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Discussion Starter #1
Ladies and gentleman:

I am in a tentative agreement to buy '91 164, base model, manual transmission.

Any advice thoughts and caveats that i should pay attention would be greatly appreciated.

This is what I know of the car:

-116,xxx miles
-original clutch
-timing belt changed (seller claims) not far back
-brakes dull
-when running, temp gauge displays normal, fan kicks in, but red light comes on
-front left boot on the bearing (axle) ripped, bearing rocks
-many switches (rear windows and seat adjustments) do not work

Any thoughts on any of this and any recommendations?

I assume that 20/50 is the right oil to run on the Busso V6, or did they recommend different weight for this model.

Seller said that one of the engine mounts needs replacement, and the car does exhibit some clunking under deceleration in driving. The top mount looked OK to me, and I could not see any brittle rubber on the lower two, but that does not mean one or all of them may not need replacing.

Many thanks to all who help with advice and opinions.

Simon Saivil
 

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Ladies and gentleman:

I am in a tentative agreement to buy '91 164, base model, manual transmission.

Any advice thoughts and caveats that i should pay attention would be greatly appreciated.

This is what I know of the car:

-116,xxx miles
-original clutch
-timing belt changed (seller claims) not far back
-brakes dull
-when running, temp gauge displays normal, fan kicks in, but red light comes on
-front left boot on the bearing (axle) ripped, bearing rocks
-many switches (rear windows and seat adjustments) do not work

Any thoughts on any of this and any recommendations?

I assume that 20/50 is the right oil to run on the Busso V6, or did they recommend different weight for this model.

Seller said that one of the engine mounts needs replacement, and the car does exhibit some clunking under deceleration in driving. The top mount looked OK to me, and I could not see any brittle rubber on the lower two, but that does not mean one or all of them may not need replacing.

Many thanks to all who help with advice and opinions.

Simon Saivil
Are you a avid wrench turner? If so we can help you whip it into shape as I expect it needs some TLC.

Lower front mount is probably bad one.

The front axle boot not to tough we have posted procedure, hopefully CV joint not full of dirt and can be saved. Is it inner or outer (usually outer).

Any history on water pump was it changed when timing belt done. Plan on belt change anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Are you a avid wrench turner? If so we can help you whip it into shape as I expect it needs some TLC.

Lower front mount is probably bad one.

The front axle boot not to tough we have posted procedure, hopefully CV joint not full of dirt and can be saved. Is it inner or outer (usually outer).

Any history on water pump was it changed when timing belt done. Plan on belt change anyway.
Steve:

Thank you very much for the comments.

From what I could see, as I know little about the front wheel drive, the boot is outer (the larger of the two, with three levels cone). The bearing definitely rocked, so something will have to get replaced. Re-built whole axle is something like $300.

I'll check with the shop that maintained it to see how recent is the timing belt. Owner did say that the water pump was replaced. An opinionated friend of mine says that often only the front of the pump gets replaced leaving the inner mechanism as is, which results in reduced capacity. Does that make sense?

I am tempted to think that either a thermostat or a temperature sensor is faulty.

If I understand it correctly there are a total of 5 engine mounts two large and two smaller on the bottom and an adjustable one on top. When we looked at it we suspected the one of the large ones.

PS Do you know what grade/weight oil Alfa recommended for this engine? I always used 20/50 on my GTV-6 as I do on my Spiders.
 

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Left axle is 5-speed specfic so remember A/T one will not work (different length).

Base does not Have ABS but ABS manual axle will work. Used A/T axle can be havested for out CV joint.

Red light on and temp gauge near normal means red light wire not making good contact, mid thermostat not grounded correctly or that half of temp sender is bad (sender 91-93 specific and NLA).

As for water pump you can't replace just part of it unless he meant outer pulley that is bolted to water pump shaft hub.

Welcome to the club as far as window and seat switches go.. Frapping seat actuators with small hammer usually starts motors but switches do go bad and there is a Tech bulletin on starter box for seats to aid motors running. Switches are cleanable if needed.

Rear windows usualy don't work because nobody uses them often enough but also lock out switch in center console maybe off or bad. somethings switches in rear doors work and center console switches dont. Lots of little tricks to window and seat operations.

I use 10w40 dino oil now on my high mileage 164s or syn-blend if I can find it. 20w50 getting hard to find.

As for motor mounts engine has two lower ones and tranny has one (A/T mount way cheaper and works fine for 5-speed expensive one.

Front mount usually one to fail and about 150 bucks (somtimes more so because upper mount bad, too. Rear one cheapest. Top dog bone has small and larger ends. soft poly bushing the way to go for engine end and not bad for large end if it is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Left axle is 5-speed specfic so remember A/T one will not work (differnt length).

Base does not Have ABS but ABS manual axle will work. Used A/T axle can be havested for out CV joint.

I'll be back after supper.
Thanks.
Bon appetit!

Simon
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Incidentally, apart from a certain "clunking" sensation under sudden acceleration and deceleration, attributable to lower front engine mount, the shift stick vibrates in a certain "circular" way at all speeds, as if correlated to the revolutions of the wheels.

Is my suspicion that the transmission mounts may be worn out warranted?
Is the shift stick held by a pin, being prone to go loose and develop too much lee-way like rear wheel driven models?

Thanks,

Simon
 

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The shifter is connected to the rear of the tranny via a linkage and any large vibrations in the engine compartment will probably be transmitted to your "stick shift". There are some rubber bushings in the linkage that could be going bad over time.

Have you bought her yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The shifter is connected to the rear of the tranny via a linkage and any large vibrations in the engine compartment will probably be transmitted to your "stick shift". There are some rubber bushings in the linkage that could be going bad over time.

Have you bought her yet?
Thanks for the information.

