Project Mutant: Resurrection of an 82 FI basket case

Discussion in 'Workshop Forum' started by Mechanogeek, May 25, 2018.

  1. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Oct 7, 2017)
    New seats for the X1/9 arrived. They are actually quite comfortable. Really strange how you can buy two seats and mounting brackets for about the same price as a single office chair.

    About the only thing I don't have yet is a new windshield. Probably wait until I get the painting done.

    Today I am working on finishing the new brake and clutch fluid reservoir lines, disassembling the brakes, and rebuilding the calipers, cleaning them, and prepping them for the YELLOW caliper paint.

    Tomorrow will be brake caliper painting, then reassembly, and work on the radiator area.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Oct 7, 2017)
    Before and After brake parts. Left front corner ready to reassemble, after I paint the dust shield black.

    Got the copper replacement reservoir lines completed (FINALLY), so when I get the brakes back together, it's time to BLEED! (bleed the air out of the brake lines, anyway).

    Hooked up the new battery, and nothing happened. Turned the key, and the fuel pump didn't even run. Bummer. Oh well, I knew this was a one-way trip when I started it. We'll figure it out
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Oct 8, 2017)
    Turns out that, amongst all the wiring and rats nest of connectors that is currently laying all over where

    the dashboard will eventually go, are two connectors with 4 contacts each.


    One of those connectors is supposed to be attached to the connector that ends at the ignition switch.


    Plugged them together, and lo and behold, the engine now turns over. It didn't start, so I have some additional trouble shooting to do next weekend. BUT it is the first time I heard the engine in movement, and it is not seized. That in itself is excellent news.


    Too hot to work on the brakes, so I will finish them next weekend. Then work on the engine issues. (Hmmm... I wonder where that single red wire that is not connected to anything is supposed to go?)
     
  4. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Oct 9, 2017)
    Determined that the non-start no-activity when the key was turned was due to the simple fact that the ignition switch 4-conductor male plug was not plugged into the 4 conductor female plug that connects it to the rest of the car. The electrical plugs for the dashboard and instrument binnacle are spread across the area where the dash will eventually be returned, as though a large group of electrical octopuses decided to have a wrestling match.

    Made that connection, and the engine turns over, but doesn't start. Could be a dozen different reasons, but for now I am going to hope that it is just because there is no fuel in the system to speak of.

    At least I know that the engine is not seized, and that the battery connection works.

    Put the battery tender charger on the battery, and will get some starting fluid, place some more fuel in the tank (along with a LARGE dose of injector cleaner), and try it again this weekend.

    In the meantime, I have one corner of the brakes ready to re-assemble, and will work on the other three corners as time and temperature allows.

    Will take a couple before and after pictures of the brakes.

    Also determined I need new outer tie rod ends for the steering, as the rubber is completely cracked on the existing tie rods. Meh. 35 year old problems!

    If anyone out there knows how to determine the month and year of manufacture, I would like to know. I can't seem to determine it from the VIN, unless I am looking at the wrong number order.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  5. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Oct 9, 2017)
    Alrighty then.
    This is encouraging: Engine runs on starting fluid.
    Checked fuel line after fuel pump = no fuel. Checked electrical connections to fuel pump = good voltage with key turned on.
    No activity from fuel pump = bad fuel pump (not surprising considering the rust and junk that came out of the old gas tank).
    So, the hunt is on for a new or used fuel pump.

    (Oct 10, 2017)
    Brand new aftermarket fuel pump is on the way.
    Each time the engine started, it made a loud gronk sound at the end of the 2-3 second run.
    I am guessing that by starting the engine without coolant, that sound might just be the water pump. Sometimes, the stupid bug just jumps up an grabs me!
    So, I won't try any more starts until I get the cooling lines flushed and the new radiator installed and the engine filled with that precious green fluid.

    (Oct 13, 2017)
    New fuel pump arrived. Will install on Sunday (tomorrow is a Cars and Coffee morning at Everbank Field in Jax).
    Before and After brake pictures. Before is right side, after is left side. Now, only 3 more to go!
     

    Attached Files:

  6. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    I think there is a single red wire with an inline fuse that runs back to the double relay. Going from memory on that, so maybe I am wrong. If I am right, that would prevent the engine from running.
     
