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Old 13th May 2014, 18:38   #1
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Default Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX

Well the Fiat Palio GTX requires no introduction. Its a legend in itself manufactured by the Italian, launched in India at a very wrong time and was well ahead of the time, so much so that even today she fits into the market perfectly in many respects.

Now why do i say - at a wrong time, a hatch with 1.6 litre engine which gulps fuel in a big glass instead of sipping through a straw , that too in a country obsessed with mileage. Sorry Fiat, that wasnt going to work for you, who cares about strong build, awesome performance etc when you are shy about mileage figures.

Fast forward - 10 years. By now i own a petrol and couple of Diesels. Turbo diesels are fun to drive , being used on a daily basis and the very much VFM products.

One fine day i happened to remap my linea and raced it against the TJEt. Voila she easily beats the tjet. While this was going on a GTX owner challenged us to beat the GTX. Till this i wasnt much curious about what the GTX is and how capable machine the GTX is. I just new it was some 1.6 lts NA engine and a good performance car from Fiat.

When i drove her for the first time after accepting the challenge i was astonished and thoughts of losing against the GTX started hovering above my mind. Yes and when we pitched the remapped linea against the GTX the fears came true. The GTX flies off the block in 1st gear, keeps flying in 2nd gear till 80, continues in 3rd gear till 120 and then the remapped linea conquers over her till eternity 205kmph.

The above drag earned a lot of respect for the GTX. Time passed by and one fine day i was discussing the same drag with the FASS manager and suddenly he said " Sir, do you want a GTX driven just 45k in top condition?" I was like whats the price. He mentioned around 40k. Horray i was overjoyed and kept dreaming about the GTX in my stable every day, The GTX was planned to be exchanged for the Linea TJET. So it was like exchanging legend with the legend.

1 month passed by in the process and then the D day arrived. Till this time i want not even knowing the color of the car. The only thing i paid upfront for this GTX was the low mileage and feedback from the FASS manager. I knew i need to fix few things and as a machine i was confident that i can fix any damn machine thats working.

I got the delivery of the GTX and the very first thing i noticed was that the engine was butter smooth, the interiors were totally virgin, well-kept car and all the documents were perfect.
The other side of the coin was a totally dented car, never repaired under insurance and a totally damaged rear axle (cross rail).
The car had a brand new battery and brand new tyres. But the rear tyres had lost its tread due to the axle issue.

Getting it home : I got my GTX home and parked it silently. After a couple of hours I dared to ask my mom to prepare the Thali for Pooja and she was shocked that I bought yet another car without even slightest of the need.

Restoration:
1. The GTX straightaway went to the FASS.
2. All the belts and bearings were replaced as I dint want to take a chance with a 11 year old car.
3. All the oils were changed , except engine oil.
4. The timing was set right.
5. I am totally impressed with FIAT. They had each and every part in the stock and they were more than eager to get the GTX restored to its glory.
6. All the above things brought the car to 80% of its real performance. Still there was a hesitation and miss in the performance.
7. Disassembled the injectors and gave it for testing. Issue was found in one injector. Changed all the filters and got them calibrated. Cost: Rs.1800
8. Changed the spark plugs even though mine looked good.
9. Flushed the engine oil with Liqui Moly that I had bought in Germany
10. Filled shell helix HX6 Diesel – again for flushing purposes.
11. Bought a used rear cross rail from parts dealer – this was a major cost saver. Brand new costs 39000 and used ones costed me 3000 + 250 for auto.


With all the above work 98% of the performance was restored. The 2% is still a miss due to the virtue that the previous owner never revved the car above 3000-4000 rpms. He used it mostly in the city for short travels. Only once he banged hard in a drainage hole and managed to damage the rear axle.

I am revving the engine hard now to free it up a bit. I am seeing good improvements in the performance ever since.

I haven’t calculated the mileage at all but I guess its not more than 10-11 kmpl.

Last edited by amit_mechengg : 13th May 2014 at 18:41.
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Old 13th May 2014, 18:50   #2
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Default re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio GTX

....continued, dint want to post a too long opener.

What next:
Cosmetics -
1. The color is fern green and even though its a good color somehow its not appealing to me. So color change is on my mind.

2. I am a bit confused if i should restore to original GTX or should add some character to it by giving a dual tone paint with bright matte color and center stripe.

3. I had made up my mind for matte black but experts suggested that it would be a pain to maintain a matte black car. I readily agreed as i have seen enough proofs.

4. Plan is to get nice metallic matte yellow with black stripes in centre like the shelby GT500.

5. Add spoiler lip to the front and rear and put the S10 rear spoiler/ similar

Performance:

1. Upgrade the brakes to adventure calipers and discs upfront + rear bigger drums (not sure)

2. Manufacture own slotted brake discs ( We already do for export). This would add good braking.

3. Add turbo to the GTX - add the TJET turbo with electronic waste gate actuator, unichip - piggy bank ECU, extra injector and the needed plumbing.

