124 Spider Problem Areas

Discussion in 'Front-Engine Rear Drive Fiats' started by Russe11, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. Russe11

    Russe11 True Classic

    My Father and I are considering purchasing a 124 Spider as our next project. I'm asking for a 'heads up' about common troublesome spots that we should be on the lookout for, when checking out cars for sale.

    Thanks for any input you may provide.

    Brian
     
  2. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Location:
    Michigan
    Most terminal failure is as always rust. Look at the front shock towers as a real problem area. The floors around the seat mounts are a trifle frustrating to repair. The visual rocker panel is a bolt on, it's what underneath that can bite you. The area over the rear wheels and back towards the panel break is prone to rust and shoddy repairs to cover it.

    The transmission is a bit weak on some of the syncros, fixable but a bit pricey. The engines are pretty bulletproof. Get an 81 or newer for a more drive it wrench less experience. Otherwise pick a carb car and hopefully you live in a non smog zone and you can play to your hearts content with various carb combos. The twin cam is a marvelous motor with a huge range of displacements. All are sweet runners.

    Some great forums: www.fiatspider.com wwwfiatspiders.com

    Plenty of parts available short of complete bodies.

    They are great cruisers and ride extremely nicely. Handling is good, consistent and stable.

    Expect to go through all of the front suspension and replace the rear trailing arms and often the pan hard rod. Replace the Guibo on the driveshaft right away.

    Beyond that all the typical old car and Fiat issues of dumb owners, really stupid mechanics and so on.

    Karl
     
  3. spiderrey

    spiderrey spiderrey

    Location:
    san dimas, ca
    Rear trailing arms aren't replaced on early cars. They have replaceable bushings.
     
  4. Russe11

    Russe11 True Classic

    Thanks for the input

    Thanks, guys.

    It's appreciated.

    Brian
     
  5. Russe11

    Russe11 True Classic

    Automatic?

    One of the cars that has shown up in our search has an automatic transmission. I was surprised to learn that was an option on the Spider 2000. It would actually be kinda nice, as sometimes my Dad's knees trouble him a bit. Anything I should be forewarned about with that?

    Thanks again.

    Brian
     
  6. bb4re

    bb4re 86X 22,000 miles

    Location:
    OH-IO
    Parts for the automatic .....

    ....aren't super readily available. I am pretty sure the auto trans was actually based on the Chevy Chevette. Not the best 124 Spider feature.
     
  7. Russe11

    Russe11 True Classic

    Chevette...

    Thanks for the input, but please clarify for me. Are you saying the automatic isn't a great option because it's mechanically problematic and has poor parts availability, or that you don't like it because it feels like you're driving a (good looking) Chevette?

    Brian
     
  8. bb4re

    bb4re 86X 22,000 miles

    Location:
    OH-IO
    Not a bulletproof transmission...

    ....and if you have ANY troubles with it, your pretty much out of luck getting it repaired. Resale will also kill you, even if you don't have any problems. Not much of a market for an automatic Italian sportscar. In my opinion, the only worse automatic car is the Lancia Zagato automatic. Extremely rare also, however the parts just aren't available.
     
  9. Russe11

    Russe11 True Classic

    Thanks for that

    Sounds like some of both reasons. Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.

    Brian
     
  10. roadster27

    roadster27 True Classic

    Location:
    Springfield, OR
    Contact Steve Bedilion if you are considering an automatic

    Steve (stevebedilion at comcast.net) used his auto box Spider as a bracket drag racer, and surprised a lot of folks. I hadn't heard that the auto was particularly prone to failure, but he could fill you in on his experience which is probably more than anyone on this list possesses.

    For a good guide on buying a Spider check out http://www.mirafiori.com/faq/content/buyspid.html

    -Dean
     
  11. Russe11

    Russe11 True Classic

    Great Info

    That's great. Thank you very much!
     
  12. spiderrey

    spiderrey spiderrey

    Location:
    san dimas, ca
    The auto trans is out of a chevy chevette. I had an automatic spider. Trans gave me no issues. It was actually a nice cruiser. I was told parts arent to hard to find being that its a chevy trans.
     
  13. Dan Sarandrea (Phila)

    Dan Sarandrea (Phila) Waitin' On Parts...

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Yeah, a quick google shows a full rebuild kit for a Turbo-Hydramatic 180 (which is what this auto is) going for around $175, that's very reasonable.
     

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