Friday, May 29, 2009

This is all the cleaned parts. I had previously ordered a rebuild kit and Hey! All the parts fit! Hooray for me. The needle and seat were replaced, the main jet, the idle jet and all the gaskets and fuel filter were also replaced. The float was set to specs for drop (open) and lift (closed). The carb was then reassembled and the result is as shown above.

Is any one reading this stuff or am I just wasting my time??

While still waiting for parts for the other projects started and stalled, I decided to rebuild the carburetor as I felt it was possibly, slightly gummed up. Whaddya think? I was not even surprised when I removed the float bowl cover and found--guess! Yeah, more silicone from the previous moron-er, I mean mechanic. I spent most of the morning cleaning and blowing out jets and passages until I was sure it was a clean as it was gonna be.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The first picture shows the tubes in place before tightening down the head. The next shows the head torqued to spec, the rocker shaft assembly installed and torqued and the tubes compressed to make a tight seal. I mentioned the fuel pump only had one seal but forgot to say the distributor had none. I also spent about 15-20 minutes digging silicone out of the block where the push rod tubes seat. I will probably have to wait until the engine is back in the car before I can remove the oil pan for cleaning and new gasket. For those not familiar with Fiat 500 engines the pan is double walled for cooling purposes. The blower fan is ducted through the space in the oil pan. I have looked in there and can see a whole bunch of wild cherry seeds, so I know it is going to take some serious probing and fishing to get them all out. When I get it off I'll post a picture showing the ducting through the bottom of the pan.

While waiting for parts for the timing chain that I was working on while waiting for parts for the differential I was working on, I started working on the rest of the engine. I cleaned the push rod tubes and stretched them to insure a tight seal when installed. This was accomplished by putting a real snug fitting socket in the end of the tube, clamping it in a vise, and pulling and wiggling it to lengthen the bellows. This was done to both ends. The seals were then put on making sure the beveled end faces away from the tube as shown in the picture to the left. The tubes were installed in the block using small amount of oil on the seals to ease them into their holes. The other picture shows them installed. The head gasket was installed over the head studs and the head was put on the studs and and allowed to settle to the tops of the tubes. After double checking that the tubes were straight in the holes, the head was tapped into place with a rubber mallet. The head nuts were placed on the studs making sure the capped nuts were under the valve cover and the open nuts on the outside of same. I think this is to prevent oil leaks from the rocker arm area down the head studs to the block. The nuts were then torqued to 24 ft. lbs. using the pattern shown in the shop manual. Although it wasn't specified, I did it in incremental steps until I reached 24 ft. lbs. The rocker arm shaft assembly was placed over its mounting studs and the nuts torqued to 14 ft. lbs. I also replaced a few gaskets while fooling around: the distributor gasket, both fuel pump gaskets---hmmm only had one gasket on it, surprise surprise.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is a close up shot of the new driving sprocket and the mounting for the driven sprocket. I cleaned off the old gasket and the crud on the bottom, cleaned and made legible the engine number visible in the upper left corner. Now I'm reduced to waiting, because, yet AGAIN, I've received incorrect parts. The new large sprocket will not fit on the shaft without hitting the bolt heads on the round disk behind the smaller sprocket. Closer examination shows the teeth are not on the same plane as the old one, they sit too far back .I also discovered the new seal in the kit does not fit in the hole in the cover and the orientation of the sealing lips suggests that it is to be installed from the inside of the cover instead of the outside. Seems awfully weird to me. This shit is getting real, real old. Out of six orders, five have been wrong. Screw it! I'm going to bed.

You can see the timing chain and sprockets here. Notice there is no adjustment for taking up slack. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see what looks like little tabs on each chain link. These are actually chain tighteners that work by centrifugal action. As they swing outward, they shorten each link a tiny bit, crude but effective. The other shot shows the chain and driven sprocket removed as described before. It is interesting to note that timing cannot be lost, the sprockets only fit one way. There is a line scribed on the smaller sprocket and a dot punched into a tooth on the larger one. They will line up when the sprockets are installed properly. If they don't line up the bolts won't fit since it is a staggered pattern.

The picture on the left shows the oil filter completely removed just before loosening the bolts to remove the cover. The right side shows the sediment trap after being cleaned. I then proceeded to remove the bolt locks and the bolts holding on the timing chain driven sprocket. The driving sprocket is a slip fit on a keyed shaft. These were removed and set aside. The cover was cleaned inside and out and set aside to dry.

