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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys, Sorry this is a direct copy & past from my other post in the Newbie section. BaddersR suggested I may get a better response from the 159 crew. (Got to shoot off too work and not got time to re-write).

I currently drive a Citroen C4 VTS 180 which I am looking to replace near the end of the year. I have a baby on the way and need a little more space in the car as we often do trips to Somerset & Liverpool. I previously owned a Ford Mondeo ST TDCI which was a superb car and I loved it very much. Unfortunately it had to go away. I miss the feeling I had when driving the ST TDCI and my research has naturally lead me to Alfa. I hear & read lots about Alfa's being a "drivers" car and it is quite evident that a lot of owners become really enthusiastic & passionate about Alfas. Of course, I consider myself a car nut & Top Gear being my religion; the three wise men tell me I am not a petrol head unless I have owned one. (Does this still count if I'm looking at getting a Diesel?)

All this has me hooked on the idea of an Alfa 159 JTDm (1.9 or 2.4) Lusso. They are truly beautiful cars BUT... and you know what the BUT is going to be... yes, the stories I have also read & heard about reliability.

Now I should first say, as mentioned above, I own a Citroen. I am a member of the C4Owners forum & their are endless new members concerns about reliability. So far my experience of Citroen has been pretty good & I realise the internet, and forums in particular are riddled with stories of failures & costly repairs because most people discover forums when looking for solutions to problems. There for I will not ask you guys what Alfa reliability is like as you are probably sick of it. The answer lies in recent polls, when you consider Alfa are flanked on either side by Renault & Land Rover which you see a lot more of on the road.

As with all cars there are some dodgy ones and some good ones. So my question is what should I look out for (aside the obvious) when looking at Alfa 159s to minimise picking up a dud? What are the common faults with Alfa 159s? Is their a particular year / engine / trim / chassis / build number which is particularly prone to faults?

I would appreciate your advice, thoughts & experiences of Alfa ownership. After all you guys own & drive them.

Thanks

Scott

P.s sorry for the long post!
 

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Welcome. What sort of age/mileage 159 are you thinking of (new/nearly new/older etc.) as this will have a lot of bearing on things you need to look for.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ah yes of course. Looking at a 2006-2007 with a budget between £7000-8000 which seems to give mileage of anywhere between 65000 & 85000. Naturally, I will be looking to get the lowest miles for the lowest price with FSH and no more than 2 owners.
 

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I have an 1.9 and there were no "real" problems. Early models squeak and rattle inside(but can be fixed).
I drive 45min every day x2, so no "dizely" problems. But I must admit I am thinking of getting a 2.4 :) 210 hp. It's just more fun.
One thing to look after is "clonk/slap" sound when changing gears it usually means new DMF and clutch.
 

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I bought mine at 84000 following a 3 year company lease.
Car had FSH and all the required official service items done to it.

Just check service history, and any history of repairs I guess. I would of, if i could. But its difficult on company docs as they just list 'Service at X miles - £384 etc', whereas it would of been good to see what was replaced/repaired.

Cambelt at 90k is what the book says. Myself and many others would say, get it done as soon as you get the car if its not been done. Better safe than sorry

Other than that, just check the usuals. Tyre wear (uneven is not uncommon, search the forum).

Best of luck.
 

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Sorry to be negative here, but a Citroen? Presumably post 2006. Made by a company who built a factory in Slovakia to make cars using "slave labour" (how does £350 a month grab you) after sacking over 4000 British workers who made cars for the company at a profit. Obviously the profit wasn't big enough. :rant::mad:
Have had my '57 plate 2.4 for the past few months and love it. After initial "teething" problems on the Blue me front have had no trouble. DPF removal and remap have given better consumption and more smiles. Although you may read on here about problems, but that is what is here for! I think the majority of owners have a happy experience and do not have to post.:)
Was going to keep my Soarer as a hobby car in my retirement but only need one and that's the Alfa. Soarer up for sale. Have plans made up for big hole in garden so missus only has to hire a crane and lower me in the Alfa in to it. Wonder what Time Team will make of it in a few hundred years:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all for your replies,

Aside from the steering rack it sounds like most the other issues mentioned are the same as those most commonly posted on the C4O & Mondeo ST forums. Particularly the EGR, DPF, DMF. But so far there seems nothing as scary as the injector failure me and other Mondeo ST TDCI owners lived in constant fear of. Of course owning a Citroen I am accustomed to random squeaks and rattles (currently have one coming from inside the roof lining just above the drivers sun visor... :mad: )

Do the diesels have a belt or rail? What tend to have more problems Petrol or Diesel?

@nandesuka - I don't know about slave labour but my C4 is 2004. I take it your not a fan?
 

