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Ash's Fiat Fiorino start of journey


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In continuation to my introduction

I am a new driver now, and am looking to get a car. (Note : I am from Israel. I won't be looking for a car in the UK)

I am looking for a car that can accomodate my activity - The building of a design house & workshop for power electrical, electromechanical and electronic projects, and my current part time job as electrician. So, a car in which i can carry tool boxes, electrical part assortments, occasionally racks of control equipment, and occasionally ladders and big rolls of cables and conduits

As engineer i do like classic and dumb things - Ones i can understand and maintain completely on my own, and ones that aren't "smart" in the twisted modern sense of it

It is very hard to find here any "classic" cars here at all (i mean - normal car as i wish for, not as in old luxury car) - It is either overpriced to the skies, or really at the end of its life, or just is of no particular advantage over other options

So am looking for suitable car, modern but still easy to maintain, and definitely one that is driven by me (rather than by any automatic whatever-assist systems)

And it must be fairly cheap, as that's what i can afford. I won't be naming prices as we have different price ranges, in different currency, which represent not only the car itself but also different taxes, but i think you can figure from the context what sort of price range we are looking at


So i am quite settled on a specific car i am looking for : Fiat Fiorino (also Fiat Qubo, Citroen Nemo, Peugeot Bipper, its all the same car)

Low limit on the car (wear and tear condition, km, year, price) comes from the fact that those have been commercial cars and abused as such. Beyond some line it's cars that will fall apart allready in the test ride. From the cars i could check out, this line is somewhere around 2010 year of registration

High limit on the car comes from stuff introduced at later years which i absolutely don't want in my car - namely all sorts of "assist" systems that drive it instead of me, as well as price. For some cars either limit comes before the other, and it is generally somewhere in 2014ish

I want the car only with manual transmission, and don't yet have the driving experience to have any preference for petrol vs. diesel

Generally i do plan to keep the car for years to come. For now this will be my one and only car. Eventually (in a few years) it might be promoted into more of a "spare car" role


I am now after checking out the 2nd such car i found on 2nd hand lists here. My experiences with the cars :



[b]1st car checked : Fiat Fiorino 2010 1.4 Petrol[/b]

Car with original engine and transmission, 260K km

It was hard to arrange with the seller to find a time when we both are available (and he is in a remote city). We arranged to meet at a car test service station and run the tests (and this being on Friday, we ran it into the test before even any 1st hand inspection, as the service station were about to close early)

The car overheating :

The guy drove the car (mostly downhill) from where he is located towards the test facility entrance. I met him at the gate and drove the car into the parking. Figured there is a problem with the clutch (see below), but otherwise it went okay. I left the car running while parked

As it came time to move the car into the test venue, i seen that the car is overheating and there is coolant running under the car. The coolant was blowing out from the container. The fan was not running. The test facility added coolant and the car went through the rest of the test without additional coolant boiling

So : 1. Fan is bad or electrical problem with the fan control, 2. Unknown whether there is any engine damage from such overheating incidents (sure this wasn't the first incident). I do imagine that the coolant loop in general is still running, as the car didn't overheat when it was driving (with front wind blowing to the radiator)

The clutch :

The clutch pedal felt hard, not in "press it against a strong spring" way, but in a "there is friction in the cable" way - It went hard and with grinding in both directions

The clutch action took place completely near the very top of the pedal movement. I.e. touch the pedal very lightly and the clutch is in partial engagement. Touch it a bit more (still very lightly) and the clutch is disengaged completely. All the rest of the pedal movement is meaningless

I had the engine shut off a few times while switching gears 1 and R in the parking, but i can't with certainity tell if it's me dropping the clutch too abruptly (sorta hard not to with such pedal behavior) or some additional engine power related problem

The axle :

Front left axle makes a rattling sound every now and then

Wear :

There is significant visible wear and tear pretty much everywhere, but no signs of accidents or chassis or metal repairs. The duct from the air intake to the filter housing is missing, the filter just pulls air from under the hood

Test facility results :

