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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thought I'd start a build thead because it's moreorless having done what every 159 will need doing at this age and mileage...plus some more subjective mods to my own taste.
I bought the car a month ago. It's a one owner from new 1.9JTDM Sport Wagon ti. It's a late '08 model so has some of the 'facelift' extras such as the rear hatch button actually on the rear hatch and some of those super useful weight saving additions such as electric seat and electric folding mirror...deletions.
It had been maintained, but not loved. It had had a major top end re-build 15K ago, with a new clutch and water pump long with the timing belt. It also had brand new Pirelli P Zeros all round and 12 months Tax and MOT.
It had spent most of it's life doing short runs, felt choked on the test drive, kicked out a hell of a lot of smoke when I booted it, the suspension was creaking and making the strangest noises and the steering wheel was at an angle when in a straight line. The bodywork was in a shocking state due to too many machine car washes, the wheels needed re-furbing and the front brakes needed replacing.
Naturally, I bought it.
:)

So Day two of ownership and it's off to Angel Tuning for a re-map, DPF 'clean out and EGR blank.

Whilst it was there, I took the opportunity to get a few things done:
The Glow plug warning light was fixed ..by replacing a glow plug.
The throttle body was cleaned. The MAF was cleaned. And the MAP sensor was replaced.
The front discs were replaced with Motec items as well as DS2500 pads and ATE Super Blue brake fluid, along with an Oil, oil filter, pollen filter and ITG Cone Air filter change.

Difference, as you can imagine, was night and day. The performance, the smoothness and the indicated economy - 5 weeks on and with mainly motorway driving (75-80 average and a lot of 55mph roadworks on the M4!) I'm still seeing an indicated 47mpg.
There's a puff of smoke under load or when first flooring it, but dissipates once you relax.
So a very worthwhile start, which I would live with for a few weeks until the creaking from the suspension became too much!
 

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Yep, seen it all before, all common issues and well covered on the forum and in the stickies.

You seem to be spending quite a wad getting a neglected car back on the straight and narrow.

The car will appreciate it, well done:thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks.

So the noise was getting unbearable, as was the candle power produced by the headlights.
I left the car with Adie at AHM , as he was local to spend some time on the car giving it a thorough going over and providing me with a list of what needed doing. The facilities at AHM look impressive, however this is my second car and the modifications need to be within a certain budget.
The most serious issue (apart from practically every rubber in the front upper and wishbones shot) was that one of the rear coil springs had snapped - a totally usual - and predictable problem.
A pair for rear springs for the TI Sportwagon cost a little bit more than...a complete set of dampers and springs from FK Automotive! So I started buying... and hammering ebay with my shopping list.

Armed with that list I contacted Paul at A for Alfa in Aylesbury, as I'd heard good thing about him - and gave him the list of what I wanted doing. I would source all the parts...and he would do all the hard work :)

1. Replace front & rear dampers and F&R Springs
2. Replace front upper and lower wishbones
3. Replace front and rear droplinks
4. Replace front and rear anti roll bar bushes
5. Replace Handbrake cables
6. Replace front Aux Belt
7. Replace both foglights
8. Replace dipped beam with HID kit

I dropped the car with him on Tuesday morning and picked up this morning (although it was ready yesterday). I had a loaner - his trusty little Fiat Punto, which got me home with no hassle.

Absolutely top service, reasonable prices and very knowledgeable chap - cannot recommend him highly enough.

Another complete transformation. I will get the car aligned on Monday (at the Classic Car show at the NEC all weekend) but ****** me, what a transformation! the car practically glides across the road now!

The car sits a little lower than before but if anything is a little more comfortable - but I dont know if that's because my 'cartilage' joints now have gristle in them, or because of the dampers - and turn is as composed if not better than before.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The HIDs are a complete revelation compared to the old candles - and were a £20 set off ebay.
Cosmetically, I'm almost done ( I have an eversion to Chrome) : Light surrounds and vertical strip painted satin black along with the headlight surrounds and foglight surrounds. I've kept the grill, because that's what makes it an Alfa - and a black grille on a black car looks likes you've chopped it's nose off!
I've wrapped the door handles satin black and am about to change the side indicators to smoked units. All the badges have been replaced with silver/black items and the last bit of cosmetics will be a dual exhaust (with powder coated black tips), a light window tint and a wheel re-furb in a very subtlely different silver.
 

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Nice work Gary. You could spend £100 on some new Mtec brake discs to finish it off.
Just wondering why you din't get AHM to do the work? Not local?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nice work Gary. You could spend £100 on some new Mtec brake discs to finish it off.
Just wondering why you din't get AHM to do the work? Not local?
Mtecs up front - will get the rears purely for matching cosmetics :)

He's very local - and had a great reputation and I have no reason to not believe that from what I've seen. However, this is not my pride and joy and is the second car - the daily, therefore absolute genuine parts for a car that will only do 5-6K a year isn't an expense I wanted to go for.
The work I've carried out so far, taking into account sourcing all my own parts and getting a reputable specialist to do the work has saved me in excess of four figures.
False economy? Time will tell.
 

