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GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
2/24/24 5:18 p.m.

I have been ignoring the Fiat for a long time. Today I actually did something for the first time in ages. 

Up on jackstands I removed the oil pan and punched 1-4 into the rod caps. 2&3 look ok. 4 is rough and 1 is pretty terrible. 1 up top and 4 below in picture.

I did check the ones from the PT 2.4 on my stand and they do not interchange. (Everyone on the internet already knew that anyway though.) Got a Rockauto order placed. I am going to slap a couple of bearings in this thing and see how far that gets me. After spending some more time underneath this car I am reasonable sure that both axles and all the mounts would have to be remade to fit the 2.4. 

On the plus side, my battery has survived another winter and is looking healthy.  Maybe I can drive this car this year.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) PowerDork
2/25/24 9:09 a.m.

Always stoked for updates on this one. Party on.

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/3/24 12:29 p.m.

The "quick fix" of some new rod bearings was not successful. Hardly surprising. It was something that I wanted to try just in case.

The above blurry photo is of the #1 rod and cap and the missing bits of metal. The rod cap also did not fit properly anymore and would bind the crank when fully tightened down. With nothing left to loose I did some hammering of the cap around a piece of round tube to 'adjust' the fit and got it to tighten down without binding up the motor. With near zero confidence in the fix I opted out of using the new oil pan gasket and poured the used oil back in so as not to waste perfectly good oil on a junk motor. It was the right call. It knocked when I ran it. 

I started taking things apart and got to the point last night with the engine and trans mounts the only things keeping the drivetrain installed. My engine crane, borrowed by a friend, was returned this AM. 

It also snowed a bit yesterday while I was working and last night just to keep things interesting. 

Current idea is to make a steel locating jig to pick up points on the driveline that are the same between motors and use that to guide the clearance cutting for the 2.4. It is already on an engine stand and my recent searches for 2.0 donors have come up empty. Kind of cold and crappy out so don't know how far I will get today. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/3/24 10:10 p.m.

Small step today. I wanted to find some bolt points that are the same on both engines so that I can hard mount them to the chassis in order to check for clearance and build the new timing belt side engine mount. 

This is where the mount for the front of the 2.0 sits currently. According to my tape measurements it is going to need some cutting off of things that I previously welded in. By measuring tape there are some threaded holes on both blocks that appear to be in the same place. Marking out a scrap of angle to make some holes to bolt this onto the block.

Found some bolts in the collection and measured them to match with the closest size drill bit and it is pretty close. 

Center punched, piolted and drilled on the drill press. Voila: A tiny step forward. 

The fit is good. I ran out of time at this point and went and did fun active things instead. So far I haven't found any really promising places on the aft side of the engine that are shared. Open to suggestions or inside info. 

 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/13/24 10:51 p.m.

I had an unplanned Side Quest flight to Alaska and a road trip home. This further sidelined the Fiat progress. A quick side by side comparison of the 2.0 and 2.4 oil pan gaskets has led me to the belief that the "similar" mounting points on the two motors are not necessarily in the "same" place. Some head scratching has me hatching another plan.

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/18/24 10:29 p.m.

It was a pretty nice day out this past Saturday so I decided to remove the drivetrain. This is something that I've done solo, but it was great to have a friend help run the hoist. No real drama, it just dropped out in a straightforward manner. 

With the drivetrain down on an old creeper frame we just had to lift the car up high enough to wheel it out. 

With the drivetrain rolling around in the driveway we set the car back on jackstands.

Got the drivetrain back up in the air so that I could remove the bolts from the inspection plate and determine whether the clutch was modular or flywheel style. Flywheel it is:

Seperated the Trans and the engine, pulled the intake, wiring etc. Ended up with the engine on one wheel dolly and the trans on another. Quite convenient. 

I rented the Chrysler harmonic balancer puller and pulled the Neon and the PT balancers. Neon forground PT back.

They both have a belt track that I neither need or want. The PT balancer is lighter and slightly smaller diameter. I may have a go at removing the outboard multirib belt track to get me some more clearance. It also looks to be much easier to chuck in the lathe. Budget underdrive balancer?

So much to think about at this point Options include:

1) PT motor in as it sits. Easiest/cheapest somewhat uninspiring from a performance perspective. It does mean that I will have to drill the 2.0 intake to the PT intake bolt pattern. Not super thrilling to do, probably not a biggie. 

