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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, this is my first post here, apologies if its in the wrong place, HUGE site to navigate.....

I , or my wife , have a problem with our 1.6 TS 156 on a 51 reg.

After scraping the ice off the windows, the wife began her normal 9 mile journey to work, she started the car and had the de-mist on hot to help clean the windows of ice. she got 3 miles or so in to the journey and the heat/ temp dial went right over the 90 mark and a nasty light apparently came on, she pulled over ( well.....slid sideways..like you do ) turned off for a few moments to " cool down " ( it was minus 3 outside ) another 3 miles further... the same again, so she called it a day and called the AA. The car came home on the back of a recovery wagon. I had put anti freeze in about 3 weeks ago in anticipation of the bad weather to come, only owning this car ( my first alfa ) for about 2 months or so I thought prevention would be best and popped in some anti freeze. When the car came home, I started it up and waited for the needle to rise, it did, slowly untill I had reasonably hot air ( temp on hot max ).... strange i thought. So I went for a little plod round the block, all was fine, went a bit further, keeping an eye on things. When the car was in Idle when I first started it the temp climbed to around 80. As soon as i started driving, the temp started to drop fairly rapidly to around 50 and the warm air blowers were getting real cold, Then the radiator fan kicked in.... at 50 degrees...... Since owning the car, the temp gauge would read at about 50 during normal driving and would climb to just over 90 if sat about in a car park for instance, and then the fan would kick in and drop the temp to about 75ish.....is my thermostat knackered ????? did it freeze ????? oh.....I lifted the oil filler cap ( paranoia ) and there was VERY VERY light discolouration of the oil on the cap , my first of 2 thoughts on this was, a lot of heat caused by the earlier mentioned overheat caused a little condesation which has resulted in this discolouration or the unthinkable.......Head gasket...... I have had a tough time convincing the wife that this leather clad italian is the car for us, she was coming around.....and now this.....please help....I don't want a 97 VW polo !!!!!
 

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Yes you stat is busted which is why the temp is low while you drive but heats up when you stop in traffic. Ok good test for the head gasket. test 1. which cap have you checked? oil or water. If a little sludge in oil cap this is ok. if in header tank then not ok. 2. Now check the dip stick. What is the oil reading? If its massivly over filled then yes its gone. If normal then test 2 passed. If you are ok on 1 and 2 then you may just have an air lock. As you look at the car from the front at the top of the rad on the left hand side is a bleed point. Open the bonnet and feel under the slam panel to the back of the rad. Its a little plastic screw you can undo with you fingers. Undo and see if air is in there. When liquid flows screw back in. re fill header tank. Start car and run it up with the headtank cap off and the heat fans on max. This should clear any airlocks. Just before header boils over put cap on and take for a spin. See if all is well. When you get back check the hose that goes from the stat to the top of the rad on the right hand side. If its very hard then the gasket is weaping and pressurising the system. You know as if you bleed the rad again air will be present. If all is passed then you may find the water pump has failed and so you aren't getting the circulation while driving on a longer journey causing it to over heat. Lots to look at my friend but hopefully you can get an idea. report back with any syptoms and we can advise.

Welcome to AO by the way :thumbs:
 

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Thermostat is clearly failed.

As for the coolant:
What did you use?
Did you drain and refil or just take a little out and top up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi, thanks for the reply. I have checked both the oil cap on top of the engine and also the header tank. There is nothing in the header tank ( just coolant ) but as mentioned, a light film just on the underside of the oil fill cap. The dip stick is showing just over halfway on the levels and shows no signs of anything other than oil. Both of the fat pipes that come out of the rad to the top and bottom end of the engine and hot-ish to the touch and are easily compressed which then shows in the water header tank when squashed ( sloshing about ) . Again, thanks for the reply. I will have another look at it in a while once my hands thaw out a little !!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi David, thanks for the reply. I only drained off a litre of coolant that was present and replaced with anti freeze, It was the -15 variety, I have just brought a new -37 brand which promises good things.... bloody dear too !!!!
 

