Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia Forum

Technical => 160 Series (90, 75, 164 Sedans) => Topic started by: len105 on June 10, 2008, 09:38:00 PM

Title: Alfa 164Q
Post by: len105 on June 10, 2008, 09:38:00 PM
Hi there knowledgable Alfa people

Those of you who have owned a 164Q before, what are some of the things to consider re reliability or servicing issues ?? Do you think they are a a value-for-money proposition ( given they are a 'family' car ) or is the Alfa 90 or 75 a better option ?

I have never driven a Alfa 90 so I don't have the comparison.

Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: dehne on June 10, 2008, 10:34:43 PM
i have driven a friends 164Q and they have fantastic acceleration and power i own 90,s personally i prefer the 90 as it is rear wheel drive but if i had the chance to buy a good Q i would if that helps at all the benefit of a Q is they are manual and thats a plus side but with that the front wheels spin easy and if u take it back to 3rd on the highway and boot it it got massive torque steer but that was a good rush hope have helped in anyway
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: Joe Garra on June 11, 2008, 12:16:30 PM
I've had my Q since 1992 and love it! It is very reliable and very well looked after by Pur-Sang Motors. I did own a 75 Twin Spark and that was excellent as well. My wife drives a 159 manual, and I haven't decided which car I prefer. The 159 is definitely better than the 156 selespeed we had. The worse Alfa I've owned is a 33 16V. If you were in Melbourne you'd be welcome to take the Q for a drive.
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: John Hanslow on June 11, 2008, 01:45:45 PM
Rumour has it that the 164 was originally meant to be rear wheel drive.  It would have been fantastic. 

However as they are, they are still great cars even if famous for torque stear.  People are suprised how large and comfortable they are.  For a car comming on to 20 years old, mine is still reasonably sporty without replacing or upgrading suspension etc.

Everyone talks about how great the Q's are - very impressive cars.  Always great to see them at Spectacalo.

I know that there are a few specialists who can service the cars  - their knowledge is invaluable. I use Maranello Motors in Brunswick.  Refer to our sponsors page and check them out.

Plenty of parts to go around as well.  A drivers side mirror was a bit hard to get had to wait my turn for that one.


Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: Scott Farquharson on June 11, 2008, 04:11:14 PM
I have never driven a Alfa 90 so I don't have the comparison.
Sheldon, enlighten Len to the joys of the 90.....
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: Sheldon McIntosh on June 11, 2008, 05:35:47 PM
The joys of the 90 attached.  A picture speaks a few words.......See how it leans so much that the numbers try to compensate?

If you were in Melbourne you'd be welcome to take the Q for a drive.

I'm in melbourne, can I take the Q for a drive?
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: Sheldon McIntosh on June 11, 2008, 06:01:26 PM
If you're considering a 164Q I wouldn't go near a 90 or 75.  I love my 90s, and they (and 75s) are great for their time and for their current value, but they are quite different from a 164.

I've never driven a 164, so can't comment on how much fun they are, but they are an immeasurably nicer car than a 90 or 75.  Much more pleasurable to be in, and with far more room. 

If I was after a road car, especially for a family, the 164 would win hands down.  A 75 Twinspark or 3.0 may be more fun on a twisty road (and I only say those two because of the LSD), but how often can you give it a really good fang these days anyway?

That said, I'd love to see how the 164Q would compare to a 90/75 on the track.  And there was a chap in England who raced (very successfully) a 164Q.
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: len105 on June 11, 2008, 07:03:10 PM
Hi Dehne - thanks for your comments - I love a manual so that's partly why I'm heading that 164Q direction.

To Joe & John H - owners of the 164 'queues' for some years - apart from the pleasures of the drive bit, are there some downsides that I should be aware of ?? belts or ????

Sheldon - I take that as a vote of confidence in the 164Q !! but as I stress, I haven't had the pleasure of driving a 90 or 75 'in anger' but I have driven a 164Q - I'm really just looking for a reason NOT to purchase one !! as silly as it sounds !

Nice numbers on the 90 !!
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: Joe Garra on June 11, 2008, 10:31:48 PM
let's see, downsides. Electrics - I don't think I've had every switch working for the last 10 years. There's always something on the blink. Currently, can't see the clock at night, driver side mirror adjustment doesn't work. Went through heaps of batteries. But now that I've moved to Werribee South and am 10 minutes from work rather than 2 minutes, the battery hasn't been a problem. Mechanically sound - I change the timing belts every 3 years. Torque steer is much less noticeable than on the automatic 164 I used to own( or maybe I've just gotten used to it ;-). Turning circle is very, very ordinary. But, very comfortable, great to drive, great engine noise.  And, Sheldon, if you're ever down this way, you are very welcome to take it for a drive!
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: AndrewO on June 12, 2008, 07:28:20 AM
Hi Len,

I owned a Q for a few years and sold it to be sensible.  Bad mistake.

Put the suspension in auto and go easy on the throttle and it is a beautiful luxury car with heaps of space and proper climate control.  Put the suspension on hard and put the boot in and there are few cars that can make you smile as much unless you are interested in finding 0.02 seconds around a certain corner.  Lots of fun around corners and more fun than most on the straights.  From a rolling start it really pushes you back into your seat (and can embarass a WRX).  I said I had 2 engines up front - one calm and sensible under 4,000rpm but over that it was a howling monster.  Everything worked brilliantly well when you change gears at the red line (gear box was butter smooth), it was made for driving hard.

