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As a young man looking for his first car, I always tend to look at some of the rare classics for sale in Auto Trader. While I'd take any car at this point, I REALLY DO NOT want to drive a Corolla or Cavalier or some other POS, especially if I'm spending my own money.

After years of searching and waiting, a classic Alfa thats affordable has come up. Its a 1976 Alfetta Sedan, a 2.0. I'm going to look at it this weekend, but I want to know what sorts of things (i.e. trouble spots) to look out for when I inspect it.

Thanks,
Derek
 

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I REALLY DO NOT want to drive a Corolla or Cavalier or some other POS, especially if I'm spending my own money.
Then you're like me:cool:. My choice would then be the TZ 2
 

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My first car was an alfa, and I loved it for every second it was alive. You will have to take mantinance into consideration when you buy such an old car. Save a couple grand because you will need it to fix the many annoying little things that will go wrong. I do have a question... why an alfetta sedan? Obviously this is subjective, but I dont think they arent the prettiest alfas. I think parts for those cars are a little more scarce than other alfas of similar age. I also think they are known to be rust buckets, even more so than a gtv6. Look for rust in the rocker panels and by all the window gaskets. I also think I read somewhere that the rear flexdisks for alfettas are almost non existant, so check to see if they are still good. Watch out for second gear and sometimes 3rd. You need a delicate touch to shift these things. If you are looking for 4 doors, why not a milano? I guess some people think they are ugly too, but you get 2.5 v6 and a few creature comforts. Good luck with your search and post up some pics if you but it!
 

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Bitten by the Alfa But, Now I Need Help

My first car was an alfa, and I loved it for every second it was alive. You will have to take mantinance into consideration when you buy such an old car. Save a couple grand because you will need it to fix the many annoying little things that will go wrong. I do have a question... why an alfetta sedan? Obviously this is subjective, but I dont think they arent the prettiest alfas. I think parts for those cars are a little more scarce than other alfas of similar age. I also think they are known to be rust buckets, even more so than a gtv6. Look for rust in the rocker panels and by all the window gaskets. I also think I read somewhere that the rear flexdisks for alfettas are almost non existant, so check to see if they are still good. Watch out for second gear and sometimes 3rd. You need a delicate touch to shift these things. If you are looking for 4 doors, why not a milano? I guess some people think they are ugly too, but you get 2.5 v6 and a few creature comforts. Good luck with your search and post up some pics if you but it!
I disagree, I prefer the Alfetta sedans to the coupes and spiders; the only sedan I prefer over the Alfettas is my Berlina. I didn't find the Alfetta sedans any different to shift than a spider or coupe; of course, that means double-clutching as expected to drive an Alfa. I will say, the biggest problem that we had with the standard transmission Alfetta was going through donuts. With the automatic Alfetta it was rear exhaust problems; the kind that drop the entire muffler assembly from the front flanges. We did not have rust issues with the Alfettas, but they were California cars.

I don't care for the Milano's style, but more than that I get claustrophibia from the front pillar/windshield configuration as the driver or as a passenger.
 

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I understand the need to be gentle but do these cars not have synchros? Remember, I have never known a world without the internet so double clutching etc. is totally foreign to me.
 

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I understand the need to be gentle but do these cars not have synchros? Remember, I have never known a world without the internet so double clutching etc. is totally foreign to me.
If you ever shift one of these cars a little too briskly, you will be asking yourself the same question. ;) They do have synchros, but second gear is usually shot on most of them. Double clutching helps, especially when downshifting, to match the engine speed with the speed of the gear. When done correctly the shift is much smoother and there is less wear on the clutch. If you get good at matching RPM with gear speed, you dont even need to use the clutch. I wouldnt recomend this due to weak synchros, but it can be done.
 

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Hi Derek,

You won't necessarily need to double clutch; the shift method for Alfas was described to me as first-neutral-second, second-neutral-third, etc.; in other words, you can't slam it from gear to gear. I'm just barely from the internet generation (actually, Gen X) but I learned double-clutching, it's not so hard once you get used to it.

