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Old 14-12-2017   #31
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Hey guys, quick question.

I've found steel wheels from a grande punto pretty much for free. Now, from what I've seen (I haven't measured them in person yet), those are PCD 100, while the Brava is 98. Question is, will wobble bolts work the same on steels or should I go for something else?
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Old 16-12-2017   #32
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Don't buy them, as you say they have a different PCD so you would have to bodge them with wobblebolts and maybe a centre spigot? Pointless effort for steelies, if you're doing that fix then there are all sorts of alloys that you can make "fit" the car.

Underneath the Grande Punto is the same as a Corsa (same "platform") but I really don't understand why Fiat couldn't make the effort to do their own standard hubs... they've sold millions of those cars.

For the same reason the new Ford Ka has the 98mm wheel centres as the Fiat 500... same factory in Poland. Fiat engines also as far as I know.
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Old 16-12-2017   #33
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Thanks John, guess I'll have to keep looking.

In any case, the problems continue. It seems the car is slightly overheating, and I can't get to the bottom of it. The needle will sit happily in the middle and even somewhat lower when just cruising on an open road but as soon as a I get to suburban traffic, jumps upwards of the middle, between that and the next line.

I bled the system both from the two bleeder valves and by adding some coolant and squeezing the lines but to no avail. While bleeding from the radiator valve A LOT of air was let out and that made things better but only for a very short while.

I filled the tank once more (it's hard to find the golden point exactly, I can't see the level through the old plastic so I kinda wing it with a flashlight), took a ride, parked, opened up the (fizzing/hissing) cap and "blrfrfutt", spat out (what I hope was) excess coolant.

Didn't take another ride, been on it all day and it's getting on my nerves!

I doubt it's a HGF, I have no other indications towards that and I could find no leaks anywhere. Stumped, again!

Aaaaand, since problems never come alone, it was pointed out to me today, while I had the radio off that there's a whistling noise, matching the RPM. I accelerate, it sounds like a turbine spooling up. Decelerate, spooling... well, down, I suppose! It's pretty faint, but it's certainly there. Suspected the air filter but I changed it last week and could find no leaks in its path. Don't know what else it might be. Checked the belts, they're fine as well.

Seriously thinking of selling and cutting my losses by this point...
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Old 17-12-2017   #34
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Hmm.. overheating is a bit strange, it doesn't seem critical although you indicate that the expansion is overpressuring, or is that just because everything is hot? I don't think it should blow much out except for perhaps an initial burst.

You mentioned previously wanting to do a refresh on the cooling system, presumably you haven't done this yet? You'd need to drain the system from the bottom hose and preferably stick a hose up there, otherwise fill with clean water and circulate with the engine (and heater) on for 10 minutes, then repeat using a flushing additive. Or do two flushes each with a half-dose of additive (usually enough supplied for a bigger engine / capacity). Then change the thermostat as a matter of course. Actually for the flushes you could memove the thermostat completely (don't damage the gasket) to be sure that the circulation gets to the radiator, since overheating implies that the rad maybe isn't doing enough.

Make sure that you don't have a leaking heater matrix, there will be a smell in the car and damp / condensation as well. They are a real pain to replace. Also the heater should be on when you are draining / filling the cooling system.

My leaking matrix allowed a lot of rusty sludge to clog up my radiator and thermostat, it took a long time (a lot of flushing) to clear.

Your whirring noise sounds like one of the belt-driven anciliaries on the engine.. water pump (?), alternator, PS pump. Or there may be an idler pulley on one of the belts that has a bad bearing. You can disconnect each one to check or use a stethoscope. Modern practice seems to be to replace the water pump when you change the cambelt, seems OTT to me but the argument is that the extra cost / hassle is very small. Removing the belts should identify any roughness or looseness in any bearings.

I had a replacement alternator on my Tipo fail (bearing) after only a couple of years (sounded terrible), and a recon PS pump (hydraulic) sounded quite rough from the start, I still may swap it under warranty.

Good luck...
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Old 17-12-2017   #35
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Many, MANY thanks John!

Well, I couldn't leave it alone because it kept bugging me so last night I found the culprit! There was a crack in the overflow tank that, while relatively minor and barely detectable (it was right between the two plastic ridges that run along the upper side of the tank), it wasn't keeping pressure in the closed system and hence the temperature fluctuation. I've already ordered a new one, hopefully this will be the end of it.

Just to be safe, I'm keeping the car parked until I can replace it, seems like a HGF wouldn't be too far away if I keep running it like that!

By the way, what kinda coolant does the Brava take? I found green stuff in the tank before. And how much does it take? Also, isn't there a drain plug on the radiator? Lots of questions, I know but it'll be the first time I do this procedure!

