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(Post Link) post #1 of 47 Old 02-03-13 Thread Starter
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New Car, first thoughts. (Ownership thread)

Hi Guys,

I collected my car (2008 159 Ti 2.4 Qtronic)from the paint shop on Thursday and have been checking it out for faults and general driving characteristics etc. The car is really nice to drive, not as sharp as my previous E46 3 series sport but much more relaxing over bumpy roads. The qtronic is really nice, I'll get very lazy driving this car and will probably never want a manual again. Its quite harsh changing gear at the redline when using the steering wheel paddles but other than that I can't fault it. I'm finding I leave it in Drive all the time and flick over to paddles for overtaking which is carried out with ease. The car is really nice to sit in, I'm loving the tan leather seats and the ambiance of the cabin. The build quality inside seems to me to match that of my previous BMW.

I gave the car the once over as well and came up with a list of suspension issues which are as follows:

Offside & nearside upper wishbones
Offside & nearside track rod ends
Rear springs
Rear brake pads
Rear tyres worn to the cord on the inside edge. These must have been on the front previously. (The fronts aren't 2 great either so I'll replace all 4 I think)
Rubber bushing at the rear for jacking the car up
Light corrosion on front & rear subframe

I also noticed a lot of welding splatter on the lower wishbones all round which indicates to me the poor build quality of these cars, definately not impressed.

I also get a warning message 'alarm system not currently available' when I switch the car off, the steering lock is not engaging. ( any ideas?)

Ok guys thats my initial view, I knew about most of the faults when I bought the car and got it for a price which reflects this so I'm not having a go at all the work which needs done. I am surprised that a car needs so much at 50K though.

Last edited by quinnj3; 19-10-13 at 13:42.
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The error message will probably be "Security System Not Available". This is the steering lock not engaging.
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U must be quite near me. I wasn't impressed when I seen that car advertised, I though it was devaluing my own but I feel a bit better now it needed work done. I haven't seen another black 08 2.4 ti Qtronic advertised in NI before.
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I am surprised that a car needs so much at 50K though.
It depends on how the last owner drove it ...
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(Post Link) post #5 of 47 Old 03-03-13 Thread Starter
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Hi lads,

Yeah Kevin the car was from Magherafelt and was advertised on usedcarsni.com. It hasn't been well cared for as the bodywork has never been detarred or waxed but there is no corrosion and no car parking dings so it will come up nicely once I get the polisher on it. When I collected the car it wasn't even vacuumed which says a lot I think. Again there is nothing but minor superficial marks which will come out with a decent clean. I knew the value of the car and wanted to keep on the right side for myself. The seller's wife made the mistake of telling me what they were offered as a trade in on it so I eventually offered a few hundred above that which they reluctantly accepted. I allowed myself 1300 to put things right & fully service it which will bring the total spend to 8000. So far with all the parts that I've seen that need doing I'll have to spend 1050 or there abouts. Either way the cockpit is a fantastic place to be and I am loving the drive even with all the faults mentioned. I'm a little disappointed with the rear seat space as getting my little girl in and out of the baby seat is almost as difficult as it was in my BMW coupe!. I did think it would be more of a family car but as the family won't be in it all that much I'm not concerned. I'm also getting a trip reading of 34mpg average which I'm happy with considering others diabolical fuel consumption. Hopefully an alignment & engine flush will improve this a little more as well and, as mentioned in a previous post, a possible remap if the spend doesn't go crazy.
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(Post Link) post #6 of 47 Old 01-04-13 Thread Starter
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Ok, I thought I'd give another update of the work I've done to date and my opinions on the car. Spread over the past couple of weekends I've fitted a timing belt kit & waterpump, auxiliary drive belt, oil & filter change, pollen filter change, air filter change, fuel filter change, replaced the springs with eibachs all round, fitted new top wishbones on each side and fitted 235/40 r19 Accelera tyres all round.

The oil hadn't been changed in about 23000 miles and was really black but still very slippery to the touch. When I change engine oil I always put wynns engine flush in the old oil first to flush out any unwanted grime. This seems to have made a big difference as fuel economy has improved by 10-15%. I achieved 44mpg on a 20 mile run which I've previously only been able to get 39mpg on. The engine is much smoother & quieter and overall I'm really happy with the improvement. I think oil changes in the region of 10K miles maximum are in order from now on. I'll probably do another one in a couple of thousand miles or so just to make sure the crud from previous owners is well & truly gone.