Chassis inspection - intact, suspensions - intact, compression - they say intact - but i haven't seen them remove any spark plugs - All they did was pop a pressure meter into the oil gauge and write down something, emissions - intact

Test drive :

The test drive was done at the "Check Post" industrial area in Haifa. The place is completely plain, so i couldn't test it's performance going uphill. Other than the clutch issue, it seemed to drive fairly enough. I drove it around the empty inner roads of the industrial area (short day, everyone was allready standing in the big jam in the Check Post main road) and took it for a drift on an empty parking lot



[b]2nd car checked : Fiat Qubo 2013 1.3 Diesel Multijet[/b]

Car with replaced engine and transmission, 270K km. The owner says that the engine was replaced with an imported (from the EU) 2nd hand engine, and transmission was replaced locally due to a problem with one of the gears

I checked out the car today, and will take it into a test service facility later this week

Front impact :

The front bumper is complete and not bent/creased in any way, but it is a little off and several of its mounting tabs are broken, and it is held in place with the help of sheet metal screws and a ziptie

Behind it (under the hood) are the 2 forward going beams of the chassis. On the front of the beams are (attached by bolts) flat metal panels, over which there is a crushable sheet metal accordion - the crumple zone component. The panels are a little bent (which is why the bumper is off), and the accordion is partially squashed (not to its full capacity). I can imagine that this car hit into the back of another car on a stop light or something similar at some point. There is no damage to the chassis itself - If i replace the parts which are attached by bolts, then everything is back to factory condition

There are no signs of impacts or body work repairs anywhere else (i have checked under the door gaskets etc)

Windshield :

There is a BB-like hole in the windshield, somewhere near the top. It will have to be replaced, as it is illegal here to drive with any damage to windshield, regardless of the extent of the damage

Engine :

With the engine idling (working temp, n=900), the engine itself vibrates to 1...2mm peak-peak, and the air filter housing to 5...7mm peak-peak. I wonder if this is normal or a bit too much. If i hold the air filter housing with my hand then it doesn't vibrate as much

Engine sound seems ok to me, it is similar to what i am familiar with in general coming from diesel cars

Oil and coolant seem clean before the test ride, and are clean (no signs of either one getting into the other) after the ride. (There is some very light "polarizing film" color on the surface of the coolant in the tank, but it is almost invisible, doesn't feel oily on finger, and doesn't leave any residue when i dip stuff into there, so i dont think it is oil)

Emissions :

I haven't yet brought the car to the test facility, so this is just my field testing

When cranking (from cold start) white smoke was coming for about 2 secs and then stopped, all the rest of the time the exhaust was invisible and without smell, just like a hair dryer. it remains invisible at 3000 rpm (even when i prop the gas pedal with a box and go around the car to look up close). There is some smoke when i rev up to n=4500 or so

Holding paper against the exhaust at n=3000 for half a min doesnt leave any soot on the paper. There is some black powdery soot if i scrape it from inside the tube though

For what i know this car does have a DPF, and no catalytic

Test drive :

I took the car for a test drive on a country side road. When i enter an uphill slope with 3rd gear at 50...60 km/h (31...37 mi/h) in 3rd gear, the car just can't keep up. If i switch to 2nd gear, rev up to n=3000...3500 and switch to 3rd, then it continues going well (turbo charger active). But after the next curve and slope change i have to repeat it again

This is with 2 people (me driving + seller) and nothing else in the car

The engine is rated 75hp. I am trying to figure if it is manageable for me, or i gotta be looking at stronger engines. My place is in the rural areas in the north of Israel, where most roads are on a slope, and there are some specific places where there is a sharp slope or a slope with turn. I dont mind to do the latter few known places slowly, but do want the long stretches (some of which are on lighter slopes) to be fast, including when the car is loaded with typical electrician stuff

The clutch and gear switching work perfectly

Wear and minor issues :

There is significant visible wear and tear on the interior, some plastics are not assembled very well, there is a problem with the folding of the rear seats. Wipers intermittently dont work (haven't tested, thats what the seller says). Some door gaskets need repairing



I think that overall the 2nd car is okay, but would like to see what you say. Lets see what comes up in the test

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Small vans, my kind of vehicle!

