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Old 25-08-2016   #31
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Twin air long term reliability.

I can only really give a view from a engineering point of view as I don't own the Twinair, however have driven one that's in the family for many miles, plus have seen the testbed results

Really I have to agree with some of the the point that have been made already. It appears to be a fairly hardy unit.

The engine while buzzy is quite well balanced with fairly good crank and cam balance - in comparison the crank balance of the 1.0 VAG group engines are shocking. Good balance and machining tolerance helps with long life, while this parts don't wear out or fail very often, if they are out they tend to cause wear to other areas of the engine quite quickly.

The main areas of failure I've seen so far are:

Turbo Bearings - very small engine + chunky turbo = very high temperatures. Oil changes on time or early are a must.

Sludge - seen in one test bed engine and on my sister Twinair, not excessive and not harmful by normal standards but easily overlooked and can be detrimental to the engine over time if unchecked. Once again maintenance will prevent this and often reverse it if you play your cards right, that's what we did.

Multiair system - Tends to be a weaker area based on the modular engine design but by no means terminal but bloody expensive!

Engine mountings - the engine does move a lot on the mountings, more so when driven hard. This is partially due to its design and cylinder angle geometry. Mountings can wear out within 60-100k, easy and cheap fix. At idle give the throttle a good boot, if you hear a clunking sound, your mountings may be wearing.

Turbo Oil Seals - very common in all small displacement turbo engines. Give the engine a boot-full when Cold (give it at least 30 seconds from starting for lubricant to start to circulate) and look for any blue smoke from the exhaust. Normally cheaper to replace the turbo than to rework it and replace seals and adjust bearing tolerances.

Really it's a tough little cookie for its size, most of its problems are common with other engines of the size. I expected when it was released to be more fragile due to its design and lower casting tensile strength but I've been proven wrong I'm pleased to say. Little maintenance and I can imagine it running to a tidy mileage easily.

Incidentally the test bed trio we had at work in 2012 ran to an average of 125k before failure. Two were the turbos and were fine once replaced and one actually suffered a rather serious crank bearing failure which blew a hole in the block (however this was ran at biblical stress levels and was a hard duty test engine so it did quite well!)

We also tested the 1.2 after the Euro adjustments in late 2014, it did fair bit better with one making 197k before failure, but being a engine under less stress by design I'm not surprised.
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Last edited by Alexiloki; 25-08-2016 at 15:35.
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Old 25-08-2016   #32
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Thanks Alexiloki.

I'm thinking we should add a link to this thread regarding premature flywheel failure; this post suggests this may not be a one-off.

Time alone will tell how much of a problem this is going to be, but it would certainly be one of my concerns if contemplating a new TA.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 25-08-2016 at 16:42.
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Old 25-08-2016   #33
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
Thanks Alexiloki.

I'm thinking we should add a link to this thread regarding premature flywheel failure; this post suggests this may not be a one-off.

Time alone will tell how much of a problem this is going to be, but it would certainly be one of my concerns if contemplating a new TA.

I personally would be concerned too.

DMF's do have some benefits, but are outweighed by pitfalls..primarily having the durability of a soggy cheese toastie in a dog kennel and the eye watering replacement cost.

I can't see from any standpoint how the Solid Flywheel on the 1.2 costs just under 1/5th of the price of the Twinairs Dualmass.

The bosses Merc GL blew it's flywheel and gearbox to pieces last year, over 11k of repairs and parts where needed, however it was still in warranty and after some fighting Mercedes Benz paid the full price, despite it being a 'wear and tear part'.

Coincidentally I recall reading a tech sheet from Jatco a few years ago saying DMF's are designed to outlive the car....that hasn't worked out well!
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Old 25-08-2016   #34
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Can you replace a DMF with an SMF in a TA without modification?
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Old 25-08-2016   #35
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Quote Originally Posted by Mercky View Post
Can you replace a DMF with an SMF in a TA without modification?

I'm afraid not, the parts are not interchangeable and modification would be very difficult bordering on impossible and vastly expensive.
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Old 25-08-2016   #36
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Quote Originally Posted by Alexiloki View Post
I'm afraid not, the parts are not interchangeable and modification would be very difficult bordering on impossible and vastly expensive.
If this does prove to be a common problem as the fleet ages (IIRC the DMF has only been fitted since Euro6), do you think it's possible the aftermarket might come up with a SMF & clutch conversion kit?

I'd also expect to see someone bringing an aftermarket DMF to the market at about 1/4 of the current price of the OEM part.

If either of these things happen, then Fiat might reduce the price of a replacement DMF to a more realistic level.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 25-08-2016 at 20:08.
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Old 25-08-2016   #37
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
If this does prove to be a common problem as the fleet ages (IIRC the DMF has only been fitted since Euro6), do you think it's possible the aftermarket might come up with a SMF & clutch conversion kit?

I'd also expect to see someone bringing an aftermarket DMF to the market at about 1/4 of the current price of the OEM part.

If either of these things happen, then Fiat might reduce the price of a replacement DMF to a more realistic level.

In theory there would be chance for conversions, however it would likely be to the detriment of the vehicles transmission and affect drivability.

One of the reasons one is fitted to the Twinair is to damp the drive vibration from the engine - I have to add the I have seen some pre Euro 6 TA's with DMF's fitted, I think it was changed partway through cycle.

As its a thrummy number anyway, this vibration can (and does) cause transmission wear and failure in time, the DMF helps to dampen this, as well as decrease mechanical friction and improve in gear performance. This kind of wear is quite common with some ford engines, the DMF has helped but they have used it as a sticking plaster solution rather than resolving the issue.

