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Discussion Starter #1
156 2.4 20v JTD 2004 facelift model with 184,000km on the clock.

So yesterday, after having the car for 3 days, I drove to the shops. Got back in and she wouldn't start. The engine would turn, but not ignite. The computer said "Motor Control, engine cooling, ABS and EBD System failures" I thought, here we go, I was warned against buying a 12 year old Alfa... now all the electrical gremlins are out to steal my wallet! My wife laughed. I called the break down service.

After trying all the obvious things... he checked the fuses and found a blown one. Replaced that, and it fired up fine. After a few minutes, the engine warning lights came on again, the car continued to run. Turn it off, and it wouldn't fire up again. Change the same fuse, and it starts fine. Funniliy enough, the blown fuse, according to the owners manual, is for the wing mirrors.

Once running again, I took it back to the dealer I bought it from. Fair credit to them, they were suitably apologetic and accommodating. They gave it a thorough examination and concluded, the new battery they put in it, was undersized. Which caused power fluctuations through the ECU, triggering spurious readings in various sensors.

So, after a new bigger battery, 30 minute test drive, no new warning codes. She's running fine for now.

I'm relieved the solution is that simple and free!
 

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The JTD engines need a fair bit of power to get them going, important to have a battery with enough CCA to get them to turn quickly! Combine that with the way low batteries seem to cause all sorts of electrical gremlins to appear out of this air, and you're better off getting as big a battery as you can fit!

I've got an oversized batt fitted in mine.. I believe original (factory) battery was an 027 size 50Ah with 380CCA, have now got a Bosch S4 096/100 with 72Ah and 680CCA! Almost didn't believe it was gonna fit when Loz got it out of the new parts cave at the garage, but it just about did and I'm very happy with it!

Glad yours is on the road again!
 

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I used to get occasional errors when turning the key, sometimes it required a few attempts to get the engine to start. I replaced the battery 18 months ago and it's been error free ever since.

The Editor is right, make sure you have one as big as possible, mine's a Bosch S5 77Ah 780CCA.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for sharing. It's reassuring to know the garage's verdict holds up and it's not that unfamiliar.

My friends laughed knowing I'd gone from a Subaru Legacy 2000, that died, to a BMW 325 (2002) that cost too much in maintenance to a 12 year old Alfa Romeo.

I had to laugh, breaking down on the 3rd day of ownership!
 

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Thanks for sharing. It's reassuring to know the garage's verdict holds up and it's not that unfamiliar.

My friends laughed knowing I'd gone from a Subaru Legacy 2000, that died, to a BMW 325 (2002) that cost too much in maintenance to a 12 year old Alfa Romeo.

I had to laugh, breaking down on the 3rd day of ownership!
You'll find that will happen as an Alfa owner. Sadly there are a lot of people out there who just regurgitate perceptions that were relevant in the 1980's that are completely misguided of any Alfa made post mid 1990's. The best response to that is to ask them how many Alfa's they've owned and they usually pipe down pretty quickly.

I'm not going to say they're the most reliable cars ever (your Subaru would be a much better candidate) BUT they are far from the fragile piles of crap some people out there would have you think. Coming from a family that has predominantly owned VW Group makes (Golfs, Audis) I can tell you right now that I have had less issues, and less expensive issues, in my two Alfa's then my family members have ever had with their 'German reliability' myth.

Plus! If you hang around here long enough you will notice pretty quickly that most issues with these cars are generally quite minor and can be remedied with a basic toolkit and some patience. As with any 12 year old car the biggest issue is always going to be prior maintenance and whether you, as the new owner, are prepared to spend on preventative maintenance or let the car go into disrepair. Since you've signed up here it already seems that you're on the right track and hopefully you'll enjoy many enjoyable miles in your 156 before you part ways with it. This forum is a great tool and there are heaps of knowledgeable members here that can help with just about anything you could possibly need. All you need to do is ask!

So welcome to Alfa ownership and I hope you hang around the forum. Its a great community and you will be surprised just how much information is available here.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
You'll find that will happen as an Alfa owner. Sadly there are a lot of people out there who just regurgitate perceptions that were relevant in the 1980's that are completely misguided of any Alfa made post mid 1990's. The best response to that is to ask them how many Alfa's they've owned and they usually pipe down pretty quickly.

I'm not going to say they're the most reliable cars ever (your Subaru would be a much better candidate) BUT they are far from the fragile piles of crap some people out there would have you think. Coming from a family that has predominantly owned VW Group makes (Golfs, Audis) I can tell you right now that I have had less issues, and less expensive issues, in my two Alfa's then my family members have ever had with their 'German reliability' myth.

Plus! If you hang around here long enough you will notice pretty quickly that most issues with these cars are generally quite minor and can be remedied with a basic toolkit and some patience. As with any 12 year old car the biggest issue is always going to be prior maintenance and whether you, as the new owner, are prepared to spend on preventative maintenance or let the car go into disrepair. Since you've signed up here it already seems that you're on the right track and hopefully you'll enjoy many enjoyable miles in your 156 before you part ways with it. This forum is a great tool and there are heaps of knowledgeable members here that can help with just about anything you could possibly need. All you need to do is ask!

So welcome to Alfa ownership and I hope you hang around the forum. Its a great community and you will be surprised just how much information is available here.
AussieAlex.
Quite right. Totally agree.
My 2000 Subaru Legacy let me down and cost more in garage bills than the purchase price in only 2 years. The most unreliable car I had, way back in uni days, was a MKII Golf. I had it 6 months and spent 400 quid on parts. The most reliable car I had, was a MK1 Mondeo. Ex Lease and in 3 years, it had one electronic problem that cost about 30 quid.

Recently, I had a BMW (2002 325i with FSH) break down 3 times in 2 years. My wife's car is a 2011 Audi A6. It's been in the garage twice in 4 months!

So, All cars, especially now, are so complex, that you're bound to get gremlins.

The 156 was last serviced 50,000km. It's booked into my trusted garage next week for a routine service and check up.

But, it's still a joy to drive and beautiful interior.
 

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Alfa Romeo 156 JTD 8v Veloce (2005)
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Type 096 battery gives the engine the kick - my diesel had a 'new' battery - no markings/type lable and would never start on the first cycle of starting, but would on the second. I saw the starting problem as a sort of anti theft device, but swapped the battery for a new marked 096 and all is fine.

Annoying thing is that many online battery checkers state a different battery type as standard/cheaper so many will be fooled!
 
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