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Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/7/20 4:39 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

What happened to the neon? Still around? Wanna part out and send stuff to me via the challenge?

Before clicking on the thread I saw Michael was the last post.  In the first post I see a rusty Neon and said betcha Michael wants it.  I did not come away disappointed.

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/7/20 4:40 p.m.

I really like the Fiat looks.  Have you driven an ND to be able to tell us how the two engines perform?

ShawneeCreek GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/7/20 4:46 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

I traded in the Neon to the car dealer. It's probably on the used car lot, off to auction, or in a junkyard. I googled the VIN and nothing popped up. Let me know if you need something specific. The Big 3 positively litter the junkyards here in Michigan. I'm sure I can find it and bring it along to the Challenge.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/7/20 4:50 p.m.

The silverstone wheels and leather seats from the r/t are specifically what I am looking for. Generally tough to find and bring good money in good shape. However,  i want the seats for my duster.....

And I'm cheap! 

Looking forward to seeing you and your wife again this year!

ShawneeCreek GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/7/20 4:51 p.m.

In reply to Stampie (FS) :

I did test drive a couple of NDs, but not back to back with the Fiat. They seemed to have a linear power delivery and love to be revved. Where as the Fiat behaves like the turbocharged engine that it is with lots of torque from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm and then running out of steam from there to redline.

ShawneeCreek GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/7/20 4:54 p.m.

Well, the wheels on mine were beginning to corrode, but could have been repainted. And mine had cloth seats. But I'll see what I can find next time I hit the junkyards.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/7/20 5:18 p.m.

Please do! And odd that an r/t had cloth, but its mopar. They did all sorts of weird stuff....

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/13/20 8:34 a.m.

More parts have come in and been installed. First a leather cover and strap for the key fob. It is designed for the Mazda logo. I'll have to open it up a bit to show the whole Fiat logo.

Next, hood lift struts from Flyin' Miata and IL Motorsports. A good quality kit that increases the open height of the hood, removes the support bar, and uses existing hardware in the hood and fender.


After: (note the hood's position relative to the green extension cord on the wall behind the car)

And my favorite modification to date, the GFB DV+. AKA, the Diverter Valve Plus from Go Fast Bits of Australia. This was a combined birthday and anniversary present from Mrs. ShawneeCreek. The stock diverter valve has some plastic components and is known to leak some boost pressure and react slowly as it ages. The DV+ replaces the valve with some precision machined aluminum and brass while still using the factory control solenoid.

I was immediately impressed by the part presentation in the box:

It's a very easy part to install. Just remove the stock valve and solenoid (in the left in the picture above) from the turbo, remove stock valve, replace with the DV+ components according to the diagram in the instructions, and bolt the whole thing back to the turbo with the supplied longer bolts.

Of course I had to immediately close the hood and go for a test drive. Impressions: wow! My stock valve must have been pretty worn out. The intake noise is a little different. It feels like it has marginally more power. But most of all there is no longer a quarter to a half second long pause waiting for boost to build after a gear change. Just shift gear, release clutch, power. So much fun. 


ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/20/20 8:42 a.m.

It's fun time

trumant (Forum Supporter)
trumant (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/20/20 9:08 a.m.

Really like the color and interested to see where you take this. I miss having a turbo car.


ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/20/20 7:45 p.m.

It was a good day. Any day that starts with the sight of an autocross Viper will probably be good.

Autocross is a little different now with all of the extra safety precautions, but it mostly boils down to some extra PPE. And at least that can be car themed (Martini livery in this case). And they only required the masks when close to others.

The Spider was interesting to autocross. I had to race in STU because of the upgraded diverter valve. This means the car is very underprepared for the class, and thus PAX. Unfortunately I didn't even have anyone else on the class to compete with either. So I got to focus on the car and my driving. It's the first time I've had a rear wheel drive car with stability control and traction control. I decided to do my morning runs with them both enabled. And I have to say, they are really good and subtle with their corrections and intervention to keep the car going where I'm pointing it. I managed a best time of 54.7.

For the first 3 (of 4) afternoon runs I disabled both. The first run I got all out of sorts in a slalom. The second I managed a fun drifting exit to a sweeper. But the best run of the three was a 55.4. My last run of the day with the asists enabled allowed me to drop my time by a second to 54.4. Interesting. This will require further experimenting in future events.

