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Hi All
I have just joined the forum as i have been offered a 1989 S3 Spider Quadrifoglio Verde. I am hesitating for 3 reasons. First at the last service / MOT 2 years ago it was noted that Carbs will need overhauling slow running jets seized and ticker fine tuning cannot be achieved. Secondly previous MOT had an advisory that front and back sets of springs are corroded but this advisory is missing from the latest MOT ! and the third concern is that the car has 160,799 KM (100,000 miles) on the clock, is this an issue with the Alfa 2.0 DOHC engine. I will be having a detailed viewing of the car tomorrow so any hints and tips will be much appreciated. Also some idea of what i should be saying for the car would be useful its bodywork is in great condition. Thanks in advance and sorry to be so needy on my first post.
 

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Welcome aboard! I don't know anything about the carb'ed versions. The engine itself is quite robust. With regular maintenance (oil & coolant changes, valve clearance checks) 100,000 miles is not a problem. The Alfa oil pressure gauge is more a general indicator than an accurate measurement. The needle will often be just above the '0' with hot oil at idle but actually that is closer to 15-20 psi. Above 2500 rpm it should show 50-60 psi or better. If there is any history of overheating the head gasket might have failed. If really bad, the cylinder head can warp.

The Alfa transmission has a reputation for difficult shifting - especially from 1st to 2nd. Sometimes it just needs a swap to the correct oil (many modern oils are too 'slippery' and don't allow the synchros to work properly.

The main killer of our cars is probably rust. The unibody (no separate chassis) depends on the floors, sills & pillars for much of its strength. Repairs there can be costly.
 

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Hi All
I have just joined the forum as i have been offered a 1989 S3 Spider Quadrifoglio Verde. I am hesitating for 3 reasons. First at the last service / MOT 2 years ago it was noted that Carbs will need overhauling slow running jets seized and ticker fine tuning cannot be achieved. Secondly previous MOT had an advisory that front and back sets of springs are corroded but this advisory is missing from the latest MOT ! and the third concern is that the car has 160,799 KM (100,000 miles) on the clock, is this an issue with the Alfa 2.0 DOHC engine. I will be having a detailed viewing of the car tomorrow so any hints and tips will be much appreciated. Also some idea of what i should be saying for the car would be useful its bodywork is in great condition. Thanks in advance and sorry to be so needy on my first post.
I bought a 1984 with 109k miles about a month ago. Personally, I prefer having a few more miles on the car because you never worry about putting more miles on it. Mine had a bad catalytic converter, oil leaks, spotty electrical connections, and some very worn interior parts. However, the previous owner put on a new top, seats, tires and a fantastic paint job. I couldn’t find any rust anywhere so I went for it.
If I were you, I’d plan to spend a lot of time going over the whole car to find everything you can and use that to negotiate the price. I got mine for $3k below asking. While I’ll probably spend a little more than that on repairs, I’m pleased with the purchase. Good luck!
By the way, a lot of the serious oil leaks on mine seem connected to the oil vapor separator. You should inspect the OVS and all the hoses coming off of it.
 

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All 3 of mine have around 100,000 miles on them and engines are fine despite checkered pasts.
As mentioned, rust is an issue and on the quads, it can hide behind some of the pieces covering rockers etcetera.
You have an excellent Alfa parts supplier in the UK called Classic Alfa. They might even know someone knowledgeable that can help you with a pre-purchase inspection
 

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As trivial as it may appear, if the car has a lot of the plastic bits and trim items missing or broken, if you intend on replacing them, they're not as inexpensive to purchase or source as you might think. Just food for thought.
 

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Hi All
I have just joined the forum as i have been offered a 1989 S3 Spider Quadrifoglio Verde. I am hesitating for 3 reasons. First at the last service / MOT 2 years ago it was noted that Carbs will need overhauling slow running jets seized and ticker fine tuning cannot be achieved. Secondly previous MOT had an advisory that front and back sets of springs are corroded but this advisory is missing from the latest MOT ! and the third concern is that the car has 160,799 KM (100,000 miles) on the clock, is this an issue with the Alfa 2.0 DOHC engine. I will be having a detailed viewing of the car tomorrow so any hints and tips will be much appreciated. Also some idea of what i should be saying for the car would be useful its bodywork is in great condition. Thanks in advance and sorry to be so needy on my first post.
as you are in the UK, have you checked the past MOT history online through the DVLA?
just type in your registration

not sure why the MOT commented on the carbs? they have nothing to do with the MOT.
I wouldn't worry too much about carbs...they can be overhauled (you can almost do it yourself! I overhauled a pair of webers when I was 17.......just following a step by step guide)
and a few rusty springs is nothing either, you can buy springs and fit them easily.

