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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Detailed pics of the Fiat 500 undergoing testing by Chrysler...

Here's a group of detailed pictures shot of the Fiat 500 brought to America by Fiat for evaluation at Chrysler. I have a bunch of these photos that I'll start to post as we wait for the Fiat 500 to hit our shores.

Here's a shot of the EPA's exemption sticker attached to the Fiat 500 brought to the US for evaluation testing. This car was used by Chrysler/Fiat for promotional and testing purposes.
Importing a car from another country is not a simple thing, even for a major car company. A myriad of forms and documents must be filed with the DOT and EPA. The many rules and regulations are very strictly enforced.

Here are some underhood shots of the Fiat 500. The yellow cap is for the brake fluid, which is specified as DOT 4 high performance brake fluid. Just to the right of the battery is the engine control fuse box. These contain fuses and relays for the mechanical items under the hood. There is a separate fuse box inside, under the drivers side of the dashboard, that contains the fuses for the interior and convenience features of the car.

All the maintenance points under the hood of the Fiat 500 are easy to get to. The blue item in the above picture is the engine oil dipstick (next to the yellow oil cap). On the left, with the light blue cap, is the coolant reservoir, below with the dark blue cap is the windshield fluid reservoir.

The fluids and oils recommended for use in the Fiat 500. Remember, this is the European version, so many of the names will not look familiar to folks in the US. The motor oil recommended for use in the 500 is a synthetic 5W-40 with typically European high oil drain intervals (30,000 km or about 18,600 miles). Oils suitable for the 500 and available in the US will have to be evaluated, just one of the many hurdles needed to be cleared before the 500 is sold in the US.

The headlight of the Fiat 500, produced by Magneti Marelli, is jewel like. It is an impressive design, featuring an H7 low beam bulb and the turn signal bulb. Again, these must be evaluated and certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT) before the 500 is sold in the US.

Another high style item, this lamp is the high beam headlight of the Fiat 500. The high beam bulb is an H1 style bulb. This lamp also contains the daytime running/parking light bulb.

The foglight of the Fiat 500 features an H1 bulb. Notice how the foglight housing projects just a little out of the lower grille. That's a detail you don't really notice until you see the car in person.

Keep an eye out for more photos I'll post here under the link " Test Car Photos".


Ulpian said...

I've noticed this very professional site a few times. Nobody seems to post. Why is that? I know there are any number of English language Fiat sites but an American perspective is quite interesting.

Do you lot really still change your oil more than once a year by the way - and if so - why?

Anonymous said...

Testing testing. Hoe the H do you post a comment here? said...

Hey, it worked! When someone posts a comment, I get a notice and then I publish it. I do "moderate" them somewhat to make sure there is not spam or language issues.

People can also contact me through the "post a comment" feature and I'll respond to them in a private email. This "moderate" feature helps protect people from inadvertently posting their email address by accident.

Opinions are welcome, civil discussions are the aim.

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Chris said...

"Ulpian said...
I've noticed this very professional site a few times. Nobody seems to post. Why is that? I know there are any number of English language Fiat sites but an American perspective is quite interesting.

Do you lot really still change your oil more than once a year by the way - and if so - why?"

Ulpian, thanks for the compliment!

This is a young site and I believe there still isn't a lot of awareness about Fiats in this country...yet. As we go forward and the advertising starts, I expect to see more comments coming.

Comments are nice, but if people just want to stop by, look at the pictures, maybe read up on their favorite marques or learn about something new, that's great, too!

As far as oil changing goes, generally, people have grown up with 3,000 mile oil change intervals here in the USA. This notion was popularized by oil companies, car dealers and retail auto parts stores.

Even car manufactures would list 3,000 mile intervals for cars undergoing "severe usage" and maybe 6,000 miles under "normal usage".

In the past, considering the oil and engine technology, this recommendation had merit. With todays technology, longer intervals are possible.

However, there are differences between countries that do effect drain intervals. An example is the gasoline that other countries sell (some countries have a higher/lower sulfur content, etc), and gasoline, temperatures, usage, quality and type of oil, etc. are factors in determining proper oil drain intervals.

The long oil drain intervals in Europe have been around for a while and I believe they are proven. It will be interesting to see what the recommended interval will be for the Fiat 500 once it shows up in Jan 2011. I wouldn't be surprised if it's around 10,000 miles.

Thanks again for your comments, best regards, Chris

Daniël Mantione said...

Chrysler recommends new oil every 12000km in Europe, which is rather frequent compared to the 20000km of my Fiat Punto mk2b. Perhaps it was pushed a bit upward to make the car more acceptable in the "Old World". Probably the type of car is still the main factor for the interval, and that bodes well for the 500 when it crosses the Atlantic. said...

Hi, thanks for the comment.

I looked into the recommended oil change interval here in the US and it is 10,000km or 6,000 miles. I was surprised it's that short for a brand new car. I think you are correct about why Chrysler raised the interval in Europe.

My 1982 GTV-6 and '87 X1/9 have 12,000km or 7,500 mile oil drain intervals. My old '71 Fiat 124 Spider recommended 10,000km.

I'm sure the Italians will straighten all this out once they take over;)

Below is taken from the 2009 Chrysler 300 owners manual:

• The oil change indicator message will not monitor the time since the last oil change. Change your vehicle’s oil if it has been six months since your last oil change, even if the oil change indicator message is NOT illuminated.

• Change your engine oil more often if you drive your
vehicle off-road for an extended period of time.

• Under no circumstances should oil change intervals
exceed 6,000 miles (10,000 km) or six months, whichever comes first.

Best regards, Chris

Unknown said...

Oil change frequency is usually dependent on the type of oil available in the market, and perhaps some of the more complex synthetic oils aren't sold in the US.

andy andrews said...

I am trying to locate the oil drain plug, I want to change out the oil. Do you have a picture of the underbody? It's hard to see without a lift, the car is low and clad with plastic underneath.

One problem I am having is that everyone wants to talk about oil change INTERVAL. Technically an interval is between two events. I am concerned about the First Oil Change with a New Engine, and how to do it myself. said...

Hi Andy,

Seeing that the oil filter is (somewhat) accessible from the top, do yourself a favor, get a oil extractor for $30 and suck the oil from the top through the dipstick. They work great and get ALL the oil out. Sooo much easier.

It can't hurt changing the oil sooner. For me, I'll do it between 500-1,000 miles... well I have almost 500 miles now, so I guess it will be closer to 1,000 miles;)