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Discussion Starter #1
I've my eye on a 1998 2.5 manual that's turned up at a local dealer. I had a look at it today; body is straight but for a dent in the rear offside corner, interior is good, engine sounds sweet, it looks to have been looked after. It's just had a clutch and is listed with 12 months MOT. There are a few issues:
  • The hifi/climate/nav control system is asking for a code and without it I can't access audio functions (and what else?)
  • I can't tell if the aircon is working. Not having the display isn't helping and it was a bit nippy when I looked at it this morning, but I couldn't hear the compressor click in or notice a drop/increase in revs as I pressed the economy button.
  • Central locking has gone daft. I understand this is not uncommon and any advice on fixing would be welcome - I'm an Alfa/Lancia/Fiat veteran and have little fear of their electrics as long as I have some guidance.
  • Drivers window doesn't open, but the switch is broken so I assume it is that and easy enough to replace.
  • There are two red keys, one with actuator for mad central locking, one plain.
  • Dealer can't find the service history although he swears he has it. I am inclined to believe him in this (if not in much else he told me today) and will call him later after he has searched. I assume if there is a record of the code for the hifi system this is with the service book.
  • It's supposed to have a CD player, but there is only a cassette slot on the dash and no changer in the boot. Is there a concealed changer or single disk slot behind a panel or something?
    It's done 96,000 miles so I assume it's on its second cam belt. I understand these should be changed at five years regardless of mileage, so am reliant on finding the service book to know whether a change is due now or not.
So; should I be worried about any of the above? I'm not looking to pay much for the car and accept that, generally, one get what one pays for.

Thanks,

Mark
 

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1: That screen area is called the ICS (integrated control system) and you need the code for it as it controls the functions for the Audio/Air con/Trip computer, etc and phone and navigations functions.

2: Try it once (if) you find the code.

3: Lock motors are common...it will be in just one door...part isn't that cheap (at least here in Australia) but you can DIY the install...there are guides on here that helped me do mine

4: I had a faulty switch when I bought my car. Alfa (at least in Oz) don't sell the switches individually, rather the whole panel, however the switch itself is interchangeable with a 156 variant which are cheap and common.

5: Are the red keys flip keys or not? If it has a flip key, the key with no buttons is a valet key. If it isn't I think it might be a very important master key...not sure if the 166 had them though as mine is a flip key example.

6: Hope he finds the service history...check to make sure the timing belt has been changed.

7: If there is no unit in the boot there is no CD player.

So everything is fixable from the sound of things...good luck with it.
 

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I've my eye on a 1998 2.5 manual that's turned up at a local dealer. I had a look at it today; body is straight but for a dent in the rear offside corner, interior is good, engine sounds sweet, it looks to have been looked after. It's just had a clutch and is listed with 12 months MOT. There are a few issues:
  • The hifi/climate/nav control system is asking for a code and without it I can't access audio functions (and what else?)
  • I can't tell if the aircon is working. Not having the display isn't helping and it was a bit nippy when I looked at it this morning, but I couldn't hear the compressor click in or notice a drop/increase in revs as I pressed the economy button.
  • Central locking has gone daft. I understand this is not uncommon and any advice on fixing would be welcome - I'm an Alfa/Lancia/Fiat veteran and have little fear of their electrics as long as I have some guidance.
  • Drivers window doesn't open, but the switch is broken so I assume it is that and easy enough to replace.
  • There are two red keys, one with actuator for mad central locking, one plain.
  • Dealer can't find the service history although he swears he has it. I am inclined to believe him in this (if not in much else he told me today) and will call him later after he has searched. I assume if there is a record of the code for the hifi system this is with the service book.
  • It's supposed to have a CD player, but there is only a cassette slot on the dash and no changer in the boot. Is there a concealed changer or single disk slot behind a panel or something?
    It's done 96,000 miles so I assume it's on its second cam belt. I understand these should be changed at five years regardless of mileage, so am reliant on finding the service book to know whether a change is due now or not.
So; should I be worried about any of the above? I'm not looking to pay much for the car and accept that, generally, one get what one pays for.

Thanks,

Mark
[*]The hifi/climate/nav control system is asking for a code and without it I can't access audio functions (and what else?) - ICS code - you'll have to open up the dash to look at the back of the ICS unit, tells you the code.

[*]I can't tell if the aircon is working. Not having the display isn't helping and it was a bit nippy when I looked at it this morning, but I couldn't hear the compressor click in or notice a drop/increase in revs as I pressed the economy button. - Not working?

[*]Central locking has gone daft. I understand this is not uncommon and any advice on fixing would be welcome - I'm an Alfa/Lancia/Fiat veteran and have little fear of their electrics as long as I have some guidance. - good luck!

[*]Drivers window doesn't open, but the switch is broken so I assume it is that and easy enough to replace. - Easy fix as long as it's not the wiring itself

[*]There are two red keys, one with actuator for mad central locking, one plain.

