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TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
3/1/20 2:25 p.m.

Howdy all, been lurking here for a few months and figured it was time to join up.

 

March 2018 I bought a terrible X1/9 out of a storage unit in Oklahoma and began on the path of Lemons racing.

A exactly a year after purchase, we loaded up a Uhaul trailer to head to the first race;

Race 1: NOLA Motorsports Park - Organizers Choice, 2nd in C

Race 2: Heartland Motorsports Park - 2nd in C, First time making it in time for the grid

Race 3: MSR Houston - IOE, Somewhere in the middle of C, now with a "Roof"

As a team we are getting better and more organized, but the X is... slow. In Houston I hit a top speed of 76.4mph on the back stretch and about 74 on the front straight. We can hang in the corners with about any car out there not running aero, so for our next race in March, aero is on the list. In the future though, we need power. But this is Lemons, and to add power, you gotta do something silly.

 

Some bench racing time; Can the X's track be widened 5 inches a side to accomodate a stock {fwd 4cyl} drivetrain, to include axles, knuckles, and brakes that can be found at {generic autoparts store} rather than having to mailorder replacement parts? I have pictures in my head of homemade lower control arms in the front and rear, but controlling camber and steering effort after widening the front track has me worried, since the X handles like a dream and can pull around 1g in hte corners even on 240 tw 195/45/r15 tires.

 

Thoughts?

Stampie
Stampie UltimaDork
3/1/20 2:45 p.m.

My first thought is you're lacking pictures. But there's a few X1/9s here doing swaps. This one is the latest.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/cars-sale/free-fiat-x19-carcass-with-title-detriot/145959/page1/

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
3/1/20 2:54 p.m.
Stampie said:

My first thought is you're lacking pictures. But there's a few X1/9s here doing swaps. This one is the latest.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/cars-sale/free-fiat-x19-carcass-with-title-detriot/145959/page1/

Agreed, I will retify the situation

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
3/1/20 3:45 p.m.

   Of course it is possible to do a swap, any front drive system could be used.   Use all of the donor, everything from one wheel hub to the other.

  The X1/9 was actually created from a front drive fiat 128.

     But you should be able to make the fiat a little faster, is your fuel injected or carb?  If you have a carb, you could adapt almost any other carb, can't find a smaller one. Also Vicks fiat sells cams for this, $75    They also have a nice exhaust header fairly cheap.

      In stock form these are a little bit heavy and under powered, but they can be improved, or vastly modified.

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
8/6/20 8:01 a.m.

Its been a bit, but I have found a Lemons appropriate engine to swap in: The incredibly popular and high powered non-vtec Honda D17 w/ 5spd and 195k miles

Since this picture I have notched the frame rail for the trans to clear, and begun to relocate the fuel system to a cell in the frunk, so the engine hangs freely with the axles more or less centered in the wheel wells

My goal is to make this swap easily un-doable to go back to the original engine at will, because lemons, but now I need to make engine mounts and lower control arms. Once things are fixing in the car I can move to the more complex bits of trans linkages and new clutch/brake combinations

Does anyone have a go-to autozone sourcable bushing to press fit into roll cage tubing for use as lower control arms and engine mounts?

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
8/6/20 11:05 a.m.

   Why not use the Honda front suspension / hubs / brakes?   Just convert all of it, just have figure out how to attach the Honda suspension to the Fiat body.

     The web site for "energy suspension" has dimensions for all of the bushings.

 

 

 

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
8/6/20 3:26 p.m.

In reply to TED_fiestaHP :

Thats the idea. I have to custom make engine mounts though because the subframe from the honda is too large front to back to mate up, which may force me to build new lower control arms that run to the fiat mount points, or ones nearby unless i can figure out how to hack the pickup points off the subframe and under the X

 

Thanks for the bushing reference! Im gonna try to update this more as I make progress

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
8/6/20 3:36 p.m.

