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Discussion Starter #1
Finally starting my build thread a month after buying the car. The car in question is a 2013 Abarth.


Let’s start by copying over my new member post, that will take care of the “wow, I got a cool new car!” Segment of this thread


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Discussion Starter #2
Hello-
I just picked up a 2013 Fiat Abarth, 26k miles. I think I’m going to love it. The way this tiny little car just screams “I’m a race car! Let’s go!!!” just makes me smile every time I touch the go pedal


This was also my first time buying a car sight unseen, which was definitely scary. But it seems to have worked out. Yeah internet!


I have 2 little girls, and they love it. My 2 year old is the real gear head. When a nice exhaust comes by or is on the TV, she stops what she’s doing and just smiles. Here they are meeting the car for the first time

https://youtu.be/-dBGqge9TQE

And for anyone wondering, yes, somehow this thing works with car seats


Next plan is to autocross, starting in March. Looking forward to getting to know you guys.

If your really bored, feel free to check out my other build thread (bmw e39 540i)

https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?2339620-Newbie-Help-me-make-a-horrible-automotoive-decision


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So, a little detail. I picked this up with 26k miles for $8600, which I think was a good deal. The only downside seems to be that the P.O. Was a modder with limited taste. So let’s start to unpack the state of the car as it sits.
The most notable mod is the lowering, supposedly 1”. Now I love the look of a lowered car, but it appears the PO installed lowering springs but kept the stock dampeners.



I’m not sure about these cars, but in general changing springs without matching the dampeners is a bad idea for both ride and handling. I haven’t driven enough of these to really know how much rougher my ride is than stock. Doesn’t really matter though, suspension upgrades are on the future mod list anyway. I love how accessible and simple this suspension is. I recently redid the suspension on my BMW. Each front wheel has 3 control arms with bushing and ball joint, plus sway bar, tie rod end, and strut. I think I could have the Abarth done in a weekend.

There is a cold air intake. When I first saw this, it was almost enough to scare me off the car


It seems like taking a perfectly good factory intake and moving it somewhere hot as **** that looks cool is a favorite mod of monster energy drinking flat brim hat enthusiasts everywhere. After some research though, it does seem that this location might be around 10 degrees cooler than the factory location. So ok, whatever. One day, I hope to do a front mounted intercooler and then move the intake over to the current intercooler location. At that point the brim on my hat may start to flatten out, I understand that is a potential side effect of aftermarket intercoolers.




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So now it’s time...to talk about...the stickers. I am conflicted. On the one hand, I don’t think any of these products are actually on my car. Having them makes me feel a little juvenile. On the other hand, I bought a ridiculous little car that comes covered in scorpion badges from the factory for the express purpose of looking and acting juvenile. Well, let’s have a look at my pride and shame

Hey, I’ve used this product! However, I thought these guys were most famous for valve train de-gunking products. And the sticker inside the windshield from whatever quick lube place definitely indicates that Mobil 1 is the current lubricant of choice. So cool looking sticker, but “scientific sounding mechanic in a bottle” is not the leading product I’d choose to associate with my car. Next:

Sick Bro! I’ve checked out this website, I can’t actually match a product they sell to anything on my car. Who knows. Next

Now I actually like these. Look good, cool placement, and I’d be happy to have hawk pads on the car. The pads I’ve got are pretty new, so hopefully it will be a while before I find out.
For now, I’m going to leave them because I’ll probably mess up the illegal window tint trying to get them off. Long term, this will be a battle between my inner hooligan and my self respect. I’d put even odds.


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Discussion Starter #5
So now the ugly. Actually, the car is in very good shape. The car did spend the first 6 years of its life in the salt infused rusty hellscape of the northeast. These could use some paint

And the rust on the half shafts will probably come off if I just drive fast enough, right?


Finally I found a body clip that just can’t quite hang on



I think the car probably got improperly jacked, resulting in this. The little clip is still trying hard to hold in there, but appears damaged. Any tips on how to shop for little fiddly bits like this?


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Well, now that the car is introduced, and you all have figured out that I’m an ill informed moron with strong opinions, it’s time to set to work. The little “rally armor” mud flaps had to go. They had hardware sitting like 3/4” off the tires. These things probably work fine at stock or even lifted heights. However my PO was apparently trying out the controversial strategy of building a lowered rally car.



