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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Apologies in advance for the size of this posting)

I'm looking for any ideas/information from people who have knowledge or
experience of 155 brakes and particularly problems with poor/inefficient
braking power.

My brother ('jase77') has a 2L TS and his friend is selling his 1.8 TS.
It's a nice car (metalic blue paint/rear spoiler/wide body) and there are
very few 155's near where I live (Fife, Scotland), but since I first saw
this car and then later when my brother bought his 155 I've been very
keen on getting one (can you blame me?).

Brothers car - Alfa 155 2L 16V TS Super P('97).
Car for sale - Alfa 155 1.8L 16V TS N('96).

When I was given the opportunity to drive my brothers car I was surprised
and impressed by the power and responsiveness of the brakes (nearly hit my
face off the windscreen). I've since read the magazine review of the 2L TS
available on this website that comments on their power and calls them
'snatchy' because of their responce.

The problem is - the 1.8 16V TS for sale has very poor braking power.
You have to push hard on the pedal and still don't get much responce.
An emergency stop is a serious leg workout and a worrying experience.
However, there is no judder, no pull and the pedal doesn't go right down
to the floor when you brake - they're smooth but very poor.

I'm used to having poor brakes as my previous cars have been old basic
models that were reaching the end of their lives (1L mini, 1.1L fiesta,
1.6L XR2) but even my girlfreinds 1.2 Clio seems to outbrake the car

My brother was of a simliar opinion when he tested the 1.8 (and he is
used to his own brakes), but the owner of the 1.8 believes there isn't
a problem (he hasn't driven my brothers car) and explains that the braking
ability hasn't changed in the time that he has owned the car (2 years).

I've put a lot of thought into the problem and:

- Discounted front discs/pads as the car has passed 2 MOT's (includes a basic
brake test) and has had pads replaced. Also discs don't appear to be badly worn.
- Expensive rear disc/drum assemblies were replaced about a year ago (and pads).
due to warp.
- Owner works offshore (2 weeks home, 2 weeks on oil rig) so car could have
slightly seized calipers, but, as he says there has been no change in braking
power from when he first bought the car, and there is no change after using
hard during time at home, also no pull to one side (as you would get if one
caliper was seizing).
- I don't know when the brakes were last bled and the fluid replaced, so there could
be air bubbles or old fluid, but I know what air in the fluid feels like from
previous experience and it doesn't have that 'spongy' feel.

The other end of the system is the servo, ABS and inlet manifold hose (to the
ABS/servo?). I don't have any knowledge/experience of this part of the braking
system, and don't know what to look for.

The car will probably be traded in this weekend if I don't decide to buy it,
so time is running out.

Any ideas of possible solutions or things to try to narrow the search?

Mark. :confused:

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hey bruv!

I'm sure someone here will help out... also post a message on the too. there's a alfa specialist there and a few very good guys for info too.

someone help!!!



Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Honkytonk
I don’t believe the slightly smaller front discs (257 mm) than the 2,0 (287 mm) will be noticeable in normal driving. I’ve seen several member of the Reg. complain of poor brakes, but mine seems to be much like your brothers – more than all right for road use.
I see from your long entry that you are buying from a private person, so I suggest that he (or is it a she?) and you agree to have the full brake system examined by an expert (of brakes or Alfas). I’m sure he will tell you what’s wrong with the brakes and the price for a repair. Then, the seller and you can start twisting arms on the price of the car – with or without the repair done.
Welcome to the Register and good luck with the dealings.
Alfisti regards

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The brakes on my 1.8 16V have always been awsome, almost to sharp. But when used alot, nice bendy roads in wales! they did suffer from fade. So i changed to some EBC Green pads, these are supposed to be good at high tempreature while having good cold bite. After fitting them the brakes felt great, but when they were run in they felt terrible. The car was dangerous, no brake power at all, they needed to be warm before they gave any real braking action and even then they were rubbish. So the guy that services it checked everything over and then put OMP pads on, the result is the car feels normal again. The 1.8 16V does have smaller brake discs the the 2L but the feel should be exactly the same. Are you sure the servo is working on the car you want to buy ?

Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think we've decided to not bother with the car.. we've spotted a 2.0 16V TS with full sprts kit (inc. black 16" 5 spokes) wicked...

we'll see


Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responce guys, but I finally decided that I wasn't willing to take the chance that the problem could have been a lengthy
and expensive hunt. Brakes are damned important on a fast, heavy car like a 155.

There were other problems with the car as well (one key transponder left which wasn't the master and the alarm button was broken and
the key was falling to bits, factory alarm also inoperable due to key).

Also, the owner was offshore (rigs) untill last night and was trading it in today or this weekend, so investigation by an expert wasn't
really possible (and could have been costly, possibly with no result and a large bill for the owner and no sale of the car).

As for the fault itself It may have been a fluid problem which would have been easy to sort, but I've got a feeling it was linked to the
servo/ABS side of the system, which could have turned out very expensive.

On the positive side (as my brother pointed out) I've seen a 2L 16V (like the bigger engine) that looks damned sexy - black, with the
sports kit spoiler and black 16" 5 spokes and twin DTM exhaust. Going to make an offer tonight.

My new problem would be selling my body to pay for the insurance (might take a while...). After 2hrs and 10 quotes the lowest I can get
is £650. 6 points (2 SP30's) on my license, street parking and a non-standard exhaust don't really help much. I'll find the money though.

Hoping to soon be a 155 owner,

Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Owner of Black 2L 155 appears to be f*&$#n lying scum.
Excuse me.

