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2020 Abarth 124 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! New (1 month) owner, 2020 124 Abarth 6MT. Having a blast so far. And this website and the community here have been invaluable to me already.

First impression (not new to the 124, having rented one in Italy while on vacation in 2018, where we fell in love with the 124 Spider - was a Lusso):

After picking it up from the dealer, it felt uncomfortably twitchy when setting up a line in a corner. I wasn't pushing it all that much, still giving the new tires time to settle in. Later, I checked the tire pressure. 44 pounds! Yikes! Mind, this was cold pressure, after sitting overnight and in the shade (and after washing). Dealer prep...! Since fixing that, and after more time on the rubber, it now feels absolutely planted.

Just changed the break-in oil (1k miles) and filter using the top down method... so easy- many thanks for the awesome info at 124spider. Glad to have done that when I did. Oil was pretty murky!

Not planning to go too crazy with mods... but so far I have ordered a PTP Lava turbo blanket. Looking forward to many smiles (my wife calls her: Abby) and meeting the folks here. I reckon I will have a lot of questions!

84151
 

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Hello! New (1 month) owner, 2020 124 Abarth 6MT. Having a blast so far. And this website and the community here have been invaluable to me already.

First impression (not new to the 124, having rented one in Italy while on vacation in 2018, where we fell in love with the 124 Spider - was a Lusso):

After picking it up from the dealer, it felt uncomfortably twitchy when setting up a line in a corner. I wasn't pushing it all that much, still giving the new tires time to settle in. Later, I checked the tire pressure. 44 pounds! Yikes! Mind, this was cold pressure, after sitting overnight and in the shade (and after washing). Dealer prep...! Since fixing that, and after more time on the rubber, it now feels absolutely planted.

Just changed the break-in oil (1k miles) and filter using the top down method... so easy- many thanks for the awesome info at 124spider. Glad to have done that when I did. Oil was pretty murky!

Not planning to go too crazy with mods... but so far I have ordered a PTP Lava turbo blanket. Looking forward to many smiles (my wife calls her: Abby) and meeting the folks here. I reckon I will have a lot of questions!

View attachment 84151
Hello and welcome!
Apparently this lack of prep by selling dealers is not an isolated incident. I purchased my 2020 Abarth new in September of last year and after driving it home, 120 miles, I discovered 2 days later the tires were all at 38 psi. I emailed the selling dealer, I had dealt directly with the sales manager, and ask if they had done anything other than a pre-delivery wash and he just fluffed off the over inflation saying it was to protect the tires during shipment. When I asked if they had actually prepped my car prior to me picking it up he assured me they had. So I emailed again asking why were the tires over-inflated? He never responded to that email. Consequently I spent the time and went over my car checking everything I could check.
Tells a lot about why FIAT lost market shares in North America. Not saying there aren't or weren't some good dealers. But far too much lack of care and customer concern by far too many dealers.
 

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Hello! New (1 month) owner, 2020 124 Abarth 6MT. Having a blast so far. And this website and the community here have been invaluable to me already.

First impression (not new to the 124, having rented one in Italy while on vacation in 2018, where we fell in love with the 124 Spider - was a Lusso):

After picking it up from the dealer, it felt uncomfortably twitchy when setting up a line in a corner. I wasn't pushing it all that much, still giving the new tires time to settle in. Later, I checked the tire pressure. 44 pounds! Yikes! Mind, this was cold pressure, after sitting overnight and in the shade (and after washing). Dealer prep...! Since fixing that, and after more time on the rubber, it now feels absolutely planted.

Just changed the break-in oil (1k miles) and filter using the top down method... so easy- many thanks for the awesome info at 124spider. Glad to have done that when I did. Oil was pretty murky!

Not planning to go too crazy with mods... but so far I have ordered a PTP Lava turbo blanket. Looking forward to many smiles (my wife calls her: Abby) and meeting the folks here. I reckon I will have a lot of questions!

View attachment 84151
Welcome to the group. Need pictures of the car, not your pressure gage. 😂. FYI dealer prep is pretty much nonexistent. Check your glove box cubby. You may find the rubber plugs to cover the tie down openings under your car. The sat nav stick may also be in there. Many members have reported tire pressures up to 50 psi after taking delivery. Good luck and pictures please.

