Alfa 156 Reliability

09-17-2003, 11:08 AM
Hi everyone,

Have any of you owners had any major faults with the 156?

I am dying to buy one (the 2.5 V6 version) as I think they are stunning but keep hearing bad things about them.

I often see used Alfa's with a new or reconditioned engine in, especially the 2.5 V6. Are the engines unreliable? Anyone had a similar experience?

If anyone who owns or has owned one could reply with anything that went wrong with your car during the time you had it I would be extremely grateful

Warnest Regards

Paul L
Rover 220 Coupe Turbo
Liverpool, UK

09-20-2003, 02:50 AM

I bought my 156 (2.5 V6) in 1999 when it had 20,000km on the clock. Over the last 4.5 years I have covered an additional 95,000km -- mostly high-speed city driving (I live in Dubai where the road network is excellent). The main faults in this period have been:

1. Aircon compressor replaced (in 2001) due to burnt compressor clutch. I must add that aircon usage is very high in this part of the world.

2. Engine rear oil seal (at the flywheel) replaced twice (once in 2001 under warranty and again in 2003). I suspect this was largely due to overfilling engine oil at service intervals, resulting in high pressure at the seal. The job was fairly minor.

3. Radiator replaced in 2001. Prior to 2001, I used engine coolant made by Mobil which had to be mixed with ordinary water. I think the salt residue in the water solidified along the radiator cores over time and reduced the flow through the radiator, resulting in my car running hotter than normal (but never overheating). Since 2001 I have only used pre-mixed Paraflu without any problems. Now I also have my radiator flushed every year before summer.

4. Brake master cylinder replaced in 2003 due to leakage. I suspect this may have something to do with the fact that I upgraded my brakes (to Brembo) this year, and this may have resulted in higher pressures in the system causing the original master cylinder to spring a leak. However, the garage felt that this was normal wear and tear.

5. Gearbox cable replaced in 2003. The cable was fine; its housing (made of fibre-glass) broke -- normal wear and tear according to the garage.

6. Airflow meter replaced in 2001. Normal wear and tear.

I run the car on 98-octane unleaded and use synthetic engine oil (Valvoline Fully Synthetic 5W - 50), which I change every 5,000km. My car doesn't consume any engine oil, although this aspect has to be monitored frequently (I check the oil level every weekend).

In terms of what to look for (especially when you are buying a used car), make sure that the car has full service history, especially cam-belt changes at the recommended intervals (in Dubai this is every 60,000km). Also look for oil leaks and ask the previous owner (if you are buying used) about oil consumption. Remember that up to 1-litre per 1,000km is considered normal by Alfa Romeo (according to the owners manual). Other than that, the Alfa V6 is generally considered to be a bullet-proof engine.

I hope this has answered your question. If you decide to buy the 156 V6, I hope you have as enjoyable an ownership / driving experience as I have had over the last 4.5 years.



09-20-2003, 11:48 AM
Thanks for taking the time out to write that comprehensive reply Rehan-that has been a huge help.

If any other owners that could provide similar info, that would be wonderful.

Also, I believe the V6 is rather thirsty. What typical mileage have you guys been getting from it?

Warmest Regards

09-20-2003, 08:46 PM
Paul- you already have my PM's about the 156 reliability on the V6- rehan's post was very good and typical of how a good Alfa will give you excellent reliablility if porperly maintained. I get reasonable gas mileage- by not running the engine over 4000 rpm and driving in higher gears- I don't have a figure- but it is pretty damn good for a V6

09-20-2003, 09:00 PM
I do Jimster an thanks once again for that. I was gonna put in the original post that u need not reply again coz u already had in the PMs!


09-21-2003, 01:43 AM
Hi Paul

On normal driving (which means that I stay away from the red line most of the time and normally shift up at 4,000 - 5,000 rpm) I get about 20 mpg. On the highway (i.e. sustained driving around 120 - 140 kmh in 5th or 6th gear) I have managed up to 28 mpg.



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