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
Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Electronics
Section 3: Exterior
Section 4: Interior
Section 5: Funny noises
Section 6: Miscellaneous
Section 1: Introduction
Q: What does barchetta mean?
A: Little boat
Q: What does FIAT mean?
A: Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino
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.
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
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.
Q: What does the name 'Maggiora' in the door mean?
A: Maggiora is a coach builder who assembles the car in Chivasso (Torino)
Q: If Maggiora assembles the car, then where is the chassis made?
A: The body is welded at Ilcas in Sparone
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
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
Grundig has come up with a "solution": swap your radio with a version that doesn't seek
1999-model barchettas have a new Clarion radio installed with CD-changer option!
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).
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.
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.
- 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.
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
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
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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).
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.
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
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
Q: I want to replace the steeringwheel with a third-party one.
A: Any wheel designed for the Punto Sporting should fit.
Q: How do I keep my cockpit clean?
A: I use Valma Cockpit Spray (Mat glans/Finition Satinée/Matt polish)
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
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
1036 C 401 MA PHASE TRANSFORMER COMPLETE WITH INLET CAMSHAFT
Fiat Service News 11/96 English
Fiat Service News 11/96 Dutch
Fiat Service News 11/97 Dutch
BBC's Watchdog consumer programme.
Q: There is another strange sound in my engine: is my exhaust pipe
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.
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
Q: It's quietly ticking all the way
A: That's the fuel pump you're hearing. Nothing unusual, maybe a little
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.
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
Q: The engine keeps stalling when running idle.
A: Big problem, 2 small solution (before your dealer starts taking your
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
Q: I'm live in UK and just ordered a barchetta. Will I get it in the promised
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.
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
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.
|1000||2nd week of February 1995|
|4500||1st week of May 1995|
|7500||1st week of July 1995|
|11000||2nd week of October 1995|
|14000||1st week of December 1995|
|15000||2nd week of January 1996|
|19000||4th week of April 1996|
|20000||4th week of May 1996|
|Until 1997, on a normal production day, approximately 52 cars were build daily|
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
For further information, read the buyers-guide on the web-page at:
Submit questions or answers for this FAQ to me
© 1996-1998 Marc Kloosterman
© 1998-1999 barchetta World Club