Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Newbie 145 Questions + Buyers Guide
Alfa Romeo 145 - 146 Forum > Technical > FAQ
Beiros
Hello from an Alfa virgin!

I've been thinking of buying a 145 for a while, it seems a smart car for the price, and I want an Alfa anyway.

Question 1: which engine should i go for? It'll have to be a Twin Spark. I'm thinking of going for a 1.8, a good compromise since the insurance on a 2.0 will be very expensive. My budget is approx £2200-£2600. Any tips?

Q2: What should I really look for when I inspect a 145 for sale?

Q3: Is FSH THAT important, or is an obviously well-cared-for example a safe bet?

Q4: How long do they generally last in terms of mileage?

Q5: What are the things that go wrong and are parts expensive when they go?

Any help much appreciated!

Diolch
Thanks.
Chris145
Ah, ti'n siarad cymrauge?

The 2.0 has much more torque engine than the 1.8. Its way easier to drive. Its worth the extra, besides 1.8's are not easy to find.

Briefly, what to look for besides the usual includes:

Diesel like noise on startup. Variator. The variator is a widget that sits on the end of the inlet camshaft and alters the valve timing. When it fails the engine develops a diesel like clatter which is particularly noticable on cold startup. On the plus side, although noisey, its doesn't damage the engine or affect perfomace too much. Its £400ish for new cambelt tensioners etc and variator. Look for a car that has had a recent cam belt and variator change.

Juddery windscreen wipers. Easy to fix - takes about 10min but could be used as a bargaining point.

Wear on the inside edge of the tyres is normal but again, could be used to your advantage.

Red cars fade and end up looking like a patchwork quilt. It won't polish up either as the paint is laquered.

These cars use oil and are often run dry resulting in bottom end failiure. Make sure the oil is at the max mark on the dipstick. Could indicate a careless owner if its not.

Electrics are fairly reliable but check everything just in case. Air con is quiet rare, check to see it works.

Lower front suspension arm bushes wear out with alarming regularity. Can be indicated by clunking from the front suspension, uneven tyre wear….. etc. Allow at least £80 for new arms.

There's a cast alloy plate underneath the car below the exhaust down pipes bolted to the cast alloy sump, check for damage to this plate (it's about £8 but again can indicate a more ‘enthusiastic’ type of driving style) if its been bash about, start looking at the sump for damage. They're a bit of a pain to replace and ain't cheap either. While you're there check the sump plug for leaks, as the thread in the sump doesn't last forever and will require removal and a heli-coil insert to sort out.

Radiator corrosion is a common problem. Most of the 96-97 cars I’ve seen have had a new one by now. Cost? £120-ish I think.

Cracked front foglights. Think each unit is about £40

Head light sloshers can fail.

Car should have 2 Red keys and 1 Burgundy key. The Burgundy key is the master key.

Check the ABS (if it has ABS) light lights up when you switch the ignition on and extinguishes once the engine is running.
McGuinn
Question 1: which engine should i go for? It'll have to be a Twin Spark. I'm thinking of going for a 1.8, a good compromise since the insurance on a 2.0 will be very expensive. My budget is approx £2200-£2600. Any tips?

Yes, the 1,8 is nice. It's supposed to be a better engine than the 2.0 (more revvy???) and the older (1997) ones pump out 144BPH, and not 140 like the newer ones.

Q2: What should I really look for when I inspect a 145 for sale?

Check all electrics, fan heater, exhaust (for rust), engine sounds on cold-startup (for a diesel sound from the variator - see loads of posts on this topic), SERVICE HISTORY.

Q3: Is FSH THAT important, or is an obviously well-cared-for example a safe bet?

YES! It must have had the timing belt replaced well before 60k! 45k is long enough! If it's due it again, then use this as a tool to knock ~£600 off the price!!!
Also, if the engine is well maintained and oil has been replaced frequently, it should last to 130k miles or many more!

Q4: How long do they generally last in terms of mileage?

As above. Seem to be written off for reasons of accidents or other such events before the engine goes altogether!

Q5: What are the things that go wrong and are parts expensive when they go?

