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Old 26-08-2018   #1
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Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

Hi,


I have been searching for awhile about this turbo motor twinair 0.9 (85p) with start stop system. The thing I am most worried is the turbo and the start&stop system.



Is this a realible engine or does it have many problems? The ones I have been looking are about 6 years old and driven about 100k kilometres. I didn't find anything too worrying about this engine so is it worthwhile to buy this if you want a reliable car? Are there some other major issues on Fiat 500 that I should look for when buying one?
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Old 26-08-2018   #2
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Re: Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

The engine uses the oil to operate the valve's so a good service history is extremely important so I'd make sure it had regular oil changes or leave it can damage the uniair module extremely expensive to replace
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Old 27-08-2018   #3
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Re: Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

Quote Originally Posted by fiatfi View Post
...so is it worthwhile to buy this if you want a reliable car?
My personal view is no; there have been sufficient problems reported here, particularly with the uniair module and turbocharger, to make me wary about recommending a well used one as a secondhand purchase. The TA 500 is, again IMO, a car that's perhaps better bought new and traded away before the warranty runs out.

The 1.2 engine has a significantly better reliability record and is basically bombproof provided it's not run with insufficient coolant.

You'll also pay a fashion premium for a 500, whether new or used. The 500 has some well-known issues; rapidly wearing suspension, failing hatchback wiring and door handles dropping off being perhaps the most common ones. None of these are dealbreakers, but the costs can quickly add up, particularly if you use a franchised dealer for your repairs.

If you're looking to get the best value on a limited budget with a secondhand Fiat, with the least chance of unexpected problems, then spend it on a 1.2 Panda; you'll most likely get a far better car for your money, and have fewer problems with it in the future.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 27-08-2018 at 00:41.
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Old 27-08-2018   #4
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Re: Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

For every forum report of a failure, there are 1000's of happy customers.

I'd guess we've had turbo AND Uniair failures in the single digits so far.

Compare that to how many PITA timing belts 1.2 owners have had to replace in that same time - at considerable cost if done professionally. If Uniair modules last as long as two timing belts you come out even.

Buy a car with appropriate service history and run it only on 'Multiair' oil.

Stop/ Start is the same regardless of engine- the smaller Twinair should put it under marginally less stress though, and the alternator will also regenerate more power in an unthrottled engine.
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Old 27-08-2018   #5
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Re: Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

You'll always get a variety of opinions on this, but as a previous owner of a TA 85, for 6 years, I would agree with UFI. Very few reports of turbo problems, and not many more uniair issues. As mentioned above, very important that regular oil changes have been carried out, using the correct oil - it is more fussy than the 1.2 in this respect.
From my personal experience, check for any evidence of coolant leak where the return pipe from the turbo goes into the coolant tank. Mine leaked here, and although I couldn'd see a crack, it really needed a new coolant tank, although as I didn't know this I fixed it with silicone and an extra hose clip.
My wife now has 1.2 500C, and it's nice enough, but I much prefer the way the TA performs.
Good luck!
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Old 27-08-2018   #6
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Re: Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

I've owned a Twinair for 4 years without any issues and there are quite a few with a lot of distance under them that haven't either.

Though the stop start is pretty useless, it's not the best system on the market.
It gives up stopping on anything but a battery in A1 condition and then it won't work for very long.
It's not that is breaks, it's just energy is being depleted from the battery that is can't put back fast enough.

The Twinair has is distractors, to be fair a lot just don't get it.
To get the best out of it, you need to forget what you hear from the engine and keep it pulling around 1900-2100 rpm, you can also lift off the pedal early as it doesn't engine brake as much as a normal engine, so you can glide in gear better.

It'll sound quite laboured at times and you'll need to keep shifting the gears, but it's at it's best like this.
It's very tempting to drive it harder, it goes produce a nice amount of shove when driven harder but it hits the rev limiter very easily so it doesn't really suit this style of driving.

As already written service history and oil is key to them.
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Last edited by Goudrons; 27-08-2018 at 08:59.
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Old 27-08-2018   #7
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Re: Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

My experience is the same as Goudrons.

Great little engine.

They had been aroung long enough . To have good info to hand once I has mine.. march 2013.
5.5 years.. 60K kms it has just the standard engine servicing.. uses ZERO oil between changes.

If the one you are looking at uses oil..walk away..!! Signs of a hard life..and the oil is expensive.

Check all of the standard 500 fail points also..
They can add up to a LARGE bill at a garage.
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Old 27-08-2018   #8
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Re: Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

Quote Originally Posted by TrevC View Post
You'll always get a variety of opinions on this, but as a previous owner of a TA 85, for 6 years, I would agree with UFI. Very few reports of turbo problems, and not many more uniair issues. As mentioned above, very important that regular oil changes have been carried out, using the correct oil - it is more fussy than the 1.2 in this respect.
From my personal experience, check for any evidence of coolant leak where the return pipe from the turbo goes into the coolant tank. Mine leaked here, and although I couldn'd see a crack, it really needed a new coolant tank, although as I didn't know this I fixed it with silicone and an extra hose clip.
My wife now has 1.2 500C, and it's nice enough, but I much prefer the way the TA performs.
Good luck!
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Old 27-08-2018   #9
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Re: Buying Fiat 500 twinair 0.9, possible problems?

My TA85 is now five years old and runs like a well-oiled sewing machine, albeit a sewing machine that growls rather than hums. I was initially a bit apprehensive about the TA, not knowing anything about it, but the car was the last manual 500C Lounge to be had in Oz in 2013. As it turned out it the last TA too.


Apart from the aforementioned coolant tank (replaced) the engine has performed faultlessly ever since, using negligible oil between services, and the Stop/Start likewise, except when the last battery started getting a bit tired after three years (although fitted by the FIAT dealer it wasn't a S/S type).


If one can be confident the servicing schedule has been adhered to I wouldn't have any hesitation in purchasing a used TA.
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Last edited by Piccolo Nero e Bella; 27-08-2018 at 17:20.
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