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Thread: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

  1. #1
    D.L.
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    Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Hi All,

    This is the longterm ownership review of my Fiat Grande Punto 90HP (2012 model), along with all the mods, DIY changes/improvements, upgrades, ICE etc, over the time included report.


    Brief Prelude:

    My previous car,

    Swift Ldi (Dec 2007), we had to buy this one while the viva was still at home, as a second car, bought this one with a way stretched budget at that time, went with this one as it was a diesel car and decent handling(only compared to new Hyundai cars). But it was only after we bought it that, I found out what we bought was not as great as it was hyped out at the time.

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    What car and Why:


    It had been four and a half years with the Swift Ldi, and I had had enough with poorly built car, yes it was!. There are threads on(team-bhp, my handle there is rider60) how I installed the ICE in this car, the lengths I went to make this car's interiors more attractive and pain I took to make this car rattle free, but it did not come around for me.

    In-spite of all my efforts, there was always something or the other that went wrong with the car. Given its poor build quality.

    Now, after having owned these cars, and after having driven many from the family for a few years now, my requirements were very clear.


    My Requirements:


    1. My next car should be a Hatchback/Notchback.


    2. It should be well designed, well built(quality of parts wise) and well made(no more damned rattles/jugaads).


    3. It should have better/equivalent handling and steering precision compared to my Accent viva(crdi). (Man, I still miss that car.)


    4. A decent Authorised service station was okay by me. As per me, except the Maruti and Hyundai, no other service station is awesome enough to write home about, that is by and large.(There are always exceptions)


    5. It should not be super expensive to maintain.


    6. It should be a diesel for only one reason alone, the turbo kick!


    7. Most important of all, the car should have, A Balance between the power it produces, the power its body can handle, and stability while cornering and braking.


    The Contenders:


    #1 Volkswagen Polo Tdi.

    #2 Skoda Fabia Tdi.

    #3 Ford Figo Tdci.

    #4 Tata Indica Vista Quadrajet.

    #5 Fiat Grande Punto Multijet.


    All the above cars lacked somewhere or the other. Like for instance in spite of being a good package, Figo wasn't very mod friendly and it lacked power.



    I did have the plans to even wait for the polo 1.6tdi ~ GT tdi, man I am glad I dint wait. Reason being that, this car was launched one and a half years after my purchase, although had all those aspects as per my expectations, still dint match the stability and solid road sticking quality of my Punto (of-course as per me). One more worthy mentioning negative aspect regarding the polo 1.6 Tdi is its really hard clutch.


    Now the reason for not choosing any of the Japanese or Korean or the re-badged Japanese was very simple, they either lacked the build or handling or both.


    Why Fiat Punto and why Punto 90hp?


    It was FIAT Punto 90hp for me, after I took a long test drive on the ORR, which the malik cars guys were kind enough to oblige, I was set that, I would get this one.


    The other reasons for picking this one was the AWESOME service support from Malik Cars dealer Hyderabad. Sadly, it dint last long, Fiat and Tata parted ways around 6months, after I bought my car.


    Pros:

    The ride, cornering ability and that balance I was after was in this car.

    highest power in a hatchback at the time ~ 90HP.

    Solid build.

    National Engine on this car meant, the service/parts availability benefits it comes with.


    Cons:

    This hydro-mechanical unit not as perfect as I expected.(Accent /palio Hydralic steering unit was dead on target in comparison.)

    Interiors could have been either all black or beige like Linea's.

    A.S.S was very questionable out of Hyderabad at the time, as it was Tata A.S.S that serviced Fiat too.


    Here, it was, my Grande Punto 90HP. A big thanks to Malik guys for that long test drive and arranging me with 16" Linea T-Jet alloys on the car even before delivery.

    This is how the car was delivered.


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    I wrote the car's Pros in brief above, now some of them in little more detail. Ever since Accent viva, I wanted a car with as precise steering as this one, and a better handling car. I admit accent-viva dint handle well. But, when I said precise, I meant, I always knew where my cars wheels would land next when under 3 digit speeds, people who have driven this car would know this. This was my primary expectation from Punto.

    Well, I test drove all the other cars I considered and rejected them for reasons above. But, when I test drove punto, this car did not have that kind of steering, but matched 90%. What it lacked in steering precision, it made up for the same in terms of Handling. I put this car through bad-broken patches and corners. It handled all those road undulations and still stayed in a Straight Line. There was slight body roll too, but this is due to the raised suspension on cars sold 2012 on wards. This din't matter much because no other car in my budget handled like this car. By the time I finished the test drive, a had a smile plastered to my face. I went in and paid the booking amount the very same day.

