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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/23/22 6:37 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) :

I don't think so. It always struck me as a more...practical build. I would be surprised to see painted rotor housings and purty blue silicone water lines on it. I don't know if I ever looked in the engine bay, though.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) PowerDork
2/23/22 7:46 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Yeah, now that I look closer, it looks like a Honda FWD, definitely not an X. Still, crazy two bellhousing adaptation.

Now to return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/9/22 4:09 p.m.

Well, here's a small update. I got the brake pedal cluster off, I decided to go full parts cannon and replace the clutch and brake master, the clutch slave and line, and also all the soft line that goes from the external reservoirs to the masters. 

So both hydraulic systems should be 100% fresh other than the metal hardlines, which all seem to be in good shape.

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
3/9/22 4:29 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

This is one view of an X1/9 that I don't miss.  I didn't mind the pedal box rebuild so much as the process of removal and reinstallation in the car.  Plus trying to push brake fluid through that oversized loop of brake line.  I dreaded brake bleeding day on every K20 build I did.  Still, it was good times overall.  

I also never cared for FIAT's bubble flare design; it inevitably led to the bubble flaring the nut, stretching the thread and making it fit poorly.  

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
3/9/22 6:27 p.m.

  Anytime you take that assembly out of the car, you replace everything....  You also have to be careful about how you route the feed hoses, if you get one pinched while bolting the assembly back in, you will create a new problem, been there done that.

    It's a tiny car, so there is some interesting packaging to fit all the parts, don't know of another car with brake hydraulics under the dash.

   They did find room for the spare without taking up any trunk space.

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
3/10/22 8:05 a.m.
TED_fiestaHP said:

  Anytime you take that assembly out of the car, you replace everything....  You also have to be careful about how you route the feed hoses, if you get one pinched while bolting the assembly back in, you will create a new problem, been there done that.

    It's a tiny car, so there is some interesting packaging to fit all the parts, don't know of another car with brake hydraulics under the dash.

   They did find room for the spare without taking up any trunk space.

Yes indeed.  When I worked on these for a living, I was more involved in X Web than I am now.  Sometimes I would see people attempt to replace a brake or clutch MC in situ rather than remove the pedal assembly from the car.  That's a recipe for a bad day--or days.  Just take it all out.  And disassemble the whole pedal box and recondition everything unless you want to put the box back in the car and have a creaking clutch pedal.  Even when I did restorations professionally, the pedal box was still a full day job.  But it was worth it to have everything work as new.

You're correct about routing the hoses.  And you might as well replace all of those hoses while into the job; they harden over time.

My only serious complaint about the design is the loop of hard line that made bleeding such a pain.  FIAT did what they had to do to package the MCs into the car without eating up frunk space.  And talk about frunk space!  The rear trunk was about useless except for carrying spare parts and tools, but the frunk was cavernous.  

Spare tire: another smartly done packaging compromise.  They kept the mass between the axle lines and only ate into less-useful space.  Unfortunately, the spare tire had to go on the K20 conversions; the intake manifold needed some of that space and the alternator needed some more of it, and, since everything is on the front of the engine on the K, I created a large access panel for assembly and service.  

I actually miss these cars.  They have come to cost a lot--more than I am willing to spend on one considering what I would also spend doing things to it.  

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
3/10/22 9:30 a.m.

I found that pressure bleeding the brakes is a breeze, but to get the clutch bled you need to have the car seriously nose down. Also the fluid reservoirs are all becoming so brittle that they fail from the 5 lbs or so I use on my pressure bleeder.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/10/22 10:12 a.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

Have you tried pressure bleeding the other way? (Up from the bleeder nipple?)

I haven't tried any yet but I wonder if it's better.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/10/22 10:16 a.m.

Old Land Rovers are similarly difficult to bleed. The gravity bleed seems to have the most success.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
3/10/22 10:52 a.m.

In reply to GasTungstenArc :

I am pretty sure that the Lancia Scorpion is the same configuration, so you really need to pull the pedal box out to work on it. In fact it might just be X1/9 parts on the Lancia.  Your insights on these cars is very interesting since you worked on them at Midwest. They are getting harder and harder to find, that is why I grabbed both a Scorpion and an X1/9 for my collection. Scorpion will be restored to semi-original, not sure what my plans are for the X, those K-swaps are so cool.

Robbie, great to see this car going back together so quickly, you got a great deal on this former autocross racer, can't wait to see what you do with it!

 

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
3/10/22 1:38 p.m.
dherr (Forum Supporter) said:

In fact it might just be X1/9 parts on the Lancia.  Your insights on these cars is very interesting since you worked on them at Midwest.