No, I haven't bought it yet. My initial enthusiasm has mostly worn off. I am still interested but the car, while clean on the outside and with the problems I mentioned, needs a lot of "cleaning up" literally. The roof cloth is quite loose. The control cluster at roof/windshield center is quite sticky, as if dipped in heavy oil or honey. Rear window switched do not work. Front seat switches are all dead, and passenger side one switch is missing. The car has a soccer fan sticker on it which tells me it must have been subordinated to other priorities and passions in owner's life.

Any thoughts and/or recommendations?
 

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I guess the price will make/break the deal? How much and where is the car located has a lot to do with it...

The issues you mention can be positive in that you can use it when bargaining price. The headliner isn't a huge deal, I think Steve has repaired or recovered his before? Many overhead consoles have been repaired and some use glue which could be why its sticky. You could try some electrical contact cleaner to see if the switches improve. Even just sitting and not being used, they don't like that and you will need to exercise them, same with the seat switches.

Dont judge the car by its stickers, but look at the overrall condition. Does A/C and stepper motors work? How does the engine run?
 

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Sticky

I think the sticky plastic comes "from within" and isn't the result of repairs. The plastic just degrades over time, with the upper switch console being the prime offender.

This is a well-known condition in the world of '80s Ferraris. I have seen ads in Ferrari mags offering to fix this problem for considerable $$. You can't wash it off. I have been told that alcohol may work or maybe another solvent, but I don't feel like taking it apart.
 

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About the shift-lever, it sits inside two 'half-cups' under the console. they do not wear much during time, however the ball at the lower end of the lever should be packed with some kind of thick, white grease. when this grease is depleted it can vibrate. I have the same problem but it doesn't bother me too much for now. about switches, lifting out the console, checking and cleaning might solve some problems. When I got my 164 I dismantled the panel, put all new window switches, cleaned and checked and things work OK for some 40k miles now.

I think your main concern when expenses are concerned are mechanical things. The interiors of 164s are quite hard-wearing. Common problems I know of are sagging head-liners (relatively easy to fix), sticky overhead consoles and the odd switch here and there. I only replaced the upper windshield dash-diffuser grill that was completely shot from the sun, everything else is in reasonable+ shape, and let's not forget, this is a 20 year old car! Infact I don't think ANY other alfa has a nicer, more well-put-together and resistant interior than the 164. I live in Israel, which is very sunny and bad for car interiors. I can tell you that later models not imported to the US (like the 156 and 147) had more issues with interiors coming apart and getting sticky.

All in all the 164s interior is not complicated at all, infact it is very easy to service, you only need to know how everything works and you got us for that.
 

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The stickiness on both my 164's have been from PO's glueing the two little vented plastic squares that seem to spontaneously pop off every now and then.
 

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That stickiness on the sunroof control area leaves nasty black crap on my hands...so..I don't touch it. My 84 El Camino (RIP) and my 87 Merkur XR4Ti (RIP) had similar characteristics.
 

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That stickiness on the sunroof control area leaves nasty black crap on my hands...so..I don't touch it. My 84 El Camino (RIP) and my 87 Merkur XR4Ti (RIP) had similar characteristics.
It is pretty easy to fix by using lacquer thinner to remove stickiness and then spary paint with flat black rattle can. Of course really easier to do when replacing headliner and have whole headliner and backer board out of car.
 

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Yeah...well headliner is pretty dirty anyway...if I end up keeping this car I might make it a summer project..but really least of my concerns regarding this one.
 

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Saw it yesterday

I went to look at that very car yesterday. Did not drive it. I was immediately put off by the storage of some potentially greasy (and sharp) motorcycle wheels on the cloth-upholstered back seat. I was also put off by corrosion and general tarnish where you wouldn't expect it, like on the intake runners. Seemed to me that the car has been neglected and used as a storage shed for a fairly long time. Not a good way to treat fine Italian machinery, IMHO. I have no intention of making the seller an offer on his car.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That stickiness on the sunroof control area leaves nasty black crap on my hands...so..I don't touch it. My 84 El Camino (RIP) and my 87 Merkur XR4Ti (RIP) had similar characteristics.
That's exactly what it did to me.
 

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I went to look at that very car yesterday. Did not drive it. I was immediately put off by the storage of some potentially greasy (and sharp) motorcycle wheels on the cloth-upholstered back seat. I was also put off by corrosion and general tarnish where you wouldn't expect it, like on the intake runners. Seemed to me that the car has been neglected and used as a storage shed for a fairly long time. Not a good way to treat fine Italian machinery, IMHO. I have no intention of making the seller an offer on his car.
Yes, that's the car. Trunk is also full of messy stuff. If the car was worth salvaging the garage owner would make a go for it. I am glad I took time to cool off.
 

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I made the mistake about three years ago of buying a very used Milano that was similarly neglected, and that car practically drained my bank account dry. I learned the hard way what all the smart people say over and over again: Pay a bit more upfront and get a car that's been well cared for and has had the big-ticket items done by the previous owner. Alfas, especially, don't tolerate neglect. They have to be maintained meticulously and driven regularly.
 

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I made the mistake about three years ago of buying a very used Milano that was similarly neglected, and that car practically drained my bank account dry. I learned the hard way what all the smart people say over and over again: Pay a bit more upfront and get a car that's been well cared for and has had the big-ticket items done by the previous owner. Alfas, especially, don't tolerate neglect. They have to be maintained meticulously and driven regularly.
Same story here with my 91L. Man,it needs work. Cant even find anyone to make an offer on it!

Thankfully I found a very,very nice 94 LS for good money.

As I've said before, I wish I would have joined this forum before my first Alfa purchase....so does my wife.:rolleyes:
 
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