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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Inside the Fiat 500: Spark Plugs...

Inside the MultiAir combustion chamber

The days of throwing a set of Champion spark plugs in and forgetting about them is long gone. The Fiat 500 uses the latest engine technology available so it's fitting that the plugs it uses are cutting edge. Fiat has partnered with NGK to use their latest design offerings.

For the 1.2 L 8V Fiat 500, Fiat is installing NGK ZKR7A-10 spark plugs as exclusive OE fitment. NGK has developed this 12mm diameter plug specifically for Fiat’s FIRE EVO and PDA engine families. It is a nickel alloy plug with 5mm protrusion and 1mm gap setting.

Fiat 500 1.2L and 1.4L NGK spark plugs

For the 1.4 L 16V version of the Fiat 500, NGK’s DCPR7E-N-10 (NGK Stock Number 4983)  has been selected as Original Equipment. This 12mm spark plug has been developed specifically for the FIRE MPI engine family. It is also a nickel alloy plug with a gap setting of 1mm.

One of the reasons Fiat chose the DCPR7E-N-10 plug is because its small diameter makes for easier installation in multi-valve small displacement engines. Another reason is its good ignition quality without requiring the costs of precious metal and its robust ground electrode design.

Fiat recommends changing these economical priced spark plugs at 32,000 miles,

100,000 mi  Recommended Service Interval plugs used on later (2014 and up) 1.4L Non-Turbo MultiAir Engines use the following spark plugs:

Mopar part number: 
SP192435AA  which are NGK 91715 / NGK IKR7H8 Laser Iridium Spark Plug

Gap: 0.032 in or 0.813 mm

Fiat 500 Abarth

Fiat 500 Abarth Assetto Corse

Note: This article describes the plugs used in the European Abarth 500 equiped with the 1.4L TJet engine. The NAFTA Fiat 500 Abarth uses NGK SIKR9A7 - NGK Stock Number 93618. It is highly recommended that you use these plugs in the 1.4 L MultiAir Turbo. These plugs should be changed at 30.000 mile intervals for optimum performance.

The high performance Fiat 500 Abarth's engine was developed at Fiat Powertrain Technology (FPT) under the Chief of Petrol Engine Development, Paolo Martinelli's leadership. A noted engineer, Martinelli previously was head of Scuderia Ferrari's Engine Department from 1994 to 2006 and was responsible for developing the Ferrari V10 Formula One engines that won 6 constructor championships.

For the 1.4L 16V Turbo engine, FPT had NGK develop a high performance spark plug called the IKR9F8. This plug is exclusive to the 1.4L 16V Turbo and is the only plug recommended for it.

Fiat 500 MultiAir spark plugs and Lambda sensors

The IKR9F8 is a double precious metal spark plug. The tip of its centre electrode is extremely thin and made of Iridium. It dramatically reduces the required ignition voltage and guarantees an optimal spread of the flame front within the combustion chamber. In addition, the IKR9F8 contains a platinum ground electrode. Because both the precious metals, iridium and platinum, are extremely resistant to spark erosion, this plug ensures the highest degree of ignition relaibility and resistance to misfiring.

Additionally, the IKR9F8 requires less space than standard spark plugs. This is due to an unusually long thread of 19mm combined with a compact diameter of only 12 mm. The benefit of this is it allows for the designing of larger cooling passages within the cylinder head which is an important consideration in a high performance Turbo engine.

More than just Spark Plugs

NGK is the world’s largest manufacturer of Lambda (O2 sensors) under the NTK brand name. Fiat has chosen NGK/NTK lambda sensors (o2 sensors) for all Fiat 500's equiped with MultiAir. In the normally aspirated version of the 1.4L 16V MultiAir engine and the 1.4L 16V MultiAir Turbo engine used in the 500 Abarth, Fiat has specified a wide band oxygen sensor- ZFAS-U2 - to provide the high accuracy Air/Fuel metering necessary when controlling not only the quantity of fuel injected but also the air flow rate, ensuring an optimised Air/Fuel ratio.

This wide band oxygen sensor was selected because of its very fast light-off time, quick signal response and high degree of accuracy, together with its resilience against water splash. NTK’s OZAS-S2 binary Lambda sensor has been selected for the downstream catalyst monitoring function.

Photos courtesy Fiat Group Press, NGK
with help from NGK, de


Anonymous said...

Chris -
I just want to say great job on this blog. It really takes the edge off the wait and makes the prospect of getting my Abarth 500c Esse Esse even more exciting. The info you are posting is AMAZING!! I LOVE THIS BLOG!!
As a teenager I worked on Fiat 500's, Alfas, etc out in the Central Valley of California of all places. I even got to meet Al Cosentino in my youth. So now in my 40's this little 500 coming to the states is like a lifelong dream come true.
2 Q's:
1) Is it true there will be a 500c Abarth?
2) If the US spec Abarth will have 170 hp, do you think there will be an Esse Esse kit for that?!!?! That could bump it up to Tributo territory!!
Thanks for all the great work! I will keep tuning in every day!
Larry said...

Wow, thanks Larry!

I'm around the same age as you and I, too, worked on Fiats and Alfas when I was young, of course being in NY state they were probably a lot rustier than the ones you saw :D

For me, getting back into Fiats is a lot like revisiting my youth, but that's another story,LOL!

Getting back to your questions,

I've seen the 500C Abarths, here's a spyshot:

Concerning the 170hp, Scott Brown from Chrysler has confirmed that, but there could be a few ways Fiat could market that. Keeping in mind Marchionne likes to make money, there could be an "entry" level Abarth with 135hp for say $17,500 and an optional version or esseesse with the 170hp for $20,000.

As far as an upgrade to 170hp, that would be fantastic. All I can say is that the MOPAR division at Chrysler normally sells TONS of aftermarket accessories and performance upgrades for regular Chrysler vehicles. I'm sure upgrades for the 500 will be offered at some point, I know there will be lots of accesories for the 500.

At this point it's all speculation, the waiting is going to be tough!

Best regards, Chris

Anonymous said...

Great Blog! I had in my collection a 1964 Fiat Abarth 1000 Berlina Corsa, a 1970 124 Abarth Rally and a 1961 750 Double Bubble. I also own a 1989 Alfa 75 (aka Milano). I used to race my Abarths in the SVRA Vintage Races all over Florida, Georgia and Ohio back in the late 80's. I no longer race but I am waiting for the Abarth essesse to be on sale soon with hopefully the "Corsa Cambio" as it is known in Italy. I will be keeping an eye on your blog for future annoucements. Ciao mio Amico!
Ettore said...

Wow, Ettore, what a great collection of cars!

I write this blog about the new cars, but I really do miss the old ones.

My confession is sometimes I think for < $20,000 I could buy a really nice 850/124/128 Sport Coupe, etc, etc.

Everything would be great until I needed a door handle, LOL!

Oh well, they say you can't go back, and there's a lot to be said having an Abarth with great A/C!

Thanks for following, Chris

Anonymous said...

Chris: It´s my first time in your blog(fantastic job!)and my first Fiat500(Sportair automatic) here in Brazil.In a few days I´ll aply a K&N air filter, so I´d like to know if can use the NGK IKR9F8 in my car(it´s not turbo)to improove some performance and economy also.If you have any recomendation, please let me know.
Thank you.