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hey

so ive got an 1998 156 1.8ts alfa and it cost me £650

it was moted until october but so far, mainly from reading this forum!:cheese: ive been getting put off from driving it

since buying it .. (76k on the clock) ive discovered i need to replace the cam belt. not a problem i understand its better than having the engine fall out on me:lol: and it needs a new variator. its needing the water pump replaced too coz thats what they do, swap all 3 at once.. to be fair i did get quoted £400 for the work which i thought was great

UNTIL i read about all the other things that could go wrong with them! like the rev counter, and the brakes and the screetching noises and the funny rattles.. and now IM SCARED TO DRIVE IT!

im thinking maybe alfa ownership isnt for me?:confused: its a shame because im torn.. i have a deep love for my alfa.. its just gorgeous, you look at its gleaming rosso paint, and its gorgeous grey leather interior and its sleek power and handling... and yet coupled with all these problems i read about is it really the fantastic family car i thought it would be?

with 2 kids and anti natal apointments to attend, and me having yet to drive the thing further than about 2 miles in total since i bought it, im just needing some reassurance that im doing the right thing.. am i cut out to be an alfa owner! please reassure me that i wont be plowing money after money after money into it coz if thats the case im gonna need to look at selling it! :cry: which will be a nitemare if i need to buy a new car, and swap insurance

:cry::cry::cry::cry::cry: HELP A FRUSTRATED OWNER!
 
J

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at the risk of sounding patronising......don't worry!!!

You have read threads from lots of owners who have lots of 156....but what about those 156 drivers who have covered many miles with no/few issues at all?

I had a 156 sportwagon, i loved the car to bits, did 30K in about 18 months and aside from normal servicing it was 100% reliable.

By all means get the cambelt/variator and pump done, and drive and enjoy it, they really are as good as they look ;)
 

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It will soldier on for years yet if you give it some basic maintenance. Even when it starts to develop a few knocks, rattles and faults they are more likely to be irritating rather than urgent, dangerous or ownership threatening.

Having said that, having spent a (relative) pittance on a 13 year old car, are you sure you are not expecting too much of it?
 

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Having said that, having spent a (relative) pittance on a 13 year old car, are you sure you are not expecting too much of it?
:thumbs:

If you want bangernomics don't buy an Alfa. You have most stuff sorted and the "mid life crisis" should be over now (the car, not you). Sort issues as they arise and don't panic.

My V6 had it's MLC at 7 years and cost me over £3.5K :eek:
 

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TBH honest yes your car is going to cost you a bit to keep going. But no more than any other car. You are wise to have read up about the car but that is just good preparation. All cars have faults. Yours may be trouble free. As long as you keep it topped up with oil and do the cambelt and bits when needed you shouldn't have too many issues. Most of the other things that go wrong with the car like wishbones etc aren't going to stop the car so . They are more points that you'll have to get fixed as you go along. The 1.8 is a better engine than the 2.0 anyway as its a "square engine"( the stroke and bore are pretty much the same making them stonger.)
 

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If the beast only has 76,000 miles, then change the cam-belt, tensioner and pulleys etc... but leave either the water pump or variator, until next time.. unless the variator is making a clattering sound when you start the beast up.. in which case change that one now.

Water pumps are not too bad.. and yours ought to easily last another 36,000 miles (I'd change it at the 108,000 mile service). Variators are less durable and yours will be clattery by 108k, if not now... My 1.8 is on its original variator (100,000 miles) and only just a little clattery.

But anyway, the pump and variator can both do 72,000 miles (i.e. 2 cam-belt intervals) without any problems, so swap one of them when you change the cam-belt.. and then change the other one the time after that, etc. It'll save you some money.

Your mileage is miniscule.. I'd expect no serious issues until 130k or thereabouts.

Ironically the biggest enemy is the age of the car, since stuff ages even if you don't wear it out. Brakes can bind with lack of use, suspension bushes can harden or perish, exhausts will rot.. plastic becomes brittle, sensors get lazy.. So, the answer to preventing big bills is actually to use the car more, not less.

At the end of the day as has been said, you have a £650 motor. If you wanted "new" and unlikely to wear out any time soon, you'd need to spend 20 times as much... and if you're not paying for parts on one of those, you're losing money on depreciation. Your motor will still be worth £650 in 3 years time, whereas a newer car will have lost you £10,000. £10,000 buys a lot of parts and service.

So... just enjoy the beast.. and if it breaks (budget £600 a year) then you're still ahead...


Ralf S.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If the beast only has 76,000 miles, then change the cam-belt, tensioner and pulleys etc... but leave either the water pump or variator, until next time.. unless the variator is making a clattering sound when you start the beast up.. in which case change that one now.

Water pumps are not too bad.. and yours ought to easily last another 36,000 miles (I'd change it at the 108,000 mile service). Variators are less durable and yours will be clattery by 108k, if not now... My 1.8 is on its original variator (100,000 miles) and only just a little clattery.