  7. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Oct 14, 2017)
    Quick update: Installed new fuel pump. NOW it gets fuel. Starts and runs, idles (dies during idle, but that's a job for another day).
    Gronk noise still happening. I am pretty sure it is the starter. Symptoms include only turning over sometimes. Might be the engagement solenoid. Anyways, probably time for a new starter.
    THIS is an encouraging day

    (Oct 15, 2017)
    Getting tired of ordering things for the Fiat project. Just the latest:
    Rear brake hoses
    New starter
    30mm wire brushes to clean the radiator tubes
    All new radiator hoses
    New tie-rod ends
    Heater control valve and gaskets
    Chrome door poppers for the trunk releases
    New shop manual for the 80+ Bertone X1/9s

    Man, this is getting old. May also need a new clutch master and/or slave cylinder. Haven't had a chance yet to check the brakes.

    Maybe my viewpoint will soften somewhat when the temperatures drop to a more reasonable number, and I can get some more tasks completed. The more the list shrinks, the more the list grows.

    Got the fuel pump changed, will do the wiring for the dual fans, need to clean the radiator tubes that go from the back of the car to the front, and replace all the coolant hoses before I clean up the radiator area, repaint it, and then hook up the new radiator and put coolant back in the system. Not to mention completing three more brake rebuilds and the associated clean-ups.

    And of course, when it is all completed and pretty and driveable, I'll forget about most of the troubles I have had to work through. BUT...

    If I ever talk about taking on a 35 year old basket case car again, somebody PLEASE hit me with a 2x4 until I come to my senses.

    (Oct 21, 2017)
    New reman starter arrived yesterday. Got it replaced this morning. Smooth, fast and NO MORE GRONK!

    Also working on the left rear brake, and after wirebrushing the backing plate and spacer plate, I'll be ready to reassemble tomorrow. Then onto the right rear brake (and so on and so on).

    It 'feels' like the current clutch master or slave cylinder is seized up. Better to replace than to spend an inordinate amount of time diagnosing.

    So I decided to order a new brake master cylinder, and a new clutch master and slave cylinder. I figured if I have it apart this far, I might as well, cause if I don't do it now, I'll just have to do it later.

    And with the interior torn apart, it provides easier access and I don't have to worry if fluids spill. Also allows me to blow out all the old fluids from the hard-lines, so the new fluids don't start out as contaminated.

    When all is said and done, I will have renewed all of the fluid systems on the X1/9, which goes a long way to offset 35 years of degeneration.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Nov 4, 2017)
    Personal time constraints have left me unable to make much progress on the X.

    I received the new brake master cylinder, clutch master and slave cylinders, and will be tackling that portion of the process next.

    Here is a tip for anyone working on the rear brakes of a Fiat X1/9. Lisle makes a tool, 44210, that allows you to compress the spring on the emergency brake cable, and turns an otherwise difficult task into a 5 minute operation. Easy!

    (Nov 5, 2017)
    Removed the brakes on the right side of the X1/9. It looks like someone parked it in the sand (deep) at some point. Probably gonna need to replace the wheel bearing on that side, which is a task for another day. The right rear brake piston was nearly froze up. No way that the right rear brake actually worked,

    Got the front right components wire brushed and ready for caliper paint. Just need to do some masking. The right rear brake components will be wire brushed tomorrow. Should be good to paint by Wednesday.

    Had to order the right-sized crush washers for the brake connectors. The ones I ordered from Vick Auto Sports were NOT the right size.

    (Nov 8, 2017)
    Both right-hand side brakes are just about ready to rebuild (new seals, etc), and reinstall. New crush washers arrived, and they seem to be a better fit than the ones I had.

    Here's a quick tech tip: When you think you only need 1 can of spray paint, buy 2. If you think you need 2 cans of paint, buy 3. Otherwise, like me, you'll run out of yellow caliper paint late at night when you can't go down to O'Reilly's and buy another.

    Started trying to remove the seat rails, so I can replace the seats. Holy Moley! They definitely joined the car and the rails. Apparently there are spot welds that can be drilled out? I'm probably going to have to figure out where those welds are. I would guess there are more than two.

    I received the tow straps that will be able to be bolted into the old bumper mount locations, in case the car needs towing. Required by most racing sanctions. After all, we know that old Fiats never need to be towed, right?
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Nov 11, 2017)
    Seat Tracks:
    How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? No, wait. Wrong question...
    How many spot welds did Fiat use to connect the seat rail to the floorpan?
    Answer: At least 9. Might be 10 or 11. Each and every one must be drilled out completely before you can pry the track off the floor.
    I now have one seat rail off, and will work on the other 3 rails later.

    (Nov 12, 2017)
    Rear Brakes:

    Yet another tech tip: When you have the rebuild kit for the rear brakes, it comes with a large o-ring for inside the caliper, an accordian ring for keeping dust out of the piston area, and a tiny o-ring for each side. The tiny o-ring is for the emergency brake actuator. Do not lose it. They do NOT sell it separately.

    Guess who lost one? Now I can't complete the job until the new kit arrives. Front brakes are both done!

