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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From lurking on forums, youtube videos, and tuning websites, it seems like you can add an infinite number of bolt-ons and tune them for your spider, but how far can you go before you reach the limit for the 1.4l multiair?

From my knowledge it starts off with your first tune, a larger diameter free flowing exhaust, 4C coil packs, spark plugs, intercooler, diverter valve, intake, bigger turbo, E85 conversion, smaller cats or even none at all, possibly even taking apart the engine and reinforcing it with stronger camshafts and pistons and so on.

short of swapping your motor out am I missing anything?
 

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In a word, money lol. How far down the rabbit hole you can go depends on how much money you have, especially since after a certain point a lot of custom work would have to be done. If you're asking about HP wise, I believe the guys at MTD have the most HP at around 400.
 

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Hi....How far do YOU want to go is the question ? Most members start with the basic but so important stuff like a
Dv + "if" you notice turbo lag, then, those of us who become aware of the potential problems with under bonnet / hood excessive heat fit a turbo blanket (PTP/SILA/DIY). Moving on...many of us turn our attention to handling/grip and braking so invest in some decent tyres like 215 Michelin PS4's and a few of us lower the Spider with "Eibach Pro-Fit's" or similar which improves the Ride no end and quite a few of the Lads and Lasses then look at power output with stage 1 or 3 tuning (many say stage 2 not worth the effort) and finally..and only if you have spare cash left....air intake, yep, the last job as the benefits have been proven to be small so just a K & N filter may be as beneficial as a full blown kit "They Say".

I haven't forgotten the exhaust system though....For me a Sports car requires Leather and Sound, My 124 Classica had neither, so...Vehicle upholsterer sorted the leather whilst "Good-Win Racing" gave me my 124 Spider Dolby surround sound exhaust, with burble and occasional pop included. Some want NOISY so Record Monza and others will assist with neighbour relationships.........
One thing "I Note"...is that lightly tuned Spiders throw few (if any) codes whereas when guys start going in deep, not fitting components quite correctly lined or set up then the reports here start coming in that something is amiss.

Music and sound are personal choices also as are sound deadening tiles where droning may have occurred so as you can see it's not that bad financially as long as you have a logical plan along with a financial budget. The FUN factor in doing some of / all of the above and sense of achievement when your average handling / performing Sports car become."What you want it to be" cannot be valued in terms of cash outlay but the grin factor can crack the sides of your mouth open..... Let us know about your journey into Mods for your Spider and You, Cheers
ron
"Brexit Mods" is my own story "So Far"....wish I could justify fitting an LSD but sadly I cannot and as for tuning...The Good-Win and a Pipercross have been enough for me as 140 bhp powering "such" a light body works well in the twisties and that is where I live (mostly). I only fitted the Bigger / Better Coil Packs as I presumed a bigger spark would improve the cylinder performance .....It MADE NO DIFFERENCE !
Bigger Turbo's and altering Wastegate Actuator would be, along with the LSD "Track Use" stuff "to me", I see you have a Classica...Should you wish to lower it then go 17" alloys or you will suffer jacking problems using axle points, 17" x 8" with 215/45 R17 (149/169 rating XL) suit the Spider for clearance and arches well and the Lusso alloys ditched by many here will do the job nicely...
 

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Well there are a couple who thought they could go all the way down the rabbit hole and either ran out of money, talent or motivation, or some combination of the three. Some more publicly than others.
 
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I thought the Stubby installation shaved 0.765 seconds of my 0-60 mph time…I swear it!
The stubby was the most complicated install I've ever done on any automobile. Lots of fabrication, measuring, and tools. It was worth it. Great power adder. ;)
 

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2020 Fiat 124 Abarth, manual, Chiaro Silver, visability, navigation, convenience packages, brembos
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not to mention the additional 0.121 second reduction for each red mod....
 
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It's all relative...this is what I call a 'light build' and many will scoff at this being called a 'light' build, but it is all relative.

Our Fiat 124 in SCCA XSB with our OHLINS COILOVERS, Progress Sway Bars, SystemOne exhaust and mildly upgraded turbo with Tork E85 Tune and prototype 17x10 Fiat 124 Race Fitment Wheels. Also our OS GIKEN Superlock LSD, Go Fast Diverter, Ultra Light Battery Mounting Kit, Blackbird Fabworx RZ Rollbar, and much more for this 'light build'.





Some would say that is miles down the rabbit hole and not a 'light build'....yet frankly our Fiat 124 is a VERY VERY MILD build for me. Back in the my younger days we started with 'body in white', the car stripped to bare metal so we could stitch weld as the first step, that's an NC Miata chassis below getting that sort of ground up build. Then we made the body panels from carbon fiber and broke the Miata track records here in California and raced entire fields of Vipers. Compared to the level of prep we did on those earlier generations, what I or anyone here has done on the Fiat 124 is barely scratching the surface of what is possible.




 

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From lurking on forums, youtube videos, and tuning websites, it seems like you can add an infinite number of bolt-ons and tune them for your spider, but how far can you go before you reach the limit for the 1.4l multiair?

