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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fiat 500e Safety Recall N51 / NHTSA 13V-358

Fiat 500e

Fiat issued the official Fiat 500e recall notice to dealers Wednesday. The notice, Safety Recall N51, spells out the repair procedure for handling a potential problem that could effect all Fiat 500e electric vehicles manufactured between October 3, 2012 through July 30, 2013. Approximately 490 cars made during this period may have halfshaft-to-gearbox output flange fasteners that may loosen, resulting in noise or worse, decoupling of the halfshaft from the transmission.

Fiat Studios will inspect all the cars built within the specified period for loose halfshaft fasteners and replace them. Fiat will also inspect for signs of the halfshaft being loose on the drive flange, grease leakage and / or damage to the drive flange. In that case, the entire halfshaft assembly will be replaced to be assured there will not be any issues. It is expected that very few cars will need to have the halfshaft assembly replaced.

Fiat discovered an issue with the 500e after one car was reported to have a halfshaft disengage from its transmission. An investigation was opened on August 2nd and, after extensive investigations, it was determined that fasteners on cars built within the time frame were contaminated with grease, compromising the chemical locking compound on the bolt. This could allow the fasteners to loosen. Fiat, to their credit, wasted no time and within the course of a few weeks from the investigation's start has vigorously pursued taking action to remedy the situation as many of the affected cars have already been inspected or repaired.

Below are additional details:

Fiat 500e Safety Recall N51 / NHTSA 13V-358
Halfshaft-to-Gearbox Output Flange Fasteners 2013 (FF) Fiat 500E (Battery Electric Vehicles)

NOTE: This recall applies only to the above vehicles built from October 3, 2012 through July 30, 2013 (MDH 100307 through 073007).

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fiat 500e Inner CV Joint Fasteners

Fiat 500e cutaway

The recent trouble with the Fiat 500e is a good reminder that proper assembling and repair procedures are critically important when working on a car. That is why it is necessary to have access to a factory repair manual for whatever vehicle you are working on. In the case of the Fiat 500e, it appears that incorrect handling of the fasteners attaching the half shafts to the drive flange compromised the chemical locking material applied to the bolt (Lock Patch) resulting in the possibility the bolts may loosen during operation. A supplier applied a different type of Lock Patch to these fasteners than was expected by Fiat and may have contributed to the issue.

Fiat 500e drivetrain

All car manufacturers have specific procedures that need to be followed when installing inner CV Joint fasteners and it is crucial that they are followed for safety reasons. Below are the proper installation procedures recommended by Fiat for handling these special fasteners and are posted in the interest of safety for those working on the new Fiat 500e.*

Assembling the Fiat 500e Inner CV Joint to Drive Flange

The six bolts and washers that are used to secure the halfshaft to the electric drive unit output flange MUST be replaced. DO NOT REUSE THE BOLTS OR WASHERS.

NOTE: No torque verification is allowed after 10 minutes of the bolts being torqued. ANY MANIPULATION of the bolts after 10 minutes of being torqued will require the bolt(s) and washer(s) to be changed.

NOTE: The inner tripod joints are designed with a retention feature that prevents the tripod rollers from coming out of the inner joint housing up to a specific load. If this feature is overcome and any of the rollers are pulled past the retention feature the joint will “lock-up” and no longer function properly. The entire halfshaft assembly must be replaced if this occurs.

Fiat 500e halfshaft
Number 1 is the Fiat 500e Halfshaft assembly. Number 2 is the inner CV Joint Fasteners that attach the halfshaft to the drive flange. There are two halfshafts on the car, left and right, and they connect the front wheels to the transmission on the car. These halfshafts transmit the power of the motor to the wheels.

Installation Procedure:
1.Clean dirt and moisture from the bearing hub before
installing the halfshaft into the hub bearing and
steering knuckle.

2.Remove any grease from the CV joint threaded holes.
Clean and dry the threaded holes to allow the thread
patch to adhere properly.

3.Place the halfshaft in position on electric drive unit
output flange.

4.Install the NEW bolts and washers to hold the inner
CV joint to the electric drive unit output flange. While
holding the joint flush to the flange, tighten the bolts
in a star pattern to 30 N·m (22 ft. lbs.).** Make sure the
joint is tightened down evenly to keep the joint flush
to the flange.

NOTE: Make sure the double washer is flush to the CV joint housing prior to torquing the bolt to avoid damage to the washer.

NOTE: Residual torque check allowed only within 10 minutes of being torqued the first time, any manipulation after this time will require a bolt and washer change.

