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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a 1994 164LS recently and my Alfa specialist (one of the mechanics who was a certified Alfa mechanic back in the 80's and 90's when Presitige Auto still was an Alfa Dealer) finally had a chance to really inspect it today and the list of issues isn't pretty! It's a rust-free southern car that is cosmetically very sound, but it needs every belt, hose, and bushing replaced...all the "soft" parts. The previous owner had it for 7 years and never changed the timing belt so for precaution that should be done as well. The total estimate including parts is screaming towards $6000! Way more than I'm interested in spending as that's more than she's worth. Before I decide to keep it I want to see what parts I can score off of the BB. Below is everything that I need to fix or replace off the top of my head:

Tid Rods
Left Rear wheel hub (one of the 5 bolts is snapped off)
Center console display (shes toast, but can get one off of BB for $550)
Timing Belt and everything that normally gets replaced along with the timing belt
All the fuel lines
Hose Kit
Coolant tank and cap
rear window switches
The front windows go down really slow so maybe window motors
steering rack
Steering gear?
Rear muffler and muffler hangers
All shocks and struts are pretty worn
The radio seems to work as does the antena, but horible reception
Tune up including new plugs ($270 to change out the plugs!)


I did get all new tires as suggest here on the BB for $49/piece
I also found a NOS keyless entry fob, but need to have it programmed

I know that there are other things, but I couldn't remember all of them.

Any leads on some of these parts? I know that I can get a timing belt off of eBay, but I'm not sure if it's a decent belt. If I can't dial the total tab back then I may have another Alfa for sale!!)

Thanks, Peter
 

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Peter,

I can't help you with the parts, but that estimate seems higher than it should be. I'd say 60 to 75% of that is labor. If you could do the work yourself, you'd save a load of money.

I'm in almost the same boat with my new Super. It has some cosmetic issues (rust), and I have no experience with doing body work, so I'll have to pay someone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Prestige is always high on labor, but they are about the only one's in town that I would trust with the 24v. With my '83 Spider there are countless shops that can handle them since it's pretty simple with hardly any electronics. I don't do any work on my cars...I know better, mechanical issues are not my thing and never have been and never will be.
 

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Was that the Black 94LS from the dealership in Missouri?
Real nice cosmetics.
 

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$270 to change out the plugs???!!!! I assume the price includes plugs, wires and labor. Plugs cost from $2.50 to about $8.00 per on the high end of what most of us use. Changing plugs is just about as complicated as changing a lightbulb, but extra care is required and getting to the plugs in the rear bank requires removal of three hoses (a screwdriver is best, but I once used a butter knife in a pinch.) Total time to change plugs: about 20 minutes.

Seriously,
 

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Plugs

Dan: on a 24 valve you have to pull the intake plenum to get the plugs out of the rear bank (and the coil packs, and the cute little trim panel over the coil packs that makes the 24 valve motor look like Busso designed it when he clearly didn't when you see the real FIAT cylinder heads.

Rex in Albany

Fusch (Sh*t)
In (in)
Allen (all)
Teilen (Parts)
 

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1991 164L
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Prestige is always high on labor, but they are about the only one's in town that I would trust with the 24v. With my '83 Spider there are countless shops that can handle them since it's pretty simple with hardly any electronics. I don't do any work on my cars...I know better, mechanical issues are not my thing and never have been and never will be.

Since you are a checkbook mech with that long of a laundry list you are in for a money pit operation. You have to decide is owning the car worth it.

Parts are cheap compared to farming out the repair actions no way around that fact.

Even if you buy the parts the shop will want hefty labor fees to cover loss of mark up on parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What I could do is have Prestige handle the timing belt and electrical issues and have one of my other mechs handle the bushings, tie rods, etc?

Here is a picture of the car. 130K
 

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... The total estimate including parts is screaming towards $6000! Way more than I'm interested in spending as that's more than she's worth. ...
Peter,

The $6k quoted is actually a good price for all the work you describe. It will be way more expensive if you commission different tasks to different shops. Realize that there is a savings when everything is done at once, as opposed to taking a car apart more than once, which is what will happen if the car goes to different shops. (Not to mention that no mechanic likes to fix what they perceive as someone's else inexperienced work, and they certainly aren't going to give you a $$ break for using another shop.) You should be able to save some money by sourcing some of the parts yourself, but make sure you are fully coordinated with the shop for this. If they are OK with you sourcing parts, then make sure that you both agree on the list and that they will verify that all of the correct parts have been received, before proceeding with the work. Furthermore, don't be surprised if additional parts have to be sourced once the work starts, and that they get these from their supply instead of holding up the work while something arrives through the mail.

