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I have a 1992 Alfa 164 that I inherited from my father. I don’t know much about cars but I belong to the local Alfa Club so as you can see, I’m making an effort. It’s an automatic and has an ABS system. I have a problem that has my Alfa mechanic stumped. I hope someone out there can help.

If I drive it in excess of 90 klm, after 10-15 minutes of driving the steering wheel starts to shake violently. Also, every time I drive the car, no matter what the speed, the rim on the right-front wheel becomes so hot you can hardly touch it. My mechanic checked the wheel and said that it was partially ceased (difficult to turn). He checked the brake pads (ok; only six months old), bled the brakes, checked the rotor (ok) and re-built the calliper. None of these things has helped. Now he wants to try replacing a US$2,400.00 part in the ABS system but with no guarantee that doing so will solve the problem, I am reluctant to agree to this. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Others have posted messages about steering wheel shake but none have mentioned the heat problem, so I’m not sure that their situations were the same as mine. (Causes for those people were 1: bent drive shaft 2: bent wheel 3: cupped or out-of-round tires.) Thanks.
 

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I have a 1992 Alfa 164 that I inherited from my father. I don’t know much about cars but I belong to the local Alfa Club so as you can see, I’m making an effort. It’s an automatic and has an ABS system. I have a problem that has my Alfa mechanic stumped. I hope someone out there can help.

If I drive it in excess of 90 klm, after 10-15 minutes of driving the steering wheel starts to shake violently. Also, every time I drive the car, no matter what the speed, the rim on the right-front wheel becomes so hot you can hardly touch it. My mechanic checked the wheel and said that it was partially ceased (difficult to turn). He checked the brake pads (ok; only six months old), bled the brakes, checked the rotor (ok) and re-built the calliper. None of these things has helped. Now he wants to try replacing a US$2,400.00 part in the ABS system but with no guarantee that doing so will solve the problem, I am reluctant to agree to this. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Others have posted messages about steering wheel shake but none have mentioned the heat problem, so I’m not sure that their situations were the same as mine. (Causes for those people were 1: bent drive shaft 2: bent wheel 3: cupped or out-of-round tires.) Thanks.
replace the Brake Master cylinder. Sounds like a bad one. It can cause your calipers to lock up causing which ever caliper to get super hot as you mentioned, and also cause vibration.
I am not sure I understand when he turned the wheel it was hard to turn? All 4 wheels? 1 specific wheel, the hot one?

I would say it is not a bearing and more a MC issue.

I had a similar issue many moons ago. but mine was the rear drivers.

Also check brake lines, one may have collapsed and is causes a stick caliper.

Jason
 

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Master cylinder or wheel bearing but suspect master cylinder with ABS model check left rear wheel too as it maybe dragging to a lesser extent as brakes are connected diagonally with ABS module from each side of master cylinder.
 

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It was just the hot wheel that was hard to turn. I assume that he checked it again after he finished working on the car, but I can't say for sure...

Your comment that it's likely the MC has been seconded by someone else, so I'll definately check it out. Brake lines, too. Thanks, Jason.

replace the Brake Master cylinder. Sounds like a bad one. It can cause your calipers to lock up causing which ever caliper to get super hot as you mentioned, and also cause vibration.
I am not sure I understand when he turned the wheel it was hard to turn? All 4 wheels? 1 specific wheel, the hot one?

I would say it is not a bearing and more a MC issue.

I had a similar issue many moons ago. but mine was the rear drivers.

Also check brake lines, one may have collapsed and is causes a stick caliper.

Jason
 

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Thanks, Steve. You're the second person to say it's probably the MC. And thanks, too, for the info on how the brakes are connected. I had no idea. I really don't deserve this car! But I'm determined to hang on to it for as long as I can (i.e., as long as my wallet will let me).

Master cylinder or wheel bearing but suspect master cylinder with ABS model check left rear wheel too as it maybe dragging to a lesser extent as brakes are connected diagonally with ABS module from each side of master cylinder.
 

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Definitely try the master cylinder. I had the same issue on my 164L, as the master cylnder goes bad, the brakes drag, which generates heat, which makes the drag worse. Alfas are the only car I have owned where the master cylinders regularly go bad. I don't know why but it is very irritating. The shudder may indicate your discs need to be resurfaced or replaced, my wheels got very hot but the car still drove smoothly.
 

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Thanks -- to you, and to all the others who responded. I feel a bit more optimistic now. Time to have a chat with my mechanic. I'll post an update later.
 

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UPDATE: I went to see my mechanic. He, plus a couple of other Alfa Club members, are of the opinion that because only one wheel is being affected (as opposed to all four), it can't be the master cylinder that's causing the problem. Your comments?
 

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Possibly they are correct but to be sure you need to check rubber hose to that brake to see if it is failing internally and trapping pressure when you relase brakes. If hose going bad it should also be restricting fluid flow to brake even though it has to be letting some through or brake wouldn't be locking up/dragging to create heat issue.

Jack up wheel and press brake pedal and be sure brake works/stops then release pedal and see if it releases. Hose could be bad or piston can be binding, too.

Try bleeding that brake and see how freely fluid comes out of bleed (be sure bleeder has clear hole inside it so best to remove bleeder entirely and see if fluid will come out of port on caliper.
 

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As noted previously, the two front wheels are on different hydraulic circuits. I wouldn't be surprised if the forward or aft part of the master cylinder was failing, while the seals on the other circuit were OK. This won't necessarily show up on the back wheels, as the brakes on front wheel drive cars are heavily biased to the front. If it where my car, I would still try the master cylinder. Cheaper than replacing the ABS, and it has a kn0own reputation for misbehaving.
 

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As noted previously, the two front wheels are on different hydraulic circuits. I wouldn't be surprised if the forward or aft part of the master cylinder was failing, while the seals on the other circuit were OK. This won't necessarily show up on the back wheels, as the brakes on front wheel drive cars are heavily biased to the front. If it where my car, I would still try the master cylinder. Cheaper than replacing the ABS, and it has a kn0own reputation for misbehaving.
I disagree! I have seen many MC cause only 1 caliper to stick.
I have seen it on my own 164.

I have rarely seen a brake line really collapse to cause the caliper to stick. But can't disregard it.

Could be air in the system but the brake system is fairly a self bleeding system but if there is a leak in the system then it may cause this problem.
If you have a leaky clutch slave hose this can be taking air into the system.

But honestly replace the MC and I can assure you the problem will not occur any longer.
As mentioned I have had this same issue. I replaced the caliper, lines, bled and it still did it. Then I bit the bullet and replaced the MC and the problem has never returned. Use a good fluid as well. Castrol or ATE gold or super blue.

Now of course if there is missing information there could be something else. But I bet the MC

Jason
 
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