Needed something reliable, so I sold the Saab and bought an Alfa

turboseize

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Alfa is older than FIAT. But yes, like Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia they were bought by Fiat.
Car is running fine again. Fault codes was "boost pressure to low"; the culprit seems to have been been a disintegrating vacuum hose to the wastegate actuator.
 
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It's the reputation they seem to have in America.
Not so much in my first and second hand experience, but that's based on a few samples only.
 
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I think they’ve improved (over the 1960s-‘70s ones), but they still have a way to go. It doesn’t help that there is almost NO aftermarket parts for them, so almost no one outside of a dealer or possibly a hardcore indy mechanic will work on them.
 
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Oh from an American point of view experience, definitely! I wouldn't buy one.
In Europe, no problem, except for their habits of discontinuing spare parts very quickly...
 

LDB

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Good morning. The title is a bit clickbaity - I did sell my Saab, but that was already last year. I had been commuting by bike for the last two years, had not driven it very much, the lockdown and curfews in 2020 had exponentially increased the rust (no chance to wash the salt off!). On top of that, the disintegrating wiring was really getting on my nerves. And worst of all, I was working way to much, so had neither the time or the nerve to properly take care of the car. So I sold it to young guy who has more time than me for a very small, but adequate sum (he is contractually bound to preserve the car and get it back on the road. I am getting regular status updates - car is currently stripped down, has already been welded and is currently at the bodyshop being repainted. New wiring harness already in place.)
Selling the Saab was a major thing - I had owned the car for 14 years (longer than any other car), and had personally driven ~385Mm of it's 685Mm total. I was identified as "the guy with the old 900 turbo", so... well.

View attachment 116498

Farewell, old friend.

Anyways, things changed, I switched jobs, and now I have a 40km (one way) commute. In theory, I could take the train, but with the mask mandates, that is no option (you cannot show up to work drenched in sweat). It is highly unlikely that Covid restrictions in Germany will be lifted anytime soon, as they could come in handy suppressing any civil annoyances over the winter.
So I needed another car. Option a was to take the wife's 900 NG v6 and convert it to LPG. Problem is that the car is stuck at the garage, as all spare gear selector cables that can be bought simply do not fit...

So a second car. Friend is selling his Maserati. Nice car, but probably not the most economical to commute in daily. Another friend is selling his e46 convertible - 330i, running on LPG, and overall a very clean car. (I've never seen another e46 that is this well kept). The only downside: the price is reflecting this. 15k€ for a super nice e46 to then commute through salt and slush? Nope. It would just hurt to see this car being abused.

So I entered my requirements into the search engine of my choice:
- diesel or LPG
- leather
- cruise control

Most of what came up could be ruled out immediately. There were three cars that cought my eye:
1) a Vectra C
2) an Alfa 156
3) A Volvo V70 II.
The Volvo probably was the nicest, but it was ~700km away at the coast. Getting there and back without a car would be a nightmare.
The Vectra looked sound, but it thad the ugly, very agrarian 2.2 TiD. So I bought the Alfa. If there is one thing you can count on, then it is that, given the choice between a boring, reliable car and a formerly nice ****box, I will always opt for the latter.

So here it is (please excuse the bad photos - better ones will follow):

View attachment 116499

View attachment 116500



View attachment 116501


It's a 1.9 JDT 16V - and it has an aftermarket DPF fitted. This means there is no active regeneration, so I should not have to worry about excessive fuel dilution. It also means I have the more efficient engine mapping - but it ensures I can still go into into the low emission zones, that clog every Germany city. Commuting over country roads, the computer reads 3.5 litres/100km - we'll have to see how realistic this is.
"Distinctive" trim level means everything you need is on board - power everything, ACC, cruise control, but most importantly some very nice, very supportive yet comfortable mid grey leather seats (which are in much nicer condition than the rest of the car).
The car has dents and dings front left and rear right, and on top of that, the one wheel arch is crusty, both sills are completely dead, trunk floor is rusty, and probably the footwells too. So basically the car is exactly in the shape that you would expect a 16 year old Alfa that has been driven in Bavaria, in the foothills of the alps, to be in.

And how did it perform? Exactly as expected.