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Diesels are belt, petrols are chain driven. I think it's probably fair to say the diesels have rather more problems than the petrols, although that might just be because there seem to be more diesels.

BTW fuel consumption on the 2.4 diesel doesn't seem to be as far ahead of the 2.2 petrol as you might think. So depending on what mileage you do you might consider that. (They tend to be a bit cheaper too. 2.4's and especially SW's tend to sell at a bit of a premium.)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't do very many miles on a day to day bases. But about 8 times a year I do sprints to Liverpool & Somerset. But my average day to day would be 6-8 miles.

Just discovered the 1.8 MPI, obviously hasn't the power of the other engines but seems decent on fuel consumption.
 

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I have the 1.8 MPI as it's a common model here in NL. Haven't owned it for long but so far so good. The GM engine actually pulls quite well in most situations and seems to have been less moody than some of the more Alfa inspired versions. You won't get blistering acceleration but I'm finding it's fine both on the motorway and around town. A diesel doesn't sound like it would work too well at your milage so I'd certainly give the MPI a testdrive.
 

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Thought I might be in a good position to reply since I also came from a Mondeo 155 TDCI (although not the ST), which I also loved. There was a brief affair with a turbo petrol in between but I soon missed the "lazy" diesel driving.

I cover around 60 miles/day on fast roads so diesel makes more sense for me. Petrol was fun but I soon tired of having to give it 6000rpm to get any real pull out of it. Having said that, if your long runs are limited to only about 8 times/year, I would seriously consider petrol as I don't think you'll see much economy on the short runs - even in the 1.9 diesel. It's good when warmed up and reasonably economical cruising at 60ish, but don't expect the economy you got from your Mondeo; less-so of course, if you buy a 2.4

Build quality is way ahead, or maybe I should say "premium feel" is way ahead. The mondeo suffered less squeaks/rattles but getting back into a colleagues ST now, it feels quite cheap/flimsy in comparison. The 159 is built like a tank (maybe a little too heavy). The weighty steering, wide tyres and squat stance inspire a huge amount of confidence on twisty roads and you really have to push it before it understeers.

The diesel is heavy though and requires some encouragement to get it moving - I suspect this is where the economy suffers most, hence not great on stop/start journeys. Once moving though, assuming you've adjusted your driving style to predict and avoid turbo lag, you can make fast progress and I've surprised a few passengers in my time :)

I wouldn't worry too much about EGR/DPF/DMF issues as they seem to be par for the course on most modern diesels now. If you buy one, get the EGR valve out and give it a good clean straight away (half-hour job - guides on this forum). I got my car at 25k and it was already quite coked up. A colleague bought a 159 at about 80k and found his was almost entirely blocked. I'm repeating the clean-out every 25k.

The boot isn't great - certainly nothing compared to the mondeo hatch, but then practicality probably isn't at the top of your list if you're looking at Alfa's :) It's a decent size for luggage etc, but you wont be man-handling any furniture into it, unless you find a rare example with the folding seats option, or buy an SW.

Would I go back to the Mondeo? No. The driver enjoyment and the fact that you're driving something a bit different sets them clearly apart. :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll certainly won't rule out the 1.8 MPI and bare it in mind, but simarly as Guinness mentions above, I miss they way diesel engines preform with the lower end power. To get the most out of my C4 I have to rev it up to around 5000rpm & the full 180bhp doesn't come until 7000rpm which means bye bye fuel.

@Guinness - Thanks! That really helps. I really did love the Mondeo & with the baby on its way it would suit all my requirements. I realise a 159 isn't as practical as the Mondeo but its still much better than the C4. I would certainly have one again and I won't be ruling them out but I want to experience this Alfa flare you hear so much about. Its great you have owned both & can give me a comparison. SW is definitely an option, I have no real preference between SW and saloon so which ever has the right price etc...

As for Diesel vs Petrol, as mentioned above I miss the way diesels work compared to petrols. Yeah it probably doesn't suit my daily commute but that sort of journey is uneconomical in any car with size of engine I am looking at. But is the advertised MPG really a lot worse? I was getting about 37mpg from the Mondeo on my usual commute, probably a little less in the winter. About 45mpg on the longer runs.

DPF, DMF & EGR I am not to worried about. EGRs brake like the were made of chocolate on the Mondeo. I regularly cleaned it out as Guinness does. DMF occasionally causes problems for some members of both the C4O & STdriveRS forums I've been a part of. DPF is also a problem for a lot of diesel C4O as well. So these things seem common for most cars.

It seems strange that diesels are belt and petrols are rail... surely its usually the other way round with other manufacturers?

My next major task is to persuade the Mrs because I haven't had the C4 for long. Then I may go test drive a few different engines, see which I prefer but I think it will be a diesel I will go for in the end.
 

