Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia Forum

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: 00Mart1 on October 03, 2018, 03:12:50 PM

Title: Which car?
Post by: 00Mart1 on October 03, 2018, 03:12:50 PM
Hi everyone, first time posting on this forum and not actually an Alfa owner...yet  :D
The reason I'm posting is to try and get some idea of what I should look for when buying a sub 5K Alfa and which models you think would be good options. The car will be a daily driver, so I'd like it to be relatively confortable, but I'd also like to take it to a track day for two, so performance is also quite high on my list. I was hoping to get a GTV Lusso, however I can't quite stretch my finances quite that far yet.
I have been looking at the 156 as I would prefer a sedan over a hatch. How are these in terms of driving experience and maintenance? I understand that the TS engines need the timing belt changed every 3 years on the GTV, I assume it is the same for the 156? Has to be manual. Any other options I should consider?
Many thanks
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: bonno on October 03, 2018, 05:28:01 PM
Hi 00Mart1
Welcome aboard and hope you find a suitable Alfa that will meet your requirements. My suggestion is for a 156 TS manual which you can use as a daily driver and then drive to track and race on the weekends in a specific category known as the TS Cup (NSW & Vic ). The TS engine is quite reliable if maintained correctly and is not prone to consume oil at the rate of the JTS engine that is on the later face lift model. There are several on the market at present on both carsales and gumtree that are well within your budget. I would spend a little more for a car that has a good service history and travelled upto 160K. Additionally have a good buyer checklist that you can go thru in making your choice and a suitable one can be found on this forum at the following link.
http://www.alfaclubvic.org.au/forum/index.php?topic=17743.msg101523#msg101523
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: Pseudonym on October 04, 2018, 03:44:38 AM
Twin spark gtv do come up now and again for under 5 - same as the spider. The 156 twinspark are generally cheap and plentiful but as has been said, go for one with regular service history as they don't like neglect. I've found the 147 to feel a bit punchier than the sedan but they're a lovely engine in both car, I'd actually get a V6 if I were looking again. I had the choice of a twinspark 156 and jts recently and bought the jts for a bit more - it's not as lively as the twinspark but for my sedate daily commute the torque is more useful.

Sent from my HTC 2PS5200 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: CitroŽnbender on October 04, 2018, 07:19:24 AM
Iíd say the 147 has a couple of hidden cost savings compared to the 156. Itís more fully interrogated by aftermarket diagnostic programs, and the keys/fobs are more straightforward to augment or replace. Fuel gauges become unreliable after about 150K.

Canít speak for the 156 but the 147 chassis is the same for 2.0 and V6 models, an adventurer might take on a full repower and harness swap. The SD7V16 compressors are all ageing now and reports are varied on success in just replacing the displacement modulation valve (cheap on Aliexpress, unavailable ex OEM). The V6 ECU is notable for some internal surface mount component issues. Alternators and starters to all models are readily serviced by parts suppliers.

Degradation of the thin foam behind door fabric panels and roof lining (ďorange rotĒ) is age-induced and requires more comparable effort on the roof than (say) a 2004 Falcon as thereís more labour to remove the roof lining.

Paint is OK, but below the standard of equal age Volvo or BMW finishes in durability. Corrosion protection is excellent and rust is a sign that Something Has Happened.

OEM shocks are a bit average, decent aftermarket will run you $1K plus fitting and top mounts. CV boots seem inclined to split. Lower wishbones are changed with every fifth tank of fuel. Good tyres of original spec are in the sweet spot currently for pricing.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: poohbah on October 04, 2018, 09:10:33 AM
Hi mate and welcome. We all have our bias, so as the owner of my second 156, the best version is the V6 with 6speed manual trans. Still needs belt changed every 3yrs/60Kkm, and a bit thirstier, but best sound, best performance, and most bulletproof of the lot. Plus, I'm old fashioned, and think hatchbacks are for grocery shopping! (No offence 147 owners. NB I have an 81 GTV "Hatch" too...)
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: ugame on October 04, 2018, 01:57:20 PM
in the 5 grand bracket I think we'd all agree you're looking for a Twin Spark "something" (or JTS I guess).

Assuming you drive manual.

156 are great cars. Not owned one myself but love the look of them.

Being "daily" in my view does NOT exclude the 916 GTV unless you want to carry 4 full size humans. If realistically, it's yourself +1 other (or 2 at a squeeze) then I never had an issue dailying a 916 keeping in mind we also had a..........

