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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Re: Going for my first Alfa and looking for pointers
£4K is the upper limit on a good private sale for the model you want of that age, a dealer will want another £500 on top of that.
Look for full service history including a recent cambelt change if that is the milage your after (around 72K/5 years is when it should be done), look for suspension work, if it's had the wishbones (upper and lower) replaced then your onto winner, next check the bodypanels all line up right, even gaps all round not only show a straight chassis, but also that it's not been bounced, you want to check EVERY electrical item works correctly, jerky wipers when wet mean the motors on the way out, try all the door switches with doors open and closed, mainly with the ignition off, pull out the tail light holders and make sure there are no dimly glowing bulbs (that means new rev counter needed), Now for the test drive, as you drive away, watch for smoke in the mirror (too much and walk away) and feel for vibration as the car pulls off (again walk away, it needs a new flywheel at least), listen for clunking noises from the footwells (this indicates drop links or wishbones or both), but the age your after the bushes will be wearing out all round which is why I mentioned if there was work done on this then your in luck, lastly for diesels, if they hesitate or feel lackluster then again it's either major or minor to fix, either a split hose or other major biggy type prob (always worth investigatingas a hose could blag you a good price and costs around £30 to fix).
But in all most 156 Sportswagons are solid cars and the diesels are far more reliable than the petrol TS' and the economy is far better, you obviosly know the looks and my favourite colour is the light blue.