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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Okay so I am fairly new to the worlds of Alfa's I currently have a 1990 Porsche 944S2 that I am converting into a track car. So I am on the hunt for a new D.D On my list of cars is the 164 S or Q. I have other cars considered like the E39 BMW 540i-6, 99-01 Audi S4, and a Ford Lightning for Practically reasons. Am very familar with the German cars and the Ford as My dad has had Ford's all his life and I worked for a multi-Marque highend dealership with Porsche, Audi, M/B, Volvo and had numrious BMW's there as trade-ins.

Anyways I am coming here to ask what are some of the problems areas to look out for when consdiering a 164. I am not going to ask peoples opinion on which car is better as this is a Alfa board so I will get a bias answer:).

Looking around I believe that there is a headgasket issue? is this true. Also liek my Porsche and Ferrari's I know I have to change and inspect the Timing Belt and waterpump, but how often does one have to change the belt and waterpump? every 30, 60 or 90K? I am very mechinally incline as I do about 90% of my own work on the Porsche.

So tell me guys what is the best year to buy, what should I look out for? and how much should I pay for one. I am only considering the S or the rare Q. With a 5 speed Manual
 

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Since you have added daily driver to your requirement list I will be biased and say don't do 164S or Q unless you find a one owner fully maintained documented 100% no fooling specimen.

The 1991-1993 164L with 5-speed or in my case 164B models are better choice for daily driver's. Easier to maintain and just as enjoyable if not more so as a daily driver.

My rule is 35k on timing belts and 70k on water pumps and tensioers on 12v engines. Maybe you can go to 45-50k and 90-100k on both 12v and 24v but scary to me. I care not to try.

The 24v engine is a bit much to maintain correctly and somewhat challenging to do timing belt and cam timing. Yes, I have done them and have over $400 worth of special tools to do the job.

I am still on my originale 12v engine and head gaskets at 190k but I bought car new and have maintained it from day one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks Steve, I have the 944 with the 16v head on it right now so its a little more to maintain tha the regular 8v cars. The last thing I need is another car which is harder to maintain as a daily. I will consider the 91-93 cars than. I just like teh looks of the S and the Q cars better becasue of the gound effects and rear deck spolier
 

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Having worked on both 12v and 24v 164's, I would choose a 12v any day of the week. Even in Alfa terms the 24v unique parts are hard to get and cost a lot more. The 24v in a modern sports sedan, but it also requires more in the way to time and money to properly maintain.

I upgraded from a Milano Verde to a 91 S (one owner 125k) about a year ago as my daily driver. The 164 has a much better AC, rides easier, larger trunk, and the back seat better fits my kids.

The S is really a much sportier 164 than the B and L. The problem with the S is that there are unique S parts that are not found on other 12v 164. These unique parts are harder to find and a little more money, but not in the range of 24v cars.

In the 12 months and now at 140k miles I have done a lot of work to make to as reliable and fun as possible. Work that I have done - Stepper Motors, blower motor, all motor mounts, steering rack and hoses, water pump, timing belt, and all front seals, all belts, serp bearing, rotors all around, brake pads all around, brake hoses all, front control arm bushings, ball joints, outer tie rods, rear suspension, complete clutch, clutch master & slave, and finally new tires.

These are old cars and with the miles on them, usually need repair to keep them running as they should. Do not get me wrong, the 164 is great daily driver and I will wait to retire it from daily service once Alfa returns to the US. It is a blast to drive and I continue keep my 164S on the road.

Now back to work.
 

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thanks Steve, I have the 944 with the 16v head on it right now so its a little more to maintain tha the regular 8v cars. The last thing I need is another car which is harder to maintain as a daily. I will consider the 91-93 cars than. I just like teh looks of the S and the Q cars better becasue of the gound effects and rear deck spolier
I have been driving my son's S now and again when we do something to it and want to test it out. I find it much different to drive than my 5-speed B model (same as L but without ABS). Anyway I like my gearing better than his. We used to have Lancia Betas and S gearing is lower like Beta was so engine is much busier doing same speed. I hardly ever use 5th with mine and almost always us it with his. He thinks his Maser biturbo is faster than his S but we haven't had a chance to compete them against each other. I don't like Maser much either.

I maybe just an old gray headed dude but I know what I like. You need to test drive B/L and S.
 

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I bought a 164B with 140,000 for $840. It needed clutch, transmission input bearing (not bad, just not upgrade bearing), motor mounts, water pump, timing belt, exhaust and now I'm finding out A/C condenser. I've got about than $1500 in the car and it's very reliable. It came with an "S" spoiler and snow tires. I had summers on "S" wheels, so it is an "S" look alike. Great daily driver.

I had an "S" for 144,000 miles. It only let me down twice on the road. 1st time shortly after I bought it, the serpintine belt tensioner bearing went out at about 25,000. The 2nd time was a dead battery after the car was over 7 years old.
Here's the key to 164 reliability in order of importance:

1. Change the timing belt and tensioner on a regular schedule. I did mine every 30,000. I just found that number easier to calculate and remember than odd numbers like Steve's 35,000. Either will work.
2. Keep oil and water in it. Goes without saying.
3. Change the water pump every other timing belt change.