    These drive dynamics and all other aspects considered, I knew this was the car. I think God smiled up on me and said, I grant your wish of seeking such a car that I could afford. This pro of the car made me so happy that, I forgot all the vices it came with.

    Pros:

    #1. Again, that balance between power it has, the stability and braking all in excellently caliberated balance.

    #2. Good interior space.

    #3. Frugal enough to maintain, both KMPL and annual maintenance wise.

    #4. This car is built like a tank.

    #5. Light clutch pedal.

    Cons:

    #1. cramped pedals.

    #2. Not bad, but ergonomics of this car need getting used to.

    #3. A.S.S. of Fiat. It is not the car, its them. But, they are not as bad as they used to be, they are getting better each year for sure.

    #4. Car was on offer only in 3 colors at the time. I really really wanted the Navy blue punto, but they dint give me a choice. BNW was rejected at home, and Black I dint want for technical reasons.



    There are is one thing, I want to write about the gearing of this car, while most people consider this a con, I find it okay. Most of the people here are used to Japanese/Korean tuned cars, where the 1st and 2nd gears are tall enough, but in this car they are short causing a problem to drive in traffic here. But, the trick I came about to counter this was pretty simple. stay above 1500Rpm and below 2000Rpm in 1st & 2nd gears while in traffic and one would not need as many gear changes. Once above 30Kmph shift to 3rd and cruise, but stay in the power band. This did not affect my car's mileage. Its just the way this car is tuned/made.


    The first year's ownership experience was a breeze. The car clocked close to 12000kms first year. I kept the car dead stock, and used it like shut it, fill it, forget it.


    Deep down I wanted to upgrade audio and a plethora of things on this baby and I patiently saved up for the same.

  2. #2
    D.L.
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    One boring but, informational post I would like to post is the ownership costs so far, the general services.

    First (free) service was done in march 2013,

    This was just a general check up, dint cost me anything, just a routine check up and fluid top ups.




    Now, Second (free~only labour fee) service: This was done in sept 2013, same month as the car purchase.

    Engine oil cost Rs.2320.
    Oil Filter Rs.411.
    Fuel filter element Rs.2059
    Engine air filter Rs.402.
    A/c Air filter Rs.199.

    All costs inclusive of taxes, and the grand total was Rs.5391.




    Third (free~only labour fee) service: It was done in sept 2014, and it was two year completed. As as general practice with all my cars, I change all fluids every two years, irrespective of the manufacturer's recommendation of change at a later date and usage, as fluids, rubber and battery age with time regardless of usage.

    This time around the following things were done,

    Engine oil cost Rs.1920.
    Oil Filter Rs.411.
    Fuel filter element Rs.2059
    Engine air filter Rs.410.
    A/c Air filter Rs. 210.
    complete coolant replacement Rs.1352.
    gear box/transmission oil replacement Rs.1200
    rear drum/shoe cleaning/bleeding and other labour Rs.813. (as these are not part of the general free service)


    So, grand total was Rs.8375.




    Now in dec of 2014, I had to get a intermittent service done, needed brake pads change. I asked them to do that and bleed the brakes too. These needed a change at 21K KMS.

    cost of brake pads (Front only) Rs.3290 for the set.
    Brake bleeding,brake oil and labour Rs.1025.
    I changed a clogged/choked a/c airfilter too. Rs. 199
    labour for changing the filter was Rs.210 damn.

    So, the total was, Rs.4724.




    Fourth paid service was done around sept 2015.

    Engine oil cost Rs.1980.
    Oil Filter Rs.432.
    Fuel filter element Rs.2162
    Engine air filter Rs.431.
    A/c Air filter Rs. 221.
    labour Rs. 1354.

    Also 2 glow plugs were replaced under extended warranty FOC.

    And the grand total came to Rs.6580.


    I was very ecstatic to see the usual service costs! to say the least, over the years, on comparison with my previous car, swift LDI, (owned from 2007 Dec to July 2012) it had service intervals of 10k kms or 6months, and YOY service cost, for swift I ended up paying 800 to 1700 rupees more.

    So much for the cheap to maintain image. This is given, the Dollar/Rupee value was way lesser back then.

