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Thread: My Abarth is "totaled" after minor "off road experience"! Why?

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    My Abarth is "totaled" after minor "off road experience"! Why?

    I recently hydroplaned right off the highway into the median. I plowed through about a hundred meters worth of sage brush before getting stuck in the mud. Visible damage was minimal. Obvious damage to the lower part of the front bumper/air dam. Fog lights busted, but main headlamps were fine. Slight crease in left fender. Radiator still holding pressure. Plenty of custom "desert pinstriping".

    Once pulled out of the mud, it took a few tries to get the engine started. After a bit I realized it sounded a little different. The whirl of the turbo was different. I gave it a little test drive to check the brakes, got it up to about 30 and realized each wheel had about 10 pounds of mud stuck on them and were all horribly off balance. Drove around to find a hose to rinse off the wheels. Much better. Brakes are fine. Suspension and handling feels just as good as before. As I started accelerating to highway speeds I notice that there was very little power, followed by the realization the motor was being limited to 3000 RPM. At that point I realized I was not going to be able to drive it 70 miles home. I arranged to have it towed to the dealer to check out the engine.

    Inter-coolers. Both left and right broken. I didn't see any leaks. No, that's because it's just gas. That's what I was told. I asked if he thought the turbo was OK and he said yes. This was after their standard $149 engine diagnostic. Inter-coolers: $135 each. My total quote for repairing the inter-coolers and the rest of the damaged front end was $12,117.99. Are your muffins kidding me? (The quote included 4 new wheels including tires at a cost of over $3000). I am bitching with my insurance company now about how crazy this quote is. They seem content to write it all off. Weird.

    [ Funny: Just last April I hit a deer at about 50MPH in the same car. The damage to the front end and left fender was considerable. Radiator and AC had to be replaced. No mention of inter-coolers that I recall. I'll have to look for that quote... That was only a $6100 repair job. ]

    Anyways, I'm wondering just how much driving with the inter-coolers busted will damage the turbo and/or other parts of the engine. It was driven about 10 miles, mostly below 30 mph, and I was certainly not pushing it hard except for when I was trying to get it up to 60 on the highway and quickly realized that that was not going to happen.

    - Joe

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    Premium Sponsor 500MADNESS.com's Avatar
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    Intercoolers are used to cool the charge coming out of the turbo since that turbo is driven by hot exhaust gas. The charge is the pressurized air. So yes those intercoolers only hold gas. They are not liquid radiators.


    Now because they are cracked your turbo system will not hold boost and that engine is designed to run at 18psi. So basically your turbo system will not work which will probably cause it to go into limp mode.

    No, do not drive it as is.
    Last edited by 500MADNESS.com; 08-03-2018 at 05:36 PM.
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    Senior Member Klasse Act's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about this and I'm glad your ok but between the deer accident and now this, do you really want the car back repaired?
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    Member Megatron's Avatar
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    Running your engine with the broken intercoolers might have caused damage to your engine internally, because the engine could have sucked in unfiltered air through the cracks, specially if your front end was covered with a lot of debris. If it did suck up foreign particles, your engine might start burning more oil than usual.

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    Robert Nixon's Avatar
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    First off, $3,000 for four FIAT wheels/tires is ridiculous, UNLESS that includes other suspension parts that they lumped into the wheels (like shocks, control arms, brakes, rotors, etc, etc.) Obviously you could go on line and buy any wheels and even the most expensive Hoosier race tires ($1,000 for 4 tires) and be way under $3,000....but of course repair shops need to make money too.

    Basically the car insurance business needs to make money, repair shops need to make money, so our options as drivers is to look out for ourselves and determine what we think is the point at which a repair is not worth doing. Assuming your insurance will cover this, the other factor is "what is the value of the car"? As in "what is the real depreciated used car value of any car, and NOT what is the "replacement value" or cost of a NEW vehicle.

    Unfortunately the FIATS in the US generally depreciate more than average, so if your Abarth is a couple years old or a 2013 like mine, it's probably worth (taking a wild guess) $7,000, so any repair of that amount or more could make it "totaled".

    That doesn't make anyone feel better, and I'm not in the insurance business, but that's my two cents worth. The cost of repairs AND parts is always more than I'd like it to be, so being able to fix as much as I can on my own or buying my own parts or used parts or going to the Pick-N-Pull are other ways to cut repair costs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megatron View Post
    Running your engine with the broken intercoolers might have caused damage to your engine internally, because the engine could have sucked in unfiltered air through the cracks, specially if your front end was covered with a lot of debris. If it did suck up foreign particles, your engine might start burning more oil than usual.
    Ah, that is good info. I will take a closer look at how/where the lines were broken and signs of internal debris.

    - Joe

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    Amministratore Fiat500USA's Avatar
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    The dealer is going to price out everything at dealer retail, which is not the cheapest way to go. The plus side is you get all OEM quality. Downside is it 'ain't cheap. They should give you an estimate of the parts and labor of what needs to be done and from there you can determine where you can cut costs. If you post the estimate that may help us give you alternate ideas. If the car is totaled and they give you a check, maybe you can buy it back cheap and repair it economically. For example, like Robert Nixon says, $3,000 for wheels and tires are off the wall, but are dealer retail. You can get wheels and tires for less than a grand. An aftermarket intercooler through our vendors is a lot less than the complete factory setup, etc.

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    Senior Member Amacento's Avatar
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    What Nixon posted... FIATs-ABARTHs depreciate at an alarming rate. Totaling one that is 1-3 years old doesn't take much.

    'Glad you're okay... sad for your A500.
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