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Discussion Starter #1
My 2016 abarth 500 always got up to 18psi until late august...it just won't go past 12psi now (and when it does it's very brief and basically stays at 6psi)..I thought it could be the really hot summer we had, but in September when the temperature went quite down a bit it didn't change (60 F at night and no change). So I brought it to Fiat...


In late September Fiat told me it was a bad turbo. So I got a new turbo installed and replaced the plastic vacuum lines with good quality silicone hoses, and there is no change. So, they basically misdiagnosed my car. Also, my mechanic had checked for boost leaks and did not find any.


Now on the weekend my mechanic is going to swap my Go Fast Bits diverter valve for an OEM one to see if that makes any difference (he said that's doubtful though)..He's also going to check the boost solenoid and all the sensors (he also said he doubts that is the issue).


I still remember the day I felt it happen..I was at the top of my street rolling in second gear and as I pushed the accelerator from 8mph (did not floor it at all because i know its bad to floor it at low rpms), I made a right followed by a quick left in third gear now ~15mph (again, didn't floor it), and then there it was--I felt a sudden change in the power...It's never been the same since.

I've reset the ECU, replaced the turbo because Fiat said thats what it was (which was wrong apparently),
and put in high temp silicone vacuum hoses,
mechanic tested for boost leaks and apparently there isn't a leak,
no check engine lights


Nonetheless, does anyone have any idea what this could be?? My mechanic said it's very unlikely those solenoids are the issue


Please help? I'm really desperate at this point..Does anyone have any ideas?
 

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Taking a guess after omitting what you have already mentioned, it could be an inlet or exhaust restriction.

Also, have you had your intercoolers looked at. I'm assuming you have the Stock SMIC's?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
its a sila bar+plate design FMIC...so it uses one sila hose, and the other side uses the OEM hose.. http://silaconcepts.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=2&product_id=66

weird design i know...previous owner did all the mods on my car.. it als has a GFB DV+ that he said he had to add lubricant to because it wasnt moving as freely but there wasnt any change after that either..he's still going to see if an OEM one makes any difference..but thats doubtful...he also said that he doubts the boost solenoid will be the issue but will check it out...

he checked for leaks with a pressure tester but i will confirm if he checked the intercooler...i would imagine he did by ensuring that the pipes are still in solid condition and connected firmly...car only has 33500 miles on it too...

on reddit i actually did get another pretty good reply so i forwarded it to my mechanic...here's what it said:

If you are not leaking boost and the turbo is fine but you're not hitting the previous number, chances are it's a sensor or control related issue.
If the OEM diverter valve doesn't fix it (the GFB DV needs to be lubricated every now and then btw) then I'd personally start by checking my MAP sensor (make sure the ECU gets accurate boost numbers) and lambda sensors to make sure the car isn't running too rich/lean.
From there you can still have issues with a faulty knock sensor causing the ECU to withhold boost, as well as general engine timing issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
........................it was the freakin spark plugs. i am so happy my car seems more alive at this point, but so pissed that Fullerton Fiat in NJ told me it was my turbo and I spent 2k dollars for no fkin reason ...now i got 50 dollar spark plugs in there and it's significantly better...im just shocked at how messed up that dealership has been to me...they also drove my car 110 miles...FOR WHAT? you obviously had NO CLUE what was going on you didnt even bother checking the SPARK PLUGS? god...anyway, at least it seems that is resolved..

but, i am noticing that there is a smell of fuel coming into the cabin now...ive been told that this is normal after replacing a turbo, and even spark plugs...so im hoping it goes away after a few days...please feel free to give opinions on that?
 

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Why should new turbo or spark plugs cause fuel smell in the cabin ??
Both things should be tight and sealing well so no fumes should go anywhere but into the combustion chambers - so I ask if the wise guy uttering above did give any fair reason why ?

If there is any smell of gas - start smelling around the car and under the hood to determin where the smell starts.
Could be a fuel line leak - which is critical to stop ASAP.

