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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I am a new member of the board and I am thinking about buying a 1992 Alfa Romeo 164. It is a V6 automatic with just under 100,000km.

I'm looking to drive this car as a daily driver, mostly for the winter. I'm 22 years old and I currently have a 1994 BMW 740i that I love, but it isn't that great in the snow, so it'll just be for summer. The car has been great to me, and it isn't that bad to maintain. I do all the work myself... I don't trust taking stuff to a mechanic, not to mention about how costly it can get.

How is the 164 to maintain, is it reliable, what is the gas mileage like, is the car fairly easy to work on, is there any common issues that I should look for or expect??? I live in Ontario, Canada so are parts that easy come by for it too???
 

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Do they salt the roads in Ontario where you will be driving the car in the winter? If so, be prepared for mucho rust. My personal opinion, and only mine, is that while the 164 if fine for driving in the snow, it is not suitable for winter driving where they use a lot of salt.

Also, and this is not intended in any way a knock on you, but as you are only 22 years old, do you have the resources to keep the 164 in tune and in parts (one of my perennial concerns, as it is apparent too many young guys buy these cars they can't take care of)? Be prepared to spend a couple of $k's every once in a while to do the service and buy parts, to say nothing of keeping care of developing rust due to salt.

Otherwise, have fun. The car itself sounds ok, with nice low mileage.
 

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Hello,
well, first of all welcome to the board (hopefully you will become a new Alfa Owner as well), I am going to attempt to answer at best of my ability this question. This will be of course, from my perspective, and personal experience. First of all, I am sure Alfisto Steve can give you a better answer answer about the auto tranny and many more things since he is a true guru, I never owned an Alfa with an automatic, and most likely will never because I love the 5 speed - 6 speed, etc, so, I cannot answer for that. I used to live in Western PA where it snows from October til May, and my old 164S was great on the snow with a regular set of tires, the car is heavy and handles well, the gas mileage on my model was 27-30 MPG on the highway, this is a 3.0 V6 with 200 horses, so, not bad. Of course, city mileage will vary, I never calculated it, but these cars give you the mileage you desire as in, if you push, they burn, if you drive responsibly, they are actually surprisingly good. The maintenance on the 12 Valve engine is actually pretty straight forward, the belts are accessible from under the wheel well and are actually easier to change/inspect than an average Japanese car. I remember growing up in Italy and hearing how poor the BMWs handle in comparison to Alfas, so, prepare for a different experience. Parts can be costly, but not any more than BMW, in fact, here on the forum there are plenty of people with a ton of expertise that can always refer you to someone or some place with cheaper parts, and if you will need help there is also a very strong network of people dedicated to keep as many of these cars on the road as we can. My 164 drove me back and forth from PA to NC for years (600 Miles round trip), started at first crank in the cold winters. It drove great, every time I found a problem, I would either fix it or come here on the forum where someone would point me in the right direction of what to do. recently got crushed by a giant Oak tree and yesterday I posted a video showing it still runs. Also, If you are going to own an Alfa, depending on where you are located, you are going to want to learn to do the maintenance yourself before some ignorant mechanic lays hands on it. Any way, I have a neighbor with Mitsubishi and Saab vehicles, his maintenance is not any easier, with Alfas you just have to have the right touch though. I am not sure about Ontario, but you can order parts from DiFatta in Baltimore and his prices are decent. If you know how to work on the Bimmer, you can work on this car, just do homework on it before you pull things apart, for instance, this 3.0 capacity is 7.5 Quarts of oil, not a common figure in regular car life. Since you are looking at a 164 and not a 75 (Milano), then, you should not have to worry about rule of thumb stuff like transaxle or driveshaft woes, the 164 is front wheel drive, its easy to deal with. If it is a 24 Vave car, then you need to seriously look at the last timing belt change (with 100,000 KM and not miles) I am guessing it was never changed. Although, a 12 Valve engine is the same story, it is a easier brake in shock to change a timing belt/serpentine, water pump on the 12V vs. the 24V., so easier and cheaper to maintain.Ultimately check the antifreeze and oil, there should be no sign of oither in one or the other, a little clouded brownish or oily antifreeze indicated the heads' torque came loose, hence you are looking to replace the items mentioned above + a complete top end gasket kit for the imminent job which will lie ahead. These cars at the contrary of the Bimmers do not suffer from the tire eating hunger, nor the fastidious camber issue in the rear, so, they are good on wear depending on the hardness of the rubber you choose, but the rear bearings are usually not an issue like with used BMWs. The rest, I am sure you know how to check, but Steve can probably give you a few pointers on the Auto Transmission and much more. Good luck, and hope you come back as a owner next time we hear from you.
 

