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Discussion Starter #1
So tomorrow I am due to view a 53 plate Alfa 156 1.9JTD. I am viewing this as I have always wanted an Alfa Romeo and recently my wife also expressed an interested in one.

I have carried out a HPI check and know the vehicle isn't stolen recovered nor does it have any outstanding issues. Mileage is sat at 128K which I believe is reasonable for the year and it has a current MOT. The seller has advised within the last 12 months it has had new brake discs, pads and alternator and a service approx 4 months ago. Having done some research it would appear that the Diesel engines are relatively bullet proof and well built.

My main question is, whilst I am there and before I part with the cash, what should I look for specifically in these cars?

I have heard that electrics gremlins are the main issues such as a common immobiliser fault. Anything else?

Thanks
 

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Hello. Get right underneath and check the floor pan for signs of terminal rust and find out when cambelt was last done. I hope it's the right car for you and good luck.
 

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Check the floor under the car...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So far,

Underfloor rust, cambelt change, water pump change.

Out of interest, for a car in decent condition of this age and mileage, what would be the expected ballpark price?
 

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Check on eBay for a quick guide.
Make sure you take for test drive if you can or leave engine idling to make sure it does not overheat and climate control works OK.
Still love em tho?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll be buying it for the driving experience but being aware that there are issues. The good thing is that for the money I'm planning on spending it should suit me well, even if it has a few minor issues.
 

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Front suspension is a service item, wishbone bushes and balljoints, anti-roll bar mounts (tricky to replace as the subframe has to be dropped). Listen for creaks and knocking sounds over speed humps. The bushes are seldom completely silent so squeaks are fairly normal. Knocks and bangs indicate work needed.

The electrical system hates weak batteries, so budget for a new one if it's getting on a bit.

Heavy clutch is common. It should be reasonably light and smooth. Slave cylinders tend to fail, but they're an easy fix.

Check the turbo is functioning correctly. Power should be fairly linear with the turbo kicking in from ~2k rpm. Problems with the turbo are often no more than split actuator hose. Or, split boost hose will produce low power and clouds of smoke - the lower hose tends to rub a hole in itself against the block.

In general there should be very little smoke beyond a puff on starting.

Engine temp should be fairly constant at ~90deg once warmed up.

Gear selection should be precise and smooth, although not fast, but can get sloppy and stiff thanks to worn linkage bushes - not a big deal.

It should be delightful to drive, and if it isn't, something's not right.
 

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Check whether this is 8V or 16V diesel. The 8V is only 120bhp and quite sluggish. The 16V is 150bhp and can be chipped nicely.
Check you have two keys and that all functions work on both keys. If central locking doesn't work it is NOT a flat battery in the key but central locking problem.
Listen for front suspension noise over bumps - find a bumpy road or speed bumps and test it. Squeak are top wishbones. Clunk is probably bottom wishbones or drop link but drop link is less common. Clunk that feels or sounds like it is under your feet is anti roll bar bushes and a bugger to change. Top or bottom wishbones are MOT failure and will cause excess tyre wear drop links and anti roll bar bushes are not MOT failure.
Check all windows work properly. The electric motors get damp and seize; it will not be the buttons on the doors.
Front suspension can get a bit soft - does it feel nice and tight up front and shouldn't feel like a boat.
Check inner edges of tyres.These are harsh on tyres and poor tracking can mean inner edges are showing the steel wires whilst the outer edge appears unworn.

As others have said check the floor but also sills if they are visible. The worst for floor is rear of front chassis members and the floor just in front of rear suspension. If the underseal is bulging or has rust stains then under that is almost certainly world of pain but they can rust anywhere in the floorpan.

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-147-156-andamp-gt/963282-rusting-floor-and-mot.html
 
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