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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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New Alfa 164 owner says hi, and has questions!

Hi there Alfa owners and enthusiasts, I'm the newest owner of a 1992 Alfa Romeo 164 sedan. It's a manual trans (of course)! 3.0L and seems to be a solid car. I have pages of service records from the previous owner, and it's apparent that the same two major problems I'm experiencing have existed for a while. The problems I'm having are 1) unpredictable difficulty starting, mostly when the engine is hot, and 2) the car runs quite warm, between 200-225 degrees. The first problem, with starting, actually caused me to completely drain the battery trying to start it yesterday, and it only finally started this morning when it was cold. The running hot issue almost seems like the car has a 220 degree thermostat or something because it takes quite a long time to build that engine temp, and once it does, nothing will drop it, not freeway driving and not the electric cooling fan. It does not, however overheat in the sense of boiling over or pegging the temp gauge at 250. I should mention that the previous owner has replaced the fuel pump in a vain effort to fix the starting problem. I like the car, and it is tons of fun to drive, but the combination of not being certain it will restart and running uncomfortably hot has led me to park it for now. Any insight that you folks have will be greatly appreciated, and maybe I can actually enjoy my little red Italian sport sedan!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 10:54 AM
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Welcome

JohnWillo,

Welcome! Share some photos of your Alfa and location perhaps.

My take on your problems:
1) This sounds like fuel pressure drop. If previous owner did the fuel pump, most likely he replaced the short hose at the pump assembly since this is usual suspect. Another overlooked thing is check valve on top of the fuel pump. If problem is not back in the tank area, I would assume you either have the fuel pressure regulator problem or leaky injector. This is just a startup idea since I am sure you’ll have more feedback from others about possible issue.
2) These cars run hot and you are in that margin but keep close attention on that gauge not to go over 225!

Best,
Sasha

1992 Alfa Romeo 164S, Fiat Spider 2000, BMW M5
1991 Alfa Romeo 164L (sold)

Last edited by salieri164; 07-16-2012 at 10:56 AM.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWillo View Post
Hi there Alfa owners and enthusiasts, I'm the newest owner of a 1992 Alfa Romeo 164 sedan. It's a manual trans (of course)! 3.0L and seems to be a solid car. I have pages of service records from the previous owner, and it's apparent that the same two major problems I'm experiencing have existed for a while. The problems I'm having are 1) unpredictable difficulty starting, mostly when the engine is hot, and 2) the car runs quite warm, between 200-225 degrees. The first problem, with starting, actually caused me to completely drain the battery trying to start it yesterday, and it only finally started this morning when it was cold. The running hot issue almost seems like the car has a 220 degree thermostat or something because it takes quite a long time to build that engine temp, and once it does, nothing will drop it, not freeway driving and not the electric cooling fan. It does not, however overheat in the sense of boiling over or pegging the temp gauge at 250. I should mention that the previous owner has replaced the fuel pump in a vain effort to fix the starting problem. I like the car, and it is tons of fun to drive, but the combination of not being certain it will restart and running uncomfortably hot has led me to park it for now. Any insight that you folks have will be greatly appreciated, and maybe I can actually enjoy my little red Italian sport sedan!
Welcome. Hard starts are fairly common in these cars when warm. You need to press the gas pedal 1-2 times to get it to go. Could be a fuel pressure issue but even after I did my whole fuel system to new condition, I still get this from time to time. New check valve too. Might be best to but another check valve in the fuel hose on the rail in the engine compartment. Also check those items Sasha Mentions.

Sounds like you may have a stuck thermostat.
That should clear up that issue unless there is another issue such as fan not coming on properly.
Let me know if I can help?
Welcome to the club. 1992 is a good year. fixed most issues in those 1992-1993 years.

Ciao!


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 11:24 AM
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As for hard starting issue test low fuel pressure/fuel flow and no trapped fuel pressure after engine shut off.

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/390221-post2.html

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/164-...pumps-etc.html

Lots of other posts out there on fuel pump issues, testing and replacing fuel line in tank with sumersible hose.

As for running hot verify cooling fan runs on both low and high speed circuits correctly. 42 psi and 8 oz flow in 15 seconds.

Lots of stuff book,arked here: http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/164-...ance-tips.html

Also verify condtion of spring loaded carbon button inside center of dizzy cap and condition and resistance reading of rotor in it , too. 1.1kohms.

Verify resistance of coil wire (1 kohms and interior of cap and coil tower for cleanliness.

Ciao, Alfisto Steve
Virginia Beach, VA
AROC 164 Tech Advisor

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Alfa Semi-Daily driver: USA model - BB2 1991 164S Black Beauty II ALFISTO [U]

[U] BB1 1991 164L w/S engine and A/T now excess to inventory [U]

Daily driver and parts hauler but not car hauler 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4.7L H.O. V-8

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 04:04 PM
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My 91 has always had a warm start issue, intermittently. So did my 82 GTV6. Against all the facts about how FI works, the cure is to floor the gas pedal, crank the engine and as you crank just ease your foot off the gas. it will start. There is no way this should work but it does.

As for your heat issue I suspect the thermostat is stuck partially open so it gets up slowly and thn runs too hot. This is the normal failure mode. The Alfa uses a double acting thermostat which is high quality and comes complete with a new housing. Just swap over the senders and install it! Sounds easy but it can be a pita. Still, I've only had one replacement in 20 years, unlike other brands I could name.