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Gary any chance of a photo of the black badges. I've seen them on eBay and as my boot one has just started to flake I was thinking of replacing them with these. Thanks
 

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Re-- a for alfa

Thanks.

So the noise was getting unbearable, as was the candle power produced by the headlights.
I left the car with Adie at AHM , as he was local to spend some time on the car giving it a thorough going over and providing me with a list of what needed doing. The facilities at AHM look impressive, however this is my second car and the modifications need to be within a certain budget.
The most serious issue (apart from practically every rubber in the front upper and wishbones shot) was that one of the rear coil springs had snapped - a totally usual - and predictable problem.
A pair for rear springs for the TI Sportwagon cost a little bit more than...a complete set of dampers and springs from FK Automotive! So I started buying... and hammering ebay with my shopping list.

Armed with that list I contacted Paul at A for Alfa in Aylesbury, as I'd heard good thing about him - and gave him the list of what I wanted doing. I would source all the parts...and he would do all the hard work :)

1. Replace front & rear dampers and F&R Springs
2. Replace front upper and lower wishbones
3. Replace front and rear droplinks
4. Replace front and rear anti roll bar bushes
5. Replace Handbrake cables
6. Replace front Aux Belt
7. Replace both foglights
8. Replace dipped beam with HID kit

I dropped the car with him on Tuesday morning and picked up this morning (although it was ready yesterday). I had a loaner - his trusty little Fiat Punto, which got me home with no hassle.

Absolutely top service, reasonable prices and very knowledgeable chap - cannot recommend him highly enough.

Another complete transformation. I will get the car aligned on Monday (at the Classic Car show at the NEC all weekend) but ****** me, what a transformation! the car practically glides across the road now!

The car sits a little lower than before but if anything is a little more comfortable - but I dont know if that's because my 'cartilage' joints now have gristle in them, or because of the dampers - and turn is as composed if not better than before.
Plus 1 for Paul:thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
So, a couple of hundred miles in, and this is how the car now looks.

The drop is quite noticeable.
I've fitted all the black/silver badges and blacked out the light surrounds, teh vertical chrome slats and the fog light surrounds.

So, are the supercheap FK automotive suspension components worth it?


...No, not entirely. On a normal road, they're absolutely fine. In fact probably as if not more comfortable than stock.
BUT - that's down to the Dampers not being matched to the springs, which means that on moderate potholes (if there is such a thing) they will bottom out, in quite a crashy and alarming manner, which I'm not happy with, obviously.
I have spoken to FK who have been helpful so far, and look forward to hearing back from them next week.
Pretty convinced the issue is the dampers - with such a ride height drop I really should be looking at the Bilstein B8 Sprint.

Apart from that, happy with the car so far - a can of BG44 did actually make a difference and I've almost finished it's Rhino programme. That combined with a Terraclean and throttle/MAF/MAP being cleaned/replaced and the EGR being blanked, pretty sure my fuelling and air intake is as clean as it's going to get.
The inlet manifold will get done cleaned once my local Terraclean agent has the equipment, but I should start a difference with the 'self-cleaning' properties of the work done so far.
My normal driving is 30% town and 70% Motorway, and since all teh work was done the computer is saying a 46mpg average and I'll regularly see 50-52 on a 75mph, cruise controlled run.
So for what I bought this car for - an economical everyday dog basket thats utterly gorgeous...I'm beginning to like it.

Will keep you updated about the suspension :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
So , FK have got back to me and are adamant that the combination is a matched pair. When I offered to send them videos of the issue they very kindly offered me a refund...if of course I return the whole lot.

I then spoke to the Alfa Shop (Squadra Sportiva). We've decided on Novitec springs and Bilstein B8 Sprint dampers. The Novitec springs give me confidence in that they specifically ask for Engine type, Saloon or Wagon, FWD or AWD before speccing the right load ratings - and the Bilsteins are designed for shortened springs, so let's see :)

Oh - another mod today: De-chroming:) The door handles are now black and I fitted the smoked side indicators:
 

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Gary, if you look at the measurement data in this thread:

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-159-brera-and-946-spider/369138-159-ti-suspension-upgrade-advice-2.html#post5223054

You will see a comparison using a B12 Kit (B6 + Eibach). B8's have a shorter throw rod if you are going for a drop greater than 40mm but up to 40mm is jut fine on a B6. There is no damping difference between the 6 & 8 either.

From the look of your picture, it looks like your caster is way out? the wheels seem far to far back in the arches up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
That's really good info and a great thread - thank you...so now the dilemma
B6+Eibach (Sportiva Kit) @ 649 Euro or
B12 Kit @ 615 Euro (what's the difference?)
or
B8 Sprint + Novitec Springs @ 650 Euro.

Really confused.com now :D
 

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Definitely not getting the fk springs and shocks now! Thanks for sharing your experience Gary. Very useful
 
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