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Old 9th September 2011, 11:14   #1
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Exclamation Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto

Hi friends,

Need some urgent advice from you guys – especially Fiat experts. One of my good friends in Ahmedabad recently bought a Punto 1.3 MJD from ASPI Motors, last month. A few days ago, he was travelling on the highway and his car went through a small puddle. There was a loud thud and he could feel the car behaving in a strange manner.

He took the car to the dealer who kept it with them for almost a week. Later, my friend was informed that there is some major damage with the engine assembly and have quoted him 50,000/- for repairs. On enquiring further about Insurance, they said that as this part is not covered under warranty or insurance, the owner will have to bear the entire cost. He is in a fix. His Punto is just about a month old.

He visited the dealer again yesterday and saw the communication between dealer and FIAT motors.

Service engineer from Fiat informed the dealer that a connecting rod for one of the pistons is bent. This occurs due to entry of water in the engine chamber and this is not under warranty.

He has officially launched a complaint with Fiat regarding this issue but have not received any response.

Has anyone of you faced a similar problem? Ever? I would request people with sound knowledge of technicalities and engine-bay guide us on this issue. Secondly, he would like to know whether replacing only one rod would impact the functioning of overall engine, or should he get all the rods changed.

The overall quote of 50,000/- given by dealer is for all 4 rods – which is almost half engine cost. Replacing the faulty component would cost around 20,000/-.

Please suggest the way forward.

Last edited by SankalpDesai : 9th September 2011 at 11:18.
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Old 9th September 2011, 11:23   #2
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

What appears to have happened is an engine seizure due to mishandling.

- Your friend seemed to have hit the oil sump and cracked it? (Just assuming)

- This caused an oil leak and starved the engine of oil. (Weird behavior as explained by your friend)

- On continued driving without engine oil, the engine seized and the con-rods bent.

- If con rods require replacement there could be some damage to the engine block, pistons as well.

This is what I could gather from assessing the situation without seeing any pictures of the engine bay and under belly of the car. However, the Punto does come with a strong engine guard that fairly protects the sump. Shouldn't have happened unless the hit was really a bad one.

A few pictures would help.
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Old 9th September 2011, 11:24   #3
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

If its due to hydraulic hammer caused by ingress of water into cylinder, there could be damage to piston and valves too. Something not adding up on the theory. Changing only the bent rod should be fine if others are intact. If there is damage to other con rods, there ought to be damage to crankshaft too. Need some more explanation form the service agent.
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Old 9th September 2011, 11:31   #4
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SankalpDesai View Post
his car went through a small puddle. There was a loud thud and he could feel the car behaving in a strange manner.
Looks like case of hydrolock. Punto engine guard is a strong plate. I do not think that sump would have got damaged and hence engine oil starvation is unlikely.

Are you sure your friend did not stall his car in puddle and then tried to restart it?

A few pics will definitely help a lot.
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Old 9th September 2011, 11:44   #5
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

This seems clearly like a case of something trying to be pulled by the dealer and passing on the cost to you.

I suggest you try and directly contact the higher ups at FIAT/Tata to look into this problem.

First, such a problem should not occur at all.

All Puntos have a big hunk of a sump guard. Our Punto took a massive hit when crossing a railway line. There was a big drop, which was not clear due to waterlogging, and the front wheels suddenly dropped causing a massive thunk.

The car behaved fine and there were no error messages, so we continued on. On inspection later, all we found was a small dent on the sump guard.

There is almost no chance that under normal circumstances water should seep into the engine, unless the car was being drive in 2-3feet of water.
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Old 9th September 2011, 11:47   #6
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by download2live View Post
Looks like case of hydrolock. Punto engine guard is a strong plate. I do not think that sump would have got damaged and hence engine oil starvation is unlikely.

Are you sure your friend did not stall his car in puddle and then tried to restart it?