From my knowledge it starts off with your first tune, a larger diameter free flowing exhaust, 4C coil packs, spark plugs, intercooler, diverter valve, intake, bigger turbo, E85 conversion, smaller cats or even none at all, possibly even taking apart the engine and reinforcing it with stronger camshafts and pistons and so on.

short of swapping your motor out am I missing anything?
I have a friend and fellow member of the DFW Fiat - Fiat Club America who got forged internals and bored and stroked his 1.4L out to 1.7L, then added a bigger turbo. He upgraded the differential, too; not sure if he swapped the tranny. He has basically what amounts to a Phase 3 tune on it. The results are pretty impressive!
 

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short of swapping your motor out am I missing anything?
You could actually swap all the body panels with an ND Miata, giving you a Miata with an Italian turbocharged racing engine. Then everyone in the Miata club would want to know what was involved in your engine swap lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Let us know about your journey into Mods for your Spider and You, Cheers
Well my plan is to make an "affordable Porsche boxster". It may seem far fetched since that car already starts at 300HP for the non S 2017, but considering the spider is 508 pounds lighter I may only need 250HP which was proven somewhat possible here in the states with Eddie's spider. I know that if all I wanted was cheap horsepower I could buy a mustang GT but there's nothing more fun IMO than a lightweight roadster. In regards to cosmetics, unless someone convinces me otherwise I'm planning on a full bronze wrap on black wheels. Reference below

Car Wheel Vehicle Tire Vehicle registration plate
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have a friend and fellow member of the DFW Fiat - Fiat Club America who got forged internals and bored and stroked his 1.4L out to 1.7L, then added a bigger turbo. He upgraded the differential, too; not sure if he swapped the tranny. He has basically what amounts to a Phase 3 tune on it. The results are pretty impressive!
I see that you have the phase 2 tune. that's what I'm planning on installing and staying at for a while. Was it pretty straightforward fitting the intercooler? I imagine that messing with that would leave me drenched in coolant.
 

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I see that you have the phase 2 tune. that's what I'm planning on installing and staying at for a while. Was it pretty straightforward fitting the intercooler? I imagine that messing with that would leave me drenched in coolant.
There's no coolant involved, it's an air-to-air intercooler. You might, however, get some oil on you lol.
 
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The biggest challenge tuning the 1.4 multiair is that there are really only about TWO shops in the US who both know how to tune these cars AND are willing to do so remotely. There is maybe ONE that knows how but won't do remote tunes. (Not naming any names those who know, know, not getting into that debate). There are a few in Europe also who tune them, but again, most won't do remote tunes, or will only do limited configurations remotely.

Of the two who will do remote tunes, people have issues with both. The more extreme your build, the more issues. Nobody should be remote tuning anything beyond a stock configuration. And even that is iffy.

The Fiat firmware, whether it is in a Fiata box or a 500 box, is VERY detailed on a level most tuners have never encountered. There is next to no documentation available to the aftermarket about how it works. The few who know, only know SOME of the secrets not all. They each know DIFFERENT secrets, and they will not, under any circumstances, share that knowledge.

Back to how deep is the 1.4 turbo multiair rabbithole can be. That goes back to the tuner.

What kills tuned 1.4 turbo engines? Most of the time, burned valves and detonation. Actual rod failure or failure due to excess cylinder pressure is rare. Combustion temperatures and detonation however, that's very common. Can't a good tuner avoid those things easily enough? Yes, yes they can. IF they have complete control of the ECU's fueling and timing parameters AND have accounted for all driving conditions.

Don't tuners have complete control of the fueling and timing parameters on the 1.4 Multiair? That's the $100,000 question. It seems, based upon anecdotal evidence, that they do not - not in all conditions.

Why wouldn't they? The Fiat firmware has multiple profiles and factors that can play into what the fueling and timing parameters are. It's not a simple table like older tunes. While each tuner has access to a number of these different tables and parameters, in the real world, people still experience failure that looks an awful lot like fuel and/or timing issues that should not be happening.

Of course, doing an actual dyno tune of a car over multiple runs, can often allow a good tuner to find those conditions that are causing timing/fuel to go out of spec. But again, there are only really a couple of tuners in the US who will actually do a dyno tune on a 1.4 multiair. Most who have done big turbo, etc, have depended on datalogs and remote tuning so far, or tuning by unqualified local tuners. In both cases, you're living on borrowed time until your engine experiences a failure, or you have a tune so conservative you're not getting what you paid for. Nobody can do a remote tune of a new and untried configuration, on the 1.4 multiair, based purely on datalogs alone, and guarantee it to be failure proof. They may be able to do that on other platforms, but not one as complex as this one.

If they can - then show me where are the 400hp 1.4 multiair cars? Outside of European Dyno Queens (ie, cars tuned on a dyno, not remotely) they do not exist. Nor do 300hp ones. The few in the US who even exceed 250 wheel have run into many issues.

