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Discussion Starter #1
I went to my local Alfa dealer in Hitchin to ask about the ugrade from the 305mm discs to the 330mm discs plus Calipers. I told them that although my car was an 03, and outside the warranty period, as it had only 17800 miles on the clock, it was effectively equivalent to an 18month old car. This, on the assumption that the 3 years warranty period would equate to about 36k miles, and therefore as my car had not covered this mileage, it was unlikely to have come to a stage where the possible problem with the brakes would show itself as the car and brakes hadn't yet done the mileage.

I mentioned also that at around 80mph there IS a a judder when braking hard, so it could be that the discs are on the way out!!. The service desk cahp, who was actually very helpful, simply stated that they would not be able to test the car at those speeds (being that that woudl be breaking the law!!). I told him that there was no point in having brakes that did not match the cars performance potential!!

Anyhow he said he'd raise the query with his manager in January. I asked him what the upgrade would cost and he told me that they had had one done to GTA last year and the cost to the warranty company was around £800, and this was at reduced work/parts rates for warranty work. As a non warranty job, it would cost around £1200 :eek:

Anyhow, if this was supposed to be a warranty job, then I will try to argue that even though the warranty has expired, given the low mileage and low use by the former owner, the car ought to justify it being done even after the warranty expires. If they absolutely refuse to do it, then I don't want to be spending £1200 on the brakes, but I do think they need to be improved, so what are my options for after market kits - can I get a spacer to move my current caliper out if I get an aftermarket 330mm disc?

Comments anyone? Was the brake upgrade considered by Alfa as a necessity or just a case of "nice to have, but the standard will actually do"?

Cheers

Per
 

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Good luck Per....I went and bought the brake upgrade from the dealer...Cost circa £600 for all the parts required...Its an option if they don't pay for it....

Phil
 

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if you dont get the upgrade out of them which i would be suprised if you do then you should be looking at the following

Ferodo DS2500 pads on the front
Ferodo DS2000 (performance) pads on the rear
OEM disks all round (unless you want to look fancy then go grooved)
Braided brake lines
race spec brake fluid (sorry, i forget the name)

these upgrades will cost you a LOT less than the one your pushing for but give you a huge improvement in braking power.

best of luck.
 

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Per - the difference between the 305's and 330's is night and day! I would bother spending any cash at all on the 305mm set up - just save up and get the bigger brkes. The 330 calipers dome up from time to time on egay - search for 330 brembo rather than just gta brembo as they were fitted to quiter a few different types of cars.
 

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Hi Per,

My GTA is a 2005 model which had the 330mm front brakes fitted as standard, and they are very effective & well matched to the the car's accelerative and top speed performance.

There were road test comments on the earlier GTA's which described the brakes as being a weak point, and the fact that Alfa upgraded to 330 would indicate their admission to it being a necessity rather than a nicety. So my advice is to keep on pushing Alfa for warranty upgrade, and if necessary take your argument beyond the local dealer to senior Alfa UK management.... you might get a better result.

AM
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies guys. I think I will try the arguement that even though the 36 month warranty has elapsed, the car has not covered the mileage and the brake upgrade should technically be covered. If Alfa did it under warranty work, then that must be an admission of a flaw, one which should be corrected for the safety of the car user, and for the reputation of Alfa.

If they absoultely refuse to do it, then I will push to get the kit at a discounted rate as I can either get the work done by a mate or do it myself - I have rebuilt a car before from ground up, so this would not be too tough a job!!

I wil keep a look out on ebay as well as suggested.

Cheers

Per
 

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Per I doubt you will get anywhere, I have an excellent relationship with my dealer, but still couldn't get one when my discs needed replacing at less than 20K and on a two year old car.:(
 

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Dear Dude,
My 156 gta (2002)o2 plate has just been upgrade F.O.C @ Alfa romeo (arnold clark perth scotland), as i moaned to alfa uk , they gace me a case number + was told to appraoch the dealer to get the brakes checked for waping, they did ,it had warping. 3 months passes + the go ahead was given , i lost my spare wheel , but got fantastic service from alfa UK, and it cost me not a bolt!!!!!, my car was out of warranty by 1 year, and happy days!!!! hope this hel:) ps man!!
 

