Buying Alfa166 at Auction - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 11 Old 18-11-06 Thread Starter
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Help Buying Alfa166 at Auction

Greetings from South Africa

This should get some debate going for newbies!!

I am looking at a 2001 Alfa 166 going at auction. Here is the story - and I would really appreciate practical "we've been there" advice.

116,000km, Silver blue in coulour, + grey leather. Very neat interior, good carpet set.

Drives superbly, smooth, sounds great, etc.

No service books, owner manual, or any history.
Small stone through front headlight, but it still works fine.
Oil leak/wetness around left rear of engine drip tray.
Indicator/flasher unit not working (Hazards don't operate either).
Windscreen wiprs work, but stop in the upright position.
Only 1 ignition key.
No toolkit, wheel spanner - but has spare mag wheel
Tyres got approx 5000km's left
Airbag light stays on all the time
Engine bonnet cover open light comes on intermittently while driving
Has some side dents on driver's door and rear passenger door - no paint damage.
Driver's electric window "clonks" loudly when closd until sight relief on button stops it.

No Satnav installed for South Africa, but unit appears to operate properly - Radio, aircon, etc OK, but has an aircon arror message.

Whilst there is a risk of buying a "problem car", this one looks to be in a neat condition all round - except as noted above. Having driven 4 or 5 now, this one is definately the "sweetest" so far and at a good local price (Not many imported to S.Africa, normally retail at approx $13k to $15k - this one is at $8k - BUT - with no service history, and being at an auction house, all my sane mates and family are advising auto-suicide!!

If I factor in a 120,000km major service, with cambelt/tensioner/water pump, brakes, plugs, etc to start her off - what else should I be thinking about to bring the price down,

OR - should I rather look for a decent "normal" one at the going rates??

My other option is a Porsche 944 S2, but the raer seating is not practical for a family of 3 (+ 1 teenager - who thinks the Alfa is cool !!)

Look forward to the "advisories" to come :-)

Johannesburg, South Africa
Renault Laguna 2, Renault Megane - to go
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

*moved to tech section*

welcome to AO by the way
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

Not sure on the exchange rates but might you bve better to do a pesonal import most of it's problems are potentially minor with the exception of the oil leak & the wipers that could be a big job labour wise the airbag you might get away with an ecu reset if you can find out the previous owners you should be able to find out where it was serviced & get some idea of it's history if you give the chassis number to the local dealers or most likely places for it to have been serviced if they aren't an official import someone most now the car as I assume they'll be even rarer over there than here. I've bought several cars from auction (Though admittedly not my 166 you can normally get a reasonable warranty on fairly new cars off them) How do you know the $8k price or is that a guess? Or is it an ebay or similar job?
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

I bought my car via ebay auction - Had issues so I got a good price. Had a smashed headlamp and foglamp, severe stone chipping, dented sill, dodgy temp guage, EOBD, ABS, EBD lights showing on occasion, bad tyres and occassional non starting.

I spent some time and money getting it sorted and I am well chuffed with it now - A bad earth was the cause of electrical problems so starting, warning lights and guage were solved fairly quickly, tyres was obviously easy and then went into body shop for repair and paint and replacement of lights. Note that the headlamp replacement requires bumper removal! I could only buy a lamp (No glass only option available as was in 164) although body shop guy stated that glass was simply clipped on!!

Go for it if you think you can get it all sorted and reliable and still save money on the usual going price but you do have a fair list of issues there!
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

Sounds like its got afew thinks to sort, and you haven't driven it yet !
watch out for noisey, rattling suspension (especially if roads are so so ) and uneven tyre wear. Both problems on my much spoilled 166. good luck..
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

walk away dude...

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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

Originally Posted by mikebrown
walk away dude...

Think I'd have to agree!
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

Before I got my 166 I had a 944 and it was great a real drivers car but just not practical for a family it was real difficult for even the smallest child to get into the back, the 166 is much more of a family car but with the added bonus of a sporty drive and great noise from the V6.
I have only have one fault with the 166 it is a pig to work on, the Porsche was far easier, but that said I would still pick the 166 over the 944, more so if you are not the one doing the repairs.
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

sounds like a dog to me. Lots of electrical problems could get VERY expensive and difficult.
to be honest that sounds like alot wrong for the mileage and age - ie someone who has never bothered with the car, getting it fixed.
Oil leak is very worrying - either engine or gearbox - neither cheap, even if its just a bearing seal. And not a good long term prognosis.
Wait until the right one turns up.
Work out ow much you are going to pay to get it fixed, then double that. Is there much difference to a better buy? Isn't it better to get one with warrenty and well fettled?
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

To all who replied - Thanks for the time and advice :-) Have taken it for a test drive and apart from previous post, it drives very nicely and sounds great when giving it some serious pushing !! Tyre wear is even on all tyres.
The oil leaks are my current more serious concern - one appears to be near the aircon unit - I.e front left undr removable cover - the rest I am going to get seen to on my next "test ride" as the salesman said we could take it past a service centre with a hoist and remove the splash tray for a quick look underneath - verynice of him ? - But I think they've had it on the floor too long and want it sold!! Begs the question why some other Alfa nut hasn't already taken it ??

The price is marked at approx GBP 4,500 and with the items to do, and thinking of offering them my Renault Laguna 2.0L (2003 - new shape with 93,300 lm FSH, etc) for the A166 and GBP1,500 - which is my estimate for all the repairs(incl cambelt+waterpump, etc, plus tyres, unless the oil leaks are serious.

Perhaps I should call them fluid leaks as I am not 100% sure yet about their source - could just be a leaking overflow bottle and road grime mixed under the engine, running off the splash tray??

Just trying to be positive!!
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Re: Buying Alfa166 at Auction

The oil leak could be from the steering rack. I am told that this is often caused by one of the power steering pipes that run behind the engine leaking and is a relatively cheap fix. My 166 goes in for this work soon. Maybe you could check the P/S fluid level and if this is low then use this as a pointer to the possible cause.
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