F R E Q U E N T L Y   A S K E D   Q U E S T I O N S   1 . 8 1

Last update: July 27, 2002

Jump to:
Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Electronics
Section 3: Exterior
Section 4: Interior
Section 5: Funny noises
Section 6: Miscellaneous

Section 1: Introduction

  1. Q: What does barchetta mean?
    A: Little boat
  2. Q: What does FIAT mean?
    A: Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino
  3. Q: Who designed the barchetta?
    A: Andreas Zapatinas (a Greek) made the first sketches in 1990 and stayed with the project until 1994 (one year before it was introduced). He now lives in Germany, working at BMW.
  4. Q: What models are there?
    A: Currently only one, divided in submodels:
       183.829.0 - 1750 MPI 16V CF2 (the standard 16v with "183A1" engine)
       183.809.0 - CF2 Club Italia
       183.819.0 - CF2 Limited Edition 1998
       183.839.0 - CF2 Japan
       183.849.0 - CF2 Limited Edition Japan
       183.859.0 - CF2 Limited Edition '99
       183.859.0 - CF2 Limited Edition '99 Japan
       183.879.0 - CF2 Lido 1999
       183.889.0 - CF2 Riviera 1999 for Germany
       183.899.0 - CF2 Riviera 1999
       183.520.0 - CF3 (new ECE F3 compliant "188A6" engine)
       183.530.0 - CF3 Japan
       183.570.0 - CF3 Lido 2000
       183.580.0 - CF3 Riviera 2000 for Germany
       183.590.0 - CF3 Riviera 2000
  5. Q: What is the ordernumber of the right hand drive barchetta?
    A: There isn't any, because there isn't an official RHD barchetta. Look through AutoCar magazine for addresses of companies which sell RHD barchettas, but remember that these cars don't carry Fiat's warranty.
  6. Q: What does the name 'Maggiora' in the door mean?
    A: Maggiora is a coach builder who assembles the car in Chivasso (Torino)
  7. Q: If Maggiora assembles the car, then where is the chassis made?
    A: The body is welded at Ilcas in Sparone
  8. Q: Will the barchetta Coupé I saw in the various car magazines ever be produced?
    A: Alessandro Sopetti (of Maggiora's Product Development) said that the prototype shown at the Turin fair had a good feedback especially from the women who visited the booth. But Fiat (Paolo Cantarella) has decided to not produce it because the selling volumes would have been not enough for the investment necessary to build this car. Besides, Fiat already had a coupé in their model program.

Section 2: Electronics
  1. Q: The radio has bad reception, dropping out every now and then. Why?
    A: This is due to the low quality Grundig radio and the aerial cable running close to the motor management unit. The RDS will try to seek a stronger signal, but fails. Yet while seeking, sound momentarily drops out.
    when the ignition is off, all works fine. When its in the accessory position, you can hear - not very loud - noises (like when you put a FM radio in front of a PC, but not very load). When the engine is running, it gets worse.
    Grundig has come up with a "solution": swap your radio with a version that doesn't seek stonger frequencies.

    1999-model barchettas have a new Clarion radio installed with CD-changer option!

  2. Q: Will another radio fit?
    A: If you install a new radio, remove it by prodding in the four holes with screwdrivers. Get the radio facia to cover the holes at either side. Partnumbers are 46228873 (some 12DM) or 5909939 (twice that price).
    Sony has a facia for the barchetta:
    number FP-01-01. Also Halfords in the UK should have a matching facia.
    Alternatively, install a CD player in your trunk. Cables can run through a hole behind the passenger-side door (there is a rubber plug). The CD player should play through the aerial (and act as a radio station) or over the line-out (doubling as a booster).
  3. Q: My new radio has a front-rear fader. Where can I install rear speakers?
    A: There is an excellent place for them: on the seatbelt brackets! Little tweeters will just fit perfectly.
    The standard radio has a front-rear fader too: pull and turn the volume-button. Wire colors for left hand side speakers: white-black and red-black; right hand side: pink-black and purple-black.
  4. Q: I want an electric antenna
    A: Find the loose wires (red and yellow) with a plastic connector in the trunk near the right hand side tail lights. The red wire is live, the yellow one if only live when the radio is turned on.
  5. Q: I want to operate the windows without a key in the ignition
    A: There are a couple of relays behind the panel on the passengerside. Locate the big green plastic box and gently remove it, including the bracket on which it is snapped on.
    Cut the red and orange wires. Strip the orange wire end at the relay side and both red wire ends. Connect everything together.
    Please note: the lights on the window-switches will always be lit (handy in the dark, though).