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Per
I did exactly the same as MrI above, I complained like hell to Alfa, and got mine done at my local dealer (DBS in Hertford).
The brakes were very poor on my car, so I basically said that as they were refusing to have the work done then they are in my eyes admitting responsibility if anything should happen due to inneffective brakes that Alfa have fitted to my car. Got a reply within a week agreeing to the work (have a read on the brake thread) . Now not saying this will happen again, but its worth a shot.

AG
 

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Here in Greece the spare parts for both calipers, disks, and brake pads cost around 1100 euro.

The thing is that can be fitted on V6 cars with big offsets on wheels like those of the GTAs.
If you don't have these specification you will need probably to manufacture an aluminium adaptor so as to fit the calipers. In some you may also have to change the wishbones of the front suspension with those from a 3.2 V6.
Both of the above raise the cost.

I ve driven a 147 GTA with 305mm disks and the old calipers and a GT 3.2 V6 with the updated set of 330mm disks and the new caliper set.
The braking difference is better on strength and much more better in durability and performance through time.
 

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Felleas said:
The thing is that can be fitted on V6 cars with big offsets on wheels like those of the GTAs.
If you don't have these specification you will need probably to manufacture an aluminium adaptor so as to fit the calipers. In some you may also have to change the wishbones of the front suspension with those from a 3.2 V6.
Both of the above raise the cost.
The thread is about upgrading an early GTA from 305mm to the 330mm brakes, so they fit straight on.

Re your comment on wishbones, you are thinking about the front upright, that only applies to non GTAs (ie any 147/156/GT that doesn't have the 3.2V6 engine).
 

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mritaly said:
Dear Dude,
My 156 gta (2002)o2 plate has just been upgrade F.O.C @ Alfa romeo (arnold clark perth scotland), as i moaned to alfa uk , they gace me a case number + was told to appraoch the dealer to get the brakes checked for waping, they did ,it had warping. 3 months passes + the go ahead was given , i lost my spare wheel , but got fantastic service from alfa UK, and it cost me not a bolt!!!!!, my car was out of warranty by 1 year, and happy days!!!! hope this hel:) ps man!!
Got to pay them a visit on tuesday for a service and a final chack over before the warrenty runs out. As the brakes are juddering again I will give it another go. I must admit they were falling over themselves to help last time I was there with a irritating suspension knock.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Cheers guys. I will see what the garage have to say. If it is a NO, then I will get the details of Alfa UK and contact them. It is certainly worth pursuing as the fact that the brakes were changed on some cars under warranty implies that ALL should have been recalled for this upgrade, however Alfa's view probably was that most would not really notice the performance improvement, or woudl not use the car in a manner which would require superior braking - i.e most would drive it fairly normally, and not cane it. This ought to have been classified as a safety recall - irrespective of whether warranty was current or not!

There was a recall in respect of the pipe for the power steering reservoir being too close to the exhaust and that this "could" cause a fire. I asked if this work had been done on mine and they checked the chassis details and confirmed it had been done. This was after the warranty period had expired, as it was a "safety" matter, and therefore if the brakes are not up to the job of stopping a car capable of 155mph (whether this speed can be done legally or not in the UK - it can be done in Germany - this to my mind is a "safety" issue and comes under the same category as having the power steering reservoir pipe modified, and that is the arguement I will take with them if they refuse to carry the work out.

We'll see what Lisles of Hitchin have to say when I speak with them next. If they refuse I might try DBS in Hertford as they are not much further away from me than Lisles of Hitchin.

