4th Jan 2009, 17:29

I've owned an Alfa 147 2.0 Selespeed for 2 years now. I was warned before buying that they may be problematic.

About 3 months ago, I developed a problem with 3rd gear, (crunching while changing). My mechanic told me 3rd was on the way out and 4th wouldn't be long after it. Sure enough, about 3 weeks later, 3rd, and then 4th went. I bought a low mileage 2nd hand box and had it installed. This last few days, it has started giving little problems such as going from 2nd to 5th, staying in 5th and not changing down and so on. We have put it on the computer and there are only minor faults showing. Has anyone any advice on how to cure these intermittent problems, (apart from changing the gearbox again...) Many thanks.

9th Feb 2009, 14:40

I posted here in June last year, as a mechanic working on these typical examples of Italian flawed masterpieces :)

Since then, guess what - I own one! It's a Japanese import black 2000 2.0TS Selespeed with 122000km and 'no drive'.

Examiner fault kept saying 'adjust clutch pushrod', doing which made no difference. We decided it must be mechanical, so removed g/box - yep - release bearing had seized, robot kept trying clutch until plastic body of bearing melted and failed.

We put this down to long stationary periods in gear - as in traffic jams in Japan. It is basically still a manual, but how long would you ride the clutch? The Selespeed doesn't have the feature of shifting neutral after 'x' period of time, so I do it all the time now at lights etc. Depressing the clutch on any manual loads up the release bearing and the thrust bearings on the crankshaft - Selespeed is no different - so we are expecting more of this problem with higher mileage cars - especially imports. (not the car's fault, perhaps Alfa's for not thinking about this possible 'misuse')

Some of the posted comments are valid, here's what I've found as an owner/repairer:

Shift can be jerky cold, comment re City 1st at slow speed correct, fussy shift fixed by using manual setting. Brilliant on the open road. My thoughts on it "drive it for a day - you'll hate it, drive it a week - you'll love it:)

Slow maneuvering in reverse can be tricky - giving it enough throttle to move is often too much - this is because the electric throttle is very sensitive and the computer monitors brake application - thru ABS? And selects N all the time... Solution is to apply the handbrake two clicks, this loads brakes against throttle without being sensed - You'll find reversing a lot easier.

Robots do fail, most have been replaced once/twice at higher mileages. We put some of this down to perished clutch pushrod boot. This allows water into the highly polished bore, leading to seal failure and oil loss. Yes the fluid can disappear from the circuit oddly - Alfa fixed with larger reservoir upgrade kit - get one.

Neglect belt changes at your cost - 100000km max - no different from any other belt-drive. Always do both belts AND the water pump. Applies to V6 156s too.

Air flow meter failure causes poor throttle response, coughs, poor power and economy - V6 also.

We don't see the rust problems here, but the subframe comments are fair, it's Tipo-based, just bigger bolts everywhere - biggest pain is the steering rack thru-bolts, which fill with water from above and freeze in the alloy rack. 15mm head size not up to undoing sometimes, so I've had to weld a bar to each one in extreme cases to undo them. Coat with anti-seize on assembly.

Economy? I've done 20000km in 5 months - averaged 33mpg (8.5l/100km), 1900km trip gave 36.7mpg (7.6l/100km). Not bad for a modern 1250kg car with this much style!!

DO NOT jump start the car if battery flat - ALWAYS disconnect battery for charging or fit a new one. Why? The Air Bag ECU is fragile. Any voltage spike can fry it, leaving a 'impact code' on it. There at least 3 different bag layouts: 2-bags, 4-bags in side bolsters, 4-bags with curtains. All have multiple ECU versions and most are not interchangeable. Fiat 'EPIR" will give upgrade compatibility, but new retail here NZ$1500.

If you have airbag light on dash and the Examiner won't communicate with it-send ECU to Airbag Reset in England. Check out their website www.airbagreset.com

Scott will probably fix it in less than two weeks turnaround. Unsolicited 'plug' there :)

Look after your 'master' ignition key - like a lot of modern cars, it's coded to the body computer thru a little magnet in the key, which is read by the ignition switch. You can't just get a copy cut, you have to buy genuine - expensive.

I love this car, with its foibles - yes, I'm in a position to fix it, but where else do you get this much driving pleasure and comments for the money? All modern cars have problems - Fiat/Alfa get more than their share of press.

Find someone who understands them to look after it, and give one a go - you might feel like I do...


New Zealand.

20th Jul 2009, 04:39

Don't buy an Alfa Selespeed. Full stop.

I have had one for the past 9 years, lovingly serviced at an Alfa garage etc... during this time it has had two gearboxes, 8 selespeed systems (yes eight... one failed within 100 miles, the record is 25,000 miles before being replaced), suspension bushes (4 times) and so on.

Car has now broken down again with the garage telling me its the actuator again... the cost is about £1200 more than the car is worth.

A lovely car, but an utter pile of rubbish to own. Never again.

11th Sep 2009, 07:16

OMG, I just bought 156 Selespeed 2000 2 days ago. Reading all these comments has scared me, and is now making me regret buying it.

Is there anyone out there who has owned this without any problems??

I'm noticing the injection Mal function warning light while driving - what's that about? The car is still running fine.

23rd Sep 2009, 10:16

Yep. Scary reading for a first-time Alfa owner.

25th Jan 2010, 01:56

Thank you for your posts. Owned my Alfa Sele 2000 for 7 years. Was my uncle's before.

Just got the reverse gear issue occurring this morning. I have had issues previously where the gear gets stuck in 2, and I have to slow right down shift to 1 and then OK.

Lately in stop / start traffic, it has started to jump around, kind of feels like it does not engage the gears right. Bystanders probably think I cannot work out the clutch, even though there is no clutch.

Love this car, but I compare her to a model girlfriend; as soon as the money dries up, she dumps you. One of my good friends is thankfully a mechanic; let's see what this is going to cost.

Only main issue I've had in its 10 yrs of life is the air con compressor jamming, which cost $1500 for an after market version.

Hope I have not freaked out new owners too much... Cause she may need a loving buyer soon :)