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Old 12-10-2017   #1
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Fiat GP TJET - 'Bumblebee' Progression Thread (Mods, Servicing, Issues & Thoughts)

Hi fellow Fiat forum users,

First of foremost, Welcome to my thread and thank you for viewing - I hope you are all well? For the most part, this thread will contain the progression of my Fiat GP - the reasoning behind purchasing one, maintenance/servicing, modifications and any issues that I experience along the way (hopefully not too many..). Anyway, lets delve straight in to the back story.

Why I purchased a Fiat GP TJET 1.4 (120BHP)
I thought this would be an interesting topic to cover and to set the scene. For your reference, my first car was a Ford Fiesta 1.6 Zetec S (MK5) - this is my second car. My friend previously owned a GP 1.2 (naturally aspirated) as his very first car. He owned it for just over a year, and served the purpose of a first car very well. It was a good introduction to becoming a petrol head. We spent countless days under the bonnet or under the car itself with cut hands, bruised knuckles, lost tools, cursing and all sorts of frustration - but that's just the fun of working on your own car... right? The only thing which put me off this particular model was the lack of BHP. I believe the put out around 80BHP, my previous car was 100BHP and if anything - I wanted more! Anyway, a few years passed and at the age of 19 - I was in search for a new car. I discovered the TJET 'Sporting' model. Overall, it looked sleek - the exterior and interior offered 'sportiness' and some very useful extras/features. (alloys, blacked out headlights, carbon interior trim, ASR, Cruise Control, Aircon etc). The search began and I laid eyes on several TJETS, all different variants of colors and age but the Yellow one stood out to me the most. I could already envision adding some black accents (mirror caps, roof, side decals etc) hence the 'bumblebee' theme. In addition to this, the 1.4 Turbo engine puts out a stock 120BHP - this was already an increase in comparison to my previous car, and could see possible performance potential in the future.

Day 1 - Purchasing my Fiat Grande Punto (06/2017)
For those wondering, I purchased the car for 1900 from a dealership. At first inspection the engine bay was clean, engine was low mileage at 75,000 miles. Overall, a very clean car with potential but the left side had suffered some minor damage along the rear and front arches (unsure what caused this, it was a previous part exchange). For me, the exterior damage didn't bother me 'too much' as mechanically it seemed spot on. Albeit, no service history though. I'll be honest, it was somewhat of an impulse buy (we had just drove 2 hours or so to view it).

I went ahead and took it from the forecourt there and then. A sensible decision? I'm still trying to answer that question today...
My first impression, we'll start with the positives - The drive home was very enjoyable, the turbo throwing me backwards each time you put your foot down. Interior perks was proving useful and the electronic features like cruise control was a dream!

The negatives -I had noticed the brakes squealing each time I slowed down to a stop or applied the pedal, the body roll and car vibrations on the motorway was a concern too, the handling appeared to be somewhat 'questionable' but I'll digress later on this. Last of all, if you select the reverse gear it crunches 90% of the time.

My intentions are at this point; before pouring any money in to modifications, upgrades and exterior work that it ought to be best to check everything over and service (no service history provided so better safe than sorry!)

Photo(s) from the Dealership:


First thing's first... Car Service (06/2017)
You guessed it, that brake squeal needs to go! I use a mobile mechanic, he visits whilst I'm at work which is very convenient and far cheaper than anyone else I've used.
The car was checked over, timing belt appeared to be worn (no service history regret *sigh*), serviced and relevant work I requested was carried out.
  • Brake Discs
  • Brake Pads
  • Oil Change
  • Filters replaced
  • Spark Plugs
  • Greasing and lubrication on the relevant hinges etc



Timing Belt & Water Pump Replacement (07/2017)
Second of all, on a mechanical note; I was concerned to as whether the timing belt had been recently replaced or not. It appeared to be worn, therefore I followed up with replacing the timing belt and water pump. Yet another visit by the Mobile Mechanic! I sourced/purchased the timing belt kit myself for 80 (eBay Item Number 272135735496). This was a genuine kit, fresh in Italian packaging!



Overall at this stage, I'm pretty satisfied and content with the current condition and state of the car - having just poured 600 or so in servicing, funds are slightly limited. Last thing to address was the poor handling, body roll, wheel hop and vibration issue.

Handling Issues - Wheel Alignment and Balancing (07/2017)
Off to my local garage for a wheel inspection, re-tracking and balancing of the wheels. The rear passenger side alloy was buckled, coincidentally the same side as the body work damage. Seeing a trend yet? Anyway, the buckled wheel was the cause of the immense vibration and shaking at around 50-60 MPH. In addition to this, the wheels were not correctly weighted and the tracking was severely out too - this probably didn't help. I was sent a second hand like for like alloy from the dealership at their expense and they contributed 50% of the cost for the wheel alignment and balancing. I can confirm this rectified 80% of the issues, handling still wasn't up to my expectations but I plan to replace the standard suspension in the future anyway - original set looks rather corroded anyway.