Another reason could be unburned gas fumes from the exhaust, beeing sucked in through an leaking hatch seal or an open window. Also critical as the engine really should burn all gas - and exhaust fumes in the cabin is unhealthy - at best !
 

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Discussion Starter #6
wait, what? are you talking about me being the wise guy? :/ i have no idea what i did to earn that sarcasm/insult if so...

anyway, another forum member from another popular forum gave me an explanation...he said that the mechanic who installed my new turbo may need to replace the gaskets used on the catalytic converter/downpipe...so if the smell persists for a couple more days i am going to order new gaskets and replace the old ones...and he said to make sure the flanges are nice and tight of course...unfortunately the turbo install kit i ordered doesn't appear to come with new gaskets for the downpipe/catalytic converter...so if it persists, i will buy those and have my mechanic install them...just sucks i even was told by the dealership service center that it was my turbo, because if apparently it was just the spark plugs..sigh...and then i wouldnt have any gas smell at all most likely...

anyway, yea, are you talking about me being the "wise guy?" if so, what did i do wrong? i really dont understand the hostility :(
 

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wait, what? are you talking about me being the wise guy? :/ i have no idea what i did to earn that sarcasm/insult if so...

anyway, another forum member from another popular forum gave me an explanation...he said that the mechanic who installed my new turbo may need to replace the gaskets used on the catalytic converter/downpipe...so if the smell persists for a couple more days i am going to order new gaskets and replace the old ones...and he said to make sure the flanges are nice and tight of course...unfortunately the turbo install kit i ordered doesn't appear to come with new gaskets for the downpipe/catalytic converter...so if it persists, i will buy those and have my mechanic install them...just sucks i even was told by the dealership service center that it was my turbo, because if apparently it was just the spark plugs..sigh...and then i wouldnt have any gas smell at all most likely...

anyway, yea, are you talking about me being the "wise guy?" if so, what did i do wrong? i really dont understand the hostility :(
I think he's talking about whoever told you that it's normal after turbo replacement, not you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think he's talking about whoever told you that it's normal after turbo replacement, not you.
hopefully :X

anyway, i took it to the mechanic that did my turbo replacement and he said he triple checked everything, and i honestly do believe he did; but then we popped the hood and took the heat shield off from on top of the turbo and yea, you could definitely smell gas from between the engine and turbo/downpipe...i dont see any other reason for this other than fumes somehow leaking out from one of the gaskets since this wasnt happening before that turbo swap. in my opinion it would have to be either the one from the manifold to the turbo, or the turbo to the downpipe i dont see how it could be from downpipe to exhaust since the downpipe was never removed...

next month ill take it to another mechanic and ask if he has an instrument to pinpoint the exact point of leaking if any...its now been over 1 week since the install (1.5 weeks) and the smell has not subsided. if im driving its no where near as bad, but as soon as i stop or when i start the car and turn on the vents its quite obvious...

since that first mechanic seems to think it isnt as big of a deal, ill have no choice but to take it to another guy and see what he thinks/if he can pinpoint it..if he can, then i know where work needs to be redone...just sucks ill have to spend more money...even if this wasnt a big deal, my mind cant get over that this smell didnt exist before the turbo installation...it only started after, and that will eat away at me until its resolved :/

wish me luck...have to wait until i get paid in a week or two and i hope it doesn't eat my whole paycheck..only making $1k/month right now (long story) :/

im also planning on asking a dealer to reflash my car because i sometimes think the tune i got a few months ago messed with my ECU even after using their stock write file to reflash to stock..thats another $150..
 

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I'm the hostile guy - but J.B. is right; it's solely aimed at whoever told You what they told You - without giving any good explanation of why it should be right.

A gasket that should have been replaced when swapping the turbo - that I can accept as a valid explanation.
But only if the gasket is placed between turbo and intake. If placed between turbo and exhaust - there really ought to be no gas fumes left as all ggas should have been burned before leaving through the turbo.
Or could this happen if the recent reflash isn't quite OK ? I guess it could happen that the reflash is so rich that surplus gas actually leaves the engine throught the turbo ?

