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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, im looking at two 156's and can't decide which one to go for. Going to view them on Saturday. Is there any advice on things I should look out for. EG common faults ect.

One of them comes with all service history and timing belt changed with 93,000 miles on the clock the other is £600 cheaper but without any service history and a bit less mileage. torn between the two

Cheers guys
 

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Aside from the usual 'used car checks'...
Check for squeaks from the front suspension on the test drive over speed bumps and cornering - common fault, dodgy wishbones, not too expensive but will need doing.
Also check for any corrosion on the brake lines as these can fail (there's a sticky thread about this somewhere I think?)

Also check oil etc as the 156 can use it and a lack would indicate the cars not been looked after.

Most important thing is overall condition and service history. Generally if it looks well looked after then it's likely it has been, if there's obvious signs of ropiness it's likely past owners have not treated the Alfa well - and they don't like that!

If there's no service history at all with one of the cars you're viewing, I wouldn't even bother looking at it. You'll need a full cambelt etc doing every 36k (not the 72(?) in the service book) so check this has been done, and things like the variator can start getting dodgy at 70+k as well.

Any of that £600 you'd save with no service history will be lost + more three weeks later when your cambelt inevitably goes. These forums are filled with tales of cambelt woe :)
 

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yup, what he said.

Are they petrol or diesel your looking at?

From owning a 156 and reading this forum, check for any knocking noises while driving commonly caused by wishbones or anitrollbars. Juddering on start up is said to be caused by variator issues. Cambelt is essential as if it goes it could be more than the car is worth.

check for any body damage might suggest its previously been in an accident etc. also push all the buttons and gadgets in the car make sure it all works and does do anything strange.


good luck on your quest for a 156
 
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I'm not a great advocate of buying based on history alone, condition is what is most important and I've had cars in the past which came with a massive stack of invoices but gave no end of trouble. I certainly wouldn't pay massively over the odds for a service history. However, having the belts done is going to mop up a big chunk of the £600 you save on the cheaper one. 93k is peanuts mileage wise so don't let that put you off.
 

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Make sure they've got both keys as a replacement will cost around £300. Check along the top of the windscreen for chips/corrosion as although they're galvanised they can. Ollect chips which rust if not treated. Although the floors are galvanised they do rust if the underseal is damaged, so depending in age it's a good idea to check under the floors if possible.
Radiators also corrode with age so check they for leaks, as you would any other car. To replace it means bumper off...
As others will say also, check for squeaky sounds from behind the dash which is caused by upper wishbones, a shaky feeling in the front footwells which is ARB bushes and general handling vagueness. A diesel sound on a petrol engine at cold startup indicates a worn variator but it's not a serious problem as long as it goes away once the engine has been run for a few seconds. The wheel alignment is adjustable front and back, and the bushes do wear.
Chances are you'll fall in love straight away, but try to keep the practical stuff in mind.
Happy hunting!
 

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Drive both and go with whichever feels best.

The last daily I bought had the highest miles and almost no service history. However it was evident that it had been taken care of alot! The car before that had lots of history (but comparitively speaking a 2 owner difference). I hope that not many people ever own a car as bad as that car (another engine and gearbox, and 200,000 miles later is what it took for me to get shot of it. It was not the mileage that killed that car but rather the very shoddy workmanship beforehand (I did say it was too cheap to my dad who sort of gave me the car!).

We all live and learn.
 

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I have a garage is South Shields and would be happy to check over any potential cars for you, if the seller is ok with it of course (No charge, just remember where I am when your service is due!) If you're interested let know and I'll forward you my number.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi thanks for all your replies, they have been most helpful. I wasn't expecting such a response. I'm going to view both of them tomorrow so will let you know how it goes. TMC whats your number ill give you a call?

Cheers all
 
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