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What you can buy for $3,400! (in repairs)
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Thread: What you can buy for $3,400! (in repairs)

  1. #1
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    What you can buy for $3,400! (in repairs)

    Hey everyone!

    To start off, I am talking about a 2012 Fiat 500 Sport (non-turbo) with 88,800 miles and no real previous issues.

    Recently I started having a rather odd idle in the mornings with a CEL that flashed for roughly 30 seconds then the idle would resume to normal and the light would go away.
    This would continue for about three days or so. I rather naively thought I was just not letting it warm up long enough (we've been having a cold January in Oregon).
    On the fourth day however, the idle never resumed back to normal. The car continued with this odd idle. The only way I can describe it is by comparing it to a motorcycle with only one functioning spark plug. Very aggressive and loppy like an old muscle car or Harley-Davidson. The CEL stayed on and the engine would not idle over 2,500 RPM no matter how hard you pressed the gas as well as when driving would not acced 17MPH. Obviously now understanding this was more than just a warming-up issue, I search Fiat mechanics in my area. I was delighted to find there was only one within about a 40 mile radius. Called up AAA to get it towed to the mechanic and had the diagnostics comnse.

    This is the fun part...

    I was originally quoted *up-to $130 for the diagnostics alone. "Fair enough" I thought. The next morning I received a call from the mechanic who gave me a list of codes including the following:


    I was also told the car had failed a compression test. The mechanic informed me that they can not figure out the issue without tearing into the engine and that it'd be in the ballpark of $600 alone to find the problem. I like to think of myself as reasonable and I understand what he was saying but a $600 diagnostic fee sounds pretty insane to me when I was previously quoted *up-to $300.

    Naturally, I call AAA and have the car towed back to my house where I rigorously google and youtube search the above mentioned codes. Not finding a whole lot, I call the closest dealer about 40 miles away (who has worked on the car before) and set up a service appointment of which the soonest is unfortunately four days away. Having used up all my AAA miles at this point I had found someone who agreed to tow my little Fiat for only $140. Fast forward four days when I finally hear back from the dealer and this is what I am told:

    1) the variable value actuator is stuck in cylinder #2 at the solenoid valve
    2) the oil supply valve is stock in the whole system
    3) there is a leak from the vacuum pump that will need to be replaced

    The grand total to fix everything was quoted at $3,400! About the price you can buy a 2012 Fiat 500 Sport for these days. The service writer at the dealership has mentioned (while laughing) that this was such a common issue, they didn't even have the parts needed instock. Again, going into a bit of shock, I started doing my own research. I called the original mechanic who gave me the codes (for $130 diagnostic fee) and explained the issue now that it had been properly diagnosed. The mechanic then looked up parts to begin a repair quote. I was informed the variable valve actuator alone is a "dealer only" part that cost a whopping $1,380 and to order the part plus labor to swap it out was gonna run me $2,000, not including the oil supply valve and vacuum pump issues. I had the mechanic cross reference the part numbers to see if there was any aftermarket manufacturers making the parts which he confirmed they were absolutely dealer only parts.

    Fast forward to today, I am having the car towed back home because I can't justify a $3,400 service bill. A little more googling reveals aftermarket actuators for $400 and even solenoid valves individually (which I was told no one makes because the part from Fiat only sells as a whole system that has the solenoid built into it) for $20-$40! Even used engines going for $400-$1,000 depending on miles.

    That being said, am I being swindled by Fiat certified mechanics? Or, is there a reason aftermarket parts are so much cheaper? I have to assume someone on this board has has had a similar issue if I was told by the dealer that it's common. I really love the car and want to get it fixed but I just don't have that kind of money.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator map's Avatar
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    Is your dealer Tonkin?

    A couple quick questions. #1 makes sense, that's what P1062 means, but can you clarify #2 & 3? #2 "stock in the whole system" and #3 what sort of leak (oil or vacuum)?
    2) the oil supply valve is stock in the whole system
    3) there is a leak from the vacuum pump that will need to be replaced

    The dealer repair cost is too high, but it's not a cheap repair. My "brick" was replaced under warranty and the part listed at $1550, plus install (under warranty). They don't keep expensive parts on hand and mine took a week to arrive. I'd like to know the source of aftermarket bricks and/or solenoids. Used and Fiat are the only sources I've found, though Fiat does make a rebuilt brick.

    As you may know, the intake valves are opened by oil pressure. If the brick fails, the valves won't open properly, thus the misdiagnosis of low compression; no air coming in, no compression. It sounds like the first shop doesn't know Fiats very well. (You did check your oil level before the diagnosis?)