Although i now need an alignment done updating the suspension has made a massive difference. Turn in is much sharper and direct than before & the suspension is so much more refined. I expected the eibachs to be harsh but in fact the opposite is true. The car no longer floats over crests nor crashes in dips, uneven road surfaces are dealt with spectacularly well. The standard dampers seem very well matched to these springs. I would definitely recommend eibachs instead of standard springs. Also ride height seems to have raised at the rear (prob due to previously having a broken spring & the other was prob very tired) & very slightly lowered at the front.

I've done all the work myself, I'm no mechanic but over the years between myself & my brother we have amassed a decent set of garage equipment all of which was required. This car is not one to be worked on with a standard 1/4 drive socket set! The car has not been 2 bad to work on, engine room is tight and it seems that to work on what you want to work on a lot of others items need to be removed first. At the end of the day though its only nuts & bolts and if you work methodically, thinking each step through, before you know it the jobs done. I did have a real fight with 1 off the suspension bolts though, I spent almost 1 hour fighting with it.

Since doing the work I've really got to enjoy the driving of the car. Previously I always thought it just another car, definitely not a 3 series BMW but my opinion has now changed to it being a slight compromise between the all out sporty driving characteristics of an msport BMW and a mildly sporting cruiser, GT would be the correct term. I would prefer this car for my commute & a m-sport bmw for when I would really want to drive which these days are few and far between. Also its a real looker compared to anything from BMW these days.
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Nice buy all in all then!

I think you've spotted this, but the tyre wear you mention in your first post is definitely indicative of the car never having had proper 4-wheel alignment done (with the toe set to 0). Sounds like it's still got the factory set up, which lead to the inner edges getting worn out. Sorting that should save you a good few hundred euro in the long run!
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(Post Link) post #8 of 47 Old 03-04-13 Thread Starter
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The alignment is on the cards next, I'll try to get it booked in this week.
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(Post Link) post #9 of 47 Old 05-05-13 Thread Starter
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I thought you guys would like to see some pictures of my car now I have it almost up to scratch. Take a look at this link to detailing world:

My upgrade to an Alfa 159 Ti - Detailing World

A lot of work went into it and I'm starting to really enjoy the car although last night I had a fault on the abs, dsc and hill holder which was all disabled. I thought switching off and back on again would clear the fault but it was still present today. I'll put the laptop on it in the morning to see what the fault is.
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Set the front toe to 0 deg as Commanderfish says to get even front tyre wear or -2 to -3 to keep the turn in sharp(ish) but at the trade off of inner edge wear, though less than at the manufacturer specified -7 that really chews them up.

And do, do, do get a DPF / EGR delete + remap to bring that engine alive. Get one of the better tuners to do it as I think you need to restrict some of the low down torque to protect the gearbox. You get another 40bhp and that really does make it a different car to drive.
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Great work! The car now looks like a stunner after all the effort.
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Definitely a remap/dpf/egr mod'n , you'll love it , especially on your new Eibachs (I fitted the Bilstein B6's too) . Obviously if you ' enjoy ' the performance through the gears mpg will drop to 25mpg ish BUT high speed cruising around 70/90 mph will give you 45mpg after the dpf/egr & remap , mine does --- if you ' feed ' the throttle not stab it.
Alignment wise I'd get powerflex front top/bottom bushes then get it aligned to Ned's Autolusso spec ' ---- all who've had it done are raving about it. I'm on the list too !
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quinnj3 View Post
I thought you guys would like to see some pictures of my car now I have it almost up to scratch. Take a look at this link to detailing world:

My upgrade to an Alfa 159 Ti - Detailing World

A lot of work went into it and I'm starting to really enjoy the car although last night I had a fault on the abs, dsc and hill holder which was all disabled. I thought switching off and back on again would clear the fault but it was still present today. I'll put the laptop on it in the morning to see what the fault is.
Superb work mate - I have the identical combo and it looks amazing when clean !!

Is that leather treatment you used one of the better ones and reasonable value ? - does it remove the grime from the tan leather 1st of did the soda do that ?

Whenever i start to get a wandering eye i look at a couple of photos of mine to remind me the grass is never greener :-)

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2...DSC_7266-1.jpg
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(Post Link) post #14 of 47 Old 06-05-13 Thread Starter
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Superb work mate - I have the identical combo and it looks amazing when clean !!

