I've had my 'new' 145 '97 1.8 TS for a month now, and here's a little feedback on what's been problematic:
Firstly, the car ws well taken care of up until a point. The owner decided not to do a service on it this year, as he was selling it and leaving the country.
My first minor problem was stuttering wipers... That's a simple enough fix, problem being time.
Secondly, the exhaust was shot, having being rusting since 2001 when it was noted during a yearly service. It was never blowing, but with the impending NCT (MOT), I had to replace it. I managed to save 150 euro on the exhaust by buying it in Belfast, and as the quotes for the exhaust down here in the South were 510 euro, I'm not surprised the previous owner overlooked it!
Then, I started to notice that when the engine was started cold, i'd get a 'drilling' sound for 2 seconds after. It took a little bit of though to work out that the bendix on the starter motor was sticking somewhat, and being driven by the flywheel after the solinoid released it... Oh dear... I didn't fancy having to take the starter off...
As I traveled around, the engine temperature remained low. Another simple fix at a cost of 45 euro for the thermostat.
Brake squeal was on my mind one day, and it struck me to check the pads on the car. The previous owner had been very careful about security, and had installed lock-nuts on the alloys. So I had to find the key for the nuts. But what was awaiting me... Shock horror... external body care and aesthetics seemed to be this guy's speciality, but he was turning out to be a professional neglect artist when it comes to workings... There was less than a millimeter of brake media left on most of the pads... Christ!
Then recently, I started getting a metal-to-metal grinding sound from the engine bay at 3000 rpm, subsiding at 3500 rpm... that started to worry me a bit. Sounds expensive! But then it all became apparent, the bendix was at it again... It was getting stuck only a minute amount of distance from the flywheel when disengaging, and whatever was happening at 3000 rpm was causing resonating in the flywheel, hitting off the cog...
So then, the NCT came yesterday... I did the usual checks before-hand; lights, brakes, lights, oil, water, lights, RON97 petrol, air pressure, lights, seatbelts and finally lights once again for good measure...
Boom bang, badda wham... FAILED THE NCT.
Bulb over the reg plate was blown... and the calculated lambda reading was .012 over the limit. The tester wasn't going to fail the car for the bulb... he tested the lambda twice, and even rev'd the engine to warm it and the sensor up a bit to see whether it would pass... The allowed values are .97 to 1.03, and I managed a 1.042... balls.
So I've just been onto TI-Autos, Ireland's Alfa specialist, known for being big hearts when Alfa's with problems come a knocking. They will take it in shortly for a look, and they reckon it's a lambda probe gone awol. That's odd as the same probe was replaced on this car by them in 2002... They reckon that the probes can fail frequently, and to be honest, I will believe anything he says...
So, I'm not looking for answers to my problems... just telling a story.
I won't say what I paid for the car, save to say I paid a good price for a quality body and engine to match... problems amount to experience.
Exhaust: 351 euro.
Front Brake Pads: 46 euro.
Thermostat: 45 euro.
NCT: 47 euro.
TI Autos lambda sensor: 140 euro (expected).
1 years tax: 456 euro.
Total: 945 euro