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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Have not had a good run with the 156 lately. 2001 Twin Spark Monza, 33,000kms. Have always been serviced by Alfa Romeo main dealer workshop.

Gearbox originally came out after 2,000kms to fix a broken tooth under warranty. Only did about 25,000kms over the next 12 years and then started using it more in the last couple of years, and it's up to 33,000kms now. Last year's service = gearbox out to fix a minor oil leak. This year the service was all supposedly ok but 1 week later, the clutch slave cylinder failed, and the car was non-driveable - towed back to Alfa & the gearbox came out again to replace the clutch slave cylinder. 3 weeks later, on Monday, the front left ball joint totally failed. My wife was very lucky to not have a big accident. She was stranded in the middle lane of a major road though, with no steering. Managed to be rescued safely and towed back to Alfa where they confirmed total failure of ball joint which disintegrated. They replaced ball joint tie rod end and steering rack end, no charge. I guess they know it could have gone really bad for us.

Thoughts?
 

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Was it the ball-joint on the gearbox side of the car (LHD?) With the number of times that gearbox has been out, I would have thought the joint has been weakened and damaged ... they normally last quite a time.

But I've popped a ball-joint from an upper arm before when I was a bit enthusiastic with the hammer!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Was it the ball-joint on the gearbox side of the car (LHD?) With the number of times that gearbox has been out, I would have thought the joint has been weakened and damaged ... they normally last quite a time.

But I've popped a ball-joint from an upper arm before when I was a bit enthusiastic with the hammer!
it's a right hand drive, and it was the left side ball joint that failed. I thought the gearbox was in the middle! Does the ball joint have to come apart or get disturbed in some way when you take the gearbox out?
 

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There are 3 ball joints on each side of the front suspension (and also a 4th one under the steering rack gaitor, not to mention the 2 in each anti roll bar drop link, though failure of the drop link won't be catastrophic). Depending on how things went with the gearbox removal, they could have split any or all of them. So definitely worth having a word with the garage who did the work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We towed it straight back to them. They admitted it could have been from taking out the gearbox so many times and acknowledged it could have been a very bad accident.

They said it was the "ball joint at the tie rod end" and they replaced both the "tie rod end and rack end" with new parts.

Whatever it was, the wheel was completely pointing in the wrong direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was very nervous driving the car on the weekend. I'm slightly less perturbed if I understand correctly that the ball joints need to be split to remove the gearbox, hence there's an explanation for the failure and it wasn't just an undetectable random occurrence.....
 

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I would have said it was probably some wear but the number of times that joint has been split would have not have helped. I'd get the o/s done too and take all the concerns away!
 
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