    Still have not gotten to replacing the master cylinders.

    Oh well.

    (Nov 21, 2017)
    Front and Rear calipers are rebuilt, painted, and re-installed, over new rotors.

    Started removing the slave cylinder for the clutch. Good thing I also ordered a new slave cylinder line, as the old one was way beyond its shelf life.

    As with this restoration, it always seems to be one step forward and two steps back...

    Now that I have the slave cylinder out of the way, the clutch seems to be 'frozen'. No actuation as far as I can tell from moving the clutch release lever. So, ordered a new clutch, which should be here by Friday, so I know where I'll be this weekend. Hopefully the flywheel is salvageable.

    Also found more proof that whoever owned this 'gem' in the past did shoddy work and broke MANY things. The pipe fittings for the water connections on the drivers side of the engine? Yep, one of those is broken off partially. So I'll be fixing that as well.

    Now, for the question for the masses... Is there any 'easy' way to remove the coolant pipes from underneath the car? With the amount of rust and silt I see there, I really don't want to hook up my shiny fancy aluminum radiator, just to have it filled with debris. I'd rather replace the coolant pipes with some stainless tubing.

    (Dec 2, 2017)
    Only took 2 hours to get the transmission removed. Found that the clutch disk was
    a) Rusted to the pressure plate and flywheel
    b) Too thick. Removed = 8.9mm, new = 7.3mm

    Other than that, the old throwout bearing, pressure plate, and clutch disk are actually in pretty good shape. I wonder if someone got the wrong clutch disk for the application. Also, leaving it where rain can get to the clutch assembly through the access hole in the transmission bellhousing didn't help.

    Tomorrow: Clean the transmission outside and bell housing, replace the transmission fluid, remove and install the new throwout bearing, clean the flywheel, and then install the NEW pressure plate and flywheel. THEN re-assembly, and I will be back where I started LAST weekend.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Dec 6, 2017)
    Project X1/9: Flywheel removed, cleaned, rust removed, ready for reinstall. Sheetmetal behind flywheel wire brushed, first coat of rust restorer primer applied. Under-Engine/transmission support bar wire brushed, and first coat applied.

    New pressure plate and clutch disc cleaned up, and ready to install.

    Now, just need to manhandle that 91lb transmission & bellhousing around so I can clean it, replace the fluid, and get it ready for re-install.

    I think I'll also look to see what it takes to replace the main seal at the end of the crankshaft. I mean, since I have it apart and everything...

    (Dec 9, 2017)
    Project X1/9: Finally made some progress today, with no bad news to set me back.

    Drained oil from engine. Black and thick, but not gummy or gritty. Removed oil pan, and no chunks or bearing particles to be found.

    Removed main seal carrier from flywheel end of engine, and cleaned it up. Oil pan gasket and main seal carrier gasket both came away clean.

    Now, just need to clean the oil pan and transmission, and wait for some parts to arrive mid-week (Gaskets and the seal), and I should be ready for re-assembly.

    I did find that one of the CV joint rubber boots needs to be replaced. Cheap, and not too difficult to do. Overall, a fine day.

    (Dec 16, 2017)
    Project X1/9: I have been cleaning up and preparing for a family visit. So, not a lot of time to devote to that 35 year old rascal Fiat.

    Having said that, the oil pan needed a serious amount of elbow grease and love. Behold, before, and after (after disassembly followed by two hours of cleaning, scraping, wire brushing, cleaning some more, and reassembly followed by primer and final aluminum top coat).

    Won't be able to work on it for a couple weeks, as family time is more important than garage time. And on that you can quote me. Expect to get greasy some more and start re-assembly of the engine parts and clutch and new oil, and then hook up the new fuel pressure regulator, and replace the master cylinders... Man, I just seem to be stuck on the same merry-go-round.
     

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  11. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Location:
    Michigan
    First, thanks for joining us. We will do our best to offer you the best advice we can. However it doesn’t seem like you need much :) Aside from that 2x4 upside the head...

    Great thread and a great project, one that few would attempt and fewer still would get to the point you have gotten this to (and you are only to December of last year).

    Fun commentary and lots of well done work.
     
    Mechanogeek likes this.
  12. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Jan 17, 2018)
    My back went out again, so I was very limited in what I could accomplish. Didn't really get anything done for a few weeks. Starting to get back into it.

    For you really car-geeky folks out there, here is todays Fiat X1/9 update:

    Pulled off the rear main bearing cap, and determined that the thrust washer that I found in the oil pan was damaged. Straightened out the lower thrust washer half, cleaned everything up, and then reinstalled the main bearing cap WITH the lower half thrust washer in place. Looks like it should hold this time, and NOT drop the thrust washer lower half into the oil pan again.