    One alternative is to buy a used brick from one of those used engines. It's cheaper than swapping the whole engine. One person (on the other board) found a used brick for $100.

  3. #3
    Amministratore Fiat500USA's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear. We have a bunch of posts on the P1062 (P1061, P1063, P1064 are the same code, just different cylinders) here on the forum.

    A quick search came up with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiat500USA View Post

    Theory of Operation
    MultiAir is an electronically controlled variable intake valve phase and lift system. Unlike conventional intake valve phase and lift system which controls all the cylinder intake valves simultaneously and in the same proportion; MultiAir, through the use of an electronically controlled “ hydraulic link” between the camshaft and intake valve, allow for each intake valve to be controlled independently. The valve lift and timing can be adjusted infinitely.

    The MultiAir valve train has a mechanical camshaft lobe acting on a hydraulic pump located between the camshaft intake lobe and the intake valve. The pump provides oil under pressure to a two-way electro-hydraulic solenoid valve called the Variable Valve Actuator (VVA) Solenoid. The VVA Solenoid is electronically controlled during the specific intake cam lobe event by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). During the event the VVA Solenoid is commanded to either hold oil pressure or bleed oil. The Variable Valve Actuator (VVA) Solenoid is a normally open solenoid. The PCM provides 12 volts to close the solenoid. The position of the VVA Solenoid determines the intake valve timing and lift. This change on valve action is similar to creating a change in the camshaft lobe profile affecting lift and duration of the valve opening.

    When Monitored:
    This diagnostic runs continuously when the following conditions are met:

    The engine is running with no battery voltage or ASD Relay faults active.

    Set Conditions:
    The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) monitors the feedback current and determines that the VVA Solenoid is stuck.

    Default Actions:
    The MIL is illuminated on the first trip that the diagnostic fails.
    The MIL will be turned off on the third consecutive trip that the diagnostic passes.

    Possible Causes


    NOTE: The actuators will not operate if the oil pressure is too low or too high.

    Check the engine for the following:

    • OIL DIRTY OR DETERIORATED (Lack of scheduled oil changes)
    • ENGINE OIL CONTAMINATED (i.e., coolant and/or fuel)
    • Is oil level, type, condition, and filter correct?


    1. Remove the Oil Pressure Switch and install a mechanical oil pressure gauge.
    2. Crank the engine for at least 10 seconds and check the oil pressure at the Oil Pressure Switch location.
    3. Is the oil pressure between 0.8 bar (11.6 psi) and 7.5 bar (108.8 psi) ?

    Replace the Variable Valve Actuator Assembly

    Repair as necessary.

    courtesy of FCA

    Naturally the dealer is going to be the most expensive place to get it fixed. An independent shop will be the less and fixing it yourself will be the cheapest.

    Map asked a good question about the checking the oil. Does your car use oil? When do you change it? If the car uses oil, or you run it low on oil, or you don't change it at reasonable intervals, you may be better off with a used engine because the rest of the engine likely also has issues, but that would really depend on the ultimate cost. If your car is worth $3400 and you are going to spend $2000 to repair it, it doesn't sound worth it.

    Looking at question #2, I don't understand what " the oil supply valve is stock in the whole system" is. As for the vacuum pump, depending on what is wrong with it you may be able to put that off until later. Many times you can find used parts for these cars at reasonable prices. I would try to get the part numbers from the dealer and that will help your search. Places like Rock Auto sometimes has access to OEM parts and they will be less than the dealer.

    Coincidentally we just had someone post the following post that gives perspective on the cost of replacing the engine with a used one:

    Quote Originally Posted by nizzye View Post
    Sit back relax and take a deep breath.
    In the past week:
    Car has 108k miles automatic 2012 Sport
    Had cylinder 3 misfire, replaced plugs and coils. Still misfire (Part of the spark plug the fell in and made dents, long story for some other thread).
    $600 diagnostic at the dealer to be told engine needs to be replaced.
    $600 used engine with 60k miles (good deal apparently).
    $500 mechanic (know the guy) thats why it was cheap.
    $50 for all the oils and stuff that goes with replacing the engine.
    $30 for a gasket.

    I think the car is good for this week. Will follow up next week. Im hoping this engine does good.
    Post the links to the aftermarket actuators you've found when you can so we can check them out.

    Good luck and let us know how you make out.
    Last edited by Fiat500USA; 01-30-2020 at 10:28 AM. Reason: added a little more info
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  4. #4
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    I think these solutions need to get spread around a little more:

    I pulled these from the following thread, and just dug it up from the grave:

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