Oops - i forgot to mention that i already got the OEM 4X2X1 headers + automech FFE done already. The exotic sound from the 1.6 long stroke engine is to die for.
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Old 14th May 2014, 13:48   #3
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Default re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio GTX

As promised here are few pics. Sorry for the lousy pic quality.
Attached Thumbnails
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-meme9150905397.jpg  

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-meme2173316114.jpg  

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-meme3545522470.jpg  

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-meme2064708763.jpg  

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-meme0422972109.jpg  

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Old 17th April 2015, 20:07   #4
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Default re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio GTX

Folks - sorry for the late updates, but here you go.
What happened next –?

The zest of making this car unique and perfectly upto the mark mechanically and cosmetically kept hovering over me every now and then.
I used to find some or the other reason to drive to the office in the fuel gulping monster for the sheer pleasure it gives one while blasting all the high end cars on the city roads.
I finally decided that the GTX would stay with me till eternity and I need to restore her to the full glory.

Dilemma – Outside Garage Vs Fiat Authorized Service Centre (FASS)-
Well this was due to purely a financial point of view. It was but obvious that restoring a car in a FASS would cost me a BOMB.
We did a thorough inspection of the GTX and found that she is badly wounded in many places. The cowl panel, the firewall and the flooring had heavy rust. The cowl panel had heavily disintegrated and one could see thru from outside into the cabin. During rains the interiors used to get flooded due to this hole in the firewall.
With all such complications I decided to restore my car at FASS as they are equipped with right labor and right tools to work on fiats perfectly.
All the formalities and documentary work was done and I handed over my car to Pandit Auto, Bavdhan which is the biggest and most reputed FASS in the country. Apart from being a FASS its like a comfortable home for FIAT cars, thanks to the courteous and experienced staff at Pandit. TFI pune members can surely vouch for this.
The stripping down of my GTX began and it was close to opening can of worms. Some pics below show the rusty cowl panel and floor panel.
It was decided that the engine and the windshield glass too needs to be taken off to weld the cowl panel. We decided to order and new cowl panel and the lower part instead of trying to stitch repair the old ones as I wanted total reliability without any compromise.

Below is the disintegrated Cowl Panel
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114123.jpg

The parts arrived in flat 3 days until the stripping work was going on.
The car was full of dent and I had total apprehensions about how these will be fixed. I knew the thick sheet metal was difficult to work with. But to my surprise the Pandit body shop denters fixed all the dents perfectly in just 1 full day – yes you read it right. All dents fixed in 1 day.

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114126.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114130.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114136.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114142.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114153.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114200.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114213.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114658.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140917_114704.jpg
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Old 17th April 2015, 20:13   #5
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Default re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio GTX

Next the cowl panel and the bottom part were welded to the firewall. I would like to make a special mention here. Unlike other garages Pandit did a factory level work by SPOT Welding the panels with a “OEM” finish. Here itself my decision of getting the work done at Pandit was paid off.
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140925_115051.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140925_115358.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140925_115404.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140925_115102.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140925_115107.jpg

The next work that started was stripping all the wirings and every minute part attached to the body. This was quite a laborious work but was done perfectly without breaking any of the plastic parts.
After removing all the parts and the carpet there were traces of rust all over the floor panel. I decided to treat it with a product called 3M- Bondo which is a antirust + rubberized thick coat which has good damping properties as well. Below is a pic after applying 3m all over the floor panel. 3 cans were required to cover the whole floor with a thick layer.

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140928_133809.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140928_133814.jpg
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Old 17th April 2015, 20:43   #6
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Default re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio GTX

The next and very confusing part was the selection of the color. I knew I wanted something in matte. I browsed for days, downloaded sample hatchback photos and discussed the same with as many people as possible. The end result – everyone had a different opinion and the confusion increased further. With all sorts of permutations and combinations I decided that I need a matte grey color with a combi of red.
I discussed the same with Mahesh Kulkarni who heads the body shop at Pandit. He has a very in depth knowledge of paints and is an enthusiastic person. He revealed to me that they have never painted a car with a matte color ever. I was kind of shocked and disheartened. But again Mahesh Kulkarni came to the rescue and showed a willingness to go ahead with matte. He decided to involve the DuPont engineers to create the paint for me. This was quite a relief.
The DuPont engineers were very knowledgeable and recommended the newly launched water based paint series from DuPont. I showed them some sample snaps for the matte grey shade but guessing the right mixture of colors by looking at the snaps was quite difficult. They tried different combinations and used to prepare a sample panel as shown in the pics below.
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140925_124835.jpg

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140925_124839.jpg

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140926_131124.jpg

They had quite a good patience and never hesitated to re-try. The main pain area was to decide on the clear coat- matte and clear %. They painted the body structure barring the doors, bumpers and other panels. Somehow I was not satisfied by the way the car was looking. It was looking very dull as if its painted only with the primer.