But anyway, the pump and variator can both do 72,000 miles (i.e. 2 cam-belt intervals) without any problems, so swap one of them when you change the cam-belt.. and then change the other one the time after that, etc. It'll save you some money.

Your mileage is miniscule.. I'd expect no serious issues until 130k or thereabouts.

Ironically the biggest enemy is the age of the car, since stuff ages even if you don't wear it out. Brakes can bind with lack of use, suspension bushes can harden or perish, exhausts will rot.. plastic becomes brittle, sensors get lazy.. So, the answer to preventing big bills is actually to use the car more, not less.

At the end of the day as has been said, you have a £650 motor. If you wanted "new" and unlikely to wear out any time soon, you'd need to spend 20 times as much... and if you're not paying for parts on one of those, you're losing money on depreciation. Your motor will still be worth £650 in 3 years time, whereas a newer car will have lost you £10,000. £10,000 buys a lot of parts and service.

So... just enjoy the beast.. and if it breaks (budget £600 a year) then you're still ahead...


Ralf S.

thanks everyone! esp ralf!

cheered me up a bit.. my 156 went to an alfa garage today so they colud have a look over it and they told me that the variator was fine.. it sounded more like a sticky starter motor?

hoping its only gonna be about the same price as a variator :confused::lol:

i cant wait to drive my car more.. i only do about 4 miles in it a day lol if that! so maybe i need to open it up a bit! vroooommmmmm.. im starting to love it again.. when i see its pretty rosso colour i swoon :S

thanks again for all the advice guys! your all wonderful!:thumbs:
 

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Aye! But take it for a longer run every now and then.. 4 miles is not really enough to warm it up, so you get condensation in the oil and the exhaust system that doesn't get hot enough to evaporate out of there.

It's a bit like having a horse really.. you need to exercise it every now and then. :D

Starter should be reasonably painless, I hope.. You can find plenty of after-market parts made by the same people who make the Alfa part but not in that expensive Alfa box.. ;)


Ralf S.
 

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I understand what you mean, especially with the general public perception that all Alfas are dogs but you will also find plenty of posts saying the opposite and pointing to the unreliability of BMWs etc.

My very limited experience can offer you no more. Enjoy and good luck.
 

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Look at it this way, the 'tech' parts of AO (and other forums) are where people with problems with their car go to look for help and advice to sort them out or find someone who can do it for them so you are reading all the 'faults' and 'problems' with these cars :(

If you have a look in the 'pictures' threads and other parts of the forum you will see all the good things about the cars and how much people obviously love them to bits :)

Hope this helps you a little bit :) even though there was nothing technical in there :lol:
 
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For what you paid why bother? run it into the ground, if it goes **** up then you can just by another with what you would've spent repairing it

If it doesn't you've saved some dollar
 

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I had a '00 156 1.8TS, approx 76k, I had service, cam belt etc done straight after buying it and then got 2.5 years hassle-free motoring :) Now the 2.0JTS, that's a different matter :rolleyes:
 

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thanks everyone! esp ralf!

cheered me up a bit.. my 156 went to an alfa garage today so they colud have a look over it and they told me that the variator was fine.. it sounded more like a sticky starter motor?

hoping its only gonna be about the same price as a variator :confused::lol:

i cant wait to drive my car more.. i only do about 4 miles in it a day lol if that! so maybe i need to open it up a bit! vroooommmmmm.. im starting to love it again.. when i see its pretty rosso colour i swoon :S

thanks again for all the advice guys! your all wonderful!:thumbs:
#

Welcome aboard. I'm local to you in Lenzie so I'll look out for you and give you a wave.

PS Hope you didn't take your car to Arnolds in Springburn Road - your purse will be truly assaulted. I - and a few others - use CM Garage in East Kilbride as our tried and trusted independent specialist.
 

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Aye! But take it for a longer run every now and then.. 4 miles is not really enough to warm it up, so you get condensation in the oil and the exhaust system that doesn't get hot enough to evaporate out of there.

It's a bit like having a horse really.. you need to exercise it every now and then. :D

Starter should be reasonably painless, I hope.. You can find plenty of after-market parts made by the same people who make the Alfa part but not in that expensive Alfa box.. ;)


Ralf S.
Hi Ralf, how long would you recommend for the "longer run"? I run my 156 on a fairly short commute during the week, and then usually go visit my girlfriend at the weekend, which is a round trip of about 20-25 miles. Is that enough or should I keep an eye on it? I changed the oil 4 months ago and it looks fine at the moment. Cheers.

Good luck mrs. homer; i'm sure an alfa bought for less than a grand will need some work to begin with. Once you've replaced all the necessaries, tot up the cost and see how it compares to the average price for a typical 156 of similar mileage (about £2-3k arguably). Do you have receipts showing what (if anything) was done at 72000 miles?
-S
 

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One thing everyone seems to have missed.

Pics. We need pics! :cool:

For the record. My 155 cost me £250. And I'm gonna have to spend about 5-600 quid to get it how I want it.
Do I care? Not a jot! :lol:
 
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To be honest I don't think you'd find many £650 cars that didn't have there issues :lol:
 
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