Dan
 

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2020 Abarth 124 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nordamericano and depotdan: I had no idea that the dealer prep tire pressure was such an endemic issue, or I would have checked the pressure before driving it off the lot! But to their credit (?), at least all four corners matched within 43 +/- 0.5 PSI… 😆

depotdan: thanks for the tips. I found and installed the sat nav SD card the first day - but what are the rubber plugs you mentioned? I downloaded the long manual from FCA and didn’t see tie down openings - is that because it’s putatively a dealer prep item?

I had another look at the break-in oil, it actually didn’t look as "worn" as I first thought. Slightly discolored greenish-brown with an opacity substantially darker than fresh oil, but not at all opaque or black.

Otay, here are some photos, finally, NOT of the TP gauge 😂, but of the new car. Including some of our 124 Spider vacation rental in Italy. There is some mighty fine driving in Italy, especially anywhere near hills or mountains.

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Our 2020 Abarth, the day after picking it up, and waiting for the rain to stop…


Our 124 Spider rental in Italy in 2018:

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Parking lot in Argegno, where we had lunch while on our way (clockwise) around Lake Como, on the first day of our trip after arriving at Milan MPA and picking up the 124 rental that morning


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AirBnB where we stayed that night, Lake Como near Varenna


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Hills above Varenna on the road to Esino Lario, lots of very tight switchbacks and nice S curves (and car-sized fallen boulders partly blocking the roadway, on the other side of the mountain)


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Hills above Florence. The beautiful city of Florence itself is way, way off in the distance.


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Leaving our parking space in Florence


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Alps foothills between Florence and Milan


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Dropping off the 124 rental at Milan MPA airport... bye 😢
 

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Hi and Welcome to "Our Gang".....Loved reading your story and "The Gauge" what a lovely gauge you own ! I see you have already been studying at the school of 124spider.org so you will most likely have seen this but just in case...have a look at thread, "124 Spider Basic Ownership Rules....some of" where the boys and girls here clubbed together bits of important stuff to help new folks settle into understanding how their new Spider likes to be treated, Enjoy The Ride..I am sure that you will, Cheers
ron
 

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2017 124 Classica
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Welcome!

You're not alone on the overinflation issue. I think a lot of people think you're supposed to inflate tires to the "MAX PSI" on the sidewall and aren't aware of door tags or other recommendations.

My 124 Classica I got Monday had at least 3 tires overinflated at 45 lbs (16" rims). Brand new tires. I'm not actually sure about the 4th tire, because it bulged blow out the bead which is why I ended up checking all the tires. Checked the other rear tire and it was bulging as well. Two days after I picked up the car. Both rear tires appeared to be damaged from hitting something, but I hadn't hit anything. The tires were brand new.


Car was from Carvana, they put new tires on it. However, it had an engine light so they took it to a local shop in Kingwood before delivering the car. That shop put about a few miles on the car (drive cycle). I'm guessing they hit something which, when added to the overinflated tires, damaged the sidewalls resulting in the tire bulges.

Ended up replacing all 4 tires, since I didn't want mismatched tires. Besides they had installed some 60,000 mile all season Falkens, so I replaced them with Direzza Dz102 (what was available quickly) which while not what I had in mind long-term are definitely better than the Falkens. And, made sure they were inflated CORRECTLY, not at 45 frickin PSI.
 

