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.

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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