Sometimes I am reminded of how always in the Odyssey Athena with the frequently flashing eyes is giving help, good omens and occasional back rubs. Last Saturday (as in three days ago) I was at the ARA All Italian day in Alameda and what should I spy but a Fiat Spider with a note on the windshield saying something along the lines of “1800 Engine for sale, hear it run!” Well, the owner was on hand, I heard it run, monies to the tune of $250 were required to take ownership of said engine, with certain parts removal caveats of course, and I blinked twice, summoned my check book and bought it. Athena never showed, with flashing eyes, to have her maidens give me a rub down with finest oil, but things were definitely right in my pagan world.
What led me to such extremes? Why the change of heart from a polish and go with a few new parts on the 1438? Please find herewith pictures of what I found when the Fiat’s humble engine was opened up.
This had been staring me in the face since early May. Pretty grimy, but then again it is an oil and water cooled engine that gets really hot. Note how clean the outside of this engine is compared to the inside.
1 and 2 definitely held some water at one point. The reactionary in me says “How awful”. The Engineer says “eh”. These bores are smooth and feel the same as the other two but they sure look bad. No, this is not the two with broken top rings.
Big ends look serviceable. If a little blurry. I probably could throw new main and rod bearings in, get the one stiff small end reamed, hone it and assemble it with new rings, but how good would it be? How long would it last? I dare not answer since it ran pretty good when I removed it from the car.
There you have it, the reasons I decided to get a different engine rather than rebuild the 1438. I bet a set of rings and gaskets would have been more than I paid for the 1800 I am about to begin the process of fitting. And thus I enter the world of Fiat nuance. Stay tuned!