[*]Dealer can't find the service history although he swears he has it. I am inclined to believe him in this (if not in much else he told me today) and will call him later after he has searched. I assume if there is a record of the code for the hifi system this is with the service book. - Won't always have code (& if ICS changed then may not even match up), need history

[*]It's supposed to have a CD player, but there is only a cassette slot on the dash and no changer in the boot. Is there a concealed changer or single disk slot behind a panel or something? - Sounds like it hasn't got CD at all, unless aftermarket head unit somewhere. CD changer lives in boot normally.

It's done 96,000 miles so I assume it's on its second cam belt. I understand these should be changed at five years regardless of mileage, so am reliant on finding the service book to know whether a change is due now or not. - If you buy it without the service history change it anyway to be on the safe side, get the dealer to throw it in
[/LIST]

Hope I've been helpful in some way!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to you both. I've had a little hunt around the forum and am a bit happier about (what I now know to call) the ICS screen code and the central locking (fns door button doesn't come up so I assume it is the actuator in there that is the problem).

Bit concerned about the aircon - I know it would drive me nuts to have it on the car but not functioning.

How much would a belt change cost? I had this done on a 24V 164 by the main dealer for £571 (after being quoted £1,000 by a specialist) several years ago and expect a similar cost.

What make is the CD changer unit? I'm sure I'd be able to find something compatible on ebay (as I did with said 164).

Thanks again...
 

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ICS code - you might be lucky to get the code from the back of the unit, but you might need another one for the satnav, and for the alarm.
once you get the ICS code, you should be able to check if the aircon blows hot and cold. Make sure you check all the blowing directions too.
Central locking could be caused by the jammed motor of the front drivers door lock.
The door unit with the buttons will cost about 100 Ł new from a main dealer, so I'd try a breaker first.
I just got the belt (+waterpump with metal impleers+rollers and tensioners) replaced with the maf + usual service, and it cost me 2.5k euros. Have a look at the belt anyway, you might spot a cut across the belt like my mechanic did, which means you shouldn't even start the engine.....
The CD player is on the left hand side of the boot, above the battery. If you don't have a CD changer, it'll be really hard to find a compatible one, as it's a custom job for the 166 - no other CD changer will work. However if you have at least the cable at the back (usually under the battery tray), you can get an emulator called Loudlink, which works with SD cards and you can still control it through the ICS - unlike a transmitter or tape converter.
But have a look at ebay, one of the members from here selling his beautiful Alfa 2.5 (there is also a recent thread about it).
Finally I'd suggest to check a few more things:
in the passenger footwell for heater matrix leaks,
suspension issues,
if all the rear lights are fine (the wires in rubber pipe under the rear window can be easily damaged),
and finally if the car keeps the temperature around 90°C after 5-10 minutes of driving.
good luck!
 

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If your after a 2.5 and dont buy the one on ebay your nuts I tell ya! ALSO if you buy this 166 and want to part ex the 17s that are on that car for my normal 17's so thats another £100 off :D (ill give you £100 plus my alloys)

Mark I want commission from you for this!

:D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I saw that through the post on this forum this morning - very nice, but I'm sure it will go above my limited budget, plus I'm put off by the lowering (my 155 is lowered and climbing underneath it every few weeks to re-secure the exhaust isn't much fun (Southend Council loves speed humps)) and 17" rims, which I had on my last 164 and thought ruined the ride. The one I'm looking at has 16" rims and some nice squishy 55 series rubber to soak up the bumps!
 

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I saw that through the post on this forum this morning - very nice, but I'm sure it will go above my limited budget, plus I'm put off by the lowering (my 155 is lowered and climbing underneath it every few weeks to re-secure the exhaust isn't much fun (Southend Council loves speed humps)) and 17" rims, which I had on my last 164 and thought ruined the ride. The one I'm looking at has 16" rims and some nice squishy 55 series rubber to soak up the bumps!
Yeah Southend council stuck the speed bumps in to deter people speeding down at the seafront, which in my opinion makes it more dangerous as people go even faster between them, & that's what people down there have actually told me! Essex is mostly (& renowned for being) Ford county, they're not slow drivers!
 

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I have normal springs in my 166 and will be more then happy to swap.......and as for your wheels, im sure you can get 16's with ease but id be happy t buy your alloys off you if you bought the car........Make it more tempting!
 

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Sounds like the car you are looking at has quite a few niggles and those, together with the missing code number and service history, means it may not be such a good deal. After all, even the best 166s aren't worth that much these days! I'd be inclined to agree with A17esh and go to look at the eBay one.

very nice, but I'm sure it will go above my limited budget
What kind of budget do you have? £1500-£2000 should get a good one. If you're trying to do it for less than £1500, you'll end up with problems. Also, you can't expect to run these - especially when they're 10 years old - on a shoestring!

I'm put off by the lowering...
It depends on how it was lowered. The 166 Super has lowered suspension as standard and it's nowhere near low enough to cause problems with speed bumps.

and 17" rims, which I had on my last 164 and thought ruined the ride
17s compromise the ride to some extent but it also depends on other factors, such as tyres and suspension. Later cars even had 18s fitted. Depends on personal preference but most people think the 16s look far too small on a 166.
 