Thank you.  It's safe to say that I learned the X very well during my time there; I completely dismantled, restored, and K swapped five cars (one supercharged) in my time there.  I built (if I recall correctly,) eleven K swap kits to send all over the country.  I built a stroker car (a ground pounding 1.6L of displacement) that went to Dubai.  And I built a nifty turbo car with a Dallara wide body kit that went directly into the customer's collection, apparently not to be driven.  I did lots of more routine stuff such as pedal box rebuilds, performance engine installs, coil over installs, brake service and upgrades, tune-ups, etc.  Oh, the stories I could tell...  

I wish I could afford one, but it'll cost you at least $5k to get something solid.  And even then, the interior bits are fragile and aging fast; the rubber bits are dried out and irreplaceable; the dashes are all cracked up; and the creeping rust...  It would be easier and cheaper to buy a C4 ZR-1 and have the performance that I want.  Still, I miss them and want one.  Threads like this one are fun for me to read and reminisce over. 

 

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
3/10/22 1:49 p.m.
dherr (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to GasTungstenArc :

I am pretty sure that the Lancia Scorpion is the same configuration, so you really need to pull the pedal box out to work on it. In fact it might just be X1/9 parts on the Lancia. 

The Scorpion very much was a 11/10 scale X1/9.  Knuckles, rear arms, and the pedal box were the same.  I think the Scorpion pedals were longer.  It's been a long time, so I don't remember exactly.  

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/6/22 1:36 p.m.

So I've been working on this a lot, but its coming back together slower than I expected. Pedal box back in (but steering column not, I want to get everything bled first), all calipers rebuilt and reinstalled, I swapped my cracked reservoir out for 2 individual not-cracked ones, and I also did a lot of work on the ecu system including reading the entire manual, taking a high performance academy course on tuning, getting the tuning software running on dosbox (I still have to connect to the ecu to test that, but I think im in a good spot), and printing off the existing tune data sheets. Whew. I will post more on each of those topics as I finish up those 'projects'. 

One small piece I wanted to document for myself here today is the 'check engine light'. The electromotive ECU has a provisioned output for a check engine light, that will blink out error codes if they exist, but it will also light up if there are active errors while running. My idea was to use the "exhaust gas sensor" light on the existing dashboard, since that is originally a light the car would light up every 30k miles to remind the owner to change the o2 sensor. Needless to say, I'm no longer using it. 

The ecu provides ground path for the warning light and can handle up to 250 milliamps current. It looks like it just so happens that the ex gas warning light is already setup that way, and while I have to check the wattage of the bulb, I think I should just be able to connect the ecu output to the pink/black wire on the lamda sensor switch unit connector. I did check last night and it would seem someone already completely removed that sensor switch, so the connector is available. Neat!

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/25/22 11:42 p.m.

OK, been busy on this but not updating the thread as much as I should. here is some catch up.

Pedal box back in the car and not bled perfectly but bled good enough to convice me that it;s possible so I can move on for now. 

new hoses (this part sucked, woof):

Back in.

And each corner "bettererered" as well:

I replaced the big single square internally-partitioned (and cracked) external reservoir with 2 individual reservoirs. Front brakes is in the front - so I remember. I just had these and the bracket laying around from other x1/9s, so win!

I will fight with these again soon to get them fully bled. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/25/22 11:48 p.m.

Next, the fuel mess!

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/yikes-after-scary-event-whats-the-best-way-to-plug-unused-fuel-rail-port/193436/page1/

But I think that is now plugged off with a good solution. 

Next I noticed this about my exhaust:

I don't know many things, but that looks like an exhaust leak to me. Out of some unbelievable streak of luck, I found the perfect gasket in my GRM new years box!!! 

The flange still is warped a bit, so maybe it wont hold up. But we will see. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 12:03 a.m.

At the same time, I was doing a lot of computer work. I got a power cord for the old laptop that was in the footwell of the car. It powered up, and sounded like it was doing something, but the screen was blank. 

Hook up an external monitor, and boom! (This laptop is a thinkpad 360cs let me wikipedia that for you, which would have been sold between 5/1994 and 12/1995) Amazing to me it still works. 

Oh, and not only does it work, it has tuning software, and tune files!!

But does it communicate with the ECU?

Why yes, yes it does. This is me in 2022 using a 28 year old laptop with a broken screen and live-monitoring an engine running a 30 year old standalone ECU. 

Look at when these tunes were done:

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/26/22 12:12 a.m.

Last updates for the night. I put in some nutserts to mount the ecu to the body. It was nut and bolt, but on either side of the firewall it was exceedingly annoying to try and install. Nutsert = 100x better. 

Also, I got my 'period correct' (not really I'm just cheap) wideband working!

Yeah, that's idle, confirming my "my eyes are burning so it must be a bit rich" theory.

