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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've always wanted to join a group or forum site of car enthusiast actually having "owned" a car myself. And after many sleepless, tedious nights of me wondering "Are my parents ever going to come through and let me get this car?" i'm now a VERY proud owner of a beautiful white Alfa Romeo 164L!

I'm very confident in the car, and it's good to know i bought it from someone who is really passionate about cars, so i know it's always been well kept. Bought from jontg428! <-- very knowledgeable and a great guy i plan to keep it for a long time to come, and maintain it to the best of my ability.

I'm going to be entering my senior year in high school next year, and to be quite honest with ya'll i'm not "car savvy" at all. I've always wanted a beautiful car (not like the average honda civic or acura integra EVERY OTHER kid at school drives), and boy did i get it! Great sounding 3.0LV6 engine and interior is kept very clean.

To cut my post a lil short, i'm still young, and all help concerning things that i may need to do ( or be done ) in the future to prolong the cars life ( since i'm planning to keep it for a LONG time ) is very greatly appreciated. The car has about 220k miles, and i'm going to try to get past 350 or more in it's lifetime. I know Alfa's are alot more expensive to maintain as apposed to the average toyota, so as for helping cover the cost of future projects and maintenance, i'm going to get a job as a swimming instructor to help bring in some more money, (and to pay back my parents for the car). I'm also going back into a full time Auto class student for my senior year in High School, so i can re-round myself with more knowledge about cars and Alfas.

I plan to refer to this site alot for future use, and keep in touch with the former owner if things come up. I know for it's high mileage, it's going to need a timing belt change ASAP. Are there any tips you all can give me for my first car, being an 91' Alfa Romeo 164L? And things to expect in the long run? All help is appreciated, thanks again!

-Kendrick
 

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Kendrick welcome. I am glad Jon was your seller as I believe you are getting a well sorted 164 as he has spent a ton of time and I am sure money keeping it that way.

My daughter gots hers when a rising sophomore in HS and finally allowed to drive it to school in her junior year. She is now a rising junior in college and still driving it. And yes it is using more oil than when we got it as it has a rear main seal leak now.

Do always check your oil and other vital fluids when you get gas even though nobody else does it nowadays. Alfas do use oil and the older they get the more they use.

Just remember if they aren't using oil they are dead. Some use alot others use a little but these 164s are now 20 years old and require tender loving care.
 

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Hello Kendrick,
Though you've just received a great welcome there, I guess there's no harm in repeating it :)

From your writing style we can straightaway tell that you're not the usual type of young person that stumbles into owning an Alfa 164, wants more power/speed or to fit various hot-up bits, and whose relationship ends in disappointment a few weeks or months later.

I'm sure it will work out fine for you and that you'll enjoy your new purchase. Keep it standard, keep it maintained, and it will serve you well. 164s at this age are generally best for drivers who can do their own work, so you're wise to become skilled-up as you've said.

I don't think that an Alfa is really any more expensive to maintain than a Toyota - the difference is that the Toyota won't get maintained at all and will usually still work. Also you have to be careful to compare apples with apples (the 164 is nearly 20 years old after all) and finally, remember that the cost of owning a newer car (say up to five years old) is immense in terms of lost value each year. I owned a three-year-old car a few years back and in each of the two years I had it, it lost several thousand dollars of value, more than the cost of my three 164s combined. You might think that 'lost value' doesn't really count as a motoring cost, but one day you go to sell that slightly less-new car and find that yes, you really have thrown away $5500 in two years... that would buy a LOT of 164 maintenance...

When I was 23 I bought my first 164 in 2003 after a progression of 15+ FIATs and one English car (the Austin Princess, which was my first car in 1997). One of those FIATs had just 24bhp (FIAT 126) and most were terminally rusty. The 164 was a revelation in comparison and - at the risk of sounding like an old man - I think you're doing well to start with one as your first car :cool:

Cheers,
-Alex
 

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Hello Kendrick,
Though you've just received a great welcome there, I guess there's no harm in repeating it :)

From your writing style we can straightaway tell that you're not the usual type of young person that stumbles into owning an Alfa 164, wants more power/speed or to fit various hot-up bits, and whose relationship ends in disappointment a few weeks or months later.

