An Act of madness? - Progress thread - Alfa Romeo Forum
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200k 159 1750tbi running report

There's a reason why I'm going to start with my car history, but I'll explain this later. Being as brief as I can...

MkIII Escort Estate - Crashed it

Another MkIII Escort Estate - Crashed it

Mk1 Mondeo - Px'ed it

Mk1 Vectra 2.5 v6 Estate - I was 21 by then and couldn't afford to run it - sold it

Citroen ZX Volcane - Spent EVERY weekend for 2 years fixing it.

Alfa 155 WB 2.0 T-spark - 1st Alfa, hence the user name. Crashed it. But we (my Dad and I) bought it back off the insurance company as it wasn't my fault.

Alfa 145 QV - Sold it after putting a new head (from the 155) on it and eibachs, konis, leather and speedlines.

The 155 incident kicked off the purchase of over 35 Alfa's (we've lost count) which we bought with broken engines, rebuilt them and sold them. Taking them out of the equation, cars I would call mine....

'00 Alfa 156 V6 - Sold it

'00 Alfa 156 2.4 JTD - Written off (thankfully - needed expensive bits)

'01 166 3.0V6 - broken cam belt - was a PITA to fix, sold.

'98 156 V6 - fully rebuilt and converted to GTA spec (engine, brakes, gearbox, suspension)

Citroen BX GTi 16v - Awesome bit of kit, lent it to a form member to get some thread lock whilst I fixed his car and he wrote it off (not his fault).

'03 156 V6 - bought with a broken cam belt. Rebuilt the engine, sold the engine. Put a 3.0 in it, sold the engine after running it in. Then put the 3.2 Engine etc (transplanted from the 98 v6). Put another rebuilt 3.0 into the 98 v6 and sold that. Ran it for 18 months as a 3.2, put a rebuilt 2.5 in it and sold it.

'04 GT 3.2 - Bought without an engine, put the same 3.2 in it.

145 1.6 T/S - Bought as a non runner, had plenty of rot which we worked hard to sort out, sold

'90 75 3.0 V6 - Spent month s on end fixing it. Sold it when it was running right.

147 GTA - Still got it.

156 1.9 jtd - Bought as a non runner, was a daily drive instead of the 145 for 2 years sold it

156 2.4 - current daily drive, another project car, when we first got it but runs well now though.


In between all of that my parents, brothers and their wives had all kinds of kit - Brera, 156's 147's various Mini's, many other BMW's and an Audi (just one!) And a Maserati.

I'm sure I've forgotten about 1 or 2 but the point is, we (Father and I) should know what were doing.... If I can't fix it, chances are my Dad can.

But I?m not trying to blow my own trumpet here, I?m just trying give the latest purchase context because I could be accused of madness.

This is it;

IMG_8388 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_8389 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_8392 by Chris, on Flickr

I very nearly didn't buy it. I was one wrong word from the seller away from telling him to keep the £250 deposit and to keep it.

The car was advertised on gumtree, by a guy active for 2 months using the name "Jay".

I ring him up before going and he seems confused by the name Jay, he only really placed the call when I told him I was ringing about the 159. But I arranged to go and see it anyway.


The car appeared OK, full service history was there at the 20k (!) intervals and loads of recipes in no particular order. It?s also a 1 owner car from new.

But it is stone chipped at the front;

We've not seen or heard it start from cold;

There's a slight tapping from the top end of the engine;

Rear tyres are on the wear bars, all tyres being very special ditch finders;

Under tray is missing;

Evidence of an oil leak from the top of the engine;

Gear leaver was loose;

Filthy steering wheel / interior;

All wheels are kerbed

Dint in passenger door;

Rear bootlid has corroded stone chips...


We had a look round the car and despite Jay's assurances of the car being "spot on", we spot the above issues.

Issues are fine, to be expected, but what I expect, in order to avoid a wasted 150mile journey is a degree of honesty from the Seller and not lies or a refusal to accept that a car that is less than as described.

Then we took it for a test drive. After asking if the seller had trade insurance (but no trade plates ) I had ask to drive it.

