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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, my wife is looking in to buying a 147.

Any advoice on what to look out for gratefully received.

She is fairly open on colour, engine, doors, etc. Prefer something looked after as we keep hold of cars until they are past sell by date so let me know if you are thinking of selling. Dont want a GTa.

rsfruitbat
 

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Hi, my wife is looking in to buying a 147.

Any advoice on what to look out for gratefully received.

She is fairly open on colour, engine, doors, etc. Prefer something looked after as we keep hold of cars until they are past sell by date so let me know if you are thinking of selling. Dont want a GTa.

rsfruitbat
TBH the guide here on Alfa Workshop is pretty good: Alfa Romeo 147 Buyer's Guide

Knocks and squeaks are common, and if it's not had a suspension rebuild it'll probably need one...

Engine wise, it's up to you.. I'd say the 1.9 JTD/JTDm is the pick of the bunch if you've already excluded the GTA, but the non V6 petrol's are plentiful enough....
 

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The 147 is a great car IMO, 147 has super light steering which is very precise and it also has the turning circle of a moon, no really, a moon. Out of the city it's great to drive and a healthy car will lap up the miles. The petrol engines sound good but by today's standards are a little thirsty. The diesels feel a little heavier at the nose but there's a ton of grunt to power out of the corners. Healthy suspension makes a big difference here. The driving position is excellent with very supportive seats but they need to be because the ride is a tad firm... I'm lying, it's very firm.

The interior is a nice place to be especially if you get a car with leather seats, Lusso trims and above tend to have leather. Also Alfa didn't use hysterically terrible plastics for the dash etc which is nice. The interior is quite spacious in the front but the back is cramped and there's really only space for 2, especially in the 3-door cars. Despite the typical rot-box/reliability issues you hear about Alfas, my 147 has only suffered minor niggles, battery/EGR for example. Keeping up to date with maintenance will help a great deal here.

The Twin Spark (1.6 or 2.0) engines are designed to use some oil so it's important to check and top up the level regularly. Aside from that it's the cambelts you need to check, Twin Spark belt replacements should be every 36k or 3 years whichever is sooner. The cam variator tends to need replacing every other timing belt change, a worn variator tends to sound like a clattery diesel and it's a cambelt off job so look out for this one. I've driven the 2.0 Twin Spark and it laps up the revs even if it lacks a bit of umph (that might just be me being used to the diesel) but the noise is nice. They average not much more than 35mpg with a combination of urban/city driving, maybe 40mpg if travalling on the motorway.

Diesels on the other hand don't normally use oil but need cambelt & waterpump replacements every 60k or 4 years whichever is sooner, £350 is about the going rate for this work. The usual EGR malodies are common and can be avoided by cleaning them every few thousand miles. I've had my 147 JTDm for almost 3 years now and remapped it has bundles of torque, power and even decent economy (45mpg+) although it does sound like a taxi when it's cold. Get one with the Q2 limited-slip diff for the best results.

Servicing is fair, I pay around £150-£200 all in for a yearly service depending on what filters I choose, Engine Oil, Motor Oil and Car Engine Oils from the largest UK independent online supplier of Performance Oils will see you right for service kits. Rust shouldn't be a problem but do check the floorpans from underneath and the sills, which can be damaged and begin to rust due to using an incorrect jacking point. Check for any electrical gremlins and make sure everything works properly, but generally the 147 is reliable here.

The suspension has a number of areas to check, the front upper wishbones squeak like mad when worn but £90 per side should sort this out. Lower wishbones should last longer but they cost around £80 each and the subframe has to be removed to change them so give any car a good test drive have a good listen to the suspension. Anti-roll-bar bushings and droplinks can also wear and the former is hidden by the subframe but drop links and new ARB bushings are not expensive, just the labour. The rear suspension is made up of 4 radius arms, I don't know much about these but my 147 has done 77k on bumpy roads and I'm still on the original arms.

See the guide here for more bits to check for: Alfa Romeo 147 Buyer's Guide There's some things I'm bound to have missed but you get the general idea, sorry I can't be more specific with the petrols, I need more practice. People call me a philistine for choosing a diesel but they're still good fun.

Best of luck with your search! :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks very much for all your advice so far gents.

Seen 2 today. A 1.6 4 dr in Kidderminster and a 1.9 3 dr in Bham.

might be off to N. Wales to see 2 more tomorrow.

rsfruitbat
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Been and seen the 2 in N. Wales today. Disapointed with one pleasantly surprised by the other.

Both had a similar problem even though one was a diesel, the other petrol. Gearstick didnt self centre. Both 5 speeds. Is this a common problem? Expensive fix?

Both front doors on both cars also made a groaning noise when opened from the latch by the hinge. Common problem?

Thanks rsfruitbat
 

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Both had a similar problem even though one was a diesel, the other petrol. Gearstick didnt self centre. Both 5 speeds. Is this a common problem? Expensive fix?

Both front doors on both cars also made a groaning noise when opened from the latch by the hinge. Common problem?
Huh... I didn't know there was a 5-speed flavor of JTD engine... If it was a 6-speed I'd say it's probably the top hat bushes, but not sure if these are used in the same way on the 5-speed boxes.. Could also be the bushes at the base of the stick itself causing binding, but that's a bigger job to get to so I'd start with the top-hats.. Cheap part, and a fairly quick 'n' easy fix if you don't mind a bit of fiddling about in the engine bay... I reckon I could do mine in 20 mins now, but the first time I delved down that side of the engine (replaced the slave cylinder, top-hat bushes, and lubed the release fork bushes) it took me about 3 hours of back and forth with pictorial guides written up on these forums..