Is that leather treatment you used one of the better ones and reasonable value ? - does it remove the grime from the tan leather 1st of did the soda do that ?

Whenever i start to get a wandering eye i look at a couple of photos of mine to remind me the grass is never greener :-)

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2...DSC_7266-1.jpg
The cleaning bit is the soda and flash apc although the leather cleaner definitely helps. It was one of the dirtiest interiors I have seen on a car. The pictures look amazing mostly because the sun was low and lighting the whole cabin up although the seats do look immaculate now. The colours in the pictures are extremely accurate. The leather cleaner I use probably is one of the cheaper ones but once used there is definitely an improvement to the touch and suppleness of the leather. I've used it on a few cars which I've owned with leather with no complaints and as the saying goes 'if it ain't broke why fix it?'. Thanks for the comments.
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Superb. Only thing missing is a set of front mudguards, they make a huge difference to the amount of dirt that gathers on the doors.
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(Post Link) post #16 of 47 Old 06-05-13 Thread Starter
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Superb. Only thing missing is a set of front mudguards, they make a huge difference to the amount of dirt that gathers on the doors.
I've noticed this car picks up dirt like no other car I've owned and the door jams get particularly dirty which has damaged the paint in a few areas, one of which is beginning to rust. I'll need to get them touched up shortly. Would universal mudguards do? I don't want to spend 50 just for front flaps.
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After all your hard work it looks like a different car! Well done, looks like new again.
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Would universal mudguards do? I don't want to spend 50 just for front flaps.
Others on here will tell you about universal ones, I went for genuine and they fitted perfectly with no cutting and the holes and clips all lined up nicely. They were a ridiculously high price for two bits of rubber.
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Yes, universals fit fine if you make the effort to put them on straight. The ones I put on were only 6.50, have the same on the Bravo I have at the minute.
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(Post Link) post #20 of 47 Old 21-07-13 Thread Starter
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Well guys,

Its been a while since I updated so thought I'd share my views on the car around 6 months into ownership. Just back from a good run to Newcastle (Co. Down) with the family, about 2 hours to get there the scenic route and 1.5 hours back the normal but still scenic route. Car is running really well, especially on long runs. Its returned about 38mpg today which isn't bad considering the climate control is left in full auto at the moment. Overall average is around 34.5mpg going by the trip computer which means an actual of about 34mpg. For a 200bhp automatic derv it's not too bad I suppose, a 2.5d 5 Series auto would be similar or worse. I'm starting to 'gel' with this motor and enjoy its effortless torque and revvy engine, the offbeat engine note really purrs even my wife says it purrs like a cat when booted for overtaking. The accellera tyres are plenty good enough in dry conditions but are merely adequate in the wet but unless you are trying to be a real 'hero' is acceptable enough for the price and for a family car which isn't 'hooned' around. I've also never owned a car that gets as many comments from people who aren't even into cars. If someone new shows up at work they usually ask 'who owns the alfa?' which is always nice to own up to.

Anyway car is really good for the long runs with the climate control keeping the family comfortable all day long. The eibach springs have really bedded in now and although they run out of travel pretty easily on my every day roads it is never uncomfortable. The mileage has just crossed the 60k mark without out any issues. It's up for MOT now in a few weeks so I've a few things I'd like to do before hand:
  1. The rear brakes are starting to bind and the car is starting to feel like its only braking from the front wheels so the plan is to fit new pads on the rear (possibly even all round), renew the front roll pin sliders, free up and hi-temp grease all working components of the brakes.
  2. Change the gearbox oil as when it is cold it is getting a little lumpy, also when warm it seems to hold onto gears longer than it used to although this could be the engine (see next point)
  3. The engine is still lumpy on cold startup and needs a few seconds revving to get it running smoothly, I've noticed a while before it regenerates it can feel lumpy now even when driving so the plan here is to give the inlet a good de-coking.
  4. I still need to fit mud flaps which this hot summer has highlighted. Large spots of tar are being flung onto the bodywork making it a pita to remove.
  5. A while back the car was showing a fault on the abs circuit. This turned out to be a broken wire on the rear sensor. I temporary repaired it but it needs a decent repair carried out now.

