Fiat Fresh-up four: Phew!

Fiat 124 sport sedan engine transplant is moving right along -and if the 69% hp increase all indications point to it seeing is realized, it will probably finally live up to the ‘Sport’ in its name. Fiat enthusiast Csaba Vandor in Texas came through with a big box of parts that I needed and Friday was the day I was set to start. As usual I didn’t have a detailed plan, or much of an idea of the hurdles I’d be jumping, but I knew that it took starting the race for the hurdles to appear.

First step after the starting gun goes off? Remove the 1438 bell housing and install the twin cam bell housing.

IMG_9868Here’s the transmission after I removed the 1438 bell housing.  I was expecting the bell housing to put up a fight but it just came right off once the 7 nuts were removed.

IMG_9869The new bell housing is a Seat item made in Spain.  Hmm, hopfully it wont be rejected by the pure Italian blood of the car. Csaba sent me an email “BTW, there is supposed to be an o-ring that goes in side the metal seal holder…” Off came the bell housing, yes the o-ring was present, back on went the bell housing. I reused the gasket between bell housing and transmission with a little ultra black sealer’s help.

IMG_9870Looking at this I realize I missed a bunch of good struggle pictures but Aaron and I both had to pull-push-pry-curse-kick-lift-lower-shove and finally finesse to get this thing to drop in. Unlike an Alfa, you can’t even see the shaft or anything in the bell housing when installing the engine- you have to go by feel.

IMG_9872The engine was rotated about 8 degrees clock-wise and we couldn’t get the engine mounts to line up. I finally repositioned the tie down strap I used to lift it so it was around the intake manifold then when I jacked it up the engine rotated and with a little help from a big screw driver it slid home. Engine looks good in its new home. I wonder what it will feel like with about 50 more horse power? Probably going to feel like it’s time to replace the front suspension bushings…

IMG_9873You can see here that I dropped the steering link to give clearance for the flywheel. The upper bell housing bolts are about 60mm long and fit fine, but the lowers were 75mm and need to be 100mm, so I ordered a pair, to be shipped with the solenoid that didn’t survive the trip out from Texas.

IMG_9879I was hoping I could get at the starter and all the other stuff under the intake manifold without removing the manifold, but once I started trying to fit the bell housing bolts I realized leaving it in was a false economy. Fortunately it had been apart recently for a new gasket and came apart very easily. The Fiat kept weeping gas from the fuel lines so I decided to hook up the fuel pump first.

IMG_9880The alternator fits pretty good on the exhaust side of the engine. The upper mounting bracket isn’t quite right, but I think a quick cut and weld will take care of that. I anticipate repeated trips to Kragen trying to get a fan belt that is exactly the right size. I’m back on this for an hour or so tonight -hopefully I can get all the wiring identified and unnecessary smog equipment removed.

I am definitely making progress here. I have a feeling that once I have the starter solenoid and lower bell housing bolts things will move right along. Some difficult hurdles I anticipate include: throttle linkage, + lead to the starter since it moved from one side of the engine to the other and I’m sure more.

Here is the story of getting the engine.

Here’s what happened to the original engine.

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