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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm not big into cars, i've always had Vauxhall Astra's as personal cars, but have driven many makes due to company preferences. I'm now working for myself and after setting my budget into Autotraders advanced search I trawled through what was available to me.

The Alfa Romeo 156 really caught my eye, I quite like the Audi's also. I'd been studying the price range on Autotrader for a few weeks and wanted to pay upto £3000. I knew that i'd probably get something with pretty high mileage for this but thought with regular servicing i'd be ok.

Anyway, I saw a 156 down in Milton Keynes, a W (2000 plate) with 59,000 miles and went down to look at it. It had a few minors scrapes and the Fuel Injection light was on. After making a few calls I put this down to the sensor and took it away at £2650, which I considered a bargain really. It drove really smoothly and was very comfortable inside.

I think by now you will realise i'm talking in the past sense, because after three days I lost power and developed the dreaded knocking noise that i'd experienced before with an Astra. I pulled over to the side of the road and the AA towed me to a garage. Where still it currently sits.

I'm not convinced the garage are at all reliable, they tell me the "crank shaft" has gone and I need a "small engine". I'm no mechanic, all I can tell is that when I rev I get a knocking noise, but on low revs it's fine.

Also is this something that the seller would have known about when selling, private sale unfortunately! The car ran like a dream when I bought it.

I've got an option to take it to another local garage for a 2nd opnion or from reading posts on this forum, to WAD in Wolverhampton or a place in Birmingham that slips my memory at the moment. Any suggestions?

I'd actually been warned that Alfas were unreliable but I don't rely on pub rumours, now I feel a little silly. Anyone able to lighten my mood or help at all!

Many Thanks

Paul
 

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Oh dear :( Sorry to hear about your problems. Are you sure the garage didn't tell you that it needed a 'short' engine? It sounds to me as if it might have been run low on oil, as 59,000 isn't very high mileage. The Twin Spark engine can use 1 litre of oil per 1000 miles, so people who don't check them often can run low very quickly. Also, because the sump is small the engine doesn't tolerate low oil, and many engines have been ruined for that reason. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I checked the oil after the issue and it appeared to be at an acceptable level. You are right in that they say it needs a short engine. My mechanical knowledge shinging through.

I just want to get it back on the road now, i've been away for two weeks and it's been sitting idle! So if anyone knows of someone West Mids they can recommend, do let me know!

Paul
 

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I'm sure the oil was at an acceptable level when you bougth the car, but I strongly suspect that at some point in its life its been run low. It could explain wht the person was selling it. How long had the previous owner owned it?
 

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By the way, if Wrexham isn't too far for you to get the car towed to, I'd recommend highly Allitalia (01978 757588)
 

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You've been very unlucky, but unfortunately some people may not bother checking the oil in between services. I'm almost 100% sure its been run low on oil. Check the invoices if you have them, it might be noted on one of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Does it sound like it would be the crank shaft ? Just checked Wrexham out bit of a jaunt really. Specially when WAD and "a place in brum" still to be identified have been banded about. I have a feeling i'm looking around 1k to sort this out what that be about right?

P
 

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Hi Dadgey. Welcome to AO. :)

Sorry to read about your engine woes. Take it to WAD and let them look at it rather than trying to guess what is wrong and then trying guess how much it will cost to fix.
 

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If it has been run low on oil the crankshaft is one thing that could be damaged, however, I'd folow Roswell's advice, until the engine is stripped we're all just guessing really.
 

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I can recommend Solihull Daihatsu - 0121 742 0999, they're actually in Sheldon on the Coventry Road. They don't have the Alfa interface for the ECU/diags but if you have a mechanical problem you'll be ok.

They've replaced the cambelt ( & balancer shaft belt ) on my 156, the rad and brake pads as well as servicing. They also sorted a problem on a mates 306 D-turbo that had cost him a small fortune at a Pug dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've taken it in to WAD now. Will the guy I spoke to was very polite arranged for a recovery truck to pick the car up and has said it is the crank shaft. He has mentioned stripping the engine down as it's still pretty low mileage "regrinding" the crank shaft and replacing oil pumps etc. Sounds like a bit of a major overhaul to me!

I'll have a better idea on the damage next week.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Spoke with Willie today at WAD. The Crank Shaft can't be reground?, so he has suggested a new bottom end. He also said the radiator fins were breaking and the clutch was worn. The latter two issues only added around £250 to the cost, so agreed to this also as it's already been stripped. Also replacing cambelt, tensioners, oil pump in there as well I believe.

Total Cost : £2K. I paid £2650 for the car.

I suppose (hope) it should provide me with little trouble once all this work has been done.

I'll update on full work done. I think this site would be great with a dealer/specialist review section which members could contribute to.

Paul :)
 

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Bad news :( Like you say though, once its done hopefully it will be trouble free :)
 
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