I had a serious gas smell in my old Volvo 745 some years back - also started to think that gas consumption was going up over a coupple of days.
Popped the hood while engine was idling - and got very busy turning the engine off ASAP !
Because I easily spotted a fine jet of gas from the gas hose between inner fender and injector housing......the jet had even washed off quite some of the rustproofing goo from the inner fender !
If I ever felt close to an engine fire.....

This is of course an extreme experience with leaks, but my point is that when it smells like gas - look for gas.
I believee it's very likely that you have a gas leak - and since you haven't spotted it yet, it could be more or less hidden and tricky to find.

Another old story: an old friend had a Morris Maskot and drove it to a car wash. Leaving the gas station - the engine died ?!
It was due to the underbody shower thing i that wash tunnel; it was a 2" pipe with nozzles pointing upward - they had jerked the gas hose of a pipe under the car.
Rersult: engine starved to a hault and the gas tank was empty by the time we found the problem ;o)
 

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I'm curious... are you talking gas smell, or exhaust smell?

Years ago we tracked down an exhaust leak by squirting Marvel Mystery Oil thru the intake. We temporarily taped 20' of flex tube over the exhaust to get the huge cloud of smoke out of the garage. The smoke also seeped out the exhaust leaks.
 

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It happens once and awhile, particularly if you are running in Sport mode at low rpm and floor it...the turbo conks out.

Solution: disconnect the battery for a few minutes then reconnect. Voila, turbo is back to normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It happens once and awhile, particularly if you are running in Sport mode at low rpm and floor it...the turbo conks out.

Solution: disconnect the battery for a few minutes then reconnect. Voila, turbo is back to normal.
lol this was the first thing i tried :X after that, fullerton fiat told me it was my turbo, but it turns out they obviously didnt even bother trying to figure out what it was because as i mentioned above it was merely my spark plugs. since i was panicking i had bought a new turbo and told a mechanic to install it and so they did..problem wasnt solved after that but once i asked him to put new NGK spark plugs in for me it was like the life came back to my car...however, after the turbo replacement and replacing vacuum lines with silicone lines i started noticing this "gas smell" (which again i dont mean fresh gas i guess i should say exhaust smell) entering the cabin when the car is idle and fans are on...this is where im at now. :X

I'm curious... are you talking gas smell, or exhaust smell?

Years ago we tracked down an exhaust leak by squirting Marvel Mystery Oil thru the intake. We temporarily taped 20' of flex tube over the exhaust to get the huge cloud of smoke out of the garage. The smoke also seeped out the exhaust leaks.
its not like a fresh gas smell from the gas station or in a container..i'd say its more towards the exhaust type of smell..sorry about that. someone recommended that i check all the evap lines to make sure they are all okay. once i get money this weekend im planning on going to a dealer to get a reflash to make sure my stock mapping is accurate (sort of a different story) and take it to a mechanic to see if he can test for any boost leaks and see if he can pinpoint exactly where the problem is regarding the smell entering my cabin when the fans are on and im idle.. it's really not nearly noticeable when im driving--only when i first start my car and turn fans on, or if i drive and then come to a stop with the fans on. in those 2 circumstances its very obvious there are some "exhaust" smells coming through (i said "gas" but i dont mean like a fresh tank of gas in a container or something so yea i guess i should say exhaust..because its definitely not an oil smell).

i asked the mechanic that did the work on my car to please figure out whats going on but they said its really not a big deal and i need to stop stressing over it..but in my mind the way i see it is "it wasnt happening before the turbo swap and vacuum line replacement, and now it is"..to me that is a problem :/ thats just how my mind works...not to mention if i don't fix it i wont pass inspection next october. i mean, call me crazy but i want to be able to use my fans without having to keep it on recirculation mode and not smell like fumes when i get out of my car :/ ...im not sure why they kept insisting its not a big deal because we have a good relationship as far as i know and i definitely do trust the work they do, but its like, yea man my car smells like **** when i use the fans when the car is idle now :/

hopefully this other mechanic can figure it out quickly because labor for these guys isn't cheap :X

oh and last thing--since my car is 4 years old almost and it has ~35,800 miles now im thinking of getting new fuel injectors as well just in case...my brother in law said that wouldnt hurt to do at this point either...just want my car to be 100% again and im almost there..just this fuel smell and getting the peace of mind that my mapping is correct with a reflash..
 

