FIAT Buying Notes

FIAT Buying Notes

Fiat 850 Coupés

The main enemy alas has been rust, throughout the body, and these neat little coupés are now a rare sight.  Mechanical checks must include a good check of the cooling system: in good shape, it will do the job, but neglected systems are marginal in warm weather conditions, and overheating will cause head gasket and cylinder head problems. These little engines are designed to rev freely, but will probably start showing wear and tear every 100,000km, with increased oil consumption a good clue. They are not the quietest or most oil-tight of engines either! Rebuilds are not too difficult a task, with parts available at a price. Transmissions last fairly well, though they can get noisy, and second gear synchro will eventually wear out.

Fiat 124 Coupés

Rust the big bugbear again. There are still a few nice ones around though. Mechanically these are once again not too bad, with the engines fairly reliable and parts still available for service and (probably expensive) rebuild. All engines seem to be fairly durable, and likewise the transmissions, though the synchro will wear with age. Once again there is the caveat about the cooling system – it needs to be kept in good shape, and oil leaks around the cylinder head are not a good sign.

Fiat X1/9

These conform to Fiat pattern – watch out for body rust, almost everywhere! Oddly, it seems to be worse in later cars than earlier ones. Regular cam belt changes are important with this engine – cylinder head damage can follow if this is neglected. Once again, check out the cooling system, even more important in this mid-engined car to keep the radiator unclogged, put in fresh coolant at regular intervals, and make sure the fan is doing its job. Gearboxes wear out second and third gear synchros, and some cars jump out of reverse. Electrical problems are usually traceable to bad earths, and once sorted, may not be too much of an issue. Engine upgrades are feasible, to later model engines with more power

Fiat Coupé 1990s

Though some owners have had decent runs, reliability surveys generally don’t paint this car in a good light, but closer reading points more to lots of smaller stuff going wrong, rather than major mechanical issues, though there are some alarming stories of gearbox problems. Regular servicing is essential. The timing belt and tensioner job is expensive on these cars – especially the five cylinder – but must not be neglected. Plastic fittings of all sorts, both underbonnet and in the body, do not seem to last the distance. The coupé is both low at the front, and does not have a good turning circle, so scuffs on the front wings and underside are often found, plus kerbing damage on the wheels.

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