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Alfa 159 2.0 JTDm Lusso 6sp.
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Really like that....would definitely be interested if I was planning to keep my car much longer....pretty cool.
 

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Love this thread. Nice job!
The heat shielding for the ECU might be a good thing to consider. 馃憤馃徏 Although I can鈥檛 recall that I鈥檝e heard of many 159 that needed to replace it. Not as common as on the Busso anyway 馃檭

Curious, what method did you use on the sticky plastic? The result looks perfect 馃槉

What battery is that and which battery monitor are you using?

Keep up the good work 馃憤馃徏
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Love this thread. Nice job!
The heat shielding for the ECU might be a good thing to consider. 馃憤馃徏 Although I can鈥檛 recall that I鈥檝e heard of many 159 that needed to replace it. Not as common as on the Busso anyway 馃檭

Curious, what method did you use on the sticky plastic? The result looks perfect 馃槉

What battery is that and which battery monitor are you using?

Keep up the good work 馃憤馃徏
Thank you.

In my country ECU failures on the 159 is pretty common. Quite a few owners have experienced it. Which is why I heat shielded the ECU and also got a used one as spare.

Sticky plastic was done at an interior restoration shop. They used IPA to rub off the rubber coating, then resprayed it with black paint.

Battery is an LiFePo4 70Ah 1200CCA batt from a local supplier. It was same price as an AGM batt so I thought it was a good deal, and it weighs only 6kg.

Battery monitor is an Ancel BM300. It comes with an Android app.

Link - 26.9US $ 30% OFF|ANCEL BM300 Car Battery Tester Auto 12V Car Battery Analyzer Android IOS Circuit Electrical System OBD2 Scanner Battery Tester|Car Battery Tester, Charging & Repair Tools| - AliExpress
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
Rocking Front Seats Edition

Like many 159 with power front seats, mine rock back and forth a little bit, especially when braking. I found this extremely annoying and just could not get used to the seat moving around like that. So I decided to get it fixed.

The source of the rocking is the power sliding rail. On the rail there is a bracket with a plastic bushing. Over time as you slide the chair back and forth, the steel screw rail wears down the plastic bushing and allows some free play. This free play is what causes the rocking motion. Apparently this is a common problem in many Italian cars, including Lamborghini Aventadors which use almost exactly the same mechanism on their seats.


The shop I sent it to removed the rails and sent them out to a machine shop who modified the bracket and replaced the worn plastic bushings with new ones made of brass. This should last a good long time as brass doesn't wear as quickly as plastic. And even if they do wear out long in the future, should be simple to machine some new ones.

Not a cheap fix, cost me around 拢250 for the custom machine shop work, but the car is so much more pleasant to drive now.

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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
Bluetooth Music Streaming Dongle Edition

Spotify music streaming is a must have in all my cars. Unfortunately the 159 did not come with this feature, nor did it have an Aux port that was needed for the regular BT dongles to work.

There are some cheap BT dongles in the market that are designed to work with the 159 head unit so I decided to give those a try.

Blue Plug
The blue plug BT dongle is the more commonly recommended one. It is supposed to emulate a CD changer (doesn't work if you already have a CD changer) and the steering wheel controls are supposed to work with it.

However, I bought two of these blue plug dongles from AliExpress to try and neither one of then worked properly. Both would pair with my phone and stream music. One would have volume so soft that it was useless, and the other only had sound coming out from one side of the speakers. So, in the end the blue plug ones didn't work for me.

Yellow Plug
The yellow plug ones hijack the phone audio stream. The one I got worked fine - I could pair it, select CD source, and it would stream music from Spotify properly.

To get it to work, I needed to have a USB drive with at least one MP3 song in it plugged into the USB slot in the glove box. The HU would show the name of the MP3 song, but audio playing would be from the Bluetooth stream playing Spotify. So I just used a silent MP3 and renamed it to 'BLUETOOTH', so that the HU screen would say 'BLUETOOTH' whenever I had Spotify streaming. Steering wheel track selection does not work with the yellow plug dongle, only volume does.