Cheers

Per
 

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I think you're getting confused about what the warranty is for. It's to replace defective parts, caused by poor materials or construction.

If your brake discs warped, Alfa only have to give you replacement discs, until the warranty period runs out. In fact they upgraded some cars to bigger discs and calipers, probably for an extra margin of durability on cars that are suffering extreme use, as you summised but they didn't have to. They could have just supplied another set of 305mm discs.

There's nothing wrong with your brakes. The warranty does not cover "crap brakes", so complaining about how they can't stop the car from 155mph means you just have to be a bit more careful than if you had 400mm ceramic rotors and 10-piston calipers fitted.

It sounds like you just want the 330mm disc and bigger calipers to satisfy your ego, for the want of a better word. But if your brakes aren't broken, as opposed to just "poor" (however you define that) then it's a bit unrealistic and unreasonable to expect AR to pay for an upgrade.

Ralf S.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I disagree. If for example a car is made out as a performance model, and the manufacturer only puts brakes on that will stop a car effectively from 70mph, because after all that is all you are allowed to do legally (!!), then there is a design flaw in the car - the brakes should be fit for the purpose they were intended for - the car can do well in excess of the speed limit - the brakes should therefore be capable of operating at the most extreme end of the cars perfeormance range.

It has nothing to do with ego, it has to do with the comfort of knowing that the brakes will work 100% perfectly, 100% of the time, and not 100% perfectly for say 80% of the time, afterall, if you are an honest driver, 80% of the time (or even less) you will be well withing the speed limits and therefore well within the braking capacity of the system (all with the assumption that you aren't driving like a ******** or a lunatic, on icey roads or on wet roads etc)

The 156 had a recall as there was a "risk of fire due to the power steering reservoir pipe being too close to the exhaust". How many cars actually caught fire from this? - probably none, but if Alfa saw this as a potential risk, then the fact that even 1 single car has had to have its discs upgraded to better quality (which just happen to be larger), then this should have been a proper recall by Alfa for all GTA's. Why should a GTA owner treat this like a lottery - one day the brakes are good, the next they fail - just when they are needed- and this doesn't mean that there has to be any ridiculous speed involved? I might need to rely heavily on my brakes at 60mph in an emergency on a dual carriageway, - what if they failed to stop the car safely due to excessive disc warping, leading to excessive wheel judder, which could possibly prevent the ABS from functioning correctly etc etc.??

Alfa probably however weighed up the risks and felt that the cost of this upgrade (Lisles of Hitchin told me it cost the warranty company around £800) to, say about, 1000 cars = £800,000 (how many 156 and 147 GTA's were sold?), compared to probably £100-£150 to do the power steering fluid pipe modification on 1000 cars - £100000-£150000, meant that they were better off dealing with the brake issue individually as and when it arose.

As to what a warranty covers - if the power steering fluid pipe issue was a defective pipe, it would have been much more serious. This was work done under warranty because the part had not been correctly specified, just like the potential issue with the brakes. Afterall, there was probably nothing "defective" with the parts or materials used in this power steering fulid pipe, it just was not correctly specified in regards to how it should have been plumbed in to the system in relation to the position of the exhaust. You can therefore extract from that that if the brakes have a risk of judder, the parts used should be changed to minimise or eliminate this risk. If this means that there was a batch of poorly manufactured discs, what does Alfa do - recall all or wait till the problem arises. I would suggest the cost effective solution is to simply deal with the matter when it arises.

You commented also that the warranty was to cover defective parts caused by poor construction or materials - As has been said previously, many find the original fitment brakes adequate for the job - it may be that their cars have a better batch of brakes - who knows? The general consensus always has been though that the car was always under braked for its performance and for the nose heavy nature of the V6 up front.