5. Install the outer CV joint into the bearing hub.
Install the 2 lower strut bolts and other components removed.
Refer to the Fiat 500 repair manual for the rest of the procedure.

Note: Using a 36mm thin-wall socket, tighten the hub nut to
310 N·m (229 ft. lbs.).

*These procedures are posted for informational purposes. Always check with the manufacturer for the latest procedures.
**Update 10/14/14: New torque specs updated by Fiat 10/1/14. Previously 26 N·m (19 ft. lbs.).

Fiat 500e Recalled

Fiat 500e

The Fiat 500e, the most celebrated electric car of the year, is about to be recalled. According to papers filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by Chrysler LLC, it is possible that these highly sought after cars could have axle bolts that may loosen. Chrysler will institute a voluntary recall of the Fiat 500e to replace the fasteners attaching the half shaft inboard joint on all affected vehicles. Chrysler began notifying Fiat Studios and owners this month (August).

Here are the details describing why the Fiat 500e is getting recalled.

Fiat 500e Recall N51

Models affected:
All 2013 Fiat 500e manufactured between December 16, 2012 and August 13, 2013

Number Affected:
Approx 491 cars

Fiat 500e inner CV Joint
Image of the Fiat 500e inner CV joint. Number 2 points to the fasteners that need to be replaced. Oil on the bolt threads contaminated the locking compound on the bolts and may allow the bolts to loosen. Because of the high torque provided by the Fiat 500e's electric motor, it is vitally important to make sure these fasteners maintain their specific tightness and are always replaced whenever they are removed. As a precaution, Fiat is voluntarily recalling all Fiat 500e electric vehicles manufactured during the specific time mentioned and replacing the bolts to be safe.

Description of Problem:
Some Fiat 500e Electric Vehicles may experience the loosening of fasteners attaching the half shaft inboard constant velocity joint to the gearbox output flange, resulting in noise and loss of drive capability. This is due to fastener contamination.

Timeline of Events:
  • On August 2, Chrysler opened an investigation as the result of one vehicle loosening of the half shaft fasteners and loss of drive capability.
  • The investigation found that 156 vehicles had been subject to a repair procedure to replace the motor and gearbox performed between July 8, 2013 and July 29, 2013. During the reassembly, the original half shaft fasteners were re-used. The fasteners contain a chemical thread lock that prohibits the reuse of the fasteners.
  • Between August 2 and August 9, 2013, Chrysler identified six vehicles from the rework population with loosening half shaft fasteners.
  • On August 9, 2013, two additional vehicles were found with partially loosening half shaft fasteners. These two additional cars were outside the group of 156 reworked vehicles.
  • Further research found that Tier 1 half shaft assemblies contained half shaft fasteners that were contaminated with grease. A yard audit of six vehicles at the assembly plant found some fasteners below minimum residual torque specifications due to grease being present on the fasteners and compromising the chemical thread lock material ("Lock Patch").
  • On August 9, 20013 Chrysler decided through the Vehicle Regulation Committee to conduct a voluntary recall. The action number of this recall is N51.

Many Fiat 500e owners have already been contacted with at least some preliminary information. If you have not heard anything, contact your Fiat Studio immediately. Keep in mind there may be some delays in getting detailed information as everyone gets up to speed on this recall. Make sure you visit the Fiat 500e Forum to find out the latest news.

*Information taken from NHTSA papers filed by Chrysler LLC

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fiat 500c GQ Edition Revealed!

Fiat 500c GQ Edition

Fiat USA recently unveiled the new Fiat 500c GQ Edition, continuing Fiat's European tradition of releasing high end special editions of the 500. The new Fiat 500c GQ Edition Cabrio combines elegant good looks with the potent driveline of the Fiat 500 Abarth for a car that is geared towards those who value sophistication as well as performance.

For this latest special edition, Fiat teamed up with Condé Nast, publisher of Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) Magazine and owner of Fairchild Fashion Media (FFM), whose brands are considered the premier source of news and analysis for the global fashion community. Fiat designers took inspiration from the noted men's magazine to come up with a car that captures the essence of the GQ man - confident, athletic and high style.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition top back

The style part starts with a Cabrio body and adds a host tasteful details. Front and rear fascias along with extended side skirts are lifted from the high performance Abarth model. Gloss Nero headlamp, taillamp and parking lamp bezels are also added. Rounding out the exterior are new 16-inch split five-spoke aluminum wheels finished in Hyper Nero (black) with Rosso (red) center cap accents and a “GQ 500” badge located on the B-pillar.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition seat cushion