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If diesel is your preference based on the way it drives as opposed to economy, then your choice is already made! Just make sure you give it a good blast once a month to keep it clean. I'd have preferred an SW but they're a bit dearer and a lot harder to find. Don't go and look at a Saloon as you'll probably buy it :D

37mpg is realistic (you were driving the mondeo harder than me :)), with 42+ on a run. From what I've read, roughly speaking, deduct 5mpg more for the 2.4.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Don't go and look at a Saloon as you'll probably buy it :D

37mpg is realistic (you were driving the mondeo harder than me :)), with 42+ on a run. From what I've read, roughly speaking, deduct 5mpg more for the 2.4.
Your right! I went to look at one, but a 2.4 and now I'm smitten. I want to buy it! Its right what they say, buying an Alfa is a decision made with the heart not the head.

The drivers seat felt like an extremely nice place to be and the looks of the car are so beautiful. To be honest, the boot was a little smaller than anticipated but that I can live with. I'm just concerned about MPG & tyre wear from what I've read on here. My hearts telling me just go for it, but my head is telling me to wait for a 1.9 or look at something else. So much so I woke up in the middle of the night last night and couldn't sleep for 2 hours because my heart & head we're fighting. Haha.

@Guinness - Did you find tyre wear any worse on the 2.4 159 compared to the 155 TDCI?
 

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go for a 2.4...you'll wish you had one in a month or two :0) I found the 2.0 jtdm sluggish to get going and the 2.4 has better torque. It's also got a little character in the engine being a 5 pot.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Went back for a second look at the 2.4 & took it for a test drive. Oh my it pulls! Just a few concerns, Oil was black & thick. its got 75k on it & oil was last changed a 67k... seems odd the oil would be this way? Dealer said he would do an oil & filter change. It needs 2 rear tyre which will be sorted & there's some start of rusting from chips round the bottom corner of a rear door near the wheel arch which will also be sorted. All that's putting me off is the MPG registering 32mpg at an average of 35mph over 7k miles. My Citroën shows 33mpg over something similar. One reason I'm looking for a new car is I want better economy but still something with some go. Defeats the object of performance diesel if its doing no better than a petrol. Although I realise you have to factor in weight & driving style but it doesn't inspire confidence in the 2.4s ability to be economical(ish) especially following reports on here.
 

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Going to and from work (13 miles, A-Road) I can get 35-39mpg, the latter only really if stuck just below 60 for most of the journey.

A bit more spirited driving and this drops to around 25-30mpg. Average is about 35.

That's with the 2.4 (200BHP) in a Brera.

Have you thought about the 1.9 or is that not enough grunt for ya? A remap might give it a bit more 'go', but I'm not sure about the gains on the 1.9.

The 2.4 is a stonking engine though :D
 

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Went back for a second look at the 2.4 & took it for a test drive. Oh my it pulls! Just a few concerns, Oil was black & thick. its got 75k on it & oil was last changed a 67k... seems odd the oil would be this way? Dealer said he would do an oil & filter change. It needs 2 rear tyre which will be sorted & there's some start of rusting from chips round the bottom corner of a rear door near the wheel arch which will also be sorted. All that's putting me off is the MPG registering 32mpg at an average of 35mph over 7k miles. My Citroën shows 33mpg over something similar. One reason I'm looking for a new car is I want better economy but still something with some go. Defeats the object of performance diesel if its doing no better than a petrol. Although I realise you have to factor in weight & driving style but it doesn't inspire confidence in the 2.4s ability to be economical(ish) especially following reports on here.
An average of 35 mph implies a bit of town + A road driving, so 32 mpg is about what you would expect. Counterintuitively, the higher the average mph, the better the economy, as it implies more motorway cruising. If you average 45 mph+ (which you will if you do any distance driving), then the economy should be better (but never great :rolleyes:).

The weight+DPF is the main economy killer. Guys driving 156's with the 2.4 (admittedly with a slightly different engine) seem to get better economy.

The front of the rear wheel arches is notorious for road rash, so with a 75k car that's not surprising as long as it's not excessive.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
1.9 + remap & dpf removal is the more sensible choice but I'm pretty smitten with the 2.4 that is down the road from me. It also has 18inch 7 hole alloys and of course the twin exhaust. I feel I'd be getting quite a good deal from it with the tyres, service & paint repair thrown in the price. Also that engine noise was pretty amazing for a diesel. From what I've read I won't get that with the 1.9.
I'd be happy with 35mpg town & 42mpg on a motorway run but because the posts on here are so varied I don't know if I'll be able to get this. Especially when my round trip to work is about 6miles max. Although this might be increasing to 8 with some 40mph roads thrown in. :thumbs:
 
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