I think that in time DMF's will be replaced with a more useable option, but until that time my view is that Aftermarket flywheels need to be available to reduce the cost of replacement, however manufacturers won't tool up until the market is there to return their investment, I don't think it's quite there yet from their view.

If I recall correctly the OEM flywheel on the TA is made by Valeo. Might be worth contacting them directly and seeing if they sell to anyone else other than Fiat?
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Old 25-08-2016   #38
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Quote Originally Posted by Alexiloki View Post
...my view is that Aftermarket flywheels need to be available to reduce the cost of replacement, however manufacturers won't tool up until the market is there to return their investment, I don't think it's quite there yet from their view.
My view also; putting a SMF into an engine designed for a DMF is just asking for different problems. There are plenty of real-world examples.

The TA is a popular choice, and if this does prove to be a common issue, I don't think it'll take that long for an aftermarket supplier to spot the opportunity and then we'll have an alternative source of DMF's at a more realistic price. If it doesn't prove common, not many folks will be affected, so I guess that's a win-win, kind of.

IMO there's no way on the planet the current price of an OEM DMF can be justified.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 25-08-2016 at 20:38.
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Old 25-08-2016   #39
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Quote Originally Posted by Alexiloki View Post

Incidentally the test bed trio we had at work in 2012 ran to an average of 125k before failure. Two were the turbos and were fine once replaced and one actually suffered a rather serious crank bearing failure which blew a hole in the block (however this was ran at biblical stress levels and was a hard duty test engine so it did quite well!)

We also tested the 1.2 after the Euro adjustments in late 2014, it did fair bit better with one making 197k before failure, but being a engine under less stress by design I'm not surprised.

Great post, do you mean bench tests? Are real world conditions simulated, ie, varying revs and load, cold starts etc or do they just run continuously for a long period? What about Oil changes?
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Old 25-08-2016   #40
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Twin air long term reliability.

Quote Originally Posted by Mercky View Post
Great post, do you mean bench tests? Are real world conditions simulated, ie, varying revs and load, cold starts etc or do they just run continuously for a long period? What about Oil changes?

We bench test in simulated real world conditions yes

We also test on continuous running, but that's on one engine only.

As for oil changes that's a different kettle of fish to us so to speak, as I work as a lubricant research engineer. Oil changes are completed at manufacturer specified intervals using manufacturer approved oils and testing is run on separate engines with other oils for comparative purposes.

After testing is complete, if regardless of if the engine is alive or dead, the engines are then stripped by the engineering department and all parts are inspected and checked for different parameters, catalogued, photographed and reports are then written. We then complete oil analysis and testing on the lubricant which is drained from each of the test engines.

Even though our labs are owned by one of the biggest oil companies in the world, we do full and impartial lubricant and engine testing for manufacturers of vehicles and lubricant companies. It's a interesting thing I have to say
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Last edited by Alexiloki; 25-08-2016 at 22:05.
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Old 25-08-2016   #41
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Interesting, thanks. So how did 0w 30 selenia digitek hold up or can you say?
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Old 25-08-2016   #42
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

Quote Originally Posted by Mercky View Post
Interesting, thanks. So how did 0w 30 selenia digitek hold up or can you say?

I can't give technical specs and as I'm not allowed to, but I can say it's testing showed it to be a good performer. Wear protection and cooling were very good and well above average which is exactly what the TA needs as its internal hotspots are very toasty, even by turbo engine standards.

Incidentally it was reformulated just before Fiat changed the Twinair to 0w30 and based on testing I'd say Petronas did a good job in doing so. Like most of its kind though, towards the end of its interval it's performance dropped off a cliff with very depleted additive levels so always change annually, regardless of what the local dealer says
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Old 26-08-2016   #43
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

While not strictly on-topic, I think a weaker link might be the clutch or transmission.
I've just had my TA man gearbox repaired under warranty. It had a chipped reverse idler gear and also a damaged mainshaft.

I'm pretty sure in my case it's because I have modified my Panda. At one point I was running 17in wheels, a TMC tuning box and towing a 550kg caravan (not far, maybe 50km).

Yet being reverse that failed, I'm wondering if the TMC box getting on boost earlier (?) and reversing up my step, short driveway (abt 7 metres long) had loaded up reverse more than it could handle.

I've read before about this g/box not being able to handle high torque; that FCA have built a 105hp version but kept torque at 145Nm like the 85hp version. That must be for a reason.

I've sold the 17s, have the std 14in steel rims and will go to 15in wheels at the most. I don't tow anymore, and if I do it's only be short distances with a box trailer <250kg.
As for the tuning box? I loved it at first, but then I noted it added vibration under low rpm high load conditions (inherent in my TA, but amplified with the TMC box) and difficulty in reversing cleanly out of my driveway without getting excessive vibrations.
Will I keep the TMC box? I'm 50/50 on that. Part of me wants to plug it back in and use Eco mode for most of the time (it makes the Panda only slightly less powerful than normal mod w/out the TMC) and switch Eco off when rolling and wanting a boost of power/torque.

Anyway, as I said, a bit off topic and mods, remove if you wish.
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Old 26-08-2016   #44
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

I wonder if the issue with the gearbox not being able to handle more torque is why there's a definite delay after changing gear before the power comes in (there certainly is in my TA Cross, anyway). It means that gear changes are necessarily lazy, but presumably it must reduce the strain on the gearbox (and hopefully on the wretched DMF), so hopefully it's a price worth paying in the interests of longevity.
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Old 26-08-2016   #45
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Re: Twin air long term reliability.

I suspect that's just turbo lag o
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