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2018 Abarth 124 Spider, Mare Blue / Nero Abarth Leather, Brembo's, Record Monza, Automatic
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Hi Grassi, WELCOME! Very much enjoyed all the pics! Thank You and may your new Abarth bring you and your wife many years of smiles! On to the "over inflation" issue. This is a more common occurrence than one may think. The manufacturer of the vehicle over-inflates tires when the tires are mounted so the tires will not flat-spot during extended shipping and time in storage in port. 45 PSI is typical, and pressures will deviate some from this, typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees F. up or down from the temp it was originally inflated at - so if the tire was inflated to 45 PSI at 70F., and you checked the tire pressure at 90 F., it would be close to 47 PSI. Once the vehicle reaches the dealer (and I have seen new cars reach our lot a year and a half - you read that right! 1 1/2 years! - after the car was built) the dealer is to do a PDI, or Pre-Delivery Inspection, before it is sold to a customer. The manufacturer pays the dealer a small amount, say .7 hr. to 1.0 hr. at a negotiated rate per hour to accomplish the PDI, plus a small amount for removing protective film and cleaning. Let us say the dealer is compensated .8 hr. for the PDI, and that is what the dealer will pay a tech to actually do the work. (i.e., the tech will get paid .8 hr. times his hourly rate of pay to do the job. This is called "Flat Rate" - similar to piece work). The work to be done during the PDI, like checking/adjusting all fluid levels, making sure all lights, switches, controls, etc. work, adjusting tire pressure, installing some accessories (and bits like the tie-down hole covers), make sure there are no dings, scratches, or leaks, road testing, can take all that time and more if done properly. The tech starts by being handed a repair order, then in many cases has to find the keys, then find the car on the lot, and come up with a dealer plate before he even starts in. And, this is all after doing warranty jobs that pay him half of what it really takes!! I've seen many techs "Short Cut" the work just to make a days pay. Drive the car in, fill the washer fluid jug, check the oil, screw on the dealers front plastic advertising plate and out the door it goes! The hold down hole plugs don't get installed, the tire pressure isn't corrected, on and on. Please understand, not all techs will short cut the work - alot of us take pride in our work, but certainly not all. And, this isn't exclusive to Fiat deales, it is fairly universal. Bottom Line? Flat Rate needs to "Go Away". The cars have become too complicated, too technical, Flat Rate's relevancy has passed. Other thoughts: Madfiat: I'm thinking Carvana inflated your tires to 45 PSI for the same reason a manufacturer would - to prevent flat spotting while they held the car in inventory. Somebody dropped the ball, or left it up to you to correct the pressures. 45 PSI would not be enough to blow a 16" tire off the rim. Nordamericano: I do not know how long your car may have been in port or on the dealers lot, but if your car 'sat' for quite a long time before you purchased it, like mine did, a tire that was originally set to 45 PSI might read closer to 38 PSI just from sitting awhile and not having the pressure adjusted. Air will leak out of a tire over time, right through the rubber. Normal condition. And, if the day you originally checked your tires was rather cool, well there is another couple PSI. Anyway, I'm thinkin' the tech that did your PDI was "Flat Ratin'". Grassi: Good move changing your oil at 1000 mi. The hold down holes are holes in the bottom of your car, typically behind the front wheels and ahead of the rear wheels where hooks will go to lash the car to a car carrier. The plugs would be rubber pieces that fill these holes. And, about my own Spider: The jerk, whether it was the "Flat Ratin'" tech or the "Dumb" salesman that screwed on the dealers front advertising plate never paid attention to the dimples in the front bumper cover and got the screw holes off center by about 3 inches, and not level!! So if I run a front plate, I either have to drill more holes or have the plate look absolutely ridiculous! It's just not caring! (Again, a problem NOT exclusive to Fiat dealers.) Bottom Line: Flat Rate must GO AWAY! If you go to purchase a new car, ask the dealer if techs are compensated by Flat Rate or paid hourly - the quality of work may be different! Again, please note: Not all Flat Rate techs are bad. Some do take alot of pride in their work. Happy Spidering! s.
 

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Nordamericano and depotdan: I had no idea that the dealer prep tire pressure was such an endemic issue, or I would have checked the pressure before driving it off the lot! But to their credit (?), at least all four corners matched within 43 +/- 0.5 PSI… 😆

depotdan: thanks for the tips. I found and installed the sat nav SD card the first day - but what are the rubber plugs you mentioned? I downloaded the long manual from FCA and didn’t see tie down openings - is that because it’s putatively a dealer prep item?

I had another look at the break-in oil, it actually didn’t look as "worn" as I first thought. Slightly discolored greenish-brown with an opacity substantially darker than fresh oil, but not at all opaque or black.

Otay, here are some photos, finally, NOT of the TP gauge 😂, but of the new car. Including some of our 124 Spider vacation rental in Italy. There is some mighty fine driving in Italy, especially anywhere near hills or mountains.

View attachment 84175

View attachment 84176

Our 2020 Abarth, the day after picking it up, and waiting for the rain to stop…


Our 124 Spider rental in Italy in 2018:

View attachment 84177

Parking lot in Argegno, where we had lunch while on our way (clockwise) around Lake Como, on the first day of our trip after arriving at Milan MPA and picking up the 124 rental that morning


View attachment 84178

AirBnB where we stayed that night, Lake Como near Varenna


View attachment 84179

Hills above Varenna on the road to Esino Lario, lots of very tight switchbacks and nice S curves (and car-sized fallen boulders partly blocking the roadway, on the other side of the mountain)


View attachment 84180

Hills above Florence. The beautiful city of Florence itself is way, way off in the distance.


