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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 916 Spider for use on nice days but my daily driver is currently a Honda Civic 1.6 which, at 16 years and 135,000 miles, seems unlikely to survive the MoT which is due early next month.

As I am about to start a new job which is only a 5 mile commute, mostly on country lanes, I ought to be thinking about a city car or the like but as my budget is only about £1,000 max there is nothing Alfa available.

So, I am thinking 147 1.6 or JTD. I worry that the 1.6 won't like the short distances but I've also heard that the diesel is not terribly reliable - even by Alfa standards.

I would be grateful for some advice from people who know and drive 147s.

Thank you.
 

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2003 Spider 3.0 V6 24v Lightning Blu
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I've always thought the JTD is more reliable than the twinspark especially the 1.6. I've heard of the 1.6TS running bearing etc quite frequently. Cambelt change on a JTD is also cheaper than a TS (no variator) and not needed as often. The things to look out for on a JTD are a stiff clutch pedal and noisy turbo other than that the normal Alfa and 147 precautions apply.

I've just had my JTD serviced at a local indie and they apparently look after a JTD that's on 125 000miles/200 000km's and still on it's original turbo. I'll concede that the clutch can be a major pain in the rear if it's bad. Do a search here and look at the info on JTD's with a heavy clutch pedal. There's alot of info available. I use my 147 JTDm as my main day to day car and my Spider V6 as a fun car. I do quite a bit of driving for work and I've got no real reason to swap the car a the moment. Since i've owned it (bought on about 65000km and now on 140 000km) I've had to do the following:
-Clutch (clutch kit, flywheel, master + slave cylinder) the pedal isn't exactly light but it's more than acceptable)
-lower turbo hose (cheap and easy fix)
-one oil cooler pipe (it seems in the UK you folks have a problem with the bolts seizing meaning that the oil cooler is destroyed in the process of unbolting it. Not a problem in the SA climate so only needed the pipe)
-Done the cambelt, water pump and aux belt (more routine maintenance really)
-New belly pan (The old one has always been rather droopy. Big improvement going over speed bumps)

The car could do with a new drivers window switch (pricey new and hard to find second hand) and a resprayed front bumper. The indie I service it at commented on how tidy the car is and on how well the JTD engines take high mileage. I asked them about my slightly noisy turbo (still the original) and they said not to worry it should go for a good while yet.

Try and get yourself a 150hp 16v JTDm if possible. The extra grunt gives it some good go.

By the way I'd imagine that a cheeky Sunday morning hoon around the back roads of Buckinghamshire must be quite a hoot in a properly sorted 916 Spider.
 

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I have a 147JTDm 16v and I love it.. I also have a honda accord type R and I drive the alfa more!
 

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5 miles each way? Petrol. Make it a V6 too.


In all seriousness at that mileage the petrol makes more sense.
Diesel won't even get close to temperature.

Unless you can get one for less than the 1.6 I don't think it'll be worth it.

You can pick up a 1.6 147 for buttons as well.
 

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In all seriousness the JTD is the better engine overall. But for your needs the petrol would make more sense.
 

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For a 5-mile commute down the lanes, you could pickup a little Fiat for very little money too and would still be in the FIAT Group family.
 
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I can tell you about my experiences with the 147.

Before I launch into it I have to say that I love my 147, currently have a 1.6TS Lusso 120BHP, it's comfy, sporty and fun to drive, although I would like GTA power :evil::evil::evil:.

