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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys

short story so far: after driving a 147 (105hp 1.6TS) for 2,5 years i went and bought a GT JTS. When in the 147 i always figured a little extra power would be nice, and the GT is a decent middle ground between the 147 and the GTV (which i have been pining for for years). Unlike the GTV, the GT is practical enough as an only car with kids, and since i considered it pretty much a 147 in a tracksuit, i figured it would be my perfect car.

In reality however, after a month and ~2000 kms, im having a lot of trouble liking the GT, to the point where if i was offered a good trade deal on a 147, id probably take it.

So what dont i like about the GT?
- The engine, the JTS has a rather diesel-like torque curve, combined with the extra power and a slightly longer ratio gearbox, i hardly ever find myself revving above 4K, and even then it doesnt excite. The old 1.6 TS would let out a decent growl above 3500 rpm and stay on torque (even though itll be less then the JTS along the range), so you would have a reason to hit 6K rpm. The JTS is quiet and power drops off at high RPMs.
- The ride. It is very comfy car, and very true to its GT moniker, but i was expecting something a bit more sporty. It feels a bit less sharp in the corners, i personally blame the shlightly longer wheelbase, but it might also just be the lack of drama from the engine, or the extra sound isolation in general which makes spirited driving less exciting. The 147 was a lot of fun to hassle around a back-road, the GT feels like it should be on the motorway munching miles.



I dont want to make the car impractical for every day use so extreme lowering is out of the question, im also unsure whether to even bother with trying to "improve" the car, as i think my main dislike is the engine, and even if it was possible to change the JTS back to its TS roots, itll be bloody expensive. Budget wise i want to keep things somewhat reasonable, it was a relatively cheap car (for a GT), and while it is in good nick, it isnt, and never will be as special as a V6, so stuff like superchargers GTA brakes or custom coilovers are right out.

So what do you suggest guys, any tricks to make me like the car more, or do i start eye-ing 147s?
 

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Are you absolutely committed to keeping the 2.0 JTS?

The 1.9 JTDm GT's are just as practical in terms of space inside, a much better drive thanks to the torquey engine (it will feel significantly quicker than the JTS despite havng a little less peak power!), and if you still want a little more performance then a cheap remap can give you 20-30% more power to play with for a few hundred pounds (or Euro.. they're about the same now anyway!).

A basic edition GT 1.9JTD (150) with no upgrades or mods is going to be cheap to buy now.. Or see if you can find a top of the line Cloverleaf (170) edition! Or anywhere in between really... There's a few basic mods that are always reccomended for both longevity and performance (EGR delete, swirl flap delete, remap (optional), mocal oil cooler), and the rear spring ans might be rusted through by now (common to all GT/147's at their age!).. Otherwise the only real downside is the rattley diesel engine!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Im not commited to keeping the JTS, but im not fond of switching to diesel, road tax over here is insane for diesel, and offset by lower fuel cost, so diesel only makes financial sense when doing a lot of miles (which i dont really), furthermore 90% of my trips are short, and i feel like a diesel wouldnt cope with that very well, and on a personal preference level, i prefer revving the nuts of a petrol engine over just riding the torque wave.

Staying in the GT stable, id be more inclined to find a 1.8TS. The JTS is quite a lot quicker then my old 147, so speed isnt the issue, it just doesnt feel fun to drive fast or hussle down a lane. The speed just takes too little effort to achieve, and has no drama attached.

Either way, im also kinda worried that any GT will feel substantially less nimble then a 147, i was expecting basically the same car but lower, but i suspect the added sound deadening and longer wheelbase, do indeed make it more of a grand tourer then the 147
 

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Have you considered a 156? Obviously from similar stables, and a 2.0TS one I had was one of the best handling cars I've had. Brilliant to chuck around corners down lanes, perfectly matched power from the TS, which as you already know can be a sparkly power unit, and enough practicality to be viable option everyday. That and the leather seats are by far and away the comfiest yet most supportive my slender frame has ever sat in.
 

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GT 2.0 JTS
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I have had a Lancia 2.0 Thema turbo, 2.0 Delta, Y10 fire, 2 x V6 166, 2.5 159 and a 2.0 TS spider.

