Im wondering as Ive never had an alfa for a daily driver what a completely standard fuel injected 1.5 or 1.7 engined 33 series 3 is like to own for the school run and general around town running? Im considering selling my Daihatsu Move (dont laugh).
Really depends on the car its self. They all have weak syncros in the gear boxes which result in graunching the gears. Motors are OK and are reasonably cheap to work on and simple . Cam belts are very easy. Water pumps can be crap but once again easy to replace. As a daily driver they are probally starting to get to old now. If you have not driven one make sure you actually can get comfortable in it. Pedals are stupidly close together and most new drivers end up pressing the gas rather than the brake. Steering wheel is a fair distance away and not adjustable for reach. Unlike a Corolla, you cant just get in a "drive" them, you have to learn to drive them. Probally quite a few small niggly faults/things in them now but generally they are stupidly simple to fix. They are really just a Alfa Sud with differnt panels so designed in early 70's (except injection system). I loved all the ones I have had (had probally 10) but have moved onto faster better and rarer. (16V Integrale)
Well, I have just put 10,000km on mine in 6 months without trouble.
I have had 5 different alfas (3 x 33, 1 x Sud, 1 x 90) as daily drivers and all have been the most reliable of cars to own. I always service at 10,000km, replace timing belts and tensioners every purchase of new alfa.
I will say I did have a belt issue on my current 33 but that was a once in a million event with one of the accessories belts fraying and wrapping around the crank pully thus pulling the belt into the timing belts. Yikes. So now I will replace the accessories belts with the timing belts. Leason learnt.
Just use good oil, and good fuel and you really should have no more issues than any other 20 year old car.
Used mine for a year now as a daily driver. No problems, always starts and I get 34 mpg around town. A good runabout and small load carrier. It is a 1994 1.7 ie with good panel and paint. I have fitted 147 leather seats in driver and passenger instead of the uncomfortable originals. Very comfy, and also a wooden steering wheel.
I have a series 2 33 (8v carb- 1988), and just love driving it to bits.
They are right about getting to know how to drive it. It has it's quirks and characteristics especially the carb version. Not a 'plug and play'.
You need to treat the gearbox with respect but you'll find your right foot wanting to press harder and harder listening to that beautiful boxer sound.
There is a good 16V 1994 33 in Auckland here for $3000. I had a drive in it and it goes well. I do not like the green colour, but it seems OK as a good 33 in good order for is age. It was on Trade Me but did not sell at $3500. Also a nice black 16V 33 in North Shore for $3500 still on Trade Me.
Great little car with a revvy motor and plenty of grunt. Make sure to get the 16v.
Under rated car, rarely seen these days. Good examples are hard to find for sale now. I doubt i would ever part with mine.. Personality: doesnt like traffic much, or hot weather, especially both.
Open roads and cooler climate, the 16v quadcam boxer engine comes alive & reaches speed effortlessly, optimised for mid to high gear range..Fun car. But dont skimp on the maintenance. Ive always used 98 (mobil 8000) fuel and regular oil changes (martini oil is working well)..Enjoy
mmm.. if you want a torquey engine that pulls at lower revs then go for the 8v. Also much easier to maintain. You can remove the heads with the engine still in the car! Timing is childs play and cheaper to maintain.
Things to look for: Generally good regards rust but check thoroughly in and around the wheel well and rear floor panel seams. Check under the dash where the heater box joins the false fire wall cavity as mositure can get trapped there and unknowing owners don't spot it untill it's too late.
Fuel system and electrics are generally pretty fault free. Vacuum hoses and connections can be problematic but once replaced all is good. 16V cam belts aren't that easy to replace but not impossible either. If you're not confident mechanically then this is not a job to attempt. Take it to someone who knows what they are doing and make sure that the idler pulleys and water pump are done at the same time.
Check the power steering boots because they are no small job to replace. If torn then negotiate accordingly. Check front coil springs for rust bubbles. On the ser 3 I think they might be plastic coated and moisture can get under the plastic causing rust and spring failure. Look for rust witness marks on the front strut bearings. If you see rust powder the struts will need to be removed and bearings likely replaced or at the very least serviced and maybe even new strut inserts at the same time.
Electronic speedos can be problematic with the faults generally being in the speedo circuit board. Indicator stork rarely returns to neutral on any 33. Twin condensor air cond is hopeless.
Other ergonomic issues have already been covered in this thread.
A word of caution: If you not highly competent mechanically or do not intend on having the car properly maintained then I would not recommend a 33 or any other alfa or Euro car for that matter.
All this might sound like they are too hard but that isn't really the case. They are getting on now and so they are allowed to show a few flaws. Properly maintained and loved they are a thoroughly enjoyable car to own and drive. IMHO one of Alfas biggest mistakes was to discontinue to boxer motor.
If you need a local opinion look dave33 up on this forum. He races a 33 in NZ and is very enthusiastic and helpful. He might even know where you can find a good local car.
I bought a new 33 1,5 IE back in 1993, drove it for 6 years and 150k km without any problems. At the MOT test before selling it to a college only a rusty front pointing suspention arm had to be changed. When it was about 4 years old I had to have a leak in the petrol tank fixed.
As mentioned, sold it to a college - something I would never do unless 100% sure of the car being trobble free. The college owned it for another 6 years and another 150k km, didn't look after it very well, but never had any trobbles, either. It was still on original engine and transmission. He sold it to a AlfaSud/33 freak/racer and auto painter, who gave it a good service, repairs to front wings and doors, a new coat of paint and let his wife drive it. I don't know for how long.
Fabulous and relaiable little car.
Weak points, electronic speedo pickup, collapsed driver seat and alignment of gear change when pin lock (at rod to gearselector arm) is renewed.
Good luch finding a good one
i currently own 2 series 3 16v's, but don't take this as my bias, i have had many other engines and alfa's, but don't actually find the 16v lacking in low end torque compared to the 8v at all,
but where the 8v starts to tail off from mid to top, the 16v is really coming alive, and makes hard driving much more rewarding when you want to.
never had any engine reliability issues whatsoever, the one i'm using daily has around 120k miles on her, sweet as a nut.
just the gearbox synchro's as mentioned earlier in the thread, particulalrly 2nd gear, is just terribly weak, and cant start to crunch at ANY mileage from what i gather, my own low mileage cloverleaf hasn't covered 40k yet but has been crunching 2nd for ages!
gearbox synchros and rust if from a damp country like blighty, other than that, great cars, great fun, you'll love it, 8v or 16v according to your flavour!