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140930_113033.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20140930_113203.jpg


The Judgement Day:

A friend of mine Amit Gaud, who owns Ground Designs and has an artistic brain came to the rescue. He approved the Grey shade and recommended 50/50 or 60/40 max matte : clear ratio. He also recommended to add more coarser metal particles to the paint. After trying his recommendation the shade matched perfectly to the idea I had.
Pandit was courteous enough to repaint the whole body structure as the outcome was not to my satisfaction. It was a kind of learning for all of us. After the repaint suddenly the dull body started looking very lively.
The spoiler and the mirrors are painted in Deep Gloss, bright red color. They gel well with the matte grey paint combo.
While all this was going on I got a s10 spoiler fabricated for myself. I somehow love the s10 spoiler and it changes the way the palio looks.
We decided to let go the body strips and also paint the bumper strips in body color itself. This way the odd palio shape is hidden and suddenly the palio starts looking like a different car.
The alloys are painted in Carbon Black dull gloss paint. I dint want to go for flashy red alloys so we decided to stick to Black shade itself with red drums and calipers.

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20141202_131935.jpg

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20141202_131942.jpg

The underbody is coated with the same 3M bondo for future protection and damping purposes

Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20141128_131911.jpg

The next but obvious mod was the smoking of the tail lamps. Without those all the previous efforts would have been half left
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20141202_132005.jpg
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20141203_180551.jpg

The proud painter who worked very hard on my car.
The man behind him in white is Rahul Jadhav the Workshop manager and the messiah of all the TFI pune members. He is very customer centric and goes out of the bounds to help customers
Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX-img_20141203_174503.jpg

Special Credits:
Mahesh Kulkarni – Pandit Automotive (Body Shop Head)
Rahul Jadhav – Pandit Automotive (Workshop Head)
Maula – Bodyshop Contractors
Dupont Engineers
Amit Gaud – Owner of Ground Designs
TFI Members
All the mechanics that have worked with full efforts on my car.

After Maths:
Admiration Guaranteed - Since 2 days dozens of people have asked me which car is this and not even a single person can walk away without giving another look to the car.
People come close and stare at the car on the signals too. But i am quite nervous and fear about someone scrapping my possession.

What Next?

I know all will suggest me to get new license plates.
Few mechanical upgrades.
New interiors - ohh yes, i forgot to mention/post the pics of the changes done to the interiors. The interiors are painted in Piano Black finish like the ones on new Evo/ Linea. Will get matching seats done in Black and Red
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Old 24th April 2015, 05:46   #7
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio GTX

Congrats Amit, It looks great and reminds me of the matte gray Acura's used by S.H.I.E.L.D in the avengers!
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Old 24th April 2015, 07:51   #8
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio GTX

The work being done at Pandit FASS is to be seen to be believed. I was there for a whole day and really admired the way they worked dedicatedly.
I eagerly read to see if you've gone for the shiny yellow coat. But this colour blew me out; equally good. Maybe you'll see me gaping out of my Punto at yours, If I dare to drive into Pune city :P
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Old 24th April 2015, 10:32   #9
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio GTX

Looks Awesome

Congrats on completing the restoration. It really looks like a car straight out of Fast & Furious. There is suddenly a craze to own a GTX, this is the same kind of craze I witnessed for Baleno, OHC VTec, RD350, Roadking etc..

Even I have decided to restore my GTX, but it will be a slow and painful process as I have decided to gather all the parts first and then go in for the process of stripping/repaint. This will help me spread the cost over a year.

Question : Did you check the opportunity to install motorized headlight unit since you had removed the wiring. I believe the Motorized headlight wiring is different from post 2005 models.

Also did you upgrade to adventure brake at the front

Regards
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Old 24th April 2015, 10:51   #10
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX

Mod Note: Moved the restoration report & replies to a new thread . Thanks for sharing!

Congratulations - She looks stunning.
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Old 24th April 2015, 11:16   #11
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX

Wow! That's the best Palio I have ever seen. Quality of Work done is top class.

Congrats Amit.
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Old 24th April 2015, 11:21   #12
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX

The ride looks superb! Congrats Amit

If it is not asking for too much, please could you give a rough breakup of the costing and time taken for the entire process?

And yes, please do not forget the interior snaps. Some more pictures of how it looks under the hood now will be great too. Hope you do many miles will the GTX and it stays scratchless forever.
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Old 24th April 2015, 11:38   #13
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX

I never knew grey looked this good! Excellent work on the Palio.
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Old 24th April 2015, 11:52   #14
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX

The matte shade looks kickass!

How about the long term maintenance of matte shades? Since glossy panels require polishing and waxing for the mirror-finish like appearance, how about these? Any idea?

Congrats on whatever has been done so far and good luck with the rest of the restoration work!
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Old 24th April 2015, 13:19   #15
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Default Re: Restoration Log - Fiat Palio 1.6L GTX

Wow! The From to To is a awesome upgrade! Congrats.

Awaiting interior details as well.
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