If you can, then buy one.  But you have to be prepared to spend for the pleasure.  Mine was fine but the stepper motors for the complex air conditioning always fail and are expensive to replace (trying to keep the fan at a fixed speed helps).  The complex display for the air-con always has a problem or two.  The recaro electric seats with 3 memories are brilliant, as long as they work - mine sometimes did.  Don't wind them all the way back (I'm 6'3") or the motor falls off the rails and needs to be pushed back on.  They are a rare variant of a rare car that is now old.  Mine was a Hong Kong import to make it worse.  One of the computers failed and there were none in stock here.  None in stock in Italy.  Bosch had none in stock and made a pair of them to order.  About 2 months off the road and many dollars later it was smile time again.

Yes, lots and lots of reasons not to buy.  Sensible choice is to stay away.  I wish I had mine back. :)
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: John Hanslow on June 12, 2008, 01:01:00 PM
Well I would concur with your findings.  However as we know when you buy a car, you have to satisfy yourself that certain items have been replaced like the stepper gears. I was fortunate there.

The seat motors are sometimes an issue.  A gentle tap on the side of the motor ( with the handle of a screwdriver or similar) gets them going again. 

Yes they are a bit old and as items wear out they need replacing.

No one has mentioned the suspension issues. With an 18/20 year old car like a Q, I have been repeatedly told that you do not replace the units (with the 2 stage settings).  Just replace with standard new ones.
Benincas however have had the occasional Q and they prowdly advise that they re-gas the units after attaching a filler nipple on the top of unit.

Just speak to a reliable Alfa specialist who knows 164's and get their opinion for future reference.

Regret now not getting a Q, are a rare later model QV or if I had money for a GTA ...

Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: len105 on June 16, 2008, 09:48:52 PM
Thanks Joe for the comprehensive list of potential issues !! I would guess that as you have had a 164Q for many years, all that is balanced by the superb handling, great sound, lovely road feel etc etc !!!!

And AndrewO, you are also very convincing - sold to be sensible ?? I think that I'm also 'trying' to be sensible !! But I love them !!

Actually had an inspection of a black 164Q a few days ago - very nice car but, did have an issue with electric seats not operating, side mirrors forget it, quite a few dollars spent in the last 12 months ( which is OK for me ) - but, as I said, I love them !!

And yes John H, there was suspension related issues - part of which was solved by not selecting the Sports mode ever again !!

But, it was a very nicely presented car, which had been well cared for for 8 years by its second I'm frightened about the gearbox disintegrating !! No I'm not - I love them !!

Thanks for everyone's feedback........I think I'm a 164Q tragic.........

Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: letsgo on June 17, 2008, 06:13:35 PM
Haha Len I apologise for spooking you out with my gearbox woes.

To be specific, the exact issue was with the spider gears within the diff. It was the spider gears that basically broke and unluckily for me decided to shoot their teeth outwards and hurt the rest of the gearbox.

Funnily enough, last night I found a Road & Track review of the 164 S - US version of the Q, and even they couldn't get away from the spider gear issues on a brand new car!

Apparantly after just the 2nd hard take off, the spider gears in the diff broke and the car had to be sent back to Alfa!

I've only had the pleasure to drive the car for 1 week, but I loved every minute of it. Can't wait to get it back on the road, change the timing belt and all the other belts, and take it for a nice shake down cruise either down the GOR or through the black spur to marysville!
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: AndrewO on June 18, 2008, 05:39:10 PM
Hi Len,

I think my old car is still for sale from the person who bought it from me.  Here's a link to the ad... (

It's been around a long time and either has been sold and ad not removed or the asking price is way high.  My mechanic who still serviced it told me the doctor who bought it had a no expense spared attitude and has replaced a lot of stuff even though it didn't really need it.  Like the headlights that worked perfectly but the glass was a bit faded and dull so the lot was replaced.  It was always a low km car but I did "drive" it when I was behind the wheel.

Might be worth a look to see what a top dollar example is like.

Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: John Hanslow on June 19, 2008, 04:34:13 PM
That's a great car.  However remember that it is a QV which is the later and more powerful model of the.  I suppose it is like top of he range being one of the last  - 1997 model.

Thee is amnother red QV on carsales or carpoint for $12k. 

However with tht Q's I would be a bit patient and look at the few thatare around.  I kew there was a Black Q for sale at Benincas in Canterbury.  Check it out as anything they sell would be mechanically ok.  The seats needed a stich or two.

Do not forget to get any car instpected by someone who knows the cars ie. Benincas, Maranello or Hugh Harrison.  Refer to our club sponsor page for contacts and similar.

Its a good $150 (?) spent for road test, engine test & pre purchase inspection that verifies the condition of the car.  Plus any wrk needing done can be a handy negotiating tool for purchase price/roadworthy discussions.

Best of luck guys.
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: letsgo on June 19, 2008, 09:32:36 PM
Once again, not wanting to scare you or talk you out of getting a 164 Q, even though since I have owned the car it has literaly spent more time in the workshop than with me, I love it and can't wait to get it back hopefully on Monday.

My car was inspected by Hugh at Monza, and besides minor issues associated with a 16 year old car, nothing out of the ordinary was noted. The diff/gearbox issue that I had was undiagnosable and the car sounded and drove fine right up until the spider gears broke.

Like I said, don't let that put you off, but keep it in mind :)
Title: Re: Alfa 164Q
Post by: len105 on June 25, 2008, 08:59:04 AM
Thanks guys - good advice.

I'll check out some other leads I have. Appreciate all the feedback.........