147, great versatile car that does everything from have fun on a track, to lugging a family around to the shops and back, to throwing mountain bikes IN the back (yes...IN the back).

My very bias pic would be a clean TS 916 GTV. God I've fallen in love with them. You can easily get a clean one for $5K, and I'm crazy enough to say, potential investment.

What to "look for" in any of the above?

1) Full service history. Unlike jap cars, this is a MUST. Walk away from anything that doesn't offer it.
2) Timing belt service. When was it last done and by who? This is due every 3 years or 60,000k's which ever comes first.
3) Is it straight? Do the doors and everything line up and open/close with ease? Do all the bolt holes under the bonnet line up? And with the GTV, is the gap between headlights and bonnet even both sides?

Bazz probably has more technical input so I'll move on to the fun stuff.......

My first 916 GTV TS on a track:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVchOlIwWcA

My 147 on a track: (360 degree video. View in chrome or on the app on your phone and you can look around)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSoiTqpZ9SQ

Comparison between my Ph1 and Ph2 GTV's, and my 147.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvQjIDksrCg

Me banging on about my $3K GTV
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbLbL1xjwK0

How much do I stand by cheap GTVs? I sold mine to my SON as his first daily. I literally swear by my kids life  8)

If you REALLY need more cabin/boot space then I did love the 147, but I had more issues with it. The sensors. God the sensors killed the ownership experience for me. But could just be me.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: 00Mart1 on October 07, 2018, 03:49:37 PM
Hi All,
Thanks for the replies. I think I'll probably end up going for a TS 156 (unless I find a 147 I fall in love with), and hopefully later sell that for a v6 GTV as I'd like to experience both engines. How difficult is it to change the timing belt on a TS? I'm sure I'll be confident to do the work, but what specialist tools would it require? How much does this job run on average if taken to an Alfa specialist? I've never really done any work on "modern cars" before, just an old MGB I have as my first car, is there really any limits to what a home mechanic can do with regards to the electrics that may pose a problem?
I'll certainly look for a solid one with a comprehensive service history, are there any other sources I should check other than carsales and gumtree?
Thanks a lot for the replies and advice.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: bazzbazz on October 07, 2018, 04:27:53 PM
I myself charge $795 for a full belt change, that includes all parts with pump, coolant & camshaft cover gasket, but don't forget I am a mobile service without the added costs of running a workshop, so expect a little more than that from a workshop over your way.

Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: poohbah on October 07, 2018, 04:32:17 PM
How far do you travel Bazz? Belt change for my V6 usually costs about $500 more, and I'm just round the corner 3000km away in Perth ... :D
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: bazzbazz on October 07, 2018, 08:49:26 PM
Before you get too giddy, that was for a TwinSpark 4 cylinder. Standard belt change on V6 is $1160. As you know its all time & labor with the V6.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: poohbah on October 07, 2018, 08:57:44 PM
yep for sure, the local workshop I go to is right on the mark and does excellent work.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: Craig_m67 on October 08, 2018, 12:34:38 AM
Buy a 156 Sportwagon.  Itís the pick of the bunch, sexy and useful
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: CitroŽnbender on October 08, 2018, 11:58:20 AM
I personally reckon going from DIY on a chrome bumper MGB to the same ethos on a drive-by-wire Alfa is a pretty big leap.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: ugame on October 08, 2018, 01:23:46 PM
I personally reckon going from DIY on a chrome bumper MGB to the same ethos on a drive-by-wire Alfa is a pretty big leap.

^^^^ This x100

Messing with timing belt is as DIYable as any other job BUT......do you want to risk your entire car/engine?

Because mess up this job, and it's good bye top end.

I'd rather pay a reputable professional who will not mess it up, and if they do, with rectify the mistake at their expense.\

Some jobs are worth paying for.

This is top of the list for me.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: V AR 164 on October 08, 2018, 07:18:18 PM
What about a 159? I picked up my one owner 159 with full service history for a very reasonable price. It has pretty much every creature comfort you would ever want in a daily and is very comfortable.

Yes it's probably not as track friendly as a 156 or 147, and yes the maintenance may be a little more, but the 159's are starting to become really affordable and a fantastic option for a daily driver.

Andrew.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: bazzbazz on October 08, 2018, 07:49:06 PM
Agreed
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: Sheldon McIntosh on October 10, 2018, 08:05:16 PM
Buy the best condition 75 you can find for your budget.  Classic Alfa handling with RWD, near enough to 50/50 weight balance, and with either engine, a fantastic note.  But the V6 is just magic.  With easy regular maintenance, they're an easy daily driver, and can do very well on the track.   They'd be a great medium between a shit old British car, and a shit newish Fiat.  They're just at the era before computers started being introduced to control everything, the electrics are manageable.   They have everything you realistically need, electric most-things, shit air-con (but not much worse than a 156 really), amazing heater.

