Ownership Verified: I've Gone Full Madman: Alfa Romeo 156

Labcoatguy

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
13,898
Location
Boston, MA, USA
Car(s)
#Jaguar #XKR, #Saab #9-3, #Toyota #MR2 #Spyder
You've gotten me curious as to how bad it would be to go Full Swede. Couldn't be any worse than this, right?
 

Heathrow

Yes, as in the airport.
Joined
Aug 2, 2008
Messages
6,391
Location
London, UK
Car(s)
1995 BMW 325i SE
Changing the fan belt on an Alfa 156 is an activity that should be viewed as inhumane torture under the Geneva Conventions and is an act of pure evil that I do not wish upon anyone.

First you have to remove a little plastic cover piece that's held on with one bolt rust and two hex head bolts that immediately round out as soon as the proper tool touches them. Once you've vice-gripped the bolts off you're greeted with a sight that instantly makes you lose the will to live: there's a whole inch of space to work in. The space is so tight that you have to bend and twist the belt just to get it around half the pulleys. Then, due to an engine mount being in the way, it's physically impossible to touch either of the two leftmost pulleys. So you have to feed though enough slack and pray to your favorite deity that the belt catches both pulleys as you pull the slack through the other side. Once you do that you have to feed slack back toward the left (again, more prayers that the belt won't fall off) and dislocate a few fingers to get the belt over the tensioner pulley. Once that's done it's time to find the longest 15mm wrench that you can find and find some sort of extension because you're going to need every nanometer of movement on the tensioner to give you even a minute chance of squeezing the belt over the idler pulley. Once you manage that you're going to need a very large beer to get your senses back (the step I'm on now).

Over three hours start to finish. Jesus. Tap-dancing. Christ.

The good news is that the problem is fixed! She's nice and quiet now.

Yay, well done! :thumbsup:

Also after taking a closer look at the ugly-ass tow bar it seems I have to pull the exhaust down and remove the heat shield before anything can come off so that's a project for another day. Or until I can get a big grinder.

Hmm, you also might want to quit while you're ahead. :lol:
 

BlaRo

Little Nudger
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
18,177
Location
Brooklyn
Car(s)
Moto Guzzi V7 Special, Saab 900 Turbo
Alright, seriously, what the hell is wrong with you. :unsure:
 

KaJuN

Disco Inferno
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
9,745
Location
Dayton, Ohio
Car(s)
Mini Cooper S, Landy Series III, Vulcan 900 Custom
I kept asking myself that same question the whole time. But the big smile on my face from driving it home more than made up for the pain. :D

Are you looking forward to changing the timing belt someday yet?


:tease:

Short answer: no.
Long answer: fuck no!

Even had I not had such a nightmarish experience with this belt I wouldn't attempt to change out the cam belt. Apparently unless you really know what you're doing and have several special tools it's very easy to mess up the engine's timing. It's definitely a job for the professionals.
 

Matt2000

An Unfortunate Discovery
DONOR
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
15,209
Location
Spotted Dick, Englandshireford
Car(s)
2020 Tesla Model 3, 1990 Discovery 1 Bobtail
Congrats on the belt change, I don't think I'd have the balls to even attempt it. :lol:

From experience, cutting a tow bar off with an angle grinder is very satisfying.
 

KaJuN

Disco Inferno
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
9,745
Location
Dayton, Ohio
Car(s)
Mini Cooper S, Landy Series III, Vulcan 900 Custom
I've done a few belts before so I wasn't scared to attempt this one. It was only after I had finished that I remembered the last one I did was on the Disco and I could practically stand in the engine bay. That made it a tad easier. :lol:

Oh and I forgot to mention that I also changed out the wiper blades because squealing noises make me very angry.
 

Der Stig

is Der Slut
DONOR
Joined
Dec 19, 2008
Messages
7,547
Location
Misery Knob
Car(s)
Divorcée Mobiles
:clap:

Congrats for mending something!

 

KaJuN

Disco Inferno
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
9,745
Location
Dayton, Ohio
Car(s)
Mini Cooper S, Landy Series III, Vulcan 900 Custom
ANGRY ALFA HATES WINTER!!!!

So I got to experience snow driving for the first time and I can sum it up in three words: terrible and terrifying. As soon as I drove onto snow the ABS said "Fuck this! I'm outtie!" then the handbrake warning light came on to keep the ABS light company (lol Italian electrics). Roundabouts are bottom-clenching as any miniscule amount of forward momentum combined with the tiniest bit of steering input leads to massive understeer. Usually you can tell when the grip is starting to go off but not in this car. Every turn is a mystery which just adds to the terror.

Oh Alfa! :lol:
 

Andeh

is teahte tbungafloed
Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
3,407
Location
Cumbria, UK
Car(s)
Fiestas, Mondeos, Anglia, Austin 7, Corsair, Chrys
ANGRY ALFA HATES WINTER!!!!