View attachment 84183

Leaving our parking space in Florence


View attachment 84181

Alps foothills between Florence and Milan


View attachment 84182

Dropping off the 124 rental at Milan MPA airport... bye 😢
Welcome from Scotland! Congratulations on your new A124, you will have great fun with it. Great to see you also enjoyed Italy and Lake Como, we have friends in Domaso on the North West tip. We drove to Italy from Scotland in the A124 in 2017. Covid permitting we've got flights booked into Milan Malpensa this October for a classic car event. Your pictures, and your Spider story cheered me up!
 

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Hi Grassi, WELCOME! Very much enjoyed all the pics! Thank You and may your new Abarth bring you and your wife many years of smiles! On to the "over inflation" issue. This is a more common occurrence than one may think. The manufacturer of the vehicle over-inflates tires when the tires are mounted so the tires will not flat-spot during extended shipping and time in storage in port. 45 PSI is typical, and pressures will deviate some from this, typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees F. up or down from the temp it was originally inflated at - so if the tire was inflated to 45 PSI at 70F., and you checked the tire pressure at 90 F., it would be close to 47 PSI. Once the vehicle reaches the dealer (and I have seen new cars reach our lot a year and a half - you read that right! 1 1/2 years! - after the car was built) the dealer is to do a PDI, or Pre-Delivery Inspection, before it is sold to a customer. The manufacturer pays the dealer a small amount, say .7 hr. to 1.0 hr. at a negotiated rate per hour to accomplish the PDI, plus a small amount for removing protective film and cleaning. Let us say the dealer is compensated .8 hr. for the PDI, and that is what the dealer will pay a tech to actually do the work. (i.e., the tech will get paid .8 hr. times his hourly rate of pay to do the job. This is called "Flat Rate" - similar to piece work). The work to be done during the PDI, like checking/adjusting all fluid levels, making sure all lights, switches, controls, etc. work, adjusting tire pressure, installing some accessories (and bits like the tie-down hole covers), make sure there are no dings, scratches, or leaks, road testing, can take all that time and more if done properly. The tech starts by being handed a repair order, then in many cases has to find the keys, then find the car on the lot, and come up with a dealer plate before he even starts in. And, this is all after doing warranty jobs that pay him half of what it really takes!! I've seen many techs "Short Cut" the work just to make a days pay. Drive the car in, fill the washer fluid jug, check the oil, screw on the dealers front plastic advertising plate and out the door it goes! The hold down hole plugs don't get installed, the tire pressure isn't corrected, on and on. Please understand, not all techs will short cut the work - alot of us take pride in our work, but certainly not all. And, this isn't exclusive to Fiat deales, it is fairly universal. Bottom Line? Flat Rate needs to "Go Away". The cars have become too complicated, too technical, Flat Rate's relevancy has passed. Other thoughts: Madfiat: I'm thinking Carvana inflated your tires to 45 PSI for the same reason a manufacturer would - to prevent flat spotting while they held the car in inventory. Somebody dropped the ball, or left it up to you to correct the pressures. 45 PSI would not be enough to blow a 16" tire off the rim. Nordamericano: I do not know how long your car may have been in port or on the dealers lot, but if your car 'sat' for quite a long time before you purchased it, like mine did, a tire that was originally set to 45 PSI might read closer to 38 PSI just from sitting awhile and not having the pressure adjusted. Air will leak out of a tire over time, right through the rubber. Normal condition. And, if the day you originally checked your tires was rather cool, well there is another couple PSI. Anyway, I'm thinkin' the tech that did your PDI was "Flat Ratin'". Grassi: Good move changing your oil at 1000 mi. The hold down holes are holes in the bottom of your car, typically behind the front wheels and ahead of the rear wheels where hooks will go to lash the car to a car carrier. The plugs would be rubber pieces that fill these holes. And, about my own Spider: The jerk, whether it was the "Flat Ratin'" tech or the "Dumb" salesman that screwed on the dealers front advertising plate never paid attention to the dimples in the front bumper cover and got the screw holes off center by about 3 inches, and not level!! So if I run a front plate, I either have to drill more holes or have the plate look absolutely ridiculous! It's just not caring! (Again, a problem NOT exclusive to Fiat dealers.) Bottom Line: Flat Rate must GO AWAY! If you go to purchase a new car, ask the dealer if techs are compensated by Flat Rate or paid hourly - the quality of work may be different! Again, please note: Not all Flat Rate techs are bad. Some do take alot of pride in their work. Happy Spidering! s.
I fully understand your point with regards to the way techs in today's dealerships are paid or in many cases not paid for the work they do. But that in no way relieves the dealership from fulfilling it's responsibility to the customer. The customer who in every single case has paid thousands of dollars for their new auto.
Dealerships, regardless of brand sold, have no qualms about adding on charges for "documentation fees" which in reality means they are charging an additional fee for doing the paperwork they have already been paid to do with those costs having been covered in their normal overhead or cost of ding business. They have no issues with charging for this or that and everything else, most of which isn't needed and is merely a come-on to pump the price up and pry $ out of unsuspecting customers. If you went out to dinner would you expect to be charged extra for dish washing? Would you balk if you were charged a documentation fee for bill preparation? Would you pay for seating service? And if you did in fact pay for these kinds of outlandish charges wouldn't you expect the best possible service with no shortcuts and no excuses?
As for techs getting shortchanged on flat rate ....... the paying customer is not the one screwing them over! The paying customer, be it a service customer or a new car buyer is the one paying the bill! That bill paying customer has every right and every expectation that he/she is getting their dollar's worth of service. When a tech cuts corners they are not screwing the dealership they in fact screwing the paying customer and yelling "screw you paying customer"!
If more people turned in less than satisfactory, less than glowing reviews for dealerships and their sales and service departments then maybe there would be just a bit less of this "screw the customer" attitude at dealerships. Maybe if crappy service, crappy performance actually cost and actually had some real world consequences people would change how they do business.
And quite honestly, if you feel you're being screwed over by your employer or you can't do your job without cheating at it then it's probably time to move on.
 