Fiat 500c GQ Edition seat back

The interior of the Fiat 500c GQ Edition gets the full treatment with distinctive leather sport seats trimmed with Alcantara suede inserts. A Steam (white) colored leatherette center stripe on the seat cushions and an embossed GQ emblem on the seat backs are a stylish touch. The leather wrapped steering wheel continues the theme with a Steam colored insert. The seats, leather covered instrument cluster brow and shift boot all feature Tungsten accent stitching. Satin chrome accents used throughout the interior, and a body colored dash panel with a matte finish complete the elegant, yet sporty interior.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition dashboard

Confident and athletic are a good description of the Fiat 500 GQ Edition's mechanicals. Coming directly from the celebrated Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio, the 1.4L Turbocharged powertrain is tuned for high performance. In Sport mode, the engine puts out 160 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque enabling the car to achieve 0-to-60 mph in the low 7 seconds range. The Fiat 500c GQ Edition exhaust system is unique. It features a dual tailpipe exhaust similar to the 500 Abarth's but with the addition of a tuned muffler that gives the 500 GQ a powerful yet subdued tone.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition Cabrio

The Fiat 500c GQ suspension is identical to the 500 Abarth Cabrio's. Compared to a standard Fiat 500c Cabrio, the Fiat 500c GQ sits 0.6-inch (15 mm) lower, and the suspension is 33 percent stiffer in the front and 12 percent stiffer in the rear. Front struts utilize Koni dual-valve frequency selective damping (FSD) technology that combines good comfort with excellent road handling. Cast ductile iron control arms, reinforced rear spring seats and a rear sway bar contribute to the car's rock steady feel on the road.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition Wheel

The new 2014 Fiat 500c GQ Edition will be available in Nero Puro (straight black), Granito Lucente (granite crystal), Argento (silver), and Bianco (white) exterior colors. Expect to see the limited production car at Fiat Studios in the first quarter of next year.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition Emblem


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Decoding the Fiat 500 VIN

Fiat 500 Turbo

When it comes to ordering parts for your Fiat 500, knowing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is vital. The Fiat 500 VIN is located on the top left side of the instrument panel and viewable through the windshield. The VIN on the Fiat 500 follows the standardized seventeen character format implemented in the United States in 1981.

Along with the VIN, another piece of information that comes in handy is knowing the MDH on your Fiat 500. The initials MDH stand for Month-Day-Hour and corresponds to the exact day and time your car rolled off the assembly line. Knowing your Fiat's MDH is necessary when you are looking at Technical Service bulletins (TSB), recall information and will also assist when ordering parts. Nowadays, without these two important bits of information, you have a very good chance of not getting the correct parts, so it is worth taking a moment or two to jot them down. To find your Fiat's MDH, look for the vehicle certification label attached to the driver's door. Below is how to decipher the Fiat 500 VIN and MDH.

Fiat 500 VIN

Here is a how the Fiat 500 VIN breaks down and what each character stands for.

Characters 1, 2, 3 WMI (World Manufacturer Identifier

3C3 - Chrysler Mexico
ZFB - Fiat Group Automobiles S.P.A.

Character 4 Restraint System
A = Active Belts (ASP) Front Air Bags (OSP) Without Side Inflatable Restraints

B = Active Belts (ASP) Front Air Bags (OSP) With Side Inflatable Restraints Front Row

C = Active Belts (ASP) Front Air Bags (OSP) With Side Inflatable Restraints All Rows

(ASP) = All Seating Positions
(OSP) = Outboard Seating Position

Characters 5, 6, 7 Vehicle Line, Series, Body Type
FFA = 500 Pop, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Hatchback

FFB = 500 Sport, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Hatchback

FFC = 500 Lounge, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Hatchback

FFF = 500 Abarth, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Hatchback

FFD = 500 Pop, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Convertible

FFE = 500 Lounge, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Convertible

FFJ = 500 Abarth Cabrio, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive

FFG = 500e, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Hatchback

FAA = 500L Pop, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, Compact Minivan (Short WB)

FAB = 500L Easy, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, Compact Minivan (Short WB)

FAC = 500L Lounge, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, Compact Minivan (Short WB)

FAD = 500L Trekking, Left Hand Drive, Front Wheel Drive, Compact Minivan (Short WB)

Character 8 Engine
E = 83 KW Electric Motor (E99)
H = 1.4L 4 CYL Gasoline Turbo (EAF)

R = 1.4L 4 CYL Gasoline Non-Turbo (EAB, EAC, EAE, EAJ, EAK)

