Alfa breathes more easily
New air filter and thermostat return the 145 Cloverleaf to match fitness
2000 ALFA ROMEO 145 CLOVERLEAF
I took a gamble when I bought this car. It came with no service history and had spent some months laid up, so a little preventative maintenance was immediately called for.
After I replaced the kaput battery and changed the air filter, there was only one thing that was clearly wrong with it. The engine temperature wasn’t lifting above lukewarm, suggesting that the thermostat had seized in the open position. This was lucky – the two-litre engine would have overheated within a few short miles if it had seized in the closed position. Thinking it could be cleaned and prodded back into life, I dug out some tools and set about removing it.
This was actually a bit of a pain, since the whole thermostat housing has to come off, and some dogsbody at the Neapolitan factory had chosen four different types of hose clip to fix the various pipes. Fruity language ensued until eventually the offending item succumbed. It was no good though – pouring hot and cold water through it confirmed that the thermostat was indeed knackered, as the flow rate was not significantly altering from one pipe to the other. So two days later (and about 40 quid poorer), I took delivery of an OEM replacement, which I fitted with proper jubilee clips – you know, the ones from the ‘olden days’ that you could actually get on an off without a degree in engineering.
With the engine now settling at normal operating temperature, I was itching to put some miles under the wheels. There’s little point owning a car as frisky as this if you’re not going to occasionally drive the pants off it, but the lack of service history was playing on my mind. So I had a stern word with my right foot and booked an inspection with Antonio at Auto Sportivo near Bedford (07946 548727). He’s nuts about little Italian pocket rockets and seemed genuinely excited to be under a 145 Cloverleaf again; they are pretty rare nowadays after all. He renewed the gearbox oil at my request and identified a weak wishbone bush, but apart from that Antonio was able to give the Alfa a clean bill of health.
A few weeks later I was blatting through deepest Cumbria, massively enjoying every sinew of the road. This car really is turning out to be brilliant... of which, more next time.
The air filter was one of the first things to be changed.
In for a proper checkup at Auto Sportivo.
Dodgy old thermostat was a swine to remove, and couldn’t be repaired anyway.