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Old 12-04-2008   #46
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

had my rear suspension done on the fiat campaign in Dec2007 only after wearing out another set of rear tyres after 9000miles. It is amzing how they do not contact you as this is not a 'safety' recall - a 130mph car that shreads rear tyres. I tried to get compensation out of Fiat, so many obsticals were put in the way I gave up. next car will not be a fiat after 20 years with the brand.

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Old 12-04-2008   #47
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Welcome to the club. What was the work done to your car in Dec 2007? Was it just a tyre wear measurment of did they adjust the rear suspension?
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Old 04-05-2008   #48
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Some interesting reading.

Nick, you're not some sort of mechanical engineer are you? Loving the very detailed and well thought chain of tests and results.
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Old 08-05-2008   #49
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Quote Originally Posted by Hellcat View Post
Some interesting reading.

Nick, you're not some sort of mechanical engineer are you? Loving the very detailed and well thought chain of tests and results.
Well yes and no. I'm actually a Chartered Engineer who's grounding, training and professional experience is as an Electrical Engineer, specialising in Electronics and Analogue Power engineering. Of course some basic mechanical engineering is part of my training. More recently (last 10+ years) I've had my toys taken away from me by my employer and was in effect forced into software engineering.

I'm 52+ and have worked on my/our Fiat cars since I was 17 years old. I've learnt a lot about Fiats over the years, used to have 'interal product engineering and parts technical' contacts with Fiat.

I've never taken the cheap route to maintaining my cars. I buy the offical workshop manuals and Fiat tools as required. I don't cut corners and a simple service takes me a great deal of time.

I think most dealers/technicians hate me because I'm too much of a perfectionist for them. I know they have a time/cost expense performance curve to meet and are thus under a great deal of pressure to return value to the business. However the customer comes first. No customer no long term business.

My bottom line when dealing with any franchised and approved munufacturer's dealer is that I expect them with their specialist training and skills and MY money to be able to do a better job than me. Sadly over the years most (not all) have failed!

I've met and trusted a number of great technicians over the years. Sadly they either move on or the dealership folds. A real problem with Fiat dealerships. They move on but I'm still here with my Fiat cars for 35 years.

Hope this (in a round about way) answers your original question and gives you an insite as to why I act/question/research and reveal what I do.

At the end of the day motor mechanics and cusotmer service is NOT rocket science. Just good basic training, honesty, customer CARE and above all (given you are a caring person of pride) treat your customer's cars as they were you own babies. From cradle to grave!

Nick /////
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Old 08-05-2008   #50
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Quote Originally Posted by ///// View Post

I've never taken the cheap route to maintaining my cars. I buy the offical workshop manuals and Fiat tools as required. I don't cut corners and a simple service takes me a great deal of time.

I think most dealers/technicians hate me because I'm too much of a perfectionist for them. I know they have a time/cost expense performance curve to meet and are thus under a great deal of pressure to return value to the business.

My bottom line when dealing with any franchised and approved munufacturer's dealer is that I expect them with their specialist training and skills and MY money to be able to do a better job than me. Sadly over the years most (not all) have failed!

I've met and trusted a number of great technicians over the years. Sadly they either move on or the dealership folds. A real problem with Fiat dealerships. They move on but I'm still here with my Fiat cars for 35 years.
Good post Nick & many Fiat techs would love the luxury of spending more time servicing/repairing cars but as you correctly state time is their enemy! If I ever found a garage that dont give a f*ck about times but only quality I would move there straight away.

There are many good Fiat techs across the country but yes many are leaving after all who really needs the stress that many (especially the DET's) are under...life is too short for that crap and similar wages can easily be obtained for many hours less work/stress. If Fiat dont address this very soon the knock on effect will become very damaging to themselves & dealers alike.
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Old 08-05-2008   #51
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Quote Originally Posted by T14086 View Post
Good post Nick & many Fiat techs would love the luxury of spending more time servicing/repairing cars but as you correctly state time is their enemy! If I ever found a garage that dont give a f*ck about times but only quality I would move there straight away.

