Tech Tips & Info (156,GTV etc..) A-Z

Alfa 156/gtv/166 tech tips-By Andy "Steptoe" AR Dealer Expert Technician

Note 90%of tips are common for 156/gtv/166 as the engine/gearbox are 95% the same..I will specify any differences in the list.

Air filter.

This is a major cause of most of the running faults in all t/s and v6 engines. The most common thing is after changing of the filter the induction "cone" must be replaced as if not the dirt and grit is sucked from the outside rather than through the center of the filter causing particles to chip the ceramic from the air flow meter resulting in running faults and expense. (more in air flow section) Also after removing the filter it is very important that the air box is cleaned out thoroughly as the dirt falls to the center of the filter and is sucked up the airflow when the car is started causing the above faults again


The most common faults are speed sensors unplugged and dirty connections on the ECU. Under the rear seats are the 2 connectors for the rear speed sensors, unplug clean and refit. Under the bonnet by the front struts are the front connectors, again unplug clean and refit Pull the pin from the main wiring loom plug which plugs into the abs pump (also contains the ECU) 9 times from ten a squirt of wd40 onto the pump terminals and refit the plug will cure it. Any more than that will unfortunately result in a trip to the dealer, as a computer is required to communicate with the abs ECU. If the fault is cured then a 100yard drive will put the light out

Air bag

The plugs under the seat and seat belt pretensioners are notorious for illuminating airbag lights. Unfortunately once the light is lit even if you cure the fault a trip to the dealer is still needed to have the light extinguished. Causes are oxidation of the terminals, which create a small increase in resistance making the airbag ECU think there is a fault. This can be prevented by unplugging and replugging in the plugs under the seat. THIS MUST BE DONE WITH THE IGNITION OFF Every 3-4 weeks will suffice (this keeps the terminals clean) Same with the ones ontop of the seatbelt stalk as well (GTV ONLY)

Air flow meter

This sits in the air intake pipe after the filter. Its job is to measure the air flow rate been sucked into the inlet manifold. This causes hesitations and flat spots on take off and between gear changes as its main causes. Failure is mainly caused by the airfilter change and oxidation on the contacts. Remove the plug and squirt with wd40 then refit if unsuccessful undo the clips at each end of the airflow meter and careful blow on the heating element with a air line and refit. This will cure the airflow meter fault in 70% of cases. Again if unsuccessful a trip to the dealer will be required to get any errors from the fuel injection ECU


The front top wishbone bushes and rear hub bushes are extremely common in 156's the rear hub bushes are non-serviceable and need to be replaced when faulty. Rear tyre wear on the inside is usually the first signs of wear that people notice. To check before it gets that far lay under the rear bumper and thump the metal arms that bolt to the hub just under the brake disc. If the bushes are faulty the the arm will make a metallic knock and hit the hub, that indicates failed bushes The same goes for the gtv in respect that the rear tyre wear is caused by the track control arm bushes wear and the wheels run off true. To check these the car needs to be off the ground and a screwdriver placed between the arm and where it bolts to the subframe. Then lever gently as it's a alloy subframe and easy to break, if the arm slides from side to side then the bush is worn and requires replacing On the 156 the front suspension creaks when going over bumps, this is the top wishbone bushes. Better news this time as these can be rectified Remove the 4 nuts holding the suspension leg and the bottom ball joint, remove the brake caliper and nut holding the track rod end, this allows the suspension leg to pull down enough to remove the top wishbone arm. Once the arm is removed pop the 2 rubber bushes out of the arm and grease the outside of the bush. Then refit in reverse order and creak is gone

Cam shaft and variator

On start up if it sounds like a diesel then the variator is at probably at fault, no repair is available just replacement, I advise that a new oil valve is fitted at the same time because this lets the oil flow to the variator letting it work. The cam variator advances the inlet valve timing at certain revs and under acceleration to get better throttle response and an increase in power over a static camshaft In extreme cases this can cause a misfire at approx. 3000-rpm under hard acceleration. T/s engines only the v6 has not got one.


NEVER spill power steering fluid when topping up, if the fluid misses the reservoir it runs into the alternator causing a short and alternator failure

Content by Andy "Steptoe".
© Andy "Steptoe" / 2002 provides this information in good faith, but does not assume any responsibility or legal liability whatsoever, for the accuracy, usefulness or completeness of any of the information.