If the car has front airbags, can these be turned off on the passenger seat?
What Engine size? 2 or 3 litre? a part from power, any differences? (The family car we are keeping is a 3.2V6 so i know how much petrol it drinks and how much the insurance is, so tempted for a 2 litre.)
Any particular model/ year etc to stay away from? any particular model/ year to try and aim for?
When going to look at them, anything to look out for?
Hi andy, went through picking a GTV myself a year ago so have experienced most of the niggles by now, hope to help!
Firstly, I haven't got a clue about baby seats,
Secondly, The front passenger airbag can be deactivated (The switch is pretty obvious on the passenger side of the centre console (Carpet bit).
Thirdly, i've got a 3.0 litre one - to be fair I've driven both and aside from the obvious power difference, they're both cracking cars.
In terms of what to look for when viewing one, I've had the problems, so here goes:
Air flow meters on both 2.0 and 3.0 engines can fail, causing a lack of power mid range, not massive money to sort but avoid doing the job cheaply (i.e twice as i did)
Radiators fail through age, check properly behind the A/c radiator inside the engine bay, poke the radiator and see if the fins are falling off. if so, a rad's about £160 plus fitting.
Thermostat's can stick open, causing the car to never warm up, conversely the water pumps can fail too causing overheating. (The temp gauge on a test drive should sit at warm rather than hot (Under 90) unless sat still. Shouldn't ever creep over 90.
Throttle sensors are Fly by wire, which can cause it's own issues - normally the connectors age, meaning the car can be slow to respond to throttle inputs - normally a cheap fix, but a new throttle sensor can cost major money.
Gearboxes and Clutches should be silky smooth and not snatchy, if they are a new box is painful at about £1600 from alfa, and a clutch is around £500.
Incidentally, my clutch pedal has always clicked when depressed fully- drives me mad, and alfa have discontinued the assemblies so i'm stuck with it forever. Listen for a metallic click when releasing the pedal from fully depressed.
Alfa interiors don't wear fantastically, but are solid- check for fag burns and the usual tatty looking trim bits,
Air conditioning pipes can corrode, whack the auto Climate control to Auto and lowest temp - check the A/C comes on and goes cold.
Turn the rear window demister on and check the fuse box (under the steering column), many people have reported fuses melting in the fuse fox when demisting. Again not a massive problem, but something to mention.
Wipers are another source of entertainment - try every setting, as the motors can wear the contacts causing comedic behavour. The wipers should act as follows when switched on:
They raise from parked parallel with the bottom of the windscreen, right out to touching the top corner of the screen, then return and park about two inches above their initial position. This is normal.
They shouldn't clunk, stop halfway up the screen or not quite wipe the drivers field of vision - any of these things spell a set of wiper motors.
Check for holes in the door cards where the seatbelt's got caught between the seat and the door too, a new card's £100 a side.
Check that the windows shut properly too, easy for them to go out of alignment causing leaking and wind noise problems.
Check the tyres for wear, Inside edges can go even on perfectly aligned cars. this isn't necessarily a sign of problems, but it's worth remembering to budget replacement into haggling - a set of 4 17" tyres are around £400 if you're lucky!
listen for creaking from the back of the car on a drive and don't accept lack of use as an excuse.. If it's noisy, it'll only get worse, and is caused by rear suspension bushes perishing. Powerflex do replacement bush kits for the suspension Spring pans at around £150, but budget for getting the old ones out too.
Wheel bearings in my experience are a point to watch too, about £100 for parts, and difficult to tell apart on a road test from worn tyres (A low rumble from the affected corner of the car). Get down in the wheel arch and have a look at the inside edges of the tyres - They can wear into a saw tooth pattern causing rumbling too.
Finally, the usual used car checks apply - Paintwork, dodgy history, missed servicing etc - There are also a few imported GTVs kicking around, which i gave a wide berth - probably not much of a problem now but I like the idea of having a UK supplied car.
The biggest lesson i've learnt is that a good garage and warranty company are the best friends you can have: I can recommend Warranty Direct after being with them over a year,
Warranty Direct :: The UK's leading car warranty & household warranty supplier. Providing used car warranties, new car warranties, and household protection for your TV, washing machine and other products.
Phew! If i remember anything else, i'll amend the post - but I think that's about it. Good luck with finding a nice one, the car's are fantastic, I've just bought one in need of love.