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pinchvalve MegaDork
6/12/15 7:58 a.m.
  1. Your work space makes mine look like a utility closet. Mucho jealous.

  2. This is going to be an awesome finished project, my wife loves little boxy cars and especially little Fiats, so I am watching with glee.

Burrito Dork
6/12/15 2:39 p.m.

Largely text update:

Last night I got the passenger rear cornermarker patch all welded in a partially ground off. It's coming out nicely. I'll grab some pictures of that once it's all finished up.

Since I had a helper for the night and the $600 X1/9 has disappeared, we thought it would be wise to put a bit of time into the stock lump. The possibility of pushing off the engine and transmission swap for a few months is pretty likely, so I'd like to hear the stock motor cough to life before A. throwing money at it or B. condemning it to life as a boat anchor. Maybe living with the tiny stock engine and 4 speed will make us appreciate the halfway modern 1.5l FI setup more.

So we tossed a battery in it, put it on the charger, and made sure she had some oil in the crankcase. Lights on the dash! Cool. Turn the key. Nothin'.

Ok. Pull the fuses, clean all the contacts with a little tiny brass wire wheel in the drill and scotchbrite the fuses. Reinstall fuses, note that far right fuse is popped, replace with new. Fuel pump runs! Raw fuel leak at the carb. Fix fuel leak.

Turn the key. CLICK. Hmm. Grab a long drift and a big hammer and bang on the starter for a few seconds. Pull the spark plugs so it doesn't have to fight compression. Wert, wert, wert. She slowly cranks over, now we are getting somewhere. Stop cranking for a few seconds. Wertwertwert. Faster this time. Wertwertwertwert, now she's cranking at full speed. Radical!

Check for spark. No spark. 12v at the 15 terminal on the coil. Good. Oh, E36 M3. This thing has points. I'm 28, what the berkeley do I know about points? They suck, that's about the bulk of it; electronic ignition is a gift from Science. Some cursory internet research ensues. Testing. More testing. Toss in a spare coil. No change.

Clean every electrical contact between the coil and plugs, including points. "I need a good 12v test light if I'm going to be working on analog stuff", I finally admit to myself before turning in for the night, dejected and without spark.

I think I have it narrowed down to a bad condenser at this point. I'll grab a set of points, too, just to be sure.

Found 16 more cents...


Ordered wheels. $180, plus $60 shipping.


Mezzanine Reader
6/12/15 3:32 p.m.

Condenser for sure. That was the problem on my x1/9 1300- my first starting attempts followed yours almost exactly. You might be satisfied with the 1300 for a while!

ssswitch HalfDork
6/12/15 4:40 p.m.

Thing's coming along.

Just think of how much money 16 American cents was in lira when this car was made.

Burrito Dork
6/12/15 5:04 p.m.

Couldn't find a proper Marelli 128 condenser in town on a Friday afternoon, so I went with my old standby of a external VW Type 1 unit. It's just a capacitor, right? It worked on a Rabbit and it worked on a 6v Motobecane moped, it'll work on a Fiat.

As it turns out, that part number cross references to a Fiat Strada(USA)/Ritmo(EUR), which was the replacement for the 128 in the Fiat lineup and used the same, albeit updated, 1.1-1.5l.

It's funny how things work out sometimes.

Burrito HalfDork
6/13/15 8:07 p.m.


Bad condenser AND a bad coil. Then I exploded the coil by leaving the key in the on position while pumping all of the old fuel out of the tank.

So, no explosions today. Maybe tomorrow if I can find a coil in town.

Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
6/13/15 8:38 p.m.

Note that it seems parts interchange data for these cars is wildly spotty, use rockauto to find a more common interchange and have the store look that up. Looks like a 76 VW bug coil will do in this case.

Burrito Dork
6/13/15 8:50 p.m.

I'm not going to lie, I substitute VW parts pretty much whenever possible.

I generally do some research before waltzing into parts stores and demanding Fiat parts. The more time I spend with this car, the more I realize that Volkswagen really did just buy one of these, tear it apart, and designed the Rabbit/Scirocco with what they learned.

Wally MegaDork
6/14/15 1:07 a.m.

Hopefully you don't have many potholes. We bent 5 of those wheels on our 500.

coexist New Reader
6/14/15 12:01 p.m.
Burrito wrote: That pretty much rounds out the rear panel...

Umm.. not quite {online photo}

You might consider filling the bumper strut holes, as the early bumper cars had a cleaner situation:

Glad to see your project, I gather you are in WA St? I am also, and among many other things, I have several rusty 4dr doors with glass etc. to move along.

My experience with larger tires is that 195/60/14 fit with no rubbing in front, but the rears were too tight with any passengers or weight in the back. This was with some proper offset FWD rims. It's too bad because it appears the rear wheels are skewed towards the front of the wheel wells, and I don't see an easy way to move them back to be more centered. So you might want to get a sample tire mounted on the 15" rim to see what happens. (Edit: 185/60/14 are known to fit)


Burrito HalfDork
6/14/15 2:47 p.m.

In reply to coexist:

Huh. Well you are certainly correct, there is quite the difference in mounting schemes.

I am indeed in Vancouver Washington. What part of the state are you in?

I would be very interested in the early bumper brackets, reverse light, and license plate lights if you happen to be parting an early car.

And, since we are on the subject, I could really use a driver's side front door. There was a, umm, incident and mine isn't what it was when I brought the car home 2 weeks ago. I'll expand on that later and you can all laugh at my idiocy and poor fortune.

Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
6/14/15 3:07 p.m.
coexist wrote: My experience with larger tires is that 195/60/14 fit with no rubbing in front, but the rears were too tight with any passengers or weight in the back. This was with some proper offset FWD rims. It's too bad because it appears the rear wheels are skewed towards the front of the wheel wells, and I don't see an easy way to move them back to be more centered.

Some people on here, possibly including Burrito, don't consider it too difficult to pop the center out of a wheel and weld it back in to change offsets.

EDIT: Went and looked at the Yugo, I would guess it's hitting on the outer wheel tub half? You could cut that out and install a flat one.

Burrito HalfDork
6/14/15 5:22 p.m.

I picked up a $13 coil for a '66 bug while out running errands this morning since I couldn't find a Bosch Blue on a Sunday. Before installing it, I took the time to finish draining the old gas out of the tank (about 3 gallons of surprisingly clear fuel) and gave her a splash of some fresh stuff.

Obviously, we had things pretty well rehearsed and choreographed...

The second attempt at documenting such a momentous occasion went slightly better.

Pretty well chuffed with that result. Since it ran surprisingly excellent, we are planning to keep the 1.3 and 4 speed until a sweet deal on a FI X19 comes up.

Dusterbd13 UltraDork
6/14/15 5:27 p.m.


Is there a radiator? Or is it air cooled?

Burrito HalfDork
6/14/15 5:34 p.m.

Radiator is leaning up against the wall in the shop. I felt fine running it without it for a few seconds under the guise of "it already needs a headgasket, what's the worst that could happen."

I forgot to mention in the previous post that first and reverse both work and the clutch and throwout bearing appear to function as intended.

Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
6/14/15 5:56 p.m.

Does the speedo work? This is somewhat important regarding transmission health. They stop working when the diff pin spins and the clearanced spot on the pin for the speedo drive moves, allowing the pin to smack the speedo drive partway out of the case.

More common failure on cars used in winter (excessive wheelspin) but something to look for nonetheless.

The transaxle likes 20w50 engine oil (e.g. Castrol GTX) when you get around to draining it.

Burrito HalfDork
6/14/15 5:59 p.m.

That's a good question. We're still in the realm of NO BRAKES!, so I'm not willing to do much more than creep forward a few feet.

I'll get the front end jacked up and run it without a load before tearing into the head.

Thanks for the heads up, Kenny!

Burrito HalfDork
6/14/15 10:40 p.m.

Updating the budget before I forget (again).

Previous total 1039.37.

We ordered almost everything needed to get her back on the road. Brake rotors, drums, shoes, pads, wheel cylinders, seals, brake lines, coolant lines, water pump, etc.

Everything except a head gasket kit (which would have shipped from the UK if bought from RockAuto ($$$)) and front calipers. We didn't order the calipers as none came with the car and I'm too cheap to buy reman parts AND pay a core charge. The PO is looking for them in his parts stash, so hopefully that will save us about $100.

All that, plus the $19.41 for the coil and condenser brings our new total to 1306.50 (including shipping).

coexist New Reader
6/15/15 9:45 a.m.

In reply to Burrito:

I'm up north of Seattle, Whidbey Island. Good chance I have all that you are looking for, except perhaps the bumper mounts. If you need caliper cores soon they are the same as 124 fronts. It looks like the driver door I have is pretty good.

brad131a4 New Reader
6/15/15 10:10 a.m.

Coexist beat me to it. As the front calipers are the same as the 124/131/Lancia and a few other fiat models. I found that rebuilding them is by far the best way to go. $10 for a rebuild kit is the best your going to do. Only thing you need to look out for is pitting on the piston other than that no problems. One thing I do know is that the front calipers do not like to sit for long lengths of time. They have a nack of wanting to freeze up. So I usually rebuild mine every spring when I break out the car from it's winter sleep. Midwest Bayless has a good selecting of parts for the 128/ritmo/Yugo I'd check them out. I alway's try and use one of the dedicated fiat vendors before a internet vendor. Most of them are fiat enthusiasts and can have a really good knowledge base to pick when it comes to finding the right part. Other than that the car is looking good. I like the direction your going with this. You need to bring it up to the Triple X All Italian Car Show in Issaquah next spring when it's done.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
6/15/15 12:03 p.m.
ssswitch wrote: Thing's coming along. Just think of how much money 16 American cents was in lira when this car was made.

Just short of 100 lira at 624 lira / dollar back in the day.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
6/15/15 12:10 p.m.

Also, be wary of the caliper bleed screws. They like to snap off flush with the caliper body if the car's been sitting for while. a little bit of heat and some penetrant will go a long way here.

Burrito HalfDork
6/15/15 8:29 p.m.

The tail light lenses have been teetering hap-hazardously on top of my crap covered work bench since I removed them last week. It's probably a little out of order in terms of proper restoration etiquette, but I didn't want to put them away in their grotty, as-removed state. They're in surprisingly great shape; no cracks or large pits, but overall rather hazy.

I had my lovely assistant block them down with some wet 220 grit to get all of the deeper scratches (and part numbers) out before going after them with some red scotchbrite. She gave them a good cleaning under running water before setting them out to dry in the sun.

Then 2 coats of my typical "Aerosol Tail Light Restoration Spray", or, as most people know it, clear acrylic spray paint.

Mmmmn much better. Well worth the price of admission. We're calling this $0 since I had the paint left over from a previous project. We'll toss a little love a the bulb holders and wrap the assembled units up in saran wrap before tucking them into a safe place until they are needed.


fidelity101 SuperDork
6/15/15 8:32 p.m.

this is too cool, I never would have thought to weld temporary brackets.

gamby UltimaDork
6/15/15 10:55 p.m.

Loving this project and its swift, frequent updates.

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