Well, the Corvair I was working on just rolled out the door leaving me with a few spare minutes. I decided to work on the engine since I am still waiting for seals for the transaxle. The picture on the left shows the oil slinger cover removed. It acts as a centrifigal oil filter by slinging the oil outwards toward the rim of the disk, trapping any dirt or sediment in the outer edges. You can see the crud in the right hand photo. I cleaned the crud out and bead blasted the other side. After painting the timing mark in red, I clear coated it and set it aside to dry. The nut lock was pried away from the nut and the nut removed with the cupped oil slinger. It was then a simple matter to slide the back of the oil filter off of the keyed shaft. All these parts were then taken to the parts washer and cleaned up. I then started unloosening all the nuts on the timing chain cover. They have to be loosened a little bit at a time because of the spring pressure of the oil pressure regulator behind it. When all the nuts were off, I removed the cover exposing the timing chain and sprockets.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is the ring gear carrier after splitting it in two. This allows the axle to be withdrawn from the carrier with it's sliding guide blocks on the "T" end of the axle. I am replacing both axles even though only one was screwed up. You can see on the right the difference in size between the stock axle on top and the replacement axle beneath. Probably found they had to beef up the axles due to all that torque and power! GGGGGG We are fast approaching real time in this project so the posts may not be as frequent. Gotta keep the Corvairs rolling out the door! They pay the Fiat bills.

Now for the real fun, the transaxle was separated from the engine in order to replace the welded axle I spoke of before. It's pretty straight forward, just remove the bolts and pull apart. The side bearing adjusters have to come off in order to split the differential case, it has to be split to remove the ring gear assembly, it has to be split to remove the axles. Got all that? After the adjusters are off, there are nuts on the inside of the bell housing that have to be removed. The case can then be split apart.

Couple more pictures of the engine. I neglected to mention the air cleaner modification. Someone decided to cut several slits in the body of the air cleaner for an unknown(to me) reason. They have since been welded shut, ground smooth and the air cleaner painted black. You can see some of the slits on the left. There was also a 5/8" hole in the side for, I guess, the same reason. It too was repaired. I began removing parts such as the starter, generator, carburetor anything that I thought could stand a good cleaning and refurbishing. Also notice in the left picture the novel spark plug looms. Add wires, pinch together, we don't need no steenking grommets! Needless to say this was also remedied and grommets were added.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

At this time I turned my attention to the engine.
These were taken before pressure washing, shortly after removal of the entire power train. On the right side, you can plainly see the mickey moused
1/4" studs on the exhaust. This was only the
first of many mickey moused "repairs"? I found. There was no thermostat, just a brass rod holding the door closed permanently. There were more than several nuts and bolts missing from the shrouds, there was a shop towel in the blower fan. There were several vibration cracks in the baffle in the blower housing due to missing fasteners. The stud holes in the valve cover were pulled down into a funnel shape in an attempt to stop leaks, I guess. Might have been easier to replace the missing gaskets that are supposed to be under the nuts. After removing the valve cover, I found the wrong head nuts had been used. The acorn nuts are supposed to be on the studs inside the cover and the regular nuts are outside. They were reversed which left me short two acorn nuts. Boy are they hard to find! I removed the spark plugs and noticed they were two different brands, I don't know if they were the correct heat range or not since I knew they were going to be replaced. One did look a little odd----no wonder, the poorly installed thread insert came out with the plug. Never seen one like this, it had a knurled edge around the top like it was supposed to be finger tightened. Needless to say, it was replaced with a Big-Sert. With the valve cover off, I could see great gobs of silicone around the tops of the pushrod tubes. I knew the head had to come off just for peace of mind. After removing the carb (and scraping off the silicone) and the head nuts, I pulled the head. Gee, what a surprise, silicone everywhere. I pulled the tubes and found the reason for the silicone, half the o-rings were missing. Shit!! The head was de- greased, bead blasted and examined closely. There was a broken off bolt in one of the holes, which I removed. All threaded holes were chased using the proper size taps. The valves were removed and cleaned on the wire wheel .The head was given a good blow off with high pressure air to make sure there was no grit . The valves were lapped in, re-cleaned and installed. I removed the starter and generator, set them aside for re-furbishing and started to blast and paint all the shrouding. When I got to the generator pulley, I discovered that sometime in it's life, the center had broken out and the ace mechanic brazed it back in place and it only had about 3/32" run out. Good thing I had previously bought a pulley kit just to get the spacers (which were missing). Get to use my new pulley now. A complete engine gasket kit was ordered along with a diff/trans gasket kit, a carb kit and a timing chain kit. The box full of Fiat parts arrived on the same UPS truck that delivered two boxes of Corvair parts. Aargh, guess I have to work on the Corvair, It's a paying customer.