Timing belt... ~£2000 to repair... Variator makes diesel sound... not a bad sign per-say, but shows if you want to rectify that, get the timing belts done at the same time.
Wipers judder... Fix on the website.
Windows cut out on wind-up... oil the runner paths.
Heater blower stuck on cold/hot or noisy.
Rust is not a major problem as the shell is galvanised.
Look for lower arm wear... £40 per arm if worn.
Front dampers are £100 or so each if gone.
Rear dampers are £20 or so each.
Otherwise... a GREAT CAR!
McGuinn
Good list Chris. Maybe it should be pinned (annoyingly) somewhere?

Oh... except that the electrics aren't as reliable as you make them out to be!!!!! :ph34r:
ukoldschool
IMO forget the 1.8 - its a compromise and there is virtually no diff in price between the 2. The extra £200 on the insurance is well wortht he massive increase in torque (read drivability)
Chris145
I dunno the electrics (touch wood) have been fine on my car. Other things tha go wrong are:

Rear brakes - the rubbers that seal the handbrake cables perish, let water in and then in the winter when it freezes, locks the handbrake on. Also the rear brake bias valve can seize. These are both routine items and are cheapish and easy to fix.

The 2.0 isn't a great deal faster but I think its more useable in that it has more torque lower down in the rev range. The 1.8 is a little free-er reving as it doesn't have the addition mass of balancer shafts to spin up. Only the 2.0 has counter rotating balancer shafts. Could be another advantage of the 1.8 - you don't have the additional expense of the balancer drive belt and tesioner come service time.

Make sure both tensioners (1 for cam-belt, 1 for balancer belt) the idler pully for the cam belt and the variator have all been replaced and not just the cambelt and balancer belt.

Excessive oversteer can be caused by wear in the trailing arms. Think it becomes more of a problem above 120k miles.

I've seen a couple of qv's advertised with gearbox problems, but not had any trouble myself.

When filling the engine with oil, its very easy to spill the oil on to the top of the cam cover where it finds its way down into the chambers for the spark plugs. This can cause a slight misfire and sometimes damage a coil pack. Think the coil packs are £70-80 each. It might be worth whipping the cover off the coil packs (not the cambelt cover) and having a quick check.

Spark plugs - there are 8 of them and a set can cost up to £100. £60 - £80 is more realistic though.

Windscreen wipers are expensive too. A lot of people convert them to more generic componets off a Volvo (I think).

There is always a debate going on somewhere in the tech lounge about operating temp. I've had a 155 16v, 2 146.gif ti's and my 145.gif qv. They've all been P reg and they all ran at just under 80 deg C. Start worring if the normal temp is over 90 deg C in normal traffic.

The down pipes from the engine have a flexi joint in them just before the cat. The down pipes and the flexi joint are one part. Its only availible from Alfa and its well expensive. About £250. Check to see if its leaking.

Also, have a look down the flanks of the car. As they don't have rubbing strips on the side, they are prone to car park and supermarket dings.
Chris145
The front wings will look a different colour to the doors. Its down to the angle on the wing where it meets the door and can make crash damage a little more difficult to spot.

Might be worth giving the front bumber a nudge too, see if its loose. There are mounting legs for the bumper which are welded to the chassis legs. (see pic below). The bottom of these corrode where the bumper mounts.

Chris145


Beiros
Mighty stuff Chris & McGuinn, very very helpful. It might have to be a Cloverleaf then... oh well, damn shame!!

Diolch yn fawr iawn!
Many thanks!

wink.gif
mh1000
Top post Chris. thumbsup.gif

i think a knowledgable seller/owner is very valuable to the cars health. even with a FSH there are plenty of fools that never looked under the bonnet, checked oil between services, put screenwash in the coolant tank etc etc, it certainly gives me peace of mind as a buyer.
miaspa
Avoid any with alfa 145.gif .com stickers bound to be thrashed to an inch of there life
but would have been well maintained. :pappap
Beiros
Hmmmmm........ what about a 1.6TS? I've seen a cracker for an advertised £2K. But is it too slow & too much of a compromise?
pimp
Well i wouldn't go for one, but thats only because i have a qv, but i have been in rich ts 1.6 and it is fast for a 1.6. remember thay have about 120bhp.
miaspa
QUOTE(Beiros @ Jan 6 2005, 01:48 PM)
Hmmmmm........ what about a 1.6TS? I've seen a cracker for an advertised £2K. But is it too slow & too much of a compromise?