One major drawback of the yellow plug dongle is that Blue&Me phonecall audio no longer play thru the speakers as that channel has been hijacked by the BT dongle. Luckily, the dongle I bought had its own mic, so I unpaired my phone from Blue&Me and just use the yellow plug dongle for phonecalls also. This means the steering wheel controls for phonecalls also no longer work to make calls. Not an ideal compromise but I need Spotify more than I make phonecalls in the car.

Below is the link to the yellow plug dongle I got. Let me know if you have a better alternative.
7.97US $ 30% OFF|For Fiat Grande Punto Alfa 159 Bluetooth 5.0 Aux-in Cable Adapter For Alfa Romeo Audio Input Phone Calling Handsfree Microphone - Cables, Adapters & Sockets - AliExpress

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Bluetooth Music Streaming Dongle Edition

Spotify music streaming is a must have in all my cars. Unfortunately the 159 did not come with this feature, nor did it have an Aux port that was needed for the regular BT dongles to work.

There are some cheap BT dongles in the market that are designed to work with the 159 head unit so I decided to give those a try.

Blue Plug
The blue plug BT dongle is the more commonly recommended one. It is supposed to emulate a CD changer (doesn't work if you already have a CD changer) and the steering wheel controls are supposed to work with it.

However, I bought two of these blue plug dongles from AliExpress to try and neither one of then worked properly. Both would pair with my phone and stream music. One would have volume so soft that it was useless, and the other only had sound coming out from one side of the speakers. So, in the end the blue plug ones didn't work for me.

Yellow Plug
The yellow plug ones hijack the phone audio stream. The one I got worked fine - I could pair it, select CD source, and it would stream music from Spotify properly.

To get it to work, I needed to have a USB drive with at least one MP3 song in it plugged into the USB slot in the glove box. The HU would show the name of the MP3 song, but audio playing would be from the Bluetooth stream playing Spotify. So I just used a silent MP3 and renamed it to 'BLUETOOTH', so that the HU screen would say 'BLUETOOTH' whenever I had Spotify streaming. Steering wheel track selection does not work with the yellow plug dongle, only volume does.

One major drawback of the yellow plug dongle is that Blue&Me phonecall audio no longer play thru the speakers as that channel has been hijacked by the BT dongle. Luckily, the dongle I bought had its own mic, so I unpaired my phone from Blue&Me and just use the yellow plug dongle for phonecalls also. This means the steering wheel controls for phonecalls also no longer work to make calls. Not an ideal compromise but I need Spotify more than I make phonecalls in the car.

Below is the link to the yellow plug dongle I got. Let me know if you have a better alternative.
7.97US $ 30% OFF|For Fiat Grande Punto Alfa 159 Bluetooth 5.0 Aux-in Cable Adapter For Alfa Romeo Audio Input Phone Calling Handsfree Microphone - Cables, Adapters & Sockets - AliExpress

View attachment 971199
View attachment 971198
If you鈥檙e modernising the 159 I would suggest ditching the radio and adding a double din touch screen unit. That way you鈥檒l have Bluetooth, Spotify and calls. The steering wheel remotes will then work for volume and track up/down but not for the phone


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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
I thought about that and I have Android head units in all my other cars. Problem with the 159 is that the HU location is way at the bottom and useless for navigation. Right now I have my phone mounted landscape at top center dash to act as the screen for Waze and Spotify. I just need the HU to receive the Bluetooth stream and play it out thru the speakers. The cheap dongle works just fine for that. Not as cool as an Android head unit but does what I need it to do.

They do sell standalone screens which support wireless Android Auto/Carplay now. I may look into that in the future. Mount one top center dash and connect the phone to it via Android Auto. Let's see.
 

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Alfa 159 1.9 JTDm Sportwagon
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I love my android unit and with modern navigation apps like Waze the audio directions are excellent. The screen is large so it's easy to see at a glance what the visual directions are.


