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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm looking at a 2003 pre-facelift 156 1.8 T Spark Veloce tomorrow. A friend of mine put me in touch so it's not advertised. Very, very low mileage (41,000) and in stunning condition having been nurtured from new from what I'm told. Virtually everything (as in serviceable parts) have been renewed.

What are the key things to look out for apart from the obvious?

Are these a good option?

Not my preferred model but going on condition and mileage, it would be silly not to look at it!

Thoughts on this model and an idea of what to pay for an absolute minter, a really good one, a mid-ranger and a pig please!

Thanks in advance!

:beer:
 

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1.8 is often thought of as the sweetest of the TS models, as it revs better than the 2.0 - and although it is slightly down on power and torque compared to the 2.0, its certainly not to be derided. We've had a 1.8 Sportwagon and it was a fun drive.
 

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Hi all,

I'm looking at a 2003 pre-facelift 156 1.8 T Spark Veloce tomorrow. A friend of mine put me in touch so it's not advertised. Very, very low mileage (41,000) and in stunning condition having been nurtured from new from what I'm told. Virtually everything (as in serviceable parts) have been renewed.

What are the key things to look out for apart from the obvious?

Are these a good option?

Not my preferred model but going on condition and mileage, it would be silly not to look at it!

Thoughts on this model and an idea of what to pay for an absolute minter, a really good one, a mid-ranger and a pig please!

Thanks in advance!

:beer:
+1 for the 1.8 TS. Got mine (1999 156) with 52k, 3.5 years on up to 96k and engine sound. Have only had to replace radiator and usual stuff (cambelt, pump, variator etc). Had full brake overhaul as well (needed pads/discs but really went to town) so stops well. Mine is in need of suspension overhaul now which I'm having a stab at myself (eek!).

As mentioned make sure has had cambelt + water pump done at 36k, if not you will need this done so factor it in. Lower arms and upper wishbones also ARB bushings (like all 147/156/GT's). Early ones can get rust in floor pans and rear sills, check history for undersealing. If it has a sunroof check for signs of a leak.

These cars are ridiculously cheap atm (why I'm not selling mine despite buying a 3.2 GT!). Top end for 2003 = 2k, mint condition lovely body work. Mid price with that mileage £1200. Cheap price for an 'experienced 156' £800.

Have you got a link to the advert?
 

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1.8 is often thought of as the sweetest of the TS models, as it revs better than the 2.0 - and although it is slightly down on power and torque compared to the 2.0, its certainly not to be derided. We've had a 1.8 Sportwagon and it was a fun drive.

agree with the above..

if speed is your aim then you will be disappointed, but if a sweet sounding ,enjoyable little drive is the aim then absolutely do it 41K is really low mileage and provided the floorpan and other usual rust prone areas are good I see no reason why not to go for it.

I tried the 1.8 TS in a GT when looking to buy my first one. sweet sounding and revvy but at 140 BHP and not much torque at all it was not quite enough for me, however much more characterful and nicer sounding than the JTS I finally bought, the JTS just had that little bit more oomph especially from down low.

I now have a diesel 1.9 bu int the event I was buying a petrol GT I would buy the 1.8 twinnie over the JTS if the 3.2 was not an option.

good luck with your purchase:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys - that makes me feel a bit more confident. Could be running three Alfas for a bit! It all sounds too good to be true with the amount of work that's been done plus it's just been MOT'd with no advisories so hopefully the rust isn't there!

Is it easy to tell if there is by shining a torch underneath the car? Where are the obvious places to look (without sounding stupid)? Just want to be sure as I'm travelling a fair distance to get it!

Also, will any suspension knocks present themselves fairly obviously. Am hoping it'll all be a bit more robust than a V6 as it's less weight.

How does the clutch/gearbox fair on this model and is the stereo any good!? I love my music - as well as Alfas!

The car is going for way less than £2,000 so sounds like it could be a good proposition (hopefully).

