Fiat fresh-up five: finish line in sight

I keep having to steal time between ‘somewheres’ I’m supposed to be to work on the Fiat and I’m happy to report it has paid off.  The bell housing bolts, starter bolts, solenoid and other stuff I was waiting for showed up and last weekend I got to spend a few of those stolen moments installing it all along with the intake manifold and fuel pump, which I had removed to get access to the starter.  Way too much going on on the intake side of these Fiat twin cam engines!  Sunday I left the shop having turned the engine over with the starter – v e r y  s l o w l y I admit, but encouraging none-the-less. 

FIAT ONE ENGINEThis is a picture from this morning, about 1 hour before I started writing this post.  You will notice all sorts of funky stuff that I will go into later, but the important thing to take away from this picture is that it has the look of a car that runs.

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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.

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GTV and Fiat: pleasing two mistresses…

I am making progress towards simplification, but some of these simplifying measures are turning out to be quite complex -the Fiat engine swap for example.  I mentioned recently that I bought an 1800 TC out of a late 70’s 124 Spider to put in the Sedan.  Last weekend I took possession of said engine after an hour and a half helping easing it out of the Spider -a tip for all you aspiring 1800 TC removalists, drop the steering centerlink so the flywheel can clear it!  Suddenly I have a somewhat long, but not really very expensive list of Fiat parts to procure if I want this engine to fall into place.  I think I have a package deal coming together so maybe this wont be so bad.  I guess I’ll be the FIAT 124 twin cam in a pushrod car swap expert in a week or two.

fiat engine coming outHard to believe how much engine you can get for $250.  This thing sounded and ran good with no smoke, is clean and not much bigger (they basically share a block) than the pushrod motor it’s going to replace.  Note fancy wrinkle finish on the belt cover.  I like.

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Fiat Fresh-up part 3: path of least resistance…

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.

fiat 1438 valve trainThis 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.

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Fiat Fresh-up part 2: who’s knocking?

This is apparently the year of the engine rebuild for me!  The attentive reader will know I have been lagging on pulling the FIAT engine, but no more.  The engine came out today with a minimum of fuss and of course now I am faced with deciding what to do about the rod knock that led to these circumstances.  You probably want to hear about the process first.  It goes something like this…

Fiat 124 seda engine coming outAlfa’s have a built in lift point on the head, not so FIAT’s, so I rigged up some tie-downs looped through the engine mounts.  The transmission and engine are only held together by 4 bolts, but they are M12’s or something.  Once everything was free I hooked up the hoist and went to work.

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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.

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