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There is one reason to stop the smell that is more important than the upcomming inspection: exhaust fumes can kill you !
Eventually you will suffocate - but before that the fumes will make you pass out.
And in that condition - who can follow the road etc.....
May be it's why we have so many single accidents, where people go off-road and hit i.e. a tree for no good reason.

Logically, your leak should be up front as your fresh-air intake is right under the front screen, so it's unlikely that the smell comes from the exhaust.
However, some cars are known for leaking seals on the rear door - may be a area to look at.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
tomorrow im going to a guy that will try and pin point it if thats the case. he said he will smoke the exhaust and see where exactly there are any leaks, and it seems the same technique can be used for any lines under the hood..wish me luck :p
 

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I've see smoke testing of the intake, but hadn't heard of it for the exhaust. It might help them if you can ID when you are smelling fuel; stuff like if it was hot or under heavy throttle. That's why we used the oil to make smoke. On that one, it was leaking when the exhaust was hot, but engine cold.

I hope they find the leak.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
when i stuck my head under the hood it seemed to be coming from between the engine and the turbo/downpipe somewhere...the mechanic removed the heatshields and when we stuck are noses above that area it was easy to smell..
108051

the red circled area is where the smell was coming from.. :p so it could be a vacuum line, or it could be a leak from the gasket from the turbo to the exhaust manifold imo...but i'd be surprised if its a gasket from the turbo install because the mechanic that installed my turbo said he triple checked everything just to make sure this type of leaking wouldn't happen and he's done quite a few installs including abarth turbo...im really hoping its as simple as reinstalling one of the new silicone vacuum lines :X either way its 90 bucks for this new mechanic to diagnose the problem..but if its as simple as it being the silicone line he might not charge any extra just to re do that as it would probably take 5 minutes..on that note, looks like im going next tuesday--i woke up 30 minutes late to get there lol

as far as finding a leak in the exhaust with the smoke machine i did find this..pretty basic i guess..if it is a leak in the exhaust or vacuum lines i'd imagine this would find it pretty quick:
 

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I like that machine a lot better. It will be really disturbing if it turns out to be the turbo... hoping for the best.

It disturbs the neighbors when you use Marvel Mystery... huge clouds of smoke, but it was REALLY obvious where the smallest pin hole is at.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I like that machine a lot better. It will be really disturbing if it turns out to be the turbo... hoping for the best.

It disturbs the neighbors when you use Marvel Mystery... huge clouds of smoke, but it was REALLY obvious where the smallest pin hole is at.
its a shop attached to a single pump gas station lol..so i think its fine.

as far as it being the actual turbo itself--highly doubt it since its brand spankin new :p literally less than 500 miles on it so far. i just also hope its not the gasket(s)...i'd be shocked if it was the actual turbo haha..and the car is running okay its really just this exhaust type smell entering the cabin at this point, and for my own peace of mind once this is resolved i want to get a reflash at a dealership..also just for general maintenance peace of mind i might get new fuel injectors..trying to baby this car since i love it so much :X
 

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I see you have better luck with new parts than I do. If there's a bad one in the parts chain, they reserve it for me. I'm the guy who can leave a shop after an oil change and have the thermostat lock closed, while it's on the rack. :unsure: I'm also the guy who replaced a defective O2 sensor. It was good for 1000 miles, then cost me $1K in diagnosis, to find it was a defect in that O2 sensor... and then MPG dropped 10% immediately. :oops:
 
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