I don’t know anything about this particular model but good luck. 

Of the two you describe, I would take the petrol with the clutch problem. Clutch stuff is easy enough to get diagnosed and routine for mechanics to fix. Overheating might be easy or might be headgasket etc., but, hey, at least it is a simple petrol engine.

Wait for option 3?

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With the 1st car i am concerned about the possibility of invisible engine block damages (beginning of cracks, etc, that are not yet starting to show up) as result of the overheating occasions and/or running borderline hot all the time, for i don't know how frequently and how long, which will lead to an imminent engine failure

A replacement engine is a very significant cost addition to the price of the car itself (more than 1/2). It is sort of taking chance (maybe this engine will last for many more years still, maybe not), i don't know the odds. If i do assume the engine is about to need replacement, then i might as well go look for a car in better condition to begin with

Sorting the overheating problem itself is not the issue (at most a minor electrical fix and some cleaning)

As for the clutch, if it disengages at the lightest touch, maybe it is not fully engaged so little grinding all the time. In this case it will be worn to the point of needing replacement. Same consideration as with the engine apply

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Have put today the 2nd car through the test facility (a different one than the 1st car)


Engine and oil :

They started the car and ran it inside the facility building while testing it. The car did smell the entire place with "diesel smell". Also, allthough i havent noticed much smoke except when starting or revving, they say the car does smoke significantly

The sound it makes when starting is a bit uneven on cold start initially, then in a few sec it becomes the usual sound of an old small diesel (with significant knocking, but not unlike the sound of most older vans in general). They do mention all of this (as abnormal), including the starting, running, and "valve noise"

There are some oil leaks around the oil tray and in spots elsewhere, and "TODO check oil consumption during driving" in the report

They found a diesel leak at one of the injectors

One of the engine mounts (which they went under the car to inspect, i wasn't allowed to come under it so haven't seen it) is broken or otherwise damaged

The turbo is whistling at certain rpm

There is exhaust smell inside the car when the air conditioning is running. (Which means some of the noise could as well be from it..)


2nd test run :

The test facility driver took the car to ride on the same road on which i took it 2 days ago. We (2 people in the car, with aircon on) could go uphill on that road at about 70...80 km/h (44...50 mi/h), with engine around n=3000

So i assume the horsepower is sufficient or atleast borderline sufficient for my needs

However, is this normal to run the engine at the max torque it can deliver (for n=3000ish) over significant parts of the ride ? (Is the dominant part of engine wear dependent just on the rpm, or also on the torque ?)


Other significant finds :

They say the gear gets stuck and they could not shift it properly a few times during the test run

I think i figured what they are talking about while driving the car through the parking lot after the run : It seems to lock the stick in place unless i floor the clutch. So it does seem like an intentional feature in a way, but i am not sure whether such feature really exists or it is a malfunction. (I never met anything like that before)

They found some clicking sound in the steering and front axle


Insignificant finds :

There are signs of impacts from the rear which had been repaired. I did sneak under the lift (against the rules) to have a look, and it seems to be insignificant to begin with, and had been repaired well, so i dont think it is of importance

There are many small and insignificant things that are broken, most of which i won't be in hurry to fix anyway (only on occasions as time allows)


Taking the car :

Overall, based on the findings regarding the engine, they warn that there may be a problem (up to a possible failure), and would recommend against buying the car because of the findings

I have my reservations which come down to :

1. I dont know whether the engine behavior is typical to just old (so with some wear, but still intact) diesels in general + few issues that are straightforward to solve, or any of the findings are possible specific signs of the beginning of an engine failure

2. If i can evaluate the cost of engine repair or replacement and the risk of failure, i can make some educated guess what costs to expect to "fall into". (Which i can then use to bargain with the seller over the cost of this car, or compare to the price of available other cars in better condition). If this ends up economically sensible, i might just as well take this car anyway and be prepared to do repairs if needed