2) PT motor + 2.0 camshafts. The cams look to be in serviceable condition and are somewhat more aggressive. Same work with the intake plus a mod to the cam sensor magnet.

3) PT bottom end with 2.0 head and cams. The valves and ports on the exhaust are reported to be larger and better for top end flow on the Neon head. This will allow me to use the intake in its current form but requires at minimum a head gasket and head bolts. Cam sensor magnet mod as well. 

4) PT bottom end with milled 2.0 head, performance cams (reply if you have some to sell me!) and valve springs. Same work as #3 but with more parts/paid labor cost. But boy howdy wouldn't it be something to have a hot, cammed 2.4 in this little Fiat! 

Much to ponder. I will probably continue tear down of the 2.0 since keeping the head and or cams is the most likely scenario anyway. 

 

golfduke
golfduke Dork
3/19/24 9:11 a.m.

Just pored through all 8 pages, and now I want a Fiat.  THANKS A LOT.  

 

Any thoughts to turboing the 2.4?  Sort of like an SRT4/1/9

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/19/24 10:10 a.m.

A hot cammed 2.4 was an absolute RIOT in my acr. Can only imagine a lighter car.. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/19/24 10:38 a.m.
golfduke said:

Just pored through all 8 pages, and now I want a Fiat.  THANKS A LOT.  

 

Any thoughts to turboing the 2.4?  Sort of like an SRT4/1/9

You're welcome. -Tents fingers- Hehehe.

So many thoughts of turboing. The Speeduino that I built should be able to run that mess and the cast turbo manifold is in the garage already. Right now I want to get it moving again NA for the sake of hitting a "save point" instead of having a thousandish ways for it to take forever. 

Turbo dreams are here in my brain making whooshing sounds though!

The 2.4 even with the milled head would have boost friendly low compression if I end up using stock SRT4 pistons and rods that are a direct fit. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/19/24 10:42 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

 

Your ACR has been an inspiration! I hope to achieve RIOT status to make my errands memorable. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/20/24 10:51 a.m.

In reply to KaneOconnor :

The Fiat is an 80. Lots of work. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/20/24 11:02 p.m.

Some parts are on the way: Poly rear bushings to replace the horrible condition rubber ones. 2.25" V-band set for the exhaust mods because I hate the flange and gasket setup that I almost certainly need to revise. AND, looking at some SRT4 stage3 cams and MPX cam gears from a specialist parts yard. More to come as my bank card gets warmed up. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/24/24 1:12 a.m.

Got some Poly rear swing arm bushings. Not going to immediately install them, but nice to have them at hand.

One thing that has been extra annoying lately is that the rear trunk release cable broke. To open the trunk is possible because of how many things I've removed, but it is quite inconvenient and hard on the fingers. I tried to replace the cable with a bicycle shift cable, since I love to use bike parts on cars, but it was too short. Instead I got a tandem length cable which is approximately way long. Also pulled out some various other bike odds and ends. 

The release handle is in the drivers door sill and I thought that it had a slot to accommodate the cable like a bike brake lever, but that is not the case. Still, the cable fed through and came out the other end where it needs to pull on the lever to open the latch. This is the picture I took trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Tuns out I didn't get to use the fancy barrel adapter that is from a dropper seat post.

With a cable through the lever and housing I needed a way to affix the latch end. This vintage cantilever brake roller straddle was modified into service. 

Then I used a bike brake pad retaining cotter pin to connect the straddle to the hole in the latch release lever and moved the spring to the round end of the cotter pin. 

I put the latch back in the car and crimped an alloy nipple as a cable end after I cut several extra feet of cable. In the car and working!

I was thinking it was time to mock up the accessories to see what will play nice and where there will be fabrication opportunites. Started with the alternator brackets and alt. Looks like it should go. 

Next I pulled the two studs out of the PT head to allow the Neon manifold to be installed for mockup.

Most of the holes do not line up, but the ones for the water neck and the lower rear one do. If I end up using this combination of head and manifold I will have to drill holes in the manifold to make it play. For now though it is in the space where it would live. 

Now, what about some wires? Seems like everything is pretty much good from the mock up.