Hpi check showed the car to be stolen about 7 months previously (still registered as stolen).
I've been to (what appears to be) the owners house twice now and spoken to his wife. So I think its no longer stolen, but
replacement of lock barrels because theives stole CD player seems to be more a case of car stolen and had the **** rallied of it.
In bright daylight and bodywork cleaned, mismatch on all four doors paint colour looked suspect.
Also mild clacking from engine and slightly loose/akward gearchange may not be due just to age/milage and possible worn balance shafts.

Still waiting for answer back from hpi check company from the insurance companies involved, but owners lack of anger at his insurance
company over the hpi check findings didn't look very kosher. History of being stolen wouldn't help resale value would it.
I wasted nearly £70 in petrol, mobile phoning and hpi (£39!!) chasing up this car. When I get a full answer from hpi I'm going to
have a few words with the owner...

Freinds blue 1.8 155 (suspect brakes) is being traded in tommorow (£2K!!), so I've missed the boat on a possible good deal there.

Haven't given up on 155's yet. Will keep checkin locally, but round here they're comparable to hens teeth.

- Mark.

Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Mark,

As regards the black 155 forgotten that already I hope. I find autotrader the best, as I've been looking for a 155 for sometime off and on. Golden rule has to be to buy the best example you can afford. It's worth travelling to get a good one I did 900 mile round trip for my 164 but it was worth it!

Their are very few guys at 155 who look at them through rose tinted spectacles and picking a good 2 litre is probably the most challenging task a potential Alfa owner can come up against.

The costs that can be incurred in buying a bad one are enough to make a grown man cry and they are a nightmare engine (16V) as regards complexity/servicing items, we just accept their faults love it when it runs sweet or buy a french oil burner!

Best of luck with the search


164 Super


1,134 Posts
It may have cost £39 for the HPI, which may now seem money down the drain - but think of the alternative - having your stolen 155 removed by the police leaving you with nothing. Think of your £39 as a ticket to a lucky escape!!

Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It'll all be worth it in the end Honkster, just imagine it, burying the nose of your 155 deep into a fast, sweeping corner. Then the changedown to scream past a leaden footed 320i....

Discussion Starter · #12 ·
hpi company got back to me - car had been stolen, written off, then recovered damaged and sold for a few hundred pound for salvage.
Previous to this the owner had the cheek to phone me and ask what else the hpi had told me.
Warned me that he was going to sell the car soon at the trade market if I wasn't interested.
I'm looking forward to phoning him back with my results and a few choice phrases. Not much else I can do. Good riddance.

Looking forward to a brighter future - going to see a metalic blue 2L (96/N) widebody tommorow - full service history, only 53K on
the clock and owner has had since 6 months old (was a dealership demo/managers car). Owner seems forthright, honest and very helpful.
Third time lucky?

I can already see the 320i disappearing in the rear view mirror as I move up into 4th...

Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi mark it sounds you did the right thing with the HPI check it is money well spent, even the 155 is not free from the rouge car dealers, good luck & hope you get your ideal 155.

Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Scratch Alfa 155 number 3 (mettalic blue 2L) - dents and damage all round (one wing mirror was held on with 2 self tapping screws)
and a clacking engine (and to top it off - the ugly looking version of the two variations of the standard alloy wheels).

On to Alfa 155 number 4, a red 1.8L with sports pack. Would prefer a 2L, but, running out of MOT and oil rags for current car/heap
('89 XR2) so willing to look at other options.

P.S. A couple of the 155's I've seen now had a clacking noise coming from the engine. Both different sounding. My brother (Jason77)
mentioned that worn balancer shafts are a quite common cause for this. I'm used to any noise of this sort being a good
indication of dying hydrolics tappits (or low on oil tappits), worn cams, or other nasty problems (big and little ends, etc).

Has anyone got any knowledge/experience to share on the subject of noisy 155 TS 16V engines?


Discussion Starter · #15 ·
henry yorke's web site has some bits on it... wav files and pix - - then into tech info.

try that maybe.

any1 else??

also try looking back through the archive under cam variator and engine noises


Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Honkytonk
I sense you’ve started to be a bit impatience, right. I don’t know the Scottish car market but I just found a second hand car for my daughter and looked through adds in papers and on the Internet. I found that often privates selling their cars have misconceptions of their cars or are liars. We found her car on the Net at a dealer who has specialized in newish cars and paid about 15% less than most privates were asking + had a tow bar fitted and four winter wheels (used but 50%+ tread) at the asking price. We later found the Service booklet and saw a full service history. Well, the car – sorry, a Citroën Xantia Weekend Van. :eek:
Check the adds and Alfa dealers and Specialist, they often have good 4-6 year old trade-ins they don’t advertise and are prepared to make necessary repairs before delivery. And keep working away from doughy ones.
Good hunting

Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Car1 - Blue 1.8L - poor brakes
Car2 - Black 2L - stolen
Car3 - Blue 2L - very poor condition
Car4 - Red 1.8L + sports pack - 100K miles
Car5 - Burgendy 2L - sold before I went back to buy
Car6 - Champagne Silver 2L - SOLD TO ME!

I at last found a good 2L 155, and bought it.
Very clean, very good nick - happy man at last.

Cheers for all the helpfull comments,


Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good for you Honkytonk, got there eventually

I've recently experienced the same crap from vendors, see "general discussions/adverts" in Currently looking for a 155V6.

Went to see a car at the weekend and it was crap
, long trip for nothing.

Patience pays, if it dont smell right its probably sh+t so walk away

Welcome to the Alfa experience.

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