And I had a bit of a scare on the way home. The car made a really loud beeping noise as I was driving along. Turns out it was just the TPMS complaining that the tire pressures were too high. I had forgotten to lower them before leaving the event. Thankfully that was a quick and easy fix.

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/7/20 4:57 p.m.

It's been another 4 months. Let me update you on what I've done.

First up, thanks to a 124spider.org forum member who goes by the name ameridan, I tweaked the radio/head unit/infotainment software. This allowed me to remove a few of the safety nannies, change the accent color from red to blue, add a couple of functions, and change the background to a sweet side profile outline and badge. Everything works well, but I still wish that the system had a better processor. It's really slow and glitchy, especially during startup.

While browsing the internet, I discovered that Goodwin Racing had a sale on their wheels. I was originally going to get some Sparco wheels from Tire Rack for my summer set, but the sale meant that I could get higher quality and lighter wheels for only $25 more per wheel with lug nuts. I settled on a set of Koing Ampliforms in bronze. They are 17x8" which will allow me to run a 225 tire (stock is 205).

Unsurprisingly, they fit well. And I love the black lug nuts. Silver would have looked odd. I love the details on the spokes: scallops to reduce weight and the way they connect with the rim is cool.

But what really convinced me that these wheels were my wheels: according to the stickers on the barrels they were made on my birthday two years ago. Nice! laugh These wheels will be my "summer" set and will likely get a set of Continental DWS06 all-season UHP tires. I'm just waiting for a sale or rebate offer before I buy them. I've got until spring, so I'm not worried.

Speaking of tires, the car now has Pirelli Sottozero 3 winter tires in the stock size on the stock wheels. I haven't driven them in snow yet, but they have an aggressive, directional tread pattern that wasn't as noisy as I expected. There hasn't been much of a fuel economy penalty either. 

I found an extra sheet of sound deadening in the garage and decided to add it to the bottom well in the trunk. Not a ton of difference now, but I'm told that it will help with drone once I switch to an aftermarket exhaust.

Now for the not so happy experience: while driving with my wife through central Michigan to look at the changing leaves an oncoming semi truck threw a rock or sugar beet at me and managed to hit the very edge of my windshield, cracking both the inside and outside panes of glass.

$500 for Safelite to replace it without involving my insurance (my deductible was higher than that). Unfortunately for me the 124 and the ND MX-5 have snap in trim around the outside of the windshield that has a habit of breaking if not removed properly. I warned the tech of this and even provided the Mopar instructions for removing the trim. I handed over the key and wished him the best, trusting that a well known company like Safelite would treat me well. Cue forboding music...

Yep, you guessed it; the Safelite tech broke the upper trim piece. sad He called me out and said "We're not going to go any further until we have replacement trim available. Oh, and that trim is at your cost." Wait, what? You break my car while doing your job and you want me to pay for it? Yep, that is their policy. Even better, that piece of trim is $550 from Mopar. And the side pieces are another ~$400 each. angry Needless to say, I was pissed. I called the manager and he was un-moving in his position. I tried their national customer hotline. It doesn't exist anymore. It directed back to the local manager.

Ultimately I removed the rest of the windshield trim myself, without breaking it, then had them replace the windshield. They put it on slightly off-center, but I was too burned out from fighting them about the trim to yell at them for that. I fixed the broken trim and reinstalled it myself. It's holding up so far. And the manager apparently took pity on me and knocked $65 off the price. But I will NEVER use Safelite again and I tell anyone who asks to avoid them at all costs. They've installed other windshields for me before, and I've been happy with them. But I cannot continue to support a company that refuses to take responsibility for the damage they cause to customer's cars while doing the job they have been paid to do. ...ok, I'm done ranting. On to happier news.

My wife and I did a 5 hour drive around the thumb of Michigan (east side of the state that borders Lake Huron, for those of you who don't live here). Beautiful two lane, 55 mph roads on a beautiful day. Lighthouses. Ice cream. Endless vacation homes. Marinas with expensive boats. And I managed to get 41 miles per gallon on that tank of gas. Life is good.

The weather has been in 70's recently here in Michigan and I've had the top down to enjoy every moment of it. Winter is coming soon. I hope this is as good in snow as I imagine it to be. Time will tell.


ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/15/20 11:21 a.m.

Small project today.

Now that the weather is getting messy and cold, and I can't wash the car at home, I've noticed all the fingerprints on the trunk from closing it. This is because there is nothing inside the trunk lid to grab to close it, so you end up touching the outside and leaving fingerprints in the dirt and getting your hands dirty. Not a huge deal, but a bit annoying. Thankfully, I saw a clever solution on another forum and had to adapt it my car.

  1. Buy a blipshift pull strap key chain. A piece of broken ratchet strap works as well.
  2. Remove the key chain.
  3. Create hole in the reinforced seam.
  4. Fill hole with grommet.
  5. Remove interior trim clip from trunk lid.
  6. Replace trim clip with a longer one and the newly created trunk lid pull strap.
  7. Enjoy success!

In that position the loop is open and easy to snag with a finger to pull the trunk down. And it falls nicely into the trunk without hitting the weather seal.


brad131a4 (Forum Supporter)
brad131a4 (Forum Supporter) Reader
11/15/20 11:59 p.m.

I'd say your much better at trusting than I would be. After telling them there was a procedure and getting blown off by the tech then they break it. I would have told the Manager to go eff himself and to get the berkeley away from the car since the tech is incompetent. I wouldn't have anything else done there. Makes me have to rethink my use of that corporation in future repairs.

spandak HalfDork
11/16/20 12:28 a.m.

Bummer about safelite, what's crazy is that you told the guy and gave him the procedure from the OE. That's outrageous

On the other handle that's a lovely car. I think I prefer the ND front but the tail lights on the Fiat is far better. It reminds me of some other car I like but I can't put a finger on it.

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/25/20 5:58 a.m.

Michigan's first decent snow storm of the season coincided with some building cabin fever in my wife and I. So I decided we would go for a drive in the Spider to the nearby touristy, Bavarian-style town. It's the home of "the world's largest Christmas store" that has lots of Christmas lights outside that you can drive through (plus many more inside that you can purchase, naturally). 

We left a little before sunset to the roads just starting to get snow cover.

It was dark by the time we got to Frankenmuth, and the lights, covered bridge, and architecture were as beautiful as ever all covered in snow.

The snow was coming down full Windows 95 screensaver-style on the way home in the dark. And the closer we got to home the more was on the roads. The winter tires did great in the 1-2" of slush with only minor interventions from traction control and ABS.

My only problem was the LED lights didn't generate enough heat to melt the snow. While the headlight washers were effective at clearing the lights, it was frustrating that the washers only came on every few times the windshield washers are used. I wish I could activate the headlight washers separately. I'll have to look into some sort of CAN Bus interface. Maybe I could use the switch for the fog lights to activate the headlight washers...

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the winter performance. It will be fine as the daily driver this winter.

- Sean

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/25/20 8:45 a.m.

The snow on the headlights thing was a significant issue driving Rufus home from Colorado a couple years ago. It's something to think about when I move back up north. It's not nice to have to pull over in a blizzard at night because you can't see and then clean the lights off and then have the same problem 15 minutes later. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/25/20 12:38 p.m.

The snow was coming down full Windows 95 screensaver-style

That phrase bears repeating for its poetic elegance. 

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/25/20 5:58 p.m.

Merry Christmas everyone!

We had a light snowfall overnight giving us a slightly white Christmas. The Fiat was parked outside and the snow cover set it up for some fun pictures.

And if anyone ever says that my car looks "happy", I'll direct them to this picture in which the car looks very angry. 

Stay safe and continue having a wonderful holiday season.

- Sean

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/31/21 4:17 p.m.

Way back before Thanksgiving I got a nice bonus from work and splurged on something small and fun for my Spider. I got these "Apollo" gauge faces from Adam at RevLimiter.net. I'd been eyeing them for a while as a good way to clean up the speedometer by removing the km/h scale. And they happened to be on sale. I wasn't able to install them until earlier this month after finishing an oil change.

This was the contents of the package from Adam.