There are many good Fiat techs across the country but yes many are leaving after all who really needs the stress that many (especially the DET's) are under...life is too short for that crap and similar wages can easily be obtained for many hours less work/stress. If Fiat dont address this very soon the knock on effect will become very damaging to themselves & dealers alike.
I'll hold my hand up here and agree/sympathise with you. (I'm kind of guessing that you are 'in the trade' or very near to it ) I tried hard to post a critical but fair, accurate and I hope well balanced personal view. Have I made mistakes and done damage to my car? Yes. I don't know how many cam belt changes I've done over the years, probably 20+, and I had one go wrong on my Fait Tipo 1.6ie. One of those belts that just groaned because it was to tight or whipped because it was too loose. Had to finally resort to an idle dynamic adjustment (done several times before and known to be risky) when I accidentally dropped the spanner and turned my head to protect my face which resulted in a loss of tension and the cam belt gently running off at idle speed. Engined stopped with no fuss or noise. I chose to freeze frame the resting positions of cam and crank, work back from there doing gentle hand cylces of cam/crank to decide that the valves may have contacted the pistons. Remove the head, inspected and benched rolled each valve to find the smallest of stem bend. Confirmed this with a quick valve lap to reveal an oval but 100% contact seating. Not good enough so replaced two valves.

A neighbour mechanic (not Fiat) said the when this sort of problem happens in their workshops they are told to reset the timing and test run the engine. If it fires and runs OK they leave as-is. In my case the engine would have run with no loss of compression but for how long? Possibly 5K to 10K plus miles. If it were an aircaft engine then my action would have been followed at the dealer's expense and if it wasn't, after failure the CAA would have got involved and the last service and current failed engine state would have been investigated in minute detail.

Sadly the general motor trade is not so rigorously externally policed. Niether is it internally so policed (in most cases).

My heart/feelings do actually go out to the many technicians who take their trade, art and professionalism serioulsy but are totally stuffed by "the system". My only suggestion for them is to go independent or join a top rate no holes barred, no expense spared, exclusive and limited customer setup. Top Ferrari, Maserati, Astin Marton ........ dealership or join a competitive motorsport team where results count and are rewarded.

Nick /////
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Old 09-05-2008   #52
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Quote Originally Posted by ///// View Post
Sadly the general motor trade is not so rigorously externally policed. Niether is it internally so policed (in most cases).
The techs are 'policed', responsible for their actions (and disiplined [mostly financially] as a result) and with the ATA on the scene a tech must prove him(her)self more than ever.

My problem is with non-tech staff.I worked in a garage with 63 members of staff of which 9 were technicians! What the f*ck were the other 54 doing I then found out a 17 year old trainee (think she was doing admin or coffee making) was earning more than me.....goodbye! Dealerships are more than often top heavy with non-productive staff who do nothing...this is why labour rates are so high. A top tech would be lucky to recieve one sixth of the labour hourly rate.....assuming he met bonus!

Despite the salesman selling cars no other member of staff are productive thus contribute nothing (financially) to the business....strangely enough techs are the only members of staff who dont get paid (except SSP) when off ill which when your often working outside in the winter is quite often! About time techs all overthe country striked for better pay/conditions

Quote Originally Posted by ///// View Post
My heart/feelings do actually go out to the many technicians who take their trade, art and professionalism serioulsy but are totally stuffed by "the system". My only suggestion for them is to go independent or join a top rate no holes barred, no expense spared, exclusive and limited customer setup. Top Ferrari, Maserati, Astin Marton ........ dealership or join a competitive motorsport team where results count and are rewarded.
Going alone is too expensive, it would be impossible to have latest diag equipment etc even after re-mortgaging the house. The best jobs are really for graduates only,some of who have never held a spanner!

I get asked alot (infact last time was yesterday) whats the best way to get a job in a garage,my answer is simply..don't be f*ckin stupid & get a decent job!

Its a vicious circle really, the manufacture will never get tough with the dealers (especially big ones) because they need them to sell their cars so they roll over while they get their tummy tickled by the dealers who in the meantime get away with breaking as many of the 'rules' as they like. The manufacture, who at this time is still in a state of euphoria after its belly rub, turns a blind eye despite the techs pointing out the obvious law breaking.
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Last edited by T14086; 09-05-2008 at 19:51.
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Old 09-05-2008   #53
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

That's why I like my local specialist. There are two of them, both ex Fiat techs. They have all the required diag equipment. I see cars about all over the region with their distictive window sticker so they must have 'touched' a good number of the area's Fiats.
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Old 09-05-2008   #54
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

The techs are the crux of any dealership.