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2018 Abarth 124 Spider, Mare Blue / Nero Abarth Leather, Brembo's, Record Monza, Automatic
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I fully understand your point with regards to the way techs in today's dealerships are paid or in many cases not paid for the work they do. But that in no way relieves the dealership from fulfilling it's responsibility to the customer. The customer who in every single case has paid thousands of dollars for their new auto.
Dealerships, regardless of brand sold, have no qualms about adding on charges for "documentation fees" which in reality means they are charging an additional fee for doing the paperwork they have already been paid to do with those costs having been covered in their normal overhead or cost of ding business. They have no issues with charging for this or that and everything else, most of which isn't needed and is merely a come-on to pump the price up and pry $ out of unsuspecting customers. If you went out to dinner would you expect to be charged extra for dish washing? Would you balk if you were charged a documentation fee for bill preparation? Would you pay for seating service? And if you did in fact pay for these kinds of outlandish charges wouldn't you expect the best possible service with no shortcuts and no excuses?
As for techs getting shortchanged on flat rate ....... the paying customer is not the one screwing them over! The paying customer, be it a service customer or a new car buyer is the one paying the bill! That bill paying customer has every right and every expectation that he/she is getting their dollar's worth of service. When a tech cuts corners they are not screwing the dealership they in fact screwing the paying customer and yelling "screw you paying customer"!
If more people turned in less than satisfactory, less than glowing reviews for dealerships and their sales and service departments then maybe there would be just a bit less of this "screw the customer" attitude at dealerships. Maybe if crappy service, crappy performance actually cost and actually had some real world consequences people would change how they do business.
And quite honestly, if you feel you're being screwed over by your employer or you can't do your job without cheating at it then it's probably time to move on.
I agree. The dealerships are making alot of money. Some of us do the job the way we would want it done if we were the customer. We suffer financially by doing so. I haven't got much more time before I retire . . . I am afraid of the time when I am just a customer. s.
 

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2020 Abarth 124 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Brexit !, thanks very much for your pointer to the New Owners thread. Lots of good stuff in there.

madflat, wow, sorry to hear, hope the new skins live up to your expectations.