Anyway, I installed it according to the innovate instructions where it is powered through a relay with the key, but when the starter is engaged the relay is off, preventing any weird voltage spikes from hitting the wideband controller. I also took my time to use my label printer to label wires and stuff. 

One wire had to come from the starter solenoid, which is a blade connector and not a ring terminal. So instead of hacking into fiat wiring, I made a simple jumper. 

and installed it

And it seems to be working great - getting closer to tuning this puppy!

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
4/26/22 8:16 a.m.

I love that old-school tuning PC setup. Collecting vintage tech is quite popular these days, so Robbie is just ahead of the curve.

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
4/26/22 9:27 a.m.
maschinenbau said:

I love that old-school tuning PC setup. Collecting vintage tech is quite popular these days, so Robbie is just ahead of the curve.

Funny story about that: I had a GReddy Rebic III setup that I tried and tried to sell and eventually threw away.  

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/7/22 10:35 p.m.

Well, more work on wiring today. 

I was not loving this setup:

That fat relay on the right is a fiat specific fuel injection double relay, and it had been hacked to run the fuel pump 100% of the time the key was on and then also supply a switched signal to the "main" ECU relay. The relay on the left is for running the trunk fan that is supposed to prevent vapor lock (the fan itself and the engine mounted temp switch are both long gone on this car).

The cool thing is that fiat has some very useful wires going to these relays. Theres a always hot 4ga wire (meant to power the factory ECU and fuel injection), an always hot fused line for the factory fuel pump power, a switched hot (run and start), and a line from the starter solenoid (hot in start only).

After some reconfiguring, I was able to reuse the plug and many of the wires to make a dedicated fuel pump relay that is actually controlled by the ECU, instead of just switched with the key.

Plus, if this relay ever bites the dust, it will be a lot easier to replace than the fiat specific one. I taped a piece of scrap to it so that I can bolt it back on in the same spot. It's just a standard Bosch relay. Plus I may be able to sell the fiat one for a bit of recoup. 

Then I got to work removing the 2 extra wires that had been installed from the starter to the ECU. One I just did for the wideband, but it was now duplicative since I had the same wire but inside the fiat factory wiring harness. The other was a 4 gauge wire that came from the battery post of the starter, again I was able to replace it with the fiat factory wiring harness version.

Win because I get to remove extraneous wires that go through the firewall, win because the car is closer to the factory wiring diagrams and easier to understand and troubleshoot, win because there are fewer places we could have a hot wire that isn't terminated appropriately, win because the fuel pump is on a standard relay that is controlled by the ECU, etc.

I also took good notes on the factory wiring troubleshooting manual that I printed out.

 

And lastly I checked that the car still started and ran. It does - wooo! Great when practice follows theory...

I actually started playing around with the fuel at idle on the tuning program. I quickly got it down into a much more normal lambda range and the engine seemed to like that. Car got up to full operating temp but then I noticed a coolant leak at one of the radiator hoses. So I called it a day.

 

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
5/7/22 10:48 p.m.

I remember Calvin mentioning in one of his videos of timing the fuel injection to the valve openings for idle control.  I might have been a couple of whiskeys in so I decided I'd go back later and watch it again.  Sound like a good thing?

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/8/22 12:51 a.m.
Stampie said:

I remember Calvin mentioning in one of his videos of timing the fuel injection to the valve openings for idle control.  I might have been a couple of whiskeys in so I decided I'd go back later and watch it again.  Sound like a good thing?

Yes, if your setup can sequential fire the fuel injectors, then by all means you probably should. 

This one is running 4 cylinders on 2 fuel injector control outputs, and has no ability to time the injection pulses so not possible without ECU swapage.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/20/22 10:13 p.m.

Long time since an update but I've been working on other distractions.

Got off the schnied yesterday by reworking my brake masters. There are 2 sizes of lines, and I happen to have the small on the reservoirs and big on the master. I had just slammed down some clamps on the line at the reservoir, but I didn't love it. When I saw what I thought was a leak, I decided to get some adapters. 

Today I got some tuning action going again.

The wideband lm1 has the ability to output a programmable voltage based on afr. I set it up so that lambda = volts, meaning if you're at .7 lambda it would read .7 volts and same at 1.3 lambda.

I was hoping that even if the oxygen sensor feature is turned off on the ECU that the TEC would still measure the voltage at the O2 sensor pin. Which it does! But, the voltage didn't make any sense... Hmmm.

Reread the TEC documentation and there is something about needing to have a 5:1 voltage amplifier built into the ECU in order for the heated O2 sensor circuit to work. Hmmm.

Well, let's give it a shot. I setup .5 lambda to equal .1 volt and 1.5 lambda to equal .3 volts on the lm1. AND it seems to have worked!

Next to see if I can datalog and have the lambda recorded as the O2 sensor voltage channel, but I now think it might. Cool!

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