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Brakes, suspension & tyres Fiat 500 2004 - 2012 Diesel 1.3 Multijet

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Fiat 500 2004 - 2012  | 1.3 Multijet Brakes, suspension & tyres

  • time 20 minutes
  • difficulty 3
Start with the front wheels
With the wheel off the ground, check for wear in the wheel hub bearings by grasping the wheel and trying to rock it. Very slight play is OK, but if the movement is appreciable, you should seek further advice
Now remove the wheel
Check condition of the brake discs. Some light scoring is normal on the area in contact with the brake pads, but if heavy scoring and/or cracks are found on the disc or around the wheel bolt holes, the disc must be renewed. ALWAYS replace both front discs & pads
Now locate the brake pads, there are two, one on each side of the disc. Locate the brake pad's wearing surface, it's the wear material that is pressed against the brake disc to slow the vehicle when the brake pedal is applied
Using a ruler, measure the approximate thickness of the remaining wear material on the brake pad. If it is less than 2.0mm, all front pads need replacement If you need to replace the front pads, click below
- Close + Open

Front brake pads replacement

Warning: Renew both sets of front brake pads at the same time – never renew the pads on only one wheel, as uneven braking may result. Note that the dust created by wear of the pads may contain asbestos, which is a health hazard. Never blow it out with compressed air, and don’t inhale any of it. An approved filtering mask should be worn when working on the brakes. DO NOT use petrol or petroleum-based solvents to clean brake parts; use brake cleaner or methylated spirit only.
1 Apply the handbrake, then slacken the front roadwheel bolts. Jack up the front of the vehicle and support it on axle stands. Remove both front roadwheels.
2 Two different designs of front caliper may be fitted. Follow the relevant accompanying photos for the actual pad renewal procedure. Diesel models are fitted with ventilated front discs, and petrol models with solid discs. Be sure to stay in order and read the caption under each illustration, and note the following points:
  1. New pads may have an adhesive foil on the backplates. Remove this foil prior to installation.
  2. Gently clean the caliper guide surfaces, and apply a little brake assembly grease.
  3. When pushing the caliper piston back to accommodate new pads, keep a close eye on the fluid level in the reservoir.
Slide the brake pad wear sensor wiring plug (arrowed) upwards from the mounting bracket and disconnect it. Note that a wear sensor is only fitted to the left-hand caliper
Unclip the wear sensor wiring from the bracket
Pull out the retaining clip . . .
. . . and slide out the lower mounting pin
Pivot the caliper upwards . . .
. . . and secure it to the suspension spring to prevent straining the hose
Remove the inner brake pad . . .
. . . and pull out the wear sensor
Remove the outer brake pad
Measure the thickness of the friction material. If it’s less than 1.5 mm, renew all 4 pads
Clean the caliper guide surfaces with a soft brush and some brake cleaner
Fit the outer brake pad. Ensure the fiction material is against the disc surface . . .
. . . followed by the inner pad
Fit the wear sensor (arrowed) to the inner brake pad
Use a piston retraction tool to force the piston back into the caliper body. Keep an eye on the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir
Lower the caliper over the pads
Apply a little anti-seize grease to the pin, then slide it through the holes in the bracket and caliper . . .
. . . and secure it with the retaining clip (arrowed)
Fit the wiring retaining clip to the bracket . . .
. . . reconnect the wiring plug . . .
. . . and slide it onto the bracket

