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147 questions.

Hey folks... will shortly be beginning search proper for a 147

just wanting to get clearer pictures of couple of things i haven't gleaned from endless searches.

first of all. as I'm coming from an mx5, handling is pretty important. much more so than power. what's the 147 like compared with other cars through the twisties... I like a blast in the country, I have family on the west coast of mid wales. many mountain blasts. we currently often go out blasting round the cotswolds in the mazdas. and I'm soon moving to devon which has decent roads too I'm also pretty fond of nipping down to Italy through the alps. We're getting married down there next year too and I'll be driving down with a bunch of wedding stuff, so bends are important!

then onto the engines, how much more of a ballache is the 2 litre? as far as I can see it's just an extra 50 for the balancer shaft belt, but the rest is the same, servicing-wise...? I do 90% of my own spannering, but cambelts is usually one I leave to the garage, though with the prices and frequency of the alfa ones it's something I'd look to take on myself to save what I can, and buy the locking tools etc. is there any difference really in servicing?

and, last question, on the road, the 1.6 vs the 2.0... what's between them? is it night and day or is the 1.6 satisfying enough? what are they both like over distance too?

handling vs things like my current mx5? vs focus? vs golf?

servicing costs 1.6 vs 2.0 as diy jobs. (cambelt particular)

1.6 vs 2.0 on the road difference.

here's my mazda to give some visual stimulation to the text wall

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That Mazda is lovely you must be mad to get rid of it, and as much as I love Alfa's I doubt the 147 will satisfy you after that. A GTA? yes all day long, but not a standard one, your gaining extra seats and a bigger boot but the handling might disappoint you and as yours is a 1.8 you'll be gaining nothing really in terms of power.

If I was after a basic, cheap good handling hatch (I'll get flamed for this) but it would be the MK1 Focus 1.8/2.0zetec.

That said the only 147 I've driven is the JTD and don't get me wrong they are good cars, but It's what your coming from that is the issue. I have also had experience of the twin sparks in the 2 156's I've had and they are good engines that sound nice, but still after a MK1 MX5 I think you'll be disappointed.

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(Post Link) post #3 of 6 Old 12-05-15 Thread Starter
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yeah I get that it's not going to be the same. but it's an entirely different kettle of fish isn't it. I wouldn't expect a banana to taste like a watermelon after all. but i like both.
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The 147 is a great car but it will be strange coming from an MX-5 because all the 147's are front-wheel drive. The 147 has super light steering which is very precise but I have to say does lack some feel, it also has the turning circle of a moon. Out of the city it's great to drive and a healthy car will lap up the miles and make you grin all the way. The petrols sound bril and should make driving to Italy a bit special. The diesels feel a little heavier at the nose but there's a ton of grunt to power out of the corners. Healthy suspension makes a big difference here. The driving position is excellent with very supportive seats but they need to be because the ride is a tad firm... I'm lying, it's very firm.

The interior is a nice place to be especially if you get a car with leather seats, Lusso trims and above tend to have leather. Also Alfa didn't use hysterically terrible plastics for the dash etc which is nice. The interior is quite spacious in the front but the back is cramped and there's really only space for 2, especially in the 3-door cars.

Now I hate to say it but you might not acheive Mazda reliablility levels with an Alfa, though honestly my 147 has only suffered minor niggles, battery/EGR for example. Keeping up to date with maintenance will help a great deal here.

The Twin Spark engines are designed to use some oil so it's important to check and top up the level regularly. Aside from that it's the cambelts you need to check, replacement should be every 36k or 3 years whichever is sooner. The cam variator tends to need replacing every other timing belt change, from what I've read they sound like diesels when the variator is worn. I've driven the 2.0 a little it laps up the revs even if it lacks a bit of umph (that might just be me being used to the diesel) but the noise is great, even better if it's the V6. They average not much more than 30mpg though because you develop a heavy right foot if you know what I mean.

Diesels on the other hand don't normally use oil but need cambelt & waterpump replacements every 60k or 4 years whichever is sooner, 350 is about the going rate for this work. The usual EGR malodies are common and can be avoided by cleaning them every few thousand miles. I've had my 147 JTD for over 2 years now and remapped it has bundles of torque, power and even decent economy although it does sound like a taxi when it's cold. Get one with the Q2 limited-slip diff for the best results.

Servicing is fair, I pay around 150-200 all in for a yearly service depending on what filters I choose, Engine Oil, Motor Oil and Car Engine Oils from the largest UK independent online supplier of Performance Oils will see you right for service kits. Rust shouldn't be a problem but do check the floorpans from underneath and the sills, which can be damaged and begin to rust due to using an incorrect jacking point. Check for any electrical gremlins and make sure everything works properly, but generally the 147 is reliable here. See the guide here for more bits to check for: Alfa Romeo 147 Buyer's Guide

There's some bits I'm bound to have missed but you get the general idea, sorry I can't be more specific with the petrols, I need more practice. People call me a philistine for choosing a diesel but they're still good fun.