First thing I noted, despite it being a hot day so he had the windows open was that he'd been smoking in it. There was fag ash in the rear corner of the drivers footwell, ash tray clean, unused as was the lighter. (So he's bought the car as a trader, from a non smoker and decided to smoke in it?!)

The rear parking sensors weren't working, there was some vibration /knocking from the front suspension, but that's all I could gather from the drive as it was all of 2 miles down some cobbled back streets, despite there being some major roads in close proximity. Didn't get it above 40mph. But ?Jay? was most instant about directions which took us back to his "home", raising more suspicions.

I checked the vins, v5 and window etchings and found that that the registered keeper was 100's of miles away. I was about to pitch an offer based on the lack of a test drive when my Dad spotted this;

IMG_8394 by Chris, on Flickr

I hit a bump / pot hole on the test drive and didn't think much of it, but Jay reacted with real concern that seemed out of place, a strident over-reaction - I think that he knew the wheel was bent (I've bent enough to know what it feels like) before we went out.

So he said to me he has a guy who can fix it for 50 quid. (******** I thought) but we settle on a price £150 less than asking on the basis he doesn't valet it or sort out the worn out rear tyres. Then he changed his mind and says he won't sort the bent wheel out so were back at £100 less than asking price.

I gave up at this point and agreed as a bank transfer on collection the next weekend.

But he wasn?t happy with that, he wanted COC during the week. - Wed/Thurs. I only agreed to the time out of work because I'd forgotten I had weekend commitments, he's wasn?t happy about the bank transfer but that's the only option I was willing to offer.

We agreed a pick up Thursday last week with payment by wire and that He's to fix the bent wheel.

I get a receipt for the £250 deposit in a generic surname and the the first initial M. The signature is illegible, he complained when I asked him for his address on the receipt. It's not completely legible and I have some reason to question it's legitimacy.

Then I sent him a text on the Wednesday, asking if he had sorted the wheel, explaining we were good to go...

He responded, yep fine. before sending me a text saying his man couldn't fix it. "It was much better though".

I tried to renegotiate, but he told me he was out of pocket, it's (the wheel) fine.

We turned up, (another 150 mile journey, 30 quid spent on a day's temp insurance) I knocked on the door and an old man answered, it took him a couple of minutes to figure out who I am, who Jay is, and he then told me he was on his way. The car was parked outside though.

We found that the wheel was untouched. No finger marks in the brake dust to bare witness, just the car jack left in the passenger footwell as "evidence" of an attempt.

I kicked the tyre in temper and very nearly said to my Dad that I want to ditch it.

When "Jay" turned up and offered the key I also noted an increase in accumulated cigarette ash in the drivers footwell. Which annoyed me.

But we went through with the deal and I drove it home....

So what's the problem, I'm hoping you're now asking, having trawled though that lengthy post...

It's a 1750 TBI with 208000 miles on it.
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Last edited by Chris155; 15-05-18 at 22:09.
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Nothing to see here!!!

(Not a multi air you idiot)

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Quote:
It's a 1750 TBI with 208000 miles on it
Sounds dodgy to me - I bet he's sold you a dud with only 20k on the clock really

How could you ever not buy a car that looks like that - enjoy.
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Love it! Following as usual with interest! It's a brave buy, ignoring all the warning signs, but with your collective skills, I'm sure you will get it all sorted....!
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''An act of madness''? Quite possibly, but depends on how little you gave for it...
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Chris155. Sounds like a good buy to me. So you know nothing about the engine! You will! No point in going through life without challenging yourself. If the engine has done that many miles, two things stick out. 1), it's a good engine and 2), to get that far, it's been looked after, assuming the car was delivered with it. Perhaps a third observation. The engine is a good design.
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No grip, I see you continue to be a positive influence on people's morale.
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Interesting story...
Iím sure between you & your dad you can return that Alfa Tbi SW to its former glory.

The good news is as itís a high miler & one owner car itís been a dependable car. Which speaks volumes to me as a reliable car.

The seller sounds like a bloke thatís an unofficial car trader that may of picked the car up from an auction.

What gets me is the seller was going about the sale of the car (by reading your story) as if he was selling a stolen car, by being reluctant to give house hold address details & holding bank transfer details, or insisting on cash - unless he doesnít want to pay income tax...