So that’s off, and I’m less likely to shred my tires going over a bump. Question for the peanut gallery. Is there a stock piece that used to be here:



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Wow, 7 posts as an intro. Hey OP, no one cares!!!!. Oh wait, I’m the OP, crap. Well, nothing more to report now. I’ll be going to my first Autocross on Sunday, and I’ve got a track day March 31. I’m going to try hard not to go crazy with the mods this summer and instead focus on improving the nut behind the wheel. Once I get the feel for this thing, I’ll start diving into all the mods that the third owner will complain about. Things I’d love to hear about:
-In the BMW world we have a website called realoem that makes it really easy to get a part number for even the tiniest little bit. Is there a 500 equivalent?
-I’ve got exactly zero races under my belt, but my vast experience along with YouTube tells me I want a seat harness. But I don’t want a harness bar (I use the back seats). I don’t need to meet any particular criteria or standards. I just want to be held in my seat so I can focus on driving without sliding around. Any awesome, ridiculously cheap and easy to install ideas?
-I showed the rust that I found. Where else should I be looking on this thing?


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Wow! You’ve got courage that’s for sure! I appreciate the details you are sharing, its made me rethink used car options - with extreme caution.

I lost my cute as a button pop to vandals damaging my wiring so effectively when they ripped out an after market gps/backup camera about 10 months after I bought my 2012 gem. I’m still sad about losing that car. Insurance would have covered repair but without any guarantee the wiring would really be ok so they offered a buyout that paid off the car and paid me some cash which took a bit of the sting out, at least financially.

My lost car had been in nearly new condition which really sucks when I think about trying to find another like it, only with the gps/backup cam factory installed. Probably just as easy to steal but not as fancy as the unit I had.

Anyway, best of luck with your project. They are fun cars, no question.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow! You’ve got courage that’s for sure! I appreciate the details you are sharing, its made me rethink used car options - with extreme caution.

Anyway, best of luck with your project. They are fun cars, no question.
Thanks! Sorry about losing your car. Yes, the inter webs makes it a lot easier to find a deal on exactly what you want. I had some peace of mind from the sellers reputation (it seems like shipping interesting cars all over North America is his business). Another option is a 3rd party pre purchase inspection.


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Discussion Starter #13
So, as suspected:
1) Racing is awesome
2) I suck at it



I had an absolute blast. The car goes much faster than my brain however. The biggest hold up for me was waiting to figure out where I’m going next before hammering down.


I had 4 runs, and I got faster every time. My goal was to be smooth first, then fast. I did the first part well (no dnf’s) but not really the second part (my best time was in the bottom 1/3 of the newbies). It wasn’t until the 4th run that I had the confidence to start pushing the car to the limit of traction a few places



Anyway, what a blast. Two weeks from now I get to try an actual race track.


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its made me rethink used car options - with extreme caution.

so they offered a buyout that paid off the car and paid me some cash which took a bit of the sting out, at least financially.
I am sorry to hear of your loss. Yeah, I had similar w/ car before last. In '05, it was worth about $4500. I loved it so put in $5K to make it like new. Traffic stopped on the freeway & a 17 yo slammed it... rear springs flew out and it slid 6 car lengths, leaving dual skid marks. Payout was $2K b/c they found a car on a lot 1200 miles away, ready for the scrappers. <sigh>

Your caution is worthwhile, but it is about all Carfax is good for... where the car was registered during its life. It's a start (avoiding salted states)... then have it pre-inspected by a good mechanic. That made me pass on 2 vehicles... one that had been welded together from 2 trucks and crab walked down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, as suspected:
1) Racing is awesome
2) I suck at it /QUOTE]

1) The car looks SOOOO tiny
2) How big was your grin?

Where was this at? It looks a lot like the spot where I took my advanced MC training... the most fun ever.
The grin was huge. This was an autocross event at the Salem (Virginia) civic center put on by the brr-SCCA


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Hi,
Welcome to the world of the Abarth. You can take comfort Doug, in knowing you did the course sounding better than most, if not all, of the other cars there. You were noticed and admired, for sure. Not bad at all for a first timer, either. I’m looking forward to seeing you advance through the season. Good Luck, sir! I’ve enjoyed your posts.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi,
Welcome to the world of the Abarth. You can take comfort Doug, in knowing you did the course sounding better than most, if not all, of the other cars there. You were noticed and admired, for sure. Not bad at all for a first timer, either. I’m looking forward to seeing you advance through the season. Good Luck, sir! I’ve enjoyed your posts.
I actually did get a lot of compliments on the sound, thanks for the kind words. My lack of talent doesn’t bother me a bit. I’m just having a good time and racing against myself.


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Tomorrow is the big day at Virginia International Raceway! My prep consisted of checking fluids and ball joints, but next door 3 of my friends are feverishly trying to get their formula SAE cars ready to go. There are 3 cars and ~11 hours until we need to leave. One car is no spark, the other 2 are having brake issues. I’ve been taking my youngest daughter (Baby Stig) over, and she is in race car heaven



She wakes up each morning asking to go “work on HER racecars”.


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Nice! Will they help you corner balance your car as you go through suspension mods?

How fun! I remember visiting my father’s secretary’s husband’s shop at a young age and getting to sit in and ask questions on one of his Midget race cars.

Proverbs 22:6 comes to mind.
 
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