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Old 21st October 2009, 15:55   #1
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Default Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log

It was in the year 2002. I had been recently married and struggling as a first generation settler in the capital city of my state. My mode of daily commuting was a Narmada 150 scooter bought by my father more than 13 summers ago. My computer had just got fried by a lightning strike through the telephone line used for dial-up internet. I was learning the baby steps of driving in my research collaborator's M800 but didn't have enough money even to rebuild the PC. But thank God, I didn't stop subscribing to the Assam Tribune.

That newspaper carried a weekly article on cars by Murad Ali Baig and Mr. Baig's articles were responsible for sowing the seeds of a car lover in me. The most significant among those was a review of the then launched Hyundai Accent CRDi which had resulted in an I'll-get-a-CRDi-diesel-car-one-day attitude in me. Six years and a second-hand M800 later it was time to own my first new car and by then one tiny CRDi mill was fast turning into being India's National Engine. A lot of digging into websites and many a calculation later I ended up with a Furnace Red Palio Stile Multijet (SDE) and also with a new addiction, Team-BHP, in December 2008.

There were several points to justify my selection of the Palio in spite of the service related horror stories of earlier owners. One very important influence was Fiat's collaboration with Tata. I had immense respect for anything associated with the name Tata from my childhood days. I thought that Tata would take care of availability of spare parts if not provide the best workmanship for Fiat cars. Fifteen and half thousand kms and three free services later I can now put in my two cents about owning this enigma of a car by Fiat.

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-meters.jpg

Booking and delivery: The car that I ended up buying was on display at the dealer's showroom when I went to enquire about the Palio MJD in late November 2008. About a week later news of excise duty reduction came and free music system with this model was advertised which helped make up my mind. It took longer than anticipated for the SBI loan to be sanctioned. I had already planned a trip to Sikkim with the new car and this delay almost cancelled the trip. I took the gamble of going ahead with the trip with only the temporary registration.

Meanwhile in my excitement I ignored the TBHP PDI routine at the time of delivery and later on found a barely noticeable dent on the right rear door (marked with black circle in the pic below).

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-dent.jpg

I had test driven many cars during my car selection process but somehow didn't bother to do the same with the Palio. I took delivery of the car on 23 December 2008. Thankfully there were no major issues with the car.

Driving: In addition to the M800 I was using I hadn't driven another car for any reasonable length to time except my brother-in-law's Matiz. So when I took the car out after delivery it was initially a strange feeling. By the time I reached home about 15 km away I was comfortable. A couple of days later I drove to my hometown about 100 kms away where my parents live and learnt to enjoy the capabilities of the multijet engine on the highway. I really liked the in-gear acceleration of the car, especially in 4th gear, which had made overtaking the trucks a breeze. The famous ride and handling characteristics of the Palio was evident in my car too. Two more days later the Kalimpong-Gangtok-Darjeeling-Mirik trip began and another 4 days later we were back, minutes before the new year had begun, and no one complained of journey fatigue. In the process the run-in period of the car was over and it was time for the 1st free service too.

Fuel Efficiency: It may be partly due to my sedate driving style but the Multijet has been consistently giving me an FE of about 20. The worst I got on a tankful was 17km/ltr during the height of summer with AC on and a lot of city driving. The best I got on a tankful was 22km/ltr.

Problems related to the car: The stock Goodyears have been noisy, harsh and skid prone. Since I don't intend to spend money for tyres right now, I have vowed not to exceed 65 km/hr in populated areas. I described my horrible experience with an old lady in my short-term ownership thread. To the credit of the Goodyears I have not had a single puncture till today.

The engine shows some kinky behaviour if sudden acceleration is attempted. For instance if I try to quickly get to 80 in 4th gear and then slot to 5th it seems to suddenly stall. This problem has been reported by quite a few fellow BHPian friends driving a Palio MJD.

The rear right side door locking lever was broken and the dealers were requested for replacement. They promised to do so but already 10 months have passed and the job is not yet done. Another plastic cover on the same door fell off at about the same time. I have stopped talking about it altogether.

