Alfa Romeo Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,050 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well today I passed the 100,000 mark in the 156 GTA SW and have owned her for 4 years this week. So I thought it would be fitting to post my experiences over this time.

I purchased the car (2002 GTA SW) in January 2008 with 64,000 miles on the clock, 4 previous owners. Private purchase, no warranty, evidence of cam belt failure and diff failure at around 55k, file full of bills and blinded by lust I quickly handed over my £7k and roared off.

Having never driven an Alfa before let alone a GTA I was hooked instantly and fell in deep love with it. I have to say, I have never really considered selling her in the last 4 years, and having had a wonderful drive last night back from London to Herefordshire don't think I will be considering it in the near future either.

My car is a workhorse. It goes out pretty much every day, hits the red line pretty much every day, has lived on the street (until it recently was promoted to a bumpy private drive), is cleaned maybe once every two months (at most), gets loaded up with all sorts (including kids, rubbish, tools, ladders, exhibition stuff), gets driven hard, and always serviced/maintained ahead of schedule.

It has never let me down to the degree that I couldn't get home. Routine expenditure on servicing and the following modifications done:

Remap;
Eibach ARB's
CDA intake;
Koni FSD and Eibach springs;
Wizard cat back exhaust;
330's with PF pads (just swapped recently from 305's);
Q2.

Nothing else planned. I feel that the power it has is more than adequate for it. Maybe I am getting old, but I think more power would just be a waste. Maybe more torque would be good - but generally I think it is all about right.

I have to say after the first few months I was very iritated with the standard suspension. I just couldn't push on without bottoming out and rolling heavily. It was a real shame. So the first modification was the Koni FSD's, Eibach springs and Eibach ARBs. It transformed the handling making it a very enjoyable car to drive. It felt pretty sharp and still retained a very comfortable ride. When it was next in for it's cambelt change, I couldn't bear the thought of spending all that money for something I couldn't see, so I added on a remap and the CDA intake which made things a bit more interesting.

The exhaust was next to go - starting to blow at the back box. It was then that the Wizard exhaust thread was started and I was one of the first to get one fitted. It was and still is a fantastic bit of workmanship and makes a truly epic noise. Not tempted by equal length manifolds/downpipes at this stage.

Final upgrades were the Q2 (the original failed at about 40,000 with the previous owner, taking out the gearbox and started motor) and then when a set of 2nd hand 330's came up for sale at Autolusso (thanks to that GTA SW that went into the Scottish ditch), they were added with PF pads.

Oil usage : She has always had a a bit of thirst. At every service from new in the past, the owner has complained of heavy oil consumption (about 1 litre/1,000 miles). This continues today, even with the expensive Valvolene stuff Autolusso recommended.

As mentioned above, the car has had a cam belt failure at 55k. This was rebuilt under warranty by Alfa. No problems post this, so my advice would not to be too concerned about buying a car that has had one in the past.

For the money, it really is a great car. In SW guise it is also pretty practical, and I do still love the way it looks!

Some stats:

Cost to buy (Jan 2008) - £7,000 : (64,000 2002)
Value now (Jan 2012) - £5,000?
Spent on servicing and modifications - £not even going to look
Average MPG: 22.6
Breaks downs: nil (one AA call out at home for a dodgy electrical connection on an injector).
Miles: 36,000 over 4 years
Crashes: 1 (3mph into a van in the snow) = £4k of damage to wing, bumper, bonnet.

Best bit: 1,500 drive around north Scotland. Fantastic trip.
Worst bit: when insurance company wanted to write her off following crash above. Thanks to Alfaaid for making them see sense!

Thanks to: Alfaaid (Adrian, Lee and Paul in Maidenhead) who have looked after her mostly. Always fun and excellent workmanship. Dan (Pud 237)/Autolusso for spares at sensible prices and the Wizard exhaust which I just love.

There really is nothing else out there for the money which can give the full rounded GTA experience.

Keep them, use them, love them :thumbs:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,118 Posts
Cool mate, my sportwagon is definately a keeper, with 121k on the clock I never intend to sell. Luckily i paid 4500 a year a go, and it already had new engine at 60k, q2 diff, koni fsds and eibach springs. 330s with pf pads. A recent full Cambelt change and new clutch by autolusso. Only thing I've done is add a wizard exhaust and I'm happy. It will get a full respray as the bodywork is a bit of a mess. I've had zero problems touch wood.
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Duuurty boy Rowan! Nice post and glad you enjoy the GTA so much. I am at 93000 miles and some change, will be approaching 100K in a year or so. Nice to meet you in person the other week, hope the boat show went well!

