Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: United Kingdom
I've got a 156 sportswagon 1.9 16v JTD, its a 54 2004 and the Alfa specialist garage i took it to for the mot said it also has the dreaded late 156 partial undersealing of the floorpan. Apparently most/all of the later 156's are like this, mine just has some surface rust at the moment, but unless its given a good clean and then a yearly waxoxyl covering it will become swizz cheese in a few years time. Earlier cars are supposed to be much better in this respect. Sometimes you really have to wonder how Alfa keep making so many stupid mistakes with modern cars...
The 1.9 16v JTD is a bit heavier feeling than my old 2L TS 16v 155, but the power delivery and all that torque make it feel like a much quicker drivers car, its also just so much easier to drive stress free with all the low end pull. I had a quick shot of a 2.4 20v but it was in the wet and a private seller so i didn't get a chance to see what it can do, however the mid range pull takes your breath away. Definitely felt a bit more nose heavy, but depends what's most important to you. Also a good tuning box or a good remap will give the 20v silly pulling power. Remapping the 1.9 16v will give you 190-200 odd bhp at best, depending on condition and what else is done and will also then give about the same torque as a standard 2.4 20v.
All the diesels are more than a bit weak on the soft/slow front suspension, the 2.4 is more vunerable due to the mass of that lump - so beware speed bumps. Most people seem to prefer slightly lowered but uprated shocks/springs (good kit like eibach/bilstein) to give better control and lessened risk of bottoming out (as long as you're careful with wheel placement and speed around speed bumps and similar clearance issues).
Good luck with your search.
"Free your mind, and your @ss will follow" - George Clinton