The GT 2.0 JTS I have goes around corners and roundabouts like its glued to the road and is equal to the spider in terms of handling then any other model I have owned.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like you need a dose of Busso to me.
I wish i could, as it is, V6 GTs are at least twice of what i paid for my GT, and i simply dont have the money to drop that on a car right now. Besides, im a bit affraid that given my regular drives, i couldnt really unleash a busso all that often. I do keep looking at V6 156s though, but they are few and far between (and part of me badly wants a 155 V6, although im not sure how pleasant it would be as a do it all daily)

Have you considered a 156? Obviously from similar stables, and a 2.0TS one I had was one of the best handling cars I've had. Brilliant to chuck around corners down lanes, perfectly matched power from the TS, which as you already know can be a sparkly power unit, and enough practicality to be viable option everyday. That and the leather seats are by far and away the comfiest yet most supportive my slender frame has ever sat in.
Id be open to a 156, it shares a lot with the 147 and GT, so handling wise i know its all sorted. Practicality dictates id look for an SW though, while i much prefer the berlina on looks.

Currently im still very much in the "lets try to make it work" phase of the whole thing, switching cars again will probably end up costing me quite a bit, and the GT is a well sorted example, so if i can somehow learn to get along with it, that would be the optimal end result.

I have had Lancia Thema turbo, 2.0 Delta, Y10, 2 x V6 166, 2.5 159 and a 2.0 TS spider.

The GT I have goes around corners and roundabouts like its glued to the road and is nearest to the spider in terms of handling then any other model I have owned.
I havent really tried the GT at 10/10s yet, partially because im still getting used to the speed buildup a bit, and partially because the JTS just doesnt invite an agressive driving style.

I dont really have a problem with the handling by the way, im sure it will do the same (or higher) cornering speeds as my old 147, it just doesnt feel as fun much doing it. I think at least part of the problem is that driving tends to be most fun when on the edge, and given the power on tap, pushing this car to its edge simply cant be done as often as slower cars. On the 147 trying to carry speed though the corner had purpose, in the GT you dont need to bother as much, just keep revs around peak torque at 3K rpm, give it a short push after the corner and you are back at license-losing speeds again
 

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It's possible to have a good JTS

A standard JTS sounds pants. The carbon build up in inlet ports doesn't help.

Before rebuild, my JTS felt weak and sounded strained by 5000rpm.
After rebuild (main point here is removing carbon from inlet ports and valves), it sings to the limiter and best progress is made revving to 6500rpm.
I recently drove a Fiat Bravo JTD 16v Multijet with 150bhp. My JTS is significantly quicker.

To make a JTS sound nice it needs a decent exhaust (as well as decarbonising). I use a group N centre pipe and Remus rear silencer. It's not loud, no intrusive drone but a muted bass low down and a nice crackle when the taps are opened. It is fairly vocal though but can be driven quietly.

Handling? These cars are all underdamped at the front. Either Bilstein B6 (soon to be available again) or go with Eibach Pro Kit springs (-20mm on JTS) and match with Koni Str.T dampers which have the spring perch 20mm too high. Result is OE ride height with sports suspension. It's probably the closest set up to TI suspension.

It's all money though.
 

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Thats what i'd be trying if i wanted to make the JTS sing.

A decent sports exhaust should release some more sound from it, thats the problem with alot of modern cars, they sound too muted in their standard set up.
I know if i ever buy another Alfa it would have to be a Busso V6
 

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If you can't find a 1.8TS to play with, then have a think about the following:

Eibach Sportline springs (slightly lower but not mad low) with Koni FSD dampers
Powerflex bushes on lower wishbones
GTA ARB front and back
Set of PF front brake pads

You could do one stage at a time to keep costs down but it'll all add up to a car that'll feel much more purposeful without losing its practicality. My uberfuhrer has a GT Cloverleaf and my daily is a 147 Q2 (with up-rated suspension). I like her GT very much but feel the 147 is more of a driver's car when pressing on. As you say, the GT is exactly that, a grande tourismo car that feels slightly lazy, as it should.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
To make a JTS sound nice it needs a decent exhaust (as well as decarbonising). I use a group N centre pipe and Remus rear silencer. It's not loud, no intrusive drone but a muted bass low down and a nice crackle when the taps are opened. It is fairly vocal though but can be driven quietly.