Ramair Cone Filter - Performance Modification (07/2017)
Arguably a performance modification but I decided to replace the standard air-box with a cone filter. Ramair was selling a kit (cone filter, bracket and intake adaptor) for 40 on eBay (eBay item number 391382522365). This removed the bulky air box which made for easier access to components in the engine bay, added some extra growl/noise and the noticeable 'blow off' sound when you let off the accelerator. I will note, the acceleration and response did seem significantly better but whether this was just the placebo effect, who knows. Ideally, I'd like the forge kit as this replaces the intake pipes/hoses and offers a heat shield - probably something I'll look at in the future.



Aftermarket Head Unit & Sub Installation (07/2017)
The stock head unit/stereo system does not offer USB, Aux or Bluetooth. Therefore, I opted to replace it with a new single DIMM unit as this would have all of the additional features required and the relevant inputs/outputs to support additional speakers. I already own an aftermarket head unit (JVC KD series) and two sub woofers (VIBE). These where from my previous car, I removed before sale and therefore I only had to just purchase the relevant wire harness kit, adapter, DAB antenna and Facia adaptor. However, due to the CANBUS system, the stereo unit was constantly powered which was not useful since I was planning to install sub woofers (these would draw constant power and flatten the battery overnight, no doubt).

To rectify this, I ran a new live cable from the cigarette lighter (accessible under the gear stick cover) and powered the new system off of this dedicated live cable (this was wired in to the ignition, therefore if you switched off the ignition - power would be lost and so forth). Other than that, installation was as straight forward as expected - just had to run the cables and a few bits of soldering!

It's worth noting that the standard speakers are actually very good in my opinion, but the subwoofers allow for extra volume and bass. They're very discrete and mounted to the back seats. I plan to review this and design a boot build in the near future.



Exterior Detailing - Wash, Clay, Polish & Wax (07/2017)
The exterior body work condition got the better of me, it's still far from perfect but in much better condition than before. I spent the next 48 hours decontaminating the bodywork with a clay bar. Followed with a polish & wax to seal the paint.

As for the process, the basics are: snowfoam (pre-wash), autoglym soap 2 bucket method, AD Project64, Claybar, Chemical Guys VSS 2in1 Polish & Autoglym Wax



Engine Bay Rattle under low revs/acceleration (09/2017)
A few quiet months, no modifications or anything worthwhile updating the thread with and the car has decided to develop a rattle noise. It's coming from the engine bay/drivers side arch.
At first thought, I thought the cone filter was rattling around so I checked with was correctly secured and that the intake pipes had not come loose. Took it for a test drive later, noise was still present.
Next suspicion, the underside panel cover was drooping low on one side, perhaps was rattling about? Removed it, took it for a test drive and the noise was still present.
Next suspicion version 2, the wheel arch liner on the passenger side was flapping about as the bolt appears to be missing, secured this and took it for a test drive - noise was still present.
My father made a suggestion of "Have you checked the engine mounts". I'd glanced over the engine bay several times - failed to notice that 2 BOLTS had rattled their way out and therefore wasn't even sitting flush anymore.

Easy fix, helicoils and new bolts - it hasn't rattled since! One of the very reasons I dislike diagnosing 'sounds, noises or rattles' because it always appears to be a needle in a haystack.
I'm glad it wasn't anything more serious though.



Bulb Replacements, LED Lighting Interior/Exterior (10/2017)
A long overdue but yet subtle modification that I've been meaning to do I personally hate the standard lights with a passion, not only are they dull.. but they are a horrible off yellow color. I replaced the following:
  • Headlights - Replaced with Osram Nightbreakers H4 Bulb
  • Sidelights - Replaced with Osram Cool Blue W52
  • License Plate - Replaced with Osram Cool Blue W52
  • Interior Lights - Replaced with 36mm LED XENON
  • Interior Footwell - Installed 'Amber' LED Strips in the footwells
  • Reverse Light - Replaced with LED XENON
  • Boot Light - Replaced with T10 LED XENON
Overall, although this may not be exciting for some - it was well worth the money in my opinion. The headlights are much better in terms of visibility and the little interior changes are nice addition - especially at night! Interior lights set me back 25, all other bulbs around 50. It's worth noting and somewhat of a shame - be careful with LED bulbs as they throw up an error on the dashboard due to the CANBUS system. Not everything is part of the CANBUS system though, such as the interior light etc.


