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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hola,

I've always hankered after an Alfa, I'm well aware of the reputation but as I currently own 3 Fiats, I know that if you take care of them, they will take care of you - and i'm sure this applies to Alfas. That being said, nothing is perfect but after doing a bit of reading around, i'm not finding anything particularly scary about either the 156 or GT.

So, if you wouldn't mind...

Engines - the 2.4 seems to not be particularly popular, is there a reason for this? Ideally i'm looking for a 2.4 20v but i'm open to the 1.9 if there's a significant reason. Are there any gotchas on either engine? Oil pumps, bearings, cams, injectors, cam belt etc?

Turbos - prone to failure at all? I usually except a turbo to last 100k with due care.

Drivetrain - how well do the (manual) gearboxes last? how do they hold up after moderate remaps? clutch/flywheel last well? autos any good?

Electrical - anything that could end up costing hundreds to replace? or require a trip to the stealers for a re-code to the ECU?

Comfort - AC and cruise seem fairly standard but heated leather seats seem rare - is this the case or are people just not advertising properly?

I'm no stranger to pulling a turbo, gearbox, engine etc. but i'm building a race spec, mid-engined Fiat Coupe at the moment so could do with something vaguely reliable that doesn't take my eye off the prize or the funds from my pocket - just done the turbo on my other half's TDi, having to do the clutch/flywheel next week and my current steed (80s Nissan Silvia) is becoming a bit of hassle!

I was actually looking at 330/530d's and C270/E320's but the amount of little problems they seem to have is shocking considering their 'premium' status - I only wanted them for the RWD tho, the only thing missing from modern Alfas :(

So yeah, any reason I shouldn't go for a 2.4 20v facelift 156 wagon?

Cheers :D
 

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Hi,

I'm not an expert but I have some experience of owning and/or regularly driving both the GT 1.9 diesel and the 2.4 Sportwagon (pre-facelift).

The 2.4 is a fine engine - smooth, powerful and easy to remap to 200bhp or so. The clutch will take a beating though and I think it will shorten the life of the DFM and they are expensive to replace. The 1.9 is also a fine engine and easy to re-map. I don't think there is anything between them. Both are great.

Problems with turbos and the drivetrain are rare, electrical problems are no worse than Fiats. I had heated seats in my first GT but not on my current Cloverleaf - I don't miss them.

I would take the GT over the Sportwagon as I find the sportwagon is too soft and woolly for my taste. The GT is firmer, stiffer and more fun to push hard and I personally prefer the looks. A good sportwagon is a lovely thing to own though.
 

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Hello Nedge2k

First of all, welcome!

It is perfectly natural to add a 156 jtd to your driveway - did you know some parts are shared between the coupe turbo and the 156 jtd? The engine block, for example? And there is a SMF conversion which uses the flywheel ( although this conversion is only for the 10 valve jtd, I think, the 20valve uses a Gm 6 speed gearbox).

However, to answer your specific questions;

Engines: the 156 diesel range consisted of 8 valve 1.9 jtd, 16 valve 1.9 jtd, 10 valve jtd and 20 valve jtd. All engines need the timing belts changed regularly , and it's a good idea to do the water pump too, not least since pump failure can also wreck the timing system. Some engines (1.9) have sacrificial rockers to prevent valve/ piston contact. All pretty standard stuff really. The engines are normally very reliable if oil changed and respond very well to remapping/ tuning.

Turbos seem to also generally be reliable; oil feed hose can eventually collapse/ carbon up ( hardly an Alfa specific problem) my turbo did over 150,000 miles with no issues .

Manual gearbox on 8 valve and 10 valve (2.4 sorry, no experience of auto box) is usually ok, bushes in gearbox linkage sometimes cause stiff change, but easy fix, gearstick housing can crack, giving vague selection, not quite such an easy fix, but not too difficult . 1.9 16v has a 6 speed box, all benefit from q2 diff being fitted. 2.4 20 valve uses a 6 speed GM box, not quite such a smooth box, and trickier to fit a LSD to/ find. All use a DMF, and clutches are a big job to change, particularly on the 10 and 20 valve jtd : an SMF can be retrofitted to all except the 20 valve. They all seem to cope well with moderate remaps, but an up rated clutch is a smart move IMHO, but standard ones seem fine for normal driving ( whatever that is!). There is a driveshaft issue on the 20 valve ( Gm box) to bear in mind, but a thorough test drive should highlight any problem, 10 valve however, is bulletproof!

Far as electrical kit goes, MAFs seem to be the biggest problem, but genuine Bosch types are not too pricey; not worth using cheap copies; get fiat ECU multiscan and you won't need to go to a stealer for a fault code reading/ reset.