    For anyone that wonders, the thrust washer is in two halves and sits between the rear main bearing cap and the part of the crankshaft that the flywheel bolts to. The thrust washer is designed to reduce the end-to-end play of the crankshaft. The rear main bearing cap has a machined recess into which the lower thrust washer half sits. The recess is very very shallow, and in my case, the thrust washer half looks like it was flung out of it at some point, and ended up laying in the oil pan. If you are working on the bottom end of a 1500 sohc engine, the lower thrust washer has a bevel that should match the bevel in the end bearing cap.

    Then, I re-installed the rear main seal which had been placed in the main seal carrier, and re-installed the (now clean and shiny) oil pan. Put in a new oil filter, and will refill the oil after I make one more round of re-torqueing the oil pan bolts.

    Should have the flywheel installed tomorrow evening, along with the new clutch disk and new pressure plate.

    Started cleaning the oil and accumulated dirt off of the transmission, and it looks like I am about 20 percent done so far. MAN that thing was UGLY!

    I should be able to re-install the transmission on Saturday, and then re-assemble all of the parts and pieces that I had to disassemble in order to take out the clutch disk. Maybe I'll have it back together by Sunday sometime.

    I still need to replace the CV joint boots, which will involve disassembly, cleaning and reassembly and greasing of the CV joints

    Next project is to complete the installation of the aftermarket fuel pressure regulator, and replace the
    cold-start valve, so maybe I can get it to run better and actually rev beyond idle.

    THEN, it's back to finishing the replacement of the clutch slave and master cylinder, and the brake master cylinder, and then top up the fluids and bleed the system.

    What a journey. I am not so sure anymore that I will have it ready for the Fiat Freak Out at Disneyworld in August.

    (Jan 21, 2018)
    I am still cleaning the X1/9 transmission. It has reached the point where, at least, every time I touch it I don't have to say 'Eeeewwww! Yucky!"

    I think another hour or two and I'll be ready for re-assembly.

    It is almost 'Yeah, that should go in the car' clean. I won't bother getting it to 'Yeah, I could store that in the living room' clean.

    So, I am another week behind my expectations. However, when all is said and done, it should make the car nicer to be around, and more pleasant to work on, when that time comes again.

    This thing better last another 35 years when I'm done with it!

    (Jan 23, 2018)
    Okay, now after another hour and a half with wire brush, scraper, nylon parts brush, 'Super Clean', and a
    hose with hot water, I pronounce the transmission to be fit for the Fiat.

    I did find that whoever filled the transmission before me overfilled it by almost a quart. Could be why it was so messy, between the rear main seal, and the transmission breather valve spewing transmission oil.

    Next up: Some Assembly Gonna Happen, fer shur!

    After I get the garage a bit more cleaned up, and the major components back in place, I need to get the CV joints removed from the axles, cleaned, greased, the axles cleaned and re-painted, and the CV boots replaced, before I re-install the axles.

    Then get the fuel pressure regulator replaced, and the master and slave cylinders and the hydraulic fluid and reservoir and new hoses, and, and, and...
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Jan 25, 2018)
    Project Mutant update: It is truly a thing of beauty. Flywheel mounted and torqued to spec, clutch pressure plate and new disc in place, and torqued, transmission clean and new throwout bearing in place and clipped to the actuator arm.

    Took a chance, and found out that an Empi VW Air-cooled flywheel lock works perfectly for holding the Fiat flywheel in place (and only costs $11). So much easier to torque when you have the right tools. I
    know people that use vice grips and screwdrivers and etc. to hold the flywheel in place, but frankly that sounds like a recipe for a minor disaster in my hands.

    At this point, I am ready to put the transaxle back into place, and will need a spare set of hands to do so. Need someone to operate the engine hoist and lift and lower the transaxle whilst I wrangle it into place. May need to borrow a family member to get that done.

    (Jan 27, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Transmission is back on the engine, starter is in place, everything seems 'better' now.

    Found another potential source of trans oil leakage, as the rubber boot for the shift linkage on the transmission side has split. Ordered a new one.

    Will hold off on finishing the re-install until after I get the shift boot replaced. No sense in encouraging leaks or having to do it a second time.

    While waiting for the new boot, I will start working on the CV joints. Should have the transmission/clutch/shifter/axles wrapped up by next weekend.

    WooHoo! Then onto the remainder of the list!

    (Feb 3, 2018)
    Project Mutant: I have been working on the axles, to replace the CV boots. One of the 4 boots was split. A split CV joint boot allows water, dust, sand, and all sorts of nasty badness into the CV joint. The result is accelerated wear and a need for early replacement.

