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Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: February 15th, 2016, 1:09 pm
by Will01
Had to do a little more on the Alfa, unfortunately the battery red light popped up on the dash on the way to work one morning.
When i got home i did a simple volt check to see if the battery was being charged, low and behold nothing!
Therefore alternator regulator had packed in. Not too bothered since it was still the original alternator and it has done 125k miles.

Now the removal of such an alternator on these cars is a right old pig as it is at the back of the engine down low and there is no access space.
TO remove the subframe needs to be lowered which is a huge amount of work. Having looked at this however i decided i only needed to rermove the black regulator and inspect. I had already purchased another alternator, so i decided i would give it a shot to swap rather than do a massive job.
I had to remove the belt and unbolt the alterator and rotate it around to access the back panel. Then reverse of removal of regualtor and then bolt everything back up again. 4.5hrs later the car is back to working again. However missing quite alot of skin from the backs of my hands.
To remove subframe etc in the book it says 9hr job.

However the other alternator i have will now get a brand new regulator pack and i will be stripping it down to thoroughly clean and then replace the bearings. Much like a refurb unit.

At the same time i also fitted the alloy undertray, this is to try and stop the engine bay getting any more grubby as my car has not had an undertray since i have owned it.
First impressions are that it fits well. However when it does ground on big bumps on our road it makes a inappropriate of a noise.
However this i feel is more down to the suspension which is crying out to be changed as the damping is not soo great anymore.
Next job on the list is to fit some nice coilovers as this is the last planned upgrade and hopefully will be the final upgrade to this car. It is very close and almost there.

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: August 6th, 2016, 7:31 pm
by Will01

Yes you read correctly!
Driving car home along a local A road, was braking and then had a front suspension failure! Steering wheel was pulled out my hands and then dragged across the wrong side of the road. Realised very quickly that braking was a bad idea so then started to feather these as much as i could hold in the car. Same time i was using almost all of left lock to try and steer the car back to the correct side of the road and eventually get her stopped somewhere safe(ish)!

Got out and saw front right hand wheel wedged into bulkhead and beind arch running alot of negative camber and toeing out a huge amount whilst the wheel on the other side pointing the other way.
I did managed to move the car a 100yds down the road and into safety. Very busy A road and i was only lucky no traffic was coming towards me.

When i got recovered and got home i had now lost drive as the driveshaft had pulled completely out of the outer hub.

Now your asking what failed and why?
Well i had fitted aftermarket arms a couple years back and had polybushed them. When fitting them i had used factory torque settings to make sure they were held on hard and fast. This is where i find the problem is.
The arms i fitted were aftermarket arms and un be known to me they had used a softer grade of steel for the front mounts. Apparently many garages have noticed issues fitting as threads have stripped when torqued to factory settings or bolts coming loose.

I had also found another fellow Alfisti who had a failure on Nurburgring, however the damage on his car was far less severe.

Inner arch smashed to pieces, new driveshaft required, new suspension arms new tyre and some other repairs required.
Not as bad as it could have been and i count myself very lucky.
I will never fit Aftermarket suspension or other critical parts again!
I had an aftermarket timing belt tensioner fail recently and have had other aftermarket parts fail aswell.

To fix the problem i have sourced new high tensile bolts to same grade as original bolts. 8.8. New TRW lower arms, this means the torque applied will be held correctly and for a long time. I have sent bolts to my local engineer to drill the heads to accept lockwire(like they did in the good ole days of racing). I have also made sure the bolts are slightly long so i can fit nylock nuts as an extra counter measure.
Might seem extreme, but my wife uses this car with my kids and i cannot risk this happening to them. I also know that they will never give up.

I have also taken opportunity to give the discs to the same engineer for a skim as i am fitting new Performance Friction carbon ceramic pads.
New stainless braided flexi hoses to be fitted aswell as i am not sure if these have been pulled when wheel pulled back in arch.

I am very careful with every part i buy, but just goes to show there are many inferior products out there which we must be aware of. Is saving a couple of quid on a part really worth it when it could end your life if it goes wrong? OE is a good way to go.

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: August 6th, 2016, 9:04 pm
by Spider 1969
Glad to read you are ok Will! Succes with your repairs.


Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: August 30th, 2016, 11:31 am
by Will01
Still not fixed as there is one part i cannot source and it is not available and no signs of ever being available and i do not want to drive the car without one.
Turns out to be the GTA inner wheel arch liners!!
Yes a silly piece of crappy plastic is holding back fixing the car. There is a guy selling a liner for something like £400 and he can go take a jump off a bridge. Its a £80 part and just because it is now rare its worth a fortune!! FFS

So i have decided to bite the bullet and contact some carbon fibre & glass fibre specialists to see if they are interested in making some for me and maybe start a group buy for other people. Turns out i am not the only one wanting a liner or 2!!
As a temporary measure we are going to construct one liner out of a standard 156 liner and the outer most piece that still survives of my GTA liner. They are slightly wider than standard due to rolled and flared arches from the factory.
TIme to get practice with fibre repair and some rivets haha

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: October 2nd, 2017, 8:35 pm
by Will01
So this year i was driving fast on a twisty b road within the limits i must add with my wife following in the family car and the rear suspension failed mid corner! DOH!

Rear spring seat rusted through and dropped on the tyre. Lucky no harm done apart from another dent in the pride.

After inspection it really should have been caught sooner....... saying that i inspected the struts a week prior as i put new discs and pads on the rear and although it looked crusty. It had the look of only surface corrosion and just not pretty. How wrong i was!

Every cloud has a silver lining, so decided to treat the old girl for new shiny suspension. Good excuse to order what i have always wanted for her.
KW V3 fully adjustable coilovers on the way.
They being made to order while i type, so i can't wait till they arrive. Really need to sort out the cosmetics on this car now as the mechanicals are now almost all replaced haha.
Scary pictures to follow!

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: November 10th, 2017, 7:54 pm
by Will01
I promise for those who are interested I will post pictures soon.
But the kw v3 coilovers are fitted and the car is back on the road again.
First impressions....... need get alignment done. Very sensitive and you can feel it dragging a front wheel so need that sorted.
Toe front, toe rear and rear camber are adjustable. I also need a good flat surface to double check the corner heights. I am not corner weighting the car, But if I find I do because of track work, then I will post again.

Second impressions ignoring above, the actual rate of damping and stiffness from the springs is outstanding and it still only set on default settings. I do think the rear can be stiffened a it more, But no point until alignments done.
Happy so far and can't wait to get alignment done. 3 week wait at my local body repair shop to get on proper 4 hub alignment.

The process of upgrade was not all straight forward due to a few night bolts. Some had to get cut off and drilled out!
Also all 4 arches up tip were very crusty but thankfully solid so I took the time to grind back as best I could and then treat rust. Etch prime. Red oxide and paint and then finally coating with underseal.
I also took time to clean back brake shield and hubs and paint in satin black.

The arch lips on the bodywork were nasty chipped and bubbly so that was also stripped back. Unfortunately the front corner lip which meets the bumper has rusted away both sides. We will try to save the wings and put in New metal but I'm afraid New wings needed. They are not made anymore and it is £450 per side plus painting in top! Lets try and ssve them or pull them off and get carbon ones made up.

As for ride height initial set. They are just 5 turns of threaded collar on front dropped from max height and 10 turns lowered rear and it seems a sensible ish height. Still slightly lower than standard but it looks ok.

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: December 4th, 2017, 10:33 pm
by Will01
Managed to source some second-hand wings. So pickup up on the weekend.
Good find and only 170 the pair, well chuffed

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: May 15th, 2018, 11:34 am
by Will01
Just racking up the miles at the moment and the car just drives wonderfully. Even let my wife drive it the other day and have also left the keys with her in case she needs to use it to take the kids to Nursery in 'Daddy's racing car'! haha.
Planning a bit more work to it and trying to make her look more presentable, but it is difficult when in daily use for commuting.

Fuel is averaging around 20mpg just driving her as a car, not going inappropriate for leather and not driving like a Granny. I think that is respectable for such a large capacity engine. No doubt i could commute in a more modern boring car, but this is as modern as i go! 15 years old this year and got 125k miles on the clock so i would say she is doing well for an old(not really that old) Alfa Romeo. This has been alot more reliable than my old Vauxhall Corsa!

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: September 7th, 2021, 11:37 am
by Will01
Car is now in our newly built garage and i hope to have her back on the road in the new year.
It is an amazingly fun car to own and drive especially with all the work we put in her over the years.
I took it off the road a few years back due to trying to be more sensible............... but that time is over now and i just want to get back to enjoying her again

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: September 7th, 2021, 6:36 pm
by Spider 1969
Sensible isn't any fun ;-) Enjoy the re-commissioning

thank you,

Re: Alfa 156 GTA

Posted: September 8th, 2021, 9:47 am
by Will01
Agreed totally
Fingers crossed it goes well, but i will also be trying to tie in some new E10 upgrades as now this car falls foul of the new 10% ethanol in fuel and is not compatible. So all fuel lines being replaced, but unfortunately there will be seals which will now deterioate, so i best order up spares of such seals for future use. At least in the meantime i will now be using only Super unleaded to keep on 5% ethanol