Character 9 Check Digit
0 through 9 or X

Character 10 Model Year
C = 2012
D = 2013
E = 2014
F = 2015

Character 11 Assembly Plant
T = Toluca Assembly
Z = Kragujevac - Serbia

Characters 12 thru 17 Vehicle Build Sequence
6 Digit Number Assigned by Assembly Plant


Fiat 500 Engine Codes

  • 1.4L 4 CYL 16V Gasoline Turbo (EAF)
  • 1.4L 4 CYL 16V Gasoline Non-Turbo (EAB)
  • 1.4L 4 CYL 16V Non-Turbo using E22 ethanol/gas (EAC)
  • 1.4L 4 CYL 16V Non-Turbo using E100 ethanol/gas (EAK)

Fiat 500 MDH Tag

The Fiat 500 MDH is found on a sticker in the driver's door jamb. Here is how it breaks down:

The MDH format is MMDDHH where MM is the month, DD is the day, and HH is the hour.

Month - Two digit representation of the month produced
01 - January
02 - February
03 - March
04 - April
05 - May
06 - June
07 - July
08 - August
09 - September
10 - October
11 - November
12 - December

Day - Two digit representation of day on month produced
01 - First day thru 31 - thirty first day

Hour - The hour your Fiat 500 was made expressed in Military time
01 = 1 AM thru 24 = 12 PM

Update 4/25/2019: Added Fiat 500 Engine Codes

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Fiat 500 Cattiva Debuts

Fiat 500 Cattiva

Fiat will unveil the production version of the Fiat 500 Cattiva at this years Concorso Italiano Auto Show August 16th. The Fiat 500 Cattiva was first shown at the Detroit Auto Show back in January. The blacked out two tone paint scheme captures the essence of the term Cattiva, which loosely translates to Devilish or Naughty in Italian. Readers of will be quite familiar with the 500 Cattiva concept car that was previously described in the link below:

Fiat 500 Cattiva Front

The highlight of the Cattiva concept is the liberal use of blacked-out trim including; a gloss black painted roof and rear spoiler, blacked out tail lights, headlights and turn signals and sport wheels with black painted accents. The production Fiat 500 Cattiva does differ from the concept car in a few exciting ways. First, there will be two versions of the Cattiva - one based on the 500 Sport and another on the 500T Turbo. On top of that, Fiat will offer additional paint options for the car besides the Rame (copper) color made famous by the show car. The new colors include: Nero Puro (straight black), Rosso (red), Bianco (white) Argento (silver), Granito Lucente (granite crystal), and Luce Blue (light blue, 500 Sport only).

Fiat 500 Cattiva interior

The interior of the Fiat 500 Cattiva also gets the special treatment with a Matte Nero instrument panel and Nero leather-wrapped shift knob and sport steering wheel with hand-stitched Argento accent thread. This thread is also used on the standard sport seats.

Fiat 500 Cattiva Dashboard

Pricing for the limited production Fiat 500 Cattiva starts at $18,350 for the 500 Sport version, and $20,350 for the 500T Turbo model.* Expect to see the Fiat 500 Cattiva at Fiat Studios during the fourth quarter of this year.

* Add $800 for destination charge

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fiat 500L: Best Back-to-School Car

Fiat 500L on the street

It's been said that the Fiat 500 is an award magnet, and it seems the new 4 door Fiat 500L is following in the family tradition. The Fiat 500L has just been named as one of the 10 Best Back to School Cars by Kelly Blue Book, an industry leader in online car reviews. The award goes to cars that achieved top grades in style, safety, fuel economy, versatility and value. Drawing on decades of innovative family car design, the Fiat 500L easily fills the bill with best in class interior room, Italian style and its long list of features. Kelly Blue Book describes the Fiat 500L as a:

"...5-passenger hatchback that packs a stunning amount of space into a tidy package. Throw in Euro charm and easy road manners, and it may be the parents who are begging to drive."

2014 Fiat 500L Trekking

Fiat 500L sales have been going strong since its introduction in June. This month, the highly anticipated Trekking version of the 500L will be finally available at Fiat Studios everywhere and is expected to be the most popular 500L model.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fiat 500 Abarth: Win More. Go Fast

Drawing upon decades of race winning heritage, the new Fiat 500 Abarth has a DNA that few can match. Above is a short video that introduces you to some of the characteristics of the new Fiat 500 Abarth. The following are two examples of legendary cars that make up the Abarth DNA.

Fiat 131 Abarth Rally. Raw. Brutal. Three times World Champion. What were other car companies doing in 1977?

Lancia Delta S4. Turbocharged. Supercharged. Legend. If you call yourself a car enthusiast, you need to know about this car.