It is unfortunate, but not unusual, when a person acquires a vehicle with deferred maintenance. There are many owners who simply drive their cars, and because they don't abuse them in any way, they think that everything is great about their vehicles and maintenance is not even a thought. Many, if not most, of the used 164s that I have seen bought have at least $3k-$5k in deferred maintenance. (I actually tell this to people who are buying 164s without a full stack of shop records.) If you fix all this, then you'll have a good car for many years to come. Nonetheless, even if you spend nothing in one year you still need to budget and put $$ aside for when the car needs regular maintenance. Procedures on the 164s are just time consuming, but it is an extremely satisfying and reliable car. (Ours are serious transportation. We don't even own any newer vehicles.) You do really need to evaluate if it is worth it for you to bring your car's maintenance up-to-date.

Best regards,
 

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I would do what is absolutely necessary right now to make sure the car is safe and drivable. The timing belt and accessories are necessary before you even turn the key again on the car. The belt slips or breaks and you are going to eat two cylinder heads. The steering can wait, the display isnt' going to keep the car off the road nor is a broken stud on the wheel. Changing the plugs isn't an easy proposition on these cars, as you do have to take alot off to get to the rear bank of plugs. All of that can come off when you do the timing belt, so that should be part of the deal. Alot of nice potential but spread out the repairs and do only what is necessary for now.
 

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I agree that much of what you describe as needed can easily be deferred until later, and much of the work you can do yourself without much hassle. I would never give a shop "carte blanche" to bring the car back to their described level of "decency?". I would have the cam belt redone, and then go from there, ticking off items as time goes by. I'll bet that much of what the shop said needed to be replaced (based on your list) really doesn't need to be. Sometimes they just tell you, "well, these parts have a lot of miles/time on them, so we should replace them". Nah, don't fall for that. That's my experience anyway.

I have a 94LS, and many items of what you mention are still quite fine, and work well, esp if they are cleaned and lubed. I would say to get a repair manual cd or book, and enjoy slowly bringing the car up to date for service.
 

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. Sometimes they just tell you, "well, these parts have a lot of miles/time on them, so we should replace them". Nah, don't fall for that. That's my experience anyway.


I would get the car back to the shop if it's not already there and have the guy get it up on a rack for you and walk you through what the car needs by showing you. You will learn a lot about your car and what it looks like under there. If he is worth a darn he won't mind spending a little time with you looking and explaining. Six grand is a bunch of money to put into any car!! I do that with many of my customers who say they don't see why the part/parts are bad. I get a lot "It feels fine" Of course I don't say out loud that if it feels fine why does it swerve to the right when you hit the brakes?
Have them point out what is most important 1st.
Every one thinks that the mechanic is out to get them and make a billion dollars off every car. Most folks don't take into account the years of work and training it has taken to learn to work on their car. Not to mention the cost of just buying the tools to work on their car.
Price a wheel bearing removal/installer set.
Price a set of good wrenches or sockets that don't round off tight nuts and bolts.
Price a good multi-meter that won't set off your air bag when testing it.
I bet I have more money in tools than I have in my cars. (that includes the 2006 Grand Vitara)

It costs a lot of money to keep these cars on the road. If you maintain them they will keep you on the road.

Use your head not your emotions when paying for anything.

Just a rant.

Paul
 

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LS is a great car, and yours looks great. I've owned mine since 1999 and very few things went wrong. AC, timing belt/water pump, recently coil module and some minor vacuum leaks, shocks, plugs, etc. The rest of years, oil change was about the onlything needed. At this age and milege, a few items are at their designed lifespan and that's why you pay so little for the car.

but it needs every belt, hose, and bushing replaced...all the "soft" parts. The previous owner had it for 7 years and never changed the timing belt so for precaution that should be done as well. The total estimate including parts is screaming towards $6000!
Considering no maitenance was done for the last 7 years, you should replace all the belts, esp timing belt and relevant bearings.

Center display, big deal, use it by feel and not by looking. If too hot, drop the temp, if too cold, raise the temp. I leave it at auto and only use temp controls, and econ mode when AC is not needed.

at 13 years old, it's not a bad idea to replace the bushings and rubber parts. You can also get used parts from APE (APEDIRECT.COM). The window switches are expensive german imports, you might want to try cleaning yours first with DeOxit before buying new ones. The window regulators can be obtained from APE as a unit and replace your slow running one. $270 for changing plugs isn't very bad considering amount of work to reach the rear bank. On the first time I did it myself, took me whole afternoon into dinner time.

You can also try Lucas steering stop leak first and see if that helps. It's gooey jelly like stuff that doesn't leak out immediately as with other stop leaks. If after 2 bottles and still leaks, consider replacing the rack.

I've long replaced rear muffler, i am surprised that yours just start to need replacement :)

Most items you listed are wear items and should be periodically checked and replaced anyways.

One thing troubles me, how did that wheel stud get ripped off? The only think i can imagine is the impact tool... but it is supposed to be from a reputable shop right?
 

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+1 for paying the big bucks to have the engine done by the specialist.

The rest should be able to be handled by any other mechanic, or a friend with tools!
 
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