Cheers,

Nigel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,607 Posts
Welcome to the 100k mile club :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,230 Posts
Excellent account Alfabeat...I've still got 8,000 miles to go to catch you up I believe our vehicles were registered at the same time - March 2002 mine was a workhorse for the first 4 years of ownership and I went through the same upgrades although the brakes were first, then the exhaust and follwed up with the FSD's Eibach springs and Q2. A good run back from London to Herefordshire really does show what a good vehicle the GTA is...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,050 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Excellent account Alfabeat...I've still got 8,000 miles to go to catch you up I believe our vehicles were registered at the same time - March 2002 mine was a workhorse for the first 4 years of ownership and I went through the same upgrades although the brakes were first, then the exhaust and follwed up with the FSD's Eibach springs and Q2. A good run back from London to Herefordshire really does show what a good vehicle the GTA is...
Yes, once off the M4 at Swindon towards Cirencester, then around Gloucester and the last bit is the best bit, from Huntley to Ross on that twisty part of the A40. All late at night, very little traffic and roads just cold/icy enough to keep things interesting:) 3 hour run non stop at a very healthy average!

Still haven't seen yours around here yet - does it ever go out?!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
822 Posts
Lookin Good!
Can i ask which performance mod gave the most noticeable increase in performance?
The only mods i've done on mine are Q2, eibach arb's & Ferodo DS2500 front pads in standard calipers.
Is the cat back Wiz set up silenced in the middle section & how much louder is it over & above a standard exhaust system?. Has your mpg got better or worse following tuning mods.
Thanks in advance for any info.Gaz
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
45,830 Posts
Great review, and thanks for the praise, glad to hear you're still happy with the exhaust. Must be two years you've had that on for now?

About the oil usage - I've heard of this very often on cars that have been repaired following a cambelt failure. Its probably got something to do with that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,050 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Great review, and thanks for the praise, glad to hear you're still happy with the exhaust. Must be two years you've had that on for now?

About the oil usage - I've heard of this very often on cars that have been repaired following a cambelt failure. Its probably got something to do with that.
But the oil usage has been like this from new I think - even during the 55,000 miles before the belt failure. I've got so much paperwork with the car, detailed notes for each service - and from brand new the owner was complaining about excessive oil usage (about the same as now), and the response from the servicing garage was "thats normal sir!"

It hasn't got any worse since I've had it, so not worried....

Yes about 2 years for the exhaust - and still got the decat pipe waiting in the corner of the front room!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,050 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Lookin Good!
Can i ask which performance mod gave the most noticeable increase in performance?
The only mods i've done on mine are Q2, eibach arb's & Ferodo DS2500 front pads in standard calipers.
Is the cat back Wiz set up silenced in the middle section & how much louder is it over & above a standard exhaust system?. Has your mpg got better or worse following tuning mods.
Thanks in advance for any info.Gaz
Put it this way, if I was buying another, the must haves would be:

- Suspension (I like the FSD's and Eibachs);
- Eibach ARB's;
- decent pads (even 305' calipers work well with decent pads)
- Q2 for peace of mind more than anything.

I probably would not bother with the remap and CDA on grounds of cost vs benefit.

Just purely for the sound I would change the exhaust if money allows. Nothing to do with performance - just the noise! Mine is just the back box bit - the rest is totally standard. Noise level is perfect for me. Not crazy loud, but a really good sound - and comfortable when just bumbling along.

MPG has gone down but thats because it sounds so darn good at 7,000 rpm!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
822 Posts
Put it this way, if I was buying another, the must haves would be:

- Suspension (I like the FSD's and Eibachs);
- Eibach ARB's;
- decent pads (even 305' calipers work well with decent pads)
- Q2 for peace of mind more than anything.

I probably would not bother with the remap and CDA on grounds of cost vs benefit.

Just purely for the sound I would change the exhaust if money allows. Nothing to do with performance - just the noise! Mine is just the back box bit - the rest is totally standard. Noise level is perfect for me. Not crazy loud, but a really good sound - and comfortable when just bumbling along.

MPG has gone down but thats because it sounds so darn good at 7,000 rpm!!
Cheers for the info, Gaz :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,230 Posts
Hi Alfabeat, It does go out but no where near as much as it did, when it is used for commuting to Cheltenham it will definelty go out via Goodrich and it gets regular outings to Monmouth if I do the school run on a Saturday..but it tends to be the Abarth that gets used to keep the miles down on the GTA. I tend to do the A40 route back from London if it is late , the section from Burford is a hoot when there is little traffic although you have to watch out when dropping down into Gloucester on the dual carriageway section that first bridge is a stopping place for Police after 9pm...Got my last (2004) speeding offence there 103...
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top