Handling? These cars are all underdamped at the front. Either Bilstein B6 (soon to be available again) or go with Eibach Pro Kit springs (-20mm on JTS) and match with Koni Str.T dampers which have the spring perch 20mm too high. Result is OE ride height with sports suspension. It's probably the closest set up to TI suspension.
Thanks! this is the kind of info i was after. I cant find a Remus silencer for the GT (not even Remus themselves have any reference to it), but there are plenty alternative available from what i can find. I take it your centre pipe is a straight pipe from ragazzon?

carbon wise, my JTS had a full rebuild ~36k miles ago, including new piston rings and a piston mod to stop it from burning oil like an ocean liner. Theoretically that should mean it is relatively clean anyway, and it shouldnt suffer massive carbon build up from excessive oil burning. There will probably still be some polution, but unless there is a trick to clean it without taking the head off, ill leave it all for now (its just had a new cambelt etc.. so no real reason to take it all apart)

Suspension wise i should be able to sort something out, do all the Koni Str-Ts have the spring perch too high, or is there some specific type i should be on the lookout for?

And yeah, money wise just a catback + konis + springs is over a grand assuming i fit it all myself, but i can do it all incrementally, and its not like im in a huge rush, the alternative of changing to a different car isnt exactly a "right now" option either.

If you can't find a 1.8TS to play with, then have a think about the following:

Eibach Sportline springs (slightly lower but not mad low) with Koni FSD dampers
Powerflex bushes on lower wishbones
GTA ARB front and back
Set of PF front brake pads

You could do one stage at a time to keep costs down but it'll all add up to a car that'll feel much more purposeful without losing its practicality. My uberfuhrer has a GT Cloverleaf and my daily is a 147 Q2 (with up-rated suspension). I like her GT very much but feel the 147 is more of a driver's car when pressing on. As you say, the GT is exactly that, a grande tourismo car that feels slightly lazy, as it should.
Thanks! from what i can find the eibach sportlines should be lower then their pro-kit (~50mm vs ~25mm), or do the Koni FSDs change something in the ride height as well?

I had the ARBs in mind as well, not sure where i would find an original GTA kit, but i suspect the eibach kit should be good as well right?

brakes will probably be done sometime in the next year as the discs look pretty worn, i was contemplating just getting regular brembo discs/pads, but ill look into some higher friction pads, Brembo has uprated pads themselves and EBC green stuff is supposedly good as well

And good to know im not alone in thinking the GT is "slightly lazy" compared to a 147, doesnt change anything about the situation, but at least i know im not going bonkers :jester:




Thanks guys, this was exactly what i was after in terms of hints, money wise itll probably take me a good while to sort the entire list, but at least ive got a direction to work in.
 

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I had the ARBs in mind as well, not sure where i would find an original GTA kit, but i suspect the eibach kit should be good as well right?

brakes will probably be done sometime in the next year as the discs look pretty worn, i was contemplating just getting regular brembo discs/pads, but ill look into some higher friction pads, Brembo has uprated pads themselves and EBC green stuff is supposedly good as well
GTA roll bar kit would be cheapest sourced from a breaker.. I think I got my set for about £50 delivered... They got fitted with polybushes and new droplinks so the knackered rubber bushes on the breaker didn't matter, although the rear bar did need cleaning up and painting before fitting.. Alternatively Partsworld usually have some new GTA bars for sale if you'd prefer not to be stripping and painting a used set.

That being said the Eibach roll bar kit is better - larger diameter higher stiffness bars, so even less body roll... But much more expensive, and there can be a long wait if/when they're out of stock and waiting for another produyction run from Eibach.. For me I was happy to compromise with the slight upgrade that GTA bars gave for the price/availability.

Performance Friction (sold by Autolusso) are very good standard replacement pads, the Ferrodo DS2500's get good reviews as well. EBC Green Stuff isn't that good apparently, just don't work well on a road car... Brembo discs are a good choice.. I used Mintex all round and they corroded over very quickly... No coating on the hat of the disc so that rusted over after a week, rim of the discs all crusty and flakey after 18 months.. Nothing lipped or dangerous, but doesn't look nice!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
GTA roll bar kit would be cheapest sourced from a breaker.. I think I got my set for about £50 delivered... They got fitted with polybushes and new droplinks so the knackered rubber bushes on the breaker didn't matter, although the rear bar did need cleaning up and painting before fitting.. Alternatively Partsworld usually have some new GTA bars for sale if you'd prefer not to be stripping and painting a used set.

That being said the Eibach roll bar kit is better - larger diameter higher stiffness bars, so even less body roll... But much more expensive, and there can be a long wait if/when they're out of stock and waiting for another produyction run from Eibach.. For me I was happy to compromise with the slight upgrade that GTA bars gave for the price/availability.

