Oil is the life blood of an engine, and this is especially true of the Fiat 500 Abarth's MultiAir engine. With its MultiAir valvetrain technology, the sophisticated engine is a marvel of engineering and ingenuity. The intake valves are operated by electro-hydraulic solenoids giving the engine infinitely variable valve timing -stroke by stroke - cylinder by cylinder. The engine is tuned to deliver maximum fun to drive characteristics meaning great low end torque along with substantial high rpm horsepower. This is done while achieving excellent fuel economy and the required low emissions. The proof is the Fiat 500 Abarth's engine has a specific power output of 117 bhp/L, beating the 114 bhp/L for the Mazda Speed 2, 113 bhp/L for the MINI S and 100 bhp/L in the VW GTI and still manages to be the most fuel efficient performance car available in the US.
Surprisingly, maintenance on the high performance Fiat 500 Abarth engine is kept to a minimum: oil and filter changes every 6 months or 8,000 miles, occasional air filter, spark plugs replacements and a timing belt change at 152,000 miles.
Engine oil is critical to the operation of the MutiAir valvetrain, so it is important to follow the recommended maintenance schedule. The oil change indicator system (light on the dashboard) will remind you that it is time to take your vehicle in for scheduled maintenance and it may illuminate early depending on how you drive. When this happens, bring your car in for the oil change service at your Fiat Studio within 500 miles.
If you are more of a hands on type Abarth owner, below is a guide to changing the engine oil and filter on the US Fiat 500 Abarth. A couple of caveats: This is a sophisticated Italian performance car, the engine compartment is tight, and you are dealing with modern plastics and composites so put the hammers and vice grips away. Also, if you typically have parts leftover after you put something together, you may want to reevaluate doing this.
Here is some background on how the lubrication system works on the Fiat 500 Abarth's engine. The oil from the oil pan is picked up by a gerotor type oil pump inside the oil pump housing mounted in the front of the cylinder block. The oil from the pump first travels to the oil cooler assembly and then to the oil filter element. After the oil has been filtered and cooled, the oil enters the main oil gallery.
The pressurized oil travels through the main gallery to the five main journals to lubricate the crankshaft main bearings and supply oil to four oil jets cooling the underside of the pistons. The pressurized oil travels through the cross drilled crankshaft main journals to supply oil to the connecting rod journals. Oil from the cylinder block flows into the cylinder head to the camshaft journals and hydraulic lash adjusters. Oil also flows through a filter screen and into the variable valve actuation assembly to open the intake valves.
Fiat 500 Abarth oil pressure specs
|Pressure @ Curb Idle Speed*||> 10 psi (0.7 bar)|
|Pressure @ 4000 RPM*||> 58 psi (4.0 bar)|
*At Normal Operating Temperatures
For best performance and maximum protection for turbocharged engines under all types of operating conditions, Abarth recommends SAE 5W-40 full synthetic engine oils that are API Certified and meet the requirements of Chrysler Material Standard MS-10896.
The oil capacity is only 4 quarts, so don't cheap out and get discount, no name oil. Currently, the most popular mainstream oil is Pennzoil ULTRA® EURO 5W-40 full synthetic. This oil meets Abarth's standards and will guarantee being in compliance with warranty requirements (save your receipts!). Penzoil Extreme ULTRA® EURO 5W-40 is also the recommended oil used in Ferraris, so you know you are using the right stuff.
There may be other oil that is suitable for the Abarth engine, so do your research carefully. A popular forum used to discus engine oils and additives is www.bobistheoilguy.com.
Finding PENNZOIL ULTRA® EURO 5W-40 FULL SYNTHETIC may take some looking, The easiest place is your local Chrysler dealer where it is about $10 per quart, but if you have time, you can find it online and save a few bucks.
Speaking of savings, don't bother with oil additives. Chrysler cautions:
Do not add any supplemental materials, other than leak detection dyes, to your engine oil. Engine oil is an engineered product and its performance may be impaired by supplemental additives.
The oil filter used in the Fiat 500 Abarth is the same as the Fiat 500's. Again, the easiest place to get the filter is your Fiat Studio (they should be able to send you one). The part number is 68102241AA, and cost is a reasonable $8. Purolator has a part number listed, but my local retail parts store charges $18 for it and it needs to be ordered.
It is good to have a general selection of tools, but here is a list that you need:
- Screwdrivers, both blade and Philips style
- 27mm or 1 1/16" socket to remove oil filter
- Ratchets: a stubby ratchet that fits the 27mm socket will make things easier. A 1/4" drive ratchet helps for loosening hose clamps.
- Extensions for your ratchets.
- U-joints for your sockets also makes things easier
- Small pliers for a spring clamp on a vacuum hose.
- I use and recommend an oil extractor. It will eliminate nearly all the mess associated with this dirty job.
- Rags and paper towels.
Oil extractors are gaining popularity. They are a convenient way to do this messy job without crawling under a car. I've used one for many years and on numerous cars. In my experience, it removes even more oil than the old way of letting the oil drip, drip, drip forever. The model I have is a Pela 6000 with a hand operated vacuum pump. Cost is approximately $40. Worth every penny!
Warm up your engine. Warm oil better caries or suspends impurities. It is also a must so the oil extractor works without a hitch. It doesn't have to be red hot, because if the engine is fully warmed up you will be quite uncomfortable removing the oil filter. It is the correct temperature when you can touch the oil on the dipstick without being burned.
Changing the oil on a 500 Abarth is straight forward, but you will need to remove the Turbo inlet duct. Loosen your oil cap and pull your dipstick out to help the oil drain to the bottom of the engine while you do this.
The Fiat 500 Abarth's turbo inlet duct needs to be removed to help gain access to the oil filter.
The filter element is down there.
Loosen this clamp.
The two hoses on the left have to be disconnected and the clamp on the right loosened.
Once the turbo inlet duct is removed you can get to the oil filter. It is in a tight location.
When performing an engine oil change, the oil filter cap must be removed. Removing the oil filter cap releases oil held within the oil filter cavity and allows it to drain into the sump. Failure to remove the cap prior to reinstallation of the drain plug will not allow complete draining of the used engine oil.
New filter ready to go in.
Do the same with the upper end piece.
1: Turn the ignition switch to the ON position.
2: Fully depress the accelerator pedal slowly , three times within 10 seconds..
3: Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position.
If the light illuminates when you start the car, the procedure did not reset the indicator and must be repeated.
Sources: Fiat USA, Chrysler LLC, Fiat 500 Abarth repair manual