1. You need to know how to look after these cars, I have found them to be very different to other makes and they can be fickle at times. Disclaimer, I didn't know how to look after mine properly until recently, all will become apparent.
2. Timing belt, Alfa say 36,000 miles between changes, originally they said 72,000 miles. In my experience 45,000-50,000 is about right. You do not need a variator at every change as long as you keep on top of the oil servicing, the water pump is generally done as a matter of course when fitting a timing belt as they have a plastic impeller that becomes brittle over time. I had mine upgraded to an aftermarket version with steel impeller.
3. Suspension arms. Every 9000 miles or the car just rattles and clonks along the road.
4. Oil changes. In my experience any car needs regular oil and filter changes, with the twinspark I would say 5000 miles or 6 months whichever comes first. They use oil as a matter of course, ~1 litre per 1000 miles on a good engine, the sump fills with junk that can kill the variator by starving it of oil, it's happened on mine. Variators are expensive, this would be my second I had one fitted when I bought the car.
5. I don't think this is a common fault but mine also needs a set of Lambdas now, ideally you should use V-Power or at the very least decent branded petrol, supermarket petrol has not treated my alfa well, even the high octane version of supermarket petrol.
6. Alfa electrics are pretty poor, I'm sure my car gets bored and just flashes up new faults for the fun of it.
7. Ah yes, my favourite. Make sure you always turn off your headlight switch before starting the car, it took me several sidelight and headlight bulbs to figure that one out.

You may think after all that I'm a real cynic when it comes to Alfa's, I'm not, as I said in the beginning you have to know how to look after one properly, if you do then the reliability will increase tenfold. I now know what to do with an Alfa and my next one will be much better treated as a result. My current one is probably beyond economic repair.

Best of luck, for your journey I would definitely choose a 1.6TS 120BHp over the diesel. As the guy said earlier, a diesel won't get nearly warm enough on that run.
 

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The car could do with a new drivers window switch (pricey new and hard to find second hand)
If your rubberised coating is coming off you dont need to spend loads on a new one, you can just clean it off with brake cleaner or nail varnish remover. :)

3. Suspension arms. Every 9000 miles or the car just rattles and clonks along the road.
Its not the arms that are the problem, its the bushes and the problem can be pretty much sorted if you replace em with polyurethane ones. :)
 

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In all seriousness the JTD is the better engine overall. But for your needs the petrol would make more sense.
It doesn't only make more sense, for a 5 mile commute a diesel is NEVER the better engine.
(For the reason you outlined before)
I've driven diesels for the last 25 years, nothing against them, on the contrary, but the OPs use case rules them out.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Apart from a Citroen ZX many years ago and brief ownership of a Land Rover fitted with a 3.3L marine diesel - "sufficient" torque - I am not familiar with diesels. I had it in mind that they were good for short distance, low speed work but seems I was wrong.
Looks like I'm shopping for a 147 1.6.
 

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Apart from a Citroen ZX many years ago and brief ownership of a Land Rover fitted with a 3.3L marine diesel - "sufficient" torque - I am not familiar with diesels. I had it in mind that they were good for short distance, low speed work but seems I was wrong.
Looks like I'm shopping for a 147 1.6.
Diesels make more sense if you're on long commutes to work and doing >10k miles per year or do a lot of towing of caravans/trailers etc. Otherwise petrol engines are the more economical choice and certainly that is the case for you.

Best of luck with the search :thumbup:
 

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My Spider is around 180bhp with Q2 - amongst many other mods. For the commute I'm looking for economy mainly.
For economy short-commuting I'd not be looking at AR. The Peugeot 107/Toyota Aygo/Citroen C1 is very hard to beat. We have two in the family. They are dirt cheap to run, insure and service, robust and reliable, use hardly any petrol (45-60mpg), £20/yr VED. The 3 cylinder motor is torquey and useful, slick gearbox, it's fun and nippy to drive. There's as much space inside my wife's 107 cabin as my 147. I am 6'2" and it's fine, even in the back. Downsides: no luxury, over 100mls the seats are too hard, almost no boot. Will do >100mph on a long downhill, but the chassis is at its limits. Clutches are often done by ~50k, but post-2008 cars have the larger, stronger Yaris clutch, which is retro-fittable and good for twice that. Changing headlight bulbs is as impossible as any Alfa.
 

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I've had a 2004 1.9 JTD 8v for 7 years with no problems. Its done 135,000 miles, hardly anything done to it and passed every MOT. The mpg is far better than that of the TS, plenty of torque.
 
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