It is not unreasonable of me to expect Alfa to change the brakes - if they are poorly specified, or from a bad batch of discs, then it is Alfa's responsibility to rectify this. As stated earlier, with a car only having covered 17500 miles, but where it is over 3 years old, there will not have been enough opportunities for it to be used ain the same way that a car of the same age but with twice the mileage would have been used. It is not necessarily the age that dictated when a part might fail, but in many cases, the mileage that has been covered will also have an effect, particularly on something that is subject to the punishment that brakes can get.

If Alfa decline to make the change for me (and I suspect they will, as this will be their policy - warranty has expired etc etc) then I will pursue it as far as I can.

As regards the 400mm rotors etc, there is clealy a limit to what can be done to avoid a car being over braked - that is as dangerous as being under braked, and in my experience, whilst the brakes are OK, they are by no means to the standard they should be for a nose heavy 250bhp FWD car - the car is very close to being considered as being underbraked.

Anyhow, enough of my rant

Per
 

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I'm with you Per in so much as obviously the 305mm brakes fitted to many (maybe not all) GTA's are not up to the task of stopping the car reliably from reasonable road speeds.

If you read the 'definative brake upgrade thread' you'll find many GTA'ers didnt abuse their cars on road or take them on track and yet many had the warping issues, in some cases over and over.
Surely when Alfa starting fitting the 330mm brakes they where admitting that the 305mm set up was not up to the job.

However, once the car is out of its Manufacturers warranty period (regardless of mileage) surely you can't expect Alfa UK to replace your brakes - shouldn't this matter be between yourself and the dealer you bought it from?

Just my 2 cents worth, glad I held out for a car with the big ones already fitted.

Good luck with your mission to upgrade Per, hope you get a result.
 

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by what I've seen and read, Alfa don't really give a stuff about the cars once they've been sold, the cambelt issue's on the 4pots show this to be so in my eyes, but what has been said I expect is correct however the upgrade I recieved was after 2 sets of discs warped (std 305mm) and then a failure in the master cylinder, I'd had enough and complained very hard, and got the upgrade as a result. Good luck per you can do but try. If not go the AutoDelta route.
 

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Yes... but your brakes aren't actually defective, are they?

Sure they may not work that great but if my tyres get a bit skitty on a greasy road, I don't bring them back for stickier (free) replacements under warranty.

All I'm saying is there's a difference between "broken" and just "poor". I'm not convinced you appreciate it.

The brake-pipe fire issue is clearly a safety recall as cars catching fire without warning is not very desirable. If your brakes just fade without warning (as opposed to just fade) then that sounds like you have a fault in the brake system, never mind the discs and pads. If they fade after 12 laps of Oulton park then you have to own up and just drive within the limits of the equipment.

Ralf S.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
So when they do actually fail to stop me, can I then argue that they were defective, or should I not insist that they "might" be defective and that therefore they ought to be changed, irrespective of whether the warranty has expired or not.

A skydiver carries with him a reserve parachute and generally 99.9% of the time he will not need it. Should he therefore rely on this average and get rid of it altogether and jump using just his main parachute or make sure that the both his reserve and main are in top condition so that for the one crucial moment when he needs it it will save his life when it matters most?

I agree, cars catching fire without warning is certainly not a good thing, but then cars whose brakes fail, due to warped discs is equally well, not a good thing. Where does one draw the line between what should and what should not be done? In Alfa's position I believe it is based on the cost of doing the power steering pipe compared to the cost of the Brakes.

As for not appreciating the difference between "broken" and just "poor", I disagree with you. If it was broken due to manufacturing fault, then Alfa should pick up the tab, if it was broken due to driver abuse then clearly the driver should shoulder the cost, but if it was just plain poor to start with, which is what the exisiting brakes arguably are, then why should that be accepted by any GTA owner?

If it is poor, then there is clearly a justification in claiming that Alfa are responsible for recitfying, particularly where safety comes in. If it was a case of poor quality leather being used, or poor quality carpets internally, then that would be reflected in the price of the car when new, but when you part with the best part of nearly £28k, as the GTA cost when new, then there is every reason to expect that none of it should be regarded as poor. If the new cost was for arguement sake £8k, then clearly you get what you pay for - the original Skoda's for example (not the newer VW based ones).