Now that i wrecked my black 164S, I've got lots of parts, including an engine to put in my red 164S.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sounds like my Porsche, I change the timing belt every 30K and the waterpump every other belt change. Actually I have been looking for alfa's in western Washington as that where my family is(Seattle Area) so I am looking for an excuse to go home.
 

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....Actually I have been looking for alfa's in western Washington....
I've seen some nice ones on craigslist and ebay as well as AutoTrader in that area. Don't give up. And for a daily driver, listen to Steve about the base/L comparison against the S. The S (to me, there are other opinions) feels a bit more visceral. I like how its power curve is a bit higher in RPM than the B/L engines. In the lower gears it feels like it just wants to pull even better as the RPMs wind up. I suspect the 24V car is just like that with respect to the S. Because of the things Steve mentioned, I'm not certain I even want to tempt myself with an LS or Q. I suspect there are non-Alfa options that would work that part of the driving envelope at acceptable cost in time and $.

But I really like the 12V cars, which are all that we have. We have an automatic '91L, which used to be the wife's car, now replaced by a '92S. #2 son used to have a '92S, now trashed and donating organs to the replacement '91S. Daughter has a '93L, recently transferred to #1 son, which is a _nice_ car (keep an eye on NY/NJ). For a highway cruiser, the B/L cars are very nice and easy enough on upkeep. The S is lower mileage, more tempting to run to redline, and as Steve says you'll almost always be in 5th gear. Good luck with your search.

Michael
 

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Well, I understand you wanting to come home, but but after you pay a few tickets, you may change your mind:)

I had a very nice Black 164S. I really liked that car. It was quick and I didn't mind the shifting. Now I have the "B". It gets better gas mileage because of the gearing. It is also very quick, hence my comment above.
 

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I have an L with an S transmission. I can't give you a comparison since I've never driven a straight L but it makes a decent daily driver that is fun to wind out when you feel like it.
 

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Why not LS/Q?

Let me chime in with my 2cents. My 95 LS auto is a daily driver and has 141K on the clock. I drive it everywhere, about 18 -20K per year. My commute mixed freeway / city and I just love driving that car.

Maintenance-- yeah, there is some. It is NOT (in my humble view) unmanageable, excessive, or even terribly difficult. Yes, you will need some tools (available for the most part), some time, and some planning to get your maintenance done. My LS has stranded me twice (no start) until a new fuel pump was put in (it failed as an intermittent even on my bench). This is a reliable car if one keeps up with it.

So I say-- do not discount the 24V LS and Q.

bob
 

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Bob,

I agree with you don't discount a 24v but again I say for a newbie buy a good one because learning curve that you and I have did not happen over night.

These cars are anywhere between 17 to 12 years old now in the USA configuration. How many other models those years are still strumming along fat dumb and happy without any issues?

Even Mr. T. has had to learn a few things to keep his fleet of 12v's going.
 

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Or you could find one of these for dirt cheap. Do you guys remember when these came out and were the most obvious 164 knockoff you could have imaged? I still loathe these cars for be such a bad quasi-copy of a 164 (at least in terms of the lower side moldings that gave it a similiar look to the 164, especially in white). :rolleyes: No, seriously, my 164L makes my day as a daily driver, but I have another vehicle to drive if I have to wait on parts or I want to tear into something that may take a while to do.
Charles
 

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"D" what is that??? A Sterling or some sort of Pontiac???? It's hideous...
 

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Two more cents! I would not have an issue using my L as a daily! I may be using my car for sales calls for a bit and I think the S will eat too much fuel but I'm not worried about the L for that. I'm also looking at an 89 Spider tomorrow for the same purpose, might as well work in style!
 

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That was an Eagle Premier. It had a "design by Giorgetto Giugiaro" badge in the same place as the 164 says "designed by Pininfarina" and similiar grey lower body moldings as a 164 when they first came out, but that was later changed just like the later 164s. They were not nearly as pretty as a 164 and sported either a 2.5 or 3.0 V6 from Renault. The Premier has not aged well, unlike the 164. :D I went looking for a Premier forum for fun, it was sooo dead, not like here. ;) BTW, if you run across a Premier at the salvage yard, you can snag the dizzy cap, as it interchanges with the 164.
Charles
 

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My two cents on a 164 daily driver. I bought my '91 L for $1500 over 4 years ago with 228,000 miles. I knew the car from new and it was fanatically maintained. I am an appraiser and drive it daily many miles a year. I just turned 325,000 miles last week. Other than a starter and steering rack, I have only serviced the belts, plugs and changed the oil. This is the best car I have ever owned, new or used, German, Italian, American, etc., bar none.

Tom
'91 164L
'69 GTV
'89 Spider
'81 Lancia Beta Coupe
'99 Audi A6 Avant
'06 F250 Powerstroke
 

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164Q as a Daily Driver

I have had my 95 164Q for about 3 weeks now. It is a blast to drive, rapidly accelerating though the gears. I'm not sure if I would want to take a relaxing long term trip in this car, because it turns approximately 3K at 75 MPH. Seems like my brother's X1/9, but doesn't turn like a "go cart". Still, I would recommend one as a daily driver if you are not interested in "relaxed" driving like a Camrey or Accord.
 
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