The best thing though?  Every day you own it, it goes up in value. 
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: Pseudonym on October 10, 2018, 09:06:16 PM
At the age of the 75 it's not a prime daily - mechanicals are good but parts are expensive due to scarcity, and interior trim and wiring are sketchy. They rust when you use the windshield  washers For the price of a good one you can get GTA 156/147 which while will also eat your wallet won't rust just yet.

Fantastic drive though. Body roll needs attention but after that they're sweet.

Sent from my T04 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: Sheldon McIntosh on October 10, 2018, 09:45:29 PM
They rust when you use the windshield washers

They rust no more than any other car of the same era, any car.  They were fully galvanised.  Granted, you might need to keep an eye on drainage points, but they're pretty good for rust.  I really think you're overstating the rust issue here, Alfa were well over the rust scandal by the time these came out. 

If you can get a GTA for under $5k can you send me the details please?  (I'm not on top of 75 prices right now, but I'm pretty sure you'd be able to get one for well under $5k, maybe not a TS or 3.0, but still?)

At least we agree on one thing though.  They are a fantastic drive, but too much body roll.  A set of konis and some big torsion bars fixes that right up though.  Even with the body roll though, they hang on pretty well, that rear suspension is amazing. 
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: philpot on October 10, 2018, 10:16:29 PM
Scusi? Just choked on my Tiramisu ...

https://www.carsales.com.au/cars/dealer/private/demo/alfaromeo/alfa75/?area=Stock&vertical=car&WT.z_srchsrcx=makemodel

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/ingleburn/cars-vans-utes/1987-alfa-romeo-75-sedan/1194175837

To quote The Castle: "...Tell him he's dreaming ..."

Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: CitroŽnbender on October 10, 2018, 10:27:32 PM
Whatís an E34 M5 worth?

Iíd guess a bit more, and theyíre probably more common (than the 3-litre 75s). Love the CarSales pr0n there; thanks for that.  ;D
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: Pseudonym on October 10, 2018, 10:40:10 PM
There was one a while back around the 5 mark but auto - years ago you'd struggle to move them in the low thousands but now they go fairly quickly. Problem is for that price bracket you need to put money into it, we've done countless wiring patches and rust repairs - rear quarter and rear window is standard for any car, ours was neglected for a while so engine bay needed attention. 33s have been the best for rust actually, even the neglected ones. I'd certainly recommend one as a weekender, but when one with nothing left to fix is around $10k and you can get a rough GTA for not much more, or even better there was a manual v6 156 down to 3k recently, I'd be going that way for the daily route. If I were mainly for the track then the 75 for sure.

Sent from my T04 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: philpot on October 10, 2018, 10:58:05 PM
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1988-ALFA-ROMEO-75-TWIN-SPARK/362452757166?hash=item5463de2aae:g:6eEAAOSw43JbuuK8:rk:16:pf:0

 $9500  with added ...
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: ugame on October 11, 2018, 12:13:47 PM
Whatís an E34 M5 worth?

Iíd guess a bit more, and theyíre probably more common (than the 3-litre 75s). Love the CarSales pr0n there; thanks for that.  ;D

I must confess I was very tempted to get a cheap BMW for my daily. Apart from longer service intervals though, logic told me that I'd still be up to the same maintenance costs for an alfa. So the god awful boring Honda Civic it was. Still regretting it to be honest. Between you and me (and everyone on the internet) I dont think I'll keep the Honda long. Life is too short. Get my other boy through his driving test and then get shot of it. The $5K 2006 X-Trail we've picked up, on the other hand, is a very pleasant surprise. Both the wife and I LOVE it instantly.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: CitroŽnbender on October 11, 2018, 01:24:53 PM
Out of curiosity, how does one deal with extra keys/remotes on a 159? At what cost?

Itís a plague on the used car market, that so many cars are sold with just one key - the other being MIA.
Title: Re: Which car?
Post by: bazzbazz on October 11, 2018, 03:11:37 PM
As far as I know you have to purchase new key from Alfa Romeo with the new internal chip programmed with your cars code. You can then program it into the car via AlfaOBD or MES as long as you have the electronic security code.

If anyone knows of anyway of avoiding the dealership please let me know.