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-lever-2.jpg

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-missing-plastic.jpg

Minor rattles are heard from the AC console and the HU enclosure but they are not persistent.

Accidents: No big accidents except when my car skidded and hit an oblivious old lady crossing the highway, just before coming to a stop. The neighbourhood was atrocious and I ended up paying 10 K for nothing. Minor brushing of bumpers by bikers and newbie drivers are rather frequent but no ugly looking gash as yet (see the pics, they were taken today). The front bumper got hit at the bottom right and the fog lamp casing popped out when I tried to off-road on the banks of river Brahmaputra once. Thankfully, there was no damage to the bumper and the paint.

Some More Pics:

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-front1.jpg

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-front2.jpg

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-front3.jpg

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-rear1.jpg

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-side1.jpg

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-side2.jpg

I'll soon post the remaining part of my story: the more interesting part related to Fiat Service.

Last edited by tortoiseNhare : 21st October 2009 at 16:04. Reason: Bad formatting
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Old 21st October 2009, 16:04   #2
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This is what I am eagerly waiting for.

Last edited by Dippy : 22nd October 2009 at 11:34. Reason: Please dont quote an entire long post while replying. Thanks.
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Old 21st October 2009, 16:49   #3
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Hi,

I too had the plastic cover on the right side rear door fall off from my Stile 1.6 Sport.
This was prompty replaced by Concorde motors during the paid service.
Amaan
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Old 21st October 2009, 21:26   #4
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The Dealer:

I had bought the car from Abhishek Motors, the first Tata passenger car dealer in the North-East. The dealer's family had been well known and much respected for their motor transport business in the state since long before the Tata dealership was bagged by them. Soon they were given dealership of Tata commercial vehicles but their car dealership became Tata-Fiat only in November 2008. That raised the count of Tata-Fiat dealers in my city to two and I felt it would now be safe to go for a Fiat.

The salesperson was well mannered and I could extract the promise of floor-mats, mud-flaps, steering cover and seat covers as freebies at the time of sealing the deal. I was also told that non-availability of Fiat spares was now history and I could look forward to a wonderful ownership experience.

The first free service:

As mentioned in my previous post, I undertook a trip of some hill stations within a few days of delivery of the car and by 1 January 2009 the car had done about 1750 kms. The recommended limit was 1500 kms and I rushed for the first free service.

Having recently joined the Team-BHP bandwagon I had learnt that one should change oil in the first service for the well being of the engine. So I requested the service advisor to do that. He refused to do so stating that Fiat recommended oil change only during 2nd free service. I told him that the car had to endure a lot of 2nd gear driving in hilly areas and the engine oil might have already degraded. He then pulled out the dip stick, tested a drop with his fingers and declared that the oil was okay. I felt that the person was well versed with the service manual of my car and did not press him further.

I also showed him the niggles that I mentioned in the earlier post. He told me that replacement of those faulty parts would be done as soon as the parts arrived.

At the end the car was washed, polished and returned to me - the end of the first free service. Later on I got to know that the registration of the car had not taken place till then and therefore the record of the first free service could not be entered into the database of Tata-Fiat.

The freebies:

The MP3 car audio promised by Fiat and the seat cover promised by the dealer had been elusive (and the registration card too). By the end of February the audio system had arrived and after it was fitted I got the first taste of rattling inside the car. Soon afterwards I was coaxed and cajoled into opting for a package of 3M Paint protection and Dinitrol underbody protection for about Rs 5000. All the while the dealer maintained that readymade seat covers for the Palio were not available with them. One fine day I demanded that the seat cover be tailored and offered that I would bear the additional cost (they had mentioned that the supposedly free seat cover was worth Rs 1500). This was done and I had to pay another Rs 1000. A few more days gone, the registration card finally arrived and it was also the time for the second free service.
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Old 21st October 2009, 23:06   #5
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The second free service:

2 May 2009, 9.00 am. I was in the Tata-Fiat service centre for the 7500 km service. It would be a very important servicing for the car. I carefully noted down the points to be checked in this service, from the service coupon. The first two were checking tyres/wheel alignment and checking front disc brake pads. The service advisor was different from the usual one looking after Fiat cars. He asked me what were the problems that I had with the car. I said none except the rear door locking lever and fallen plastic replacement issue. I then requested him to include the points in the service coupon in his to do checklist for my car. He replied that things like checking of wheel alignment didn't fall in free service category. At my insistence he included some of the points in his list but I had a bad feeling about what they were going to do. I decided to stay put and see for myself what they were up to.