As you can see, with the help of a scraper and a heat gun, half of the mess has been removed. The next night I removed the rest. All It needs now is some paint remover, metal prep, degreaser and some etching primer and it'll be all ready for paint.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You can see the engine has been lowered all the way and pulled out some. When it is completely removed you can clearly see all the ugly undercoating that was sprayed on the walls of the engine compartment. That will all have to come off as Fiat sprayed every thing body color. I think the redone engine will really stand out against Blazing Copper Metallic. It will also make it easier to finish POR-15ing the rest of the suspension. There is one area of rust on the left side that I will have to take care of also.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Here are the first steps in the power train removal. The engine cradle is in place and all connections are removed. Then the rear support member is removed and the engine lowered for clearance.

Before and after, probably should have taken them from the same viewpoint, but you get the idea. Now the real work begins. With the weight of the power train on the cradle, all wires, control cables, front transmission mounts etc., were dis-connected. The rear support crossmember was removed, (Fiat had a great idea!) and the power train lowered slightly. It was then able to be rolled right out from under the car as a unit. I used my shop crane to lift it off of the cradle and place it on the work bench. While checking it over, I got my fingers dirty! Heavens! Get out the power washer, move the power train outside, seal up all openings and bag the distributor, and have at it. With a little degreaser and the power wash it was clean in a jiffy. Get out the electric leaf blower and it was dry in a second jiffy. What the hell is a jiffy, anyhow? Brought it back in, removed the plugs and bag and started serious dis-mantling. The first thing that caught my eye was studs holding the rear exhaust manifold on---that didn't look right---check the manual. Hmmmm, should be bolts there. When I put a wrench on the nuts, the whole stud turned. This is good I thought. When the entire exhaust system was removed, I could see why there were studs instead of bolts. The holes had been bored out and pieces of 7/16 bolts were screwed in and then drilled and tapped for 1/4-20 threads. WTF? Why not do it right? The pieces came out with the studs, luckily. I got the "Master Machinist" to make me two aluminum inserts 7/16 thread with a centerbore. The holes were cleaned with carb cleaner and blown dry with compressed air. The inserts were coated with permanent grade thread lock and screwed in the holes using the tang of a file as a driver. They were allowed to dry overnight and were leveled even with the head using a mini die grinder. Using the centerbore as a guide, they were drilled and tapped to the correct metric size. I obtained two metric bolts, checked the fit---perfect! Went in the house for a cup of coffee.

See, I told you . I'll repeat, no bearings were harmed during this procedure. However, they were cleaned and re-lubed as before. You can see the tape still on the axle shaft protecting the machined surface. The other pic is the re-assembled suspension and brake. I decided it was time to tackle the axle problem. After a lot of reading of the shop manual, it was clear the power train had to come out. I removed the rear motor mount after placing my Corvair engine lift under the Fiat engine. Wow, it's a pretty good fit considering. I did the cleaning, blasting, and painting stuff on the motor mount and put it aside as you will see next post.

Basically this is all a repeat of the other side. The before shot, the dis- assembled shot, next page is the bead blasted parts.
Finally got all the steering parts in and installed. The photo is shot from the floor and looking straight up. You can see the new idler arm assembly, center tie rod, new master cylinder with all new steel brake lines, and the shot of the completed rebuilt steering box mentioned earlier. The car was lowered to the ground, pushed outside and turned around and brought back in and raised up on the jack stands so work could begin on the drivers side rear suspension and brake system. As soon as I can spare my EZ-Carlift, I plan to raise the car up as high as I can, scrape off all the rotten undercoating and paint the entire bottom with POR-15. I think I'll be able to replace the drivers floor before that happens.
As promised yesterday, here are the pictures of the engine lid repair. On the left is the underside of the lid. The repair involved removing the center strut, cutting the bad section out, making a patch to fit, welding it in and some semi-finish grinding. The other side shows the top after some grinding. It still needs finish body work and as I said before, I have to reduce a slight hump in it. You can also see one of the hokey home made hinges that were on it along with the stack of washers needed to make it fit. There was no consideration given to the fact that the lid slopes off to the side so there is a binding on the hinges when the lid is opened and a slight twisting of the lid. I'm pretty sure I can do better. At least I can use the hood prop without buckling the hood.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

