Seat Lowering Rails

seat lowered

photo courtesy of james.today

Happy New Year!

The photo above in the “Seat Lowering Rails” thread on the 124Spider.org forum caught my attention, in that it appears that a good 2″ drop was accomplished on this driver’s  seat, by substituting the factory seat slider rails with new brackets from Paco Motorsports, created expressly for taller drivers needing a little more headroom (or auto-crossers needing to wear helmets 😉 ).   Although Recaro seat bottoms are said to sit a little taller than the stock seats, this could be a substantial improvement – regardless of which seats you have!  You can get a good idea of what is involved in installing these brackets, by reviewing Paco’s installation instructions here.

I remember writing an article back in 2017, that involved lowering the seat height by “meshectomy”– unfastening one side of the load-bearing seat-bottom mesh, which essentially transfers all of the seat support to the outer covering only, allowing the occupant to sit only a ½” lower.  By giving up the ability to readily adjust the position of the seat, these brackets provide a significant gain in headroom (along with a 6½ pound weight savings per seat), and seems to be a much more practical solution.  You will need your wrench to alter the position of the seat with these brackets, but it can be done.

seat rails

these photos courtesy of murix

seat with new brackets

Murix’s comments:

The good,
Feels really good, i need to test fit with my helmet but i’m sure i can fit with the top closed and pass the broomstick test. your butt is lower with your thighs higher, its alot like a fixed back racing seat, you feel “in” the car. no wiggles or rattles. feels like a sports car seat now. reminds me of the BRZ i test drove when i cross shopped these two. these rails and the 2in steering spacer makes the car feel so right. you are in the car and have a touch of recline.

The meh,
I had to remove the plastic guard to the right of the recline lever. exposes this shiny tube thing, i think it has to do with the airbags from what the plug looks like. might need to trim the plastic or paint the “tube thing” black. aesthetically unpleasing.
The second meh has to do with adjustment. all the bolts that need to be loosened and tightened are in hard to reach area where you have to use and open box wrench to twist 1/32 of a turn at a time. not impossible but if you can stay focused i’d figure at least 5 min per bolt to loosen and then 5 min minimum to tighten. not alot of room to work.

The ugly,
the bolts on the rear of the rails that bolt to the car. i would love if Paco can reply with the exact tool he recommends to tighten these. mine are half-arsed tight at the moment. you will need some sort of 14mm stubby open end wrench and alot of blue collar language. they are very hard to get started and you cannot see a darn thing.

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) / Traction Control System (TCS)

Source: DSC MX-5

dsc

The Dynamic Stability Control system (DSC) automatically takes control of the vehicle when skidding is detected.  The system guards against skidding by optimally controlling engine output and the braking force applied to each wheel through the combined control of the 4-wheel antilock braking system (ABS) and the Traction Control System (TCS).  This helps the vehicle maintain stability even in situations such as when cornering on slippery roads or when steering suddenly to avoid hazards.

Sensors in the vehicle provide speed, steering angle, lateral-G and yaw rate data for both systems, and the performance parameters are effected by the Sport mode switch and the LSD in the Abarths.

For example, if the car understeers and tends towards the outside of a corner, engine output is controlled and braking is applied primarily to the inner front wheel according to the degree of the tendency.  As a result, a yaw moment is formed towards the inner side of the vehicle and the understeer tendency is suppressed.

Conversely, if the vehicle oversteers and tends toward the inside of a curve, braking is applied primarily to the outer front wheel according to the degree of the tendency.  As a result, a yaw moment is formed towards the outer side of the vehicle and the oversteer tendency is suppressed.

dsc can do


The two systems work in harmony, and can normally be controlled together with quick presses of the DSC button ⇓ :

index.10

DSC operation is possible at speeds greater than 12 mph (20 km/h), and is normally ON each time the vehicle is started.  TCS is normally in standby mode, but it will activate if, for instance, you attempt to free the vehicle when it is stuck, or drive it out of freshly fallen snow.  Depressing the accelerator will not increase engine power and freeing the vehicle may be difficult.  When this happens, either deactivate both TCS/DSC (short press of the switch), or with a long press (10 seconds+), you can deactivate TCS independently of DSC.

Note that deactivation of DSC is a misnomer though, since the steering safety system remains in readiness mode, and will re-engage itself, although under more extreme parameters.

