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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
I have bought an Alfa 156 in ebay auctions. When I was driving it home just after 80 miles, the ngine slowly stopped and heavy steam came from the banet. The AA breakdown machanic said that the head gasket is gone and the engine is cooked.

Can somebody tell me how much it would cost me to fix it. I have allready spent 2000 quid to buy this. I am willing to spend about 1000 quid to fix it. When I called a local machanic, he said alf's got too many problems, that its not worth fixing it.

I am totally in a confused state. When I called up the original owner about the problem, he said like he is not responsible.

Please help me.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also can any one please suggest me a good garage near east london (east ham / illford area).

Thanks in advance.
 

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Legally, was it 'sold-as-seen' via auction, or did you buy it from a dealer who was just using eBay as advertising?
 

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Sorry to hear you problem mate.Sounds like you really have had some bad luck.
What engine is your 156 t.spark/v6 or diesel?
The V6 is the most expensive to put right, t sparks the cheapest.
Best thing to do is ring an alfa specialist.The nearest one to you is Clovertech I think there in Dagenham or try sunnyside garage also in Dagenham.Loads advertised in the back of Auto Italia magazine.
good luck mate
 

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For a new Alfa (new to you) you would be advised to have a full cambelt and tensioners change anyway. It sounds like the guy knew exactly why he was selling it so you can`t trust it.

When having a cambelt change, changing the head gasket at the same time is only an hour or two more work so its the ideal time to do it.

Cloverleaf are excellent so get it in there, change the belts and gasket and you will be able to enjoy your car without worrying about it any more.

Oh, and it should be well under £1000. That is more V6 territory.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Chris,
As its not a t spark, how much do you think it wud cost me to fix this. Do you think the engine might have been damaged? There was smoke for about 10 mins. I drove the car for about 1 hr and took a break for 40 mins. then in jus 10-15 mins it stopped with heavy smoke from bannet.
 

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Oops. If it is a V6 then you should have both head gaskets done.
Check with the previous owner if they changed the tensioners and water pump when they did their cambelt change. If they did then you wont have to do them again but you will have to have a new belt (pretty cheap part though).

If the heads are off you may as well change the plugs too as that is a 2 hour job usually but as that's going to be about another £100 you may be running out of cash by now so don`t worry as its not vital.

You will be pleased to hear that the V6 is generally a bullet proof engine and if you change the above you are likely to have a very nice and reliable car.

the only other thing that goes is the MAF sensor. Not cheap but easy to fit. You will know if this is gone as the car will struggle to have any power at hight revs.

The car was cheap enough for what you get from them so it is worth the effort
 

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Head gaskets on these are very robust. The engine would have had to get extremely hot for the gasket to fail. It is unlikely that you will get away with just replacing the gaskets. I repaired one last year that had blown the gasket on the rear bank. (I think the flow of air through the front saved the front bank) The head was warped and 2 of the valves had melted/broke.
You are ceratainly looking at a minimum repair bill of around £900 including new cambelt, tensioner and idlers.
 

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As its a private sale, I think unless you can prove he knew about the problem and didn't tell you there ain't really much you can do about it. I think that's the case, correct me if I'm wrong.

However, as you only paid £1,400 even if it costs you a grand to fix you've still got a good car, and you know it will be reliable once these jobs have been done. MAF is the only thing that could go wrong, however I hear you can get these on eBay for £36 :cheese:

(Joking about the MAF - Do not buy one of these cheapo ones!!!)

Anyway, nice car mate, have a look round the scrappies for a leather interior once you can afford it and she'll be perfecto :cool:
 

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Head gaskets on these are very robust. The engine would have had to get extremely hot for the gasket to fail. It is unlikely that you will get away with just replacing the gaskets. I repaired one last year that had blown the gasket on the rear bank. (I think the flow of air through the front saved the front bank) The head was warped and 2 of the valves had melted/broke.
You are ceratainly looking at a minimum repair bill of around £900 including new cambelt, tensioner and idlers.

According to the ebay seller the belts were done very recently indeed. Possibly the tensioner and idlers wont need doing again.

