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I think anyone that owns a TBI knows what they have and will look after it in accordance to how it should.
The main things to check are the turbo oil feed & a cam belt change.
It could of been a trade in and then bought from an auction, I see modern cars come in all the time with & without history. It’s how those service books & receipts are stored to how they may become misplaced. When they go in trade those books change hands sometimes a lot until the car finds a new owner


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Time to make a list of common faults of the 159 TBI Ti?
  • rotten subframe
  • broken springs
  • turbo oil feed pipe
  • valve cover gasket (oil in the spark plug holes, needs a timing belt off for repair)
  • M32 gearbox problems (whine in higher gears, moving gear knob)
  • oil pump seal ("low oil pressure" warning at cold temperatures)
  • headlight washer defective (the "y" piece with anti return rotting away)
  • excessive tyre wear at the front, inside
Things that would be nice if a history is available:
  • timing belt every max. 4 years (or 105000 km or 65000 miles)
  • oil change every year
  • gearbox oil change
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Time to make a list of common faults of the 159 TBI Ti?
  • rotten subframe
  • broken springs
  • turbo oil feed pipe
  • valve cover gasket (oil in the spark plug holes, needs a timing belt off for repair)
  • M32 gearbox problems (whine in higher gears, moving gear knob)
  • oil pump seal ("low oil pressure" warning at cold temperatures)
  • headlight washer defective (the "y" piece with anti return rotting away)
  • excessive tyre wear at the front, inside
Things that would be nice if a history is available:
  • timing belt every max. 4 years (or 105000 km or 65000 miles)
  • oil change every year
  • gearbox oil change
Does the Tbi really have the M32 gearbox? I didn't know that.
 

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Yes, all the 159 or Brera TBI have the M32 manual gearbox, only. In the Giulietta, 4C and Delta, this engine came with other gearboxes.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Ok I've been doing a bit of digging and this 159 Tbi is a CAT N write off.

So no doubt either the salvage company has the service history or its still with the previous owner. Or even possibly the seller does have the service history but doesn't want to release previous owner details thereby finding out what happened to this Alfa.

Either way those who may be interested in this 159 need to proceed with caution. The cat n status is not mentioned in the ebay advert and really it should be.
 

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Wondered what this N meant.
According to Auto Trader “Category NCat N, for short — is a description used by insurance companies to describe the level of damage to a vehicle they have written off. A Cat N vehicle has suffered some damage, probably in an accident, but not to its structural frame or chassis. ... Insurers often sell Cat N vehicles on for salvage.”
Worth avoiding!?
 

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Lack of paperwork was a guide then proven by later posts. Anybody who cares about their car keeps the papers despite that post earlier showing somebody doesn't care about proof!
But, any Tbi needs proof of regular oil changes to give confidence on the turbo. If it goes over 10,000 miles between oil changes then the carbon build up will reduce the life. Cars in this state need a massive discount (but probably still walk away)
 

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Again, not a deal breaker but unless you can get all this reflected in the price, walk away. There’s no way I’d pay near what they’re asking because of all the factors but if they’re willing to knock a massive chunk off the price might still be worth a punt, as long as you know what you’re walking in to.
 

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I follow a bloke on YouTube that does up cars from co part. But as anyone who's had a car repaired after a bump, they're never the same.
You'd need to find out what it's had repaired and give it a good looking over.
It's very disappointing that they've tried to hide the cat N status behind the headline grabbing price.
Like all 2nd hand car buying, it's a gamble.
 

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I would be surprised if any car of that age and km's has never seen a panel shop. Everything I have owned has had doors replaced, bumpers, front fenders etc, it's just the nature of used car ownership. They all drive fine and look fine but after very close inspection/partial dismantling repairs are visible. Even brand new cars get sent to panel shops to have shipping damage removed. Of course there is a difference between minor damage to a panel or two. And significant damage which is harder and more costly to repair properly especially with the costs involved now.
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
The fact that the seller has not disclosed the cat n status would suggest to me that repairs have been substantial. Being cat n means the basic structure of the car such as the chassis is ok but it could mean for instance a complete front end rebuild. Looking at the photos on the ebay advert the front does look almost like new, so this would suggest to me a front end bump with repairs. Since it's been on SORN for at least a year, it's clearly taken some time to repair!

No problem in rebuilding a cat n then putting up for sale, so long as the seller makes it clear it is an insurance write off with subsequent reoairs. There is another advert on eBay of a 159 Tbi showing the HPI check and clearly showing insurance write off status. The price also reflects this. What's annoying here in this instance is that the seller hasn't mentioned the cat n status, it's a private sale but he's selling at the full retail price.

I'm not sure if this in contravention of the law, such as the various UK Trades Descriptions Acts, but if it is not illegal to do this, then it should be. The ebay advert as it stands at the moment is totally misleading.
 