Now for the whining, I did find a leak in the PS pump. It's minor but since that's the only thing I found, must be it. Still, I won't replace it yet, I neither have the money right now nor do I deem it serious enough. At least for now!
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Old 17-12-2017   #36
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

green stuff is fine, red is for newer engines and should last the lifetime of the engine, you should avoid mixing them, the whole subject is awash with mixed option, even among different manufacturers, if the car came with green, stick with green.

note to the uninitiated, ethylene glycol is seriously toxic, and has a sweet smell and taste. Do not under any circumstances ingest, or allow children or animals to ingest the liquid. Do not drain into the soil or sewage system, catch all the old liquid in a bowl, and transfer into the empty container of the new coolant once finished, for transport to your nearest recycling centre. Wear suitable hand protection if you have broken skin.

the drain plug is on the bottom left of the rear of the radiator when standing at the front, facing the car, its a small fragile thing.
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Old 19-12-2017   #37
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Yes the green coolant is correct, as far as I know it is an improved version of the traditional blue, you can leave it in the engine longer due to improved formulation.

PS pumps are a bit of an issue on these cars, I've swapped a couple and my current one does occasionally squeal and groan a bit.

There is no radiator drain, you have to cut off the original factory clip on the bottom hose (I hope yours isn't still the original ) and replace it with a Jubilee clip.
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Old 19-12-2017   #38
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Radiator drain depends on the car. So far the ones with A/C seem to have it. Some without A/C have it.
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Old 20-12-2017   #39
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Thank you everyone for your input, much appreciated!

While I'm waiting for the replacement tank, I decided to give it a shot kind of bodging the existing one. I thought what the hell, it's plastic after all, so I took a soldering iron to it and melted stuff around the crack, adding a bit of melted tie wrap on it. After I was done, filled with new coolant and took it for a ride.

And well, quite the successful bodge it was! Temp was never lower after quite a long ride and max was at about mid point. I popped the bonnet after the ride to see if there's still boiling and hissing and nope, everything was fine this time!

I'm expecting the new tank tomorrow or the day after and I do intend to replace it but it's good to know that, that was indeed the problem! Plus, it serves as a cautionary tale, what a tiny little crack can do to a pressurized cooling system!
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Old 21-12-2017   #40
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Well s#&@!

Just changed the tank, bled the system EXTENSIVELY and god damn it, it still sits just a millimeter above the middle mark! How in God's green earth did it work at a lower temperature with pretty much water and a bodged tank and overheat now, with fresh coolant and a new tank?!?

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Old 21-12-2017   #41
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

I'm confused, sounds correct or am I misreading?

It should sit around halfway whatever unless there's extreme cold, heat or traffic and the fan doesn't cut in. Thermostat will control when coolant circulates through the radiator. Mine have failed "open" so the car warms up slowly and doesn't want to get to mid-point due to overcooling, espaecially in autumn / winter.

You could have carefully removed the thermostat (without tearing the gasket) to inspect it when you were doing your overhaul. You can do a test in a pan of hot water if convenient, to check its opening / closing.
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Old 21-12-2017   #42
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Well, yesterday, with the bodge, the car run like a treat and the temp gauge was sitting at one dot below middle, with occasional movement to the middle in traffic. That was with the bodge job and de-ionized water in it. Today, I replaced the cracked tank (it ruptured again in the bodge spot), put new coolant in, bled the system both with the valves and by "pumping" the hoses and now the temp gauge sits literally a millimeter, just a hair upwards of the middle point.

I also noticed I have white foam in the overflow tank and bubbling when the revs go up and the coolant gets circulated.

Worst case scenario I'm thinking HGF but the white foam, absolutely normal running and lack of any other signs (sludge/fouled oil etc.) point to something else. I carefully inspected the whole cooling system but I can't seem to find any leaks whatsoever. I was thinking faulty water pump but that seems to work fine as well. Hoses temperatures are as they should be.

Is the gauge supposed to be even a hair above normal and is it just me being a hypochondriac or do you think there really is something wrong?

edit: Went for another ride now and temp gauge was steady below mid point. FFS...
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Old 21-12-2017   #43
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

sounds pretty normal to me, like bluejohn said, the needle can fluctuate around the middle, and mount up to the upper limits during stop start traffic, so long as the fan kicks in, and it's not seriously overheating, you should be ok.
with regards to the bubbles, that could just be a purge problem, or it could be a head gasket, you need a compression test to be sure. do you have mayonaise on the oil cap?
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Old 22-12-2017   #44
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Yes, seems to be fine apart from the bubbles, a compression test will show HGF failure typically if 2 adjacent cylinders are low.

If the car doesn't overheat badly due to HGF failure then a repair should be straightforward and a skim may not be necessary.
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Old 22-12-2017   #45
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Re: New Brava owner with a few questions

Well, problem solved, it seems! I bled the system again through cycles, bled with the valves as well as the hoses and went for a ride. Temp gauge shows below mid point and climbs to the middle only in traffic.
The problem must've been me overfilling it. The level was quite high after a ride so I took the cap off and let it spill out the extra. That seemed to do it, because after that it works like a charm again!

I do have heater problems because, unless I'm moving (ie actively revving the motor) the fan air grows cooler and cooler, especially on the high fan setting. Still, the heater core is completely out of both my reach and my expertise, so I'll leave that for later. AC works fine though so if I can soldier on during the winter, I'm golden!

For now, I'm a happy camper! Here's hoping it'll last!

Once again, many thanks to all of you for taking the time, I owe you beer if you come to Greece!
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