Section 3: Exterior
  1. Q: The tonneau-cover keeps beeping
    A: Open the cover, locate the switch on the driverside, unscrew the switch, pull the switch out. You will see two wires on a connector. Just pull one wire.
  2. Q: My headlightlamp has blown and I don't have a spare!
    A: Replace it with a highbeam lamp or foglight lamp: all lamps are the same (Type H1)
  3. Q: The windstop, is it really neccessary?
    A: It's useful in two occasions: when driving top down at low temperatures (10-12°C) to keep the heat in the cabin, or driving on highways at high speeds: it prevents the wind from entering the cabin from behind the seats. People with long hair might prefer a windstop.
  4. Q: How to install a windstop? How to store it?
    A: The original Fiat windstop is mounted on two screw ends just behind the seats. When it's not being used, it can be stored in the trunk (it just fits), under the tonneau-cover when the softtop is up, or behind the seats, resting on the centre console (not recommended when the car is parked).
    Alternatively, the windstop can stay in place when the top is up. There are only three problems: it will block the rearview considerably; the metal bars of the top will just scrape the sides of the windstop, revealing bare metal; when the seats are in the most rear postition, the headrests will push the windstop against the plastic rear window.
  5. Q: Is there a better solution to the windstop storage problems?
    A: Get the KSM windtop, it's cheaper too! This windstop is mounted on little arms between the two seatbelt brackets, so no drilling needed. Also it can be folded down on the softtop, still alowing the tonneau-cover to close.
  6. Q: Will I be able to use the optional back-pockets behind the chairs with the KSM windstop? My Fiat dealer says it will only fit the original windstop.
    Nonsense: the back-pockets have been designed to be fitted, even without a windstop. When you have a Fiat windstop, it will make use of the two screws which holds the windstop, but without a windstop, it will just be mounted on the car.
  7. Q: The roof starts to tears up!
    A: The metal construction of the softtop cuts the fabric when the softtop is folded. Look very closely why this is. There is a little elastic band that should pull back the material. It's yet unknown if shortning the elastic band will do a better job at it.
  8. Q: What's the difference between the luggage rack and ski rack? In the brochure they both look the same to me.
    A: The ski rack accessory is an additional part mounted on a luggage rack which should therefore be mounted the other way around. It's advised to put the luggage rack the other way around all time, as your luggage will fly in your neck when doing an emergency stop!
  9. Q: The manual states that with skis, the maximum speed allowed is 90 km/h
    A: It's been reported you can drive 160 km/h with skis on without any problem
  10. Q: How do I keep the rear window clean
    A: When storing the car with the top down for a longer period, it's recommended to put an heating insulation tube in the plead. BMW sells a product that should keep the window clear (BMW part number 81 22 9 407 665 (75ml)). Finally, to get the bumps out of the window, you could try to use a hairdryer (not yet tried, but Maggiora does this after installing the softtop on the assembly line).
  11. Q: What is best to keep the car clean
    A: Autoglym Super Resin Polish seems to live up to it's promises. Apply it after having washed you car, just like you would apply wax (which it isn't). To rub it out, use Autoglym Polish Cotton, or (cheaper) Sonax PolierVlies/Chiffonnette à lustrer. These two products don't fluff.
  12. Q: Can I go through a carwash tunnel to clean it?
    A: The manual warns against it, because it might damage the rear window. If you are going to do it, choose one having low waterjet pressure and put toilet paper to avoid window leaking. Best are the D-I-Y carwashes though.

Section 4: Interior
  1. Q: The windows movement is very slow when the weather is cold
    A: If you have to press the window button a few times before fully opens (or closes) then you have to remove the black panel from the door (starting from the bottom is easier) and add grease and oil to the glass guide and cable. No need to replace the window motor as some dealer have suggested.
  2. Q: I want to replace the steeringwheel with a third-party one.
    A: Any wheel designed for the Punto Sporting should fit.
  3. Q: How do I keep my cockpit clean?
    A: I use Valma Cockpit Spray (Mat glans/Finition Satinée/Matt polish)
  4. Q: This black stuff on top of my dashboard, what is it?
    A: It's a kind of plastic by 3M, to prevent reflections. The designer thinks that with a hairdryer, one might be able to remove it.

Section 5: Funny noises
  1. Q: I have this terrible diesel-noise! What's wrong?
    A: You probably have noticed it only occurs exactly below 2000 rpm? It's a malfunction of the variable valve timing.

    The part responsible for this malfunction has been recently replaced by one that actually works: let your dealer install partnumber 608 156 44, or its Alfa counterpart 606 661 99.