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Discussion Starter · #91 · (Edited)
2022 LED Bulbs Edition

I've always thought that LEDs - and whiter lights in general - really modernized the looks of the car. They also last a long time - 30k-50k hours for LED - compared to 1k hours for halogen bulbs and 10k for xenon/HID. I know this is a bit of a controversial topic with many people adamantly against retrofitting LEDs in cars that did not come with them from factory. I'm not here to debate the topic, just sharing my experience of trying to install LEDs in the 159. Also, I don't need to go thru a regular MOT test in my country, so it's not that much of an issue here.

LED tech has come a long way since they first launched years ago. LEDs of all shapes and sizes for all automotive use cases are cheap and abundant these days. Majority of the cheap sets come from China, but that's not to say they are no good. That said, not all LEDs are created equal, and false advertising is all over the place. When it comes to LED, price/brand really does not equate to quality. I did not have a great experience trying to install LEDs for the 159, so hopefully my experience will save some people some money from not making the same mistakes I did.

Headlight low/high beams
This was by far the best bang for the buck mod I've done to the 159 to date. My headlights were non-Xenon, so both low and high beam bulbs were H7. I went and got the cheapest well reviewed H7 LEDs I could find and installed them and they worked fantastically (you can see my earlier pics on Pg3 of this thread)! And it only cost me 拢20 for both low and high beams. The LEDs fit directly in the headlight housing, no modifying necessary (unlike when trying to retrofit HIDs). Tips when looking for LEDs for the headlights:
  • Look for CANBUS compatible LEDs. These come with built-in CANBUS decoders/resistors that prevent bulb error messages on the dash.
  • Even the lowest end LED will be brighter than a normal halogen bulb. I went with 12000LM (6000LM per bulb) and they were plenty bright.
  • Do pay attention to the LED bulb wattage. You want to try to keep it below 100W per bulb to prevent electrical issues.
  • IMPORTANT - Install the bulbs so that the LED chips are shining out at 3 and 9 o'clock positions. Else you will get a distorted beam pattern.
  • The bulb retention clips may not fit due to the LED bulb heatsink. In this case you may need to cable/wire tie the bulb in place. So this may be a headlight out job.
Side blinkers
This is another easy one to do, it's just plug & play. LED side blinkers nowadays are whole unit replacements, not just a bulb. They provide a full LED bar and some even come with a dynamic sweep pattern which is pretty cool. Below is the one I ordered and works with no errors.
18.65US $ 31% OFF|2pcs Led Dynamic Side Marker Lights Arrow Turn Signal Blinker Lamps For Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon Boera Spider Typ 939 2005-2012 - Signal Lamp - AliExpress

Rear license plate lights
Easy, plug & play, no errors. Gives a super bright white light shining on the license plate. This is the one I used.
9.9US $ 1% OFF|Canbus Error Free Rear Led Number License Plate Lights Kit For Alfa Romeo 147 156 159 166 Brera GT Spider Nuova Plug N Play|led alfa 147|alfa romeo platekit kits - AliExpress

Reverse lights
Easy, plug & play, no errors. The set I used was this:
7.14US $ 35% OFF|Auxito 2pcs P21w Ba15s Led Canbus 1156 Bay15d 1157 P21/5w Led Bulbs T15 R5w Car Lights 6500k White Brake Lights Reverse Lamp Drl - Signal Lamp - AliExpress

Confident from my earlier successes, I decided to try to see if I could change more bulbs to LED. Below are the ones I had limited or no success with. Alfa Romeo CANBUS is a beeyatch. In the below areas I simply could not get it to work without some sort of error despite using CANBUS LED bulbs.

Front turn signals and sidelights
The front turn signals are PY21W and the sidelights (the small bulb above the turn signal bulb) is W5W. The first cheap set I tried gave me errors on both turn signal and sidelight. Shortly after installation, one of the turn signal LEDs burned out. I then tried a 2nd more expensive set from a more reputable brand named MAXGTRS. This brand listed them as CANBUS error-free and also provided the per bulb wattage which I made sure was higher than the normal 21W and 5W CANBUS was expecting in these positions. Still, the 2nd set gave me errors even though they actually work. So I will be switching back to normal bulbs for these two positions.

