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It is now approximatey 24 hours since I took possession of my '95 164LS 5 speed. I think it was around 2000 when I sold my '91 164S which I always looked back on as my favorite car of many.

Fast forward to present day and the experience is probably not unlike that of reuniting with an old flame. You relish the things you thought were great, and are reminded of some forgotten flaws as well.

Nothing drives, and certainly nothing sounds, like an Alfa V6. In the ensuing years I have had some BMW's, a Civic Si, and a few others. The Alfa has a "soul" which makes all of the others feel like appliances. As my LS had essentially a full suspension rebuild 15k miles ago (to the tune of $3,000 dollars) it is incredibly solid and taut. It does feel better built than I recall my '91 was, very little road noise, no rattles, squeaks, etc. The styling is still fresh and attractive. It does not quite grab me the way I remember the S did way back when (an I have to have this car moment), but it has aged very gracefully. While 200 HP is entry level these days, the Alfa engine has a torque curve and feel that still excites today.

On the downside, there are flaws I had forgotten about. The ridiculous steering wheel which does not adjust high enough and thus puts the wheel in your lap, legs spread, while blocking visibility to the gauges. The flaky climate control display. I am also reminded that she can be a costly and tempermental mistress. One example is the A/C which has been extensively serviced, and just had work done last week, and still blows warm. While diagnosing or repairing an A/C problem on many cars is fairly easy, on the 164 you get into a morass of mechanical / electrical complications and frustration as you try to understand what she is really saying. As for access to some of those parts, she may as well be wearing corsets and a chastity belt. You also discover that many of your mutual friends have moved on. In the past I would run her down to Algar who would be costly but would quickly diagnose and fix the problem. Algar now says, "Alfa? We don't know anyone named Alfa".

Within a few weeks I am sure the quandry will be resolved. I will either delight in being reunited with the car of my dreams (hopefully), or else I will remember why we broke up in the first place and conclude that time and technology have moved on. (Civic Si may have lacked Alfa's soul, but in 3 years the only service of any kind was an oil change!).

Hopefully I get this A/C issue resolved. This entire review would probably be glowing if that issue had not reared its ugly head!
 

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Trust me, the A/C can be fixed. Do not forget that this is not a new car you bought. It will have things that need to be addressed, so let's be realistic with expectations. Old car issues are what make old cars cheap, many people don't have the time to mess with issues. I personally like cheap and don't mind messing with mechanical things, so it works for me. I would have to spend a boat-load of cash to have a driving experience that could come close to the 164 (and still wouldn't be a 164).
Charles
 

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1991 164L
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Might I direct you to my latest post on A/C here:

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/164-168-1991-1995/179968-recharged-c-system-my-originale-today.html

I bought this car new and have always had a good A/C. I have had three compressors in it.

Original one blew out under new car warranty after a spirited acceleration out of a toll booth and that replacement one lasted until 1998 when it became nosiy. Maybe oil charge was not verified when it was installed or I just drove car to hard with a/c on.

I put in third new one myself and measured oil charge in my wife's Pyrex measuring cup before I installed it so I knew it had correct amount of oil and have been able to keep it going ever since.

Even my other 164s which I had converted to R134a worked well after I did all the fixes to hot water and hot air intrusions.

Granted the design of the system and seperation from hot engine compartment could have been better and since system close to same as Saab 9000 of same era if Alfa had sealed off top of area like Saab did it probably would work better.
 
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