Update: Bought an Abarth...Thinking of buying an Abarth...

Discussion in 'Nuova 500' started by Brett, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. Brett

    Brett True Classic

    Location:
    Molalla, Oregon
    Currently this one in particular:
    https://eugene.craigslist.org/cto/d/2013-fiat-500-abarthmiles/6493091022.html

    Spoke to the guy on the phone, he's the 3rd owner. Which seems weird for a car with 12k miles. I also thought it weird that it had all this aftermarket stuff listed in the ad, but with no mention of an aftermarket ECU. When I asked him about it he said he has the 500Madness ECU on the shelf and will include it with the car. He’d pulled it because of needing to sort out issues, which ended being the shorted O2 sensors which have been replaced, but he hasn't had time to reinstall the after market ECU. Supposedly never been tracked. Just driven to work and the store.
    Anything else I should ask or look for?

    Related - as documented elsewhere on this site, I have two really aggressive X-1/9 projects, which I *still* am not making progress on. And the 500e that I’ve been using as my daily driver comes off lease next month. And the range vs. my commute has become an increasing furstration. A 90 mile round trip commute with a car that average range is 87 miles, requires a charge at work. More people buying EVs with no additional chargers at work makes it hard to get that required charge. I think I need to go back to gas for daily driver. I could use one of the Xs, but they are loud and having a bunch of them, some more variety would be better. My wife doesn’t like to ride in the Xs because of road noise, the 500e she loves. Tha Abarth I expect to be louder than the 500e, but it’s still a modern car with sound deadening to tame road noise and should be acceptable...
    If I buy an Abarth, expect to see one of my projects in the FS&W section. I will still have multiple Xs :)
     
  2. Brett

    Brett True Classic

    Location:
    Molalla, Oregon
    Well, you guys were no help :p
    Hard to find negative owner reviews. From my searches, everyone who has one loves them. So far, so good. Drove it home tonight. My two 20-something sons also approve of it as a great choice. Interesting to me how similar and yet how different it is compared to the 500e

    -Brett

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  3. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Congrats Brett. My daughter recently bought a 2013 POP and she is loving it so far. Good luck with your "new" car!
     
  4. Kevin Channer

    Kevin Channer True Classic

    Congrats on your purchase, It looks like a nice one. I am still casually in the market for one but my max budget is $8k so it is hard to find one with decent miles and the options I want. Interestingly in the east and south they are averaging $2k to $3k less. I found one at a dealer in Texas for $7k 500 C Abarth with low miles clean title but as I was on the phone with the sales manager someone was test driving the car and they bought it. So I will continue to look.
     
  5. gwbfiat

    gwbfiat True Classic

    Location:
    Maple Valley, WA
    Congratulations Brett. You did a good thing. It has also been my experience that if you talk to the people who "own" these cars the great majority of them really like their cars and have few to no problems with them. I really love my 500e and if I had the ability to do anything I wanted I would also own an Abarth too as I really love them as well. I sure hope that Fiat can somehow manage to survive as they truly are great and unique little cars in an otherwise very un-unique and boring world.

    George
     
  6. Rod Midkiff

    Rod Midkiff True Classic

    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    Hmm, the cure for range anxiety, pull a trailer with a generator on it. (smiles)
     
  7. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Oh, I missed this post.. I love the car, but I also effing can't stand the car. It's left a bad taste in my mouth for Fiat in general.

    I'm the second owner of my 2013, was owned by an older gentleman who never abused it. It was not modified, and the fuel economy was at 6.4L/100km average (which is amazing, I doubt he even knew there was a "Sport" button). It has 130K kms on it (81.5 K miles) - high, but all commuting by highway.


    let's just say, I had it for a year now - and I'm already thinking of selling it. It spends a lot of time looking like this. From door handles, to window motors, to transmission leaks, to shifter cable bushings, strut top mounts, rear shock bushings, to speedometer issues... plus I obtained the service history from the previous owner, had the rear main seal replaced, oil pan replaced, shifter cables 3x, door handles replaced, strut top mounts x2... The car was winter driven by the previous owner, so salt belt issues affect these cars (especially door handles and shift cable bushings).