I've got to say that the Hotwheels and hand written thank you note were unexpected, but fun additions. The sarcasm in the warnings add to the fun: "Do not eat." The instructions are on the website and included a couple of helpful videos, so I won't bother with the installation process much. But you do have to remove a considerable portion of the interior to remove the gages from the car:


Other than the actual faces changing, a couple of the warning icons changed a little. Cruise control icon to "CRUISE" text. Stability control icon goes from generic rear view to an overhead view of a drifting roadster. Traction Control icon to "DSC OFF" text. And there are a few icons that don't get used like AT, automatic high beams, and lane keeping that the MX-5s have. Also, some of the warning icons got smaller. Here are some pictures of both stock and modified to compare:





I have to say, initially I wasn't very pleased with the change. All of the subtle differences were itching the back of brain. Things like the major speedometer marks going from 10, 30, 50, 70, etc. to 20, 40, 60, 80, etc. Or that the new gauges were more of a warm, cream white when compared to the brighter, cool white of the stock gauges and needles. Or how on a few of the icons you can see a square outline around them (coolant temp at the top and the fog light at the bottom are good examples). Also, that "fog light" icon is actually the fuel cap not installed warning light.

I've had the gauges installed for three weeks and 900 miles now. All of those annoyances have basically faded. I like the actually red redline section on the tachometer. And the honeycomb texture on the tachometer and speedometer faces. Of course, it also achieved my primary goal of removing the km/h from the speedometer. I'm happy with the change.

- Sean

ShawneeCreek GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/8/21 5:03 p.m.

It's been a few months and spring has arrived. Happily, this means changing over to the good summer wheels. Of course it decided to start snowing after I pulled the first wheel off. I pressed forward regardless.

And then last month I managed to get a flat right rear tire. Thankfully I had bought them through Tire Rack, which means free roadside assistance and free replacement tire. I got towed home and put two of the winter wheels on while I waited for the replacement tire to arrive. Yes, it looked rediculous.

Tire Rack was absolutely great to work with. My call to order the tire lasted all of two minutes. "For the Fiat?" yep  "The Continentals?"  yep  "Deliver to the same shop as before?"  yep  "Is the credit card we used last time still good?"  yep  "You are all set. The tire will be there in a couple of days. Submit the claim after it is installed." Perfect! I can't speak highly enough about them.

But the biggest news is what I installed today: a System ONE catback exhaust from Good-win Racing. I've been saving for something big for the car for a while. The need for a louder exhaust was solidified after driving Dusterbd13's Miata and Neon with their noisy, playful exhausts. They just add to the sense of the fun while driving. Mrs. ShawneeCreek decided we would cover part of the cost as my birthday and anniversary (and maybe Christmas...) present. The complete system deletes the muffler, deletes the resonator in the midpipe, and is 2.5" for most of the length. Effectively a straight pipe. Oh, and polished quad exhaust tips! You can't forget those.

Oh, this is how this car should have sounded from the beginning! Turbo noises. Growls. A little pop on overrun. It childish and glorious! And while it is louder than stock, it quiets down nicely while cruising. The Helmholtz resonator in the rear section might be helping with that. And if I start to feel that it's too loud, it came with a resonator that I can swap in place of a straight pipe section by just removing two v-band clamps.

I'm sure the new exhaust gives me a little more power and torque, or at least the ability to tune more in. But what it mostly does is make the car so much more fun to drive. I'm pleased and I can't wait until autocross season starts up here.

- Sean

Pobs and bangs and other noises are fun!!!

Glad i could be a bad influence!


And the hands on the wheel for driving fast that you taught me works way better with power steering, regardless of mopar it's being used in. Thanks!!

ShawneeCreek GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/15/21 8:00 p.m.

Washed it for the first time in months and took it out for some photos. I've wrapped the silver exterior windshield trim in black vinyl. I think it looks better with the bronze wheels. If I continue to like it in a few months I'll do the same to the "roll hoops" behind the seats so that it matches with the roof down.

The light in the trunk is kind of dim. It is also on the left side and gets covered by things you load in making it impossible to find other things in the trunk. To solve this issue I bought a roll of LEDs on a strip with adhesive on the back. It is stuck to a conveniently angled bit of the structure up at the front and wired into the trunk light. So much better. Now to see if they last and the adhesive holds...

- Sean

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/15/21 8:43 p.m.

I agree the windshield trim looks MUCH better not silver! So glad you got the System One. That's what absolutely sold me on my 124 when I bought it. I had the resonator and it was magnificent. There is no better sounding Miata.

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