Selling a car is no big deal, a decent car will sell itself, but the service support is what gets the punters returning.

God knows why Fiat, and the dealers, don't understand this. I'd a million times rather talk to a knowledgeable tech than to a kid in a suit with gel in his hair who knows less about the cars than my dog does. And I don't even have a dog!

Techs should be the highest paid members of staff - period.
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Old 11-05-2008   #55
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Talking of Cromas and tyres... in a tyre place now getting the Corma's fronts balanced.
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Old 11-05-2008   #56
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Oh dear...

Front Left 2.0mm Front Right 5.0mm
Rear Left2.0mm Rear Right 6.0mm

Will need to sort that out a bit. Quoted 4 wheel alignment of 58.
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Old 13-05-2008   #57
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

You have hit a number of points/issues right on the head.
Don't really know a way round many of the issues other than for customers to thrash the manufacturer's support/complaints/customer services lines to death. Write to the directors etc etc. Even then results could be very limited. But the more people kick back the more will get done....slowly. The higher you public profile the more results you will get. Also programs like "Watch Dog" may not achieve final success (as in Renault Clio bonnet catches) but the raised public profile of poor service and care for the customer has done them no favours. Doesn't help the people with the problem but tells me to never buy a Renault.

Going independent does not always cost an arm and a leg. Yes some modern kit costs money but for a few between 100-200 outlay scan tools, service reset tools etc. are increasingly available.

I'm waiting to a Croma compatible service/oil reset tool to become available. I'm not in a mad panic as I have 1.5 years left to go on the warranty so the next service will probably be by the dealer. After that I'll do it myself and pay 10 to my local indepenant technician to reset the system or invest in whatever tools are available at that time.

Nick /////
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Old 14-05-2008   #58
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Thinking about one of these for mine...
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Old 30-06-2008   #59
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Update: bought a Scangauge but it doesn't reset the oil or service messages - will still come in handy for my wife's car though. I had my car four wheel tracked on Friday, the RH rear wheel had too much negative camber and toe, the car is now more stable and there isn't as much road noise from the rear so that's a result.

Had a good chat with the service manager while I was there (had it done at a V**xh*ll dealership), they are well aware of the problems on Vectra C and Signum, the problems are caused during assembly. The other thing that came out of the conversation is that Epsilon vehicles are "very hard on rear shocks" - the problem could also be seen as "the shocks fitted by GM are V poor"!

The solution adopted by most of the Vectra-c.com folks is to fit either Bilstein B4 or Monroe shocks, the Bilsteins are available quite cheaply by calling eurocarparts as the parts aren't on their website. I appreciate the fact that Fiat should sort most of these problems out but let's be honest, most of the Cromas sold will go out of warranty in the next couple of years and after this point we will need as much help as we can get.

Going back to the rear tyre wear issue, my belief is that it is not just one cause but several, such as:-

1. Four wheel alignment needed
2. High rear axle weight (as standard) causing the rear wheels to contribute more braking effort than normal (hence big ventilated rear discs)
3. Substandard rear shock absorbers causing the tyres to work harder to maintain road contact
4. Use of the rear brakes as part of the stability assistance
5. Fitment of Bridgestone tyres (the service manager confirmed this)

There may well be more causes than this but all of the above will add up to a reduction in life of the rear tyres. I'll keep you posted on how long the Goodyears fitted to my car last - I've done 6500 miles since March so at this rate I should be fitting new tyres all too soon
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Old 30-06-2008   #60
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Re: Croma 2005 Rear Tyre Wear

Fiat insist that my second set of tyres have worn out at an acceptable mileage of 13,000 miles because I tow a caravan.
I too have found the rear wheels not set to the Fiat SM or the bulletin. I have had them reset to the bulletin setting. The front tyres covered 30,000 miles. I am now on Goodyear tyres but I have put the fronts onto the back to see if after a 4,000 miles they will wear any better on the back.
Do you tow a caravan?
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