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155, 159 2.2

I've read all that, and still not entirely sure whats happening!
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Are you looking to drive it or do it up and sell it? If its the first one then that's great.....if its the second one then no mater how good it turns out, previous experience has told me that no one wants to buy cars with that mileage unless they are a give away price. I only paid £2500 for my 2.0 JTDm on a 59 plate and 136,000 miles.....and the dealer was delighted to sell it for that as he had lowered it and lowered it from £4995 due to no luck selling. As soon as he mentioned the miles they lost interest.....and that was from a LandRover dealer with full preparation (of sorts...different story!) and a warranty. And generally people are far happier to buy a high miles diesel than they are to buy a high mile petrol engine car. Good luck whichever way you go!
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Quote:
No grip, I see you continue to be a positive influence on people's morale.
I think you're misinterpreting the post Sizewell.
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"Still not sure about what is really happening".

A man is stepping outside his comfort zone, with little more than his self belief.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which when taken at the flood, leads on to greatness. Missed and he is left wallowing into the shallows of regret." - not exactly verbatim, but near enough for this purpose.
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having been on this forum for over ten years, i've seen your work. you're not affraid to drop an engine on your driveway - you'll smash it. keep us informed of its progress.
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208k miles is high! Never seen one anywhere near that. How's the gearbox?

1750 isn't a Multiair engine by the way - its got two cams & two variators, a cam-driven high pressure fuel pump and direct injection. Some clever ECU managing turbo wastegate position & cam timing gives an 'anti-lag' effect. Clever bit of kit really but Multiair seems to get more publicity, even though the fuel injection system is indirect and the turbos are fixed geometry.
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Perhaps No grip. But perhaps it should be suffice to wish him good luck. Rather than repeat the litany of well intentioned quips, which of course no one has ever heard before?
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208k miles is high! Never seen one anywhere near that. How's the gearbox?

1750 isn't a Multiair engine by the way - its got two cams & two variators, a cam-driven high pressure fuel pump and direct injection. Some clever ECU managing turbo wastegate position & cam timing gives an 'anti-lag' effect. Clever bit of kit really but Multiair seems to get more publicity, even though the fuel injection system is indirect and the turbos are fixed geometry.
I did wonder why the multiair link was there!

I once read that the technology was only suited to small capacity engines, hence the 1.4 and not the 1.75 in the Giulietta;
but now I see the 2.0 Giulias have it. I guess the tech has now advanced.
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208k miles is high! Never seen one anywhere near that. How's the gearbox?

1750 isn't a Multiair engine by the way - its got two cams & two variators, a cam-driven high pressure fuel pump and direct injection. Some clever ECU managing turbo wastegate position & cam timing gives an 'anti-lag' effect. Clever bit of kit really but Multiair seems to get more publicity, even though the fuel injection system is indirect and the turbos are fixed geometry.
Ah, right. Consider me suitably embarrassed!!!
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Perhaps No grip. But perhaps it should be suffice to wish him good luck. Rather than repeat the litany of well intentioned quips, which of course no one has ever heard before?
Sorry teacher

OP If you need any help with oily bits or ECUs I've pulled most things apart and have made various tools to make things... 'affordable' - I've also got a registered MES if you need it.
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I've read all that, and still not entirely sure whats happening!
I bought a high mileage car and did pretty much everything you shouldn't do when doing so....
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Next Instalment, service history. I know you've all been waiting for this right riveting read...

01/03/10 - 0m - PDI - Main Dealer

01/02/11 - 20,979m - Oil / Filters - Main Dealer £307.10

04/10/11 - 41,839m - Oil / Fiolters / Plugs / front tyres - Main Dealer £800.28

29/06/12 - 62,243m - Cambelt and aux belt / oil & Filter etc - Main Dealer £644.09

03/05/13 - 84,188m - Oil / Filters / Plugs / Front Pads - Main Dealer £705.17

09/04/14 - 104,464m - Oil / Fliters / deglaze front pads - Indy Specialist £180.00

