7 8 9
GoLucky Reader
4/10/24 6:27 p.m.

More parts! Modern Performance sent me these springs and some ARP rod bolts that will fit stock rods and 1.8 Ford Duratec motors apparently. 

More bits are inbound as well. Head checked good at the machine shop and got cut an additional 24thou. 

I also built an oil restrictor for the block to limit oil to the head. It is made out of an old rear MTB quick release rear axle. The forums have told me that the engine will fill the head with oil at high rpm (where this motor will hopefully spend a fair bit of time) and the drainage is slow which can cause oil starvation. The idea behind this restriction is that it will reduce the excess oil to the head. Seems like a part that I can make. 


marked for the length cut with sharpie and caliper scratch. I'm building from a recipe on Neons forum. 

I did the second cut on the porta band and it worked great. Over to the drill press to make a place for braze to sit. 

Zapped some bronze until there's no hole. 

then back over to the drill press for a smaller hole. Ended up with measurements closely aligned to my recipe. 

My hole is not totally centered but it should be fine that way and if not I can melt the bronze and try to make it more centered. The next step in the oil system mods will be to make the drains work better. Also considering adding some external drain lines. Thoughts or tips? 

GoLucky Reader
4/12/24 10:42 p.m.



GoLucky Reader
4/20/24 3:04 p.m.

Got some more parts. Specifically these adjustable cam gears. They are Fidenza and tool marked, but were also very affordable.

Last night after work I went over to a buddy's house to do some balancer mods on his lathe. Since space in front of the engine is tight and the v-belt pulley on the ballancer has nothing to turn in the Fiat it needed to go. 

In process:

Basically turned all the extra metal into hot chips.

With the v-belt pulley gone, he cut through the outer ring of steel and into the rubber. We thought that we might have to go at the rubber with a saw or knife but the lathe took it right off. The ballancer is now shortened up to just past the spokes from the center ring. 

Should have done a before and after measurement, but it is for sure shorter and that is really what hopefully matters. I still have the stock PT balancer but decided to use the Neon one with this modification because the PT hub and belt tracks join on the front side of the balancer so cutting that off would make the two pieces come apart. It is above freezing today so hopefully I can get some more done.  


GoLucky Reader
4/22/24 12:18 a.m.

The old engine needs to go. So drained the oil and pushed it aside awaiting a scrap run. 

With that done I wanted to start seeing how well the 2.4 is going to fit. Since I know that it isn't going to just slide right in there fully dressed I took off basically everything but the alternator and stuffed ports with paper towel to keep the inevitable grinder grit out. This is not the head that will run on the car but still don't want to fill the engine with metal and abrasive grit. That done, I got the engine off the stand and onto the chains. 

For mockup and fittment purposes the transaxle is mated to the engine sans clutch and flywheel. It all has to come out anyway, probably multiple times. 

Removed the poly shackle bushings from the trans mount and replaced them with the alloy dummy bushings from the original mount build.

The engine and trans are riding on a wheel dolly so the car can come up and the powertrain can slide under. 

Well, it isn't obviously not going to work. Hoping to minimize initial interference areas It is obviously without the balancer, front mount etc. With the car back on stands I connected the chains and lifted the powertrain up for the first interference check. 

Alternator has to go for now. I'd hoped that it would just fit, but no. 

With the alternator removed the trans mount lined up and the engine in its current state clears. 

The old mount body side is not going to be helpful so chopping happened. 

My 1/2" drive HF ratchet also crapped out so now it's in the pile with the old engine, ballance shafts and springs from a long-gone trampoline. 

Also hitting the pile: At least part of the factory PT front engine mount. It sure would be convenient if this could bolt onto the front of the engine and I could build a mount off of it. Also, I was sure to leave plenty of sharp metal on which to hurt myself later. Despite some effort and loud words the PT front piece does not fit at this point. 

This is where I found out that my torque mount will also have to be re-fabricated. The engine block and oil pan are completely different from the 2.0. So, instead of making just one new mount I will be doing at least 2. 

I ended up with the trans mount bolted up and a scissor jack under the front of the engine. Put the tools away and set the engine cover on. 

I ate some food and went to a really fun fitness class. While driving home in our Mini Cooper I noticed the RPMs significantly outpacing the acceleration up a hill. Looks like this slipping clutch is going to push the Fiat to the back burner for now. I have a clutch on the way so maybe until then some Fiat progress can happen. 


GoLucky Reader
5/12/24 6:10 p.m.

After some delays from weather and working on the Mini Cooper I spent yesterday on the Fiat.

The parts of the car in the way of allowing me to use the factory PT engine timingcover mount  are out of the way now. I decided to use the heavy cast iron piece because I don't want to make one. 