Best of luck with your search!

147 Sport Q2: Autolusso Remap + Swirl Flap & EGR Delete, Mocal Oil Cooler Kit, JTD Performance FMIC Kit + High Flow Elbow, Wizard Downpipe, PF Pads + 5.1 Fluid, Autolusso Braided Brake Lines, MTech Short-Shifter, Autolusso Silicone Turbo-to-MAF Hose, Refurbed Q2's + Some to add later.
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Summary first: 2.0 extra 30bhp that is essential and a taller 5th gear (less revs.) Apart from belts and underwhelming performance of the 1.6 the rest is identical.

Turismo bottom of range - no leather and no steering controls of radio etc.
Lusso top range except the limited editions that are Collezione and Ducati Corsa, Lusso usually has leather, always steering wheel control of radio and headlamp washers. Not all leather seats are heated so check.

1.6 is cheaper on belts. It has 120bhp and that isn't enough as the 147 is a heavy car.
2.0 as you say slightly more expensive on belts but 150bhp and that extra 30 is needed. It also has a longer 5th gear that you will need for motorway trips, the extra buzz from the 1.6 at higher revs on motorways gets to you eventually.

MPG is a bit poor in both cars, it is heavy so that hits it. What mpg you get depends on how you drive (my son and I often drive exactly the same 80 mile motorway route in exactly the same traffic at the same speed but I read the traffic and he drives like the go / stop teenager he is I get 38mpg at steady 80mph and he gets 31mpg at steady 80mph.) 1.6 is between 5 and 10% more economical.

As above they all use oil, some as much as a litre per 1,000 miles and a few even more. As there is not an oil level warning light learn to check at every fuel fill untill you know what yours is consuming.

Front spring and shocks can go soft even on the petrol models so drive a few before you think it it to soft or to hard.

Front suspension squeak is top wishbones, clunk is usually bottom wishbone and clunk under your feet is usually ARB bushes.

Depending on age the floor pans rust so crawl underneath it.

Variators do go but the cheap repair kits work if caught early (10 last time I looked) but unless you know what you are doing don't factor on doing it yourself. On start up, when they are first starting to wear, there is a similar noise to hydraulic tappets or a slight diesely sound that goes after a second or so. New ones are about 80 but can wait until cam belt is changed as it won't damage anything.

Cambelts 36,000 or 3 years. Which ever comes first and should (must) including water pump and pulleys.

Pixels on some of the dashboard MFD displays can fail.

Remote locking fails, sometimes easy and sometimes hard fix. Don't let the seller convince you it is the battery in the key as it almost certainly won't be. If it was that easy they would have fitted a new one wouldn't they!

A new key programmed to your car will cost 250 - 300 and you can't do it any cheaper. Ignore the eBay ads and factor in the cost of a key if it only has one.

Window mechs seize but are easy to replace. Don't let a seller tell you it is a dodgy switch - it will be a seized mechanism every time.

Changing sidelight bulbs is a ***** unless you have piano player fingers and a small mirror.

Lights illuminating the heater controls can fail and easiest fix is new control panel but that is very easy to change.

A full set of 8 plugs is rather expensive but is a 60 or 80k change (I can't remember which) so may not need chaining in your ownership.

Both engines sound stunning when revved toward the red line. Pretty easy to work on and old enough that everyone knows the faults and fixes.

You also get the fantastic FES or MultiECUScan software that is free from the web and that is full diagnostic for the Fiat and Alfa range.

I prefer the GT (same chassis different clothing) but you don't get a 4 door option with that.

If you want three in the back and leather check that they will fit as I am not sure the leather has a centre belt. My son's doesn't but I don't know if that is just peculiar to his.

Yes I would always have a 2.0 and completely ignore a 1.6.

Don't let the list put you off. You now know what to look for to find a good one. They are much cheaper than the opposition and in Lusso trim have all the extras.

Last edited by kandlbarrett; 13-05-15 at 01:34.
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signed back up again....

so things didn't really go to plan ha, I ended up briefly with a renaultsport clio 172, and was possibly the most impressive car I've ever driven (partially due to low expectations, but genuinely was brilliant). and then we got pregnant, so that went too and ended up with an (I know, I know....) e46 coupe, 325 ci sport. which I've done 17k in this year already. including 2 trips to Italy, via the alps, which admittedly it was very competent at. I even took it to the alfa museum, which was amazing...

so then, I'm actually not long back, wedding was 24th august in the Italian lakes... and as every time I come back from Italy, I want an alfa.. so I'm considering a 147 again, but a diesel (pre-facelift) and also have another clio 172 (keep my share of daft cambelt schedules) as a weekend toy...

Devon's proven more thirsty than anticipated with the beemer, hence the diesel. currently averaging around 24mpg on my commute, so diesel it really has to be.

are any of you guys down here in sunny Devon and willing to let me have a ride/go in your 8v and/or 16v to help jog a decision?

thanks folks
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