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Hello wonderful people. I am not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'm in need of a little assistance. Based on the suggestions from the Facebook group for Alfa owners, I figured this would be a good place to start asking questions.

Over past few years, I have formed quite a sick desire to own a 164 S. I have tracked down several over the years, but nothing ever panned out prior to me looking at them.

I now have a few in my sights, but I wanted to ask what are the biggest things to look for when inspecting these cars? What are the most common replacement/repair items? ...Believe me, I know that's a very loaded question.

I am looking at it tomorrow night. I am taking a good family friend who runs his own auto repair shop, but Alfas are not his specialty. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
 

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See the first item here:

 

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Please let us know how it goes with your search. I bought my 1992 164-S, new from Paul Spruell Alfa and it has been a wonderful car. They are not the easiest cars to have serviced or repaired but I now do that myself -with the help of the guys on this forum.

I would say the three most important things are: condition, condition, condition. Condition of the body, the interior and the mechanical systems. Unfortunately these Alfas have timing belts (as opposed to long lasting chains) that should be serviced on a regular basis, with the water pump and idler pulley. I hope to change my timing belt every 6 years or 30,000 miles but it will likely 'time out' before half that many miles are reached...

Mark
 

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They are a great car. I bought my used 91S back in 94, to be used as the daily driver, and it's been that ever since, now with 192k miles on it, the drive train having never been apart, just finally putting in a new clutch at 188k miles. Otherwise, just changing the wearing/consumable parts when required. The problems I've had were pretty much limited to the steering rack leaking, the a/c pump clutch shorting out, the fuel pump internal hose failing, and the hvac system gears breaking a tooth. One rear strut did leak, replaced with a good used one. Did rebuild the struts, although I'm still not sure they needed it. It even has the original cap and rotor, plug wiring, and large corrugated intake hose. Otherwise, I just drive it.

Several things to note:

One is to always change the serpentine belt idle pulley when you change the timing belt at ~30-40k miles (when it's bearing fails, you lose the waterpump drive and that's not good, but having been burned on that, my own fault, I now carry a kit in the trunk for changing that belt and pulley by the side of the road, lol), and I suggest using one of the plastic pulleys such as supplied by Dayco, as they work better IMO and don't cost much as compared to the metal original.

Second, use the NGK Iridium plugs, as they last much longer and work very well. Use Techron or some other FI system cleaner once in a while in the gas tank. Have never had an injector problem using that stuff. Regular 'proactive' maintenance and lubing of all hinges, etc, really helps. I also spray everything rubber and plastic in the engine compartment with ArmorAll now and then. That seems to help in making those parts last.

Third is to make sure the front suspension toe is set at basically zero as recommended by Alfa now. Do not use the original spec toe out setting. Otherwise, you will wear the tires in a real hurry. I also back the rear suspension toe off just a little smidgen. Do not expect anything more than ~30k miles out of a set of tires, however.
 

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It has been awhile since I had a 164, but echo the prior on condition and wait for a really good one. Make sure all electrical works, the climate control system works smoothly in all modes and without delays or excessive noise, AC functions. Ensure that the alarm system has not been messed with and you have the key for it along with key fobs. I’d run from any car with aftermarket wiring. Have the car thoroughly inspected by somebody who knows 164, including corrosion spots (notably gas filler in rear. Prefer to buy a car that has been driven regularly. Pick extensive maintenance records over low mileage. Expensive to fix so depending on your level of DIY, don’t underestimate the cost.

I’ll give my two cents on the condition of suspension bushings and bearings. Strut bearings do not last, consider that a replacement item. Sport suspension should work properly, check struts for leaks. Likewise rear suspension control arms are often damaged by hack towing, improper jacking or off road excusions. As Del says, these cars are very sensitive to proper alignment, front and back. They drive superbly when bushings are in good shape!

Don’t buy a low budget 164 unless you are handy. The prices are low enough that a good one won’t break the bank.
 

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Some people have issues with the car running hot if the cooling system is not working perfectly. I ended up adding an adjustable temperature sensor for the radiator fan. I set it so that the fan comes on earlier than spec. I have a mechanic who maintains my car and I budget on average about $1,000 per year on maintenance. Some years less, some years more when there is a timing belt change due. I am about to have my oil cooler lines replaced as they are weeping along with some other seals. Good luck and great cars when they are running.
 

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Overall it’s just a 30+ year old car so most of the usual things in regards to condition. Alfa 164 specific stuff would be #1 the climate control stepper motor gears, pretty involved job fixing that and as far as I know they all failed so it’s most likely it’s already been done. #2 check the outer door handles for cracks, they break. So do the inner ones but you won’t be able to see any tell-tale signs before they do. #3 Power window and seat control switches, see if they work - sunroof too. #4 Electronic suspension, no red light above the AUTO/SPORT buttons. Red light means faulted to sport mode, hard to diagnose without the tester, which a few of us have.

After all that set a few hundred aside for the speeding tickets you’ll inevitably get - ask me how I know d;-o

Good luck with your search and welcome to the club if you succeed.
 

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What is the latest from the pre-sale buyer to be on this?
 
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