Engine goes in easy now. I harvested the shackle bushing mount that I previously cut out of the car. It took too long and I would have just made a new one if I had the material on hand. I saw these "flipper " mounts and thought they would work well for me. Starting with a new piece of tube, since I have it and already spent too much time reclaiming other parts. the flipper part is a scrap of steel and needs to take these 10mm bolts. I have plenty of 3/8" drill bits but not a one to make a 10mm bolt fit. So, drill and file. 

A piece of angle iron to keep the flipper from twisting. And some more material to triangulate it. Up with the powertrain for the dozenth? time. I have string to line up the height and fore-aft. 

Measuring off of the valve cover mating surface of the head and sighting against the head for parallelism. 

When there was no problem I could see I added a fractional smidgen of height to the pulley side to compensate for bolt and bushing sag. I used some bits of metal to fix the car side mount in place. 
Look away now if you have a sensitive nature regarding ugly welds. I got a lot of contamination from the Fiat steel and still need to grind and redo multiple areas. I ended up with the engine and trans hanging on their mounts. Looks great in terms of the string. 

Next I need to figure out the torque mount. Then I'll see about the alternator and balancer and add metal back to the unibody where the giant hole is. 

GoLucky Reader
5/21/24 12:34 a.m.

I wanted to make some progress and there are so many things to do. I picked an easy thing when I had a small window of time. Shackle bush tube: 

Marked out.

Cut on porta band and sanded flat.Deburred.With something accomplished it was now past the time to make ridiculous noise in the garage. So, I decided to pull the valves in the Neon head. My 'spring compressor' was also last loaned out as a brake piston pusher and came back in less than ideal alignment. 

Clamped a clamp and then bent it with a crescent wrench. Made some slight mods to the alloy handlebar end that is cut to allow removal of keepers. The red cap is a shipping cap that comes on the through axles of Fox bicycle forks. The silver cone is actually a part from a broken BMX hub. 

Add the end of a roll of el-cheapo duct tape and voila! A slow and janky valve spring compressor. Believe it or not, this junk gets the job done. I have a magnet and a "pokey spoke" to get the keepers out. 

The next day I wanted to check the header fittment. Fits good enough for now. 

There was a bracket on the old motor that went from the block to the tail of the transaxle and I wondered if it would bolt up. No, it does not. 

But after some cutting up scrap and some chopping and bending and welding it will. I even checked the header again and it still goes in. 

Next on to the torque mount. The crossmember that I built to run fore aft under the engine was my jack point, (red circle in below pic) held the torque shackle mount and the shift cables on the front end. It was also aggressively and unnecessarily low to the ground. So, chop, chop.

I harvested the shacke hanger and the jack point part of the rear mount and started work on building a torque mount. There are a couple of threaded holes on the oil pan that don't connect to anything on the Neon trans and they look like they are in a pretty good spot. I grabbed a piece of round tube and made a slight bend with my engine stand and bouncing up and down on the pipe. 

Didn't get any under the car pictures, but ended the night with the hanger end welded up and the tube mitered and welded to the bushing holder and two tabs to connect to the oil pan. Also got a new tube to connect the front and rear of the crossmember sized up but going to wait on welding that in because getting to some thing is easier without it in the way. 

Today after work I made some more progress and fabbed up two more tabs that connect the torque mount to the transaxle as well. This should really solidify the connection to the drivetrain and prevent too much stress on the alloy pan. Rocking the engine back and forth by hand there is zero movement with this installed. 

Feels like some more progress. 

GoLucky Reader
5/27/24 10:39 p.m.

Memorial Day 2024 and I have the day off. Got a fair bit of work on the Fiat done. Dropped out the engine and trans to install balancer and alternator. I heated up the hub of the balancer with a maap gas torch and it slid straight on.

The super new belt that I just changed on the Neon 2.0 is too short to work. This is the belt:This is it not fitting even with the tension all the way close:

I will need a longer belt to run the alternator but for today I really wanted one installed just to mock up where it is going to live in the car. I punched some holes:

Then I cut the belt and put a zip tie through the holes:

I'm going to take this thing into the parts store and see what I can find that will work. Next I narrowed the piece of the subframe that I chopped out to allow the mounts to fit. 

With the piece a little narrower I tacked it in and put the engine and trans back up on their mounts. (108th time?). And, just to be sure it would still go with the alternator in, header mocked up. 

It goes in pretty easy. Not a ton of room between the mount and the frame, but the engine moves very little. I ground some protrusions on the cast mount and hammered a little on the frame. Should be good. 

Things were going so nicely I wanted to check and see how much firewall clearancing would be required. A fab assistant came by and was very helpful in making templates, cutting metal, and holding/handing things. This is so nice, manifold actually will go as is! Actually, I did have to move the FPR, but that is way less than I was expecting to have to do. I could actually install the intake on the engine in the car if I didn't use any studs and only bolts:

To add some strength to the now narrower rail we decided to run a support tube down to a plate on the forward structure below the firewall. Mr. Whthaus usually is welding BMX frames and he wanted to bust out some TIG. Fun to watch! A really nice looking weld that will be almost impossible to see in the car. 