As for driving within the limits of the system, firstly how do you find out what they are until you have actually exceeded the limits, by which point if you are on a public road you are either going nearly flat out or are already dead!! As I stated earlier, if the speed limit here in the UK is 70mph, then why not make all cars brakes good only up to that speed. Beyond that and there is no fault but your own? What do they do then when the GTA is owned by someone who lives in Germany with ready access to the Autobahn, and where they can drive at the cars stated maximum speed? Do they provide superior brakes for German models because the limits of the braking system are more readily accessed than by UK drivers? Clearly therefore Alfa should engineer the model to meet the most extreme situations. They do that when they weather test them - we don't get winter temperatures down to -40C or summer temps of +50C but the cars are still tested to these extremes because of the fact that they need to be able to cope at the limits of their endurance. This principle has to apply to all factors of a car, so there is no reason why the brakes should be regarded as "OK" when in fact the should be "excellent" - ALWAYS, not just occasionally.

For me, I expect a performance car like the GTA to have brakes that are 100% reliable, 100% of the time. Don't get me wrong, I love the car, but it does have what I consider to be a critical weakness, and any item is only as good as its weakest element!!

I had a Renault Megane 225, for a short while before the Alfa, It was the Trophy model which had a number of crucial upgrades that Renault felt were necessary following criticisms of the first models of the Megane 225 that were released - namely wallowy suspension and very poor braking - Renault's answer was to release a Cup Pack which is now available as an option on all the 225's, and one which any serious driver opts for. Basically what Renault did, along with stiffening the suspensin, was to improve the master cylinder and increase the size of calipe'sr pistons (which were also Brembo's - the disc's if I recall were 325mm, and the car weighed in ad around 100kg less than the 156 GTA), and fit drilled discs - they were not any bigger than those fitted to the earlier Megane 225's, but having driven the standard 225 model before getting the Trophy version, I can tell you that the difference was like chalk and cheese. The standard 225 was fine for pootling about, but for any serious driving (which yes, you can still do on public roads without needing a track) the Trophy brakes were simply phenomenal. They were so good that they would pull you up so hard on a dry road that your head would swim! This is what the Alfa is clearly missing, and the solution that they found was the larger calipers and the 330mm brakes.

The current brakes are good, but simply put, not good enough.

As regards your analogy with the tyres, I would argue that if I bought a top brand of tyres that did not perform as they were supposed to then you would be in your rights to bring them back. The general ruel is I believe "fit for the purpose intended". If you put on slicks and skidded on a wet road, you'd be stuffed, but if you put on premium tyres and they still broke away then they tyres could be faulty, and you could be in your rights to argue that they were faulty. I would think however that this would be harder to prove than a matter like a warped disc or a poorly manufactured disc.

Any how, I will still see what Alfa have to say - if you don't ask you won't know, and perhaps Alfa are counting on the fact that many will either not bother or be put off by the effort required to get what should have been there in the first place. We'll see what happens - a few guys on here have been successful, so there is no reason not to try.

As regards the warranty period, the power steering pipe alteration was done on my car outside the warranty period, so why should that therefore be any different to attending to the issue with the brakes- whether they are faulty or not? if there is a risk of them warping, (as there was a risk of fire with the power steering fluid pipe) then they should be looked at and changed. It is still an existing risk that can be eliminated by Alfa changing the brakes.

Cheers

Per
 

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Per changed my brakes across today definately get it done...Just running the std disks on DS2500 pads but pedal feel it a lot better with better inital bite as well....Bedded them in and they seem to be working perfectly definately a lot better than the smaller ones...If you can wangle a set from Alfa good on you, if you can't its definately worth spending the cash on them...

Phil
 
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