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Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/18/17 8:53 p.m.

So I picked up a 1978 Fiat 128 Rally that needs molto attention. It has supposedly been stored indoors since 1984 which was the last time it was registered. It looks horrible in the photos due to the surface rust that covers it but the underneath is fairly rust free. I have no idea what sidelined the car back in the Reagan administration but I'm looking to find out.

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/18/17 9:04 p.m.

Dragged it bag to my shop and started to take a closer look. Plan was to clean out the gas tank, replace the fuel lines and replace whatever needs to be done to produce spark. Changed the oil and then started with the ignition components. Bought a cap, rotor, points, plugs, coil, wires and condenser. New parts came in boxes that looked like they have been sitting on a shelf for 30 years.

Car definitely gets spark now. Next step is to redo the fuel lines and replace the timing belt before cranking it over anymore.

ssswitch
ssswitch Dork
2/18/17 9:54 p.m.

I don't think I've ever seen a car with body-colour seat rails before. I guess that's the attention to detail that made 1970s Fiat a force to be reckoned with on the old JD Power rankings.

Is Rally a performance sub-model or is it more of a trim/appearance package?

Looks like a fun bag of projects. Are the brake hardlines still good?

Burrito
Burrito Dork
2/18/17 10:45 p.m.

Very cool! I am openly jealous of your lack of doors.

If you are looking for any parts in particular to help you along your way, let me know. I have a few spares hanging around and am always willing to help out another 128 guy.

We have a few 128/Yugo dorks in this forum. If you've got any questions, ask away. The factory service manual is always open on my bench, too.

What are your long term plans for the car?

Burrito
Burrito Dork
2/18/17 10:52 p.m.

In reply to ssswitch:

Fiat has always done seat rails in an odd way. Half of the rail is built into the car, half of it on the seat. My 850 is that way, too.

Raze
Raze UltraDork
2/19/17 6:14 a.m.
Burrito wrote: In reply to ssswitch: Fiat has always done seat rails in an odd way. Half of the rail is built into the car, half of it on the seat. My 850 is that way, too.

LOL, I was going to post the same, when I replaced one of mine in my 124 spider I kept asking myself why it was designed that way

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/19/17 7:10 a.m.

In reply to Burrito:

I appreciate the help. Not totally sure what the long term plans are, was planning on getting it running first and if all went well just make it a fun driver. Nix the bumpers, add wheels, lower it, add a head, cam, carbs and header.

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/19/17 7:15 a.m.

In reply to ssswitch:

Initially the Rally was a performance model with the most significant change being that the standard 128 came with an 1.1 liter engine while the Rally was powered by a 1.3. As far as I can tell 1978 all 128s had the 1.3 so toward the end it really was a trim package (badges, interior, gauges, etc).

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
2/19/17 8:49 a.m.

That is a great find, I have a 128 3P coupe.

If you need advice or sources for anything, just post questions here. There is still a exhaust header available for these, they build to order. But they still make them.

For better brake pad selection, the front brakes will fit RX7 rear pads. For track use, use hawk blue.

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/19/17 12:58 p.m.
TED_fiestaHP wrote: For better brake pad selection, the front brakes will fit RX7 rear pads. For track use, use hawk blue.

Great info!

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
2/19/17 1:07 p.m.

The same brakes were on the fiesta, after I got the 128, I have seen these before.

Also look for the xweb forum. Primarily for the X1/9, but they also have a section for front drive fiats.

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/19/17 1:10 p.m.

One minor detail I forgot to mention. The inside of the car smells horrible! The combination of varnished fuel and God knows what else is something to behold.

Found this hand/paw print on the inside of the glass so that's not good:

Found this little guy in the trunk:

coexist
coexist New Reader
2/19/17 1:37 p.m.

Seen worse (in my shed)

also here

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/20/17 8:30 a.m.

Decided to quickly remove the bumpers for now. Might eventually pick up set of slim European bumpers. Started with the rear.

Amazing how much smaller the car feels with that 70's bumper gone:

Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
2/20/17 12:31 p.m.

YES! I've got tons of 128 love, and I'm glad to see you here working on this thing.

I saw you post that you've got spark - does that mean the engine turns over freely? Glad to see you're going to do the timing belt. It's an hour job and kind of mandatory given that the 1300 is an interference engine.

