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My battery needs replacing on my 04 156 and I'm wondering if it needs an Alfa branded battery (seems to have 1 or two other connectors under the cover at the + connector) or can another generic battery go in ?

Its under warranty and I want to make sure I get the right one in there.....
 
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I think it's up to you, all batteries are made to standard patterns so go where it's a brand you know at a price you can afford. I needed a new battery and Halfords were quoting over £120 for their brand. I got a Varta from the local tyre dealers for £87.00!! You're lucky to still have a warranty on a 6 year old car but it shouldn't matter at all.
 
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Halfords are robbers when it comes to batteries!I was quoted €160 by them and got the exact same from my tyre guy for €100!!!!!
 

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Any idea what the extra connection on the + side under the cover does ?

Don't have a picture but normally the box on the +ve side is just bolted to the positive terminal of the battery with around 3 connectors coming off it. My battery died recently under warranty and I "borrowed" a battery off my wife's mondeo until it got replaced. 12v is 12v and I'd make sure the amp hour rating and the size is a match more than anything else. Even then I was down 10 amphour and by around 3cm in length and had no trouble, even on cold mornings.
 
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If it's like the 147 there is a small fusebox on the positive battery connector, it has about 5 large capacity fuses for things like the alternator.
 

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I've replaced the Battery on mine and it wasn't under warranty . As said just make sure the amp and size is the same .
 
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