Alfa Romeo Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This is my first alfa and its pretty tidy. I'll hopefully be picking it up in a few days and putting a new fuel pump in (i have a few from a 166 and hopefully that will work). Am I doing to regret this car?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
This is my first alfa and its pretty tidy. I'll hopefully be picking it up in a few days and putting a new fuel pump in (i have a few from a 166 and hopefully that will work). Am I doing to regret this car?
Regrets you'll have a few, but then again too few to mention... The only regret in hindsight will be why you didn't buy an Alfa earlier. One of the pros of being bitten by the bug.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
This is my first alfa and its pretty tidy. I'll hopefully be picking it up in a few days and putting a new fuel pump in (i have a few from a 166 and hopefully that will work). Am I doing to regret this car?
Hi and welcome! I don't think you'll regret it at all! I'm on my 4th Series 1 Alfa 164, and still haven't managed to get them out of my system! A very under-rated car IMO (but of course, I would say that, wouldn't I)?!

I don't know whether a 166 fuel pump wil lfit though. Never tried!

The early 164s have a variety of common shortcomings, but on the whole are a remarkably well-engineered and durable car (got a quarter of a million miles out of my last one)! I think they're every bit as good (and arguably better) than anything BMW or Mercedes prodcued around that time.

Check for rust around the jacking points (all 4 of them), the rear subframe, and the bottom leading edge of each rear wheelarch. If it has cliamte control, check that the air goes where you tell it to with the controls, and that the temperature goes up and down as you ask it to go hotter and colder. The temperature and distribution is handled by little geared motors behind the dash and they're a pig to change, but have a habit of stripping their plastic gears. If they boith work OK and you have an "Off" position on your dashboard, DON'T EVER USE IT! (it rams the two motors against their end stops and reduces the life of the plastic gears).

Parts are getting very hard to find now, but they really are cracking cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
Oh, er...sorry, just re-read the title of your post! Are you in the UK? If so, they stopped selling 12 valve V6s in 1993, so a 1994 car should be a 24 valve Series 2 car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
Welcome and congratulations.

I don't think you will regret this purchase unless the car is a basket case. It will make you somewhat poorer though. No depreciation beyond the purchase price, ever...............

I am puzzled about your need for a replacement fuel pump? If you are not getting fuel to the fuel rail it is more likely to be a split hose and probably the one inside the fuel tank. Every flexible fuel pipe under the bonnet should be replaced if their is evidence that any are perished.

Good luck and listen to Avocet - he is our champion engineer.

Kind regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
[steppers] "If they boith work OK and you have an "Off" position on your dashboard, DON'T EVER USE IT! (it rams the two motors against their end stops and reduces the life of the plastic gears)."

Not true. Turning the HVAC "off" or having it "on" (by pressing "econ" or "automatic") has exactly the same effect on the steppers—they are always "stepping" with the key "on" or the car running, that's just the way they are designed. The only way of not having an air distribution stepper reach its "stop" (= hammering on the gears) is to to avoid "front-vent" or "defrost" settings (the middle settings still pulse but don't hammer). You can prolong the life of the air temp stepper by avoiding full hot or cold (=full "stop"), for example leaving it around 20°C.

Anyway, congratulations on your "new" car, a lot of planning and research went into this model.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
[steppers] "If they boith work OK and you have an "Off" position on your dashboard, DON'T EVER USE IT! (it rams the two motors against their end stops and reduces the life of the plastic gears)."

Not true. Turning the HVAC "off" or having it "on" (by pressing "econ" or "automatic") has exactly the same effect on the steppers—they are always "stepping" with the key "on" or the car running, that's just the way they are designed. The only way of not having an air distribution stepper reach its "stop" (= hammering on the gears) is to to avoid "front-vent" or "defrost" settings (the middle settings still pulse but don't hammer). You can prolong the life of the air temp stepper by avoiding full hot or cold (=full "stop"), for example leaving it around 20°C.

Anyway, congratulations on your "new" car, a lot of planning and research went into this model.
Hmmmm. I guess I might have used the wrong word when I said "stops", but the "Off" position sends them to the same place each time, so they "hunt" backwards and forwards around that point and hammer the teeth on their plastic gears at that one point. In fact, I am pretty certain that with the ignition on and the engine off, in quiet surroundings, I could hear them "ticking" slowly (maybe about once a second) when I pressed the "Off" button on a later car that I had previously. (My currrent one is a very early one and doesn't have an "off" button). It's true that they still "pulse" no matter where they are, but letting it do its own thing will at least ensure that they aren't always pulsing around the same few teeth.

