fiat 1.2 and 1.6 diesels - badbusdriver

I often read posts on the forum warning folks from either of these 2 engines. What i want to know is, just what the problems are, and can they be alleviated by, for example, more regular servicing?.

I am a self employed window cleaner, and have owned my trusty 06 transit connect since 2010. But it is starting to get a bit long in the tooth, the signs of age are starting to show, and, given its age i am a little concerned about the emissions. So i frequently find myself considering what i will replace it with when the time comes. Having done this job for 8.5 years now, i have my own set of ideas on what type of vehicle would be best suited, and while (obviously) i can manage with a van, a drop side pick up would, i feel, be the most suitable. But, with one exeption, all drop side pick ups are big, certainly bigger than i want or need.

Which brings me to the quirky fiat doblo work up. Which being based on the doblo, is of a compact size, has ample payload for my needs, and has small efficient engines. But of course, nothing is ever that straightforward because those small efficient engines are the very ones people like SLO steer others away from!.

So just how much of an issue is it?

fiat 1.2 and 1.6 diesels - SLO76
Despite my warnings bbd, I actually like the Doblo and very nearly bought one instead of a Kangoo van many years back but that was running the ancient 1.9 N/A pig iron diesel that was simple and generally pretty robust. I bought the Renault solely because I got a better deal and a lesson was learned by the next 6yrs of electrical faults.

The 1.3 turbo diesel Fiat use has been around for around 12yrs now and it's highly efficient and lively for its size but it's prone to a long list of potential problems as they age. There's been loads of cases of low mileage examples suffering runaway engine failure which happens when the engine starts feeding on its own oil and runs out of control to maximum revs until it effectively explodes. Not sure of the details as to why it does this (ain't no grease monkey) but I know of numerous cases, particularly on Combo Vans and Corsas and a quick online search will flag up loads more of them.

They're also known for timing chain failure, turbo failure, DPF problems, injector issues etc etc. Yet for every owner who's ran one and been plagued with problems there's always another with nothing but praise. Much of the trouble is due to poor servicing or blatant neglect and later engines are much better so I'd have confidence in what is a new or nearly vehicle. Service it with a Fiat dealer who knows what to watch for on these motors and it could be fine. They don't suit lots of local stop start driving however so you'll need to take it for frequent longer runs.

The newer 1.6 diesel is proving reliable so far aside from the usual blocked particulate filters on low mileage vehicles but it's early days yet. Fiat turbo diesels don't have a good record for longterm reliability but again use it properly and service it right and you've a good chance it'll be ok.

The 2.0 diesel is a flyer and is the same as Vauxhall use in the Astra J and Insignia but high mileage Insignia drivers report common EGR and injector issues with clogged DPF's and turbo failure again not uncommon.

You're kinda stuck if you want a small pickup with folding sides though aren't you? Petrol isn't an option and everything else is much bigger and far more expensive to buy and run. Do you really need a pickup? The window cleaning firm who we used at my shop used a VW Caddy Van exactly the same as the one I used and both gave good service, in fact my old one has been pounding round the UK with a chap who works freelance as an engineer in charge of wind farm installations for the last 4yrs and is still running fine.

You can even get the Caddy with a petrol motor which is far better suited to your low mileage stop start usage. They also hold their money well despite costing more to buy up front. I got top money for mine and could've sold it ten times over as the phone rang off the hook. Auto Trader:

Edited by SLO76 on 21/10/2017 at 22:20

fiat 1.2 and 1.6 diesels - badbusdriver

No, SLO, it doesn't have to be a pick up, I just feel it would work better for me than a van. The plan would be to have my water tank at the back of the cab and my hose reel on a 360° swivel mount at the back. This would allow me to pull the hose out in pretty much any direction (with my current van, I can only pull it out the back, which can be awkward depending on how I'm able to park in relation to the house or houses I'm working at. Also, I would feel safer in the event of an accident having the tank completely separate in the back secured by much sturdier load securing points than you get in a small van.

I realise that petrol would suit me better (I do about 10k per year), but the doblo pick up is not available with petrol. I do like the caddy, but it is just too expensive for me, and because of the type of work I do and stuff I have to carry, I wouldn't be keen on leasing. I did notice a Fiat dealer advertising doblo vans (as well as the pick up), with a basic 1.4 petrol starting off at just over £8.5k + vat, which seemed pretty good value. Unfortunately that is still a bit rich for me, my budget would be more like £6-7.5k (+vat).

If I was to get another van, I'd probably favour the nissan nv200. The 1.5 renault diesel engine seems to be strong and reliable with less problems than most(?). Also it comes with twin sliding doors as standard (so I might still be able to have my hose reel on a swivel mount above the tank giving me the option of pulling the hose out either side or the back). It also happens to be very narrow, which can also help with access on narrow streets.

But hey ho, it's just hypothetical at the moment. With a bit of luck, I'll maybe get another year or two out of the connect. Will see what happens on it's next mot (January)!.

fiat 1.2 and 1.6 diesels - SLO76
Quite like the NV200 and I've yet to have any bother with any 1.5 dci engine I've sold or owned. Can't say the same about the electrics on the rest of the thing however.
fiat 1.2 and 1.6 diesels - daveyK_UK
Can confirm the Doblo van with the 1.3 diesel goes to 80,000 in just under 4 years trouble free

That is when it was sold

I have witnessed cars with the 1.3 diesel hitting 200k miles, following the service schedule is the key

If I had to choose between the 1.3 or 1.6 I would go with the 1.6 for your mileage as it appears the 1.3 is not ideal unless it's doing heavy mileage, engine doesn't seem to like a lot of stop / start usage, especially in regards to the DPF

Also noticed honest John article stating the Doblo is the best van on record for passing its first MOT

fiat 1.2 and 1.6 diesels - badbusdriver

Thanks for that responses davey and SLO. At least 3 of my working days (per month) involve driving around 70 miles in total and another 5 or so are working 16+ miles away so I'm not overly concerned about the dpf issues. But it is certainly handy to know that the smaller engine doesn't take kindly to short stop start running. Because obviously when I get to where I'm working, that is what takes up the rest of my day until I'm finished. It is a bit weird though, I'd have thought it should be the other way round?, the smaller engine being better for short journeys.

Hey ho, you live and learn!.

Speaking of which, before I joined this forum, I had the ford transit courier (1.0 ecoboost) down as a potential new van. Thinking the engine would be ideal for my needs. But since reading all the horror stories about them, I've kinda gone off that idea!.

fiat 1.2 and 1.6 diesels - SLO76
" It is a bit weird though, I'd have thought it should be the other way round?, the smaller engine being better for short journeys."

It's the older design and was brought out before DPF fitment became a requirement, the 1.6 and 2.0 were both designed from scratch with this technology and made use of lessons learned from the 1.3.
fiat 1.2 and 1.6 diesels - daveyK_UK

SLO76 is spot on, the 1,3 diesel was designed and released long before DPF's and Fiat/GM have struggled to get it to work with a DPF

In its defence, the 1.3 diesel drives good and feel alot bigger than its size would suggest


Ask Honest John

Value my car