Fiat punto 60 sx - Fiat Punto 1998 headgasket - KCSRenault

Hello Folks,

Just wondering if there was a reason why so many of these headgaskets fail, i have recently been gifted a 1998 fiat punto with 60,000 miles on the clock, full service history but has never had a head gasket, just wondered what to look out for or is it inevitable?

I need the car for monthly 300 mile round trips and dont want to become best friends with the AA.


Fiat punto 60 sx - Fiat Punto 1998 headgasket - RobJP

It's a 19 year old Fiat.

You're highly likely to become best friends with the AA anyway, if not the engine then something else.

Fiat punto 60 sx - Fiat Punto 1998 headgasket - hardway

Presonally I can't think of a cheaper to repair car,

or easier to do.

Your worried about H/gaskets?

2.5 hours to do plus parts.

So sub a big note if you do it yourself on a Sat' morning for fun!

Only real problems I'v come across is a miss fire caused by a failing coil pack

Fit O/E as soon as posssible as the coil pack can cause a blow in the ECU killing it.

Again still cheap.

Last one I did I got refurbished for around £80 or less if I remeber right.

Fiat punto 60 sx - Fiat Punto 1998 headgasket - elekie&a/c doctor

As above.A car that is classic "keep it simple".Don't recall these ever being known for h/gasket trouble.But did suffer commonly with heater matrix leaking which could in turn result in h/g problems if the car ran out of coolant,if neglected.

Fiat punto 60 sx - Fiat Punto 1998 headgasket - SLO76
I flogged loads of these in the 90's without much bother, in fact we used them as hire cars at our bodyshop because they were cheap and generally trouble free.

It is pretty common for head gaskets to fail on the 1.1 Fire unit that was in the earlier 55, usually around 70,000 miles or so but the later 1250 is a more robust engine. Still, it's an old car and HGF is still a possibility so look for a creamy buildup around the oil filler cap and check in the header tank for signs of oil in the water plus look out for white smoke from the exhaust which signifies water being burnt.

Poor quality electrical connectors and rot are your big enemies with an old Fiat. The bodywork itself is good at resisting but look underneath for structural rot, look at the subframes, front crossmember and wishbones for holes. I had a customer recently call me after the front of her 2002 Punto collapsed. I looked under it and the offside wishbone had snapped due to corrosion, fortunately she'd just parked up when it happened as it could've killed her if she'd been travelling at speed.

While it is possible to run an old car like this cheaply and reliably I'd make sure you continue to service it regularly and carry out weekly checks to oil, lights, tyres and a quick glance underneath to spot any possible problems before they happen. Don't expect flawless reliability and do take out good breakdown cover because of those long runs you'll be doing and don't drive it as if it was a new car. This is an old design with poor crash safety and could go wrong at any time so no bombing down the outside lane at 90!

Edited by SLO76 on 06/02/2017 at 19:54

Fiat punto 60 sx - Fiat Punto 1998 headgasket - craig-pd130

I second SLO76's comment above. We had a 55 1.1 that suffered head gasket failure, but we chopped it in for a facelifted 60 with the 1.2 motor that never gave us a moment's trouble, despite being thrashed mercilessly by my wife, who could give Michelle Mouton a run for her money :)

However, it was written off after being hit by a drink-driver in a BMW X5, which bent the driver's side sill like a banana. Still, my wife was completely unharmed in the incident.

The original Puntos were a very good car.

Fiat punto 60 sx - Fiat Punto 1998 headgasket - skidpan

Friends of ours bought a brand new 1.2 many years ago and we thought they were totally mad. The first few months proved us correct, it spent more time in the garage being completed than on the road. Obviously the factory sent the car out with no quality checks whatsoever.

Once the dealer had finished building the car it was totally trouble free until they finally scrapped it. It ended its life at Uni with No 2 daughter but age and a hard life eventually caught up with it.

Replaced by a free, yes free small Chevvy hatch. Needed to be free, worst car ever. The local Gypsys eventually removed it from the drive. Only other way was to pay someone to scrap it.


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