3 hours gone. It is 12.30 and my car has not even been taken for washing. I protest. Finally things start happening, someone takes her to the body shop, ostensibly to fix the lock lever. A guy opens the door panel, throws a look into the inside of the door and declares that the lever is defective and nothing could be done about it. I tell him that it was declared as such in the first service itself and I now wanted replacement. He keeps quiet, coolly puts the door panel back in its place and calls out someone from the main workshop. The car is now driven to the workshop and given to a mechanic for engine oil change. I too walk up to that place.

The car is raised and the mechanic tries to locate the nut for draining the oil. He fails. I am in two minds, whether to laugh or cry. A senior mechanic, supposedly Fiat trained, comes and gets the job done. I insist to stay put until the oil of the recommended type is put into my car's engine. As directed by the senior mechanic, engine oil meant for Safari Dicor is brought. The volume quoted by him exactly matches the requirement in my car. My nerves are soothed with the feeling, "he knows his job". The oil filter is brought from the spare parts shop by another helper. The mechanic discards it saying that it would not fit in my car. Another piece is brought and this one is the actual part. By now I am happy. The great job of engine oil change has been successfully performed. I decide not to bother the service centre with the other items of the checklist that I had noted down. It's already 4.00 pm. The service advisor sends the car for a wash. The car is given to me at 5.00 pm. End of second free service.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 12:09   #6
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Default The run-up to the 3rd free service

Around the time period when my second service was due I was contemplating of tyre/wheel upgrade. Since I didn't get a good buyback deal for the stock set of wheels I decided to keep them. Since nothing related to the tyres was looked into during the second service I decided to take it to a tyre shop for wheel rotation and alignment. I dug up this post from TBHP http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/tyre-alloy-wheel-section/7480-tyre-rotation.html (Tyre rotation) and decided to go for forward cross 5 tyre rotation.

Having done the rotation part it was time for alignment. The computer could not show settings for Palio Multijet. I was feeling too dejected to go and find another shop. The person on the computer offered to use the settings for Palio NV EL PS. I told him to go ahead. That was when the odo read 7500 or thereabout. Now after another 8000 km and more I see no uneven tyre wear in any of the wheels. In hindsight I feel that the settings for Palio NV EL PS are indeed correct for the Multijet too.

As far as the brakes are concerned, they were pronounced to be fine in the course of the second service by the mechanic having pressed them twice or thrice in the process of driving it for about 30 meters (not minutes). I had no other option but to trust him.

In early July we traveled through the length of my state in the car. The trip was hectic. The car was subjected to a lot of hard work. She managed admirably, with an overall FE of about 19 kmpl with 80% AC over about 1500 kilometers. All throughout the trip we could not manage to give her a wash. Also, as mentioned before, the right side fog lamp casing also had popped out during an off-roading adventure with her.

Back in the city I thought why not claim the 2nd application of 3M Protection. The odometer reading at that point was about 13000. I went to the service centre and they detected a minor bend in the front bumper too. The bumper and fog lamp things were fixed to my satisfaction and the car was given a wash. They didn't do the 3M thing and asked to claim it during 3rd free service. I told them about the rear door locking lever once again and got the standard reply of having ordered the part from Fiat but not receiving it.

The 3rd service would be due at 15000km. The odo read 14500. My wish was to get the door lock device during that service. I phoned the service centre quite a few number of times inquiring if the part had arrived. In between, I also got a call from a lady executive in the service center reminding me of the soon to be due 3rd free service.

September 24, morning. My car has just crossed 15000km mark. We have an evening flight to Delhi for the upcoming Kashmir drive with my brother's family in his U-VA. I phone the service centre again about the parts and offer to bring it from Delhi if required. The person asks me not to worry and tells me that everything that I require will be with them by the time we come back from vacation.