    I have removed, cleaned and regreased the CV joints on one axle. The new boots are in place, and everything is hunky dory on that axle.

    The axle with the split boot? That's another story altogether. I was able to remove and clean the CV joint with the intact boot, with no issues. It is ready to re-install.

    The CV joint with the split boot? See the attached picture. That grease is supposed to be smooth and creamy, and all the same sort of black color. What you see is an abrasive paste that contains moisture. It caused the CV joint to somewhat rust to the axle. I have worked for a couple hours just trying to get it off of the axle. No joy. Not sure what my next move is. Might have to take it to a driveline shop where they have the tools to handle a problem child like that one.

    I am done for the weekend. Will work on it some more next

    (Feb 3, 2018)
    Already ordered replacements. I can get an almost new replacement axle and almost new CV joint for around $100. With the grit and unknowns, and the issue with removal, it will probably be better in the long run to replace it.

    (Feb 6, 2018)
    I saw it on the internet, and I am now a believer...

    I need to do a floorboard repair (rusted where the drain is in the floor). I needed to get the sound dampening vinyl off the floorboard to allow me to cut out the bad spot, and weld in a new piece. To remove the vinyl that is on the floorboards under the carpet, you can use a scraper and a heat gun, and spend hours working at it, and likely damaging something in the process, OR:

    Get a good sized chunk of dry ice. Break it up and spread it all over the vinyl. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Now just take a sharp hammer, like a welders hammer, and start striking the vinyl. It will have released its grip, and will shatter into a bunch of small pieces.

    Both floorboards would have taken me hours to remove. Using this trick, I was done removing the vinyl in about 10 minutes. Seriously.

    (Feb 9, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Need one last part for the axle, which should be here Monday. Drivers axle ready to go.

    Passenger side will only take a few minutes to complete once the last new part arrives.

    Installed the new fuel pressure regulator/pressure gauge. Adjusted the fuel pressure to factory specs. At least I know that's good. Put oil in the engine, and made sure it runs again. Still need to get the lower motor mount put back on before I run it again.

    Now, I will take the steering column off maybe tomorrow, so I can start working on those pesky master cylinders. They are mounted above the steering column underneath the dashboard. Getting close to actually making progress again.

    I would seriously love to get the clutch slave cylinder and brakes all back together again. Then, I will work on the radiator again. Then mount the seats and install carpet. Then put the wheels on and see if I can get it purring like a kitten, and just MAYBE get it to drive under it's own power. Ah the dreams of the deluded!
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Feb 10, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Hole-y Floorboard, Fiatman!

    Cut out the only rust-through spot I found on the whole car. This is the floor-drain in the drivers side footwell.

    Will cut an appropriate patch and weld it in, and then prime and paint, after I wire-brush away the surface rust around the footwell.

    AND, the new CV joint cover arrived! So, maybe tomorrow I can get finished replacing the shifter seal and boot, and get the axles back on the car. (Also need to remember to put in the GL-1 gear oil). Then, maybe put the motor back in position, with the lower mount in place.

    (Feb 11, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Quick update. Both axles are ready to install. Replaced the gear selector shaft seal and rubber boot on the transmission. Replaced the grounding strap. Re-tightened the bolts on the oil pan.

    Next to re-install the axles, re-install the lower engine mount, re-connect the shifter to the transmission, and put fresh GL-1 90wt oil in the transmission. That should just about be one evenings work.

    But not this evening.

    (Feb 16, 2018)
    Project Mutant: It is kind of a difficult thing, when rebuilding a car, to get other people to relate to the efforts involved. You take a ton of things apart, refurbish, replace, repair, and then re-assemble. So after many many hours of work, you end up with something that looks like it did when it left the factory, albeit usually somewhat seasoned and beaten up.

    Hard to get friends and family hyped by pointing out the axles that took so many hours to remove, rebuild, and replace and say "Yep, they look like axles, by golly."

    "Yeah, but these axles are clean and shiny and have new CV boots, and the motor mount is clean and satin black, and, and, and..."

    I now have the axles mounted back in the car, the suspension re-attached (which required removing and then replacing a portion of the exhaust to get one bolt back in), the lower engine mount back in place, and the engine back up to the level where it belongs. Gonna fill the gear oil tomorrow, and then I will get back to the master cylinders. Yay!

    One other really frustrating thing I have found a couple times now, is losing a Fiat-specific part, and having to order a replacement. Case in point is a little shoulder-bolt that is used to connect the shifter to the transmission shift rod. I KNOW I took it out. I bag every nut and bolt. But that little sucker just up
    and vanished.