Diesel models

On diesel models, disconnect the brake pad wear sensor wiring plug . . .
. . . slide the plug up from the bracket . . .
. . . and release the wiring. The sensor is only fitted to the left-hand caliper
Remove the caliper lower guide pin bolt (arrowed) . . .
. . . and pivot the caliper upwards
Secure the caliper to prevent it swinging down
Remove the inner brake pad . . .
. . . followed by the outer brake pad
Prise up the shims from the caliper upper and lower mounting points on the bracket
Measure the thickness of the friction material. If it’s less than 1.5 mm, renew all 4 pads
Clean the caliper mounting surfaces with a soft brush and some brake cleaner
Use a piston retraction tool to force the piston back into the caliper body. Keep an eye on the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir
Fit the shims to the lower mounting points . . .
. . . and the upper mounting points
Fit the outer brake pads, ensuring the friction material is against the disc surface . . .
. . . followed by the inner brake pad (with wear indicator (arrowed) – left-hand side caliper only)
Lower the caliper over the pads . . .
. . . fit the lower guide pin bolt . . .
. . . and tighten it to 27 Nm (20 Ibf ft)
Secure the wear sensor wiring . . .
. . . slide the plug onto the bracket . . .
. . . and reconnect it
3 Depress the brake pedal repeatedly, until the pads are pressed into firm contact with the brake disc, and normal (non-assisted) pedal pressure is restored.
4 Repeat the above procedure on the remaining front brake caliper.
5 Apply the little anti-seize grease to the hub surface, then refit the roadwheels, lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the roadwheel bolts to the specified torque.
Roadwheel bolts: Nm Ibf ft
  Steel wheel 85 63
  Aluminium wheel 98 72
6 Check the hydraulic fluid level.
Caution: New pads will not give full braking efficiency until they have bedded-in. Be prepared for this, and avoid hard braking as far as possible for the first hundred miles or so after pad renewal.
TIP! - Virtually all cars have this inspection window in the brake caliper body, you can usually see the brake pad thickness from here
Now quickly check all the brake pipes for condition, check for any leaks, also inspect the rubber gaitors for integrity. Should the front strut need to be replaced, click below
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Front suspension strut replacement

Removal

1 Firmly apply the handbrake, then jack up the front of the car and support it securely on axle stands. Remove the appropriate roadwheel(s).
2 Release the brake caliper hydraulic hose (and, where applicable, the ABS wheel speed sensor cable) from the brackets at the base of the suspension strut.
3 Undo the nut and detach the anti-roll bar link rod from the strut (see illustration) . If necessary, counterhold the link rod balljoint shank with an Allen key.
Counterhold the anti-roll bar link with an Allen key
4 Unscrew the two nuts and remove the bolts securing the base of the suspension strut to the top of the swivel hub.
5 Pull the swivel hub outwards at the top to release it from the suspension strut.

500 models

6 Operate the wiper motor, then switch it off so that the wiper arm returns to the at-rest/parked position.
7 The at-rest position of the blades is indicated by marks on the windscreen (see illustration) . If these marks are not visible, stick a length of masking tape on the glass below the edge of the wiper blade, to use as an alignment aid on refitting.
The blade at rest position may be marked by a circle or 3 dots on the glass.
8 Carefully prise the plastic cover from the front windscreen scuttle trim panel to expose the wiper spindle (see illustration) . Note that both wiper arms must be removed.
Prise out the left-hand end of the plastic cover first
9 Prise off the wiper arm spindle nut cover, then slacken and remove the spindle nut (see illustration) .
Prise up the spindle cover, and undo the nut beneath
10 Lift the blade off the glass, and pull the wiper arm off its spindle. If necessary, the arm can be carefully removed using a puller (see illustrations) . As both windscreen wiper arms are being removed, note their locations, as different arms are fitted to the driver’s and passenger’s sides.
Pull the wiper arm from the spindle
If necessary, use a puller to release the wiper arms
11 Release the fasteners, then pull forwards the outer edges, and slide the windscreen upper base trim panel downwards from the windscreen. Disconnect the washer jet hose as the panel is withdrawn (see illustrations) .
Remove the upper trim panel fasteners (centre and right-hand fasteners arrowed)...
...by prising up the centre pins...
...and pulling out the plastic expansion rivets
Pull the trim and clips upwards from the studs at the base of the windscreen
12 Undo the fasteners, unclip the weatherstrip at each end, and remove the windscreen lower base trim panel (see illustration) .
Pull up the weatherstrip (arrowed) then undo the screws (right-hand screws arrowed)

All models

13 Have an assistant support the strut from underneath the wheel arch. Working in the engine compartment, unscrew the nut securing the upper mounting cup to the strut piston rod while counterholding the piston rod with a suitable Allen key. Lift off the upper mounting cup and withdraw the assembly from under the wheel arch (see illustration) .
Undo the strut mounting nut, counterholding with an Allen key/bit