Poly bushings are available for all points on X1/9s.  I recall some research done that indicated for the lower control arms that one should run poly in only the rear bushing. I don't recall why though...binding? This is the setup I run on my own X.

I'd discourage you from attempting  to retain the ability to revert to the Fiat engine. It will add complexity to your swap without really adding any value. The D17 you're using is more plentiful and cheaper than bothering with the idea of putting the Lampredi engine back in.

I love your project! 

 

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
8/6/20 4:16 p.m.

In reply to Mezzanine :

I've been running a full set of Vick Autosport poly bushings under the X with no issues that Ive noticed... now given the car lived a rough life and has been through some bumps both before and after I gained ownership... my pickups may be a bit more tolerant to some movement

For my purposes keeping OE engine compatible (if possible) is important for 2 reasons, first being that it has survived over 1000 miles of racing over 3 races, and will (hopefully) be a great backup engine once I can go through and refesh it, as it is likely making well under the factory spec'd 75hl with the amount of crank case pressurization and plug fouling weve experience. I dont want to crack it open and heal its issues or make power until i have a reliable repacement, because being down on power may be the only reason it still runs.

Blowing an engine without a quick replacement is a good way to burn our race weekend, and we get few enough of those as is

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
8/7/20 12:56 p.m.

I follow you...the Lampredi is a very sturdy engine, and I'm not surprised to hear you were able to hold one together in your Lemons races. With the usual upgrades (cams, carbs, in/ex manifolds), you should be able to operate a reliable engine closer to 100WHP.

What are you hoping to gain with the swap? I mean if you're going to swap in a mostly stock D17, why wouldn't you just get another D17 spare? Just the cost of acquiring another spare engine? I feel like rebuilding your Fiat engine would almost cost as much as another D17 spare. But building a hotter Fiat engine is the path of least resistance because there's no effort in engineering a swap. 

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
8/12/20 6:59 a.m.

I probably wont be getting into power upgrades for the original engine, just a refresh, because I am not sure that our transmission will be able to take it.

 

Im mainly in this to learn on a car with very little consequences for messing up, so learning to rebuild the older and simpler Fiat engine appeals to me. This swap is along the same lines, I just want to see what I can do and learn, and the D series is probably not the final engine for this car

 

Progress: Drivers side engine mount is being welded together. 3/16th plate and 1.75" .120 wall tube, and where plates cross they are notched like a balsa wood model to give me 3 or 4 sides to weld since its on the high side of what my welder can handle

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
8/19/20 6:31 a.m.

Progress is slow, but happening. With any luck the engine will be able to hang in the car this weekend.  I still have to template the mounts from frame rail to bushing, but that will hopefully be quick, then I can start on front and rear mounts

Engine side mount

Reinforced with my nicest weld ever:

Transmission side mount:

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
9/3/20 11:51 a.m.

Due to the impossibility of finding 9/16th drilbits, engine mounting has been paused. So moving onto this:

Working on speccing out the plumbing, since lemons requires appropriate race type hardware, that seems to mean an fittings.  And possibly a cage around the cell.

Ive figured out the parts to get from tank to pre filter and post filter to hard lines to the back of the car, but am hoping to save myself making 2 extra hosedls between the filters and pump. If all my parts have -6 male threads, can I just use male to male couplers between the pump and the filters? Or just build the extra hoses?

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
9/3/20 2:19 p.m.

Man, that fuel cell is a perfect fit! 

I don't quire follow your question on plumbing. Are you asking if you can use hardline? Because that's a yes for sure. 

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
9/3/20 3:47 p.m.

Lemons doesn't require AN fittings but absolutely will require a cage around your fuel cell.

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
9/3/20 4:05 p.m.
Mezzanine said:

Man, that fuel cell is a perfect fit! 

I don't quire follow your question on plumbing. Are you asking if you can use hardline? Because that's a yes for sure. 