    Had to order one (and the new axle nuts) from Midwest Bayless. Now I have to wait a few more days before I can officially wrap up the under-carriage work. One small gripe I have with this is that I end up spending more on freight than I do on the parts. Doubles the cost for repairs. :(

    (Feb 21, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Got the shifter mechanism all put back together. Still need 90w GL-1 oil in the transmission. Got the clutch master cylinder out, and started taking the brake master cylinder out.

    The two master cylinders reside just above the pedals, under the dash. Oddly enough, they use really long bolts to go from one, across the pedal assembly, into the other, to hold them on, together. They are not bolted onto the pedal assembly separately. The bolts are not very big diameter, but they are VERY long..

    It LOOKS like I will need to pull out the heater box in order to be able to remove the bolts. Hehe. Engineering, eh?

    I adjusted the engine timing by ear, and now it starts and idles a LOT better. However, it won't accelerate... It didn't before, and it still doesn't. Idle good, press throttle, engine dies. Dunno, maybe Mass Airflow Sensor? THAT is a problem to tackle after the clutch and brakes and radiator tubes are done, and the beast sits down on it's own feet again.

    (Feb 22, 2018)
    Project Mutant: I am truly excited! With some help from a friend, and some info from the internet, I fixed a definite and crippling problem for exactly zero dollars!

    The car would start, and idle reasonably well. However, when you went to press the accelerator to rev the engine, it would just die. By all indicators, this was related to the air flow meter. On newer cars, this has been obsoleted by the mass airflow sensor. The job of this device is to measure the amount and temperature of the air flowing into the engine. It does this with a flapper valve that gets pulled when the engine wants more air.

    I used the good old neanderthal method of checking it by sticking my finger in the opening to check for whether it would move freely. It wouldn't. It met some sort of soft-stop, and wouldn't open up at all.

    AHA, I said.

    I took the device off the car, and on the workbench I was able to remove the top cover, and examine the inside. Thanks to the internet, I had a vague notion of what I should be seeing, and how it was supposed to work. I found a small metal arm that had moved past a limiting switch, and so it was in a permanent shut position, and could not move back. I gently moved the copper limiting switch back, and moved the flapper valve back where it belonged, and then allowed the copper limiting switch to go back where it belonged. NOW the flapper valve moved freely, AND the engine started and revved like it was SUPPOSED to.

    In the two pictures attached, you can see in one that the arm has swung clockwise TOO FAR, and is now on the left side of the little copper limiting switch. In the other picture, you can see that the arm is now back where it belongs.

    EUREKA!

    I was also able to determine that the AFM electronics in the case are in really good shape! That is one less BIG item off my list. The car starts, runs, and accelerates. Now just need to get the brakes and clutch cylinders refreshed and cleaned and bled, and this X might just be ready to run!

    AND, after even MORE digging, it looks like the little chrome arm is in the WRONG position!

    When the flapper is closed, the u-shaped contact should be in the location that it is in in the first picture. Time to take it off again, and get the chrome arm positioned correctly to insure things run like they are supposed to!

    The picture attached to this post shows the arm and contacts in the correct position.

    Aaaand... Now the components are correctly adjusted, and the car runs great. (Only running for short bursts, since no coolant yet). Someone had tried to do some brute-force adjustments to the AFM, and they succeeded in screwing it up. I had wondered why the cover that was supposed to be sealed on was taped on. MUCH better now, and correct.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Feb 23, 2018)
    If I am correct, then I don't need to remove the master cylinders from the pedal box. I should be able to
    undo 4 hard lines (Clutch, left front brake, right front brake, and rear brakes) and then remove the entire pedal box assembly as a unit.

    The brake lines connect to brass colored blocks on either side of the assembly and are fairly easy to access and disconnect. All of the other brake line connections are on top of the master cylinder, and ridiculously hard to get to. The clutch line connects to the front of the clutch master, and was relatively easy to get disconnected.

    That would solve a lot of problems. It will also make it MUCH easier to refurb the brake and clutch pedal assembly, and get it looking 'pretty'. I will try it tonight.

    (Feb 24, 2018)
    Project Mutant: FINALLY got the brake pedal/clutch pedal box off with the master cylinders attached. 35 year old brake line fittings can be a real bear. I have no idea where I bought the little wrench in the photos, but it works like a miniature pipe wrench, and gets a grip on fittings that don't want to budge, or are stripped.

    Now that I got it off, the brake light switch is completely toast. (How does a plastic thread get stopped by rust, anyway?). I had to twist it in two and then drill it out so I could remove the remainder. So, I ordered a new switch. Then, both pedals action centers around a 6" long nylon bushing. Mine seems to be rusted or otherwise seized into the pedal box. So, I will be trying to coax it out, followed by brute force if necessary. As a preemptive strike, I've ordered a replacement one of THOSE as well.