Typical Alfa problem spots include a weak 2nd gear synchro, blown headgasket (signified by milkshake-goo under the radiator cap), and rust. Specifically for Alfettas, you'd want to look for a good rear axle assembly (including brakes, bearings, etc.) since this can be a pain to work on. Also look out for rust all over, but particularly in the front fender wells in the engine compartment, and around the windows, and in the rockers, and in the spare tire well, and... well, you get the idea. Also make sure the 3 driveshaft donuts look okay - no cracks, chunks missing, etc. Otherwise you're in for a fairly expensive (or time-consuming) repair that requires high attention to detail, and those things are a pain to properly balance in general.

For an Alfa newbie, I would recommend a spider, gtv, or berlina over an Alfetta-based car. They're somewhat less complex, and parts availability is better. That said, I have an Alfetta, although it's my 2nd Alfa.

Good luck! If you have more questions, feel free to PM me.
 

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Cheryl,

As stated in my original post, it is a subjective matter when talking about styling. I personaly dont think anything is prettier than gtv6's! :D (well maybe a tipo33 stradale) I was just wondering his reason for choosing the Alfetta sedan? Afordability, availability, styling, 4 doors..etc? If you are in Cali, I think you will get a break from having the car smogged because its a 76'
 

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I'm 18 right now and got my second car as an Alfa GTV6. I'm absolutely in love with the car, and it very well may kill me to be going off to college for a couple years.

The only drawback with an Alfa is that you do have to maintain them. If you don't it will bite you in the back. One of the best thing's I've heard (I wish I remember were I heard it, probably here on the BB) was "if you absolutely have to get where you're going don't drive an Alfa."

Double clutching isn't that hard to learn, you'd be fine with it after some practice (internet generation's version of learning).

Hope you end up an Alfisti!

Carson
 

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Bitten by the Alfa But, Now I Need Help

Cheryl,

As stated in my original post, it is a subjective matter when talking about styling. I personaly dont think anything is prettier than gtv6's! :D (well maybe a tipo33 stradale) I was just wondering his reason for choosing the Alfetta sedan? Afordability, availability, styling, 4 doors..etc? If you are in Cali, I think you will get a break from having the car smogged because its a 76'
Vindingo:

I'm sorry my post was not clear; my only comment regarding styling was in the last sentence about the Milano. The rest of the post dealt with driving an Alfetta over a coupe/spider etc.

Truth be told when the new bodied GTV came out, I didn't like it. I wouldn't say it was ugly, but it reminded me a lot of the Ford Torino fast back. Having said that, it was a style that grew on me and I learned to like.

I'll make an effort to be more clear in the future.
 

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Man - I could write a book about this topic!
Well, First off - A disclamer: Look to my signature and you'll find that my second car was a '77 Alfetta Sedan, and 3 sedans/15 years later - I still have one (and plan is to keep this one until death do us part). So, as long as you know: I think they are the most fantastic car ever made, and that I am also probably the only person who thinks this.

That said, my question to you is: where do you live? While what others have said tends to be true, here in San Francisco - and I'm guessing most metropolitan cities with a healthly Alfa population - I have had zero difficulty finding parts, even the supposedly unobtainable early series donuts (I just had all three replaced on my '75 about two weeks ago). However - if you're in California a '76 model year is NOT smog exempt, which is why I currently drive a '75. These cars do not like smog checks - and the State does not like these cars! If you're in CA - I would say do not purchase a '76 or newer, Spica injected Alfa. My '79 Alfetta is an absolute nightmare to smog.