23/04/14 - 105219m - Rear Pads - Specialist £77.62

06/09/14 - 116,394m - Oil / Filter / Fog Light - Indy Specialist - £247.29

22/12/14 - 125,428 - Cam belt / WP / Filters / Plugs / Front Discs & Pads (Upgraded) - Specialist - £789.81

29/12/14 - Parts Only - Power Steering reservoir / Fluid £73.91

04/02/15 - 129,553m - Oil / Filter - Garage - £65.94

08/05/15 - 136,900m - Service - Indy Specialist

21/12/15 - 146,141m - Oil & Filters - Specialist £264.01

17/06/16 - 158,148m Oil / filter - Garage £64.88

07/10/16 - 167,455m - Oil / Fliters / Front & Rear Discs & Pads - Garage £545.58

03/12/16 - 172,753m - pressure pipe, turbo to sensor - Indy Specialist £120.00

11/02/17 - 178,007m - Oil / Filter - Garage £65.73

14/05/17 - 184,115m - Cambelt / Service / turbo fault - Indy Specialist £521.01

03/03/18 - 204,633m - Oil / Filters - Garage £92.00

03/04/18 - 206,000 - Ignition coil - £55.24
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Anyhoo, moving away from my multi air engine that isn't... We set about cleaning the interior on the Friday

Before;

IMG_8396 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_8397 by Chris, on Flickr

During

IMG_8404 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_8406 by Chris, on Flickr

And after;

IMG_7522-2 by Chris, on Flickr
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I'm not sure what's going on with the roof rails, the duller, lighter coloured areas will scrape away to reveal a consistent finish. Any ideas?

IMG_8401 by Chris, on Flickr

I went away for the weekend, walking in Yorkshire ( lovely) but carried on with it on the Sunday with my Dad. We Stripped the font end down to clean the lights, fit upgraded LED bulbs and have a go at the bonnet catch as the secondary release lever was broken.

Getting the bumper off is much easier than a 156 and was a pleasant surprise....

IMG_7511 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_7510 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_7516 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_7515 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_7517 by Chris, on Flickr

Intercooler is sandwiched between the air con rad and the engine rad, areas to be the same size as both?!

IMG_7518 by Chris, on Flickr

Cleaned up.... Not that you can tell from the pic...

IMG_7520 by Chris, on Flickr
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Last edited by Chris155; 30-05-18 at 13:38.
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Back to that wheel...

IMG_8394 by Chris, on Flickr

We got back around 4pm on Thursday, which meant the local guy who repairs wheels here was still open. We took the wheel off, put it on the space saver (which looked like a badge of 2nd hand car buying shame for all the neighbours to see), slung it into the back of my Dad's 166 and wandered over.

Chris, the wheel guy takes one a single glance at it when we arrive and confirms our suspicions.

Cracked, no way of fixing it, it would be dangerous.

I'd checked ebay the day before we went to get the car after 'Jay" had fobbed me off with the standard "it's fine Boss". There's 2 for sale. They're between £250 and £275 each and they're the wrong colour.

But then Chris wheel guy says,

"I think I've got one of them in the back, I'm not sure, I had a clear out, might have thrown it away"

After what felt like an hour, he wanders into view with a box. In it, a unicorn, a brand new, genuine 19" ti wheel.

In silver.

Bugger.

"How much?", we ask.

"Painted? Oooooh, I'd have to mix a special colour, it's a matt finish too."

"How does £120 sound?"

- I should've bought a lottery ticket....

IMG_7525-3 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_8418-2 by Chris, on Flickr

IMG_8419-2 by Chris, on Flickr

The white stuff round the rim is just lubricant, it's perfect....
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Last edited by Chris155; 16-05-18 at 01:12.
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An Act of madness? - Progress thread

Looking at that service history it would appear the engine just wants to keep running without major fault even with 20k services.

Itíd probably be safe to say the mileage is 75% motorway driven miles. So you could probably count it as half the miles that the display shows.


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Last edited by Clay19; 16-05-18 at 07:15.
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I wondered what was replacing the diseasel ‘it’s a keeper’ wagon.

I also love the way you say ‘just gonna clean a headlamp’ and the next picture shows a pile of parts that looks like an explosion in a meccano factory crossed with the end of “Terminator”
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