While still waiting for the correct front steering parts and having exhausted all the little chores in the interior, I removed the engine cover to see what could be done with it. Sometime in its past, someone tried to close the lid without releasing the prop rod. As a result the reinforcement rib was broken and the lid was torn. Someone tried to repair it by brazing but it was not doing the job. I drilled out the spot welds to remove the rib. I used an oxy-acetylene torch to melt off the brass to assess the damage. It looked like the easiest way was to cut out the damaged section and fabricate a patch panel to fit the gap. It was welded in and ground smooth, the rib welded back on and re installed on the car. The lid would now stay up without bending in the middle but has a slight hump in the center that I'll have to massage out after removing the home made hinges. Feeling cocky, I removed the front hood to align and weld several cracks in the edges. Feels like the hood and trunk were made of tissue paper. I guess they had to keep the weight down when powering a car with only 16 1/2 H.P. I don't have any pictures of these repairs but I can take some tomorrow and post in the next installment. If anyone has any comments, questions or suggestions, feel free to send them along. Night night.

These show the before and after stripping and priming the dash that was discussed in the previous post. Now it was time to do something about the seats. Neither seat would adjust back and forth. I used a rubber mallet to persuade the seat to move on the track and was finally successful in removing the passenger seat. It looked like someone else noticed this problem, the ends of the seat frame were beat all to hell with a steel hammer, maybe even a sledge. Upon looking closely, I noticed the track on the seat was bowed, the track on the floor also looked bowed but it was spot welded to the floor. The solution seemed to be to drill out the spot welds, remove the track, bead blast it to remove many coats of paint, including BLUE, and rust. I welded some bolts to the track to act as mounting studs. When the track was straightened, a light coat of black paint applied and bolted to the floor, I repeated the process on the other track. The seat was next. I used a die grinder to remove the mushroomed metal from the ends of the track, drilled out the pivots and straightened the track. The other side was done the same and the tracks installed with shoulder bolts and locking nuts to replace the factory riveted pivots. Oh yeah, they were also painted black. The seat was placed back in the car, the tracks lubed, fingers crossed and voila! They work, the seat moves back and forth very easily and it only took a day and a half. The drivers side was next and after nudging the seat loose with my trusty rubber mallet, I took a good look at the floor on that side. It had a large patch in the recessed area in the back seat? area, a patch under the seat and a patch under the outer seat rail. Unfortunately, the patches were made of ~1/8" steel plate which meant that the seat sat higher on the outside than the inside which, I assume added to the adjustment difficulties. Rather than go through the same process as I did on the right side I made the decision to replace the whole floor. The entire left side floor panel is available for around $125 and includes new seat rails already welded to it. I am probably also going to replace the passenger side(thereby wasting all the work on the seat rails on the floor) Oh well, that's the way it goes, I guess.
The last little details of the interior clean up. The hood release cable was removed, the blue paint carefully removed from the knob and the knob was polished. The cable was lubed and stored in a plastic bag for later installation. The manual throttle received the same treatment except it was just the housing, I'll have to fit a replacement knob and cable later. The chrome strip on the dash, the door sill moldings and the window weatherstrip holders were all removed, cleaned and buffed, then clear coated. The dash had holes for an older type radio, a big one for the dial and two small ones for the tuning shafts. They looked as though they were cut out with a can opener. I decided to open it up to hold a modern DIN type radio. Like I said it's my car and I can do what I want to! I also decided to remove all switches, indicator lights and other bits and pieces from the dash. There was a deep scratch in the ever so lovely BLUE paint that would take a long time to sand out so I decided to chemically strip the entire dashboard. After metal prep, de-greasing and drying, I sprayed a coat of primer on it to keep it from rusting until paint day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Left side is the instrument panel as it was when I got the car. I obtained a better lens from another Bianchina owner and went to work on it. I used a plastic polishing compound and a loose rag buffing wheel and ended up with what's on the right. I can live with it. I don't have any pictures but I also rebuilt the fresh air vent valves by drilling out the rivets, replacing the rubber seal and re-riveting them after painting the metal parts black. The heater/defroster diverter valves were next. One of them had no valve blade and the other had a cracked blade. However it was enough to get the "master machinist" a pattern to make two new blades out of springy shim stock. They work perfectly. Black paint again. After spending hours in the cabin, I realized that the plastic hose I kept moving out of the way was, in fact, the fuel line to the engine. Naw, they wouldn't run a fuel hose through the passenger cabin, would they? I replaced all of it with 1/4" ID steel tubing, replacing all the rubber grommets along the way. Lot's of tricky bending but I got'er. I had to put a coupling in the middle because I just couldn't feed all that bent line from one end of the car to the other. Looks good and I feel a lot better with steel instead of what looked like Tygon tubing. That's the stuff they use for air hoses in aquariums. Talk at ya later.
The picture on the right is the finished
choke/starter control. Can you imagine
it all blue? Think it looks better? I also found the picture on the left. It is the steering box. It was cleaned and taken apart. The housing was blasted and clear coated then I rebuilt it with all new bearings and seals. I don't have an after picture of it alone, but further along in this epic saga, I have a picture of the completed steering assembly that shows it. Time to turn the page.

