General New Brava owner with a few questions

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General New Brava owner with a few questions


New member
Nov 4, 2017
Hello everyone!

Just last week I got myself a '99 Brava 1.2 16v and I'm as happy as a pig in... well, you know what! I've been reading up on quite a few topics here and it seems to me this forum is a godsent!

Still, I have a few questions/small problems, if you could indulge me.

First off, the fog light switch. It works, as in, if pressed, it will turn the fog lights on, however the lights do not stay on unless the button's being pressed. If you press and let go, the lights will flicker momentarily and then be off.
I doubt this is a common problem but I'd appreciate any help. I'm stumped because obviously the relays are working and the switch does... well, half of what it's supposed to do! Could it just be a wrong switch? It is evident that the PO's did... stuff to the car but the switches and panels seem stock.

Next up, the rims. PO installed 15's. Which is all fine and dandy looks wise but I do think the 195/50/15's do slow the car down a bit. Now I do like the rims but, since a tyre change is needed at some point in the near future, should I just get four metal (like the stock ones) 14's and call it a day with the stock 175/65/14 tyres or are the ones on it fine and I'm imagining things?

On to another thing. I'm not used to driving a smaller engined car to be honest and it strikes me as kind of odd that the car needs to be revved that high to... "go", and I also find the 800RPM idle a bit low. Is this normal or should I be worried?
In reference, I used to drive a grand vitara (awful car, really), which was obviously really different and, while quite sluggish with it's 1.6 engine and it's immoveable 1.8 tonne mass, it was still a bit peppier than the MUCH lighter Brava.

That's all for now, and please excuse my long winded first post!
Welcome to the fold...

"One of us. One of us. One of us".

The 1242cc 16V SuperFIRE has barely enough torque to move the Punto Sporting the Brava weighs a fair bit more. There are a few things you can do to get more bhp but for torque you'll need more capacity. The 1.4 16V SuperFIRE from later model Puntos, Ideas and other models are a shoe in but have fly by wire throttle bodies. The cable body from the 1242 should fit. With Panda 100hp cam's and other bits and bobs your Bravo should be as quick as my Bravo HLX. ;)
Thanks man, nice to be in the fold!

I'm not too bothered by a relatively slow car (bhp-wise), as long as it can haul me and family uphill I'm fine with revving it a bit more. I do like speed but I'm far from a boy racer and dropping another engine in it is right at the bottom of my to-do list right now, considering the cost of such an endeavor. Torque I would like another helping of but apart from a motor swap there's probably very little I can do. Perhaps a six speed box from a sporting might work, I'm not sure.

In any case, I was just wondering whether it was normal, and it seems it is. Oh well, no worries.
Thank you franglais! Looking at the topic you posted, it's just a matter of unscrewing two bolts to get to the switch, so, easy enough. Easier than unclogging (unsuccesfully, for now) the washer pump!
Hello and thank you!

I'm in Greece.

And right now I'm desperately (and so far unsuccessfully!) trying to swap my huuuge rims for a set of 14's!
For God's sake, who in his right mind would put 8 inch wide 15's on a 1.2?!?
Hey guys, got another one for you.

I have grind when going into second, mainly shifting -down- into second. It's not rev-related but evidently, if I try driving more briskly and change gears faster, the grind is much more likely to happen. The gear engages fine and I get no grind while moving, just shifting. Also, first is kinda hard to engage but I've seen similar things in different cars. I only had first gear grind once. The rest of the gears shift smoothly.

My method so far is to fully depress the clutch pedal and find juuuuuust the right spot so I don't have any grind, but this granny shifting is kinda getting on my nerves, to be honest and is downright dangerous in situation where I have to get a move on fast.

Extra info: the gearbox's supposedly changed... PO's words. Highly doubt it, considering the situation.

Any ideas? Is this gonna be a bank-breaking thing? Because, along with the wheels, it'll be nearing what I paid for the car!
I can't for the life of me find where the clutch system sits. Bugger! Aaaand, upon opening the bonnet, I hear that unmistakeable "fssssh" of trapped air from the radiator fluid reservoir. Which is polymerised from all the years and I can't tell where the level sits, so I topped it up with de-ionized water, lacking paraflu for now.

Keeps getting better and better...
I can't for the life of me find where the clutch system sits. Bugger! Aaaand, upon opening the bonnet, I hear that unmistakeable "fssssh" of trapped air from the radiator fluid reservoir. Which is polymerised from all the years and I can't tell where the level sits, so I topped it up with de-ionized water, lacking paraflu for now.

Keeps getting better and better...

clutch slave should be ON TOP of gearbox..

now I'm at a PC I can see "captain slow" - UK's most famous Panda Owner :rolleyes:
Indeed, in the meantime I managed to locate it through trial and error (read: internet searching and having my fiancee play with the clutch pedal!). All seems fine, levels are where they're supposed to be and I could detect no leaks whatsoever.
I still couldn't figure out a way to adjust it, though. Although I'd put most my eggs in the "worn disc" basket, to be honest. Perhaps a bearing, if I'm lucky, which I'm usually not.

As for Mr. James May, I am a fan of the man and TG and we do share a few qualities/quirks, hence the nickname (a TG inside joke) and the picture.

Many thanks again for all the help, greatly appreciated!
Welcome to the Forum and good luck with your Brava.

I love the engine in my 2001 1.2 Brava, I usually drive solo so I find the performance is great and it spins really freely with a nice sound... typical classic small-engined Fiat experience.

If you have good plugs and leads and nice clean oil then don't be afraid to thrash it to make progress, especially when loaded (yes it will notice extra passengers and luggage, mine definitely does).