Suspension Replacement for Stance+ Coilovers (10/2017)
I'd recommend getting comfortable, making a brew and getting the popcorn out for this one. You're about to delve in to something eventful.
As you're probably aware and read earlier on within the post, I've been experiencing some handling issues since I purchased the car. Initially, it all started with a buckled wheel and poor tracking/alignment. This was rectified, albeit this resolved the excessive vibrations being caused but nonetheless, the issue was still present. By this, I mean that I was experiencing excessive body roll, rear wheel hop and just a general bad experience/response when driving, even at slow speeds of 25-35MPH. I took a quick over the rear suspension, one was blown - explains a lot! So... I thought it would be wise to renew the following:
  • Suspension (all four shocks) - perfect excuse to upgrade to coilovers!
  • Front Top Mounts (the rubber and/or bearings could been worn)
  • Drop Links (these could be worn and corroded)

I went ahead and purchased a set of 'JOMS', they're coilvers and therefore are quite firm and height adjustable (ideal if you'd like to drop the ride height and have the option to adjust). They appear to be pretty popular among the GP owners - very cheap and somewhat decent for what they are. Can't say I had the same experience.... The kit arrived damaged, missing top plates and the welds looked absolutely dreadful. I returned these immediately, and managed to obtain a Stance+ kit as a replacement at no additional cost.

The Stance+ Kit arrived, it included shortened drop links too. A few things to note on my thoughts out the box:
  • Packaged very well, each individually cased in their own box and protected - it's the small things sometimes..
  • The shocks and drop links are zinc plated, offers better protection against corrosion and looks awesome!
  • Anodized Purple adjustment plates and rear adjusters, very nice finish
  • Welds still appear to be relatively dreadful, but they'll do.
  • Overall, the kit seems well designed/built and worth the money.



Moving forwards with the actual installment/fitment of the new shocks and so forth, it's all well and good me stating good they look in a box but what really matters is how they perform and feel. I fitted them with my friend (two pairs of hands made life much easier) and used an impact gun on the majority of bolts. Both of which I recommend if you want to make life easier.

It's actually relatively straightforward to remove the old ones, then in with the new! As for the fronts - there is a total of two bolts, the drop link nut and then it's just the case of removing the nut which secures the top plate/nut to the car.

As for the rears, you've got two bolts securing the top and one bolt through the axle supporting the bottom.

The drop links 'should' be a straight forward swap, only two nuts and some slight leveraging of the shock about to remove them. However, in my case - I couldn't stop them from spinning, after much frustration and various attempts, we ended up grinding the bolts off. The new drop links have a socket head built in to them which you can use to stop them from spinning (why didn't the originals have these too!? *sigh*) and had new nuts at the ready - problem rectified!



The ride height was very low (I had adjusted them very far low and did not fit the front helpers or rear adjusters) - it was probably too low in all honesty, I learnt this the hard way...



Time for a test drive! Only survived a quarter of a mile down the road before my drivers side drive shaft decided to pop out of the cup. No longer test drive time, now recovery time...

Apparently it's a common issue with the TJET, I'm not the only one - hooray!
From what I understand, because of how low I dropped the ride height. The travel length of the drive shaft affected the suspension geometry, because of how short they are an the excessive strain - it popped out the CV Joint. The Spider tripod popped out, the bearings and needle rollers flew across the floor alongside the CV boot exploding grease everywhere.



I've ordered a pair of replacements, I'm going to replace both sides although only one popped out the CV Joint. Better safe than sorry, taken from a 2009 model at 75K Miles (My punto is a 2008 with 75K miles). In all honesty, I'm not sure how I plan on overcoming this issue.

I'll be tinkering with the suspension setup, already fitted the front helpers and rear adjusters back in. Looks like I'll be off the road for a couple of weeks now, good opportunity to work on some other bits too.



Aesthetic Mods - The transition to 'Bumblebee' (10/2017)
Since the car is currently off the road due to driveshaft issues, I thought it'd be a good opportunity to start with the aesthetic modifications. At the moment, the GP is solely yellow. As discussed earlier in my thread, I wanted to add black accents. I've purchased the following:
  • Team HEKO Wind Deflectors (Black Tinted)
  • Gloss Black Vinyl (This will be fitted to the side pillars & front bumper)
  • Gloss Black Wing Mirror Caps
  • Tinted Side Repeaters (Indicators)
  • 20% Window Tint (Rear Windows)
  • 50% Tint for Front Fog Lights
  • 3D Gel License Plates
  • Shorter Aerial
  • Official Punto Interior Matts

In addition to the above, I've purchased the relevant tools and paint to respray plastics in Gloss Black. I will be using a plastic primer, gloss black, clear coat and a final cutting compound.
  • Upper Front Grille (Fiat Badge will remain, it will be masked to maintain the 'original look').
  • Lower Front Grille
  • Wing Mirror Caps

I've now successfully updated this post from the date of purchase to (10/2017). Any further progression posts and updates will be posted as their own individual post below in the thread.
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Last edited by DarkLight57; 25-10-2017 at 13:55.
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Old 12-10-2017   #2
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Re: Fiat GP TJET - 'Bumblebee' Progression Thread (Mods, Servicing, Issues & Thoughts

That wheel is barely bent, a pro can easily have it 100% straight in 15 minutes.
Keep it as a spare.

