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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good morning, and welcome to my first post here. Yes, it's a long post, but there will be beer at the end for everyone. I promise.
My bride decided we needed a toad (towed vehicle) for the motorhome so that we could actually go places once we arrive at our campsite. We also need another car since my son will start driving real soon and I really don't want him inside anything of value. Personally, I would rather sit back in a comfy chair at the campground with a glass of Cabernet and a good book, but SWMBO has other designs. Anyway, being that I don't do those facebooks things with that wonderful marketplace thing and I gave up on Craigslist having anything of value after meeting my second ex-wife on their personal ads, this past weekend my bride ended up locating a 2012 500 Sport 5-speed with ~93K miles on the clock about a 20 minute drive from home. "Extra Clean. Just needs a tuneup, P0302 code." Faced with the knowledge that we may soon own a Fiat 500, I had flashbacks to 2013 when I had a red Fiat 500 as a loaner for several months while the worst auto body shop in central NC (Gerber collision) butchered attempted to properly repair my 2005 Pontiac Solstice after a driver who had no business driving crossed three lanes of traffic just to run into the driver's side door. With me on the other side of the door. Anyway, that Fiat had an odd feature which I called "depilatory door panels". Quite literally the fabric which adorned the door panels right where one would rest their arm would grab great wads of hair from one's forearm, waiting for one to move said arm. When they did, riiiip!! There's nothing like being of mostly Italian heritage and having that wad of Italian hair ripped from your forearm by an Italian automobile. But I digress... Hoping it was just a dead coil or dud sparkplug, we went to check it out. Black metallic, in decent shape cosmetically and interior wise. Dead miss. Cranked it over and it's obviously a compression issue. I'm immediately thinking burnt valve, bent valve, hole in piston... something real fun. After explaining to the gentleman what this would mean as far as it's value and someone's desire to purchase this vehicle, and whether or not I want to take on yet another project, I offer the guy a ridiculously low price compared to what he was asking, and he takes it. In retrospect, I probably could have gone even much less, but I am not the best haggler in the world by far. We returned the next day with the tow dolly behind the truck, and picked it up. And fortunately, the door panels are made from a vinyl or leather type material, not the micro Velcro fabric... this one had the depilatory door panel delete option.
Sunday found me examining everything inside the cylinder with my borescope, and I was pleased to see absolutely no burned or bent valves at all. Monday had me learning everything I could about the engine, and I was hopefully optimistic after discovering the unusual method of intake valve control the MultiAir engine uses. "Probably just a screwed up MultiAir brick!" I thought.
I stopped by the local Hazard Frought and picked up a leakdown tester, as all I had was a compression tester that didn't even have the adaptor to fit this metric spark plug bore. Arriving at home, I hooked it up, turned up the air, and was greeted with the sound and smell of air escaping as soon as it entered the cylinder via the intake valves. Odd, since I could not see any problems with the borescope. The only thing I could think of was that since the borescope's side facing camera needs a couple of inches to focus, the intake valves must just barely be off seat or bent in such a way as it hides this fact. Even comparing them to a good working cylinder, my old eyes can't really tell a difference.
So, to make a long story longer, last night, I get my son to tear himself away from those infernal gaming devices for long enough to help his old man do some actual worthwhile things instead of virtually shooting at pixels on a boob tube. He helped remove the cam cover, and had a crash course on how the MultiAir works. We decided that for S's & G's, we'd crank the engine while looking at the top end. Yes, most people only assume that one cannot observe the valve train working since the MultiAir is in the way. Actually, one can clearly observe the intake valves being actuated by the MultiAir hydraulics, as long as one knows where to look. We used this to discover a fact that I had not read before. I'll post that fact at the end of this book so that it might help others.
This is pretty much where we left it. The next step is to remove the MultiAir brick and re-check the leakdown. If I'm still getting problems, I'll see if I can see something in the valve seat holding it open that I may be able to remove somehow... perhaps hold the valve open and flood it with WD40 or something more nefarious and ridiculous like a strong jet of water while holding the valve open.
If that doesn't work, then it's time to remove the head. And that brings up another posted-at-the-end-of-this-article fact that people on this forum might want to know.
So, if you are still sadistic enough to actually have followed along so far, keep a lookout here. I WILL actually return here and let everyone know what I do, what I find, and what procedure was used to fix Franchesca (Frannie). That's right. My username is NOT DenverCoder9 (props if you know to what this refers). I might even post pictures. Just don't expect a Youboob video... that's for people who don't know how to type words, and who aren't old, fat, ugly, and embarrassed of the useless, slothful hunk of flesh that they've become as compared to what they were in their younger years.

