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

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

  1. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Nice - my problems didn't start until the mileage started to add up. You have just a little over half of what I have on it. Plus I live in an area where salt is used on the roads. May have something to do with it.

    Looks nice with the white!
     
  2. Col Haiku

    Col Haiku True Classic

    Thanks! Salt is not good, no doubt, and I also think there may have been some sporadic quality control issues with assembly. If I remember correctly, my car had a March 2012 build date. It was one of the two Abarths that were on the showroom floor at the Sacrament, Ca. studio. I don't think much of Consumer Reports, but do follow True Delta (and report in on my cars)... the reliability rating of the '12s has been better than average. I drive mine reasonably hard but have never tracked it. From what I've seen on the USA Users Forum, it looks like the owners who've had problems have usually been those who've modded their cars. But I am keeping my eyes wide-open after reading of the experience of other owners, believe me.

    Update: I forgot to mention I did have to replace the battery in November of last year.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    myronx19 likes this.
  3. beezee

    beezee True Classic

    And today it appears the alternator has failed. I started the car and there was an odd burning smell, the battery light illuminated and the power steering would not work. At first I though the belt had failed or was slipping because of the burning smell, but the belt was fine. I have read that the front drive shaft needs to be removed to get at the alternator, so it doesn't appear to be an easy job. I'll find out for sure tomorrow when I can do some more troubleshooting. The car has 160,000 kms so I guess an alternator failing is not that out of line. When I noticed the burning smell, I let the car roll down to the end of the lane in case it caught fire. Unfortunately it didn't. ;)

    Oh, and the passenger door won't open anymore (again). :mad:
     
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  4. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    uff... sucks. I would say this is a relatively short life for a modern alternator :(

    More and more, I'm thinking I need to sell the car before I get more issues. Removing the shaft isn't too difficult, but it is an involved job. The access is REALLY tight. If you're handy, I can steer you to where I found the service manual online. It's 8500 or so pages long!
     
  5. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    While not an Abarth version, my daughter purchased a 2013 500 Pop at the end of January. She loves it, I believe it started it's life in San Antonio prior to somehow arriving in the Midwest. I had a thread where the feedback said these were good choices as a used car. This thread had me wondering, because this happened to my daughters 500 two weeks ago.

    Are the problems here "Abarth" issues? Or general 500 issues? I am asking because we may need to decide if we should fight to save this "southern US" 500, or let it be totaled and move on to another brand. Or hunt down another one owner, southern US 500. Seems like buying from the snow belt would be less advantageous.
     
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  6. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Hi Jim, in my opinion - some are general 500 issues (like broken door handles and power window lifts), and some are indeed Abarth (and sport) specific.

    The shift bushings for example on the C510 transmission seem to fall apart. The regular 500 has slightly different shift bushings. Here's mine - which had been replaced several times already (you have to buy new shift cables to get just the ends, but bushingfix.com sells repair kits - I used JB weld on one)


    I'd say they're decent when the miles are reasonable - they're fun. I like it, but I hate it equally because of these issues. A Toyota Yaris, albeit not beautiful, is a better car. (1st gen Yaris hatch isn't too ugly IMHO for a small car).

    My car is still down, waiting for axle seals.. two week lead time in Canada, WTF?! :(

    upload_2018-5-7_13-36-24.png

    upload_2018-5-7_13-38-36.png

    upload_2018-5-7_13-39-8.png

    I saw your post about her car, sorry to hear - that sucks!
     
  7. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Thanks for the info Myron. Sorry to hear that your car has not been behaving. :(
     
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  8. gwbfiat

    gwbfiat True Classic

    Location:
    Maple Valley, WA
    Hey Jim, have you ever checked out the user forums at www.fiat500usa.com? Chris, the moderator, has lots of experience with these cars and if you haven't checked out the comments there maybe you should. My personal experience so far is excellent and that is all that I can tell you. The Fiat mechanic that I have known in my area since the cars have been sold in the USA again says that basically the cars are very sound with relatively few issues. Of course nothing is perfect, not even Toyota despite what most people think or hear about them. Just seems to me that in my life experience of 52 years is that Fiat (European cars in general) get a bad rap and others (Japanese cars in general) get more praise than they deserve. Just my two cents and I am not trying to say that anybody on this forum isn't telling you their honest personal experience. By the way, what seems to be the problem with the door handles and window regulators? How are the door handles being used? If you rip the door open with the door handle I wouldn't be surprised if there is an issue with it after a period of time. Some of us are harder on our machinery than others.

    George
     
  9. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    They seize up, and bind. Dissimilar metals (pin vs. the hinge, add salt and boom). I have the teardown analysis, I will post it later if interested. In salty areas, it's almost assured to break (this hinge design was used on Alfas as well, same issue)

    Has nothing to do with how you use them (even if that were the case, it was underdesigned, and/or the DFMEA didn't capture the environmental conditions, and the DV testing?!? Pfft)

    I'm glad your car is great. Wish mine was.
     