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my concern would be that if that is the list of problems that are knowm, you can normally bank on a few more known issues as well.

I would imagine no more than £1000 and even as low as £800 given the body work is dented, a couple of electrical maladies and question marks over than cambelt, no CD/Xenon/satnav, and rad and suspension are unknowns, there is only a new clutch going for it IMO.

Have a look at a good one outside your budget to gauge what good looks like.

HTH
 

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Yeh I agree, dont skimp on a 166, you will only have to spend the money on it any way! A budget 166 wont be cheap!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, the dealer actually has it on ebay at £700 start price:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1999-ALFA-ROMEO-166-V6-24V-GREEN_W0QQitemZ200341169507QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAutomobiles_UK?hash=item200341169507&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A7|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50

and I wasn't looking to go far above that (I wasn't going to mention that before in case I alert someone on here who might bid against me). I'm not fazed by a few electrical niggles (no Alfa man can be) and some of the other posts on this forum suggest fairly straightforward fixes to some of the issues. The big questions for me are the lack of history (if dealer doesn't find the book I'm not bidding), timing belt status and whether the aircon works or not. Just to be clear on that one, does it need the ICS code to work? Of course, there may be 'unknown-unknows' (what I call Rumsfields), but that is true of any used car.

Mind you, the more I look at the Lowestoft car, the more I like it...
 

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having owed a cheap 166 for nearly 2 years now, i can only echo what others have said about cambelts etc, you will need the ICS code, the air con is only the same stuff strapped any other car (hardly ever notice its there except when it throws a wobbler and wont warm the car up for me)

the real bit that surprsied me with the 166 was the suspension, its very complex and hence costly to repair, with a 12 month ticket it should be ok (mine passed an MOT recently with 2 broken springs and some 'play' at the back :rolleyes: )

other than that,they are very very nice cars and can do huge milages with out really showing it, but its not a cheap car to run and certinaly not to repair
 

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Check the indicator lamps on the dash, do they work when indicating? If not, the heater matrix has leaked onto the relay controlling these. This may also be whats affecting the central locking, as im sure there is another relay for the central locking next to the indicator one. they are located in passenger footwell behind the padded leather panel on the right hand side. Get your hands under the mats front and rear to check for dampness. Check the top engine mount, left hand side at the back as you look at the engine. Any play at all in this bar and its goosed. Cheap fix but a common problem on the V6 . Check the condition of the radiator, it might look ok but the fins will disintegrate when touched. Get a good look at the exhaust, as if it hasnt been replaced or upgraded, it will need doing.

Good Luck :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I popped back for another look and to see if the dealer had found the service book. I'm pretty sure the central locking issue is with the passenger side door, the drivers window switch is broken (the press button isn't attached to anything, just sat in the hole), engine top mount is shagged (looks simple enough to fix), indicator lights are working. CD player definitely absent but cables are present, tucked behind the battery. Dealer offered it to me for £750 with 12 months MOT (it hasn't been tested yet). I still can't tell if the aircon is working - it doesn't seem to be blowing colder than ambient. I tried to press the pins in the valves to see if gas was present but didn't have anything on me thin enough to fit in the neck of the valve. If I knoew the system was holding gas I'd be happier.

Big problem is he still can't find the service book or ICS code. I'm not too worried about the code (seems an easy fix from other threads), except that without it I can't tell what functions are and aren't working. The lack of service book is a worry, though and probably will stop me buying this one.

Lowestoft car is now out of my budget. There aren't a lot of 166s around at the moment, so maybe I'll hold off for a while or look for a good 156 2.5 manual with leather (or maybe that dealer will try harder to find that service book!).

Thanks to all for advice.
 

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the air con wont be a massive issue, autolusso have a decent stock of 166's they are breaking, and should have any part you need for sensible money.

the service history would concern me massively, having owned a 166 without a service history, and my corrent one with a complete history ( a minerva green 2.5 like this one) the difference in expenditure has been massive, the current car having no real problems at all, the twin spark before it having £4k spent in 2 months, culminating in me throwing in the towel after a dropped valve and subsequent blown engine on the M1

i paid £1700 for my 2.5 V6, with a full year MOT, and 6 months tax. it had 70,074 miles on it, and its in very good condition with a nice spec. this is a pretty decent example of what to pay for a good car.
 

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Not sure if they would do this in the UK as well, I hope not, but I have 3 stories about missing service books.
- "if I knew the Service Book is that important for you, I'd get one" said the dealer after I was asking for it the second time
- when I took my car for service to the address which had the first stamp in the service book, my car wasn't even in their system, most likely the dealer who sold me the car just had a friend working there and got a stamp
- I was helping a friend to buy a car, and based on the service book the car was just serviced 5 km ago, but the oil stick was bone dry

So if the dealer doesn't find the service book for a week, he's probably trying to get one for you with a few stamps. Check the colour of the ink for the entries in the book...

Again, I hope it could only happen in car hating Ireland, and wish you luck.
 
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