1991 Alfa Romeo 164L 5 spd
White on grey leather 230K km, owned from new
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 06:51 PM
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Make sure you have a real problem before you try and fix it. Check out this thread.

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/164-...nning-hot.html

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/164-...ying-164s.html

John Stewart
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 06:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for answers

Thanks to all for the answers so far, another question would be the best place to find parts. Will I have any luck at the chain stores (AutoZone, Advanced, etc) or at the specialty foreign car parts suppliers? Or do I have to go online and order them? Specifically I think I should order a thermostat, fuel pressure regulator, maybe cap and rotor, anything else that is relatively inexpensive and reasonably easy to replace? Thanks!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 08:25 AM
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Welcome to the BB and 164 ownership It would help us if you add a signiture to your posts including you year and model.
I suggest you follow the advise given and check things out before wholesale changing out parts. Check the resistance of wires and distributor cap. Check your fuel pressure at the rail.
Chain parts stores will have plug wires and distributor cap, but probably not the thermostat. It would help if we knew where you are, but some places to get parts are IAP, Centerline, Jason, Trail Auto, Difatta Bros, APE and the list goes on.

Red 1991 164S, Black 1991 164S, Red 1987 Milano, 1972 Berlina, 1973 Berlina rebuilding SPICA engine
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salieri164 View Post
If previous owner did the fuel pump, most likely he replaced the short hose at the pump assembly since this is usual suspect.
I wouldn't assume that, though I doubt that a leaking hose inside the tank would influence warm starts more than cold starts.

Quote:
These cars run hot and you are in that margin but keep close attention on that gauge not to go over 225!
My 1991 164L has had every classic 164 problem in the book, but I wouldn't agree that it runs hot. When the cooling system is operating correctly, my experience has been that it runs at a similar temperature to other cars.

In addition to searching the BB, another good source of 164 advice can be found at: http://www.digest.net/alfa/FAQ/164/notes0.htm This is a well-organized collection of posts to the BB's ancestor, the "Alfa Digest".

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-20-2012, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWillo View Post
Thanks to all for the answers so far, another question would be the best place to find parts. Will I have any luck at the chain stores (AutoZone, Advanced, etc) or at the specialty foreign car parts suppliers? Or do I have to go online and order them? Specifically I think I should order a thermostat, fuel pressure regulator, maybe cap and rotor, anything else that is relatively inexpensive and reasonably easy to replace? Thanks!
Sourcing parts locally is difficult, so I've ordered stuff online (Centerline Alfa). I have had issues getting basic BMW parts at local chain retailers, so Alfa parts are a definite no-no. Body and interior parts are not always easy to find and tend to be expensive when they do come up for sale. Since this car is a hobby rather than a daily driver, the parts issue doesn't bother me as much as if it was my main source of transportation.

1991 Alfa Romeo 164S
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-20-2012, 12:45 PM
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"Since this car is a hobby rather than a daily driver, the parts issue doesn't bother me as much as if it was my main source of transportation"

I always wonder at this, as maybe I'm doing something wrong, my Alfas always having been daily drivers now for the last 45 years, with little trouble caused by a lack of parts. Maybe a million miles or more driving Alfas through the years, including drives across the country. simply put, they had to earn their keep, so to speak, and for me, they have done so in good fashion.

Of all the Alfas I have owned, probably the one that gave me a couple of major problems was my original, 6th one built, Giulia Sprint GT. A seat back hinge bolt broke, and I had to get a new part from the factory (they mailed me a parts catalog and said to just order from them directly), and the car had those unlubable lower inboard front suspension ball joints, which tended to freeze up, one tearing out, requiring a new front crossmember to be welded in. While I loved that car and put 260k miles on it eventually, it was a little more trouble than any of the later cars. Other than that car, I've always been able to source any new parts I might have needed through the years.

I say keep them clean, keep them lubed, do the services, including preventive ones, don't get carried away modifying them, and finally, drive fast but don't beat them. As an example, you should be able to get at least 100k miles out of an Alfa clutch. 160k miles on my 91S OEM clutch so far.

For the most part, they will adequately serve as fun daily drivers. Will there be part failures or wear problems? Sure, but pretty much any car can do that to you. Don't be unrealistic about reliability, and always watch after the consumables which all cars have.

Del

Seattle

1989 Milano, Shankle Sport
1991 164S, stock
1994 164LS (~Q)
1972 Morgan 27

previously owned since 1964:

62 Morris MiniMinor 850, 67 Austin 1275 Cooper S (Downton 3/4 race), 64 Giulia Sprint GT (1st red one made), 72 Fiat 128 Sedan, 75 Alfetta Sedan, 78 Alfetta Sedan, 78 GTV, 81 GTV6, 86 GTV6

Last edited by Del; 07-20-2012 at 03:32 PM.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-20-2012, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWillo View Post
Thanks to all for the answers so far, another question would be the best place to find parts. Will I have any luck at the chain stores (AutoZone, Advanced, etc) or at the specialty foreign car parts suppliers? Or do I have to go online and order them? Specifically I think I should order a thermostat, fuel pressure regulator, maybe cap and rotor, anything else that is relatively inexpensive and reasonably easy to replace? Thanks!
I have everything you need.

Alfa Parts | Alfissimo International |

Call me or e-mail me. I will give you the best prices and help with any issues you have.

Also, drive the Alfa. If they sit they become problems. Drive the crap out if it. Once you get to know it and drive it more, I bet it becomes a daily!

Ciao!


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