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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering if anyone here is or was at first as surprised as I was by the number of faults reported on this forum. In 1983 my Mum bought an Alfasud, 1978 model 15Ti with the twin headlamps, in canary yellow! or some sort of yellow. We owned for 2 years and didn't have a any reliability issues at all, just difficult to put into fifth gear, which was an option then anyway so no big deal. (this was in RSA where the weather is hot and no cars rust at all so a Sud was perfect)

My old man would take it for a spin every now and then and put his foot down saying he was just blowing the cob webs out the engine ( a dig at my Mums driving), and the way it went and sounded has made me love Alfas ever since.

But I can't help wondering how we owned a car 30 years ago, until it was 7 years old, and compared to my 7 year old Alfa, it had virtually no faults. Have Alfas, with the exception of the rust issue, become less reliable?
 

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Its a forum !
People mostly visit to find solutions to issues they have not to post how reliable their cars are.

As for your Alfa Sud 30 years ago, how would you know if they had common issues ? Its not like now in the digital age where the information is instantly available.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, you're right, on that note I'll shut up. It was just a thought when reading threads where people are approaching AR about issues. Dont get me wrong, I love my 159 but I think some of the issues shouldn't exists.
 

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Wasn't meant like that.

If you look on any of the forums for any of the manufactures all diesels tend to suffer from the same issues, so its not a issue we alone suffer from. Compared to BMW we get away lightly with swirl/tumble flap flap issues.

Yes I agree certain issues should not exist. But having been in Alfa's for over 15 years I can't comment first hand on other manufactures and before that I was running Lancia's, however listening to other its really not particular to Alfa Romeo.
 

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Generally, in this forum as with other forums, you will notice that similar faults will arise again and again for a particular model or engine. Some of the common issues that I have come across for 2.4 diesel 159's Ti's, for example, are as follows:

  • Clutch and DMF issues
  • Rusty subframes
  • Rattle behind dash
  • Wind noise at drivers door / mirror
  • Water in front door causing electrical faults
  • Water in front footwell
  • Irratic idle when cold but can happen when hot
  • Build up of soot in the inlet manifold, egr and throttle body
  • DPF coking up
  • Sudden battery failure
  • Water pump failure causing timing belt to fail
  • Front suspension bush failures
  • Extreme tyre wear
  • Sticking door handles
  • Steering lock failure
  • MAF sensor failures
I'm sure there are a few more but I just can't think of them at the minute.

Now take BMW's E90 320d M-Sport (Closest comparable model imo)

  • Failure of turbo at any mileage
  • Front suspension bushing and ball joint wear
  • DPF coking up
  • Swirl valve problems due to carbon build up and poor design
  • Extreme tyre wear
  • Steering lock issues
  • Clutch Judder due to a clutch delay valve
  • Interior trim peeling (black rubber type coating on some plastics)
  • Wear in windscreen wiper motors causing a juddering
  • Weak coolant thermostat making the car run cold
  • Glow plug faults
  • MAF sensor failures
  • Timing chain stretching / failures
Most of these faults have been taken directly from BMWland website listed under common problems.

It is interesting to see quite a few similar problems which seem to affect Diesel cars in general and as the MAF sensors are Bosch in both cars, well, there's no surprise it's a common trend. Also as can be seen BMW also have their fair share of trim and accessory quality issues.

Now, most people would say that a BMW is a reliable car but would say that an Alfa is unreliable, yet if you go to a BMW forum you would be scared to buy one due to the amount of expensive common faults which arise.