Leaving the temperature at a particular setting doesn't help because each time you start the car it is likely to go to one extreme or the other until the cabin temperature gets close to the desired setting. In other words, at this time of year, if I set mine to 20 degrees and start up with the car at (say) 5 degrees), it will ram the flap against the hot end of its travel anyway, and keep it there until the cabin temperature gets to (say) 18 degrees, at which point, it will start to back it off towards the cold as it gets close to the right tempearture. Same on a very hot day. It will just push the mixer flap against the cold end of its travel until the cabin temperature starts to come down close to what was required of it (if the aircon is working). If not, it will stay there all the time if you've asked for 20 degrees and the cabin temperature is (say) 25.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
Oh, sorry, I've just noticed, you mentioned turning it on and off by pressing "econ" or "auto". That's NOT what I was talking about! You are correct in that the stepper motors work in exactly the same way, regardless of whether it is set to "econ" or "auto". The switch I'm talking about is one of the square buttons next to the fan speed buttons, and it's just marked "off".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
You're right, there can be "hunting" for the stepper to find its position but I assure you that "off" is no more destructive than leaving the HVAC on all the time (in "econ" or "automatic"). What activates the pulsing (1 per sec is right) is when the ignition key is turned to "on" or to "run". I agree also that setting the temp to 20°C doesn't "fix" the flapper, as the computer wants to optimize the temperature by moving the flap to one extreme or the other. But those movement extremes are temporary as the cabin temperature stabilizes. There are a lot of people that on a hot summer day, especially when the car has been sitting under the hot sun, set the temp to max cold and leave it there. This scenario causes the temp stepper to hit the "stop" causing hammering on the gears.

If the steppers of a car are still functioning (rarely on these old cars) the best insurance to prolong their operation is to follow Ries van Kersbergen's advice made many years ago: to install a 33 ohm resistor .5 watt on wires 1 and 7 of the Q30 multi-connector (I realize that there are two versions of the Q30, carr with a single Q30 and cars with two, Q30A and Q30B). This reduces the torque that the motors apply to the gears by about 30%.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
That's a good thought on the resistor - although presumably, the danger then (particularly with the distribution one) is that it won't have enough "grunt" to overcome any significant friction in the rotating drum that it drives?

We have to disagree on the temperature flap though. Whether you set it to max cold or 20 degrees, the controller will still push it just as hard against the end of it's travel as soon as you start up. The only difference will be that as the temperature in the car gets closer to what has been demanded by the driver, the controller will move the flap off its stop, whereas if you leave it on max cold, it stays there all the time. (In fact, in practice, if you're driving around in ambient temperatures in the high 20s or more, I don't think it will ever leave the "max cold" end of its travel anyway if the cabin temperature has been set to 20. The controller drops the speed of the fan in preference to moving the flap).

Do you know if you can still get the metal gears for the stepper motors? A guy in Australia was selling them at one point, but I've not seen them advertised for a few years now. Mine is 26 years old and the steppers still work fine but it's only a matter of time...!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
Those Bosch motors have a lot of torque, a resistor of this value will not diminish their effectiveness. The Alfa HVAC engineers actually de-torqued the stepper motors starting with the facelift model. The addition of the resistors has one side effect: the onboard HVAC diagnostics will show an error (it senses too much resistance), but other than the message the resistors have their intended effect: to save the gears.

To my knowledge the Australian source of metal gears has dried up. But used BMW steppers (from BMW 1988 - 1994 735i, 735iL, 740i & 750i) are plentiful—they don't get stressed out like in the Alfa design and BMW uses 5 separate steppers! And if you get part number 0132800001, all you need to do is split the Alfa transmission case, split the BMW, then mate the BMW half with gearset with the Alfa half with lever. It's amazingly fast as you don't need to do a gear by gear transplant.

