DIY Servicing: Alfa Romeo 147 GTA 3.2 V6
Alfa Tecnico shows Rob Hawkins how to service the top-of-therange Alfa 147 GTA with dinner plates for front brake discs and an enormous 3.2 V6 powering the front wheels.
Italian car manufacturers have produced some highly competitive hot hatchbacks ever since the Fiat Strada Abarth appeared in 1981 with a 123bhp 2.0-litre twin-cam engine and a top speed of 120mph. Nowadays, such performance figures are the norm for many entry-level models, but Alfa Romeo proved it was keeping up with the competition with the 147 GTA manufactured from 2003-2005. Its well-known 3.2-litre 24-valve quadcam V6 was squeezed under the bonnet, producing a staggering 246bhp and propelling the 147 to 60mph in 6.1 seconds.
So much power demanded an equallymatched set of brakes. Alfa turned to Brembo and fitted 305mm vented discs with four-pot calipers on the front. An upgrade was available to increase the diameter to 330mm and fit larger fourpot calipers (as on the one here).
The four-cylinder petrol and diesel 147s are a cheap car to buy, but the GTA is in a different league. The car seen here belongs to Alfa Tecnico of Nottinghamshire (it owned and worked on CM’S Alfa 156 project in 2011), who value it at almost £6000 with around 100,000 miles on the clock. Low-mileage examples can sell for twice that amount or more.
Unfortunately, these cars need looking after, so Alfa Tecnico’s recommended service schedule is more frequent than a main dealer. The timing belt, for example, should be renewed every 72,000 miles officially, but with many GTAS becoming collectible and used less frequently, Alfa Tecnico recommend doing it every 50,000 miles or every five years. Similarly, it insists on stripping and cleaning the brakes at every service interval to ensure they don’t seize from infrequent use.
Alfa Romeo’s reputation for poor build quality is reflected in the 147. Some of the problems we found on our project 156 are present on the 147, such as rotting rear floors and seized handbrakes. Some spares are obsolete, so new-old stock is as rare as hen’s teeth.
Here, we follow Alfa Tecnico’s servicing plan, outlining many of the typical 147 problems that can arise and how to rectify them.