  3. #3
    D.L.
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Done with the ownership costs, I am just rubbing my hands together before I begin to type all the exciting things in,

    Here goes the mods, DIYs, ICE, etc.

    The following list of mods and ICE were done at a go during march 2014.

    First thing I wanted off the car were Fiat's OE 16" alloy wheels. The reasons being,

    1. These were unbelievably heavy.

    2. They were softer than other manufacturer's alloy wheels.

    3. They did cost me a bomb.

    They aided more in slowing down a already heavy car and braking. But, the drive dynamics considerably improved with lesser side wall height tyres on these 16" wheels, that's all there is to them.

    I scouted hard and found these alloy wheels,

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    These weighed 5+Kg per wheel as against 9.5+Kg per wheel of the 16" Fiat's. That is almost half. These are plati's limited edition racing wheels and I got hub rings for these, boy o boy did I instantly feel the car pick-up after the change. PCD was a match but, ET~offset of stock wheel was 44 and these had an offset of 40. I dint face any problems with these.





    Next, the suspension was up for an upgrade. Given my driving the car is on bad roads, highways being constructed kind of roads, the stock suspension did become a little weak compared to cars with similar mileage on the ODO. This meant a little more body roll.

    So the solution I chose was,


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    These are Bilstein B6. The car transformed in to a steady almost no body roll machine. Admittedly the ride became a little stiffer, but I loved the way car moved after this.






    Then, it was turn of the seats, given I do long drives in this car, 12hours straight at times, I wanted harder cushioning, better back support and under thigh support. Not that the stock was soft, but this was my preference.



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    These seats are custom made to suit my height and boy did I pat myself on my back for this. Post this the seats in the car were awesomely comfortable even on city drives. I could instantly feel the difference when I occasionally drove dad's car.




    Now, fixing the a small but important part of driving experience, which Fiat left unfinished.


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    Yes, the dead pedal. Fiat did give a dead pedal on this car. But, it's just a hollow plastic part. Every time I put my foot down the alignment of this big piece of plastic would go off and it used to stick out at my left chin. Filled up this part with a big chunk piece of contoured MDF wood wrapped in plastic and voila problem solved. And yes this one was DIY.





    Now, fixing a small design flaw by fiat. It is a small but very irritating problem for some. Fellow Punto/Linea owners, every wondered why your seat height adjustment won't stay in the position you set it in? It's not the faulty seat at all.


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    It is that extra long plastic lever in the first pic. Every time you get in and/or out of the car this lever gets pressed and naturally the seat height would go down. I took me a few months to understand this design flaw. And I finally solved it by making a custom lever for the same. It doesn't cost much, but works like a charm. Fiat should do this. Other manufacturers have a better design on the seats in their cars as I checked out. This one was thought out and executed by your's truly too, DIY baby!.





    Another upgrade is, a combo of things, I have seen my friend's I20 with that automatic dimming IRVM. It even houses a screen for a rear camera. I wanted my accessories shop guy to fit one of these Hyundai part in my car, but he gave me an almost exact product. It works like a charm too.

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    The view of the rear view, the clear one is day lit, the other one was taken at night time. It does light up just as good in pitch dark places too, this is given the fact that Punto has reverse light at the bottom on the bumper, unlike other cars.


    Now a thing I really have to mention is how my guy had this installed in my car. A normal or most of the car accessories dealers would slice your reverse light for power supply for this to work. I stood dead on NO TOUCHING of Stock wires period. He came up with this.


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    Take a close look at both these pics, there is a physical tiny switch installed there for the reverse camera to switch on when reverse gear is engaged.

    Take a close look at both these pics, there is a physical tiny switch installed there for the reverse camera to switch on when reverse gear is engaged.

    Frankly, I never expected this level of sophistication from car accessories dealers in Hyderabad. A big thanks to Mr. Akshay of PITSTOP Exclusive Pvt. Ltd. car accessories, for putting up with my no stock wire touching policy and delivering one of the best installation service in India. Not just this, even my car audio and other things were done here in Hyderabad. This is surprising since, there are hardly such installs in my city, it is usually Bangalore, Cochin, Mumbai or up north cars/guys who showcase such sophistication and workman-ship. I am proud to say we have all of that in Hyderabad too now. More of no stock wires touched in the further story will be seen too.