Refitting

14 Manoeuvre the strut assembly into position under the wheel arch and locate the upper mounting cup over the strut piston. Refit the retaining nut and moderately tighten it at this stage. Final tightening of this nut is carried out with the car resting on its roadwheels.
15 Engage the lower end of the strut with the swivel hub, then fit the securing bolts and nuts. Tighten the nuts to 75 Nm (55 Ibf ft).
16 Reconnect the anti-roll bar link to the strut, and tighten the retaining nut to 50 Nm (37 Ibf ft).
17 Refit the brake caliper hydraulic hose (and where applicable, the ABS wheel speed sensor cable) to the bracket at the base of the suspension strut.
18 Refit the roadwheel, and lower the car to the ground. Tighten the roadwheel bolts to the specified torque.
Roadwheel bolts: Nm Ibf ft
  Steel wheel 85 63
  Aluminium wheel 98 72
19 With the car resting on its roadwheels, tighten the suspension strut upper mounting cup retaining nut to 50 Nm (37 Ibf ft).
It is a similar procedure with the rear wheels. Check for wheel bearing movement, then remove the wheel
This model has drum brakes. Should the front brake pads need replacement, the rear drums should be checked for condition. The minimum brake shoe wear thickness is 1.5mm. If you need to replace the rear shoes, click below
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Rear brake shoes replacement

Warning: Renew BOTH sets of rear brake shoes at the same time – NEVER renew the shoes on only one wheel, as uneven braking may result.
1 Chock the front wheels then jack up the rear of the car and securely support it on axle stands. Remove the appropriate rear roadwheel and fully release the handbrake.
2 If the original drum is to be refitted, mark the relationship between the drum and the hub. Slacken and remove the two locating studs and pull the drum from the hub (see illustration) .
Undo the studs (arrowed) and remove the drum
3 If the drum is binding on the brake shoes, screw two M10 bolts into the locating stud threaded holes in the drum (see illustration) , and progressively tighten them against the hub flange to push the drum from the hub.
Screw 2 M10 bolts into the threaded holes, and push the drum from the hub
4 Working carefully, and taking the necessary precautions, remove all traces of brake dust from the brake drum, backplate and shoes.
5 Measure the thickness of the friction material of each brake shoe at several points; if either shoe is worn at any point to 2.0 mm thickness or less, all four shoes must be renewed as a set. The shoes should also be renewed if any are fouled with hydraulic fluid, oil or grease; there is no satisfactory way of degreasing friction material, once contaminated.
6 If any of the brake shoes are worn unevenly, or contaminated, trace and rectify the cause before reassembly.
7 Note the position of each shoe, and the location of the return springs and self-adjuster mechanism to aid refitting later (see illustrations) .
Correct fitted position of the brake shoe upper return spring . . .
. . . and lower return spring
8 Depress the leading brake shoe hold-down spring clip and slide the clip out from under the pin head, while holding the pin from the rear (see illustration) . Remove the pin from the rear of the backplate.
Depress the shoe hold-down spring clip and slide it from under the pin head
9 Pull out the leading shoe a little, and detach the lower return spring, pull the top of the leading shoe from the cylinder piston, then pivot the shoe upwards, remove the self-adjusting mechanism, and detach the upper return spring (see illustration) .
Pull out the lower end of the shoe and detach the lower return spring
10 Remove the hold-down spring clip and pin from the trailing brake shoe, then withdraw the shoe from the backplate (see illustration) .
Depress the remaining clip and remove the pin
11 Slide the handbrake cable end out of the lever on the trailing shoe (see illustrations) . Remove the trailing brake shoe.
Slide the handbrake cable end from the lever . . .
. . . on the trailing shoe – right-hand side brake assembly shown
12 Retain the wheel cylinder pistons in the wheel cylinder using a cable-tie or a strong elastic band. Do not depress the brake pedal until the brakes are reassembled.
13 Carefully examine the self-adjuster mechanism for signs of wear or damage. Pay particular attention to the threads and the toothed adjuster wheel, and renew if necessary.
14 Check the condition of all return springs and renew any that show signs of distortion or other damage.
15 Peel back the rubber protective caps, and check the wheel cylinder for fluid leaks or other damage; check that both cylinder pistons are free to move easily.
16 Prior to installation, clean the backplate, and apply a thin smear of high-temperature brake grease or anti-seize compound to all those surfaces of the backplate which bear on the shoes, particularly the wheel cylinder pistons and lower pivot point. Do not allow the lubricant to foul the friction material.
17 Connect the handbrake cable to the lever on the trailing brake shoe, locate the trailing shoe on the backplate and secure in position with the pin and hold-down spring clip (see illustration) .
18 Fit upper brake shoe return spring, and the self-adjuster mechanism into the recess in the trailing brake shoe, then engage the leading shoe with the other end of the adjuster mechanism (see illustrations) .
Engage the upper return spring with the slots in the brake shoes . . .
. . . then engage the self-adjuster mechanism into the recess in the trailing shoe . . .
. . . and the other end with the leading shoe
19 Fit the lower brake shoe return spring, engaging it with the slots in the shoes (see illustration) . Remove the elastic band or cable-tie from the wheel cylinder.
Refit the lower return spring
20 Manoeuvre the leading shoe into position and secure it with the hold-down pin and spring clip.
21 Turn the serrated wheel at the end of the self-adjuster mechanism, to retract the brake shoes – this will give additional clearance to allow the drum to pass over the shoes during refitting.
22 If a new brake drum is to be installed, use a suitable solvent to remove any preservative coating that may have been applied to its internal friction surfaces. Note that it may also be necessary to shorten the adjuster strut length, by rotating the serrated strut wheel, to allow the drum to pass over the brake shoes.
23 If the original drum is being refitted, align the marks made on the drum and hub before removal, then fit the drum over the hub. Refit the locating studs and tighten them to 12 Nm (9 Ibf ft).
24 Depress the footbrake repeatedly to expand the brake shoes against the drum, and ensure that normal pedal pressure is restored.
25 Repeat the above procedure on the remaining rear brake.
26 Apply the brake pedal and handbrake lever several times to settle the self-adjusting mechanism. With both rear roadwheels refitted and the rear of the car still raised, turn the wheels by hand to check that the brake shoes are not binding. Check and if necessary adjust the operation of the handbrake.
27 Tighten the roadwheel bolt to the specified torque.
Roadwheel bolts: Nm Ibf ft
  Steel wheel 85 63
  Aluminium wheel 98 72
28 On completion, check the brake hydraulic fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir.
Caution: Note that new shoes will not give full braking efficiency until they have bedded-in. Be prepared for this, and avoid hard braking as far as possible for the first hundred miles or so after shoe renewal.
Take a good look around brake system and the suspension arm, check for any leaks. Should the rear shock absorber need to be replaced, click below
- Close + Open