So I got to experience snow driving for the first time and I can sum it up in three words: terrible and terrifying. As soon as I drove onto snow the ABS said "Fuck this! I'm outtie!" then the handbrake warning light came on to keep the ABS light company (lol Italian electrics). Roundabouts are bottom-clenching as any miniscule amount of forward momentum combined with the tiniest bit of steering input leads to massive understeer. Usually you can tell when the grip is starting to go off but not in this car. Every turn is a mystery which just adds to the terror.

Oh Alfa! :lol:

It's snowing, and you own a Land Rover. So you took the Alfa?! :lol:
 

KaJuN

Disco Inferno
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
9,745
Location
Dayton, Ohio
Car(s)
Mini Cooper S, Landy Series III, Vulcan 900 Custom
:lol:

To be fair the Land Rover is still wearing its mud boots which might as well be ice skates.
 

SchumacherM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
3,632
Location
Slovenia
Car(s)
Fiat Stilo 1.8 16V
ANGRY ALFA HATES WINTER!!!!

So I got to experience snow driving for the first time and I can sum it up in three words: terrible and terrifying. As soon as I drove onto snow the ABS said "Fuck this! I'm outtie!" then the handbrake warning light came on to keep the ABS light company (lol Italian electrics). Roundabouts are bottom-clenching as any miniscule amount of forward momentum combined with the tiniest bit of steering input leads to massive understeer. Usually you can tell when the grip is starting to go off but not in this car. Every turn is a mystery which just adds to the terror.

Oh Alfa! :lol:



I fucking love this car.
 

Matt2000

An Unfortunate Discovery
DONOR
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
15,209
Location
Spotted Dick, Englandshireford
Car(s)
2020 Tesla Model 3, 1990 Discovery 1 Bobtail
:lol:

To be fair the Land Rover is still wearing its mud boots which might as well be ice skates.

I'll give you that one, no proper tread blocks to speak of, but don't forget that it's RWD and oversteer is better than understeer. OK you'll get both but some oversteer is better than all understeer. :p
 

KaJuN

Disco Inferno
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
9,745
Location
Dayton, Ohio
Car(s)
Mini Cooper S, Landy Series III, Vulcan 900 Custom
That's how it handled before the locking diff was put on. Now if I forget to clutch in and coast round a tight corner the diff will stay locked and I'll understeer wildly because the rear wheels just push me straight on. :lol: Come to think of it, I don't think I've driven with the Detroit in snow yet...
 

Hartkor

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2007
Messages
46
Location
Open road
Car(s)
Peugeot 405 Mi16, Alfa 156 SW
Really nice car and those wheels are in my opinion the best choice for the 156, they suit the car great. When you get the timing belt changed have the mechanic take a look at the connecting rod bearings as they are prone to fail after 150000km (google tells that's about 93000 miles)... so maybe they have already been changed. I wish you many more happy miles with your alfa.
P.S. I think your cars color is blue cosmo, the same as mine and it is a very nice color when the car is nicely detailed and sucks the next day because it's dirty again...
 

lip

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Messages
2,963
Location
Switzerland
Car(s)
Audi S6 Barkwagon
Late congratulations. You took a step there. :D

This week I had an Alfa 156 V6 for a day (see my review in the "Our own car reviews" thread here). And I have to say the interiour in your car is much nicer, some very lovely center console colour you have there.

At first the smooth rear door with the handle inside the C-pillar struck me as "something-doesn't-look right", but this design feauture has grown on me in a short time. This simple idea of giving a four-door the looks of a two-door coupe actually works.
You said your car is very quite at 70mph, I can't confirm that, the 156 I drove had some noticable wind noise around the mirrors and A-pillars.
 
Last edited:

KaJuN

Disco Inferno
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
9,745
Location
Dayton, Ohio
Car(s)
Mini Cooper S, Landy Series III, Vulcan 900 Custom
Thanks! I much, much rather prefer the old-style faux carbon fiber trim to the newer silver paint. It just looks so cheap and tacky. :yuck: I'm a small person (5'7" and 150lbs at most) so the interior feels perfect to me but I can see how it would be cramped if I were even just a little bigger. I also love the driver-centric layout which makes me feel cocooned in the driver's seat. On top of that the car only ever transports me and the weekly shop so the lack of practicality (i.e. no folding rear seats) isn't really an issue. I do wish it had a cupholder though.

As far as the wind noise my other vehicles are a 35 year old Series Land Rover and a motorcycle (and before that a roadster) so my perception of quiet might be a little off. :lol: Oh and those green dials in the car you drove are just ghastly. The red in mine looks so much better. :cool:
 

lip

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Messages
2,963
Location
Switzerland
Car(s)
Audi S6 Barkwagon
Haha, no wonder your car is "quiet". :D

BTW: It's only a minor thing, but the simple 3-wheels heater controls in the Alfa are of a suberb design. I was able to operate them blindly in a matter if minutes. - In my own car the controls are of a sleek-buttons-and-a-display overdesigned sort the designer should get flogged for.
 
Top