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Old 03-07-2019   #1
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Angry 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Hi I am new to the group and looking for advice/suggestions. I have a FIAT 500 Gucci 55K miles on it, last week it started misfiring. Took it to the dealership they are stating I need a new engine do to cylinder 4 not holding any compression. Because the car is 7 years old the warranty is void, even though the engine has not met the mileage on the warranty. A new engine is over 5k to install. I love my Fiat but I am very frustrated and I am feeling abandoned but the Fiat brand.

Is there any suggestions for my problem?- Oh changed spark plugs, check coil packs- still no compression in cylinder 4. And now that is has been sitting, not running the ESC/Hillstart, Power Steering, and box with shifter warning lights are all on.

Help Please!
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Old 03-07-2019   #2
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Re: 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Hi.

That sounds like half a story..


Has the coolant level dropped.

Have they performed any diagnostic work.??


The coil packs will only control the sparks within the cylinder.

Proper compression is a matter of a good seal between piston and upper cylinder.

Ask them for the compression figures .. from their gauge measurement.

All 4 cylinders.

Charlie
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Old 03-07-2019   #3
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Re: 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Hi Charlie,

No Coolant drop, coolant level is good the car gave me no warning at all.
Diagnostic test was a compression test on all cylinders,
What the dealership told me- and I do not have the document in hand is that cylinder 4 was at 0 compression. (I will check the report later and post)


So good seal- are you talking head gasket seal?
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Old 03-07-2019   #4
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I would be getting a professional second opinion here, 5k is a write off for this vehicle. Get the dealership to put everything in writing, detailed finding/diagnostic report and quotation (they're usually reluctant to put things in writing but making this request before payment is the best way in my experience). Now go try and find a reputable independent fiat specialist and get them to go over your car from scratch.
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Old 03-07-2019   #5
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Re: 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Seal.

Think of it like a syringe:

Piston needs to seal in the tube.( piston and its rings)

Tube needs to be intact ( head gasket)

Seal over outlet(and inlet) needs to be good and functional ( inlet and exhaust valves)

Removing the cylinder head is NOT a huge job.. if a visual inspection is required.

See my guide as an example

https://www.fiatforum.com/panda-guides/437182-panda-8v-petrol-head-gasket-change-gars4.html

So a backstreet repair shop : competent mechanic will be capable of this.
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Last edited by varesecrazy; 03-07-2019 at 19:50.
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Old 03-07-2019   #6
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Re: 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Which engine does yours have, most of the European gucci’s Had the twinair engine, I don’t know if the U.S.A cars got the multiair 4 cylinder version, however of the twinair cars, a lot of these are changing hands in auction cheaply due to failed twinair system, the speciality of the twinair/multiair system being the way it controls the valves independently of the engine mechanics. If I had to guess I’d put my money on this system having a fault and holding a valve open. This is by no means a reason to replace the whole engine and while costly is more economical to get repaired, it definately warrants more investigation. A 55k mile car should not have catastrophic engine problems that needs a whole new engine, unless something bad has happened to the car.

Gucci’s are a rare and a sort after model, here in the U.K. they still hold their money much better than a standard model and cost on average twice as much as a standard car of the same age, I think these are going to be a collectors car in the future and sort after so it’s a car well worth saving.
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Last edited by AndyRKett; 03-07-2019 at 20:49.
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Old 03-07-2019   #7
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Re: 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Broken valve? Zero compression is most likely a failed valve vs poor compression, head gasket/rings etc? could also be a hole in the piston?
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Old 03-07-2019   #8
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Re: 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Take it to a proper garage and see what they say. If you do need a new engine you can pick one up on eBay for a couple of hundred pounds or so.
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Old 03-07-2019   #9
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Quote Originally Posted by typecastboy View Post
Take it to a proper garage and see what they say. If you do need a new engine you can pick one up on eBay for a couple of hundred pounds or so.
But shipping to US will not be cheap.
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Old 04-07-2019   #10
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2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Quote Originally Posted by varesecrazy View Post
But shipping to US will not be cheap.


Oh, sorry. Didnít realise they were in the US.
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Old 04-07-2019   #11
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Re: 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Quote Originally Posted by tbuonoco View Post
Hi
Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry to hear of your troubles.

I doubt that getting a franchised dealer to fit a new, factory fresh engine would be a cost effective proposition. As you're discovering, franchised dealers aren't generally the best places to take 7yr old cars needing repairs.

It is possible that your existing engine could be repaired reasonably cheaply. As others have said, this really needs further diagnosis to try to ascertain the reason for the low compression. To do this properly, the cylinder head has to come off; the cause should then be easy to find.

Being in the US complicates matters. We don't have a lot of experience on this forum about the US 500 engines (which are different to the engines used in the European spec vehicles most of us here are familiar with). I wouldn't have expected that most general purpose US mechanics brought up on big block V8's would have much experience of Fiat Powertrain engines; it may not be easy to find a local independent mechanic to work on this motor. I also have no experience of the availability of either engine parts or salvage engines in the USA.

If this were a UK 1.2, then you could source a used salvage engine for not much money, and any reasonably competent independent mechanic could swap it over in a few hours; pragmatically, that might work out easier and cheaper than spending any more time and money finding out what's happened to the existing one. If you can do the same in your local area, that could also be a good option for you.

Another option would be to sell the car as it is. In the UK, it could fetch more than you might think (because it's a desirable variant and the availability of cheap used engines makes the repair an attractive proposition to anyone with the necessary tools and skills), but I don't know how this might work out in the USA.
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Old 04-07-2019   #12
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Re: 2012 FIAT w/55k mileage needs new motor

Zero compression on no.4 cylinder means either that;

a) The piston has a hole in it.
b) The valve(s) are open (potentially one or more of the valves is damaged)
c) Head gasket is knacked.

If the engine "misfires" then it's not "a". A holed piston (tend to only happen if there's a serious valve failure) would give you a lot of oily smoke out the back, the oil level would drop and it would vibrate like a bastard... Yours doesn't sound this bad.

If there's a physical valve failure then as above. You would have oil in the combustion chamber.. a lot of oil smoke, a tinkling sound (the valve rattling around in there, before it smashes the piston) and very lumpy running. Sounds like "not like yours".

A multi-air failure could be a contender. The MA engines do go wrong here and the solution would be a new MA system (or try to find a good second-hand one), not a new engine.

A head gasket failure would lead to some rough running... but if the failure is between the combustion chamber and a coolant gallery, then usually there's a coolant-related symptom. Either coolant gets sucked into the engine (you'll see steam out the back) and the coolant level will drop... or you get combustion gas forced into the cooling system which causes the coolant level to rise (since the gas collects in the radiator) which also leads to over-heating. This also sounds "not like yours".

In some conditions a head gasket can affect an oil gallery (alone or at the same time as the coolant, as above) in which case the dipstick may get blown out of its hole and you'll see an increased oil level. You may see a mix of oil and coolant in the coolant header tank. Again... "not like yours".

So... the prime suspect would seem to be the MA unit in the cylinder head. Another garage (one who knows what they're doing, not this mob) needs to remove the rocker cover and test the system is working properly. They might need to remove the cylinder head to check for any valve damage (otherwise you'll be at "physical valve damage") but none of this needs a new engine.


Ralf S.
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