Anyone else get that nagging, nervous, gut-wrenching, pre-purchase feeling!!?
 

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Front suspension is service item really so I wouldn't worry about creaks, squeaks and knocks up front. All is fixable.
Bad rust proofing from the factory is easily spotted on the flat sections of the rear floor plan. I know it sounds contradictory to what you'd expect but I'd be wary of anything that looks like its had a recent coat of unseal.
 

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Thanks guys - that makes me feel a bit more confident. Could be running three Alfas for a bit! It all sounds too good to be true with the amount of work that's been done plus it's just been MOT'd with no advisories so hopefully the rust isn't there!

Is it easy to tell if there is by shining a torch underneath the car? Where are the obvious places to look (without sounding stupid)? Just want to be sure as I'm travelling a fair distance to get it!

Also, will any suspension knocks present themselves fairly obviously. Am hoping it'll all be a bit more robust than a V6 as it's less weight.

How does the clutch/gearbox fair on this model and is the stereo any good!? I love my music - as well as Alfas!

The car is going for way less than £2,000 so sounds like it could be a good proposition (hopefully).

Anyone else get that nagging, nervous, gut-wrenching, pre-purchase feeling!!?
Squeak/creak = upper wishbones, knock from suspension = lowers, clunk/knock deep to the pedals = arb bushes. Usually need doing at around 50-55k but if these are original on 12y car then likely will need doing if not already replaced.

As mentioned all fixable and wouldn't put me off but be prepared to knock down price if she's a bit creaky.

Std stereo is probably rubbish. Even the Bose in my GT is not up to much.

Gearboxes are solid, clutch should be fine at that mileage. Mine has 96k and no slipping. It's heavy and has a minor oil leak so may be replacing mine anyway.
 

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Actually later cars have a bigger floor rust problem as Alfa decided to stop the underseal part way ... Older cars are fully undersealed but now that is cracking due to age and moisture gets in.

Word of warning: don't look at a car in the dark ...
 

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Cam belt change is every 36,000 miles or 3 year which ever comes first.

Most of these engines use oil. Don't let that worry you but check level with every tank of petrol until you know how much yours is using. It can be 1litre every thousand miles.

If it has a short clatter on start up (sounding like a diesel or valve clearances being taken up) that is the variator (changes the valve timing with revs) and while it can sound bad it can wait until the next cam belt change at an extra £100.

I would recommend avoiding anything that has had a broken cam belt and then been repaired. There can be other damage that takes a few thousand mikes to show itself and gets very expensive.

Drive it over bumps and listen for front suspension noises a squeak is top wishbones, a clunk is probably bottom wishbones and a clunk that sounds or feels like it is under your feet is anti-roll bar bushes. These are common wear items on the 156 / 147 / GT that all use the same suspension and all need replacing eventually.

If you do need front suspension parts do NOT buy cheap eBay parts as you will be changing again in 6 months.

Check the floorpan and sills for rust. Some rust very badly and some hardly rust at all.

Check that you have 2 keys as a replacement is about £300 and despite sellers on eBay there is no cheap replacement; what is sold there does not work with these cars.

If the windows don't go up and down don't let the seller tell you it is the push buttons and easy fix. It won't be that; it is still a fairly easy fix but needs new mechanisms in the doors as they eventually seize up.

If the remote locking doesn't work don't let the seller tell you it is the battery in the key; it won't be that but probably the aerial for the remote locking receiver that is behind the dash or possibly something more expensive.

Airbag light can often be on but that is usually the connector under the driver or passenger seat and an easy fix. Occasionally it can be something a little more tricky but lots of threads here and people who will help you resolve any error lights.

Have a close look at the very inside edge of the front tyres as, like a lot of front wheel drive cars they can wear the inside edge while the rest of the tyre looks good.

Check that the air con works and gets cold and that the heater control dash lights all work. Occasional failures and a pain to fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Purchased it today! £1,150. Will do cam belt etc but what a peach and immaculate condition. Very happy addition to the Alfa fleet!
 
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