I'm sure it will work out fine for you and that you'll enjoy your new purchase. Keep it standard, keep it maintained, and it will serve you well. 164s at this age are generally best for drivers who can do their own work, so you're wise to become skilled-up as you've said.

I don't think that an Alfa is really any more expensive to maintain than a Toyota - the difference is that the Toyota won't get maintained at all and will usually still work. Also you have to be careful to compare apples with apples (the 164 is nearly 20 years old after all) and finally, remember that the cost of owning a newer car (say up to five years old) is immense in terms of lost value each year. I owned a three-year-old car a few years back and in each of the two years I had it, it lost several thousand dollars of value, more than the cost of my three 164s combined. You might think that 'lost value' doesn't really count as a motoring cost, but one day you go to sell that slightly less-new car and find that yes, you really have thrown away $5500 in two years... that would buy a LOT of 164 maintenance...

When I was 23 I bought my first 164 in 2003 after a progression of 15+ FIATs and one English car (the Austin Princess, which was my first car in 1997). One of those FIATs had just 24bhp (FIAT 126) and most were terminally rusty. The 164 was a revelation in comparison and - at the risk of sounding like an old man - I think you're doing well to start with one as your first car :cool:

Cheers,
-Alex
Welcome. Find a good mechanic and read up on this site as much as you can. This will teach you cars, real fast.

Jason
 

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Kendrick...
Congratulations and Welcome!!
I saw my 1st Alfa when I was 22 and bought my 1st one when I was about 52:) Your way ahead of me already:)

1. Timing belts are critical!!! Do it right away!!! Ask the PO when it was changed last. If it needs to be done and you don't have the money right now, park it!
2. Get a shop manual, or better yet, get Shop DVD from CarDisc. Money well spent and you'll own one sooner or later, so you might as well do it sooner.
3. You need to learn as much as possible about how to work on your car yourself, so get in the habit of following this form everyday.
 

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Kendrick, That is very similar to my situation! I have had a 1991 white 164L (5-speed) that i bought last year. This coming year i will be a junior in high school. Like you the reason i bought the car was to get something 'different' and something unique. Hopefully you have better luck than me; since i've owned the car the clutch and tranny have been replaced (due to negligence of the previous owner), along with many other miscellaneous repairs resulting from the previous owner's lazyness. Though i knew a good bit about cars before i bought the alfa it has certainly forced me to learn even more about maintaining my own vehicle.
The best of luck to you and enjoy your vehicle,
Ike
 

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Hey Kendrick... my daughter had a 164 as her school car for her Jnr & Snr year at HS which was a great change from all the kids that had M3s, H2s, MB E series, Mitsu & Subaru's, etc...
Find a good mechanic and learn to do regular maintenance and you should be a 'happy camper.' It won't be with out trials but the more you learn about the 164 the more you'll enjoy and appreciate it.
My youngest son (freshman in college) is driving round on the 5speed 164 and we just got him a Milano for his everyday car once we replace the rear calipers and indicators. He's just as happy as you are about owning a car that is 'his' and different from all the other cars in the area.
Enjoy and be safe!
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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Congrats. Saw my first Alfa when I was 22, and bought a show quality sprint GT several years later after I graduated from college. Been driving Alfas ever since, about 45 years now. It's in the blood. Every time I test drive something else, I keep coming back to my Alfas. Of course, I've lucked out and have known a great master Alfa mechanic all that time, but I can do much of my own work, being an engineer, raised in a home machine shop, inherited the equipment.

Get to know the mechanics around you who can do the work right, and you can not only keep the car running, but also learn so much yourself to be self reliant and really enjoy the car.
 