I love mine to bits if its a good one buy it. Easily outruns 2.0 147 and
156 if you spend a few hundred quid on it.
CMA
I like my 1.6TS too, plenty of power if you keep the revs up. I've had mine about 5 1/2 years and not too many poroblems with it yet. I'm on the look out for a qv myself in the next 12 months
Chris145
Why isn't this topic a stickey?
pimp
Your wish is my command.
Chris145
Cheers Pimp.biggrin.gif

http://www.alfa145.com/forum/index.php?sho...ic=1506&hl=

Wipers, heater and odds n end's thread
Chris145
How to remove a door-card thread

http://www.alfa145.com/forum/index.php?sho...t=0&#entry25939
Chris145
How to change the belts and variator

I haven't read the artile through, but its got balancer shafts so its a guide for the 2.0 engine.


http://home.hccnet.nl/jaap.bouma/PhaseVariator.htm
Chris145
Heater fan replacement

By CMA
xxxvekyxxx
buy a tdiesel it just NEVER Breaks, and it lasts forever
pimp
Veky, we don't have your choice over in the UK.

as I think i will have the 2.0 JTD by now.
rick
hi..if it helps I just bought a 98 r reg 145 clover leaf 2.0 to replace a 51 plate skoda octavia vrs (sob! needed the money!) and it's a very good replacement..ok 2.0 a bit of a git to insure but she sure does go some..and that induction noise...go for a 2.0..its worth the bit xtra on the insurance....fuel consumption has been a pleasant suprise..even with "spirited" driving..just watch for excessive temp gauge readings in traffic..thats the only real fault mine has,,drives very well at 45k miles and still feels tight.
good luck
rick
F355
I thought this might be relevant to this thread:

Alfa Romeo 145/146 Buyers Guide - Auto Italia
Mawv
Hello and welcome, gd luck finding a new car! biggrin.gif
Matija
This post rocks...I just wanted to start one with all those noob questions..Luckly I got on this one..

I am also aming at 145 1.6TS or 1.4TS...

just dont yell on me those are low power engines..

Its my first car, I am only 20 and I have done my drive exam just a 4 months ago..

So lets start with something lets say weaker...But let it be Alfa smile.gif
davedawn145
QUOTE(Chris145 @ Feb 17 2005, 12:07 PM) *
How to change the belts and variator

I haven't read the artile through, but its got balancer shafts so its a guide for the 2.0 engine.
http://home.hccnet.nl/jaap.bouma/PhaseVariator.htm




hi chris145
am new to alfas just bought a 145 cloverleaf lovely car smooth and fast but i have a glitch with it it has missfire hesitation between 2 and 3,000 rpm and seems to die a little then over 3000 rpm it takes of like a mad man on steroids any suggestions would be helpful. also i just decided to move a large woodworking lathe out of the garage so the alfa would fit in it and i dropped it on the drivers door leavinf a nice dent boo hoo hoo got so dispondent i stuck it on ebay for sale lovely picture of the dent do you think it would be cheaper to have it repaired or try and replace the door
ps don't know what pils hes taking but tell him i could do with some
davedawn145
Symon
When looking at 145/146 chaeck for rust. I have seen rust on a few cars beneath the rear seat area, as well as inide the front arches. Another point to look for rust is where the rear subframe mounts to the car. it appears in these areas corrosion protection is not too good.
Robert King Esq
Hello

I'm new to this site but have decided to join since I'm now the proud owner of an Alfa 145 Junior. I feel a little daft asking this, as I'm 80% sure of the answer, but I was wondering if 146 parts will fit a 145? The part in question is the power steering pump, and with no Alfa dealers in my area, its not exactly easy to get hold of the specific parts for sensible prices.
Jim145
Yes mate, infront of the doors the 145/6 are the same. You were right to check though, I once bought a 146 mirror, thinking they were all the same, their not rolleyes.gif
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2021 Invision Power Services, Inc.