Alfa GT Cam Belts
Alfa GT airflow meter
Alfa GT Upper Front Wishbone
Alfa GT rear suspension radius arm bushes
First, read this: General Buying Advice
The GT shares the same chassis as the 147 and 156 and as such all the maladies that affect the latter also effect the former. When you go to see a GT, as with any car, the first thing to do is stand back and take note of the general fit of panels and the colour match between panels. A poor panel fit or variations in paint colour indicate it has been in an accident. It is necessary to then move in and do a detailed check of the panel fit, get close and check all the rubbers and trims for signs of overspray or masking lines. If you can it is advisable to pull the door seals off and check the spot welds around the door are original. When looking in the boot check the boot floor for damage, to do this it is worth removing the spare wheel and under the bonnet check to see if the fasteners have been moved or disturbed. If the car has been involved in an accident it is up to you if you buy it and this should depend on the severity of the accident, if you are at all unsure it is best to talk to an expert or walk away.
Alfa Romeos are generally quite reliable cars, especially now the cam belt change interval has been reduced on 2.0JTS petrol models to 36,000 miles. However, it is important to check that the cam belt has been done as many cars have escaped the net and people are having the 48,000 and 60,000 mile service done not realising that they have missed the cam belt. It is imperative that the cam belt has been done at 36,000 and you need to see proof in the form of a service receipt, not a stamp in the book as the Alfa Romeo service interval for the belt was 72,000 until 13/11/06 so any cars having a 36,000 mile service before that date will not have had the cam belt done, beware.
The other important thing to check is the oil level. If you check the level and it is below minimum it is best to find another better example as the one you are looking at has been neglected and if these engines run low on oil they are liable to do serious damage to the crankshaft. We advise changing the cam belt on the V6 and the Diesel at 60,000 miles, but remember there is a time limit on a cam belt of 5 years so any car around this old will also need a timing or cam belt.
The clutches on Alfa's GT tend to last well but a worn clutch will bit right at the top of its travel and to replace a clutch will cost upwards of £500. While road testing the car, make sure you do an extended run of mixed driving and make sure that all the gears select easily and without crunching. If the gear lever does not move easily across the gate you will need a pair of bushes in the pivot point on top of the gear box at around £70. While driving, note the engines power delivery, it should be progressive all the way through; flat spots or an unwillingness to rev may indicate a faulty air flow meter (MAF) and these are in excess of £100.
Suspension is another area to check the car should ride smoothly with no undue noise. A squeak from behind the dash can mean that the front upper wishbone needs replacing, while a rattle under your feet indicates worn roll bar bushes. On the rear suspension it is necessary to check the rear hub bushes and rear radius arms, these can lead to uneven wear on the tyres with a saw tooth pattern being worn onto the inner edge of the tyre this can lead to excessive tyre noise which can be mistaken for worn wheel bearings.
The electrics are quite reliable, but it is necessary to check that all the warning lights come on and then switch off after approximately 3 seconds. If they do not it is best to assume the worst and someone has been tampering with the system and it has failed, which is almost always expensive. While sitting in the drivers seat check that all the buttons work, try everything, from the rear wiper to the cigarette lighter and everything in between and if it does not work ask the owner if he can show you it working, if he cant assume the part is broken, don’t believe it is “just the fuse” it is much better to assume the worst and get a pleasant surprise than the other way round.
Next get all the paper work, check that the chassis number on the V5C registration document matches the car and that the chassis number on the car does not look as if it has been tampered with. You will find the chassis number on the front spring turret and on a sliver plate on the slam panel, check them both. If the car has an MOT check the details on that match the car and the V5C. If the car has a service history check it and be very suspicious if the car has the first two stamps missing as company cars can often do huge mileages in the first few years and by clocking them at this point unscrupulous people can make a lot of money, service receipts are always a good second line of defence, so if they are available check them carefully. I am also very suspicious if the service stamps are all from one garage, especially if they are in one hand righting and using one pen!
Once you have done these preliminary checks it is advisable to get your potential purchase checked out by an independent specialist and a HPI check is always advisable as it will check for any outstanding credit on the car, remember the car does not become your property until this finance is paid off by the vendor, so you could be stuck with the last owners outstanding credit if you are not careful.
Once you have overcome all these hurdles and you actually own a GT you will be able to walk out every morning and just enjoy the looks and the style of a Classic Alfa Romeo Coupe, life does not get much better.