what you DO have to worry about is rust underneath, floors, boot floor, spare tire well, but especially in the sills.....bad sills can cost you two and a half thousand quid (per side!) if they are completely rotten.

when you view the car, don't make a decision there and then...........any points you are worried about, take a phone photo and post them here.....we can give advise.
 

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All 3 of mine have around 100,000 miles on them and engines are fine despite checkered pasts.
As mentioned, rust is an issue and on the quads, it can hide behind some of the pieces covering rockers etcetera.
You have an excellent Alfa parts supplier in the UK called Classic Alfa. They might even know someone knowledgeable that can help you with a pre-purchase inspection
As long as it is inspected well, I don't think the mileage matters really much. Those run perfectly even with a lot of miles.
 

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My Spider has 227,000 miles on it.
 

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You're in the UK?

With proper uninterrupted maintenance the bottom end of the 2.0 L engine is good for 200K miles, however the head's probably pretty tired at 100K. For sure, get a leakdown test.

Worn syncros show first in the 1-2 & 3-2 shifts. RUST is the big killer - ckeck sills, floors, spare tire well. There are tons of threads on how to inspect a prospective purchase here on the BB. Well worth it to get a pre-purchase inspection from an Alfa specialist shop, or a really knowledgeable member of the local Alfa Owner's Club.

David OD
Laguna CA
 

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Discussion Starter #10
as you are in the UK, have you checked the past MOT history online through the DVLA?
just type in your registration

not sure why the MOT commented on the carbs? they have nothing to do with the MOT.
I wouldn't worry too much about carbs...they can be overhauled (you can almost do it yourself! I overhauled a pair of webers when I was 17.......just following a step by step guide)
and a few rusty springs is nothing either, you can buy springs and fit them easily.

what you DO have to worry about is rust underneath, floors, boot floor, spare tire well, but especially in the sills.....bad sills can cost you two and a half thousand quid (per side!) if they are completely rotten.

when you view the car, don't make a decision there and then...........any points you are worried about, take a phone photo and post them here.....we can give advise.
Hi All
I have just joined the forum as i have been offered a 1989 S3 Spider Quadrifoglio Verde. I am hesitating for 3 reasons. First at the last service / MOT 2 years ago it was noted that Carbs will need overhauling slow running jets seized and ticker fine tuning cannot be achieved. Secondly previous MOT had an advisory that front and back sets of springs are corroded but this advisory is missing from the latest MOT ! and the third concern is that the car has 160,799 KM (100,000 miles) on the clock, is this an issue with the Alfa 2.0 DOHC engine. I will be having a detailed viewing of the car tomorrow so any hints and tips will be much appreciated. Also some idea of what i should be saying for the car would be useful its bodywork is in great condition. Thanks in advance and sorry to be so needy on my first post.
Hi All
I have just joined the forum as i have been offered a 1989 S3 Spider Quadrifoglio Verde. I am hesitating for 3 reasons. First at the last service / MOT 2 years ago it was noted that Carbs will need overhauling slow running jets seized and ticker fine tuning cannot be achieved. Secondly previous MOT had an advisory that front and back sets of springs are corroded but this advisory is missing from the latest MOT ! and the third concern is that the car has 160,799 KM (100,000 miles) on the clock, is this an issue with the Alfa 2.0 DOHC engine. I will be having a detailed viewing of the car tomorrow so any hints and tips will be much appreciated. Also some idea of what i should be saying for the car would be useful its bodywork is in great condition. Thanks in advance and sorry to be so needy on my first post.
I have had a test drive today. The car was difficult to start as the battery was only partially charged and jump leads struggled to get it going. Once started it revved freely, a bit rattly at first but it was the first start for many months and maybe up to a year. it did quieten down and drove well, oil pressure was at 4bar which is the mid point of the oil pressure gauge. The oil temp gauge did not register at all so i wonder if it is connected. The temp gauge sat at 80 again at the mid point.The spare wheel well looked like new. I will get the car up on ramps tomorrow for a good look underneath but at the first look the floor pans look solid. The Rockers (sills in England) look solid, is there a method of testing them beyond poking around with my finger, also where is the best place to look to find rust in the post that the door fixes against (is it a B post or A post ?) If anyone has any pictures of a bad case for me to compare to. I will then post pictures of the car i am getting close to buying for comment. Thanks all for your help
 