That's extraordinary that your steppers are still functioning after 26 years, if I were you I would definitely consider the resistor mod. And use more gingerly the front vent and defrost settings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
Excellent tip, thanks! Yes, I was surprised. I haven't owned the car from new though, so I guess it might have had them replaced, but it only had 80,000 miles on it when I got it and that seems too soon - even for these "chocolate" stepper gears to fail! I don't do many miles in it nowadays but when I do, I try to give it a long run, so the cabin temperature can reach steady-state conditions. That might have something to do with it, I guess, but one day, I'll get my come-uppance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
This is my first alfa and its pretty tidy. I'll hopefully be picking it up in a few days and putting a new fuel pump in (i have a few from a 166 and hopefully that will work). Am I doing to regret this car?
No, you won't regret it!!! This is the ideal 164 model!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
Whenever someone considers buying an Alfa 164, either for the first time, or just adding, I think of AlexGS (an Alfisti from New Zealand) and what he wrote on the AlfaBB, worth sharing here:


As for adding a 164 to that interesting stable, I don't think you'll be disappointed. When measured against a combination of metrics - reliability, performance, build quality/durability, and value for money, I believe the 164 is the best car that Alfa Romeo has ever made. The looks may seem rather average to some - people call mine a Volvo - and there are a few weaknesses - some of which seem to have been added during the production run - e.g. serpentine belt tensioner, window regulators with plastic gear that breaks.

On the whole, a huge amount of pre-production development went into the 164, making it very different to what Alfa Romeo had ever produced before. I see this beauty within. Their cars since have been pretty hit and miss, being highly-developed FIAT platforms with poorly-executed special features and variable quality. Skin-deep beauty... Nothing, for me, has ever touched the sense of well-roundedness you get from the 164. The feeling that people actually cared about creating a great car. The old Lancia Thema was similarly magic, but I don't think it has aged as well and was always a bit more oddball.

Owning a 2000s-era Alfa Romeo usually starts with lust and ends in tears. I've had two 166s and managed to narrowly escape financial ruin both times. Many parts are almost unobtainable and other parts are over-engineered and overpriced (example: spherical bearings in rear suspension arms. Price of one pair equals market price of the vehicle. Same for Xenon headlights etc). Many cheaper parts that never gave trouble before are suddenly a service item - 156 antiroll bar bushes, for example, last a year or two and require removal of the subframe to replace. The simplest jobs become highly complex affairs starting with broken special Ribe/Polydrive tools and ending with a computer recalibration. My 156 is a good runabout - expensive to maintain - and the styling is well-liked even by people who know nothing about cars. But the public appearances come at an ongoing cost more akin to Ferrari/Maserati than FIAT/Alfa. Many owners have had horrible experiences of insolvable mysteries, such as Selespeed nightmares and immobiliser quandries. Mine has a steering knock that falls in this category. Everything replaced, thousands spent. Knock is still there in certain conditions. 2000's-era Spiders live out the high-maintenance Italian mistress reputation. I spend ten times more time and money on my 156 than I do on my 164. And the 164 is 14 years older!

I have in my collection two 90's-era Alfa Spiders (FWD), an intriguing development of 164 principles into a sports car shape, producing a reasonable blend of style and performance. People complain about the styling - last month someone called it a weird flying saucer. Quality isn't bad, but trim isn't quite up to 164 levels (think 'sticky roof console' but all over the interior) and electrical problems persist. Gearbox differentials are known to fly apart on V6 versions. One of mine has a broken engine (big ends). Scuttle shake is exemplary - more than any of its contemporaries, there's so much flex that V6 versions exhibit strange self-steering tendencies (bump steer and torque steer in one!) It was much better with a roof. Other 90's Alfas betray FIAT origins a little too obviously - I have always felt that the 155 styling was a pastiche of the 164 and basically a way to buy a FIAT Tipo (not a bad car) with an Alfa V6 under the bonnet.

So against all this, the 164 is very much a symbol of the 80s and what was best in 80s cars. If you like your bumpers plastic, your injection electronic, and to be pulled from the front, it's an obvious choice (though, the 75/Milano is a slightly-smaller RWD option). For most people the 70s Alfas probably have the edge on looks and handling, but the 164 beats them on refinement and durability - and value for money. It's also the first Alfa Romeo not to be badly affected by rust, which is a milestone in itself. Rusty 164s do exist in unkind climates, but their appearance has taken nearly 20 years...

I find my 164 a faithful friend and hope you'll find a new friend too.

-Alex​
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top