3. Each additional car i go to check means taking a day off work (lost revenue), paying for a test facility for testing (cost), and no one guarantees that i will find that the car is better than others i already checked. To put things in perspective, the loss from 2x tested and rejected cars = approx cost of a new (used) gear box. 5x cars = approx cost of a new (used) engine

If i am to judge just from cars 1 and 2, then it can be seen that car 2 was more or less looked after over its life, despite the potential engine problem (on a replacement engine, that was replaced fairly recently) and some minor things. In contrast, car 1 does feel like something that was beaten up and neglected. If i am to assume that other possible cars on sale could be anywhere in this scale, this means that car 2 is representative of the "better" half or so of the cars i might find

However, i do want a car which will be sensible for me to keep for many more years, without putting a lot of money into repairs in the grand scheme of things. (I do plan to give the car all the TLC it needs to stay in good and well maintained shape, and can accept something "big" failing once in a few years, but not repeatedly replacing engines in short succession !)


Tomorrow :

I asked to get the engine looked at more throughly. They can check the smoke issue and emissions, which they will do tomorrow

I asked to get a 1st test "as is", then flush the system with whatever fuel additives they use to help cars pass the testing, and a 2nd test to compare


I would like to understand what are signs of "just old but normal" vs "possibly going bad right now" engine, what types of faults might be there, and what sort of repairs that could be

(repairs which involve just wrenches and a free weekend are something i'd be more than happy to do myself, but for things that need specialised equipment i will bring it to a mechanic)


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A 2013 Fiat would have a DPF I think if its EU spec. This means you shouldn't get any soot or smoke out of the tailpipe. The soot you can scrape is finer remains of the soot being burnt off during a DPF regen.

I don't think the vibration is a concern, diesels do vibrate more because the combustion pressure in the cylinder is higher, its just physics. 

One thing to check, if you have smells or smoke coming from the engine area, is whether there is leakage past the injectors. If its been going on for a while you'll get a black build up that looks a bit like coal. This can sometimes be fairly easy to repair but can also be very difficult if the buildup and the injectors can't be removed easily.

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For now i have dug up a few more of those from 2nd hand lists, this time upped a bit the price range. One diesel, others petrol, all 1.3...1.4 75hp. Would like to see how they fair

One is quite oddball : 3rd hand, 6700km. That one would be really preserved but at the same time rises questions why and how (is there a back story)


In any case, i would like to have some clue on diesel vs petrol from a driving standpoint :

Diesel (turbo, multijet) 1.3l 75hp

Petrol 1.4l 75hp

The roads i am going to drive on are mostly country side roads, with some uphill stretches, some short and some long. Many parts of those roads allow speeds of 80...90 km/h (50...56 mi/h) on a nice day (legal limit is 80 or 90 depending on specific road), and bigger roads allow 100+ (62+)

In addition, there are few isolated places where there is a particlarly sharp short uphill slope, sometimes along with a sharp turn. I dont mind to have to do those slow, but the car must still hold on

I am going to drive normally under those conditions, sometimes with minimum load (just me in a virtually empty car), and sometimes with moderately loaded car (assume 200kg as a representative high load case, 300kg as an extreme case)

I would like to understand :

1. How would diesel vs petrol affect the driving experience / required driving style to be able to go reasonably well on those roads with a fairly low hp engine

2. Whether this will be loading the engine to a point where it is under (temporary) overload. For example, having to rev it up to high rpm's in order to get sufficient torque (which is my concern regarding petrol, as i do expect the diesel to be able to cope better without revving up that much)

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Emissions on car 2 :

The car passed the emissions test, even though it kept smelling in an extent they (the test facility) call abnormal. They suggest to try flushing the fuel system & filling with fresh diesel, and test again


Car 3 :

Fiat Qubo 2013 1.3 Diesel Multijet

240K km, original engine & gear, replaced some parts such as axles etc. The car was seeing little to no use for a while now, and might have been standing unused for some time before today's testing

As i started the car some liquid (looks like water dirty with soot) dripped from the exhaust, and kept smoking significantly initially, at idle rpm of cold engine

