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Abarth performance mods. My experience and thoughts.
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Thread: Abarth performance mods. My experience and thoughts.

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    Abarth performance mods. My experience and thoughts.

    Performance mods, first thoughts:
    I bought a 2015 Fiat Abarth about 5 months ago and took it to one autocross event. Im no longer a serious autocross competitor so it didnt bother me that my near stock Fiat is placed in the Street Modified class where nearly anything is allowed because I did a rear seat delete. That automatically makes me non competitive but it also makes it easy to add some other performance mods which make the car more fun to autocross and more fun on the street too.
    I didnt want anything crazy and I reminded myself that the Fiat is a grocery getter for my wife, so I asked Euro Compulsion to set the normal mode tune to the 695 TF and the sport mode to Phase 1 in the Euro+Drive system. The instructions are a bit vague and the hand-held device used to flash the ECU via the OBD port is a real piece of cheap crap. The touch screen is horrible and the processor is so slow that every time you make an entry or a selection it acts like it has died. For the price I would expect better hardware. However, the tune itself is quite impressive. The car idles smoothly, runs great, and pulls strongly. Of course, since I did all the mods at once, its impossible to say how much improvement is attributable to any one change. Other than the crappy hardware, Im happy with the tune and I would recommend Euro Compulsion as a good way to go.
    It should be noted that some of the work I did was easy because I already had done a lot of disassembly for other reasons. For example, putting in the cold air intake is much easier if you remove the right front headlight. That step also makes working on the diverter valve easier. Taking out the battery to change the down pipe makes fitting the radiator house MUCH easier. In other words, any one of the mods I made might have been a lot more frustrating if it were the only change I was making. You get the idea.
    I strongly suggest you watch some of the many good YouTube videos on any mod you intend to perform. But be warned. A video lasting 19 minutes to do a particular might take you a log longer. At my advanced age (76 years old) everything takes more time and turning wrenches is no exception.
    I installed an ATM FMIC and it is a real quality piece of hardware. So is their Fender Well Cold Air Intake kit. These two components were the easiest to install. They both had adequate instructions (on the Internet), the parts are of very high quality, and everything bolted right up as sweet as can be. The solution to replacing the windshield washer reservoir is particularly elegant. I also like the very direct intercooler piping without any metal tubing. Both components highly recommended.
    The 2.5 diameter High Flow Cat Downpipe from Di Corse was the only one I could find. All the other pipe makers are out of stock and have been for a long time. When it arrived, I was impressed with the workmanship; however, when it came to the installation, I was a bit disappointed. It was about 10mm too short and that required me to modify the lower locating bracket. The oxygen sensor bung was also in the wrong place for my 2015 vehicle. Perhaps they sent me a 2014 version. When I installed the oxygen sensor, it jammed half way in and when I removed it the threads were galled. I purchased a $7 thread chaser (available at every auto parts store) and that cleaned up the malformed threads in the downpipe. I thought Id just buy a new sensor for less than 10 bucks, but I was shocked to learn they cost nearly $150.. OUCH!
    The solution was to sit at my bench for more than an hour with my tiny watch makers file set cleaning up the male threads on the oxygen sensor. Then it screwed right in. I would recommend chasing the threads on any welded sensor bung FIRST, before you mess up the threads on an expensive O2 sensor. The thread chaser is well worth seven bucks.
    The NEU-F cat-back exhaust system is a real work of art. Its 2.5 diameter all the way and has MUCH better bends than the goofy stock Fiat system. The exhaust and down pipe combination really opens up the exhaust. Its louder than a stock Abarth though so be warned. Get yourself a couple of new hangers while youre shopping for parts. I ran the thread chaser on the down-stream oxygen sensor bung and judging from the resistance it was a good idea. The sensor screwed right in without damaging the threads. If you can stand the increase in noise, this exhaust system is very nice. Im blessed with a wife who loves loud exhaust systems.
    I installed the GFB diverter valve. Its a nice piece with very good detailed instructions. I dont know if helps or not, but it was easy to install.
    I dont consider the little Multi Air oil screen a performance upgrade, but I figured while I had the car partially apart, Id put it on. I managed to change it without removing the motor mount by using a 1/8 ratchet wrench with a wobbly extension. I have a 10mm hex bit driver which will fit a 1/8 extension and that is the key to success here.
    I installed a transmission torque arm insert from NEU-F and discovered the sheet metal mounting bracket was hanging from one of the two bolts. Some previous mechanic had installed a 12mm x 1.75 bolt in a tapped hole which has 12mm x 1.25 threads. So, my repair job wasnt as simple as just replacing the missing bolt. And it goes without saying that it took a lot of time, both the repair itself and chasing down parts. Same old story. But now the shifting is MUCH more precise but I suspect the improvement has more to do with fixing the bracket than the hard plastic insert. Still, its a cheap and easy improvement.
    I replaced my radiator hoses with Mishimoto hoses. They are well made and a perfect fit, but Im not sure I really needed this mod. You have to look hard to see them and unless your hoses are bad, Im not sure it was worth the time, effort, and expense. I doubt if I would have replaced the hoses if I were not doing all these other mods. But they are nice so go for it if you wish.
    Once I had everything installed and the bits and pieces back together, I went for a test drive. The idle was variable for 30 seconds or so while the ECU and Euro+Drive tune got to know each other, and then it ran perfectly but with an obvious improvement in power. Im looking forward to having a bit more fun at the upcoming autocross in two weeks.
    All in all, Im happy with each individual mod as well as being pleased at the combination. If I later decide to go with a more aggressive tune short of requiring internal engine modifications, Im all set.
    Future projects include replacing the boost gauge and installing a custom engine cover which is at the laser cutters shop right now.
    Walters Rendering one.jpg

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