Bad news about the rest though Poluruc. If it overheated that badly then it may well have been the waterpump or the rad that went - both very possible at those milages and age.
 

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Had my head gasket fixed at my local specialists for 600 quid (1.8 ts), new cam belt, tensioners, waterpump were done at the same time
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thats a great response for a troubled, novic buyer. Thanks for all your replies. The engine really got vry hot and I a worried that it might have damaged the engine.

If it is around a grand then I can afford it, otherise it will b to much for me. And about the car cost, I paid 1420+70 tax and 400 to tow the vihicle to london...:cry:

I will try to get a machanic to look at the vehicle ad will update in detail.

Once again thankyou very much for all your help. I pray that the engine is not damaged.
 

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I`ve just re-read your first entry.

"I have bought an Alfa 156 in ebay auctions. When I was driving it home just after 80 miles, the ngine slowly stopped and heavy steam came from the banet. The AA breakdown machanic said that the head gasket is gone and the engine is cooked."

The engine slowly stopped doesn`t sound good. How long did you run it with steam coming out? Did you press on? Did the engine still run when you stopped? If it just got slower and slower and then forced you to stop then you may well have cooked the big ends.

I did that on a merc with no oil once. Practically welded the big ends to the crank.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Chris,
Actually I was driving at a speed of around 80 miles per hour. I have noticed that the engine is not responding and pulled it onto the hard shoulder and stopped. The steam came only after I have stopped the car. Does that sound dangerous?
 

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First things first. Get a second opinion. The AA man may be correct with the head gasket diagnosis but he can't possibly know that the engine is cooked without removing the cylinder heads. If you bought it with this problem (and it looks likely that you have) then the extent of the damage is impossible to predict as we don't know the circumstances of the failure. Driving the car with an overheating problem will just cause more and more damage.
If your second opinion confirms head gasket failure then the first thing to do is get the heads off to assess the damage. It will take a competent mechanic about 4 hours to remove the heads, so expect to pay around £150 for this. Remember you are dealing with an engine that has done more than 100k, so you need to positive it is worth repairing. If the heads aren't warped I would still get them pressure tested to make sure all the valves are closing properly. Get the condition of the block checked also.
If it turns out that you need an engine, don't worry. They can be picked up cheap if you are patient. The last one I bought was off Ebay and I only paid £550.
BTW, if you do struggle to get bits, give me a shout, I will probably be able to help you out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Beardo,
Thanks for your suggestions. I will get it inspected by a mechanic to get the actuals. I will certainly ask for help if things gone wrong and needs a new engine.

Thanks once again
 

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I had similar with my 156 2.5, thought it was a head gasket. I'll give you my story as it unfortunatley may have relevance to yours:

One day after caning the car I parked it. About 30 seconds after I stopped the engine, water poured out of the water bottle (compression pressure from engine now was pressurizing the cooling system forcing air out, but I only figured this out with hindsight) I didn't think too much, as the car was on the verge of overheating but stayed out of the red.

Car was driven about another 20 miles and I parked at a friends, when I would start but accelerator wouldn't work at all, and sounded like it was struggling to turn over before it would fire up.

Towed it home, reset ecus and car drove fine.

On the way to get the car mot'd I noticed clouds of steam behind me, when the engine completly stopped and would not turn over.

Went back later to the car and it fired up but had no water, filled that up and noticed water was coming out of the exhaust like a hosepipe, as well as the steam. Also when I opened the water bottle cap, the water was jumping in spurts out of the bottle.

I took this to be a head gasket failure. Diagnosed faulty cylinder as middle in front bank by removing plugs to find the one with water droplets on it. I thought it was a head gasket. So I took the front head off to find the gasket was actually fine. What had happened was that one of the cylinders had cracked from top to bottom. When the water would come in, it could hydrolock the piston/cylinder.

The cylinders aren't extortionately priced, I think mine was around £60-80. But fitting one is a big job as not only the head has to come off, but you need to take the sump off to disconnect a con rod to remove the piston and conrod complete with the cylinder.

Hopefully yours is "just" a head gasket. How much water/steam comes out of your exhaust? Also fill your cooling system and start the car cold without the water bottle lid, and observe what happens to the water and post the outcome.
 
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