This Knock sensor plug has a broken clip. The donor PT harness has the same plug. De-pin.

re-pin.

I went to the junkyard today and got an oil dipstick and tube since the PT one was smashed. I didn't realize that the water pump pipe is also smashed so I will probably try and get a replacement as well, the Neon one is too different to play. 

The PT dipstick tube is way long and not an easy fit. This is the Neon tube, but without a less mangled water pipe I don't want to commit to any of this yet. Instead lets go back to an incomplete previous sub-project: Oil pan mods. I have left off with the aft part of the pan trapdoor baffled and some work started on the front.

Holesaw to make room for the pickup tube. Also cut away material to allow it to clear the rotating assembly. The flanges are there to allow it to bolt to the block or the pan as required for fit adjustments. They are also almost exactly the same width as the pan gasket. 

I measured the locating dowels from where the ballance shaft assembly mounted and found a piece of black pipe my pile of metals that will work. Using the pipe cutter I made 4 2.5" pieces that I plan to use for a mounting frame for the front trapdoor and possibly windage tray.

Unfortunately the bolts that I have are all too long or too short to go further with this. I did find one that I am using as a placeholder to check clearance and it looks like a fit. 

That is the stopping point for now. I haven't had much luck with used SRT4 performance parts purchasing. Several messages to different sellers, a few responses and then... Ghost. Maybe it is me and my weak FB profile, marketplace is all it is for? Perhaps the sellers are just a bit Dodge-y.    I'll see myself out. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/24/24 7:55 a.m.

Miller imports in kannapolis nc parts out a TON of srt4 stuff, and they're local to me. Ive bought from them before and will again.

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/24/24 1:06 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

He replied straight away, didn't have what I was after. I will try there in the future as well. 

Autovelox
Autovelox New Reader
3/25/24 11:19 p.m.

I love this thread.  My son has an X1/9 upside down on a rotisserie right now with visions of a K swap, and I have one stashed at a neighbor's house while I am working out of town with visions of a engine type to be determined swap.

I find your work very inspirational, especially while I am a couple of thousand miles from my project car and can't work on it myself!

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/26/24 10:21 p.m.

In reply to Autovelox :

Thank you. I hope the best for both of your swap projects!

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/26/24 10:24 p.m.

Dropped the Neon head off at the machine shop this morning. I'm interested to hear how much they think it can be milled down. Also, got my V-band setup in the mail and an even more exciting package is inbound. 

Manual_Trans
Manual_Trans New Reader
3/26/24 11:05 p.m.

If you're ever in the market for new Dodge 2.0 or 2.4 engine parts (N/A or turbo), I highly suggest www.modernperformance.com. They've been in the Neon game forever. Having owned and modified six Neons since 2002, I shudder to think about how much I've spent on that site. Super knowledgeable people. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/27/24 12:44 a.m.

Messed around in the garage a bit this evening. Finally mounted this vise to the table to deburr the cut ends.

 Then I decided these stand offs all needed to be shorter, so over to the porta-band. 

This is probably how I should have cut them in the first place. Anyway with shorter standoffs I could find 3 out of 4 bolts that would work well enough for a mockup at least. The 4th is a bit long. 

I started on the rearward pair and cut a piece of round stock to connect the two uprights. Cleaned everything up on the belt sander and moved over to the fab table to weld. 

Zapped together with the MIG and did some wire brush cleanup before returning them to the engine. Turns out that the front set are farther apart than the rear. Who knew? Anyway it is late so I will leave it here until the next time. 

 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/29/24 10:40 p.m.

Did some work last night on the front bolt holes for my baffle and trapdoor holder. 

Mostly the same as the rear set. I added pieces of round stock to turn the two separate bridges into a polygon.

The different widths of the ends formed by the front and rear pairs of bolts meant that the sides were not the same length. I measured in place with my extendable magnet rod. 

Stuck the magnet end to the steel table and put the ruler up against it. I usually work in MM but in this case I am using Hogsheads and Cubits. 

Using the ruler to mark out the appropriate amount of freedom units before cutting the round stock on the porta band table. Rather than weld or tack on the engine I used a somewhat elaborate system of scraps and clamps to preserve the geometry of the polygon while moving it over to a weld appropriate table. 