Cruise control was only fitted ( but if missing can be retrofitted for around £100!) to facelift models (2002 onwards), not sure about heated seats.

Suspension issues; front wishbone bushes (upper and lower) need greasing properly and ball joints fail, along with antiroll bar bushes, link arms often seem to provide interesting noises...the standard spring/damper setup is ... A bit soft, definitely on the 2.4 and could do with upgrading IMHO. Oh the engine undertray is almost always missing/ broken; there is a popular alloy replacement, which doubles ( very effectively!) as a sump guard... You will need one, especially on the 2.4...cracked sumps are not uncommon; expensive secondhand.

They are cracking cars! You won't miss RWD, if your tracking is correct and the steering is a joy!

Go for it ! FYI; although the facelift cars have a more 'current' alfa design, the aerodynamics are actually better on the original shape!

Hope that helps, now you can have an all Italian driveway!

Cheerio
The Captain:thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys, some great info, off to a few dealers shortly to get my eye in still unsure which to get - my heart is dragging me toward a GT V6 but my head (and a bit of my heart) wants a 2.4 wagon.
 

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Thanks guys, some great info, off to a few dealers shortly to get my eye in still unsure which to get - my heart is dragging me toward a GT V6 but my head (and a bit of my heart) wants a 2.4 wagon.
If you're interested in the V6 ask the dealer if its had the uprated diff fitted. The standard V6 diff is prone to grenading itself, best to buy one that's had the Q2 already done.
 

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if u want a GT there is only the 1.9 jtd, no 2.4

if u look after them and service them which i recon you would reading what you have put then there will be not problems to worry about.........if people who dont do jobs when they need doing that end up having bigger bills
 

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Discussion Starter #7
cheers guys.

only saw one alfa today, a 1.9 jtd GT and it was a bit of a shed - rusty/dented sills, poorly re-sprayed bumpers, fuel flap button not working, glow plug warning on dash, knocking suspension, air con needed a re-gas, turbo sounding sketchy, clutch bite to high - advert mentioned none of this! was a nice place to sit in though :p
 

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You will pay half as much for a 156 1.9 facelift as you will for a GT in similar condition. That would be where my money... well actually I was looking for a GT and bought a 156 Sport. The shockers will need to be changed, might as well put Eibach springs on for £100 more. I went for the 1.9 150 instead of the 5 cylinder because it is my first car and insurance held me back but I spent £50 on a tuning box and its running 185hp 'ish' (someone elses dyno test, not mine). A remap would be smoother no doubt, but £150 buys a lot of beer. The 156 1.9 is lighter than the GT and the 2.4 so it handles much better. I put a few quid into the set-up (circa £1000 on a custom setup actually) and its pretty neutral most of the time. I'm tempted to write Tarquini on the rear windows...

I'm an hour away if you want to have a look around it but it's not for sale.

Anyway, the smart money goes here:
Alfa Romeo 156 1.9 JTD 16v Multijet [150] TI 4dr Diesel Saloon 2005
Here:
Alfa Romeo 156 1.9 JTD 16V SPORT 4dr .LEATHER SEATS...17" ALLOY'S. 2005
or here:
Alfa Romeo 156 1.9 JTD 16v Multijet [150] Veloce 4dr FULL SERVICE HISTORY 2005

Nick
 

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You can't go wrong with a 2.4 wagon or a GT V6 - certainly the V6 engine is the pick of the bunch in the GT and head & shoulders better than either of the 4-pots (although you'll notice the extra £££s at the fuel station compared to the diesel).

With the 156, the 5 cylinder is a good choice, its what I run myself (10v 03 plate), they super-reliable and fantastic on juice. Unlike the 1.9 it doesn't have chocolate driveshafts, and perhaps because of the smoother delivery of the 5 cylinder they don't seem to get through clutches and flywheels quite so much either, despite them being the same as what is fitted to the 1.9 16v. They are heavier on front suspension arms though and out of the box they are not as nimble so its swings and roundabouts. This is all in regards to the 2.4 10v with a standard output of 150bhp/236lbft although mine was remapped when brand new by the supplying dealer and recently made 200bhp/340lbft on a rolling road, after 175k miles. The 2.4 20v does add a bit more power but it brings its own problems too, mostly because of the decision to go with a GM 6-speed box. The different clutch, flywheel & driveshafts are all less robust than the 2.4 10v so if you do decide to go for a 20v, try and find one that has had this work done even if it means paying a bit more.

This one looked like a bargain, but it has now sold. Could well have needed a grand's worth of work, but for the price it wouldn't really have mattered much in the long run:

www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251284039977?

Now if you're thinking of a GT V6, mine is the black one on Pistonheads classifieds:

Used ALFA ROMEO ALFA GT 3.2 V6 24V for sale - PistonHeads (Ref 1485159)

There seems to be hardly any for sale at the moment compared to normal.
 