Reset DSC: Hold DSC/TCS  button 10 seconds+

 

 

Kid’s version of the 124 Spider

 

goaterguy pointed this out on the 124spider.org site, and I thought it was cool enough to do a promotional blurb on it myself.  These “toys” are available in red, white, black and blue and since MossMiata already carries the Bburago die-cast 1:24 scale versions of our cars (I’ve got the grey one), maybe they (or another of our great 124 Spider aftermarket parts vendors) could be convinced to carry this line as well 😉 😉 😉

  • I like that red accelerator pedal – I wonder if it has a hidden “sport” mode
  • There is some evidence of poor copy/paste on this site, but English probably isn’t their primary language.  (Audi listed as the brand name?  2.4G R/C with three speeds, etc.)
  • I guess they do copy everything in China, yet I think whoever designed this thing, did a pretty good job!

 

Fiat 124 Spider / Mazda MX-5 ~ Parts Compatibility Guide

img-7141

photos courtesy of Redline Auto Parts

Redline Auto Parts has recently published a very comprehensive guide covering the interchangeability of parts among our two roadster variants.  By looking at the photo above from their blog article, it becomes obvious that they actually disassembled one of each vehicle, in order to verify the cross-installation of parts for compatibility, and they they do a nice job of describing any noted issues.

Since they are keeping the document updated (as they wrap-up some verifications), rather than seeking permission to reprint, I’m sharing a link to their great ★ ★ ★ ★ ★  (5-star) article instead:

https://www.redlineautoparts.com/blog/fiat-124-spider-to-nd-miata-compatibility-interchange-guide/ 


They’ve also published a video featuring a side-by-side comparison of the two vehicles:

redline

click to watch

 

No, this is not the 2020 model

ORIGINAL ARTICLE TITLE: Is this what the 2020 model will look like?

2020 124 Spider

photo courtesy of Simone Bonino

Simone apparently caught a good glimpse of this Turin, Italy today, and the first thing that comes to mind – is this a sneak-peek at a 2020 model, or is it simply someone’s customized car?

Differences observed from photo:

  • Grille design with emblem mounted on it, rather than on the top fascia surface
  • no indent for emblem on fascia
  • ridge line up the middle, including hood (which also has no power bumps)
  • turn signals look different
  • white leather option, including steering wheel

What I like best, is that blue!

[UPDATE] Sorry everybody, apparently, UP Designs customized a vehicle for a client, naming it Fiat 124 Mole Costruzione Artigianale 001.   It debuted at the 2018 Turin Auto Show, and I think I can assuredly state that it will never be duplicated at the factory.  Here is an article I found on the car.

New map updates dated June 2019 are available

Fiat 124

⭐️ Map updates dated June 2019 (and Dec 2019) are available!  

(at least for North America)

The prior version of North American maps (USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico) were 5,738 MB, and were dated December 2018.  I updated my cards this morning, and verified that this latest version still fits on the 8 GB card, as it is has grown in size by only 60 MB (original size was 4,977 MB, almost 1 GB smaller). 

If you are using macOS,  we would like to inform you that after the latest macOS (Catalina) update, Fiat Toolbox won’t be operational anymore – you’ll need to delete the old version and reinstall the current version of the application. 

This will probably be the last FREE 3-year map subscription* update for those of you that purchased their 2017 Fiat 124 Spiders in the Summer of 2016, like I did.

The map service is tied to your VIN, so don’t waste your money buying a new Nav card on eBay/Amazon, thinking you can restart the clock for another 3 years.

♦♦♦♦♦

It is my understanding, that starting with the February 2019 version of Europe maps (which is currently the most recent version, according to Stuart), if you want the Russia maps along with maps for United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Poland , Portugal, Turkey and Spain, you’ll need a 16 GB SD card to install them on now, instead of the 8 GB card.  Mazda has a procedure for providing an official blank card to accommodate that, but I’m not aware if Fiat has done the same.

As far as I know, the ADR maps (Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, South Africa, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Oceania regions) also still fit on the 8 GB card.


Procedure for Updating (if you skip backup, should take about 30 minutes)

Step 1. Download & Install Fiat Toolbox via Fiat 124 Spider Connect site (Windows or OSX version).
Step 2. Open Fiat Toolbox and insert SD card into the computer.
Step 3. Create a backup of the information currently on your SD card following the Toolbox prompt.
Step 4. Log in to Fiat Toolbox using your email/password combination.  If it is your first time, you’ll have to create a user profile.
Step 5. Once logged in, a button will appear labeled “Updates” if a map update is available or “Device” if there are no new updates. Click “Updates.”
Step 6. Create a new SD card backup. If you have an alternate Nav SD card, you can skip this step.
Step 7. Click INSTALL to begin map update.  After “Download progress” has reached 100%, “Installation progress” will commence, eventually reaching 100% as well.  You only need to download once, so if you have multiple SD cards, updating after the first card, is much quicker.
Step 8. Once the new backup is compete, eject your SD card and return it to your vehicle.