While Car 2 only drew the test facility attention while they were running it inside the building, Car 3 instantly made the entire area within a radius (outdoors) smell as if it was a 70's 45kW generator, which i used to maintain at some place. (It's not at the test facility, just me examining the car in the seller's driveway)

I waited for the engine to warm up. It took very long to warm up compared to Car 2, which i guess is a good sign. After maybe 10 minutes (at idle) it still was not fully warm, but the smoke was gone

Under the engine there are very significant oil leaks around the oil tray and in other places

I consider the possibility that all of the above is normal for an engine that was standing unused for a while and have to burn off some dirt (and that the oil leaks could be just the quantity of oil that leaked from a small leak over extended period), however, i would like to see your input. And i will take it with those findings to the test facility in a couple days

Also, i would like to fix the leaks once i get the car if i choose this car


Driving car 3 :

The car generally seems to behave well

However, i do notice some oddity with the steering : If i only lightly turn the wheel, the car almost doesn't change direction. If i turn the wheel more significantly, then the car really catches up. I noticed this at first when going downhill in a town street, then tried to reproduce it when going back uphill and it was not as pronounced anymore


Other detail of car 3 :

This car used to belong to some nautical enthusiast (before the current owner who didn't drive it much or do much with it in general), according to the owner's description. (There are some clues in the car too). The previous owner seems to have put effort in maintaining, and also customizing the car (not in things which are significant for the choosing of which car to buy). The car was definitely not neglected in his hands


I will take car 3 to the test facility, and decide from there

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I’m not sure if the Fiorino petrol has the 1.4 Fire engine or the PSA TU but either way, I’d take one of these rather than the 1.3 Multijet diesel. They are great until the first signs of problems.

I’ve had the Multijet in a Panda and whilst it was noticeably quicker than the petrol, it was MUCH more complicated and just not worth it. Timing chains DO need changing at roughly 100,000miles and can snap sooner, injectors and all the various sensors/emissions gear are all potentially problematic versus the petrol.

Both the TU and Fire petrol units seem to go on and on with little aggravation until they are utterly worn out or the head gasket blows which is still an inexpensive job compared to the diesel.

Unless you are doing a lot of motorway driving or desperately need the better fuel consumption, get a petrol.

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I will drive on country roads, with significant slopes, some of them for short and some for long stretches. I assume that for doing that (at reasonable speed) on a petrol engine, i will have to rev it up to n=5000+ for the length of the stretch - Cant imagine it does any good to the engine. Tell me if i get it wrong

Not whole lot of absolute quentity of driving tho - I think i will clock km less than a typical "inside the city only" daily driver

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I’ve never been to Israel but is it any more hilly than the UK? I just googled ‘highest mountain in Israel’ and it’s suggesting its lower than the highest in the UK.

It’s a pretty vague comparison but I’d suggest a 1.4 petrol Fiorino would not NEED to be driven at 5000rpm anywhere in the UK unless you were trying to extract every last ounce of performance from it. 

Overall (in the most polite way I can) I’d suggest you are overthinking this. The petrol will be perfectly adequate and unless you want to tow with it, the petrol will be fine. Furthermore, if you aren’t doing big mileage, seriously……. Get a petrol.

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Early, until fairly recently the 1.4 petrol fiorino, Nemo etc road used the PSA 8v tu engine and ma gearbox, so if it suddenly went bang it wouldn't be difficult or expensive to repair, atleast in the UK. I don't know how many tu engined cars are where you are.

The 1.4 hdi would be second, again loads of cars used that engine, seems to be moderately reliable.

1.3 hdi is the fiat or vauxhall cdti, that are garbage. Avoid.

Not sure if that's what you were asking, my brain shut down after half of your first post .