    Previous (thus faulty) part numbers are 608 113 20; 608 118 15; 608 135 01 and 717 118 63 (transformer and inlet camshaft kit). Also we don't know what 717 154 50 is: it might be a repair kit for the variator, but not the variator itself.
    You should be able to get it fixed under warranty (and probably when it has expired also): refer to
    Service News 11/96

    Fiat Service News 11/96 English
    Fiat Service News 11/96 Dutch
    Fiat Service News 11/97 Dutch
    BBC's Watchdog consumer programme.

  2. Q: There is another strange sound in my engine: is my exhaust pipe broken?
    A: More likely the manifold cover, near the oil dipstick, which acts as a heat shield is broken. It will then start to resonate. Tap on the metal to hear if it's the culprit.
  3. Q: It's a ticking sound when I start the car
    A: That are the hydraulic tapets. It takes a while before the oil has reached these. Until then you get a ticking, almost diesel-sound-like noise.
  4. Q: It's quietly ticking all the way
    A: That's the fuel pump you're hearing. Nothing unusual, maybe a little annoying.
  5. Q: It's clicking, but not from the engine bay!
    A: Try using your windscreen wiper for a change: odd are the continuous clicking will be gone. Whenever the wiper goes too far back, it will trigger a relay which goes berserk.
  6. Q: I hear this strange sound when turning the steeringwheel to either lock position
    A: It's probably the oilpump of the power steering. Nothing serious.

Section 6: Miscellaneous
  1. Q: The engine keeps stalling when running idle.
    A: Big problem, 2 small solution (before your dealer starts taking your engine apart):
    1. Have them to clean the Idle Control valve (bypass valve).
    2. Reset the motormanagement (it's an addaptive system) to it's factory (average) setting by disconnecting the battery for half an hour or so.
  2. Q: My air conditioning tube has broken off because of vibrations!
    A: There now is a simple fix for this: a bracket is applied that holds the valve that gets loose from vibrations.
    In order to get this (and most other problems) fixed, you should let your dealer contact the Fiat importer in your country. They know about the problem, and will negotiate a discount on the cost of labour and parts (70% in most cases when after the warranty, or for free within the warranty).
  3. Q: Fuel: 95 Ron (as said in the manual) or 98 Ron?
    A: It's reported that 98 Ron runs better! It's also reported fuel consumption increases, though.
  4. Q: Who sells lockable fuel caps for the barchetta?
    A: A French firm called VALEO has one available. The model number is 247-519 (FFr. 165). Also Hella should have one: model number 27.
    Otherwise try a Lada fuel cap.
  5. Q: Should I take the Extended Warranty?
    A: If you want to keep your car in good shape, seems to be an affordable way as your car probably still suffers some little (sometimes annoying) growing pains.
  6. Q: I'm live in UK and just ordered a barchetta. Will I get it in the promised 8-12 weeks?
    A: Probably not! It's not your dealers fault, but more Fiat UK's problem. Try to get a written note with your date of purchase and your dealers' order date. Maggiora built the barchetta on order. Because of the minor changes to UK cars, Fiat UK will collect as many orders as possible, before ordering the cars at Maggiora.
  7. Q: Has any stolen barchetti been reported?
    A: No, seems that the Fiat immobilizer has a positive psy-effect on thiefs.
    The Fiat code unit sends a unique code to the motor management unit only once, therefore rendering the motor management unit useless when installed in another car.
  8. Q: How old is my car?
    A: This list will give you an indication (sometimes a chassis was held back a month or 2), based on your chassisnumber.
    10002nd week of February 1995
    45001st week of May 1995
    75001st week of July 1995
    110002nd week of October 1995
    140001st week of December 1995
    150002nd week of January 1996
    190004th week of April 1996
    200004th week of May 1996
    21000June 1996
    22000July 1996
    23000August 1996
    24000December 1996
    25000February 1997
    27000March 1997
    29000May 1997
    30000June 1997
    32000September 1997
    33000October 1997
    34000December 1997
    35000March 1998
    37000April 1998
    38000June 1998
    40000October 1998
    41000January 1999
    42000April 1999
    44000June 1999
    45000July 1999
    47000October 1999
    47300January 2000
    47500February 2000
    48000March 2000
    49000April 2000
    49500May 2000
    50000June 2000
    50500July 2000
    51000September 2000
    51250November 2000
    51500January 2001
    51750February 2001
    52000March 2001
    55400May 2002
    Until 1997, on a normal production day, approximately 52 cars were build daily
  9. Q: Is there a club for my car? A: There are a couple of clubs, actually. If you live in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Hungary, Switzerland, the UK or Japan, then go to http://www.fiatbarchetta.com/club.

For further information, read the buyers-guide on the web-page at:

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© 1996-1998 Marc Kloosterman
© 1998-1999 barchetta World Club