Our boot won’t open!

We like our Twin Air 500 a lot, and I mean, a lot. It’s the second we’ve had, with 55,000 miles over 4 years, and our previous Diesel, ordered before the launch, covered over 70,000 miles in 4 years without too many problems (if you exclude a new engine). We drive it every day into London, and it’s subjected to speed humps, parking bumps etc….

But last November we noticed something very strange. The rear window and mirrors didn’t demist, and then the the boot wouldn’t open. A quick google revealed quite a number of owners of cars over 2 years old were experiencing the same problem, both in the convertibles and the fixed roof, such as ours. It appears that the wiring between the roof and the boot was perishing, and in the constant opening and shutting of the boot, especially if the car was left out, the wiring insulation was liable to crack, break allowing the possibility that the wires would then short out. When you grabbed hold of the rubber sleeve that is open between the roof and the boot, it was rock hard, unlike a new car.

Fiat boot open

Note the photo below how the wires are frayed, and also how the paint on the rear panel is slightly scuffed – on ours, the paint wore through to the primer as the boot was now so solid it was wearing through the paint on the body, another issue.

We took the Twin Air into the dealership, and they announced that it was a service item, but as the car was outside the warranty period, the work would cost between £600 and £700 including a new wiring loom for the rear of the car. Ouch. They also (as they did when our engine failed on the diesel) denied there was a problem when this was discovered on our car in November 2014, despite this being a known problem had been reported on at least one website, Honest John, and a couple of Forums.

In the end, we took the advice on several of the forums, and the honestjohn website above, and bought a £40 replacement non OEM part from Autoteile in Germany that a competent auto electrician can fit in a couple of hours – cost, including parts, £140. The spare part is V24-83-0001 for the saloon, and V24-83-0004 for the cabriolet.

Autoteile partMy observation would be that, if your car is about to come out of warranty, please have a look at the rubber boot where the wires go into the tailgate, and ask that the dealer gets it fixed before there’s a bill Fiat won’t deal with. If it’s out of warranty, try Fiat, but be prepared to go and get it sorted using one of these repair looms, as it’s at least £500 cheaper and get a competent auto electrician to fit it if you don’t feel capable to do it yourself.

Julian Wakeley, Fiat 500 Club UK member