    Yes, it's a fun car. It makes me smile. I like looking at it, but Fiat has not improved in quality, durability, or reliability it seems. Yes, I bought it used, and it's pretty much spotless. The previous owner maintained it very well. Engine runs great (yes, I installed a Madness V2 ECU - you can see it mounted on top of the battery).

    Oh well..

    upload_2018-4-27_20-50-25.png
     
    beezee likes this.
  8. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Mine's loaded with leather, beats sub & sunroof, I can do a better price in Canadian! :)

    Comes with the dealer service manual (unfortunately it's needed). Also socket for axle nuts and a few other odds and ends, spare intercoolers & tubes from a guy who upgraded his. hehe.. I'm a bit far from you.
     
  9. beezee

    beezee True Classic

    My wife has a 2012 500C. So far:

    Oil pan leak
    Coolant leak
    2 rear wheel bearings
    Shifter cables
    2 door handles
    Lighting control module (to fix license plate lights)
    Clutch switch
    Headlight socket burned up
    Jounce bumpers
    Sway bar bushings
    Rear shock bushings
    Broken shifter knob (twice)
    Broken arm rest

    And probably a few others I have forgotten, and the car has 150,000 kms.

    She still loves the car.
     
    myronx19 likes this.
  10. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    DOH!!!

    That's quite the list! - yeah, I forgot about this one.. yes, I also had this leak. The shift cables can be repaired, at least I did - I used bushingfix.com to fix one of them, the other I repaired with JB weld because I couldn't get the repair kit fast enough - and it's holding up.

    For door handles, seeing that you're local to me - spray the pivots with white lithium grease or something else (even WD-40!). They seize up. You can buy just the hinge from ebay.co.uk .

    Is hers rusting around the emblems? I forgot to mention that mine is :(

    My daily driver is a 2006 5spd Pontiac Vibe. It has almost 300K kms on it now.

    In 12 years, I've replaced
    - Clutch at 250K kms
    - engine oil
    - wiper blades

    .... still has original drum brakes, struts, ball joints, everything works.. well - primarily because it's a Toyota Matrix :)


    The 500 is a fun car. I love how it looks. I hate how it was executed. Perhaps the later cars are better.
     
    beezee likes this.
  11. beezee

    beezee True Classic

    I haven't seen any rust around the emblems but the paint has peeled at the base of the rear wheel arch. Here are a couple more:

    Cruise control malfunction. Fixed under TSB.
    Rear window defogger quit
    Left strut mount binding - replaced
    Passenger door latch mechanism came apart inside door.
    For some reason 3 headlight bulbs have failed.

    Other than that, the car has been trouble free.;)

    About 70-80% of the problems were covered under warranty, so I haven't done much work on it. The shifter cables failed when my wife was coming home from work but she managed to nurse it to the dealer in third gear so I didn't bother trying to get it home to do my own repairs. I know another owner who had the headlight socket burn up so this may be a common problem. I bought another socket and wired it in myself. Then the following week the headlight bulb burned out. o_O

    Thanks for the advice about the door handles.

    You're right about the car being fun to drive, and the convertible top is really nice. It can be opened and closed up to 80 kmh.
     
  12. sjmst

    sjmst True Classic

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    My Abarth had a clutch go at about 68,000 miles and the shift linkage failed twice.
    Rear engine seal and struts repaired under warranty.
    That said, I used it as a daily commuter from NY to NJ in ALL weather. Other than that above it was good.
     
    myronx19 likes this.
  13. geekdaddy

    geekdaddy X1/9 Learner's Permit...

