Alfa Romeo GTV series 2 engine bay
Alfa Romeo GTV with series 2 silver central console
Alfa GTV window will sometimes need adjusting to reduce wind noise
Alfa GTV sunroof further reduces headroom
Alfa GTV boot is limited, replace spare with puncture kit
Alfa GTV limited rear leg room
Alfa GTV lower front wishbone wear
Alfa GTV lower spring pan
Alfa GTV rear bush wear can effect sub frame
First: General car buying advice
After covering the basics in the link above take a good look around the Alfa GTV, both at a distance and close up, checking the gaps between the body panels are even and symmetrical, any that aren't could be a clue of accident damage. Another sign is chipped paint on panel nuts and bolts. As is overspray, especially around the window trim and doors, and panel colour miss-matches. Expect to find stone chips on the relatively large frontal area of the GTV's bonnet, commensurate to the car's age. Parking dents are also fairly common, the worst area to get these is the rear quarters as limited interior access makes them difficult to repair.
Alfa GTVs are reliable cars if serviced well, we have some GTV 2.0l with 190,000 miles on the clock, however, as with all vehicles there are a number of details to be aware of when purchasing.
Alfa engines tend to use oil (and require weekly checks), so check the level and if little or nothing is in the sump you have a strong indication that the car has been neglected, and it's probably best to walk away. According to Alfa Romeo's original service schedule, the cam belts (Cam Belt Change Offer) should be renewed at the 72,000 miles, however, we have been recommending for a long time that the belts should be replaced earlier, and since November 2006 Alfa Romeo have reduced the official service interval to 36,000 miles or 3 years. The official interval for V6 remains at 72,000, but we continue to recommend earlier changes.
Particularly when starting from cold, there can sometimes be a diesel type rattle from the 2.0l engines, this is the cam variator and should be replaced when doing the cambelt.
The 2.0l twin spark engine has 8 spark plugs and costs about £10 each, which bumps up the cost of the 60,000-mile service. When road testing any of the cars, if you feel it lacks power it may need an air flow meter (MAF Diagnosis Guide) these cost around £120 each. On the 3.0l it is worth checking the condition of the oil cooler pipes as they tend to corrode and it is about £350 to replace them as you end up replacing both pipes and the cooler radiator and they are quite difficult to fit.
Clutches and gearboxes are very reliable, a worn clutch will tend to bite at the top of its travel and as they are self-adjusting. A high biting point signifies that a new clutch will be needed soon. The 3.0l clutch is a pull-type clutch and can get quite heavy as the diaphragm work hardens, the cover does not then exert enough pressure on the friction plate and this may then slip. Gearboxes are generally trouble-free but do check that all gears engage smoothly without crunching, occasionally the nut comes loose on 5th gear and this can make 5th gear difficult to engage, however, the nut only usually needs tightening which can be done with the gearbox in situ.
The brakes are generally trouble-free but the front disks on 3.0l cars may warp and this will show up as a vibration through the steering when braking from speed and the disks are over £70 each.
The suspension has a number of areas to check. These are the lower front wishbone (GTV lower wishbone replacement guide) which can have play at either end and this can cause excessive wear on the inner edge of the front tyres, however, the front tyres do have a tendency to wear on the inner edge even with the suspension in perfect condition so do not take uneven tyre wear as a guarantee of suspension wear. The suspension arm costs about £50 and takes just over an hour to fit. The rear suspension on GTVs does have a number of weak points and these vary depending on whether you are buying a 2.0l or a 3.0l. On a 2.0l the bushes are made of rubber with a steel insert in it, this insert can wear into the Aluminium subframe especially on the rear arm where the shock absorber mounts and this can, in extreme cases, necessitate the replacement of the subframe (image), this, however, is very rare. The arms are very easy to fit. The front arm that supports the spring is however a lot more expensive at around £200 however it does not tend to fail as regularly, with all these arms it is possible to fit power flex bushes which will reduce the cost. On the 3.0l the bushes are spherical joints, not rubber bushes so you don't get the problem with the insert wearing into the subframe, however, the bushes can squeak and you will have to replace the spring pan arm because of this at about £200.
With Alfa Romeo GTVs there should be no rust as the cars have all been galvanised from the factory however with cars now well over 10 years old it is worth checking the floor pan for corrosion if you do find any anywhere else it'll be from a poor accident repair. A lot of the front of the car is made of plastic, and all the interior trim is very hard-wearing. The interior electrics are also generally very reliable but it is worth checking that everything works when you test the car, i.e. check fan, electric mirrors, electric windows, lighter, radio, climate control, windscreen wipers, windscreen washers, lights, sunroof, boot release which is in the glove box, petrol flap release. If the air conditioning does not work it could need a new radiator which can be quite expensive. It is also important to check that the various electronic systems on the car are working as they should. When you start the car three important systems are self-diagnosed. These all have a warning light that illuminates on startup, goes out a couple of seconds later. If the light does NOT come on or stays on, there is a fault with that system that needs to be repaired. These systems are airbag, ABS and engine management. The airbag light is a little man with a large balloon in front of him that is situated on the bottom left between the rev counter and speedo. The ABS light is a circle with ABS written in the centre which is again between the two instruments and the fuel injection light is in the top right of the rev counter and looks like a fuel injector spraying fuel.
Check that you have the brown "master" key and code tag, in addition to the two regular ones. The absence of the master key can lead to a very expensive repair in the case of a flat battery or some other electrical problems.
This is a basic guide to buying an Alfa GTV, and once you have got this far it's worth getting a specialist on the marque to check the car over for you. Most of the UK specialists will do this for a very reasonable fee, especially if you can get the vendor to take the car to them.
I hope you enjoy your new purchase and it gives you many years of trouble-free motoring.