So you just take your car to a dyno, and you can do a 300hp or 400hp build. Well in theory, if the tuners are able to account for all parameters. So then I ask again - where are those builds? It's not that nobody has been willing to put the money there to make it happen. Several have tried, some more publicly than others. The rabbit hole just isn't very deep when you consider all of the challenges.

So really, your rabbithole, should you want more than about 230ish HP, to be honest, involves calling up Flyin' Miata and slapping down $50k for an LS swap. That's really how you build a powerful 124 spider.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So really, your rabbithole, should you want more than about 230ish HP, to be honest, involves calling up Flyin' Miata and slapping down $50k for an LS swap. That's really how you build a powerful 124 spider.
That's insane, on top of that most of the foundation of tuned 124s comes from tuning the 500s. I do believe Eurocompulsion is working on a phase 3 E85 or water/meth tune. That would be where I'm comfortable with since their whole thing is conservative and reliable tunes.
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That's insane, on top of that most of the foundation of tuned 124s comes from tuning the 500s. I do believe Eurocompulsion is working on a phase 3 E85 or water/meth tune. That would be where I'm comfortable with since their whole thing is conservative and reliable tunes.
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That's a good bet, but here's the thing: There have been a lot of folks in both the 500 community and the 124 community who got a tune from either EC or TORK (it has happened with both) and did everything they were supposed to do, and still had issues. Not to mention the constant back and forth about dyno results & actual timed runs, nobody seems to be making the power or speed consistently that would be expected for more than low 200s wheel HP.


Water/Meth injection does help because it helps control cylinder temperatures which lead to preignition/detonation and other issues that plague this platform. It's a bandaid on top of a notoriously difficult to tune system that even when tuned "properly" ends up causing issues. It's an effective bandaid, but a bandaid nonetheless.

On the 500 Abarth also once you get past engine tuning issues, you have a somewhat fragile transmission and axles to deal with. Hopefully the NC transmission in the 124 holds up better. That I don't know about yet. Also intake temperatures are a lot cooler on the 124, which should result in higher outputs. However, we haven't yet really seen anyone making much more power on the 124 than on the 500.
 
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Good Luck..... That's what it boils down to. Some have gotten big returns with some work and then there is me.

EVERYTHING done right and setting records. Dyno IN PERSON at EC HQ, reach 242WHP with WM Injection and then the engine melts 4 months later due to a congealed oil turd in the boost line to the wastegate and blow off valve solenoids.

Thousands spent on a FULL REBUILD with even more attention to detail, forged EVERYTHING, ported head and manifolds, balanced perfectly, and lots of thermal management to try to alleviate the heat detonation issues around cylinder 2 and 3 and then what happens? Cylinder 1 BLOWS a HOLE in the side during a U-Turn on a cold engine and ruining everything in 400 miles. Apparently there was some contamination in the cast iron and it failed.

Bad Luck.....
 

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So there you are.....You asked the question and I believe you had a very full set of answers, the logical stepping into Mods process will bring results, without any risk, many of us are there and happy, once you get into the tuning stages the risks and dramas seem to show themselves more and as in "Calehedron"' s case above...That Boy REALLY knows his stuff in case you are not aware.......I would, unless you enjoy the risk / have plenty of spare cash to throw at it stage 1 then 3 if you still want more from the Multiair engine and suffered no problems at stage 1 level, be prepared for codes, which many members here will assist with having been there, done that.....and if you really want to do it properly, without the potential risk and upset....use a "Qualified" and "Trusted" Garage / Shop like those who advertise (and know their stuff) here........Cheers
 
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So there you are.....You asked the question and I believe you had a very full set of answers, the logical stepping into Mods process will bring results, without any risk, many of us are there and happy, once you get into the tuning stages the risks and dramas seem to show themselves more and as in "Calehedron"' s case above...That Boy REALLY knows his stuff in case you are not aware.......I would, unless you enjoy the risk / have plenty of spare cash to throw at it stage 1 then 3 if you still want more from the Multiair engine and suffered no problems at stage 1 level, be prepared for codes, which many members here will assist with having been there, done that.....and if you really want to do it properly, without the potential risk and upset....use a "Qualified" and "Trusted" Garage / Shop like those who advertise (and know their stuff) here........Cheers
That's really what it comes down to. If I ever decide to go full send on my 124 with big turbo etc .... I will instead pocket that money toward an LS swap.. I know people hate the "ls swap the world" mentality, but it's the only real way to get large power out of the mx5 or 124 platform.

Of course there are also K-Swap and other options but you'd be 100% on your own making that work. LS Swap has off the shelf options with minimum fabrication required, if you are willing to spend the money.

And while I would love for a "250hp" build to be my thing, I've done that on my 500 Abarth already. I have also replaced the engine, replaced the transmission AND replaced the axles once and about to have to do it a second time. It's back on phase 2 with stock turbo for now, and honestly? It's still making too much power for me to be comfortable fulling giving it the beans on a regular basis. My 124 currently is on Phase 1 with mild mods, and I'm not even sure if I'm going to do Phase 2.
 
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