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it doesn't have an oil temperature gauge in the monopod instrument cluster........or did it look to you to be an owner added aftermarket gauge?
 

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It is in the 3 guage cluster in the photo
Yes, all 3 of those in the middle are owner added. Normally in USA spec cars, there are 3 vents there for A/C.
In the 1985 and earlier cars, there were 3 gauges there that got incorporated into the monopod in 1986 and newer.
Regarding rust, if this car hasn't been painted or had body work done in a long time which is what it sounds like, rust will have had plenty of time to start bubbling up and be obvious in rockers, fender bottoms and rear quarters below the bumper sides. The fact that a lot of this is probably covered by skirting on a Quad might make it difficult to inspect.
The fact that the spare tire well was not rusted out is a good sign in my opinion as I have seen that in otherwise rust free cars.
I do not know if and/or when Alfa got better about rust protection but I have seen a 1989 that sat outside and unprotected for 12 years that was still rust free.
 

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best little tool for detecting rust, is a magnet

of course with those plastic side skirtings most of the outer sill will be covered under the skirts
get underneath with a sharp tap hammer, tap on the inner sills...it doesn't tell you what is going on with the middle sill (yes they are complicated, 3 pieces!), but if it sounds like you are tapping on bondo, you probably are....
1616535164110.jpeg

...look for signs of welding (especially poor quality welding) around the jacking points and on the floors
You can't even inspect the floors from inside the car because these all had a one piece formed carpet and you'd have to take apart half the car to look under them.
when water leaks in (and it does!) it gets under the carpet and stays there........you can imagine the rest.
It is very hard to diagnose on an S3 or S4 spider, so much is just not visible.........so if bad rust IS visible on the few places that are visible underneath.....best to turn around and look again.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi All
I have just joined the forum as i have been offered a 1989 S3 Spider Quadrifoglio Verde. I am hesitating for 3 reasons. First at the last service / MOT 2 years ago it was noted that Carbs will need overhauling slow running jets seized and ticker fine tuning cannot be achieved. Secondly previous MOT had an advisory that front and back sets of springs are corroded but this advisory is missing from the latest MOT ! and the third concern is that the car has 160,799 KM (100,000 miles) on the clock, is this an issue with the Alfa 2.0 DOHC engine. I will be having a detailed viewing of the car tomorrow so any hints and tips will be much appreciated. Also some idea of what i should be saying for the car would be useful its bodywork is in great condition. Thanks in advance and sorry to be so needy on my first post.
I have had the car on ramps today. The underside looks in pretty good condition to me. There are 3 areas of concern that I think will need repairing the first is on the drivers side front Sill end (passenger side front rocker) I have attached a photo i was able to poke a finger into the sill end, the rest of the sill appears solid. The second area was again on the drivers side front jacking point photo shown. The third area was the floor on the passenger side next to the front to back strengthener. the under seal has peeled here but seemed solid . Comments / Advice please.
Passenger side floor against front to back strengthener.jpeg
Front drivers side sill end.jpeg
Drivers side front jacking point.jpeg
 

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Pass.

Good Spiders are not rare, so rusty ones are not worth screwing with. Buy a good one.

David OD
Laguna CA
 

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Well, depending on how much the selling price is, you might be okay. Rust repair is never cheap unless you can do it yourself. I have seen lot worse
 

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it's an 89 spider - not exactly rare
it has visible rust, and not just surface rust (if rust is visible, there is a lot more hiding where you cannot get to, like under the side plastic skirts)
it has 160k kms (that's fine if the car was a rust free example, mechanics are easy.......my car has 190k and purrs like a kitten)
carbs need doing
MOT advisories

and the price?
what's the interior like, the paint, the body, is the engine bay nice and clean as though it has been looked after?...all that counts
 
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