Other things I'd like to get carried out include:
  1. A full wheel refurb
  2. Front bumper repaint (stone chips)
  3. Repaint a small scuff on the rear bumper
  4. Repair rubbing damage on the inside and edges of the doors from the previous owner not washing the inside door sills and opening the doors in a tight garage.
  5. Repair stone chips on rear arches and replace the protective plastic covering
  6. Replace damaged inside drivers wheel arch liner
  7. Replace pitted aluminium front dash facia due to previous owner having a huge bunch of keys (and I mean HUGE) fitted to the key ring.
  8. Minute oil leak around the plastic turbo inlet pipe which is not using oil but is unsightly
  9. Detail engine bay
  10. Wet sand and jewel the paintwork to get that lovely deep 'wet look' shine (probably not going to happen)


Well that's a little update, I'll re-update after the MOT.

Thanks for readin'
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Nice update and glad to see that the car has been behaving. Out of curiosity, do you know how the full auto works on the climate control? I tried that on several occasions and cannot figure out which vents are being used! It seems that no air is really coming out from any of the vents although it does sound like something's being done by the system.
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(Post Link) post #22 of 47 Old 25-08-13 Thread Starter
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Another minor update:

The MOT expires on the 28th so last week I planned to give it a once over in preparation for it. I took it to an alignment centre to get this checked out only to discover my tyres are extremely low on the inside edges which is probably why the car feels like it is on ice in the wet. I also have extreme camber issues so a decision has to be made whether to revert to standard springs or not and also whether to fit adjustable poly bushes to the front end or not, even though new arms went on it a few months back. Anyway the alignment guy did what he could and promised a free rework of it once I had made what ever changes I plan to make.

I then got another garage to set the lights which for some reason were completely out. Night time driving is now a whole lot easier!

I also got new number plates made up as the old ones look tatty but not fitted yet, I fitted standard mudflaps all round which I bought on ebay for around 95.00. They were straight forward to fit with nothing more than a philips screwdriver and small mallet required. These aren't as effective as I thought they would be but nevertheless it is an improvement.

Whilst checking over the car I noticed both the front and rear brake pads are well worn which is probably why the rears are squealing. I'll get this sorted shortly. There didn't appear to be any other issues.

I booked the MOT online yesterday morning for the afternoon which turned out to be extremely lucky as all other dates were well into September. (In Northern Ireland there are government run test centres unlike on the mainland were garages can register to carry out MOT's) The car passed no problem which I was surprised at given the state of the front rubber. Although admittedly the tester looked like he couldn't be bothered and only gave it a quick look over. I'll have to get new tyres ordered shortly now as well.
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(Post Link) post #23 of 47 Old 19-10-13 Thread Starter
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Another small update

Well as my previous post suggested I had to purchase a new set of front tyres and got them fitted today. I'll post pics later but they weren't at all in good shape. As my wife is now on maternity with the 2nd addition to our family due imminently, I'll have to put off reverting to standard suspension until next year and put up with a new set of tyres every 10K miles or so.

I'll hopefully get another detailing session shortly to prep the car for winter and lay down another decent layer of wax.

Other than this everything has been going well. The car runs as a car should. It still has an occasional roughness to the idle but it ain't bad. It starts fine in the morning as long as I wait for the 'press start button' command on the screen. If I try to start it before this it will take a few turns before starting. Occasionally it will need a 2nd dab of the start button but this only happens when cold and I'm not concerned as it always starts the 2nd time. A little dab of throttle when the engine catches helps to no end. I actually think this engine naturally wants to idle at a higher rpm because it never stutters on the lightest of throttle.

All the other things posted previously are still to do . I've just not had the time to tackle the smaller items due to doing plenty of DIY in the house although this should be settling shortly.
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Its really nice to follow your journey on this car mate. Many thanks for taking the time to share!
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Brill post thanks for sharing. Please keep us up to date car looks superb. I just weeks ago bought a very nice 2.4 56 reg. Done oil and filet change, but spent more time rust proofing the front sub frame and rear trailing arm
I found a water trap on the front which caused bad rust on the sub f both sides.After undertay removed look up and toward the engine bay L shaped black piece plastic held in by two torx boltsd t30 i think. Said plastic wwearher guard pushes . agaist the sub frame and rusts badly here. I remodelled mine cut off the right angle bit and fitted bak with 2 origianl bolts and a tie wrap at bottom so water van easerly drain away. Might be worth checking our your sooner done the better, as your car is newer your probably have less rust.

Last edited by phwspider; 20-10-13 at 08:41.
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