Fiat 500 Abarth emblem

Abarth Legend - The Fiat 124 Abarth Rally

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fiat 500L Urban Surf Party Series Event

Fiat 500L at Urban Surf Party

To celebrate the arrival of the new Fiat 500L, this past weekend Fiat kicked off a series event called the 500L Urban Surf Party. The event is a six city tour that features a “Silent DJ” party, offering live music in a unique way by Silent Frisco. The San Francisco-based technology company, Silent Frisco will provide party goers with a pair of custom-designed, festival-optimized wireless headphones so they can crank up the volume as loud as they want and not disturb their neighbors. The concept is being "scene and not heard" and is a cool way to get your groove on. While enjoying music by various DJ's from across the nation, those who attend will be able to view the original “day-in-the-life” video series showing local residents using the versatile Fiat 500L in their daily lives.

Fiat 500L Urban Surf Party

The 500L Urban Surf Party debuted last weekend in Miami and will continue to the following cities in the upcoming months: Santa Monica, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco and New York City. Below are the dates for the event. Everyone is invited and admission is free, so don't miss out!

The Fiat 500L Surf Party summer/fall schedule also includes:
  • Thurs., Aug 15 – Santa Monica, Calif. – Santa Monica Pier (208 Pier Ave; 90405)
  • Sat., Aug 17 – San Diego, Calif. – Wave House (3125 Ocean Front Walk;92109)
  • Sat., Aug 24 & Sun., Aug 25 – Chicago, Ill. – World Paddle Challenge, North Avenue Beach
  • Sun., Sept 29 – San Francisco, Calif. – Ocean Beach
  • Fri., Oct 18 – New York, N.Y. – New York Surf Film Festival

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fiat: The Italians Keep on Coming!

Fiat 500 watercraft and Queen

Continuing the theme the "Italians are coming," Fiat has created several Fiat 500s that can cruise the water as well as they can cruise the autostrada. The specially prepared cars are built upon high-powered personal watercrafts and debuted riding the waves last week during the 2013 Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Fiat 500 Splash!

You never know where the cars, a Fiat 500 in Rame (orange), Fiat 500 Cabrio in Bianco Perla (pearl white) and a Fiat 500 Abarth in Rosso (red) along with a Fiat 500L, will be popping up next, so keep an eye out for them!

Fiat 500 water fun

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fiat 500L Complimentary Equipment

The new Fiat 500L is loaded with value, including best in class interior room and engine power, plus a standard feature nobody else offers. Watch the video above to see...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fiat 500 Sales for July 2013

Fiat 500L Trekking

Fiat 500 sales for the month of July totaled 3,710 or up 2 percent over last year's July sales continuing 17 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains. Sales of the new 4 door Fiat 500L were up 78 percent over last month and help compensate for a dip in sales of the 500 hatchback /Cabrio models. Sales of the 500 Hatchback /Cabrios are currently about even with last years, however, July's numbers may be the signal to Fiat it is time to come out with some of the special editions waiting in the wings, such as the 500T Cattiva and maybe even the 500 Abarth Tenebra.

Having said that, overall Fiat 500 sales are still positive this year over last's, and the good news is with the new 500L Trekking arriving at Fiat Studios now in numbers, expect to see a bump in 500L sales this month.

Fiat 500 Sales in the United States - Jan - July 2013
Fiat 500Current MonthLast YearVol ChangeCurrent YTD TotalLast Year YTD TotalVol Change
July 2013






June 2013






May 2013      4,051  4,003     +1%        17,562        16,702  +5%
April 2013      3,899  3,849      +1%        13,511        12,699   +6%
March 2013      3,807  3,712      +3%         9,612          8,850   +9%
February 2013      3,302  3,227      +2%         5,805          5,138   +13%
January 2013      2,503  1,911     31%         2,503          1,911   +31%

July Recap
Follow the links below to read more about what happened in July:

July is a major month in the Fiat world. Not only was Fiat founded on July 11, (back in 1899!) but the Fiat 500 celebrates its birthday on July 4th.

The Fiat 500 took top honors in its class in the JD Power's APEAL awards.

When it comes to giveaways, few companies are as generous as Fiat. This time Fiat is giving away 26 new Fiat 500s via the MONOPOLY game at McDonald's.

Fiat fans from around the country converged on Long Island, New York last month to attend the Fiat FreakOut, the Fiat Club America's national convention and North America's largest Fiat event.

Fiat unveiled a striking new print ad featuring an 500 Abarth Cabrio rendered in humans!