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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks for any help or guidance!

I am looking at purchasing either a 1991 or 1993 Spider.

What should I be looking for when buying?

Check for rusting of the floorpan (driver's side)?

What are some other common problems?

They both look to be in good shape, although they have been sitting for about 4 - 6 months.

1991: 112,000 kms, tight suspension

1993: 56,000 kms, haven't seen it yet...but looks alright.

Cheers,
Michael
 

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You already mentioned rust, so be sure to check for this...also it would be great if there is some kind of maintence record with the car...the obvious...look for oil leaks, check rear end for leaks, ask about the Clutch Pedal Pin, if it has been replaced, this is a known problem...also ask about the fuel tank and fuel pumps if they have been replaced or if the tank has been recoated, they tend to rust after sitting around for a while. Also if you are not mechanical be sure there is someone in your area that can work on the car, parts are available from several sources, and some parts you can actually get from Auto Zone....so good luck, hope you find a nice one and enjoy the drive....and regardless of the mileage be prepared for some of the parts needing replacement,.
 

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They both look to be in good shape, although they have been sitting for about 4 - 6 months.
Hi Michael,

First off, welcome to the BB!

Make sure you're very careful when inspecting any car that has been sitting for long. No cars like to sit dormant for months at a time, and Alfas hate it, especially if they haven't been properly stored. Make sure you get to take both cars for nice, long test drives to make sure that everything is in working order. I bought my current Alfa after it had sat for awhile, and I had lots of little problems in the first hundred miles-- try to drive the car enough (or have the owner drive it enough) to bring any hidden problems to the surface.

The '91-'94 model year Spiders (aka Series 4 Spiders) seem to have been better rust-proofed than earlier cars, but if you come from a moist/snowy climate or if the cars have been kept outside there could still be issues. Best thing to do is to get the cars up on a lift to inspect the undercarriage carefully. That should also help you find how bad the leaks are (and there will be leaks).

Hopefully someone better-versed than I in these late Spiders can give you more specific advice on the cars' primary trouble spots. All in all, these Alfas are fairly sturdy, well-built, and easy-to-work-on cars.

But caveat emptor: Many an Alfa has suffered the cold hand negligence. Any major problems the cars have will likely be due to deferred or haphazard maintenance. Good service records and proof that the cars have been driven regularly should be your best insurance.

Good luck, and have fun!


Evan
 

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Buy one that runs.

The only rust that I heard of on S-4 Spider's is at the top of the rear wheel wells, at the seam between the inside and outside wheel wells there is a U-channel that connects the two halves and is covered with undercoating.

If I was to buy one I would have the engine compression check also look for oil in the antifreeze or antifreeze in the oil.......blown head gasket

Normal things to check like any 20 year old car.

Things that might make you worry but is perfectly normal on a S-4 Spider

Engine mounts are usually shot

A/C usually is in need of freon or is non fuctional

Oil pressure gauge runs close to zero when idling after warm up, this is normal (gauges are not that great)

A longer then normal brake peddel travel is normal

Air bag light flashing is common

2nd gear crunch is normal

Burns a little oil.......1 quart every 1,000 miles is good

Will be leaking oil as well as burning it

Gas smell in the cab after filling up

After a drive you will smell like an Alfa

Power windows will go up slower then they do going down

The tach and or the speedo will be slow

Battery will go dead when not driven for a while or go dead because you knock on one of the foot well lights............Buy a disconnect for the battery

The black ones are the fastest ones :D
 

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Thanks Murray for the reply, I can across your "Black Spider" before...looks like a wicked ride. Great job on your posts!
Should add that most of the stuff above has been fixed because of all the great people on this board.

A really feel the S-4 Spider's are the best ones, mainly do to it's looks, mono pod dash and the better rust proofing.

They were quite expensive when new and most were well taken care of by the original owner. It's the second or third owner that you have to worry about. I was lucky and found a low millage S-4 from the original owner but that was 10 years ago.

I drove a few before buying and I recommend that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Need a little advice before I jump into what might not be the right fit.

I have been looking at a couple alfa's this week, and I'm sorry i don't have any pictures!

Just want to see if I should run or look into it a little further.

Went to see a 1991 Spider Veloce, advertised for $7,500 (reduced from $11,000) with 57,000 Miles. Took it for a spin and wrote down some issues, I'm not too worried about some repairs and bringing it up to shape, and when I went in had a budget of about $8,000.

Exterior looks good, a few scratches on the nose and no major damage to the paint. Needs a little TLC. The roof needs a cleaning and the back window is a little cloudy.

Interior needs some attention. Has a cracked dash (which looks like a common problem), wires are hanging down near the clutch, has some added switches (for the fan, as the button broke, and for an ingintion cut-off (not sure what the use of that would be), power windows don't work, door panels loose (maybe someone tried to fix the regulators), Seats starting to show wear and tear, and the issue I don't like is the odometer and speedometer are not working.

The car was imported from Japan in 2007 and at that time the speedometer and odometer would have had to work to pass inspection, looking at the wear and tear, I would assume approx 75,000 miles are on the car, but just not too sure as there isn't much paper work. Would it be a large issue to get this working?

Engine, the car performed well on the test drive...it had been sitting for about 6 months and kept inside a garage for the most part. The car had trouble starting a needed a jump (maybe a new battery, not sure it'd be power issue or starter, as the car after being run for about 45 mins wouldn't start again after we had stopped)

2nd gear didn't have much trouble once it was warm and seemed ok.

Overall I could get the spider for $5,000, and take care of some of the minor issues myself (windows, speedometer, and other misc.)

Do you think this is a good deal or taking over someone else’s headache?
 

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Honestly... you ARE taking over some else's headache. That being said, if you are going in the purchase knowing some of the issues (other's will appear later), then you are a step ahead. If you are mechanically inclined, so much the better.

The startup issue sure sounds like a bad starter (my 86 had the exact same issue until I had the starter rebuilt).

Best of luck. If you have a passion for an Alfa, it will pay you back in joy (and equal amounts of frustration).
 

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If you can get it for $5K and you are mechanical, than it sounds like something you might be interested in getting...having said that, if you are NOT mechanical and there are no ALFA mechanics available, than take a pass...
 
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