one side, it's <u>always</u> to the left. Never to the right.

I have a had a whole load of Alfas since I bought my first one in 1986, and whenever I have had a problem like this it has always been pulling to the left.

There used to be a rumour around that Alfa set their cars up to pull slightly to the left to compensate for the camber in Italy. No special dispensation given to UK models!

It wouldn't surprise me. I remember having a meal in an Italian restaurant many years ago when Alfas still suffered from rust problems. The restaurant owner had a GTV like mine at the time, and I recall saying to him how great Alfas were to drive, but it was a pity they hadn't got the rust problem sorted. He just shrugged his shoulders and said "...but in Italy the cars do not rust because of the weather".

Er.....
 
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Sure AO, I can use Desira Motor Company, 129 Heigham Street, Norwich, NR 2 4TG. If you give me a date I will see if I can make it. I can show you what checks we do and how we can cure faults like this.
 

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Hi Numan.

My other half's Italian. I gave up trying to understand her years ago
.

Dunno about the atittude to life. A good night out with the lads in Italy seems to consist of hanging around outside a Gelateria tucking in to your favourite ice cream cone. Yawn......
 
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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Hi all,

Interesting to see that AO has the same sort of problem on a 155.

Would be very interested to know if NR is able to sort this out. This would encourage me to go to a company like Elite Designs myself. For the moment, I'm just putting up with the leftward drift....I can forget if I concentrate on the sound of that V6!!

Regards,

Jon
 

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I've yet to collect a new car, Alfa or otherwise, where the drive set up was perfect. In almost all cases they need adjusting. Even on may latest 156 sport arrival. While I'm not in the market to give advice on cures, one thing I would say is never to even bother going back to the dealer with these sort of problems. Generally their guys aren't able to sort it out and don't use the same computer based equipment specialists use. This gear is available at the chains like Kwik Fit as well. I've had months of tracking problems solved by a young lad at the Advance chain here who probably spent half a day learning to use the computer. Even when the car's under warranty, I prefer to fork out on the small fee at a tyre chain to get it fixed quickly. Alfa dealers may fix it eventually, but after a while 6 months of visiting the dealer to sort out minor niggles is just not worth it. I think they are issued with the "don't take your hands off the steering wheel" line in tech bulletins!.
 
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