At the end of the workday it looks like this:

Things are about to be pretty busy for a while, but hopefully I can get some more done in the next few weeks. 

GoLucky Reader
5/29/24 11:07 a.m.

Small progress last night. I wanted to make the oil drain holes in the head have a smoother flow path. I hit them with the die grinder. The tape is a non functional containment experiment. I needed to do a bunch of cleaning anyway since chips from the machine shop kept dropping out of the head already. Blasted everything out with the hose and compressed air. Then replaced the valve stem seals. I bent a little more angle into my HF hose pliers and they worked great for removal. 
Installation was super easy with a 17mm deep socket and extension. 

I'm missing 3 of f the washers that go on the valve cover bolts but I did find a pack of the rubber grommets for them that were somehow not included in my head gasket set. 

The washers are 10mm id (a common rear axle size) so maybe there is something at the bike shop that will work. I also found three random oil filters that are unlikely to work with this project. I need to get better at writing the application on my saved parts. 

GoLucky Reader
5/31/24 10:25 p.m.

Axle washers are a good replacement for my missing valve cover bolt washers. Grabbed three of these from work. They should squish the rubber grommets just fine.

I also received the super cheapo Jeep 4.0 Throttle body that I ordered. It claims to be 60mm and that is partly true. The bottom is "necked down" for some reason and I don't think I like it that way.

I disassembled the shaft and butterfly. I also need to make a flange for my modified intake pipe so I clamped the stripped TB onto a piece of aluminum scrap and transfer punched the mounting holes.

I thought about using the center point of the mounting holes to find the bore center, but I am not totally confident in 1. My own accuracy 2. The centeredness of this cheapo part. So in walking around the garage and looking at things that would maybe serve as a good transfer punch I came across my set of forstner bits. With a bit of tape added to the biggest one it gave me a center point.

At this point hopefully all the real machinists can have already thrown up their hands in disgust and clicked over to someone else's build that cuts chips properly. I have a drill press so that is what got used to make the pilot holes for the mounting holes. I really should (note to self here) get a set of metric drill bits since using the SAE ones for holes that get tapped metric is sub optimal. But, that is what I did and then I chucked the tap in my hand drill and made the holes threaded for a matching set of 4 stainless M6 bicycle Vbrake bolts. Then with much NVH the "neck down" became much less so. And I have a flange to connect to my intake. Yes! I used a holesaw to open up the throttle body. 

More when I get the chance

TurboFource Dork
6/1/24 6:12 a.m.

What size holesaw did you use? And you gotta do what ya gotta do!

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) PowerDork
6/1/24 9:04 a.m.

Excellent progress. Do continue.

GoLucky Reader
6/1/24 12:31 p.m.

In reply to TurboFource :

57mm/ 2-1/4" labeled. Thanks. 


GoLucky Reader
6/9/24 10:52 p.m.

I put some pieces of adhesive backed sandpaper on the hole saw and made a improvised drum sander to further open the bottom of the TB. There was a moment of catching and bucking that did cause some scratches to places I'd prefer weren't, but it got the surface smoother and a larger diameter. 

Seems opened enough since the pipe is actually a bit smaller. 

Then to jump around a little and set aside the TB for a while I hit the intake and valve cover with some paint stripper. 

Hmm... I had forgotten about the gold painted manifold under the red. Needs more stripper and work. Letting it marinade for a bit as well. I did get some more parts and that prompted me to jump around again. Back to the head. I ordered a 10 pack of US made -10 alloy weld fittings to allow an external oil drain from the head. Picked a location. (A speck higher would have been easier in hindsight)

Made a little hole.

Used a forstner bit to make it shiny around the hole. (Would make it bigger next time)

Step bit to make the little hole into a bigger one. 

Test fit fitting and hold in place with a random bolt and nut. 

Really, really thoroughly clean the area including farther than you think you need to from the fitting. This is the step that I skipped and made a gross mess of things when welding. 

YUCK! Not only does this look terrible, it also fails the soapy water bubble test. Sent myself to bed to think about what I've done. Came back fresh the next day to make it better. With a sawzall. 

A combination of forstner bit captured in a steel tube, step drill and die grinder were employed to remove all of the disgustingness visible in this picture and get to shiny clean metal. 

Once it was clean and nice it actually welded pretty well. My bubble test is to attatch a 45 fitting and blow into it with the opening blocked with 3m trim adhesive tape and apply soapy water to the weld. It worked and ended up like this. 

You may be thinking: But GoLucky, didn't that head just come back from the machine shop and shouldn't you have welded that fitting in BEFORE machining. Yes and yes. I did check with my imprecise straight edge though and at least it looks good. 

Next up is to find a place for the drained oil to return. I don't see any really obvious spots. Open to ideas if anyone has them. I saw that the turbo blocks have a return hole in them, mine does not but it could. ?

7 8 9

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners