Re: It goes... ZHA-ZHA-ZHA-ZHA-ZHA-ZHA-
Update on Zha-Zha...
Well, I made a snap decision and pushed my 147 100 yards to the Alfa dealer that I didn't previously have any experience with, rather than paying 60 squid to have it lifted to the people I usually use 15 miles away.
They have done the cambelt and all the usual bobbins around the cambelt as instructed (the cars on 67k miles so it was due soon anyway) but they said I definitely DIDN'T need a new phase variator. I have accepted their professional opinion on that despite the other place telling me it was getting noisy. I would have preferred them to do it as the cambelt was being done but they insisted it was a waste of money and the PV was fine.
So the engine is still good... big relief there... and now its had some of its 72k mile service done prematurely so thats okay I guess, but it seems the ZHA-ZHA-ZHA noise that kicked off all my trouble was in fact a wobbly wheel on the aircon compressor belt system. Apparently I have to buy an entire aircon compressor unit because you can't buy just the wheel/pulley/whatever its called. I don't really use the aircon anyway so I asked if I could just leave it and they said that if the belt was left off I would have no power steering, whears if the belt is on and the pulley wheel is loose (it was very loose) the belt could snap or the wheel could shatter and take out the cambelt housing in the process causing me a lot of woe, so I've accepted that this is a necessary thing to do also.
They have changed the sparkplugs too, which I knew were going becuase the other place told me that a while back (a few were cracked) and have replaced a gasket somewhere in the process. The entire cost to me for all the parts and labour involved in all of that is a whopping £1400 or thereabouts. I'm gutted about that as it definitely means I can't afford upgrade to a nice face-lifted 156 anymore. I'll have to keep driving the 147 for another year or so.
So I am now wondering whether to keep the car indefinitely and start using it as a project car to spec up a bit. Its hardly got any valid resale value now I've shoved nealry 2k into its maintenance (including a recent MOT where the brakes had to be done too) Its not the best base model to start improving on as its only a basic 1.6 - I'd prefer to be boosting up a two litre. Does anyone have any feeling about whether a 1.6 is worth tuning up (upgrading ride, brakes, performance and looks) or would be a bit like putting racing stripes and 18s on a Perodua Kalisa? My 'usual' Alfa people tried to sell me a remap and a few other tuning ideas when I bought the car saying they could get it to match the perfromance of a 2 litre quite easily, but I don't know if that's true and if I'm pushing a asmall engine to do more than it can really cope with long term.