Originally Posted by mazda6man
driving by a dealership in town, i see a 1980 fiat... now ive got my mother looking at it, and she really likes it... dont know what exactly its called... a spider or somthing like that for 3000, but, is there anything that likes to go really bad on these things, or are they relevtivly good for reliability? its a sharp car, and i think it would be cool for her to pic up, so im kind of curious about it
The Fiat Spider 2000 is the last of the Fiat produced cars to be sold in the US. the 2 liter is a relatively robust engine, and the fuel injection is Bosch, and is similar to the injection seen an a lot of different European imports of the time. Almost all the parts for the car are relatively easy to come by anymore, from places like Bruce's and others.
That's the good news.
Things to look out for: even in the northwest, they can get rusty. Look around teh suspension mounts for critical rust. Rust in the floor pans and trunk is easy to fix. Butthe wheelwells also tend to get rusty, and that requires a bit more work (though it can be done relatively easy). But it shouldnt' be as much of a problem up there as it is out here.
Mechanically, the 5 speed has weak synchros, and after all this time, it can be easy to find one that pops out of 2nd and 4th gear. it's a relatively straightforward repair at a shop (and there are still a few Fiat-knowledgeable shops in your area. I think D&W in Port Orchard is still in business).
The big concern in a Fiat, however, is the electrical system. The connectors all used dielectric grease in them to keep the cheap alloys from corroding, but years ago most dried out and no longer have that grease in them. Electrical gremlins can be a constant pain, and shops will charge a lot of money to trace them down. Simply going through all the connectors, cleaning them up and reconnecting them will cure 99% of electrical problems. Check all grounds (ther are numerous crown connectors under hood and under the dash that tend to corrode. Clean them thoroughly). Also make sure that all fuses are in good shape, as they are bullet style, and tend to have the ends corrode slightly. Rolling them will often reveal connection issues at the fuse.
It sounds like a lot, but it's actually rather simple to deal with initially, and should end up with something that is fun to drive for a long time. I should know, I've had 3 of them...
Here's the restoration of my current one: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/cvetters3/fiat_spider.htm