    My car has successfully completed 30,000Kms so far. And everything feels as good as new, just like the day of car's delivery.


    There is a lot more coming up on this review/report, will keep you guys posted. Let me know what you guys think so far. Cheers to all.

  4. #4
    Seeded Driver Punter's Avatar
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    I think this is one of the best ownership review on MFW.com, rated 5 stars and added user reputation as well.

    The way you have included the decision of buying Punto 90HP, I am sure it will be helpful to the people who are planning to buy a new car.

    OEM 16" Turbine Blade alloys was looking better on Punto. New alloys also look good however I would like suggest you to

    1) add lip to the alloys may be Red/Black color vinyl. Trying DIY for this.
    2) Get brake callipers and rear drum painted in Red color along with Black roof. and I am sure it will give your car distinct look.
    3) Black front grill from Punto Active variant. You can buy it for Rs. 1000 (upper and lower grill)
    4) Smoked Headlights or Projector headlights. You can buy Smoked OEM headlights for GP from Kawa Motors, Mumbai.
    5) Try doing powder coating of alloys..may be white, Gun Metal or dark brawn color.
    6) After market rear spoiler black in color.

    Check few photos of my car which had also go some nice mods. Please note now I have removed Abarth decals.

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    Last edited by Punter; 15-10-2015 at 09:58 AM.
    Punter

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  5. #5
    Marshal Rudrah's Avatar
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Excellent write up, Rider

    Its amazing to know such detailed thoughts one can give to a car where even the manufacturer has missed it.

    With the additional weight of the alloys (9.5kg for a piece is huge), what was the impact on handling and mileage?

    Braking has always been Punto's top skill leaving all Palio owners fuming

    I'm sure this is just the beginning intro for us, keep it coming bro~
    Sinfully Sexy, Shamelessly Raw, Explicitly Powerful. Nothing better than the Palio 1.6 Horse!
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  6. #6
    D.L.
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Thanks for the kind words guys.

    I will post rest of the mods and things I did, once I compile them. Stay tuned.

    @Punter, hi, I am not that much into cosmetic mods, substantial ones do give me a kick. I am more of a substance over form guy and such mods give me a bigger kick. I did try my hand at the cosmetic mods, will be posting that too, but yeah there is a reason behind that cosmetic mod too. hehehee.

    @Rudrah, yeah bro, this is just the beginning, I will soon post the rest too.
    Last edited by rider16; 19-10-2015 at 03:36 PM.

  7. #7
    Marshal Sid's Avatar
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Superb ownership reviews and loved your custom mods to the Punto


    The level is detail in the thread is incredible...fantastic stuff buddy
    My lug nuts require more torque than your Honda makes

  8. #8
    Seeded Driver Hrushikesh's Avatar
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Superb Ownership review @Rider16. Welcome to MyFiatWorld.com

    Hrushikesh

  9. #9
    Seeded Driver
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Hi rider16. A nice review!

    Now I'm also wanting a slightly stiffer suspension. How much did it cost you and where could I get it fixed if I chose to? Will it jack up the car since mine rides on 185/70/R14.

    Thanks!
    Vijeth
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    3) Palio NV 1.2 (Sold)
    4) Punto 1.3 Active (54000 kms Sold)
    5) Renault Kwid 1.0 EASY-R (New Arrival)

  10. #10
    D.L.
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    @Vijethcm

    hi, I have been long off this forum now. well, the ride does get a little stiffer, and I love every bit of it, car just holds its ground!.

    The car's stance would become a little lower than the post 2012 punto and linea cars, but higher than the original 2009 puntos and lineas.

    For the current cost and stuff, you are better off talking to Mr.Akshay of pitstop(exclusive pvt ltd Hyderabad), 8897879888. I had this and other stuff like ICE and seats etc installed and paid in lump-sum, so, I dont remember exactly now.

  11. #11
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Thank you rider16. Interesting to know on the lowered ride height. Well I have as of today done a little more than 35K kms on my car and realized that for my driving style - I need a higher ground clearance, bigger tires, and stiffer suspension to tackle sharp curves. SO in a terribly confused state of mind and in no position to shell out "M". Nevertheless your response helps!

  12. #12
    D.L. Raaj's Avatar
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    Re: Journey with my F.G.P. 90HP, Saga of ownership/mods/DIY projects/ICE Etc.

    Excellent Ownership review. Thanks a lot for sharing. Enjoy this beast.

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