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Drain the coolant completely and fill with fresh new coolant.
If you are changing from blue coolant to red coolant, drain it completely, refit pipe, fill with just water, run for a few minutes, drain completely again, refit pipe and fill with the new coolant.


As for the oil, get that to the max mark on the dipstick (10W40 SemiSynthetic)
 

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Do as Dc says,

If the problem persists then its one of two problems that I can think of.

Waterpump
New rad
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, the wife got back from work ok today, she said the car drives and feels as normal, although the blower is only blowing tepid air when the heat is on max, checked all the oil and water/coolant and all seems fine there, So would this suggest the thermostat is dead and semi open hence not alowing the warmth to get through ?
 

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Thermostat has stuck open.
Coolant is being over cooled (if she had looked she would have seen the temp gauge sitting at 50...).
Cold coolant = cold heater.


With a working thermostat, the gauge should sit close to 90, even in this weather.

And you still need to completely replace the coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It all makes sense when someone in the know explains it . I have priced up the thermostat at £35.00 which I thought was quite reasonable. Now..... how easy is it to change the little devil.

I think the best course of action would be to flush the system , replace thermo, top up with fresh and fingers crossed.

Thanks DavidC for the help.
 

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As Joss has mentioned, another possibility is that the cooling system has air in it, which could explain the lack of heat from the heater & the erratic temperature gauge readings. That could also explain the apparent anomaly between temperature gauge readings & the fans coming on -the fan switch & temperature gauges may use different sensors.

I'm not familiar with the 156 but a lot of cars need to be "burped", for want of a better word, to completely remove air from the cooling system. After bleeding at the bleed valves, run the engine with the cap off the expansion tank until the thermostat opens; there will be a sudden big bubble of air in the expansion tank, followed by a drop in coolant level, as the last of the air is expelled.
 

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The 156 cooling system is very good at self bleeding, but he needs to change the coolant anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Burping the bubbles is going to be job #1 on tomorrows list, Oh I really hope its something quite easy to remedy, I'm supposed to be driving the wife and kids on a 180 mile round trip christmas day to the folks for christmas diner.

Why do Alfas look so damn good, You want to curse it but end up crying because you love it !!!!!
 

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I have priced up the thermostat at £35.00 which I thought was quite reasonable. Now..... how easy is it to change the little devil.
Reasonably easy.
But check hose sizes and get new Jubilee clips.
Some of the original clips are not reusable.

Obviously it is possible that they have already been replaced with reusable clips, but check before you start the job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It looks like one heck of a lump, way more of a lump compared to my old Pug 406 bath plug thing, Yeah, I did notice that there were a few large pipes to connect, Luckily it comes with a clamp set. I'm not really mechanicaly minded so a few curses may end up fired out under the bonnet along with some missing knuckle skin....
 

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The other thing I'll mention is that if you are reusing your original temperature sensor, remove it from the thermostat BEFORE you remove the thermostat from the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, after all of the help from you guy's, The diagnoses was correct, My thermostat was indeed south for the winter.

I brought the new one lastnight ( £32.17 ) And set about bleeding the coolant and replacing the old one.

I have litteraly just cooked my face !!!! The heating is seriously hot !!!!

As stated by you guys, My temp gauge should hover around the 90 mark at all times, it does just that....with glorious hot air filling the cabin. However, I could not for the life of me get the fan to kick in, took it for a little of the round the block treatment to coax up the temp, still no fan. Is this an issue ????

As for the removal and fitting well it went like this..... One knuckle, two knuckle, three knuckle....please no more. A little bloodshed across the engine ( CSI dream ) a few random swear words and jobs a good 'un !!!!

Thanks a lot guys for the help, Most appreciated.

Rich
 

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...However, I could not for the life of me get the fan to kick in, took it for a little of the round the block treatment to coax up the temp, still no fan. Is this an issue ????
Not an issue if it is sitting at 90.
The fan shouldn't be on at that time unless the A/C is on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Brill, David, thanks for all of your tips and advice, things went a lot smoother than first thought, the advice was spot on....and I must confess that tinkering around down there gave me a bit of a fright, theres a whole lot of stuff under there !!!!

Thanks again !!
 
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