  10. gwbfiat

    gwbfiat True Classic

    Location:
    Maple Valley, WA
    Interesting. I wouldn't mind to see the teardown analysis if you could share it with us. Glad I don't live in an area where salt is an issue. I agree that Fiat or any car maker for that matter, should take these things into consideration and make their cars able to withstand the environment that they are sold in. I don't mean to say at all that your experience is false and you are making things up. Have you shared this info with Fiat? I encourage you to post this info on the www.fiat500usa.com forum. There is a Fiat quality control person that monitors that website and it would be interesting to see if he would comment on your problems that you have experienced with your Fiat 500 Abarth.

    Having said that however, I believe that Jim would be hard pressed to find a better used car value than almost any Fiat that he would be able to buy. Hate to say it, but the newest version of the Toyota Camry would also be a great value if you could find a used one available. I was totally impressed with that car as a rental in April when I was in LA. My past experiences with Toyota's as rentals was terrible but this newest Camry is good enough that I would consider buying one myself. Normally I would never consider buying a Toyota so that goes to show you how much Toyota has improved their current Camry. Can't believe that I am even sharing this information with you guys but it is true.

    George
     
  11. beezee

    beezee True Classic

    I was looking for a manual, so if you could point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated!

    Brian
     
  12. beezee

    beezee True Classic

    There are plenty of things on the 500 that are really well built. The interior is nicely done, the ride is nice, the car is quiet, and it handles really well. There just seems to be a high rate of failure on some mundane parts like door handles, headlight bulbs, and the like. I have no explanation on why headlights would burn out so often or why the alternator would fail as these parts are made by Bosch, not Fiat. Do BMW and Mercedes have similar failures? I am still hoping that the car will eventually become "sorted" and the failure rate will drop as my wife and I typically keep our vehicles until they are ready for the wrecking yard.

    Brian
     
  13. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    My daughter loves her 500, so she wants her's fixed or another one. I agree that a 500 is the newest and nicest used car she can afford. I only drove her 500 once, but I enjoyed driving it.
     
  14. gwbfiat

    gwbfiat True Classic

    Location:
    Maple Valley, WA
    Hey Myron, +1 on direction to finding the service manual online. I would love to have that information.

    Jim, I am glad that your daughter loves her Fiat 500. I hope that she has good luck with her car if she is able to get another one. I am sure that you can help her out if some niggling problems should arise.

    Thanks Myron for sharing your experiences with your Fiat 500. I really do hope that you try to reach out to Fiat to let them know about your problems. Telling your dealer will do nothing probably as most dealers don't really care which is part of the problem. I would like to think that Fiat should care and that is why it is important that your personal experience is conveyed to them in a practical manner. Please try reaching the Fiat customer service representative on the Fiat500USA user forum. I believe his name is Jason.

    George
     
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  15. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Done! Please note, this is not my link, I don't claim ownership to the service manual that's posted, nor the dropbox account. It's just something I found online. Super handy to have though!

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/jt147i6wyd6y1ec/Fiat_500_2013_Repair_Manual.pdf?dl=0

    The manual is not indexed, and it's tricky going through the 8500+ pages. I printed out the sections that I need :) use page down and scroll through all of the headers, you'll find it easier to follow that way.

    I also bought the European 500/Panda Haynes manual (hard-copy). It's good for some sections, and it covers transmission removal (especially the C510) but it doesn't cover cars with rear disc brakes (Europe gets drums in the back on basic cars)

    And www.fiatpartswebstore.com has nice exploded views of parts assemblies with part numbers and prices!
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
    beezee likes this.
  16. 81x

    81x Daily Driver

    Location:
    I
    Had a 2010 Abarth few years ago, that car may had low milage but worked hard in track days and alot of driving trips in a very hot countrey.
    It's been remaped at Angel tuning and ran on Toyo R888.
    Even with that intense use, it had zero problems. I keep see her with the current owner, had the clutch master cylinder replaced,
    but other than that - still nothing. All her owners kept replacing Agip C3 oil every 5000 miles, maybe one of the secrets,
    but even in the local Abarth club, i never heard of big issues.

    It's alot of fun, between the few cars i actually miss sometime, but it was super hard on the road (early Lusso)
    and i could'nt bear the thought that my kids head is only few inches from the back window...
     
  17. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Location:
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Nice - I'd bet that the European ones are made much better than the Mexican made ones. One thing I suspect is they've used different parts suppliers, and have really squeezed suppliers on price (and when you do that, usually the quality/durability goes down as well!). Some parts are different on the Euro models (strut top mounts for example appear to be different on the Euro cars, at least the early ones). Shift linkages as slightly different as well as far as I can tell

    We have different engines here - and one thing I'll say is that ours seem to be quite durable.

    I just received my axle seals, going to change them this weekend :)
     
  18. 81x

    81x Daily Driver

    Location:
    I
    I guess you're right, didn't know about the different parts suplly.
    You spouse to get the Multi Air version there, we heard of few problems in those engines but in Alfa Romeos,
    as Abarth here got the more reliable Tjet (i also had the Tjet in a Fiat Bravo 120hp, 75000 miles and absolute zero problems).
    On the other hand, i had an Alfa 159 1.75L TBI (also Multi Air), drove quite hard with no issues, so it's probably only in the 1.4 version.
     
    myronx19 likes this.

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