October 14. I ring the service center again. He tells me that the door part has still not arrived but I should bring the car anyway for the 3rd free service. I decide to wait till Diwali is over. I can see that FE of 20 kmpl has been hard to achieve of late. Is it due to driving more in 4th gear?

On 19 October I personally go to the service station and book for the 3rd free service on 20th. I am given the 9.00 am slot. I make it a point to meet the Fiat specialist service advisor and also the spare part shop in-charge to get the necessary parts ready for the next day.

Last edited by tortoiseNhare : 22nd October 2009 at 12:14. Reason: Wrong dates
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Old 22nd October 2009, 12:34   #7
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A nice detailed review, nice pics too!

Good to know you are enjoying the car, Fiat service at Guwahati seems to be pretty good too!
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Old 22nd October 2009, 12:51   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
Around the time period when my second service was due I was contemplating of tyre/wheel upgrade. Since I didn't get a good buyback deal for the stock set of wheels I decided to keep them. Since nothing related to the tyres was looked into during the second service I decided to take it to a tyre shop for wheel rotation and alignment. I dug up this post from TBHP http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/tyre-alloy-wheel-section/7480-tyre-rotation.html (Tyre rotation) and decided to go for forward cross 5 tyre rotation...
I remember the Manual says tires shouldn't be interchanged from Left to right or vice versa.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 13:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post

Meanwhile in my excitement I ignored the TBHP PDI routine at the time of delivery and later on found a barely noticeable dent on the right rear door (marked with black circle in the pic below).

A lesson learnt the hard way.


The rear right side door locking lever was broken and the dealers were requested for replacement. . Another plastic cover on the same door fell off at about the same time. I have stopped talking about it altogether.

Minor rattles are heard from the AC console and the HU enclosure but they are not persistent.

Surprising, my 7 year old Palio does not have any such issues. Maybe they dont make them like they used to.


I'll soon post the remaining part of my story: the more interesting part related to Fiat Service.

Thats what I was waiting for, have read the same. Thanks.
Previous post edited. My reply in bold now.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 14:54   #10
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Nice report. How about adding a spoiler to it.It looks good with it.
On what tires now the car is running with?
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Old 22nd October 2009, 16:49   #11
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Default The 3rd Free Service

Tuesday, 20 October, 9.00 am. I am in the service center. A few minutes of waiting and here is Mr. Kirti, my service advisor. I remind him that this being the 15000 km service, air filter and diesel filter will also have to be changed along with the engine oil filter. As I am told beforehand about the non-availability of the door lock thingy I keep quiet about it. I request him to at least cover the important items, like checking of brake pads, listed in the 3rd free service coupon. He tells me that I can get the car back only after 3 pm and could rather go and attend office. My acquitance with Mr. Kirti over the last few months makes me feel that it will be safe to trust him. I go to office (hardly one km from the service centre of Abhishek Motors) and decide to keep calling Mr. Kirti for updates.

My faith on him is vindicated three hours later. He doesn't lie to me. He says that the engine oil filters in stock don't fit in my car. "But you had done it once and you know very well which part would fit", I tell him. "Why, even Vista Quadrajet is having the same engine, can't you use one meant for that car?" I add. "Quadrajet part doesn't fit and Multijet parts are not available", he replies and keeps quiet. "What are you going to do then", I demand. "I'll change the oil and get the used oil filter cleaned, and don't you worry", he replies. "What about the air filter and diesel filter?" I ask feebly. "I'll get your 3M 2nd application thing done too", comes the reply. My cellphone battery cannot tolerate this conversation and discharges fully at this moment. I visit the service centre during my lunch break and don't find both Kirti and my car there. I come back to office.

I leave office half an hour early and reach the service station. See my car in the hands of the 3M people. I don't feel like inspecting their job. I go and find Mr. Kirti. I ask him what all have been done.

- Changed engine oil and fixed the parking hand-brake engaged display that was not working.
- Did you check the brake pads?
- I drove the car for some time and the brakes were working fine.

