New purchase: Alfa 166, essential repair items.
Hi all, my first post:-
I'm a mechanical engineer living in JHB, South Africa. I've purchased my first Alfa, a July '99 166 V6 3.0 auto in silver, with black leather interior, electronic seats and 184 000 km on the clock. FSH. Panels are reasonable (one or two minor R5 size dents). No rattles (!!?!!!) The engine revs/runs fine, plenty of power (not as much as expected in auto mode). There is a rough rumble and a bit of a "tick" at idle that I'll keep my eye on, but no visible bounce of the rev counter.
The decision was to buy the Alfa to do a lazy 400km once a week in one long stretch. The alternative was a younger, but nasty and unsafe 1600 automatic from any of the usual contenders (no ABS, no airbags, no character, no long distance comfort, etc etc, etc). My other ride is a 2000 BMW 323ci.
I need to do all the "usual" items before the Alfa can be used as a reliable car: cambelt, water pump, oil change and oil filter and air filter, brake fluid change.
I picked the car up cheap: the last owner probably baulked at the 180 000km service bill (not done)! I'm not sorry I bought it: it's simply mind-blowing value for the money if you are the hands-on type. I am a model hobbyist and I am good at properly fixing details and small, highly annoying problems: broken knobs, broken hinges, switches, fittings, rattles. I'm sure I'll be posting some stuff soon as most of the facia switches are annoyingly droopy. Although I do have most of the heavy auto tools, I leave the risky jobs to the specialists.
There is more work than I expected on the 166 and it's more expensive and more "out of my hands" than I'd like (cam belt, spark plugs and water pump are R7 000 alone), but I know I can still get plenty of mileage out of the mechanicals if look after the engine and there is plenty of help here to keep it on the road. Hopefully the cam belt will not die on me before it goes in for work at the end of Dec.
I please need help on the following:
1) I have not yet found a consistant answer on the cam-belt change intervals. At best, I have figures from 60 000km to 100 000km. Various places on the forum state "60 000". Is that miles or km? What is the general consensus on the interval for cam belt changes on the V6? I live in a high altitude (1400mAMSL), non-humid environment averaging 24C a year.
2) There seems to be difficulty obtaining a metal impeller water pump in Johannesburg (from the normal places like McCarthy). McCarthy say they used to be able to source a version of these that fits the 166, but no longer. Is there someone in jhb who can help - even if it's a bodged metal retrofit to a 2nd hand pump? R1700 is a bit steep for a plastic impeller pump. I will report back if there was a metal or plastic pump on the engine.
3) Is there somewhere that specialises in aftermarket and (cheaper) original spares. I'm looking for:
* Original NGK plugs: R169 from McCarthy (60579903)!
* DECENT (!) floor Carpets (like the fluffy velvet BMW ones). The Alfa has very low quality carpets in at the moment.
* After-market replacement LED's for the centre brake light
4) I haven't seen it on the forum: can someone reccomend a glue to re-fit the rubber seals on rear windows. Both rear upper door seals slip down when the doors are closed. Will normal contact glue do the trick? Same problem on the BMW.
5) What is the most likely cause of only the LHS brakelight always being on (goes on with the ignition switch). The RHS and centre lights work correctly when brake is pushed. Someone advised "earth leakage", but where?
6) What is the continuous buzzing noise in the engine bay with the key in the ignition and the engine off (it sounds like a small motor running continously somewhere)? It is the same note regardless of the interior fan speed.
7) The "dumb" question: what it the purpose of the LCD panel on the dashboard to the left of the odo LCD. I see when "check" is pressed that it says "sport" and something resembling an "8". What is this indicator for and what else exists besides "sport". I suspect a fault and that this LCD panel should light up with the gear the car is currently in (hence the criss-cross in the "8" to represent R and N?) Is this a common fault with a quick fix?
It is nice to see so many Alfa owners spending time to help others with advice, which significantly adds to the Alfa experience imho. I have spent many hours here already and I have absolutely everything I would ever need to know about the car, all in one spot.