    Location:
    NH
    Don't know my 500e's service record before I purchased it. However, in the one year I've had it, the steering gear required replacement and the suspension jounce bumpers were replaced as well. Car as 36,000 miles on the odometer. I've added 8,000 in the past year. Everything serviced under warranty. I've added 15,000 miles to my Ford C-Max of the same year and have had zero warranty claims.

    My 2002 Honda Accord has only required basic maintenance. I replaced the struts at 85,000 miles (and 14 years). So far the 2015 500e has more warranty/service claims... In researching the jounce bumpers online, I learned there are a lot of unhappy 500 winter drivers who seem to grind through strut tops and jounce bumpers.
     
    myronx19 likes this.
  14. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    uff... reading this makes me feel sad.. :(


    fun cars, but seriously.. in 201x era.. not acceptable..
     
  15. Brett

    Brett True Classic

    Location:
    Molalla, Oregon
    Hopefully ALL your problems are salt belt and associated bad roads??
    Since I already bought one...
    I can say this though, I had ZERO issues with my 500e. Literally, all I did to it was change the tires once at 30k miles (they were very smooth). Lease was for 3 years and 45k miles, I returned two days early (had to be a day I could get a ride home from the wife) with 44618 on the odometer. Obviously the drivetrain issues you guys are mentioning don't apply to the electric motor (but are things you've now made me concerned about with the Abarth). But the rest, door handles, suspension, headlights, arm rests, wheel bearings - all these things were fine in the 500e

    Buying used though, yeah, I did find one issue so far that is a PITA - whomever replaced the intake on my new-to-me Abarth broke off a bolt that holds a bracket in place, so I do have some drilling/extracting/replacing to do. :( I've put almost 3k on it though, and no issues so far and everyone in the family loves it...
    On the strut issues, are the issues with the struts themselves, or the body parts the struts bolt to? Since my Abarth has already had the struts replaced with Bilsteins maybe I'll avoid those issues??
     
    myronx19 likes this.
  16. ng_randolph

    ng_randolph Bjorn H

    Location:
    SF Bay area
    Upsetting as it is that Fiat has these quality problems, it is interesting that none of the problems listed are related to the multi-air valvetrain. Multi-air is quite different from other valvetrains, and it seems Fiat got at least that part right.
     
    myronx19 likes this.
  17. gwbfiat

    gwbfiat True Classic

    Location:
    Maple Valley, WA
    42,000 miles so far on my 2015 Fiat 500e Sport that I bought second hand last January of 2017. The car had 16,000 miles on it when I bought it. So far... zero problems! With comments like you guys are making there is no need for consumer reports or JD power to trash Fiat. Just saying...

    George
     
  18. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    The later cars might indeed be better - and they did improve a few poorly designed aspects (like changing rear brake rotors requires hub flange removal from the suspension to clear the bolts to remove the caliper - apparently this is improved on later cars).

    Strut top mounts wear quite quickly. Take a look at the design - it's terrible (but it's cheap). I just ordered a set from Rock Auto, I'll replace them myself.

    I haven't had any issues with the motor, other than the rear main seal leak. Wish they also checked the input shaft seal and fixed that.. oh well. I don't have to depend on this car, so my frustration level is managed, but if it was my only car..... I just ordered axle seals, 2 week lead time.. WTF?!

    My X1/9 is a better car :)
     
  19. gwbfiat

    gwbfiat True Classic

    Location:
    Maple Valley, WA
    The only thing I can say is that the world in general these days is WTF!?

    George
     
    myronx19 likes this.
  20. Col Haiku

    Col Haiku True Classic

    IMG_0585.JPG Hi, the 2012 Abarth I purchased new on May 13, 2012 has had zero... zilch... nada issues. I've put 42,901 miles on it. One set of tires at 33k and the recommended maintenance is all I've done. Have kept it totally stock with the exception of a 595 shift knob. I absolutely love the car, still puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. I highly recommend these cars.

    I'm spoiled though... I have this and Mark Plaia's '81 X that I bought in October of 2006. I'm a Fiat guy. Love 'em to death.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
    myronx19 likes this.

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