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This is exactly the sort of input i am so missing : Understanding what to expect from those engines, so great appreciation for your posts

I want to be able to :

 - Drive at the average speed everyone else drives on those roads (~80 km/h uphill straight stretch), so not getting other cars tailgating me or trying to overtake

 - Not overload the engine while at that

 - Carry load which might be between 60...200kg normally, 300kg on rare occasions, or higher on very rare occasions (in which case i'll be fine with driving slow, but still want to be able to get e.g. into or out of a steep access to a village road without issues)

I don't currently have a trailer, but i see a towing hook on the car (which some of the cars i checked have) as a minor upgrade which i might eventually find useful for rare one-off occasions. I don't expect to drive as fast with a trailer

Allthough i am very new to driving, i evaluate my driving style as moderate....relaxed (if anything, i do aim to drive like that, or as we call it "Like in Europe"). I'm not looking into cutting in front of other cars all the time or stuff like that. I do look for a car that have some oomph to "pull through" when needed, within reasonable expectations


I have driven so far 2 higher power cars - 100hp+ manual diesel (the instruction car on which i was learning) and 100hp+ automatic petrol (mom's sedan) on the roads. Both were far more than capable of taking the road without feeling any limits, so with an 100hp car i can see that i would not mind either engine

The Car 2 (Qubo diesel) i have driven on a similar road (for a quick test), and while it was still adequate, i did feel that i have not much more headroom, when going uphill


It is hard to express the road slope on a straight section through pictures from Google, but maybe pictures of a few select turns on those roads can give insight. Below are few turns, as well as fairly typical slope on the entrance to a road in a village or some driveways

Hopefully i can arrange to check out a petrol Qubo on the next week





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I had a 2013 Fiorino with the 1.3 multijet for a work van for a while. I took it from c. 10k to 40k without any issues over 2 years, performance was adequate with the sort of load you are suggesting. However, once I got a new van and the Fiorino went to a colleague he had no end of problems with it due to injectors, electronics and emissions systems. It was eventually relegated to pool van use and written off by a different colleague. 

Whilst ok new I wouldn't seriously consider one as a used proposition. I think both the fiorinos we had went off fleet much earlier than other vehicles.

Though we did have a 2008 Citroen Nemo that got to over 300k miles (unknown final mileage due to odometer LCD failure) so the 1.4hdi in that proved ok.

We mainly had berlingos and they were generally trouble free even in the face of apathy and neglect as they were generally pool vans. 

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Sh'Eds your story looks like there have been other factors affecting the car reliability - 40K miles is really not much for any car, and the fact trouble started when the car changed hands is probably not a coincidence. Could be the new guy was filling in crap fuel (matches well with the injector trouble), or many other things

The Nemo is in fact a Fiorino, it's the same car - not just the same engine

Berlingos are common here (more so than Fiats), however it seems like their resilience to abuse actually attracts the abusive and careless owners to them (who then put them up on the 2nd hand market). I am under impression that 2nd hand Berlingos tend to be more beaten up than Fiats of the same listing price, so at the moment i am not putting effort into searching through them


The promised 120K km Qubo turned out to be a fraud. The seller (who presented himself as a private owner in the listing) turned out to be a mass car resaler, refused to let the car be tested at a test facility when i mentioned that that's the next thing i am going to do - and instead tried to push to get the car inspected at a specific mechanic's shop. I turned away right at the place where we met, without even getting to see the car

Keep searching....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Found another candidate, which according to descriptions seems to be "okay", however there is a problem with it right now


Car 5

Qubo Diesel Multijet 1.3

At present still in use by the seller, from here on his description over the phone of the problem :

 - The oil pressure light came on

 - The guy went to the mechanic and he replaced the pressure sensor

 - Next time when he was driving, after an hour or so of driving, when he was on low rpm the oil light came on again. It goes out if he presses the throttle, and comes back on if he releases the throttle etc. After a couple times the light stays off, until next time (which may be next day)

 - I warned him this may be the pump - He says he already called his mechanic, and the mechanic said there is no imminent danger (which would require stop use of the car), but come check

 - Oil gauge is full, and had been full since last 10K servicing

In any case, he is heading back to the mechanic now

What does this mean to me in terms of : Parts which might be failed (and how complicated are they to replace, if they miss something there and i will get hit with them later - e.g. oil pump etc), and possibility of damage to engine due to oil supply failure according to the description ?