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Not disclosing its a Cat N on the advert or even on the call is very disingenuous. Its highly probable therefore that he won't be forthcoming with any other known faults with the car, minor or otherwise. Given the lack of honesty, the undeclared insurance write off, the zero service history, the stupidly high price, unless you are a glutton for punishment just walk away
 

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Yes it does look nice but the high price and private sale with no history is a turnoff. Shame really.
No harm in making a provisional offer, seeing if they are interested in taking a viewing. Perhaps they really want it gone.
 

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You cannot go to a view a car ! There's a virus about in case you have not heard...and viewing a car is against the rules....just saying!
 

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You cannot go to a view a car ! There's a virus about in case you have not heard...and viewing a car is against the rules....just saying!
I've not been looking at buying cars myself so I'm not sure on the ins & outs of the regulations. How come motor traders are still buying/selling cars? Is it because they are allowed to as they are working? Mechanics are still working and car transporters are still moving vehicles about. I guess you could pay a mobile mechanic and hour's labour to go and give it an inspection, and pay someone else to transport it back to you if viewing and buying it yourself is still against the rules.
 

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You can sell cars (and caravans in my case...but im not) online and then deliver them as you are working as you said. But customers cant go to a dealership without breaking the essential journey rules. I work selling caravans....and as it stands we can open (like all the other non essentail shops) on June 1st.....but customers cannot tow caravans into us for service (you can take a car in for service as thats always been allowed....) or collect new vans. The industry is putting the government under pressure to allow this before the 1st....so hopefully it will be sorted by then.....or our service bay is going to be very quiet and Im going to be on the road a lot delivering vans!!!
So as it stands private sellers are stuffed.....but I know at least two people who have travelled up country to buy a car and a caravan (different people) privately without being stopped....but is not getting caught the point??? We either stick to the guidance or not...and we all know lots of people that dont. A friend of mine who I thought was sensible not only had his parents (both) around the other day (against the rules...one person can meet one person in a public place...not their house/garden) but then posted a pic on FB of then all sat close to each other in their garden chinking glasses. Three hours of flaming from the facebook bods (not me....no facebook account!!) later he took it down....do-nut!!!
So yes you could get professionals involved for the viewing and collection....but could you buy a car like that?....I dont think I could trust anyone to do either of those jobs to my standards!!!
 

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You can sell cars (and caravans in my case...but im not) online and then deliver them as you are working as you said. But customers cant go to a dealership without breaking the essential journey rules. I work selling caravans....and as it stands we can open (like all the other non essentail shops) on June 1st.....but customers cannot tow caravans into us for service (you can take a car in for service as thats always been allowed....) or collect new vans. The industry is putting the government under pressure to allow this before the 1st....so hopefully it will be sorted by then.....or our service bay is going to be very quiet and Im going to be on the road a lot delivering vans!!!
So as it stands private sellers are stuffed.....but I know at least two people who have travelled up country to buy a car and a caravan (different people) privately without being stopped....but is not getting caught the point??? We either stick to the guidance or not...and we all know lots of people that dont. A friend of mine who I thought was sensible not only had his parents (both) around the other day (against the rules...one person can meet one person in a public place...not their house/garden) but then posted a pic on FB of then all sat close to each other in their garden chinking glasses. Three hours of flaming from the facebook bods (not me....no facebook account!!) later he took it down....do-nut!!!
So yes you could get professionals involved for the viewing and collection....but could you buy a car like that?....I dont think I could trust anyone to do either of those jobs to my standards!!!
There's conflicting guidance everywhere. If you need a car to get to your job (they don't want us using public transport unless absolutely necessary), can't you go and buy one from someone privately provided social distancing rules are followed? I don't see how it's any different from hiring a vehicle transporter to go and pick it up and dropping it off with you, from either a private seller or a dealership. In fact, that's possibly even worse as you're adding a third person into the equation. Most private car adverts currently up are suggesting buyers can collect following social distancing regs. You'd think the government would have asked for them all to be taken down if it didn't want people concluding transactions at the moment. I did actually read the law that was passed way back when the lockdown was first legislated for but can't recall what it said. If I was considering buying something I'd re-read it and make sure I was sticking to the word of the law. If the government can't trust me to use my common sense, then I'll assume there's some good reason for that and stick to the word of the law, as if you go looking for guidance you're likely to find whatever answer it is that you're looking for if you keep reading long enough.
 

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People tend to hide or partially hide the registration to stop people doing basic checks on a vehicle before even calling the seller. Its a bit naughty but I use a well known Auto Trading website to input basic details as if I was selling the car. It tells you things like if the car was categorised and how many owners. As I mentioned a few days ago "its a buyers market" but the seller is naughty for not disclosing the cars history. TBH I would still buy the car if I checked it out and was happy with it, but no where near that price (south of 3.5K).
 
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