SteveP, THANKS, and thanks for all the detail on the dealer prep operation, behind the scenes, that clarifies things. I had no idea. (Note, I measured my tire pressures at an ambient of 60 degrees F in the shade after sitting overnight.) Also it’s comforting to learn that ca. 45 PSI isn’t enough to blow the tire of the rim.

SteveP, also thanks for the clarification on the rubber plugs. I had a look under the car, but I’m not sure what I should be looking for? It wasn’t obvious, at least to me. If it’s not too much trouble, is there a thread you could point me to regarding the plugs (perhaps with photos?) that I could refer to?

Considering I didn’t haggle on the price (other than accepting their advertised discount), and that they made a decent profit on it, it’s too bad they still couldn’t shake loose a few $$ for some simple setup operations. On the bright side of not haggling: they didn’t hard-sell “True Coat” and chip insurance whatnot, other than just asking if I wanted them, and they even took $70 off the “Doc fee” without my asking - and didn’t hiccup when I asked them to excise the abominable dealer's decal.

Hi SpagWagonsScot, glad I brightened your day, I know a few Scots, and based on that, Scots sure are a lot of fun to be around! Drove to Italy from Scotland? I didn’t know that A124s were amphibious. Cool! I don’t think I’ll try it though - but ages ago, I had a Penton motorcycle (actually a few of them, and later a KTM, and I even met John Penton once) all of which, with proper prep, could be driven through fuel-tank-deep water. Not Channel-deep, though. 😆

Just a bit more info to flesh out the earlier photo captions:
- Regarding our circuit around Lake Como - some of the roads between buildings are VERY narrow, some with oncoming traffic! No trouble negotiating this with the 124. Later, I saw the Top Gear Lake Como episode, and driving that Alfa Romeo Giulia there would have been nail-biting at times.

- The BnB above Lake Como was on a narrow one lane (but paved) road part way up the mountain. Could hear honking horns from time to time as vehicles approached the switchbacks.

- I didn’t know it at the time, but the valley in the hills above Florence is the same one described in the novel / film A Room With A View.

- The BnB in Florence was unique in having a reserved spot in a garage for renters. Parking is worse than NYC or Hoboken.

- Alps foothills photo: while in the valley below, a GTi turned in front of me and then went into Hoon mode as soon as the road got steep. This was a wide, modern, well-kept two-lane road with guardrails and long sight lines. I kept up, staying in my lane - but he used the entire roadway. “Spirited driving” is enjoyable but I try to use care and don’t like it when someone does this, and after about 10 minutes, glad to see the pull-out, I stopped.

- It wasn’t a walk in the park renting the 124. I reserved and paid for it in advance, but at the Milan airport AVIS counter they tried to substitute a 500, which I also could have reserved, for about $120 less in total. I stood my ground demanding a refund if they couldn’t honor the original terms, and after about 20 minutes they eventually “located” a 124.


More observations about the 124:
1. As has been noted extensively elsewhere, it does attract a lot of attention! But I had a couple of unusual experiences:

- While parked in Italy, a man approached and stood directly in front of the car, staring, expressionlessly, like a movie zombie. I thought it weird. A couple days later in a different location, the same thing happened. This time, I waved, and the fellow suddenly grinned and wanted to know about the car. Maybe the same would have happened with the first guy had I waved, and there is some etiquette about approaching strangers? Not near a major city in either case.

- Yesterday, near home driving through a parking lot, man shouts, nice car! I thanked him. He caught up after I parked, and wanted to know “what is it?” so I gave him the elevator talk. Then, he noticed the manual transmission, and exclaimed, “Right on, brother!”

Nobody - has - ever - said - that - to - me - before! 😀


2. The 124 seems to activate the “Hoon Setting” in the brains of others who are driving performance (and some not-so-performance) rides. This Hoon Activation already has happened to me several times in the 124. Here’s a couple of examples, all while driving on twisty roads.

- Pulled out behind a guy riding a KTM. Wearing all-weather coveralls, and I noticed a roll chart holder mounted on the bars, so I reckon he’d done Enduros and such, and had some skill… I kept a respectable distance, per proper motorcycle-following etiquette. I rolled up to the traffic light, and he was in front of me. When it changed, off he went! Full Hoon Mode. So ensued a very enjoyable 2 minutes of “spirited driving.” Note from the photo his contact patch is well onto the sidewall, so you can glean something regarding the velocity there. Per the protocol for off road racing compared to motorcycle street riding, he didn’t use the preferred delayed-apex cornering technique. But, we both kept within our lanes! 😀

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So, if anyone has stayed with me this far, here is a question: About 10 minutes after the above (and tickling the turbo quite a bit) the CEL (engine with radiator fan cartoon) came on solid. This was alarming, but it extinguished after about 5 minutes of driving meekly. (Checked later, oil level was normal, and later the same day I changed it.) Any thoughts on what might have caused the CEL? Or could kindly point me to a thread? I will also try to search for this.