Take the faults you see here as a guide in what to look out for when buying but I would not assume that all, or any, of these faults will occur to your car. It's just not worth the stress. Take preventative measures, where possible, to decrease the likelihood of them occurring such as changing the water pump when the timing belt is due etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well that's good to hear that BMWs have issues. The Alfa garage I was at today has a sign up saying "I'd rather push my Alfa than drive a BMW". True.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Generally, in this forum as with other forums, you will notice that similar faults will arise again and again for a particular model or engine. Some of the common issues that I have come across for 2.4 diesel 159's Ti's, for example, are as follows:

  • Clutch and DMF issues
  • Rusty subframes
  • Rattle behind dash
  • Wind noise at drivers door / mirror
  • Water in front door causing electrical faults
  • Water in front footwell
  • Irratic idle when cold but can happen when hot
  • Build up of soot in the inlet manifold, egr and throttle body
  • DPF coking up
  • Sudden battery failure
  • Water pump failure causing timing belt to fail
  • Front suspension bush failures
  • Extreme tyre wear
  • Sticking door handles
  • Steering lock failure
  • MAF sensor failures
I'm sure there are a few more but I just can't think of them at the minute.

Now take BMW's E90 320d M-Sport (Closest comparable model imo)

  • Failure of turbo at any mileage
  • Front suspension bushing and ball joint wear
  • DPF coking up
  • Swirl valve problems due to carbon build up and poor design
  • Extreme tyre wear
  • Steering lock issues
  • Clutch Judder due to a clutch delay valve
  • Interior trim peeling (black rubber type coating on some plastics)
  • Wear in windscreen wiper motors causing a juddering
  • Weak coolant thermostat making the car run cold
  • Glow plug faults
  • MAF sensor failures
  • Timing chain stretching / failures
Most of these faults have been taken directly from BMWland website listed under common problems.

It is interesting to see quite a few similar problems which seem to affect Diesel cars in general and as the MAF sensors are Bosch in both cars, well, there's no surprise it's a common trend. Also as can be seen BMW also have their fair share of trim and accessory quality issues.

Now, most people would say that a BMW is a reliable car but would say that an Alfa is unreliable, yet if you go to a BMW forum you would be scared to buy one due to the amount of expensive common faults which arise.

Take the faults you see here as a guide in what to look out for when buying but I would not assume that all, or any, of these faults will occur to your car. It's just not worth the stress. Take preventative measures, where possible, to decrease the likelihood of them occurring such as changing the water pump when the timing belt is due etc.
OK, that's cheered me up. The Alfa specilaists' I've spoken to so far (Only 2 garages though) have been really nice and I'm not paying BMW prices.

On a slightly different note I oriignally got quoted £867 from Halfords just for the cambelt but had 90000 service with cambelt and water pump done today for £564.

But I did (wrongly in a technical forum) open thread up to see how anyone remembers the reliability past Alfas that they know.
 

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'I'd rather push my Alfa than own a BMW!' - I love that. Should be a bumper / window sticker. I've owned three Alfa Sprints, two 156's and now a 159. I've not had serious reliability issues with any of them. Yes one of the Sprints disintegrated in the rain and one of the 156's had some dodgy wiring issues that were a right pain to sort out (but I did only pay £300 for the car!). The 159 has needed a new water pump but he cam belt was due anyway and a new comms unit which was bloody expensive but other than that it's been totally reliable.
If I had the money I'd be off to buy a late model TI.
 

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Yeah, you're right, on that note I'll shut up. It was just a thought when reading threads where people are approaching AR about issues. Dont get me wrong, I love my 159 but I think some of the issues shouldn't exists.
I have had more problems with my FSH ,when I bought it, 159 than my last 4 or 5 cheap chatty minimal history Alfas put together. In fact I have had more problems in two years of a 2007 159 than I've had in 13 years of owning a 1992 Porsche. The 159 2.4 is without doubt a flawed car imo, Still love it though and have no intention of moving it on.
 

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I had an 1983 1.5L Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf from 1988 for about 5 years and it was the best car I've ever owned. That's not to say that bits and pieces didn't drop off it fairly regularly. The only thing that seemed rock solid was that boxer engine and that was still going strong at 120,000 miles plus.

Despite the Sud's well earned reputation for rust mine didn't really have any problems beyond a bit of repainting along the bottom of the doors in all the time I owned it.
 
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