I won't lie to you - You'll need access to cash, especially in the beginning. Very few people take proper care of these cars, and because of that, when you buy one, you can quickly find yourself spending thousands of dollars to make it a reliable car again. However, once that's done, you'll be rewarded with a fairly reliable car - none of mine have ever left me stranded on the side of the road - but again - I keep on top of maintenance and don't wait for things to break!
While I wouldn't want to talk anyone out of buying an Alfa - if you're not capable/willing to spend money from the get-go, I'd advise against it - I'm speaking from experience here. You should view the purchase price as a "first installment" payment, and expect to shell out a few times that amount to get it up to snuff.
If none of that deters you - there is a huge, very supportive community right here, and manuals are still fairly easy to get a hold of (eBay), and every time you drive your car you'll know what heroin on wheels feels like...
 

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Well I live in Toronto Canada so I dont think parts and mechanics will be too hard to find. I also have a nice cash reserve for this car for any unexpected things that need fixing.

Its a red 1976 sedan with 98,000km. VERY low. But I dont know what I'll do in winter, most likely garage it. Visions of rust attacking the body shell are already haunting me.
 

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That's great to hear, I'm always happy to hear about another Alfetta sedan being cared for and driven.

Here's the key to keeping a lot of the rust in check: Make sure drainage holes are kept clean!!
1. In the engine bay (where the cowl intake actually drains - Search this site - I believe there is a thread about this and pictures as well)
2. Behind the front & rear wheels (this is one that I could also write a lot more about - I'll spare you until you've decided to purchase and feel like taking it on).
3. Front foot wells (look under the car and make sure that there are still round plastic/rubber plugs in the floor and check floor condition below pedals), the same should be done with the spare tire well in the boot.
4. Inside lower lip of bootlid, if the boot leaks - condensations will form on the underside of the lip and then stream down to the lower edge and slowly rust out the entire back end of the car.
5. Inside the doors! Remove the door panels and clean the inside gutter with a soft tooth brush. Make note where there are two or three very narrow slits that need to be kept clear to allow any water to drain out of the doors. When putting the door panels back on - buy some heavy gauge plastic sheeting from a paint store (used for dropcloths) cut out new plastic backings and tape them to the metal with carpet mending tape. This helps keep water from dripping through the base of the door panels and into the carpet when it rains. Most likely the original plastic is disintegrated or torn.

If the body is good now - you can keep rust managable or completely at bay by being attentive to the drainage areas, and drying off the car completely and thoroughly anytime it gets wet (a PITA, but love can make you do crazy things).
 

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I have a great relationship with my '79 coupe. It is not a daily driver but it is a reliable weekend car. There is such a great heritage with these cars that I would encourage you to buy the Alfetta. There appears to be parts all over the world for these things. I live in "green zone" in California and the **** car runs clean on smog tests. They are so **** cheap when I get more room I'll buy more of them. Good luck,
 

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S V P: I've always felt the Alfetta series of cars have been underappreciated. They look good and drive great. With the rear transaxle and DeDion tube setup they are also good performers in the winter months.

Watch for rust in the areas previously mentioned, and watch for the 2nd gear synchros. I've driven several with less than desirable synchros, and once you get used to shifting that particular car it really isn't too much of a problem. My Dad taught me to drive in his 1969 Triumph GT6, and he taught me a little trick: before shifting into 1st after coming to a stop, shift into 2nd then back up to 1st. I've always used this method on my Alfas, and it seems to help preserve the 1st gear synchro.

Good luck, and welcome to the Alfa world. Steve
 

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before shifting into 1st after coming to a stop, shift into 2nd then back up to 1st. I've always used this method on my Alfas, and it seems to help preserve the 1st gear synchro.

I actually used that method also. The same goes for reverse. If you shift into 2nd first then reverse, it will spare your reverse gear from being ground down.
 

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I actually used that method also. The same goes for reverse. If you shift into 2nd first then reverse, it will spare your reverse gear from being ground down.
It's amazing to me how all these "new" discoveries have become revelations, yet no one knows how to double clutch. When "we" were taught to drive in the dark ages shifting into 2nd before going into first or reverse were standard protocol and taught up front and as part of the learning process. They were not things left to be discovered or learned from friends. Maybe we had better teachers in our parents and older friends than what driver training currently offers with all the automatics today.
 
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