View attachment 116502
Afterr three days the AC compressor seized, the magnetic coupling failed, and the poly belt went up in smoke.
Repair (new compressor, new belt, pulleys, etc) easily doubled the purchase price. I expect this pattern to continue. :cool:



I am fully aware that this car will take a lot of effort. Will probably be out 8k€ until I get it where I want it to be (Starting with slightly over 1k€ pruchase price). I have already gotten a sense of this car's potential. The engine is nice (for a diesel - which means it is horrendous if you come fro a petrol background, but it is saving money), the interior is very beautiful and pleasant to look at, and the car's handling is superb. Even with the heavy diesel, it is only 1380kg. The steering is one of the best of all fwds I ever drove - maybe the OG 900 comes close. Precise, and above all, very good feedback (something modern cars have forgotten). Car turns in well, is quick to react, and the rear is reasonably and enjoyably lively. Yet, the suspension is neither unreasonaly harsh nor uncompliant.
When new, this must have been a very worthy competitor to a 3series, and I cannot understand how anybody could have preferred a bland an boring Audi A4 over this.
Looks pretty nice in those photos, at least before going on the hook. Only 3 used cars for sale in all of Germany? Interesting.
 

turboseize

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The interior is really nice, the exteriour has seen better days. Both front left and rear right corner have bent metal. Left doorsill ist completely crunchy, right side has been welded already, but very ugly work. Trunk floor has rust. Lots of work/money to be spent!

re 3 only 3 cars: of course there are thousands more. But with my requirements - 1.) leather seats, 2.) diesel or lpg, 3.) cruise control, 4.) not too ugly, 5) dirt cheap - the market shrinks considerably.
 
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turboseize

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Oh from an American point of view experience, definitely! I wouldn't buy one.
In Europe, no problem, except for their habits of discontinuing spare parts very quickly...
Spare parts are surprisingly plentiful and cheap. Probably because of overlap with some Fiat models. The engine is definitely not rare, in some variant or the other it could be found in pretty much anthing Fiat (later FCA) and GM (Opel, Vauxhall, Saab) sold in EMEA.
 

turboseize

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not bad, but 2,4jtd is 5cyl. :D
keep on mind diesel lubricity,cleaning additives..i hope germany has better fuel quality.
2.4 would be a dream... re fuel quality: lubricity was an issue in the early 2000s when they stripped sulfur completely from the fuel. Lots of high pressure pump and injector failures across many different manufacturers. Problem seems to have gone away when the biodiesel content went up a couple of years later - at least you did not hear much about pump failures after that any more.
Worst fuel in terms of lubricity is said to be Aral Ultimate Diesel (for it's complete lack of biodiesel), but even this tested (wear scars) way better than the DIN limit and even the Bosch recommendation. Unfortunately, Aral Ultimate is also said to be the best fuel in regards to cetane number, soot, cleaning additives, and staying usable in winter. :unsure:


Back to the car:
After the Alfa started throwing fault codes and my local garage charged 27€to read the first of these, I am now proud owner of a newfangled OBD2-plug that connects to my phone via bluetooth (and cost 15€). Both fault codes were turbocharger related and occured after heavy-footed acceleration. In the first case, the culprit was a brittle vacuum line to the wastegate actator; in the second case I could not find any physical fault. I am tempted to believe that the previous owner did not take to great care in adjusting the base boost pressure when exchanging the turbo, but rather eyeballed it. The second fault code came on after I accelerated out of a village into a steep hill, foot to the floor, holding 2nd and 3rd gear to redline.
After deleting the fault code, I was not able to reproduce it again driving reasonably aggressive (meaning I've floored it and revved up to 4500/min, but have not met redline again).
 
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I meant some more specifics things within the Fiat group in general, if you want to keep original parts (or if you have no other choice). Rear brake calipers for a Barchetta, some suspension parts, hoses, temperature sensors
Spare parts are surprisingly plentiful and cheap. Probably because of overlap with some Fiat models. The engine is definitely not rare, in some variant or the other it could be found in pretty much anthing Fiat (later FCA) and GM (Opel, Vauxhall, Saab) sold in EMEA.

... short list from memory.
I'm also looking at vehicles a bit older than yours ;)

(on paper many of these parts are available aftermarket, in reality they mostly exist on paper only. Second hand market is plentiful thankfully, so are the engine parts)
 
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