Euro 124 Spider Reduced Power
It is more than a little disappointing that the American version of the Fiat 124 Spider, otherwise exactly the same car, puts out 160 bhp against the EU version (including the UK for now!) at a somewhat hobbled 138 bhp. There is no published reason as to why these cars have been specced differently for different markets. Various people have speculated that Mazda had some input, different approaches for different markets, headroom for future cars etc etc but whatever the reason I’ve no doubt it all seemed perfectly rational to some highly paid marketing bods sat round a table drinking coffee and eating pastries. However, what isn’t rational to the driver of an EU spec car is why the first decent, affordable, front engined rear wheel drive roadster in many years has only been given a measly 140 bhp when the engine that has been put in it is capable of so much more and that our cousins across the Atlantic have already got some of it! The fact that these cars, albeit in Abarth guise, come out of the factory with full warranty at 170 bhp immediately indicates that the this engine is relatively comfortably capable more than 140 bhp if you go about it properly.
The fact that these cars, albeit in Abarth guise, come out of the factory with full warranty at 170 bhp immediately indicates that the this engine is relatively comfortably capable more than 140 bhp if you go about it properly.
With some quick research on performance modifications for the Fiat 124 it is hard to avoid a company from the US called Eurocompulsion who specialise mainly in upgrades for Fiat and Alfa Romeo. They have several threads on www.124spider.org, which is a great forum and a mine of information if you own a 124. Their mods range from simple bolt ons such as intakes and filters right through to ECU flash tunes and even fully cloned ECU swaps. Their reputation appears very good as does their response time to questions across the forum. Following the upgrade to the diverter with the GFB DV+, the next logical step was the intake. There some are very polarised views on the benefits of swapping intakes, especially if you don’t make any other significant mods. Most modern intakes are perfectly capable of supplying all the air and more that even a modestly tuned car needs. However, Eurocompulsion make some pretty bold claims about there’s, especially the Eurocompulsion V4 intake, and it does look a whole lot better than the stock item – very important too!
As there is no UK/European distributor for Eurocompulsion, if you live in outside the USA, delivery, VAT and import duty have to be considered when ordering. Delivery alone is not cheap, so if you are considering any other EC upgrades it may well be worth your while getting them in one hit or maybe sharing costs with someone else thinking along the same lines. I subsequently bought their Euro+Drive flash tune module which includes Phase 1 and Phase 2 tunes (more on that to come in another post) so could have saved myself $50 if I’d been bold enough initially.
Fitting the Eurocompulsion V4 Intake
The Eurocompulsion V4 Intake kit arrived safely after a short hold up in customs (they have to write to you with the bill for VAT and import duty etc) and everything needed except a few tools is included, even a couple of lollies to help you concentrate. Fitting was pretty straightforward with only one niggle that I’ll come to below. First of all you have to remove the stock intake. All is explained very well in the EC instructions available online. Basically, it’s simply a matter of carefully disconnecting the evap/vacuum lines, undoing a few jubilee clips and one bolt in the bottom of the airbox, removing the small plastic engine cover and undoing the bracket holding the larger vacuum line at the turbo end of the intake. This isn’t actually necessary for removal but makes disconnecting the pipe and fitting a lot easier. Literally a 5 minutes job and you are set to start fitting the new intake.
Again, the instructions are perfectly adequate here as so no need to repeat. However, after reconnecting the large vacuum hose at the turbo end of the intake, the bracket that holds the pipe wouldn’t line back up with its mount. It became clear that pipe entered the intake at a point too far forward, towards the front of the car, as if the intake needed pushing further onto the turbo. Now, there is a rolled pin inserted into the turbo charger itself where the intake attaches. This ensures that the stock intake is oriented correctly as it has a slot in it which fits around this pin. The V4 doesn’t have such a slot, so I initially cut one but this still wasn’t enough. I pulled the pin out carefully with pliers but still the V4 would not line up properly. In the end I carefully set about removing 7-8mm from the turbo end of the intake with a very sharp knife. This did the job and all lined up perfectly. Once everything is lined up tighten al the clips and you’re good to go.
I haven’t dynoed it myself because I wasn’t really expecting any real world performance improvement. Can I feel any difference? No but then even if it does add a couple of horse power I doubt I would be able to tell. What I can say is that, with the hood down, it makes some very subtle but very nice noises.
This is probably in combination with the GFB DV+ diverter upgrade but you can definitely hear a subtle ppsshhh as excess boost is dumped back into the intake. Not the overt noise a blow of valve would make but then I’m too old for all that nonsense. As well as the sound it does look a whole lot better.
If you want more intake noise you need something like the V2 intake from EC. This has an open filter element but draws the air from inside the engine bay, which is far from ideal as far as I’m concerned. The V4 intake is a cold air intake, as is the original intake, taking air from outside front of the car. Cold air is denser, contains more oxygen per cubic metre and therefore can be mixed with more fuel.
What about my warranty??
I doubt very much that any harm will come to an engine through using an aftermarket intake from a reputable company. The main potential issue would be from an inadequate air filter, which would be immediately apparent by inspecting the turbo blades. You can also potentially get fault codes due to incorrect vacuum readings, although no such codes for me after fitting the Eurocompulsion V4 Intake. In any event, Fiat would have to prove that the intake caused the problem to refuse warranty work. They certainly would have a lot of trouble challenging, say, a gearbox failure because you fitted an aftermarket intake. Don’t forget to tell your insurance company though. Our existing insurers wouldn’t accept it but they were online with limited options. We switched to LV with full disclosure and they happily accepted it with no extra charge.
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