BTW, here is an image of the 1000-mile break-in oil:

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- Just a couple days later, a C6 Vette (checkered flag badge below center brake light) was tooling along ahead. In only a few seconds, his Hoon Switch triggered! Note the photo. A Vette braking to set up a corner is coming in pretty hot! Then, things quickly settled back to “normal.” I wonder if things might have gotten a little puckered for him on that corner? 🙂

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- On an earlier date, a pumpkin-colored Subaru Crosstrek was parked by the side of the road (photo). Two minutes later, he was filling my rear view mirror. He lagged in the corners, since I didn’t brake. Pulling out from a stop sign, he followed, then activated red emergency lights behind his grill. My first thought was s***, but - unmarked in… a Subaru? I slowed and prepared to pull over, but he suddenly passed me. I noticed his Fireman plate. He did the same thing with a couple more vehicles in front, then ran a traffic light and disappeared straight ahead. However, the closest fire departments were a left or right at that traffic light…?

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- A two-up Harley followed us for about 10 miles, lagging way behind in the corners, naturally, but then came blasting back on the straights, naturally. When we got to New Hope, PA, we hit the typical weekend stop and go traffic. No worries, we had the top down.

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Harley passed on the double yellow! Why? To get a few spaces ahead in the traffic queue? Congratulations, man! (See frame grab from dashcam - limit is 25, so I reckon I was speeding at 26, lol.)

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And then, at the traffic light, used the left-turn-only lane to skip ahead again. This convinced me he wasn’t just trying to catch up to the other M/C since he jumped the queue again at that point.

NJ plates. Helmet not optional in NJ, but going guerrilla is permissible in PA. Safety minded guy - because his gal was wearing one. I like that. It's so considerate. But, if he had executed that left turn - that’s the bridge to NJ and he would have been promptly arrested for eschewing his skid lid.

These sorts of interactions were mostly foreign to me until getting the 124. Now this sort of stuff seems to be a weekly (or more frequent?) occurrence! I thought maybe it might have something to do with people going bonkers because of “pandemic lockdown spring fever,” but that would not explain the alpine driving experience in Italy. (I wonder how much worse this would be if I had chosen the Abarth with the Appearance Package instead?)

A few things I don’t like / surprised about the 124:
- I said we fell in love with the 124 in Italy, but I vowed not to consider one unless they did something about that ugly wart (infotainment screen). Well, they sure called me on that one! 😆

- 1st gear could stand to be a tad taller. I discovered this in Italy on tight mountain switchbacks, where the road was so steep it was impossible to detect oncoming traffic until after clearing the apex. 1st redline was too slow (and hoonish). 2nd was unsatisfactory because I wasn’t willing to go faster risking reacting to oncoming traffic in my lane, so it lugged in that gear. So I settled on entering in 1st around 3-4k and then (very clumsily) accelerating and upshifting immediately after the apex. Took much of the joy out of it.

- Would it have killed Fiat / Mazda to increase fuel capacity by just a couple more gallons? We plan on taking some long road trips and hate fuel stops. Anyone here ever transit Kansas? In my life, I have, 10 times (going to and from Colorado). Takes 8 hours, even at a decent speed. I hate getting “in the zone” cruising along, having to stop to refuel. As it is, the 124 has a shorter cruising range than even my Vette, by about 100 miles! If there are twisties this is not so bad, but in the flatlands you just want to get from A to B as quickly as you can, and fuel stops are annoying.

- I noticed that the rear wheel wells are lined with the same kind of fibrous material that’s used to line the boot / trunk? I wonder about the longevity of this stuff, exposed to the elements?