So for my facts:
Fact #1: The MultiAir solenoids open up the hydraulic circuit bleeds when no voltage is applied to them. In other words, without power to those solenoids, the intake valves do not get actuated. I thought I had read someone someplace assuming the opposite.
Fact #2: One does NOT have to remove the engine to remove the head. Just drain the cooling system, unbolt the exhaust manifold, de-tension the timing belt tensioner, remove the timing belt (make paint marks on the belt and toothed pulleys, and you won't even have to re-time the belt, crank, and cam!) unhook all connectors, fuel, hoses, etc. that are in the way, and lift the head up with the intake still attached. There's plenty of room to do this. Heck, it looks as if one could keep the exhaust manifold connected as well if you just can't get it off of the head. I see no reason to pull all of the front end of the vehicle apart or to lift the body around the engine, pulling it out from underneath. And I have fat fingers and hands, so....
Fact #3: One cannot ruin the MultiAir engine by running it low on oil. I know... this one is bound to be controversial. How is this? Well, there is enough leakage past the intake cam MultiAir pistons and the hydraulic actuators on top of the intake valves that it wouldn't take long to run through the little bit of oil which is in reserve in the oil chambers inside of the MultiAir brick. I would hazard a guess that the engine would not run more than 30 seconds without oil pressure before the intake valves simply no longer operate due to the lack of oil in the hydraulic circuits of the MultiAir, and unless you're at 100% load and revving several thousands of RPMs, that's not long enough to cause damage. How do I know? I've worked on an engine that was driven over 3 miles on the highway with zero oil pressure that suffered absolutely no damage. The main and connecting rod bearings came out looking and measuring (with plastigauge) just like they did when they went into the vehicle 22K miles earlier.
Fact #4: One can observe the intake valves being actuated. A bright light and knowing where to look are the key. A small borescope would be even better. Just be sure to cover all the air bleed holes (which have the ability to shoot oil farther than most older guys like me can piss) located on top of the MultiAir brick with a rag, because....
Fact #5: Oil will stain clothes. It doesn't matter if they're cheap rags or expensive silk shirts. Oil is non-discriminatory when it gets on the fabric.
Fact #6: I reserve the right to change my facts at any time, based on empirical evidence which may prove the fact a mere opinion. ;)
If you've read this far and you're wondering where the beer is, it's at the store. Grab me one while you're at it, please! Come on by and sit a spell in the garage while we work on Frannie the bit...ty. She's such a little bitty. ;)

Regards-
-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
September 30 update:
I pulled the MultiAir unit off and sure enough, the two intake valves on cylinder #2 are ever so slightly bent. Time to order parts, remove the head, and replace the valves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
And, success! I have the pictures proving my facts, and I could write words to them. For $459.43 from the local dealer, Franchesca is on the road once more and running fine. I also have a complete parts list which could save people time when doing this same kind of thing. Unfortunately, the admin seems to be more interested in approving posts from people who want to spam the forum with business opportunities than a guy who writes lots of descriptive, colorful words and disproves common myths with proven facts. As a result, I'll simply contribute to some other Fiat forum rather than this one.
The only one of my facts that is now disproved seems to be that I'll be that DenverCoder9 guy on steroids - only because it is apparent that those who run this forum are offended, or shall I write, "triggered" by the term, "bitty" as in, "this is an [itty]-bitty little car". I only came to help others, but if my time and effort in creating a step-by-step repair journal which would apply to anyone who needs to remove the cylinder head without doing crap-tons more work for no reason, then it really doesn't matter to me that every person coming here to work on their little Fiat will think that they have to pull the engine to remove the cylinder head.
Buh-bye, bitty!
 
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