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/20/17 6:09 p.m.
Mezzanine wrote: I saw you post that you've got spark - does that mean the engine turns over freely? Glad to see you're going to do the timing belt. It's an hour job and kind of mandatory given that the 1300 is an interference engine.

Yes, turns over freely and starts to fire when I put a little gas down the carb. Going to change the belt since its ancient and change the rubber fuel lines, filter and pump before attempting to start it.

brad131a4
brad131a4 Reader
2/20/17 9:24 p.m.

Might as well just get a new fuel tank. I've had horrible luck trying to clean out the gunk in any fiat of mine that I've had. If you aren't all ready on it Mirafori.com has a good group of people that have the parts you maybe needing. Vicks is not bad as well as a few of the other fiat alfa vendors out there. Fiatspider.com would be a good place to check into as well. The owner/moderator is Mark Allison and he has a shop in cali that is making some nice headers and ignition parts that will work on the 128 as well. Guessing as well that the carb is going to need to be rebuilt as well. Good luck.

ssswitch
ssswitch Dork
2/20/17 10:09 p.m.

I feel like the rust on the trunk lid is now somehow more dramatic without the bumper being present to pull the eye away from it. Regardless, the car does look way nicer without the bumper.

Is it hard to drop the tank? I'd be tempted to take a look at that thing before firing it up, especially if the fuel filters are special snowflake parts that cost more than your average parts store carby one. Plus, the old gas (if the tank is still capable of holding it) is probably rancid.

What a cool little car. Please keep the updates coming.

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
2/21/17 7:09 a.m.

If you want to do the least work to just make it run... Do the timing belt, add the biggest filter you can find at the tank outlet. Just to let it run a little the condition of the tank might not matter much, but the tank might need some work or replacing. The fuel pump might not work either, but a electric one could be added easy enough. Anything this old that has been sitting for so long, all the rubber parts might not work so well anymore. Still this is a great find, just needs a little work. Once on the road should be great fun.

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/21/17 9:13 a.m.

My plan is to drop the tank while replacing all the rubber lines. This model originally had an electric fuel pump and I went ahead and ordered a new one for it.

Funny thing is that the original is a BCD pump that was standard equipment on mid-70s Italian sports cars, including Fiat, Lancia, Ferrari, etc. and tend to be pricey for a new or re-manufactured units. I took a flyer and ordered a generic $30 pump advertised as a direct fit replacement. It came in and is stamped 'BCD Torino'

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/22/17 9:44 a.m.

When I picked up the car there were no keys with it. Someone decided to smash the ignition switch to bits in order to unlock the steering wheel. I removed the switch and have been jumping the 4 cables in the connector to attempt to start the car. I looked for a replacement switch and prices were all over the map. The irony is (just like with the fuel pump) these parts were common across Italian cars from that era. I was quoted everything from $60 for a 'Yugo' part to $1300 for a 'Lamborghini' switch. I was just going to wire up a generic push button with a few toggles but ended up finding a new switch from the UK for under $50 delivered to the US.

Original:

Replacement:

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi UberDork
2/22/17 10:03 a.m.

Looks like the same One I got for my X11/9, it was 49.99 delivered from Ukraine. They were $100's in the US! Love the car!

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
2/22/17 10:05 a.m.

Keep in mind that many common parts interchange with the X1/9.

If you just want a 4 wire ignition switch, almost any older ignition switch could work, a generic switch might be available at the local parts store. If you want the original switch that will work with the steering, it's the same part used on the X1/9, check the bayless racing web site. Although a search for a X1/9 part might find a used one cheaper. vicks fiat has many parts as well.

Joseph
Joseph New Reader
2/22/17 10:27 a.m.
TED_fiestaHP wrote: If you just want a 4 wire ignition switch, almost any older ignition switch could work, a generic switch might be available at the local parts store. If you want the original switch that will work with the steering, it's the same part used on the X1/9, check the bayless racing web site. Although a search for a X1/9 part might find a used one cheaper. vicks fiat has many parts as well.

Ultimately, flying in a new part from England was a little more than a generic switch and less than what was available from Vick's ($62 plus shipping) or Midwest Bayless ($119) and FiatPlus ($176 + shipping).

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
2/22/17 10:36 a.m.

Just keep in mind when doing some E-bay search's, the X1/9 was made out of a 128, mostly. So sometimes you can get lucky expanding your search. Yes you will find parts in odd places, the fiat 128 was used all over the world and modified in many places.
Also you might ask here, somebody here might have a extra part.

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