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Welcome, and enjoy it. Keep the dream alive!
All things are said.:)

Regards,

Erwin
 

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Glad to see you joined the BB Ken! As I said, get the timing belt done ASAP as its due, and also use only OEM parts on the car. For the cooling fan, just get a good used one and swap it out, don't go the Kragen universal fan route, it will cause issues in the long run. That said the next thing that will need done, not right away, but probably 6-12 months from now is the steering rack, for now just keep the fluids topped up on it and you will be fine, check it every 4 weeks or so. When you notice heavier loss of fluid then schedule a replacement. The fluid to use is Dexron ATF fluid, not power steering fluid. Check the engine oil every 500 miles or so and top off as needed as well. That being said, it should give you many happy miles of smiles! I am glad you are enjoying the car, and glad I found a good owner for it! As the others have mentioned, read this forum regularly and you will get a hang for what these cars need. Let me know if you need anything else or have any questions, and congrats on getting my old car!
Jon
 

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Welcome Kendrick,
I second (or 3rd, 4th ....) those who say to learn to do your own work. I think taking auto shop is a great idea and is one of the biggest mistakes I made in high school - not taking it. These are not hondas and will quickly deteriorate if not taken care of. They are not less reliable than hondas when taken care of. And, as you already mentioned, very different than the other cars in the HS parking lot.

As for the financial aspects of ownership - if you can learn to do your own work, have the tools/space, and get involved with local clubs (ARA in the bay area is great) you can pick up basket case alfas for very cheap to get parts you may need. If the cars are too far gone (rust/major body damage) you can part them out and make a good ammount. That is kind of what I do and works well. I curretly have 4 alfas and owned another one before (1 79 alfetta gt, 2 79 alfetta sedans, 87 milano verde, 91 164L). Total acqisition costs were $5325. Total shop work done $3580. Total parts/car sales $4160. I actually have just rented a shop to work on the cars as I keep being offered free/super cheap ones. I have three that I have agreements to buy, just waiting for the space - a milano gold and 2 70's fiat spiders - all three for less than $750. Just an idea to fund your car and get a lot of experience really fast.

Again, welcome!
 

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Hey, congrats and welcome! My son also got his 164L right before his senior year started....He loves the car for the very same reasons you do. He's off to college this year.
Have fun with it!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey everyone! Thanks for all the help and posts i've recieved, i'll take each and every one of them into consideration and i really appreciate all the feedback!

i'll be making sure to change my timing belt soon, check my oil as regularly as i can, use only original manufactured parts for my car :), get to know a good mechanic, get a shop DVD (whats this?) :], get my cooling fan pretty soon, and check my engine oil every 500 miles, get involved in local clubs, and check the alfabb as much as i can, learn to do my own work as time goes on. And of course can't forget to use TLC as much as possible! anything else? :D

As for that, my dads even letting me store it in the garage, and the 07' corolla gets kicked out! lol.
 

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good luck with the car! my first car was also a 164, and I still drive it everyday! I've enjoyed driving this car since i was 16. I'm sure you will enjoy yours for many years to come and this is the right spot to get help when you need it.
 

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Hey Kendrick,

Welcome to the Alfa world. I am 47 years old and have been driving Alfas since I've had a driver's license. My first car was a '79 Alfetta GTV and can't imagine a life without one. I have had many other cars as well. I think you have come at a crossroad in your life where you will be driving one of the finest cars ever conceived, short of a supercar, for a small investment. I hope you enjoy your car with the passion that all of us at the Alfabb share. Best of luck.

Warmest regards,

Ruben Velez
 

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Kendrick welcome and thank you for buying Jons car. I am glad it went to a god home. I have owned over 30 164 cars and love them. With that said dont race it or anything like that and it will be good to you. Jon has spent a lot of $$ and much more time on that car to keep it in the shape it is in. Heck I even have helped work on it more then a few times and it has spent the night at my shop a while back getting the suspension rebuilt. If you need anything please feel free to ask. I have a fan for you if you can come to Sacramento to get it. Enjoy and have that timing belt done by a good experienced shop soon. Grant here on the BB may be able to do it he is doing Alfa side work. Anyways enjoy it and try not to sleep in it much!;)
 
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