Interior lights
This was another problematic install. The first set was a cheap China set which was specifically for the Alfa 159 and also listed as error free. When I installed it, the bulbs would glow when switched off, indicating that the built-in resistors were insufficient to make CANBUS happy. After a while, the front roof light would not even switch on, so I tossed it.

The 2nd set was a much more expensive set I got from an eBay UK seller called Ultimate Bulbs. This set provides a bright white interior light, but it still glows slightly when off. This is only evident in the roof lights. I can live with this as the glow is slight and looks a bit like ambient lighting in modern cars (pic below), so I will be keeping this set. Link to the set below:
Alfa Romeo 159 - Interior LED Light bulb Kit | High Quality | 2004-2011 | eBay

I hope this helps those of you looking at installing LED bulbs. Do let me know if you know of a set that works well, especially for the front turn signals and sidelights.
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2022 LED Bulbs Edition

I've always thought that LEDs - and whiter lights in general - really modernized the looks of the car. They also last a long time - 30k-50k hours for LED - compared to 1k hours for halogen bulbs and 10k for xenon/HID. I know this is a bit of a controversial topic with many people adamantly against retrofitting LEDs in cars that did not come with them from factory. I'm not here to debate the topic, just sharing my experience of trying to install LEDs in the 159. Also, I don't need to go thru a regular MOT test in my country, so it's not that much of an issue here.

LED tech has come a long way since they first launched years ago. LEDs of all shapes and sizes for all automotive use cases are cheap and abundant these days. Majority of the cheap sets come from China, but that's not to say they are no good. That said, not all LEDs are created equal, and false advertising is all over the place. When it comes to LED, price/brand really does not equate to quality. I did not have a great experience trying to install LEDs for the 159, so hopefully my experience will save some people some money from not making the same mistakes I did.

Headlight low/high beams
This was by far the best bang for the buck mod I've done to the 159 to date. My headlights were non-Xenon, so both low and high beam bulbs were H7. I went and got the cheapest well reviewed H7 LEDs I could find and installed them and they worked fantastically (you can see my earlier pics on Pg3 of this thread)! And it only cost me 拢20 for both low and high beams. The LEDs fit directly in the headlight housing, no modifying necessary (unlike when trying to retrofit HIDs). Tips when looking for LEDs for the headlights:
  • Look for CANBUS compatible LEDs. These come with built-in CANBUS decoders/resistors that prevent bulb error messages on the dash.
  • Even the lowest end LED will be brighter than a normal halogen bulb. I went with 12000LM (6000LM per bulb) and they were plenty bright.
  • Do pay attention to the LED bulb wattage. You want to try to keep it below 100W per bulb to prevent electrical issues.
  • IMPORTANT - Install the bulbs so that the LED chips are shining out at 3 and 9 o'clock positions. Else you will get a distorted beam pattern.
  • The bulb retention clips may not fit due to the LED bulb heatsink. In this case you may need to cable/wire tie the bulb in place. So this may be a headlight out job.
Side blinkers
This is another easy one to do, it's just plug & play. LED side blinkers nowadays are whole unit replacements, not just a bulb. They provide a full LED bar and some even come with a dynamic sweep pattern which is pretty cool. Below is the one I ordered and works with no errors.
18.65US $ 31% OFF|2pcs Led Dynamic Side Marker Lights Arrow Turn Signal Blinker Lamps For Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon Boera Spider Typ 939 2005-2012 - Signal Lamp - AliExpress

Rear license plate lights
Easy, plug & play, no errors. Gives a super bright white light shining on the license plate. This is the one I used.
9.9US $ 1% OFF|Canbus Error Free Rear Led Number License Plate Lights Kit For Alfa Romeo 147 156 159 166 Brera GT Spider Nuova Plug N Play|led alfa 147|alfa romeo platekit kits - AliExpress

Reverse lights
Easy, plug & play, no errors. The set I used was this:
7.14US $ 35% OFF|Auxito 2pcs P21w Ba15s Led Canbus 1156 Bay15d 1157 P21/5w Led Bulbs T15 R5w Car Lights 6500k White Brake Lights Reverse Lamp Drl - Signal Lamp - AliExpress

Confident from my earlier successes, I decided to try to see if I could change more bulbs to LED. Below are the ones I had limited or no success with. Alfa Romeo CANBUS is a beeyatch. In the below areas I simply could not get it to work without some sort of error despite using CANBUS LED bulbs.

