5 WAYS TO MAKE IT BETTER
1 MAKE IT HANDLE BETTER THAN EVER
A sorted 156 is one of the sweetest handling saloons around, and the key to keeping it that way is healthy suspension. Replacing tired and perished bushes will transform the way it drives, and specialists recommend sticking to original rather than uprated parts. Budget £600-700 to have a specialist fettle the front wishbones and rear arms.
2 CHANGE THE BELT
We’ve already noted the importance of cambelt renewal, so if there’s no evidence of recent replacement this should be first on your list. It’s not prohibitively expensive and a specialist will charge £250-550 depending on the engine fitted, and be sure to have the camshaft variator and water pump changed at the same time for peace of mind.
3 KEEP RUST AT BAY
Once corrosion takes hold in the floor a 156 might not be worth saving, so a spot of preventative rust-proofing is worthwhile. As well as checking the underseal beneath, it’s advisable to remove the carpets and thoroughly treat the floorpan from within the cabin. Getting busy with the Waxoyl is something you can do yourself over a weekend and could save the car in the long run.
4 UPGRADE THE DIFFERENTIAL
The differential can be a weak spot, while torque steer spoils the driving experience, but there’s an answer to both problems. Alfa’s Q2 diff is a limited-slip unit that works brilliantly in diesel, V6, and GTA models and specialist, The Alfa Workshop, will supply and fit one for £900. Another option is an aftermarket Quaife unit, which will cost a similar amount.
5 IMPROVE THE DIESEL’S GET-UP-AND-GO
The 1.9-litre JTD Multijet diesel fitted to late-model 156s is a punchy and frugal unit, and one worth seeking out. It’s also easy to improve on the standard 150bhp output with an ECU remap and a variety of companies offer this. Expect to pay £300-350 to have it done and you can easily see a power boost to 180bhp.