♦♦♦♦♦

nav map paid updates

   Starting this summer (July 2019), owners of 2017 124 Spiders will start losing their free map updates, as that only lasts 3 years.  Unlike with some vehicle brands, at least the SD card will continue to function, so you could probably wait for a while before resuming map updates, but eventually you should expect to pay, unless you consider alternatives, like installing the retrofit USB hub, which will then allow you to navigate via Android Auto or CarPlay programs.

 

Securing Your Rocker Panel Trim, Proactively

(Rocker panel trim is the painted plastic body trim underneath the doors)

Rocker Panel advised mod1

courtesy of Long Road Racing; click to enlarge

Quite a while ago, I recall reading how those that were auto-crossing and racing their Miatas and perhaps coming in contact with those pesky orange cones, were losing their rocker panel trim (commonly, but technically incorrect, called rocker panels) and how Mazda had responded by issuing a TSB (Global MX-5 Cup Car Technical Service Bulletin #3-22-17B), which not only answered these driver’s concerns that the panels were just hanging on plastic clips, and therefore, weren’t really “fastened” to the vehicles, but it also made fastening the panels a “legal” modification for racing qualification (I’m curious as to whether Fiat has issued a similar TSB).

I recall reading the TSB, and not having a very good idea as to where the three self-tapping screws were allowed, nor where the mounting surfaces were and what these clips looked like (I didn’t try very hard, as I haven’t looked underneath there since installing the plugs my dealer forgot to install).  Then yesterday, someone posted a common forum question – “What are these plugs for, and what do I do with them?”, and with one of the replies, a very clear photo showing the clips that hold the rocker panel trim, was posted. 

chassis plug

photo courtesy of Casey Jones

Now it became clear, that dislodging the panels probably wouldn’t take too much force.  I’ve been told that driving through an unexpected large puddle at highway speed could be all it takes!

I brightened up another forum photo showing a screw in place, and it too reveals the clipping better

Rocker Panel advised mod

source unknown

So even though I’m not an Auto-crosser, I think I’ve finally been inspired enough to locate some quality stainless steel self-tapping screws, to insure that some road debris won’t dislodge one of my rocker panels, by pre-drilling and installing at least 3 of those screws per panel (if you aren’t qualifying for racing, 5 might be better), along the inboard edge in the vicinity of those bottom clips, where I’m confident the actual rocker panel sheet metal is directly behind the trim.  This will prevent the panel from “shifting” out of those clips, or falling off should some of them fail under stress, as magoffin’s have.

rocker panel clip failure

photo courtesy of magoffin

It turns out that you needn’t raise the car that much to drill the holes.  Lifting the vehicle at the forward rail “pad” such that the suspended front wheel is about an inch off the ground, was plenty high enough for both drilling and driving the screws in.


About an hour after I published this article, Leon Russ posted this photo , along with his comment that road debris had just dislocated his rocker panel.  This is exactly what I wish to avoid!

rocker panel off

photo courtesy of Leon Russ

Looks like there are about 10 other green clips holding the trim panel on, in addition to the 5 white clips along the bottom edge. 

If your rocker panel does become dislodged, Tim Oyer had this advice for reinstalling:

Take all the green clips out of the body of the car (just take something thin and fairly rigid and squeeze in one side of the squeeze-clip, then gently rotate and yank it out), and put them in place on the rocker panel. Once all in place, slide the bottom clips into place, then rock the rocker upward and push the green clips into the mounting holes. It can be done easier if you lift the car up a bit, but otherwise can be done in a parking lot, no problem.  When you get home, add the screws!

Custom satin aluminum sill plates are available (sold as a pair)!

sill plate

click photo to enlarge

sold

Peter T is a member of  124 Spider Italia, as well as Abarth Club Como (Lake Como, Italy!!!), and they had a fantastic cruise this past weekend, even though it rained.  However because of the rain, fewer participants than expected showed up, consequently resulting in extra sill plates that were produced for the occasion as a goodie-bag gift for each vehicle.  Peter has offered for his club to make them available to my blog readers on a first-come, first-served basis via this link for €40 shipped in Europe / or approximately $50 shipped to USA, should anyone be interested.

abarth club como

The “124 spider” logo (along with Italian colors) has been printed onto the satin-finish aluminum, and then a clear coat has been applied for scratch protection, resulting in a very attractive, anti-scuff, customized door sill.

sill plate installed

There is a beveled surface (not an indent 😉 ) molded into the sills that appears to have been intended for the addition of an emblem in premium versions of the Miata, and these sill plates are designed to mock those in proud Italian fashion for our variant.

