Re: 164 People - what are the expensive things to put right?
Are BBA-reman the guys in Kent? I heard there was a place in Kent that can recondition the series 2 LCD displays and offer a 2 year guarantee with it for about £100.
About 164 reliability, with reference to my series 2 24v, which has 104000 on the clock, 25000 by me after I bought it 3 years ago.
Breakdowns - NONE.
Faults - sure. It is an Alfa.
1) Blocked drain holes for the sunroof led to water ingress which destroyed the electrics in the roof control panel, leading to drained battery through permanently on rear door lights, dim rear interior lights and possibly non-operation of sunroof; although can't remember now. Replaced it from a similar car in 10 mins, keeping the original alarm pcb which detaches via a couple of screws.
2) Same water ingress did some damage to the central control panel and sometimes the fuel cap release button works and other times it doesn't - luckily there is a manual release in the boot.
3) same central control panel sometimes needs a thump - must be a loose or dodgy connection somewhere - as the heater/fan controls can stop responding. Happened more when first got it and before fixing said sunroof drain hole blockage - which, by the way, was at the end of the pipes under the panel behind the false firewall; some leaves had got stuck in the anti-leaf end cap. Alfa ;-)
4) Red 'injector' warning light came on intermittently on light loads (once every 3 months) and ultimately resulted in a fault code for some control unit; probably caused by the water ingress. Solved that one by disconnecting the battery for 30 seconds and it has never come back.
5) Air-con. Great when it works but never better than mildly cool. When I bought mine the aircon pump had been by-passed, via a shorter serpentine belt and the removal of one of the idler pulleys. As was planning a drive across eastern Europe in the summer, with kids, decided to get it sorted and bought a new pulley from the Alfaman in London, for £100!!!! Eddie at Alfaman was cursing Alfa for the price but have since found other Alfa places that can get them for £60, 3 years on. Also from Alfaman bought a new condenser as found mine was leaking, after paying £70 to re-gas it. This condenser died within its 12 month guarantee but didn't notice until 2 weeks after the guarantee had expired as hadn't used it over the winter - it managed to make itself leak via an invisible pinhole; must be a hole otherwise it wouldn't leak. Eddie very apologetic but beyond the guarantee so...
6) Overheating. Mine ran very hot when got it. So much so when stationary with aircon on that turned the aircon off just to save it pulling warm condenser air through the rad. Firstly fixed the low speed fan resistor, as part of the aircon mend. Finally, via a brave/foolish mate who touched the rad when it was hot, discovered the rad was patchy - i.e. cold in places. Problem solved. Bought a new rad, from a local Coventry rad place, for about £150 and changed it myself in an afternoon. Plastic end caps on the old one collapsed when took it off - the plastic having aged; not helped by the hot running.
7) thermostat to rad hose. This developed a visible pinhole leak, which only leaked when hitting 110 degrees centigrade. Eddie at Alfaman sent me a £10 used replacement which has been fine, though have kept the old one as apparently these are hard to come by.
8) Cracked headlight. This was there when bought the car, as a slight crack, but after driving on Eastern European roads, and I use the term 'roads' loosely here, it developed into a top to bottom split. Got replacement glass for about £45 from Firela, also in London, which went on in 5 mins flat and has been fine ever since.
9) Dodgy idle. Perhaps the biggest fault ever suffered with the car. Bought new engine oil, Magnatec - f**king expensive and had to buy two 4 litre cans, along with an Alfa filter and then got quoted £25 by my local garage for them to put them in. Found that excessive so did it myself, overfilled it by 1 litre (what an arse - not as if it was even the first oil change in my life) and the day after it idled like a dog. Had blown the oil seals on the spark plug wells - which to be fair were on the way out anyway as had gone hard instead of springy with age and were also deformed due to the previous over hot running. Replaced all 6 seals (2 had blown, plugs sitting in oil - rear bank, of course) and cam cover gaskets (keep the old rubber parts that go over the raised cam pulley parts) and put it all back together. Problem still there, despite having put in new plugs at the same time. Sent the injectors off for ultrasonic cleaning (£12 each - do the maths) but no change. Bought a new lambda sensor as fuel consumption had dropped to 15mpg. No better idle but better fuel consumption. Changed rear 3 coil packs - now all three rear cylinders running equally badly instead of just 2 but slightly better than before. Could no longer avoid the slipped belt possibility and discovered the rear inlet cam had jumped a tooth, forwards! And that there had been some impact damage on the cam belt itself - signs of this and a tear in the belt nearby. Thank god it didn't break and that found it before my next eastern Europe drive this summer - via speed limit free autobahns... :-)
Am about to replace it - car standing in the meantime, no way going to knowingly risk trashing the best part of the car.
10) Brakes - they cook. car weighs a ton and a half and with 210 neddies to accelerate with if you bomb it between roundabouts you can cook the brakes after about 5 of them. They also cook if you do an 'emergency' brake from 130+mph to 50mph for a tight autobahn exit in less than 200 yards. They cook but never said they don't stop well.
11) Not a fault but a preventative measure - changed the gearbox oil, via the dipstick (gearbox not me), and put in semi-synthetic; couldn't get hold of fully synthetic oil of the required spec. No obvious change except that the gearbox is a bit smoother and still works fine.
12) Also not a fault, beyond high tyre wear, discovered in a hotel car park, upon a passenger's question, that if you drop the clutch at high revs you can generate a car park full of smoke in about 5 seconds, whilst hardly moving. Brings a huge smile to your face but so harsh on the tyres and drive train in general that only done it once, out of politeness to other car park users ;-)
All in all, series 2 better than series one, especially in terms of aerodynamic stability (drove mine through a wind farm at 145mph, on camera, no problem and would have gone faster if not for the traffic), the 164 is a lovely car to own and drive. Series 2 also fixed ABS and various electronic unreliabilities, including the ventilation control servo gears.
Handling is excellent, more like a top-notch GTi, with oversteer/understeer both available and controllable. Boot space is mafia hitman friendly - two adults can fit no problem ;-)
Would not buy the twin-spark or diesel or automatic versions. Not because they are bad by any means but why by a car available with the brilliant v6 24v and then not choose that model and lose manual control? Driven gently, so I've heard, it will do about 30mpg. :cool. Drove a friend's 156 2.4 JTD recently and found it fun and quite perky, until about 100mph, at which point it became painfully slow to accelerate.
Last edited by richard111; 03-06-08 at 14:49.