I know it's hard to see the difference, but, the left picture is the before with all the blue paint and the right is after the clean 'em up process. I don't have a before picture of the choke/starter but I will post the after picture in the next post otherwise the pictures stack on top of each other. My son will have to learn me some more GGGGG
This shows the completed rear suspension assembly less the brake drum. I was asked what the silver disks are on the brake shoe web. They are Fiat's self adjusters, just some friction pads that prevent the shoes from completely retracting after brake application. Simple but cool as hell.
As I mentioned I couldn't get to the other side of the car, so I started cleaning up the interior of the car. Everything except the seats, instrument panel and door panels was spray painted blue. The pedals, gear shift lever, the choke and starter assembly, the parking brake and the door sill moldings were all a very bright shade of robins egg blue. I started removing the paint on the heater lever just to see how easily it came off. I was lucky, the paint was real brittle and flaked right off with an Exacto knife used very gingerly. I then started on the emergency brake handle. It was removed, dis assembled, bead blasted except for the plastic button in the end, and then painted black. The choke and starter lever assembly was next .I used paint remover on it after taking it apart. I discovered it was cast aluminum so off to the buffer I went. After getting a high luster on the parts they were washed with hot soapy water to remove any traces of compound and then I coated them with clear wheel coat which is a tough clear coating made for refurbishing mag wheels. After putting it back together I was very pleased with how it looked. I don't know if it is stock or not and I don't care. It's my car and I like how it looks. So there! GGGGGG. Next was the gear shift lever. It went through the same procedure as the brake handle and I also cleaned and greased the ball and ring? joint in it. I was trying to figure the best way to clean the shift knob when I started rooting around in my Corvair stash. I found a brand new walnut shift knob that had an unknown application but looked liked something I should keep 'cause it looked so neat. As I was eyeballing it, it dawned on me, that's the same shift pattern as the Bianchina. A quick call to my cousin, the "master machinist" and a new insert was made to fit in the knob and screw on the shift rod. Yay! a good day! Next up , the accelerator pedal. It was taken apart and all the kinks and bends that didn't belong there were removed. Blasting and paint, assembly and it was done. Now for the clutch and brake pedal assembly. Again, separate the parts, protect the pivoting surfaces, blast and paint the pedals. The base was again found to be cast aluminum so it got the clearcoat treatment.

Friday, May 15, 2009

This image shows the completed repair after finish grinding and painting. When dry, the control arm bolted right up with no problems and the rest of the components were installed as shown previously. I should mention that attention should be shown as to the number and placement of shim washers that determine the rear alignment. They are placed between the bracket that bolts on here and the control arm itself. The pivot bolt then goes through the parts and holds them together. The bolt was not tightened yet so I can paint the rest of the brackets. When done the suspension must be jacked up to normal ride height and then the bolt may be tightened. I believe I'm done for the night, talk to you later.

The left pic shows the newly welded nut on the patch panel that was previously cut out. The bracket is being used as a locator to assure correct fitment and the jack is just used to apply slight upward pressure. The right picture shows the patch welded in before any finishing was done.