Following Mr. P. J. Doyle's letter to you in the August issue regarding his troubles with his Fiat 132 1800 S it may be of interest to your readers to hear of my troubles with my Fiat 124 Special T 1600.
I had previously owned a Fiat 128 with which I had been highly delighted and had virtually no trouble with it. On taking delivery of the Special T, I had only done 246 miles when the speedo cable broke, and by this time I had found the gearbox very noisy, especially when in neutral. This was reported to my local agent where I had purchased the car. The cable was subsequently replaced the following week (the car could only be used illegally in this time!), but I was told this trouble with the gearbox would have to be left until a greater mileage had been covered in the event that it may improve! As can be imagined, the gearbox gradually got worse, a distinct knocking noise occurring in neutral, but disappearing when the clutch was depressed. "[his would suggest to me that there is something amiss with the layshaft.
Therefore I contacted my supplier once again, but they told me that they had contacted Fiat's Warrington Depot, but were not to proceed with any warranty work. I eventually contacted the Warrington Depot myself and arranged to take the car for test (some seventy miles return journey). They finally agreed that it was noisy and they would strip the gearbox down for inspection. Whilst it was there I asked them to check for a misfire which was occurring at any speed above 4,500 r.p.m. When the car was returned to me after seven days, the gearbox was much improved but the misfire was still present. The car had by this time done approximately 2,000 miles. It is worth mentioning here that the dealer was not prepared to provide me with alternative transport. I was informed that a bearing had been replaced in the gearbox, and the misfiring was due to the engine being overfilled with oil(?).
After only a few days use the gearbox was as bad as ever, and therefore I decided to write to Brentford (i.e. Fiat - England). I received a prompt reply stating that they had looked into my problem regarding the gearbox and had been informed by Warrington that everything was in perfect working order, and the noise could be reduced by setting the idling speed at 1,000 r.p.m. The car had now covered 4,600 very annoying miles and I would respectfully suggest that, bearing in mind that I am an engineer myself; I am likely to be able to judge far better than someone who test drives the car for only a couple of miles.
Once again I have reported the trouble to my local agent but I am told that all Fiat 124 ST gearboxes are noisy and therefore I must accept this! I would be interested to hear of other owners' experiences with these cars. When I tell my fellow enthusiasts of this, they burst into fits of laughter and make a note never to buy a Fiat. I must add that I have finally had the misfiring cured, but it has cost me £4.61 at my local agents even though the car is still under guarantee and has only covered 4,600 miles. However, since I change my cars every twelve months (for reliability!) I have only to put up with it another nine months! So, what next? Perhaps a Citroen G.S. for reliability.
Keep up the good work with the magazine which I read with interest every month.
Burnley. R. J. HARDAKER.