As regards the clutch, assuming the LHD version is also hydraulic, look underneath the battery box and check the slave cylinder for leaks around the seals, in any case bleed out the old fluid and you may clear some bubbles that could explain the poor disengagement. Changing the slave is common, cheap and simple.

As for the wheels, you have plenty of choice from the Fiat range in 14" and 15"... as well as Brava/Bravo there is the Mk2 Punto, Marea, Doblo (I think) and even the Stilo. I have experience of steel 14" with 175/65 14 on my Tipo, also 14" alloys with 185/60 14 tyres and 15" alloys with 185/55 15.

For the Brava I find the 15" (6J) alloys look the best (standard on my Formula model) and the tyre sits really nicely on the rim, the best compromise for grip and efficiency IMO. But standard 175 14s on steelies are the cheapest and most efficient, especially if you buy decent tyres.

Your 195s are not excessively wide but the rims ARE... you will waste energy and loose performance spinning them up and slowing them down.

I'm currently running the 15" alloys on the Brava and 14" (Mk1 Brava) alloys on the Tipo with 185/60 Goodyear vector all-season tyres.
Thank you bluejohn!

I quite enjoy small engined cars but I feel the wide rims on mine make it much more sluggish than it would be stock and honestly, it's getting extremely bothersome. Another negative side effect is dreadful fuel efficiency. Currently, it sits around 12.5l/100km, suburban city driving without too much start/stop traffic and short jaunts (6-15km max). Plus whatever's consumed while getting the car warmed up statically - I never run it cold. That's truly appaling, even the grand vitara managed somewhat better if driven like I drive the Brava!

I'm pretty sure that's the rims doing their black magic because everything else seems fine - excluding the gear grind, of course!

So far, I've been quite unsuccessful trying to swap my alloys for smaller ones. I've been to every tyre shop in town and no one would cater to such a swap. I even offered to trade in the alloys for steel ones but, alas, no luck whatsoever.

Trying to source some from the local classifieds, I had the same luck. I found steel ones a town over but they overcharge and, along with new tyres, it'll be too rich for my, now empty wallet!

I'm hoping I can rectify this soon because it's really spoiling my experience with this car and I have no plans to sell it.
Your fuel consumption sounds very bad, you could service your cooling system to make sure that it warms up quickly. Flush the radiator and fit new coolent, also consider changing the thermostat because this is cheap and easy.

Check the air filter (in the UK with damp weather the bolts for the cover often seize and break) and of course spark plugs and leads, maybe run through with an injector cleaner.

It's also possible that there is a problem with a temperature or lambda sensor, if there are no engine warning lights or rough running you could always do an ECU diagnostic scan.

I'm surprised that it is hard to find cheap wheels for a Fiat in Greece... in the UK it is very easy with scrapyards, Ebay and Forum adverts.
I've checked everything else (can't do the ECU scan at home, though) and all seems fine and the car warms up pretty quickly. Hence my suspicion that the wheels are to blame. I'm all tapped out at the moment but I'm planning to do a full service as soon as I can, see if that makes it any better, although I'm fairly certain it's the wheels that burden the car so much. It's only logical that it takes a great deal more effort-power-fuel to spin 8 inch wide wheels than the stock 5.5's, it's a 1.2 after all and not a very low-down torquey one at that!

As for the wheels, you'd really think it'd be easier but alas, so far it seems pretty much impossible, which is bewildering! Even repurposed steel wheels, which are just cleaned and painted really, go for about 200 euros! I can find used alloys for that kinda money!!! Can't even find anything on ebay or something.

So, yeah, here's hoping something will turn up soon!

Many thanks again!
Hey guys! Back with another problem (big surprise, I know!).

So, my rear right wheel is literally smoking after about a 10km ride. ONLY the rear right wheel. First thing that came to mind was the drum brake or the handbrake sticking. So I took the wheel off, somehow managed to remove the cover which was as if it was welded on and took a look inside. Well, everything seems to be in order. The little barrel thing (excuse my lack of the proper term in English) was working fine, there was still material on the brakes.

In any case, I bled the brakes, filled up the fluid, tested and firmed up the handbrake and put it back together. The cover was moving freely once it came back on and the car rolled just fine. Took it for a spin and everything seemed dandy.

Fast forward an hour later, went for a 10km ride and upon stopping, I smelled the burnt plastic (closest thing I can describe it as) from the wheel and saw it smoking. The drum and even the rim was HOT. Left side wheel remained cool as!

Now, testing it on the drive back home, I stopped a few times after doing about 3-5km each time without having applied ANY brakes at all. Still, the wheel and drum was getting hot, every time.

I'm out of ideas here. Only thing that's left is the bearing but I suppose I'd have... sounds(!) if that were the case.

Please, any help would be greatly appreciated!
Logically it has to be the brake seizing on... you should be able to check the bearing for wear by spinning it and wobbling it to check for play. If the brakes are OK after inspection but the problem comes back after driving then presumably the application of the brakes causes it to stick somehow.

I guess your car is non-ABS? If you can move the shoes etc. about with the drum off then it would seem that nothing mechanical is sticking, so you could suspect the cylinder maybe. You can undo the bleed nipple and force the cylinder back at either end to check this. Cylinders are cheap and easy to change (unless rusted up in the UK!).

You say the self-adjusters seem fine, if they stop working automatically you can flick the little wheel round with a screwdriver until the drum clears the shoes with just a light contact.

Anyway this is most probably the main source of your high fuel consumption!