Zapped tacks on, checked fitment.

Satisfied with polygon fitment, I zapped it together for keeps and measured out how many fractions to trim off of the alloy baffle to let it fit over the polygon. 

The idea next is to add mounts to the polygon that hold the baffle in position and then cut off the wings that are currently attaching it to the block. But it was late so here is where I left things. Then today this happened:

Oh yes! This is happening. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
3/31/24 11:52 p.m.

More progress on the baffle and trapdoor for the front of the engine. Angle iron drilled with 1/4" holes to hold M6 stainless hardware. I'm pretty sure that I've got some Nylocks at work, but regular nuts are holding it together for now.

Over to the steel table to weld the angle to the polygon. 

Now the baffle is held in place with the bolts through the angle iron so the 'wings' that I've been using to bolt to the block or the pan can go. Chop, chop. 

I put the whole mes back onto the engine and had a brief unsettled feeling when the pan did not sit nicely on the gasket all the way around. Turned out to be the Megastack of nuts on the too tall bolt. I moved the Megastack to the other side of the pan and all was good. 

Holed into baffle with the holesaw.

Now on to the trapdoor and hinges. I was digging through my alloy scrap and I came across this piece. This gives me some intake manifold mod ideas. 

Anyway, back to the trapdoor: This piece of rectangular tube was originally part of a Subaru Forester bumper bar. Now it gets a chance to live on in another car. 

Spent some quality time on the Porta Band. The rounded part was done with a holesaw and ends up changing later.

Did some cuts to make wings that will bend up and hold the hinge pivot. 

Drilled 3/32" holes in anticipation of using 1/16" TIG rod for the pin much the same as the baffle and trapdoor welded into the aft part of the pan. 

When I folded the wings up the alloy did some cracking. It didn't beak off but to make things more secure I TIG welded some scraps to gusset the wings. Someday I would like to be good at TIG (or any) welding but for now this is stuck together and will not fall off. I did grind some on one side just to check for porosity but it seems goodish. 

This time instead of more sub-stellar aluminum welding I decided to make the stationary parts of the hinge out of steel and MIG them to the angle iron. 

I also had to relocate the bolt on the near side of the photo to clear the trapdoor. This involved drilling another close hole and making a slot. It was inelegantly done with the hand drill and a round file. A few swears. It ended up opening and closing nicely with gravity. 

On the engine the door ran into the pickup tube before it hit the screen rectangle like I had planned. 

A little work with the hand file and the door opens until the pickup tube screen box stops it. Seems like that should keep the oil from leaving the chat. 

Stuck two bolts into the oil pan to hold it in place and called it a day. 

 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
4/3/24 11:22 a.m.

I had these aluminum pieces and I just couldn't help but start a "No 90" intake mod. 

This is the lower removable part of the stock Neon DOHC intake. Plainly visible is the 90degree that the TB sits at. 

This is that 90 chopped off on the porta band table. I put a scrap of square tube against the machined surface to get the cut square. It came out nice. I actually moved the angle slightly inboard to the engine centerline with the combination sander. The slight shift will help with firewall clearance. This is the chopped manifold and the round tube laid out.

Then welded together. I only partial donkey cleaned the manifold with non-chlor brake clean and it played nice. 

I still need to make a fill piece and close this part but I have more scraps and at least an idea. 

For the TB end I think that I am going to get a Jeep 4.0 TB and make the bolt pattern to match that. There is a Neon mod that uses the Jeep TB since IAC and TPS interchange (mostly, allegedly according to internets). The throttle link is also different but I have an idea on how to handle that as well. It may involve some cutting and welding too. 

More speed parts are on the way as well. 

 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
4/5/24 10:27 a.m.

Made some flatstock less flat

Then flattened out some of the roundTap a little then see how it fits

Zap.

And all welded up. 

I need to still grind out the excess material below my fill piece. It should be pretty good access to do so. It was nice to have a little shelf for my piece to fit up on to so I left it in for now. I am going to wait on the TB connection end until after I have checked fitment in the engine bay. This may end up getting some pie cuts done to favorable angle the TB in relation to the firewall bulge for the fuel tank sender. 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
4/7/24 12:08 a.m.

Spent some time wearing hearing protection and a face shield and made lots of silver dust. 

That is all for tonight. 

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