Creaking doors will be the check-strap. £30-35 for a new genuine (updated design) part on eBay, and 30-45 mins per side to fit... Nothing hard about fitting them, but can be a bit fiddly getting the door cards off.. You have to access the inside of the door through the speaker hole, so a good opportunity to upgrade the speakers ;)
 

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Been and seen the 2 in N. Wales today. Disapointed with one pleasantly surprised by the other.

Both had a similar problem even though one was a diesel, the other petrol. Gearstick didnt self centre. Both 5 speeds. Is this a common problem? Expensive fix?

Both front doors on both cars also made a groaning noise when opened from the latch by the hinge. Common problem?

Thanks rsfruitbat
Two things, I leave for work at 05:00 and lights went on all over the neighbourhood because the door stays were so noisy, looking at the forums it seems a common problem, secondly try to avoid one with a sloppy gear lever
 

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My 147 / 156 advice:-


Petrol Engine: Cam belt change is every 36,000 miles or 3 year which ever comes first. Most of these engines use oil. Don't let that worry you but check level with every tank of petrol until you know how much yours is using. It can be 1litre every thousand miles.

Petrol Engine: If it has a short clatter on start up (sounding like a diesel or valve clearances being taken up) that is the variator (changes the valve timing with revs) and while it can sound bad it can wait until the next cam belt change at an extra £100.

Petrol Engine: the 1.6 is a bit under powered and low geared so a bit revvy at motorway speed. The 2.0 is a nicer drive and doesn't use much more fuel but neither are frugal.

I would recommend avoiding anything that has had a broken cam belt and then been repaired. There can be other damage that takes a few thousand miles to show itself and gets very expensive.

Drive it over bumps and listen for front suspension noises: a squeak is top wishbones, a clunk is probably bottom wishbones and a clunk that sounds or feels like it is under your feet is anti-roll bar bushes. These are common wear items on the 156 / 147 / GT that all use the same suspension and all need replacing eventually. If you are really lucky a clunk might be anti-roll bar drop-links and they are really easy to replace but don't normally wear out. If you do need front suspension parts do NOT buy cheap eBay parts as you will be changing again in 6 months or less.

Check the floorpan and sills for rust. Some rust very badly and some hardly rust at all.

Check that you have 2 keys as a replacement is about £300 and despite sellers on eBay there is no cheap replacement; what is sold there does not work with these cars.

If the windows don't go up and down don't let the seller tell you it is the push buttons and easy fix. It won't be that; it is still a fairly easy fix but needs new mechanisms in the doors as they eventually seize up. If it really was an easy fix the seller would have done it wouldn't they?

If the remote locking doesn't work don't let the seller tell you it is the battery in the key; it won't be that but probably the aerial for the remote locking receiver that is behind the dash and that is fairly easy to fix but possibly something more expensive.

Airbag light can often be on but that is usually the connector under the driver or passenger seat and an easy fix. Occasionally it can be something a little more tricky but lots of threads here and people who will help you resolve any error lights.

Have a close look at the very inside edge of the front tyres as, like a lot of front wheel drive cars, they can wear the inside edge while the rest of the tyre looks good.

Check that the air con works and gets properly cold. Lots of older cars with failed aircon that needs more than just a regass to fix and gets expensive.

Check that the heater control dash lights all work. Occasional failures and can be a pain to fix.

Check that the remote boot lock works from the key and inside the car. If it's not working it is usually a failed driver side switch unit. This unit contains a small ecu and controls the central locking for the whole car. Prices vary from £10 to £50 for a second hand unit. They are really easy to fit provided you spot and remove the small cross head screw that is beneath the switch controls. Lots of people miss this screw and destroy the switches trying to lever them out. Yes one of those people is me!

Be aware that the diesel comes in 3 versions:-
8V 110, 115 or 120hp (all to slow in this car) bit sluggish but will remap to 150hp
16V 150hp
16V 170hp as fitted in the Ducati Corsa.

The Tourismo is bottom of the range and I would avoid.

I would be looking for a low(ish) mileage 147 Ducati Corsa. Don't be fooled by the Collezione model as this was Alfa dressing the car up to clear parts and it is fitted with the 120hp diesel so it has been made to look good but doesn't have the performance to match the looks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for that gents.

Thanks kandlbarrett. Really comprehensive guide.
We did look at a Colezione but it was a 1.6TS.
Looked at a couple of 1.9 8V diesels but both Sport Ltd Ed. which I couldnt find many details on it. listed on doors as 120BHP. Are all the Sports ltd Ed?

Would like a Ducati Corse but they are thin on the ground and as its the wifes probably wouldnt benefit from the extra power. thinking of maybe an 8V with a remap or box if needed to boost power?

Was it only the 1.9 16V that got the 6 speed box? Seen 2 1.9 8V 08 cars and both have 5 speed boxes.

Many thanks rsfruitbat
 

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Thanks for that gents.

Was it only the 1.9 16V that got the 6 speed box? Seen 2 1.9 8V 08 cars and both have 5 speed boxes.

Many thanks rsfruitbat
Yes, as far as diesels go, only the 16v ones have the 6 speed box.

1.6 and 2.0 petrols are 5 speed too, not sure about the GTA as I knew I couldn't afford to run one so didn't look into the specs....
 

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Gta has the 6 speed box.
Think its only the really old 3.0 busso that was matted to a 5 speed box.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi All

only version we have ruled out is the GTa.

Q2's, Ducati corsa, 1.9 16V, 2.0 TS all seem really thin on the ground or loadsamoney.

most importantly is we want something that has been loved. No problem with it having been "used" not interested in it if its been abused.

Still looking

rsfruitbat
 
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