Fiat 124 Sedan gets a freshen-up down low, part 1.

Did I mention I have to fix a rod knock in the Fiat? I’ve only just now allowed myself to begin thinking through the project, with the Sprint rebuild coming to a close. Last night I drained the oil, coolant and took a bunch of stuff apart, but I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. You probably want to hear more about the knock. It goes like this…

fiat-and-veloceOne of the nicest 1972 Fiat Sedan Specials around keeping the Veloce company.

The Fiat is officially 100% my wifes car until it has a problem, and since she doesn’t really have the same powers of automotive diagnosis as I do, I get to drive it once in a while to make sure everything is okay. The last time I drove it on one of these check-ups I also had to give the Berlina battery a jump because it had sat for several weeks while we were in Mexico and the Blaupunkt in it doesn’t turn off and I had forgotten to disconnect the battery. Anyhow, I popped the hood on the Fiat to hook up the jumper cables and noticed a new noise: a knock knock knock along with the idle. It went away when the engine was rev’d but came right back when it settled down to an idle.

I swung by Glenns shop and from 20 feet away, while struggling with the heater hoses on a late Alfa Spider he asks me what that knock coming from the Fiat is before I can ask him about it. He had me pull the plug leads one at a time and it was clearly coming from number 2 cylinder since the knock doubled without the spark happening. I asked him if it was bad and he said it might last forever, and it might blow up right there as we were talking so I decided to drive it home and park it. This was in early January.

With the Sprint living at home I was able to take the Fiat down to the shop last week and size it up. The first order of business was to drain the oil to see if there were any signs of major problems. Fiat’s (or at least this one) have a 12mm allen on the oil drain plug. I had bought a 12mm allen socket from MAC tools after borrowing one the last time I changed the oil, but I think the guy switched it up at the last minute, because I tried it and it was a 3/8 allen socket. 12mm allens are hard to find. I had plenty of time so I decided to make one from a 14mm long nut. Took about 30 minutes with a dremel and file.

home-made-12mm-allenHere’s the finished product, not exactly beautiful, but it did the job.

I drained the oil and other than being murky and stinky I couldn’t see any evidence of metal, a good sign. I proceeded to remove the hood, cooling system, carb, and a bunch of other little stuff. It’s a good thing I did since the battery had been leaking and eaten some of the battery tray!

step-1-all-togetherThis is the reference picture so when I have a bunch of vacuum lines and wires that come up homeless I can figure out where they go.

hood-offAnother good reference picture, this one with out the hood. The corrosion from the battery can be seen here in the lower left corner as a fuzzy white line.

radiator-outHere the radiator is gone. I may have to remove some of the emissions stuff in here to clean it up. It has a bunch of cracked vacuum lines that just seem to run back and forth. Thankfully there is no smog pump to rob power.

carb-hookupsMore reference, this time the Weber. This thing has really small chokes, maybe I should see if it can be made more peppy with some changes.

more-referenceGetting closer, Alternator and starter will come off and then the exhaust disconnected and finally all the bellhousing bolts. Still not sure if I have to drop the sway bar, or even if it will come out without the transmission coming out with it, but there is plenty of room, so I think it will.

oil-temp-sendOil temp send wire pic for reference. I need to find out which part of the motor mount gets disconnected to make it easy to reinstall. Hopefully that big nut seen here.

I am as usual optimistic that this can be done relatively cheaply and quickly. Main and rod bearings are cheap so if it is a rod bearing and the crank is okay I will probably replace all the bearings and gaskets. I am tempted to do the head gasket as well since I have an extra, but I’ll have to see. That is always the slippery slope, but at least I will know it will be right. I think 2009 is going to be the year of the Italian engine for me, especially since the 1600 for the SS is almost ready for assembly.

Up next: pulling the engine and checking out the bearings. Stay tuned!


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