Funnily enough that was the only off the shelf cell (22 gal Jaz Specialized Pro Sport) that would fit in the frunk with larger than stock capacity (10.5gal)

I plan to use hardline from the frunk to the rear, was questioning if I could directly couple the pump to the filters instead of using hoses, or if that is frowned upon for some reason since most installs seem to have soft line between hard/fixed components

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
9/3/20 4:07 p.m.
buzzboy said:

Lemons doesn't require AN fittings but absolutely will require a cage around your fuel cell.

Thanks for the clarification. From the rules it sounded the opposite, cage required if the cell is in danger, fittings must be "race car quality"

I will be building a cage for the cell though. Juts a matter of wiggling it around the top and front of the cell since its a snug fit

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/4/20 9:00 a.m.

I love this build and I love this engine choice. Where was the frame rail "relief" for the trans?

Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) Reader
9/4/20 10:46 a.m.
TheTallOne17 said:

Progress is slow, but happening. With any luck the engine will be able to hang in the car this weekend.  I still have to template the mounts from frame rail to bushing, but that will hopefully be quick, then I can start on front and rear mounts

Engine side mount

Reinforced with my nicest weld ever:

Transmission side mount:

What welder do you have? Do you remember the settings.  As someone looking to make my own motor mounts in the future trying to gather some info. 

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
9/5/20 5:11 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

I love this build and I love this engine choice. Where was the frame rail "relief" for the trans?

Thanks!

I had to notch the frame rail about 3/4" deep and 8 or so inches long right beneath the original passenger side motor mount. I"ll weld a patch into it once the engine is hung

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
9/5/20 5:15 p.m.
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) said:
What welder do you have? Do you remember the settings.  As someone looking to make my own motor mounts in the future trying to gather some info. 

I'm using a Lincoln 140 C mig with 75/25 argon/co2 and .025 wire, and more or less following the setting under the cover. Full blast on voltage, "4" on feed for welding the 3/16" stuff

It definitely needs preheat for the 3/16" plate, especially if youre only doing one side of a joint

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
9/5/20 5:23 p.m.

And we interrupt your regularly scheduled tomfoolery to introduce our new mascot:

Who was managing to sleep, un-noticed, for who knows how long, in the trunk of the X, while I was working on the engine bay.

Given the number of opossum nests I had to clean out when I first purchased the X, I think they too have an affinity for weird Italian cars.

Mr. Opossum now lives in the park a short way from my house, cause with my dog and the outdoor cats around, he wouldn't last too long close by. 

Now all I need to do is get some big ole opossum decals...

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
9/8/20 6:08 a.m.

2 of 4 mounts completed, or at least complete enough to hold the engine in the car, which they are now doing

And the rear mount is in progress. Look at all the clearance I have between the trans and the control arm pickup!

Theres about the same amount of space from exhaust housing to front firewall.

Once mounts are done I have to move on the suspension. Or brakes. Or clutch. Or maybe the shifter linkage. But first the intake, which will require quite a bit more surgery, and my friends Lincoln and 1" tube

russ_mill
russ_mill Reader
9/8/20 9:22 a.m.

That opossum could have given you quite the fright if it managed to take a run for it (or attack!) while you were working on the engine lol.

TheTallOne17
TheTallOne17 New Reader
10/5/20 6:13 a.m.

With November fast approaching and a lemons race looming, its time for a change of pace, and to re-install and re-wire the original engine... which had always been the plan, before i found a donor and got distracted with the swap.

So lets finish the bigger better alternator mount, and replace the cracked stock exhaust with a non cracked one

The alternator is now mounted so that we only have 1 v belt to deal with that runs, and is beefier than the last iteration, which resulted in a thrown belt, that then took out the water pump belt and caused a rapid loss of cooling. Heres hoping this arrangement does a better job. It also has the added benefit of getting rid of the split pully and otherwise complete lack of tensioners the old arrangement had

Up next: patching the notched frame rail, relocating coolant, and running fuel lines

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