Performance Friction (sold by Autolusso) are very good standard replacement pads, the Ferrodo DS2500's get good reviews as well. EBC Green Stuff isn't that good apparently, just don't work well on a road car... Brembo discs are a good choice.. I used Mintex all round and they corroded over very quickly... No coating on the hat of the disc so that rusted over after a week, rim of the discs all crusty and flakey after 18 months.. Nothing lipped or dangerous, but doesn't look nice!
Ah, didnt know GTA ARBs were that cheap from a breaker, id expected them to be rare as hens teeth though, considering how few GTAs are on the road over here, but it might be worth looking into. On the other hand, if you are going through the trouble of getting the front subframe off anyway, might as well go for the good stuff, and the eibach set is still cheaper then a full set of new shocks. Looking at partsworld they want 125 quid for just the front ARB, cant imagine the full set being much cheaper then the eibach set.

Brake wise ill give EBC a miss then, i figured they are rather popular in enthusiast circles, so it must be OK. Good to hear the brembo discs are a solid choice by the way, i tend to order stuff from alfisti.net since theyre nice and cheap, brembo discs from them are cheaper then some C-brand pattern discs from the big national parts website over here, go figure!
 

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honestly..

sell it and buy either a 156 V6 2.5
or a GT 3.2..

The JTS is not Alfa's finest moment.

I didn't suggest the GTA's due to purchase price and GTA specific upkeep like body panels, a 156 V6 gives you 190BHP in a very revvy engine, whch can be pushed to 220 bhp with some mods, and a re-map...and they can be bought for sub 2k..also body panels and spares are all standard 156...you could make a GTA alike if you so wish and other than being 60 ponies short in stock form it will be a lot of fun.

the GT 3.2 would be the next choice, the GT is a really good handler with some suspension Mods and a Q2, the styling is a bit more modern than a 156 pre-facelift, Its a GTA in all but nale with the advanyage that all the bodywork and spares once again are standard GT, with the number of diesels and JTS's which will be scrapped over the coming years spares should not be an issue.


and if you could consider a diesel, a GT clover 170 or a 147 Ducati corse are both fantastic...and can be mapped to over 250 bhp giving you GTA performance ( sort of) with diesel economy.

I say sort of because the noise is a big part of the Busso experience, and the shorter gearing on the derv makes for harder work getting off the line, in additon peak torque is at 5500 rpm with the busso and around 3k with the diesel.

both are great though and you can drive both according to the respective power bands.

honestly, I would have any Alfa engine over the JTS..

including the diesel !
 

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Ah, didnt know GTA ARBs were that cheap from a breaker, id expected them to be rare as hens teeth though, considering how few GTAs are on the road over here, but it might be worth looking into.
Keep your eyes on the forum/facebook groups, there's a decent trade of them - I bought mine from Fewleh when he fitted a set of Eibachs to his 147 GTA.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
honestly..

sell it and buy either a 156 V6 2.5
or a GT 3.2..

The JTS is not Alfa's finest moment.

.....

honestly, I would have any Alfa engine over the JTS..

including the diesel !
Fair point, i was aware of the JTS not being a good choice due to its technical issues, but given that this car had an engine rebuild, i figured it was a good choice. I didnt really know the torque curve was this different (and the test drive just impressed me with the speed of it, didnt get to the point where i realised it wouldnt be as much fun)

As for the "buy a V6" part, part of me would really love that, but there quite a few niggles with the idea, within my budget there are just 15 busso cars in my country, none of which are a 156 SW IIRC. A berlina 156 would be nice, but i would miss the practicality of a hatch (which is part of what sold me on the GT)

Diesels... I know that in this generation the JTD(m)s are better engines then any of the non V6 petrol engines, but a few factors (high road tax, so only worth it for high mileage, i mainly do short trips, and a personal dislike for diesels) put me off massively. I know the tuning potential is there, but i dont think i'd really enjoy the experience.


Your point stands though, if i were to put 1-1.5K in improvements, itll still be a JTS with its niggles, and with that kind of money on top i can probably get a really nice 147 in exchange
 

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Your first point about the JTS engine is difficult to get around. Less restrictive exhaust and remap? Supercharge?

Long wheelbase shouldn't be an issue, the 156 is miles long but with the right setup handles like a go-kart.

Without spending a lot of money I don't think you're going to achieve what you want. As said above a V6 alfa might be your best bet. Failing that fit a good quality coilover kit, polybush the rear, ensure your wishbones are all ok and enjoy better handling.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Your first point about the JTS engine is difficult to get around. Less restrictive exhaust and remap? Supercharge?