From the photos of the engine bay, i am guessing it was in a severe accident with a truck carrying silicone
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Old 12-10-2017   #3
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Re: Fiat GP TJET - 'Bumblebee' Progression Thread (Mods, Servicing, Issues & Thoughts

Hi Aurick! (I'm still updating the thread, just started today so more content to be added throughout the day).

I plan to get all 5 wheels refurbed and resprayed, they can rectify the buckle too! I've kept it as a spare for now.

They have a company who 'professionally' clean all their cars to show room condition, interior, exterior, engine bay and so forth - I wish they hadn't to be honest! It was just covered in some 'cheapo shine' spray - so greasy. Bleh!
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Last edited by DarkLight57; 12-10-2017 at 13:30.
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Old 15-10-2017   #4
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Re: Fiat GP TJET - 'Bumblebee' Progression Thread (Mods, Servicing, Issues & Thoughts

Nice detailed post mate, looks like you got a good deal and your GP is shaping up to be a lovely example!

I'm currently on my first car and am looking to grab a GP T-Jet next year as an upgrade to my 1.2 8v (similar to the one you mentioned your friend having).

My thoughts are exactly the same as you wrote, I love my GP but the power leaves a lot to be desired - did you notice a big difference from driving your mates 1.2 to your own T-Jet?

Also, any pictures of the crash damage?

Cheers
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Old 16-10-2017   #5
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Re: Fiat GP TJET - 'Bumblebee' Progression Thread (Mods, Servicing, Issues & Thoughts

Quote Quote:
Nice detailed post mate, looks like you got a good deal and your GP is shaping up to be a lovely example!
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I've still got a few more updates to add yet and revise the formatting. I also just purchased ALOT of new goodies yesterday so I'll post on those soon two!

Quote Quote:
I'm currently on my first car and am looking to grab a GP T-Jet next year as an upgrade to my 1.2 8v (similar to the one you mentioned your friend having).

My thoughts are exactly the same as you wrote, I love my GP but the power leaves a lot to be desired - did you notice a big difference from driving your mates 1.2 to your own T-Jet?
First and foremost, you'll notice a significant power difference. The turbo packs a grunt. Runs at 120BHP, looking to upgrade the turbo (it's a straight swap) and then remap. Aiming for around 170-180BHP which is near on a 50% power increase. It'll have the same core features as your 1.2 but the sporting edition has alloys, cruise control, electric mirrors, abs/ASR, aircon and the interior is very nice - carbon and leather accessories which is a nice bonus.


Quote Quote:
Also, any pictures of the crash damage?
It's literally cosmetic, the left passenger side has been scraped down to metal - it's along both the arches and side skirts which is a shame. I can only presume it had been in an incident prior to me purchase as coincidental;y the wheel was buckled and shock was blown on the rear same side. Just my luck *sigh*.

Cheers
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Old 25-10-2017   #6
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Re: Fiat GP TJET - 'Bumblebee' Progression Thread (Mods, Servicing, Issues & Thoughts

Great news! Bumblebee lives on... replacement driveshaft has been fitted, camber, caster and wheel alignment/tracking has been adjusted. Now drives MUCH better than before and the driveshaft is holding up (for now, eek!).

I decided to remove the rear adjusters and fitted the rear springs with the rubber dampeners instead - it was just sitting far to high, even the lowest adjustment. I've tweaked the front adjustment, although it still sits somewhat higher than the rears but didn't want to tempt fate.

A few photo(s) of the suspension setup, this'll be last time you'll see her in standard form - lots of aesthetic changes to come!

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Re: Fiat GP TJET - 'Bumblebee' Progression Thread (Mods, Servicing, Issues & Thoughts

I've focused my time on the interior recently, once again - the changes are all relatively subtle and straightforward.

The two 'under seat' subwoofers which had been bolted on to the back of the seats, soon rattled off due to vibration in the space of a week. These have sat in the shed for the past weeks. The lack of bass/volume on my daily drives had been frustrating me so on with the boot build!

Just a quick mock up, but I've designed a simplistic system to secure the subs to the floor via velcro (easily removable when needed). The idea is to mock up a false floor from MDF and build these flush in to the false floor, I think it'll look far sleeker, I can add compartments, additional speakers and still allows me to have a flat surface for storage.



Last of all, on the interior side of things:
  • Interior Lights replaced with XENON LED Bulbs
  • Amber LED Footwell Lights
  • Punto Tailored Floor Matts
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Last edited by DarkLight57; 25-10-2017 at 14:19.
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