164 Cloverleaf Magic!
Bought my '93 24V 164 Cloverleaf as a stop-gap car about 5 years ago and then fell in love with the silly thing, of course. Elegant in white (and fairly rare, I believe) but surprisingly discreet too - never seems to attract unwanted attention from boy racers, thieves or vandals, or from the Law (fingers crossed on that one!). 77,000 miles when purchased from Gta Cars and, thanks to being a daily workhorse since, has now clocked 145,000 miles. Still superfast, smooth and musical and the engine's never been opened - no need, although the rest of the car's pretty much been rebuilt! (mostly by Alan Bennett of Benalfa).
Now, the first problem has come along that really threatens my affections for the car - an intermittent, hot re-starting problem. Goes like this: car starts perfectly from cold, drives faultlessly, you park up somewhere when the engine's been fully warmed through and switch it off. You then go back to start it sometime later (anything from 15 mins to 2 hours) and it won't re-start! Oh, it wants to...so much!! Spins and coughs, spins and coughs, faster and faster, "Come on, baby, that's it, come on, you can do it, honey, come on you *****, START for f***'s sake." Er, no! Nothing! All you can do is walk away and come back when it's cooled down sufficiently (how long is sufficient? How long is a piece of string?!), whereupon it starts and runs with an infuriating "Problemo? Who, me?" expression on its smug face.
If this happened every time, I could doubtless get someone onto it - but is doesn't. Like I said, it's intermittent and only seems to happen when I have some gorgeous Italian mistress in the car that I'm trying to impress (okay, that's not very often, I admit). I just can't seem to make it misbehave in the presence of someone knowledgeable who just happens to have diagnostic equipment in their hands at the time.
You can actually catch it 'half-way' on the way to this total non-restart problem if you're lucky and then what it does is this: it starts up on 2,3 or 4 cylinders it seems, chunters away for 10-20 seconds, will NOT respond to the throttle at all and then, as if it's just intercepted a GO signal from some GPS satellite somewhere on Mars, it suddenly starts running perfectly again. What else can I say? Never seems to smell of fuel until AFTER it's re-started and then you get a few whiffs. I've pumped quite a bit of injector cleaner through the system and this 'chuntering' has only come along since I've done this - but I'm just not sure if I'm on the right track here. In some ways it seems electronic (a sensor?) and in other ways, it seems mechanical (fuel 'valve' somewhere?). It's had a new fuel pump, new relay and new fuel filter and those items did diddly-squat to cure it. Anyone out there run into something similar?
What info can I offer to fellow 164 Cloverleaf owners? Well, Alfa have stopped making exhaust manifolds for these cars apparently but I bought a secondhand one belonging to a 164 Super from Alan Bennett who reckons the throats/bores are identical in diameter and that the 20bhp difference comes from camshafts and electronics - but I suspect you already knew that.
Of course I still love it! Found myself behind a 911 Turbo (a 996 no less) at 100 the other week. This was in Germany, of course. He squirted it to 120 to lose me (Ha! As if that would work!), then to 140 (ditto!), then he got p***ed off and floored it and a few seconds later I watched with glee when a whole heap of cr*p poured from the exhausts as his 'cats' cleaned themselves out! Sure, he got away but the Alfa made him work at it! Okay, cheers Everyone.