That means the brakes were not opened. Rather than being angry with him I have a feeling of gratitude towards him because he didn't lie to me. He gives me the bill, 944 rupees for 3.7 litres of HP CH4 Engine oil. It should have been about 3000 had the servicing been properly done. For the first time in life I am unhappy to see a reduced bill. I refuse to sign the service document. Finally I sign it having clearly mentioned "engine oil filter, air filter, diesel filter not changed". After 10 minutes or so my anger recedes. I talk to Kirti again and ask him to ring me up as soon as the parts are with him and tell him that I'll have a paid service for those parts. Kirti is gracious enough to say this, "Since it was our fault sir, I'll arrange for another free service for you."

The rear door lock thing is buried under the rubble of the three filters as of now. My car is ready to be taken back. I have a look at my car. It's shining bright from a distance. I come closer and spot this (inside the black circled area)

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-shoddy-job.jpg

I don't feel like hauling up the 3M boy and decide to live with it. I start the car and come out of the service station. Work up some speed and apply the brakes. They seem to work. That is how brakes are tested, eh?

Dialogues from the movie Marathon Man come to my mind ...

- Is it safe?... Is it safe?
- You're talking to me?
- Is it safe?
- Is what safe?
- Is it safe?
- I don't know what you mean. I can't tell you something's safe or not, unless I know specifically what you're talking about.
- Is it safe?
- Tell me what the "it" refers to.
- Is it safe?
- Yes, it's safe, it's very safe, it's so safe you wouldn't believe it.
- Is it safe?
- No. It's not safe, it's... very dangerous, be careful.

Last edited by tortoiseNhare : 22nd October 2009 at 16:53. Reason: bad formatting
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Old 22nd October 2009, 19:11   #12
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@ beejay
Thanks for going through my posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amaan View Post
Hi,
I too had the plastic cover on the right side rear door fall off from my Stile 1.6 Sport.
This was prompty replaced by Concorde motors during the paid service.
Amaan
Amaan, I suppose down south Fiat cars sell more and so the dealers keep stock of the parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by finneyp View Post
A nice detailed review, nice pics too!

Good to know you are enjoying the car, Fiat service at Guwahati seems to be pretty good too!
Thanks Finney. If you go through my 3rd service experience you might change your mind. Anyway, I am really happy with the car itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lightpower View Post
I remember the Manual says tires shouldn't be interchanged from Left to right or vice versa.
lightpower, yes, the manual says so. But I believe it applies for unidirectional tyres only. Further, I want my 5th tyre to enjoy some life too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramsagar View Post
Nice report. How about adding a spoiler to it.It looks good with it.
On what tires now the car is running with?
Thanks. The spoiler does enhance the look. My first priorities were the left ORVM and the body shoulder moldings. Neither the two dealers nor the bazaar have been able to supply them. One shop tried to sell a Palio NV ORVM which would not match with the right ORVM. The NV shoulder moldings seem to be identical with those for the Stile.
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Old 26th October 2009, 10:05   #13
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Dear TBHPians,
For just over 10 months of ownership I didn't face any attempt to intentionally deface my car. Not so anymore. Today as early as sometime between 7.30 to 8.30 am, when I had parked the car at a commercial area of our city, some vandal did this to her:

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-scratch1.jpg

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-scratch2.jpg

Fiat Palio Multijet : An ownership log-scratch3.jpg

I (and some others in that area) suspect it to be the handiwork of some ragpickers.
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Old 26th October 2009, 10:30   #14
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Nice pics and nice story. My only grouse is that the car isn't doing the km it should be doing!!
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Old 26th October 2009, 11:45   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Nice pics and nice story. My only grouse is that the car isn't doing the km it should be doing!!
Thanks. My aim is to achieve 2/3rd of your 1st year Oye VDi mileage by 23 Dec (1 year of ownership). That would be at par with architect's 1st year mileage.

Meanwhile, I went for tyre rotation and alignment yesterday. Same old story, there is no data expressly meant for Palio Stile. Chose the data for Palio HPS assuming HPS stood for hydraulic power steering which my Stile does have. They only adjusted the toe. There were other values too, like camber, caster etc which were all Greek to me and which the wheelwallah didn't touch.
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