    After I get the nylon bushing out, THEN I will be ready to do the good old wire brush and sandpaper action on the pedal box and pedals and etc.

    (Feb 25, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Considering what I started with, and the struggle it took to get there, I am ALMOST hesitant to re-install the pedal box and master cylinder assemblies.

    What I have now is very nearly mechano-porn. A makeover in every sense.

    Alas, it is now too hot in the garage to continue today, so I will probably reinstall it tonight.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Feb 26, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Well, the garage is a LOT cleaner, most of the tools have been put away (kind of), and I have one workbench that I need to finish cleaning off.

    I filled up the gearbox with 90wt GL-1 oil, and tracked down some various parts and pieces for the next steps in the process. Also threw away a bunch of parts that will never be used again, and the recycling bin is a bit heavier because of it.

    I think tomorrow I will finish cleaning the workbench, and then finish cleaning the brake lines and clutch lines as a precursor to reinstalling the pedal box. Before I reinstall the pedal box, I am going to remove the heater core, so I can take it to a radiator shop to have it checked, cleaned, and have any problems fixed, before I install the new heater control valve, and put the heater assembly back in place.

    I've also decided to wait to install the pedal box until the new brake light switch shows up, so I can install it when it is on the bench. With my back problems, I don't relish laying in the footwell doing installations, and want to keep it to a minimum.

    The stainless steel tubing that I ordered to replace the rust and scale filled coolant tubing under the car should be here tomorrow. That is the NEXT task after I get the brakes and clutch mechanism all functioning like they are supposed to. The tubing is simply straight tubes, so all of the bends and etc in the existing tubes will need to be fabricated or otherwise re-engineered.

    They call me "The Fabricator"... Come with me if you want to live!

    (Feb 28, 2018)
    Project Mutant: It doesn't seem like much, but I have now succeeded in getting the 4 brake lines and clutch line thoroughly cleaned out, and hooked up to the calipers and clutch slave cylinder.

    Of course, I HAD to lose one of the spring clips that holds the brake line in place, so that had to be ordered.

    I will not be able to work on the car for the next 5 days, so next Tuesday I plan on removing the heater core, and getting it refurbished, and then getting it re-installed. Then NEXT weekend, I will put the pedal box back in, and get the brakes and clutch bled and operational again.

    The stainless tubing showed up, and it sure is pretty. I should be able to start on the coolant hose and tubing replacement process late next weekend. Hopefully I can find a replacement thermostat housing before the end of March.

    Wow. I may just have the car back on it's own four feet at the end of March. Then I can work on the body mods and dent fixes, and then on to the interior. Then, Finally, paint.

    Who knows? I may just make it to the Fiat Freakout on Aug 15th after all. But I'm not gonna reserve a hotel room just yet!
     
  17. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Mar 13, 2018)
    Thanks to Bertie in Canada, I found a great thermostat housing.

    Thanks to Delta Airlines, I am now basically crippled... Two 12.5hr flights to take care of family business resulted in a back that is in constant searing pain.

    Which means that, at least for now, progress on the X has ground to a halt. Hopefully the doctors can fix my back, and I can get back to work.

    Until then, we are at a standstill. Like most long-term projects, there will always be ups and downs.


    (Mar 30, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Oh, the horrors, the ravages of time.

    Unable to do much more, I decided to remove the heater core, since I was going to replace a non- functioning heater control valve.

    Wow. To say it was disgusting is an understatement. The valve is clogged with some sort of hard waxy stuff. The valve was corroded to the heater core. I had to cut off the aluminum 'ears' to get it removed. And the pipe that gets coolant to the heater is corroded beyond repair. It looks like the scrunge in the heater valve didn't make it to the inside of the heater core.

    I will be cutting out 150 spot welds to remove the channel from the bottom of the car where the radiator coolant tubes and one of the heater supply tubes runs. Looks like the heater tubes are now on the list
    for replacement as well, since they also run through that same channel.

    And in Jacksonville, FL, there is only 1 place that rebuilds heater and radiator cores. I'll be dropping off the heater core next week.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Nearly caught up now. Not much more to go!)
    (Apr 5, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Started the work to remove the coolant passage box under the car. Step one is to remove the hoses and while I am at it, replace the thermostat housing and associated components.

    You can see from the pictures that there truly was some horrors lurking inside. Thank goodness for Bertie and the replacement housing he sold me, and for Midwest Bayless for some of the other components.