Long wheelbase shouldn't be an issue, the 156 is miles long but with the right setup handles like a go-kart.

Without spending a lot of money I don't think you're going to achieve what you want. As said above a V6 alfa might be your best bet. Failing that fit a good quality coilover kit, polybush the rear, ensure your wishbones are all ok and enjoy better handling.
supercharging the JTS would be pointless, i would be well into V6 money for car + kit by the time im done.

Wheelbase, you have a point, i was mainly comparing it to how my 147 felt, and there is 5cm extra wheelbase to account for in that comparison, i might be getting accustomed to it though.

Just gave the car a good bit of boot on my way to pick up the kids, im still caught out by how easily it builds up speed without any sort of drama, i was doing 70 in a 35 zone before it really occured to me that i was going that quickly. Agility wise there might be some point in sharpening up the suspension, but again i think it is mainly the lack of drama that lets it down the most when it comes to feeling like you are going fast.
 

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maybe you have a ''good one''

there are some, the later ones dealt with the coking up issue, and if it is pushing out its full 165 bhp it will be ejoyable..my wifes mk2 1.8 TT 160 is nippy enough...

look, maybe cams, a re-map some suspension, I had a JTS GT, and it did handle nicely ! , the diesel head and block are the same but peolpe forget the derv has about another 80 KG over the front wheels because of the turbo, turbo manifold,induction, intercooler, the box is heavier, as is the flywheel etc etc..

maybe speak to Jim K about cams , the belts need doing every 36k on those so it won't be long before you get a chance to put them in! a free flowing exhaust, de cat, pre cat out as well, and maybe 180-185 is just reachable.

autodelta supercharged them to 220 bhp which would be very nice with the weight distribution, but as you said its a lot of money you would never get back.

best of luck with it.

:blabla::blabla:
 

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Advice from experience

As the JTS engine has been done right, I say keep it. Just use good quality fuel (for injectors and high pressure pump) and very good quality oil. Tim at Opie Oils told me BMW owners find greatly reduced carbon build up with 10w/60 Shell Helix Ultra. Other more costly PAO or Ester oils should stop the oil carbonising on the inlet valves.

Also, it seems the JTS has an internal EGR effect at low rpm. Also, it uses stratified mixture below 1500rpm. Best thing would be a remap from Squadra Tuning in the Netherlands. Stefan disables the lean mixture as it produces up to 12 times the particle emissions as a stoichiometric mixture. Other than that, avoid urban use as much as possible.

Have a look at the Squadra website. A JTS which is not carboned up will be just as good as a Twinspark higher up. All the cars he used for development would have been carboned up, hence poor torque higher up. The JTS is just really a Twinspark but with more low and mid range torque.

Removing the inlet manifold occasionally will be a pain but once done, it could be taken to a garage which does the walnut shell blasting to clean inlet tracts and valves.

I'd go Pro Kit, not Sportline. You keep ground clearance that way. I also found FSD dampers really only work well with standard springs. The standard setting before the control valves operate are too soft, IMO. Koni STR.T dampers are cheaper anyway. £116 for the front pair delivered as sold by Larkspeed. All the Alfa dampers by Koni sit 20mm higher (perhaps slightly less at the rear).

I've polybushed front lower wishbones before but I didn't detect much difference. Doing the rear gives better results. Also, set the tracking as close to parallel as you dare. My best set up was front parallel and rear 0.75mm toe-in (total).

Remus stuff seems to be deleted now. Ragazzon is good but I'd use a small silencer in the middle to keep noise in check. I used a local independent stainless exhaust specialist (not Powerflow). In fairness, they are probably better now. It was more expensive doing it that way but I had some other bespoke work done as well so it is to my own specification.

With regard to brakes, I just use cheaper stuff which performs well at lower temperature. I have coated discs. I tried Brembo PE replacement pads but they had very poor low temperature response which I attribute to the demise of a previous 156 due to a deer which was determined to die despite my best efforts.

As I don't do track days, I don't need exotic brakes or possibly the Eibach ARB kit but that would probably be nice but just how good does it need to be?

That said, a good set of alloys which are properly lighter than the OE rims would sharpen up things no end and keep the tyres on the grey stuff far better over rough/bumpy surfaces. That and making sure I don't fit tyres which are heavier than they need to be would be an intelligent move which wouldn't really cost much.
 
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