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Do they salt the roads in Ontario where you will be driving the car in the winter? If so, be prepared for mucho rust. My personal opinion, and only mine, is that while the 164 if fine for driving in the snow, it is not suitable for winter driving where they use a lot of salt.

Also, and this is not intended in any way a knock on you, but as you are only 22 years old, do you have the resources to keep the 164 in tune and in parts (one of my perennial concerns, as it is apparent too many young guys buy these cars they can't take care of)? Be prepared to spend a couple of $k's every once in a while to do the service and buy parts, to say nothing of keeping care of developing rust due to salt.

Otherwise, have fun. The car itself sounds ok, with nice low mileage.
By the way, I agree with Del's remarks, only I drove my 164 on VERY SALTED roads and it did fine, I also washed the undercarriage once or twice per week and the rust never came forward, I am not sure if Del means the salt will give you driveability problems, I never had any. If yes, get a bodyshop certified to treat the car for salty roads conditions to winterize the car and spray wax inside your doors, and to apply undercoating.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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I am a new member of the board and I am thinking about buying a 1992 Alfa Romeo 164
"Now let me start by saying... Good for you son! It's always good to see young people taking an interest in danger. Now a lot of people are going to be telling you you're crazy, and maybe they're right. But the fact of the matter is: Bones heal. Chicks dig scars. And the United States of America has the best doctor-to-daredevil ratio in the world!"
 

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Welcome, if you join us another welcome will be in order. As for A/T model you are looking at and rust matters.

Can owner/seller verify any history especially last timing belt and water pump change?

As for A/T does it shift immediately from P to R and D? if slow to go from P-D then plan on a accumulator spring change. No bid deal only real special tool needed is a Torx 27 tip.

As for rust issue inspect closely rear cross member, brake valve and brake lines going to it all behind gas tank area.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, thank you everyone for the information and the welcome! :)

I'm trying to make it a habit to get my vehicles oil sprayed so this rust issues shouldn't be too bad. I haven't asked the owner about the timing belt or water pump though. I probably would inspect the timing belt if I did buy the car just to be safe. I recently did a water pump and timing belt on my Pathfinder and that was a total nightmare. It has to be the worst vehicle I have ever worked on.

So the valve body looks to be at the top of the transmission... Where is the filter located then and does the transmission take a special type of fluid? Also is there any other type of issues that the automatic transmission can have or are they known for any weak parts? Also, if the timing belt breaks, is the 3L V6 an inference motor? This car also have an "L" on the trunk, what does that mean?
 

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Wow, thank you everyone for the information and the welcome! :)

I'm trying to make it a habit to get my vehicles oil sprayed so this rust issues shouldn't be too bad. I haven't asked the owner about the timing belt or water pump though. I probably would inspect the timing belt if I did buy the car just to be safe. I recently did a water pump and timing belt on my Pathfinder and that was a total nightmare. It has to be the worst vehicle I have ever worked on.

So the valve body looks to be at the top of the transmission... Where is the filter located then and does the transmission take a special type of fluid? Also is there any other type of issues that the automatic transmission can have or are they known for any weak parts? Also, if the timing belt breaks, is the 3L V6 an inference motor? This car also have an "L" on the trunk, what does that mean?
A/T filter on bottom and is a small cap with three bolts and small cleanable element inside. magnet in cap do not lose in drain bucket. Takes 5 1/3 qts ATF to refill after drain and filter removal.

If TB breaks say goodbye to some valves and pistons if at speed.

L is for Lusso/Luxury.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well I went to check it out... Didn't start, and it does need some work. Looked to be more money than I really want to tie up in a vehicle right now.


Thank you everyone for the help, I really appreciate it :)
 
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