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Over the last few days i have checked out a Berlingo too, 2011 1.6 diesel. It is in fairly good condition overall, however not the car type i am looking for. So i stay with the Fiorino/Qubo target

Right now i am looking at 2 newer Qubo's at much higher price (more than double that of the very first cars i came to check out with the big problems, and significantly more than the last ones as well)

I am willing to check them out, provided that they are much less worn, and so i have a car and esepecially an engine in better condition to begin with

Car 6 : Qubo 2015, Petrol 1368cc, 120K km

Car 7 : Qubo 2015, Diesel, 90K km

The engines in the petrol cars are specced some as 1360 and others 1368cc, which i assume are TU and FIRE respectively, unless whoever put up the sale posts messed it up

What sorts of mechanical trouble i might face eventually with either of the 3 engines, and how much it depends on how i treat it, vs random fault out of the blue ?


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Where my workshop is there are two Fiat Doblos both of which have that 1.3 multijet diesel engine. The electricians van has had a replacement engne in the last two years and he tops the coolant up atleast twice a week on that replacement engine. The second is a mcro-camper which has also had a replacement engine maybe eighteen months ago . That replacement engine  is knackered too. the camper just sits there with it's useless engine.

Ask a postman, a few years ago my local sorting office had a row of Corsa vans wth knackered engnes.Every one with that 1.3 Fiat engine.

Ths engine is garbage but it doesn't matter what we all say, it sounds like you have made up your mind. I've seen this before somebody comes on to a car forum askng about such and such. After ten replies of "they are rubbish , don't bother" the OP comes back "well I've bought one" after a week or so the next post is "this is garbage, wish I'd listened to you guys" 

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15 hours ago, meggersdog said:

the OP comes back "well I've bought one" after a week or so the next post is "this is garbage, wish I'd listened to you guys"

What if i find out that while it's fully functional, it's just breathless on my local roads, and post "this is garbage" ... ?

If anything, that's something i will find out in the first week, vs. an engine that will fail someday in the future, and might give me years of great driving before that


So to me the answer is not this simple. I want to dive in and weight in detail what i might get, against what i might have to pay for it in maintenance. I am willing to accept SOME types of trouble, but not others

Largely it comes down to :

  • If there is difference in driving as i preceive (which i am still testing and evaluating), then :
  • I'm ok with having to put more work & money in preventative maintenance and occasional replacement of parts (injectors, pumps, ....), which i acknowledge are more different parts to look after than in a petrol
  • I'm not ok with "engine blew up out of the blue and needs replacement, despite i haven't let it down myself in any way"

(I have read about the timing chain issues with those - I view it as required preventative maintenance, and not as random failure when the chain is let to wear out)


The examples you provide are of the latter "engine blew up", but i am missing the back story - Have any of the cars you mention had neglect in maintenance ? Have they done so many miles that they reached normal end of life by wear out ? Have some freak incident happened ?

I have readily available examples from my surrounding area, of all sorts of trouble in all sorts of cars, and others that lasted well despite all odds

  • See Car 3 above. That one is an 1.3 Multijet which had done 270K km and still works, even though it is worn now. I know about it that it's first owner (which had done the most of the mileage of that car) had maintained it well back in the day
  • I have a customer (a building contractor) who have got a few Berlingo's, which do have some turnaround all the time (some go, some new ones appear every now and then). He offered me to buy one of them as well. He tells how they are great cars in great shape, while topping water from the hose into the coolant tank as he talks. (Make your own conclusions)
  • ...

It seems that at least part of the trouble (or prevention thereof) may be in my hands, and not "force majeure". Some things i see around confirm it, and some disprove it

With this in mind, i have, since the beginning of search for car, greatly changed the year & mileage i'm looking for - It's been 2010 & 270K km in the first cars i checked, and is all the way to 2015 & 90K now (with the respective price difference - A month ago i couldn't imagine i'll go this high, but here we are)

I do think this changes the equation, in the sense that there is much more life left in the car to begin with, and much of it will depend on how i treat it from now on - vs. existing wear & damage from previous owners, to whom the high mileage ones might have been in banger area already