♦♦♦

Francesco Ulivieri, you’ve done a great job producing these!  Grazie!

italian flag


Continue reading

PRESERVE YOUR ABILITY TO TWEAK IN FUTURE FIRMWARE VERSIONS ~ VERSION 2.0

This is just a FYI at this point ~ Do not use the new id7 quite yet

from the developer ~ trezdog44

Recently a new version of the infotainment system firmware v70.00.335-C NA was found to have as part of its update process, a highly unnecessary, destructive little script called “neutralizeid7” which DIRECTLY TARGETS ITS USERS BY PERFORMING THE UNDESIRABLE ACTION OF REMOVING THE RECOVERY THAT WE USE TO KEEP OUR SYSTEMS OPEN, CUSTOMIZEABLE AND WELL… OURS!!!

This incredibly destructive script once again acts kind of like ransomware without the ransom and it wipes out all the recovery files, not that they would work after the update anyways for even the mechanism that would run those files during system boot time is also removed, and just locks you out so completely even connecting to the serial port will no longer work. As of right now, this new firmware is only available online for NA region AFAIK, and I haven’t heard of anyone being updated to it by their dealership yet so even though I am extremely busy these days I took the time to think about how to stay one step ahead and I rewrote the recovery scripts so that the update will think it removed the recovery, but really the new recovery slips them right back in there and will even add the required lines of code back to certain files to make the whole thing work again.

Early awareness of all this will help minimize the amount of users that loose access to their systems, but THIS WILL ONLY WORK IF YOU INSTALL IT BEFORE UPDATING, IF YOU UPDATE TO V70.00.335+ WITHOUT THIS VER 2.0 RECOVERY INSTALLED, THERE IS NO CHANCE OF EVER TWEAKING YOUR SYSTEM AGAIN; SERIAL CONNECTION WILL NOT EVEN WORK ANYMORE!


If you are lucky enough to have version 56 firmware, by installing this tweak, you will not only preserve your ability to tweak version 59 and version 70 firmware, but the new counter measures to delete this tweak written into 70.00.335+ firmware will also be defeated.

If you instead have Model Year 2018+ vehicles with firmware version 59.00.502 (or higher*) that Visteon has programmed to permanently disable the ability for scripts on USB drives from running, resulting in no known method to tweak those vehicles except by removing the CMU from the dashboard and truly hacking in via the serial port.

Mazda is also gradually upgrading the older CMU firmwares to 70.00.100 (or higher*) in prior-year Mazda vehicles, as they come in for service, in order to no longer allow tweaking in those vehicles either, *** UNLESS *** you have installed a “backdoor” tweak like “ID7 autorun” prior to that upgrade.  70.00.335 as trezdog previously mentioned, goes so far as to remove that backdoor tweak, so now a revised version 2.0 of the id7 tweak will need to be installed, so that the ability to continue tweaking will prevail.  As for Fiat, we don’t know what their plans are yet, but we’ve got some time – stay away from .335 for now though.

Update

Questions have been raised as to whether you can downgrade the firmware after mistakenly upgraded to .335, to which I’ll answer:

  1. I am not aware of Fiat releasing firmware past version 59, and
  2. I am not aware of anyone making any version of Fiat firmware available

which is why the “FIAT” CarPlay upgrade project uses Mazda firmware and tweaks it decently for Fiat usage. If Fiat firmware was available, yes you could downgrade, but you would still need to concurrently install id7ver2 using serial access, if you wan’t to reverse the harmful effects of 335 that disallow tweaking.  If you are going to go through all that trouble, you might as well keep the most recent version.

 

Fuel Economy App

sbhigqkoak3mntmc1g57I happened to be scrolling through an Australian Mazda CX-8 manual today, and observed what I think is the first thorough instructional documentation that I’ve seen, regarding this app.  I know that this app is presented to the driver during shutdown by default, for some regions like Japan (there is a setting to do so, if you are so inclined), but as a sports car driver in the U.S. with a 1.4 L turbo engine, I’ve never really paid that much attention to fuel economy stats.  The data is presented as MPG or L/100 KM.   Note that there is also a fuel consumption tweak that offers KM/L as the metric equivalent to MPG, and in addition to the average fuel economy for this drive, shows the average fuel economy since the last reset.

I am reminded again of how glad I am that i-Stop isn’t forced on us, in the 124 Spider!

For those readers that might find this interesting though, I’ve combined screen shots of the applicable three pages, and present them here…

fuel economy app

♦♦♦♦♦

fuel economy tweak