WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

HEAVY DRINKER

Check the oil level on Twin Spark en­gines as they can drink the stuff; it’s caused by gummed-up oil con­trol rings al­low­ing oil to be burnt and a litre ev­ery 300 miles isn’t un­heard of. Any 156 lack­ing a sound main­te­nance his­tory is best avoided, while some ser­vice items on the 2.5 V6 (such as plugs and oil fil­ter) are fid­dly to reach, so en­sure they’ve not been ig­nored. As for the other en­gines, later 2.0-litre JTS mo­tors can be trou­ble­some and suf­fer from pre­ma­ture camshaft wear and fail­ure of coil packs and in­jec­tors. Diesels are gen­er­ally re­li­able but check for ex­haust smoke/poor run­ning caused by turbo and EGR valve is­sues.

NEW BELTS PLEASE

Reg­u­lar cam­belt changes are cru­cial and four-cylin­der en­gines need a fresh one at 36k miles (re­vised from 72k by Alfa); it’s worth changing the valve-tim­ing vari­a­tor at the same time as they can get rat­tily. V6s need a fresh belt at around 60,000 miles (it’s a trick­ier, more ex­pen­sive job) along with a new water pump, which is prone to im­peller break-up. A cor­roded and leak­ing ra­di­a­tor is com­mon, too, and front bumper re­moval is needed to re­place it. Flat spots or lumpy run­ning is likely down to a faulty airflow me­ter, while failed lambda sen­sors will il­lu­mi­nate dash warn­ing lights.

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