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I am now in communications to arrange to check out Car 6 (the Petrol one), which i will hopefully do over the next few days

The owner had recently did the 10K service, so i am concerned that some things i usually check (such as for oil leaks around the engine) could be cleaned up and not be visible

I would like your advice on evaluating the health condition of petrol engine in general, as i haven't had as much opportunity to evaluate those as the diesel versions (of which i have recently seen enough, so have a grasp at some specific things)


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Hey Ash, something to bear in mind is that the majority of us on here will typically do a load of research before buying any car and then just buy the one nearest to home (normally after a few beers), find out it’s shite and then flog it for something completely different in much less time than this thread has been going.

I can honestly tell you I’ve never looked at 6 of the same car before buying. 2 is my tolerance level before losing the will to live and handing the cash over. I’d rather spend time fixing what I’ve bought than chasing a unicorn.

Most of us on here recognise that sometimes you need to tread your own path with these decisions. Nobody here can offer you the reassurance you might like. Any used car purchase is like rolling the dice in Vegas, diesel or petrol.

Certainly in the UK, buying cars is ‘cheap’ and easy. If it doesn’t work out, no worries……. Next…… Are things that different where you are? If you buy one and it’s not right, so what? Just sell it and get something else. Even when something is catastrophically knackered somebody will still buy it.

I’ve bought plenty of cars in the past that everyone told me not to buy. I’m still here to tell the tale, not filed for bankruptcy just yet and I’ve bought countless cars on eBay sight unseen. 

If a diesel is what you want, get one. If it all goes utterly tits up, suck it up and make it a great story to tell your mates.

Good luck!


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I can accept having to get under the car sometimes, but not "car blew engine out of the blue and needs replacement" sort of trouble. Which cars 1...5 all seemed to be at risk of heading to, in one way or another, based on specific things i found in the test (ongoing overheating history, oil burning up in exhaust smoke, oil pressure issues, ...), a test facility found (Car 2), or lack of cooperation from seller to even let me check it (Car 4)

With the diesel, i figured (from this thread, as well as elsewhere) that i have to take extra precaution. Checking 5 cars to pick a better one is part of the precaution

With the petrol, things look simpler, so i have currently one to check out, and if i will decide i want the petrol but not that specific one, i will search for yet another one

So cars 6 and 7 are the petrol and diesel respectively which i will check out in the next few days

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I have almost arranged with a local owner of a petrol Qubo (which is not for sale) for a test drive on our roads (to assess the power), but right now the car got a blown tire...

In any case, i'll be going to check out Cars 6 and 7, as they are, and try to find an inclined enough road in that area to see how they behave


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  • 3 weeks later...

I bought Car 6

It have a petrol 1.4 FIRE engine with 75hp. Everything else is the same as in any other Qubo



On the uphill road i checked, it does 60 km/h on 4th gear, with full gas but not excessive rpm. Could do a bit more than that if i enter the uphill stretch with higher speed to begin with. I can live with that, as otherwise i like the car very much

(I could push it harder by flooring on 3rd gear, but it is pointless)


Verdict about the diesels

After seeing few of the diesel Qubo's myself (4 of them in total), i fully confirm what y'all told me here. Even the ones that "work ok", do consistently have a feeling of "still work ok, as long as not disturbed" to them -

Which i indeed started to recognize (i think) after all this checking of cars


Clutch problem

The clutch in this car i got seems to not fully disconnect, when pressed to the floor. It almost disconnects - All forward gear switching works normally, but when i try to switch into reverse, there is a kick sound and the car jerks. If i move the gear stick slowly, the gear grinds

I'm going to look into this right away


Gear shifting

The gear stick doesn't always have a "well defined" feel that it is fully inserted into the gear. It feels as if there is some dirt in the stick/levers mechanism that gets in the way a little. (That's how i describe the feeling, not necessarily what is really going on)

I want to sort that out too


There are some more issues and things that need fixing/replacement but they are ordinary maintenance

This car will be my daily driver from now on (once i fix the most critical stuff). This is in additional to the Tempra, which is more of a weekend restoration/repair project for now

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