1996 Alfa Romeo 155 TS 2.0 16v from UK and Ireland
A high maintenance performance bargain
I thought the history looked good and maybe I've just been unlucky...
Vandalised in doctor's surgery car park - new door skin and locks took 3 weeks.
The variator had already begun to rattle so it was booked into main dealer for service as quote was same as independent amazingly, but before I could get there the engine blew. As you may know this is not an uncommon occurrence, one consequence being that replacements of any kind are in short supply. Anyway, got hold of recon (allegedly) and installed and away we go. On the old one it seems that one of the belts (not the cambelt) had snapped making a mess of the internals. I still wonder whether this wasn't in someway linked to the prolonged variator rattle so get it checked out quickly.
Hold up, the engine management system light was on and no one including Alfa main dealer (who didn't charge) can work out why.
Then the battery light starts flickering on/off until eventually the engine cuts out. The high pressure hose on the power steering has perished and is weeping, but guess where the drops go - drip drip drip straight into the alternator - hence the light and eventual failure - expensive and the hose was another £50 or so.
But the upside of this was that I came to Alfa Aid (now in Maidenhead) who got the pipe and then identified the cause of the other light. Apparently there are two types of cam phase sensor for these engines and the so-called recon engine had been botched with the wrong sensor being fitted. This can be done by the unscrupulous, unwary or incompetent and involves Apollo 13 type square peg-round hole thinking - mad, bad and frustrating. And expensive!
So now, as others have said, the 155 eats tyres and have new fronts already.
Internal map light in roof jams in.
Rear fog lights of/off probably from the continual action of the boot on wiring loom.
Then, bonnet flips - lubricate those catches properly. New wings, bonnet, grill, but roof/windscreen fine - lucky I think (for once).
Vandal broke badge off boot - standard solution is to superglue a badge and use internal release, but how soon will that break!
Rear exhaust section replaced after 5000 miles and rear weld promptly broke - hard ride and dodgy Italian workmanship - but Alfa Aid made good gratis
And so last week, engine blew again - that recon again - I'd been short changed I think as nothing inside the engine seems to have been checked out - oil pump pressure release valve had jammed. Crankshaft is OK, but shells need to be replaced and who knows about the top end so its coming out and a rear ended replacement is going in, found in Scotland for which many thanks to Brian in Glasgow.
Hope to get it back this week from Alfa Aid and try to remember the joys.
Great handling, decent brakes and quick rack make driving a joy.
Cabin roomy, but a bit dull.
Ride is hard when slow, but family don't seem to mind.
Plenty of space in boot, but seats don't fold so its only fishing rods and skis that fit through the armrest!
Rear visibility compromised for shorter drivers by rear pillars, but with the quick rack car park bumps can be minimised and the acceleration and brakes help you out the rest of the time!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th November, 2002
I would just like to add to the comments made regarding Alfa Aid in Maidenhead. I bought a 156 V6 from Adrian last year and the preparation, service and knowledge were excellent, so this morning I drove from Dartford in Kent to Alfa Aid for a service!
Guess what I have a 155 as a courtesy car!
Had to laugh on the journey there after sitting stationary on the M25 for ages! It was all caused by a Ferrari Enzo breaking down, he was off the carriageway, but everyone was just stopping to gawp, both clockwise and anti!
Go see Alfa Aid, they are excellent.
Think my Mrs is test driving a nice Black 2.0TS Spider next week!
Surprised to hear the rear seats don't fold. They do in the Tempra, which is essentially the same car...