Front turn signals and sidelights
The front turn signals are PY21W and the sidelights (the small bulb above the turn signal bulb) is W5W. The first cheap set I tried gave me errors on both turn signal and sidelight. Shortly after installation, one of the turn signal LEDs burned out. I then tried a 2nd more expensive set from a more reputable brand named MAXGTRS. This brand listed them as CANBUS error-free and also provided the per bulb wattage which I made sure was higher than the normal 21W and 5W CANBUS was expecting in these positions. Still, the 2nd set gave me errors even though they actually work. So I will be switching back to normal bulbs for these two positions.

Interior lights
This was another problematic install. The first set was a cheap China set which was specifically for the Alfa 159 and also listed as error free. When I installed it, the bulbs would glow when switched off, indicating that the built-in resistors were insufficient to make CANBUS happy. After a while, the front roof light would not even switch on, so I tossed it.

The 2nd set was a much more expensive set I got from an eBay UK seller called Ultimate Bulbs. This set provides a bright white interior light, but it still glows slightly when off. This is only evident in the roof lights. I can live with this as the glow is slight and looks a bit like ambient lighting in modern cars (pic below), so I will be keeping this set. Link to the set below:
Alfa Romeo 159 - Interior LED Light bulb Kit | High Quality | 2004-2011 | eBay

I hope this helps those of you looking at installing LED bulbs. Do let me know if you know of a set that works well, especially for the front turn signals and sidelights. View attachment 971304
Great post, thanks. I may have missed it, however have you a link for the replacement H7 headlight LED鈥檚?
 

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Alfa 159 1.9 JTDm Sportwagon
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Alfa 159 2.0 JTDm Lusso 6sp.
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I think it should also be mentioned that they are not street legal in the UK since the law was changed a couple of years back and should fail an MOT (yes I know the poster is not in the UK) They potentially could also void your insurance for having an undeclared and illegal mod. Not to mention halogen reflectors/projectors will never focus an LED bulbs beam accurately so the potential to dazzle others is likely. It's up to the individuals conscience of course. Sorry to sound like a miserable old git but the number of blinding HID and LED conversions done with factory halogen lights around here is silly.

.

 

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Heya, I've been on an LED bulb journey as well. For indicators, CANBUS error free ones I've found are:


Just make sure to order a double pack if you get it

In terms of brake lights, I've tested a fair few bulbs and had no luck whatsoever, I think installing resistors is unavoidable for these though I've yet to do that myself
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Great post, thanks. I may have missed it, however have you a link for the replacement H7 headlight LED鈥檚?
The brand is 'ANMINGPU' but I didn't put a link to the product because I could not find it anymore. It was literally the cheapest H7 LED I could find with CANBUS and good reviews. So I think you would be safe with most H7 CANBUS LEDs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #97 ·
I got my interior light set from here, perfect with no problems at all.

Thanks for that! The first China set of interior LEDs I got looked identical, from a different brand, but just would not work. Does your set still have a soft glow even when it's off?
 

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Discussion Starter · #98 ·
Heya, I've been on an LED bulb journey as well. For indicators, CANBUS error free ones I've found are:


Just make sure to order a double pack if you get it

In terms of brake lights, I've tested a fair few bulbs and had no luck whatsoever, I think installing resistors is unavoidable for these though I've yet to do that myself

Thanks for that! Will get a set to try out. I think I'm at the end of my LED journey. Quality is just too much of a hit and miss for me to experiment anymore. Maybe these turn signals will be my last set of LEDs for the 159.
 
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