Finally - in the “What are the chances???” category:

Out for a drive last weekend, you know how your vision gets imprinted to recognize certain things at a glance? About 20 minutes from home, I spotted a familiar object, about 300 yards ahead on the road. I could immediately see (the telltale accents in the tail lights) it was a black 124. I remarked to my wife - considering the (relative) rarity of our chariot - “What… are… the… chances?” Getting closer, saw it was not just a 124 Spider, but - another black Abarth 124! Since this was along the route of our planned drive (we were headed to Van Sant airport - see Wikipedia), we followed for about another 5 minutes until the driver waved, pulled off and parked. I pulled over, and what do you know, here’s another (very) local, happy Abarth 124 owner! We chatted for an hour. When her husband showed up, we invited them to follow us to the airport, resulting in the last photo below. 😀

84338


If anyone replies, I will be offline the next few days, getting set up at the hospital for… prostate cancer treatment. Namely, implantation of fiducials and spacer for SBRT, which commences a few weeks after a forthcoming “simulation” step. Rising PSA led to the diagnosis, followed by MRI and then a biopsy which I was trying to avoid. While a little too far along for the “watchful waiting” observation mode, the outcome should be quite favorable. Over the past 6 months or so I have had to become my own expert on treatments. (Anybody here that’s in a similar situation, I’d be happy to share what I have learned or point you to the sources of information - why I am mentioning this.) The worst thing about it is that I haven’t found any single doctor that will (or is able to?) tell you about all of the treatment options, or is up to date on the latest treatments - unless you find a / the doctor that’s involved with those particular latest treatments. I had considered radical prostatectomy after reading 8 books on that subject (all of which were published / updated at least 4 years ago - so, kind of out of date, for this field), but backed out of that after doing more research. It took a lot of exhausting leg work to decide on the treatment that was the “best” for me - but that treatment may not be best for others (or even available, depending on the stage of the disease). Treatment options have changed / expanded substantially even in the last couple of years. ALL the treatments suck, in different ways. But it’s a matter of learning everything you can and then evaluating the pros and cons of each. Sorry to ramble on in an OT subject…!
 

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2018 Abarth 124 Spider, Mare Blue / Nero Abarth Leather, Brembo's, Record Monza, Automatic
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307 Posts
Hi Grassi, You can find instructions concerning installing the chassis plugs (hold down hole plugs) on Ameridan's wonderful site: "www.21stcenturyfiat124spider.wordpress.com". Please access this fine website, you will find a line of options "Welcome, Tweaks, Specs, Blog, Subscribe/Search". Click on Blog, and in the drop-down menu click on 2016 Posts, then to the side click on "Pre-delivery reminders -after you've taken delivery". Here you will find a very good outline of what dealers are supposed to do during the PDI process including instructions on where the hold down hole plugs go, in our 124 Spiders case ahead of the rear wheels. Scroll down far enough and Dan has a picture of what the plugs look like, and even further down a photo of where they go with arrows! I am sure you will find Ameridan's site very informative. As far as your check engine light issue goes, I could not begin to venture a guess with any hopes of guaranteed accuracy. Fuel trim issues? Misfires? Turbo related? We really need a diagnostic trouble code to begin with. In many cases, the code will then provide a "starting point" to diagnose what the issue is. Let's say you got a DTC P0300 (Random Misfire). This means the ECM detected some misfiring going on, most likely multiple cylinders, but most likely not constant. It will not tell you exactly what the problem is (coil, plug, injector, or something else?) A DTC P0303 would be a misfire, cyl. #3, but still wouldn't tell you exactly what the faulty part, or other, is. So, if you can provide a Diagnostic Trouble Code we can try to help you figure out what's going on. Keep in mind, please, though, that diagnostics from afar is difficult. (There is a 16 pin diagnostic connector located under the dash, driver's side, for plugging in a scan tool or code reader. (See Dan's site, "Specs", drop down "OBD2 Diagnostics". If you do not have a scan tool / code reader many auto parts stores will read a code for you for free or a small charge). Let us all know, Grassi, what you come up with, there are alot of us here willing to help. Very sorry to hear of your illness, wishing you a full and speedy recovery!! Best, s.
 

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2018 Abarth 124 Spider, Mare Blue / Nero Abarth Leather, Brembo's, Record Monza, Automatic
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307 Posts
Grassi, P.S.: When you have a DTC(s), please open on a new thread. I will watch for your name, and by doing this you will potentially open up the discussion to more qualified people (and there are quite a few here) to help, as well as make it more visible to others who may have the same problem. Thank You Sir! Best, s.
 
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