Rear shock absorber replacement

Removal

1 Using a trolley jack positioned under the rear axle trailing arm, raise the trailing arm to take the strain from the shock absorber.
2 Slacken and withdraw the shock absorber lower retaining bolt (see illustration) .
Rear shock absorber lower mounting bolt . . .
3 Lower the jack and allow the shock absorber to separate from the trailing arm. Take care to avoid displacing the coil spring.
4 Slacken and withdraw the shock absorber upper retaining bolt (see illustration) .
. . . and upper mounting bolt
5 Withdraw the shock absorber from its upper mounting and remove it from under the car.
6 Examine the shock absorber for signs of fluid leakage or damage. While holding it in an upright position, test the operation of the shock absorber by moving the piston through a full stroke, and then through short strokes of 50 to 100 mm. In both cases, the resistance felt should be smooth and continuous. If the resistance is jerky, or uneven, or if there is any visible sign of wear or damage, renewal is necessary.

Refitting

7 Refitting is a reversal of removal. Tighten the shock absorber upper and lower retaining bolts to the specified torque, but delay this operation until the full weight of the car is resting on its roadwheels. Note that it may be impossible to access the upper mounting bolt with the roadwheel fitted. If this is the case, raise the jack under the trailing arm until the vehicle begins to lift from the stand, then tighten the upper bolt.
Roadwheel bolts: Nm Ibf ft
  Steel wheel 85 63
  Aluminium wheel 98 72
Shock absorber lower retaining bolt:
  Panda models 70 52
  500 models 85 63
Shock absorber upper retaining bolt:
  Panda models 80 59
  500 models 70 52
Check rubber exhaust mountings
Before refitting the tyres, take a look at the tyre tread, there is a UK legal requirement to have a minimum of 1.6mm remaining tread depth. Also check sidewalls for any kerb damage
Finally, check the condition of the spare wheel / emergency tyre repair system
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