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This is an interesting thread as I too am looking for a 156 sw jtd. I'm looking at the 1.9jtd16v Ti's, but some are classed as 140 and some 150 at the same age. Are the ads correct or are there 2 engines so close together on the power?
 

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You will pay half as much for a 156 1.9 facelift as you will for a GT in similar condition.
Autotrader currently has a 2004 1.9SW with 41k at £4500 and a 2005 GT 1.9 with 48k at £4300 or a 2005 SW with 76k for £3200 and a 2005 GT 1.9 with 80k for £3700.

The Sportwagon maybe slightly cheaper by a few hundred £££s but half? I don't think so. Also, it's very hard to find one that hasn't got galactic mileage - there's only 1 on the Autotrder ATM with less than 50k. They tend to be used hard as a working tool whereas GT's tend to be more lightly used and cossetted.

Your 3.2 GT looks absolutely beautiful, BTW. It's a credit to you and you must be heartbroken to be selling her....
 

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Autotrader currently has a 2004 1.9SW with 41k at £4500 and a 2005 GT 1.9 with 48k at £4300 or a 2005 SW with 76k for £3200 and a 2005 GT 1.9 with 80k for £3700.

The Sportwagon maybe slightly cheaper by a few hundred £££s but half? I don't think so. Also, it's very hard to find one that hasn't got galactic mileage - there's only 1 on the Autotrder ATM with less than 50k. They tend to be used hard as a working tool whereas GT's tend to be more lightly used and cossetted.

Your 3.2 GT looks absolutely beautiful, BTW. It's a credit to you and you must be heartbroken to be selling her....
Be sad to see it go thats for sure. I don't think I've ever owned a smarter looking car. Its actually massively practical for us because its like a van with the rear seats down, but I can't keep it because I just cannot get the little one in and out of it in carparks with the rear facing child seat. Last time I tried, I pulled my back and I wasn't right for a few days. I've had bad back in the past thats caused me time off work and I can't afford for that to happen these days. A GTA Sportwagon or a nice facelift JTD 'wagon will put the smile back on my face though. My saloon/coupe days are definitely over, but its no bad thing :)

BTW I think AV was talking about the saloons - most of those are half the price of the equivalent GT. The Sportwagon commands quite a premium over the saloon.
 

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Yeah, I don't have a dog and the saloon has a bit more structural rigidity in the rear end which is what I look for in a car/woman ;)

There are some minor differences between the JTD 140hp and M-Jet 150hp engines, namely the variable vane turbo in the latter.

Nick
 

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nedge2k - most of the alfa niggles have been covered by above posters.

You say that you are handy with a spanner - why not look at buying an alfa with a clutch or timing issue?

as you have seen some of the saloons and S/W have done serious mileage! so to mr average they rarely tend to be a justifiable repair and can be obtained for about £500 ish.

I followed the above route and bought a 156 JTD M-Jet - 04 saloon with 131K which wouldn't start!

the water pump had gone and the timing slipped - 8 rockers later, timing belt and pump and the Alfa was roadworthy:)

I've since replaced the complete front suspension and the clutch, but it has done a further 15K in the last 4 months.

I've just travelled from Ayrshire to Portsmouth 480 miles in 7 1/2 hrs in Alfa comfort!

These cars really do handle extremely well and you then tend to look for A & B roads to enjoy the handling.

Good luck in your search
 

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Discussion Starter #15
As I say, got a bit of a project on at the moment which requires as much of my attention as possible so would prefer something that's had it all done. Off to see something tomorrow eve, fingers crossed she's as good as she looks.
 

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Yeah, I don't have a dog and the saloon has a bit more structural rigidity in the rear end which is what I look for in a car/woman ;)

There are some minor differences between the JTD 140hp and M-Jet 150hp engines, namely the variable vane turbo in the latter.

Nick
surely they are both variable vane ?
 

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Yes they are....and don't call him Shirley !!!.....sorry, couldn't resist it:cheese:

Seriously( ish), don't discount the 10 valve 2.4 jtd until you've tried it....Always thought the 1.9 was the choice for those who couldn't find a nice 2.4....! Ohh, did I actually type that! Whoops, time to run for the hills:lol:

Loving the sunshine!
Cheerio
The Captain
 

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Discussion Starter #19
In all honesty, I feel the original 156 isn't aging too well (GTA aside) so I'm after a facelifted wagon as it's the best looking IMO - which means 20v and a dodgy GM box by the sounds of it so i'm stuck with the 1.9 :( I'd have the 2.4 in a heartbeat otherwise.
 

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The gearbox on the 20v isnt dodgy at all - it doesnt particulary like to be rushed when changing gear but otherwise its fine
 
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