Just like to share my experience of purchasing my first 156. I used to own a 146, it was a very good car and I clocked up 40K without any serious issues.
I decided to purchase a 156 in the UK last September following some advice. I found one which had been bought at auction from a fleet management company by a dealer in Wales. It is a 2003 1.6TS Lusso Verde Acero, beautiful car with the Alfa pack 3 and fully loaded, fsh, and only 56K on the clock. (I especially like the tan leather seats and cruise control)
I did all the necessary checks before purchase, but one mistake I made was that I didn’t study the BOM for the 36K Cam Belt change. What I didn’t notice was that they forgot to change out the tensioner and variator.
Long story short, it broke at 66K. Total bill was €2K here in Ireland. Got £800 back from Alfa UK as a ‘good will payment’. I’ve been told I was lucky to get anything.
Only other issue was an annoying knocking from the front suspension a few weeks ago, turned out to be anti-roll bar bushes.
So going on that just thought I'd share a tip or two for perspective Alfa buyers…..
Check the Service History thoroughly. If applicable, ensure Cam Belt has been changed at 36K intervals along with associated parts (e.g. tensioner and variator). In case of any expensive disasters a full Alfa service history is a must when dealing with Fiat-Alfa HQ.
If the unthinkable happens and your Cam Belt breaks while on the road, beware, it may not be apparent straight away depending on your speed. I was doing 100 Kmh, there was no mechanical noise and the engine management warning message came up on the display. Manual states that for this fault you should drive slowly to the nearest Alfa dealer which I proceeded to do. (Part of my argument for reimbursement from Alfa) Car drove for another 4 Km's before it gave up. Mechanic told me later that if I had pulled up straight away and switched off the car I'd have saved most of the valves due to the way some of the teeth sheared. The rest is history.
Oh ya, the mechanic who has been working on Fiats and Alfas for over 30 years told me to always use fully synthetic oil and keep it topped up to protect the variator and in turn the Cam Belt.
Hopefully that’s the end of it from now on !