A few pics will definitely help a lot.
Oil sump damage is very much possible , the oil sump in my punto got dented recently thanks to the craters on 27th main .although i was driving at 30-40kmpl .I did not know about this till i gave the car for service .They repaired the guard and replaced the sump as a precaution even though it was not leaking yet.
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Old 9th September 2011, 12:06   #7
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

Oil Sump damage on going through a puddle is just not possible. If that had been the case, then I would have ruptured the oil sump of all my cars.

Something just doesn't add up. And the number seems just too rounded off for comfort. If sump has cracked on hitting a puddle, then its bad material quality of sump leading to further damage. If water ingress has happened through any other part, then its bad luck but MFR should come out and pay for it as good will.

Bottomline: Speak to FIAT CRM guys and ask for goodwill whatever be it!
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Old 9th September 2011, 12:53   #8
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

you sure it was a small puddle?
where is the intake on the punto?
The thud could very well have come from inside the block, rather than hitting something


Have a look here,
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ssessment.html (Issue with Honda dealer's (Magnum Honda) engine damage assessment)

your friends problem looks to be similar, in as far as the damage is concerned.
you can contact the OP to understand how he's going about getting a claim.
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Old 9th September 2011, 13:38   #9
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

I would suggest that your friend should contact some other dealer in the vicinity and get a second opinion on this, just to be sure about the matter and ensure that the first dealer is not pulling a fast one here.
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Old 9th September 2011, 14:25   #10
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

Thanks for the replies. My friend is not yet a member of this forum, so he would only be reading the replies posted here.

Will ask him to provide me some pics of the problem area and that will clear things a little bit.
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Old 9th September 2011, 14:49   #11
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

The way I see it, for the con-rods to bend, there ought to be two reasons.
  • Engine Seizure due to lack of lubrication.
  • Water entering the cylinder.
Now, whatever, be the case, why cant the owner claim insurance?.
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Old 9th September 2011, 14:53   #12
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Default Re: Need help! Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SankalpDesai View Post
he was travelling on the highway and his car went through a small puddle. There was a loud thud and he could feel the car behaving in a strange manner.
Therein lies the answer to your question. The car's engine has been damaged due to a hydrolock and this is entirely on account of owner negligence. Just pay for the engine rebuild and don't waste time trying to fight dealer or Fiat over this one
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Old 10th September 2011, 07:14   #13
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Default Re: Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto

How would water enter the engine, unless he drove the car in deep waters, Underbelly getting damaged and oil leaks from there, how can that happen, someone has to hit something at crazy speeds for it to break.

I smell something fishy, either the information provided isn't accurate, and if it is then under normal circumstances this should not happen ever. Ask him to talk to the dealer and question how come this has happened when there is no other visible damage otherwise. First it should be part of warranty and Second how come this is not covered under insurance?

Too many questions and too many answers, i would also advise him to pull FIAT to the Consumer Court if he is sure he has not hit something real bad.
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Old 10th September 2011, 07:39   #14
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Default Re: Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto

This is definitely not covered under warranty because the damage is most likely improper usage and not manufacturing defect.

I really wouldn't take the drastic step of going to the court yet.

Though I agree, it seems very unusual for water to have got into the engine, but still the reason is not yet clear as to how it happened.

Similarly if there is any sump damage or oil leak, it still is not a manufacturing defect and thus not really the responsibility of the manufacturer.

The car was functioning normally for all this time. And all the damage that could possibly have been caused, as I can make out till now, is most likely damage due to driving conditions and not covered under warranty.

The only thing I see fishy is the car was kept for a whole 7 days with the dealership before the diagnosis. Did your friend keep a tab on what the dealers were doing all this time. So if at all anything, some extra damage may have been caused during that period and the dealer is now shifting the blame onto the customer, so that he doesnt have to foot your entire bill himself.
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Old 10th September 2011, 10:00   #15
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Default Re: Major expense in a brand new Fiat Punto

The thread title should be changed as it is sounding as if FIAT is at fault here (for not making there engines water poof ).
This is completely owners negligence but definitely insurance should be covering any damage,
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