Alfa 166 Purchase Tips
So, the time has come.... the Alfa 166 has stolen your heart.
You want to buy one, but what points need attention?
To help you evaluate your dream car, we have listed a few issues you can use
as a guide. Don't be discouraged by this list. The Alfa 166 is a very good car
and you might never encounter any of these problems.
You will experience that it is an unmatched pleasure to drive the Alfa 166.
If you need any additional advice or information, ask your question on our
message board. It would be really strange if you don't get an answer.
The airflow meter is also on the 166 a sensitive part.
If you have room for negotiation, try to get it replaced with a genuine new one.
Rough running and/or poor acceleration of the engine are the symptoms.
You might get an engine management warning light, but not necessarily.
Cheap aftermarket imitation sensors can also cause problems.
The alignment of the rear wheels is not something that can be adjusted by the
tire centre around the corner.
It needs a specialist's hand. Uneven wear on the rear tires is an indicator for
During a test drive pay special attention to the behaviour of the rear, it
shouldn't be nervous.
If it tends to jump sideways with every bump or ridge, have the alignment
Check the operation of the central locking system.
Lock and unlock the doors several times and check if all doors keep following.
Make sure all code cards are present (ICS, navigation system, keys).
You can order them at the dealer, but it can cost quite some money and effort.
If you still have the factory original ICS, ordering the code will be no
problem, but it will cost around €40,00.
However if the ICS has been replaced at some point, it will cost you a lot more
hassle and money to get the code,
as it can not be retrieved by the chassis number.
A new key will cost about €130,00.
Warm up the engine well and check if the temperature stabilises around 90°C.
The following parts are weak spots:
● The radiator. Engine doesn't cool well, temperature rises above 90°C quickly.
● The thermostat. Engine doesn't or slowly reaches operating temperature.
● The water pump. (particularly V6) Temperature exceeds 90°C when load is
● Temperature sensor. With no or little airflow (driving in a traffic jam) the
temperature rises to 105°C before stabilising.
Check the condition of the exhaust system, especially the connection in front of
the rear muffler.
Not really a weak spot, but a fairly expensive part to replace.
But there are some nice aftermarket systems available for the enthusiasts.
Especially on the JTD engines, the Top Dead Centre sensor can fail.
If the engine quits for no apparent reason and can be restarted a bit later,
then this is probably the cause.
Not an expensive repair by the way.
For a lot of people, the Twinspark engine is the most attractive engine for the
166. The car is lighter with the TS engine, and that reflects in lower
road tax, and the fuel mileage is far more attractive in respect to the other
petrol engine variants.
For the purchase of a secondhand 166 TS however, there are some things to take
into consideration. Because it appears to be a sensitive engine.
The fact is that you cannot permit to drive the car wit the oil level too low.
This will sooner or later result in damaged driveshaft bearings, which of
coarse is fatal to the engine. So what can you do when you want to purchase one?
First of all, be very alert to strange ticking noises coming from the engine.
If it makes such a noise, walk away. However, if the engine runs fine, and
doesn't make strange noises, then you have to assume that you got it in time.
The fact of the matter is that it is likely that the engine at some point did
run with a low oil level. TS engines do have a reputation of using oil, and you
never know how alert a previous owner was on the oil level. Do not worry. Have
the driveshaft bearings (big end) replaced as a preventive measure. Not a
difficult task for a specialist, and should set you back about €500. Of coarse
quite some money to straight away invest in a new (second hand) car,
but be honest, the prices of the 166, and especially the TS, nowadays are so low,
that even with this expense, you still drive a beautiful Alfa for a very
reasonable price. It buys you the security that will prevent you a lot of misery
and expensive repair bills in the future.
All you have to do is stay alert on the oil consumption. And should you find it
at a too low level some day, change the bearings.
Check the lights in the boot lid, inner rear lights, reverse lights and rear fog
Broken wires are common in the flexible harness to the boot lid.
Check the operation of the powered windows. Particularly check every individual
Replacement of a switch consists of replacing the complete unit.
If installed, blue square in the windscreen behind the rear view mirror, check
the operation of the rain sensor.
By now Alfa Romeo has put the rust demon far behind them.
Still there are some area's prone to rust
● The hood around the Alfa heart.
● Rear inner fenders.
● Steel oil lines of the oil cooler and the powered steering.
● Suspension beam of the radiator.
● Mounting supports of both the front and aft bumper.
Rust on the sheet metal body panels stay superficial far a long time and are
In case of a Sportronic be very critical about the gearbox.
In both normal and sport mode the gearbox should react with souplesse.
Don't accept strange noises or weird shifting behaviour, this means trouble is
Check the condition of the suspension.
Rear wheel shock absorbers are a weakness, but they are often already replaced
by better examples.
Worn rubber bushings in the wishbones are common as well.
The importer (in Holland) has cut the factory replacement interval in half.
Check if the timing belt has been replaced less than 60.000 km or 3 years ago.
Always try to negotiate a belt replacement, including the tensioner and idler
Especially with the V6 engines this can be a costly repair that is not possible
without the use of special tooling.
With a rough running V6, poor camshaft timing as result of not using the special
tooling, can be the cause.
It will never hurt to have the car read out by a dealer.
If the car is equipped with factory original xenon lights, check the operation
of the automatic height adjustment.
Things as poor exciters, lambda probes and switches etc. can be detected.
These are things you don?t necessarily notice when you drive an Alfa Romeo 166
for the first time.