    Getting the heater core rebuilt as we speak. Removed the hoses that will be replaced. Started cleaning, finding spot welds, and have already cut about 30 of them. So, about 1/3 done with the removal process. Some of the time was prep work and removing hoses and etc, and some of the time is sanding away the coating so I can find the spot welds.

    Did figure out that when cutting spot welds on thin sheet steel, it is hard to judge the depth. I will have a few holes that will need to be fill-welded when I am done.

    My back still hinders me getting around and crawling under the car. What I wouldn't give to have a nice two post lift. So I am done for tonight, and will probably be able to pick up the drill again on Saturday morning. Tomorrow is date night.

    I think I can have the box removed by Saturday afternoon, then give my back another rest, and so on.

    (Apr 7, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Finally, a project that went faster than expected! I spent a couple hours on Thursday night, and a couple hours this morning.

    I was able to get the coolant tube box off of the bottom of the car in just under 2 hours. It was as ugly inside as predicted.

    There was some really nasty fluid left in the tubes. the heater tube was pretty much blocked. All in all, this is definitely a task that needed to be done!

    I ordered the gaskets for the water pump, and will be cleaning and servicing that as well, before I finally put it back together. Stainless tube and corrugated stainless radiator hoses. I also ordered 4 45 degree stainless elbows, and will weld up the back part myself. From there out, it is just ad-libbing my way through.

    So I will take the rest of the day off, and congratulate myself on a task well done.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Apr 9. 2018)
    Project Mutant: The coolant box is on the bench, and the coolant tubes and heater tube have been removed.

    I've bent a new heater tube that looks pretty good. Should fit and end up where the old tube ended up.

    I started cleaning the inside of the box, and after some 45 minutes of scraping, it looks like I should be able to get out the wire brush and start removing the rest of the scrunge real soon now. Then, some rust restorer primer, and some satin black paint, and then sand off and repaint the outside, and it will be awaiting the installation of the new stainless coolant tubes.

    I will start fabricating the new tubes this week, and will get to see how much my welding skills have deteriorated with 15 years of not being used. :D

    (Apr 14, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Done cleaning and repainting the coolant tube enclosure from the bottom of the car. Removed the end plates, removed all the old sealer and rust, and primed with rust restorer primer, and painted satin black.

    I am now working on recreating the end plates where the pipes pass through. A carbide-tipped hole saw is Da Bomb for making the proper holes. Amazing bit of kit.

    I am also planning on running BOTH of the heater lines in the enclosure. One of them currently runs inside the car (instead of underneath) in the same box where the shift mechanism lives. So I'll be ordering another piece of 5/8" stainless and bending THAT to match the new one I bent. Makes more sense.

    I will be rounding off the edges of the holes by welding in some tubing (like brake line) over the sharp end of the cut metal, so that it doesn't damage the stainless coolant tubes over time.

    Deconstruction takes a LONG time and can be very frustrating, especially when you keep finding other related issues. Construction and rebuilding brings a smile to my face, and building something physical with my hands makes me feel good. This car will likely be willed to my grandkids when I pass, whenever that happens, since I seriously doubt that I could ever bring myself to sell it.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    (Apr 15, 2018)
    Project Mutant: Some things are just too good (bad) not to share.

    It seems that everywhere I turn, I find holes in things that shouldn't have holes, and blockages in things that should have holes. I will be SO glad when I am done with the cooling system revival!

    I removed the tube that takes coolant from the engine back to the water pump. It wasn't blocked, but the inside looks terrible. In cleaning it up, I found a hole in the large pipe, AND a hole in the small pipe. DANG!

    Then, I took the water pump off. There are two holes in the engine block, one large and one small. So far, so good. The water pump housing itself is a different story. The large hole was disgusting, but the small hole was CAKED, BLOCKED, and that stuff was what I have been finding all over the cooling system.

    I think in the past, someone used some stop-leak, or maybe a LARGE case of stop-leak, and where it didn't circulate, it decided to settle in and make itself into some form of crystalline cement.

    I had ordered a replacement water pump, BUT the illustration doesn't show the full housing. So, I ordered a Beck-Arnley water pump also, where the illustration DOES show a full housing. The winner will be the first one to arrive with the full housing. The loser gets returned for refund.

    I ordered an in-line filter for the cooling system (wire mesh in a clear housing) so I can place it where it will catch larger flakes and etc. It also will make it so I can view the state of the coolant.

    Once I get everything here, I will remove the thermostat, hook the out and in-flow parts of the thermostat housing together with the filter, and do a full cooling system flush. Or two. Or three.

    Nothing gets hooked up to my new cooling lines and radiator until I can get the engine completely flushed, and running clear. Until then, it will be flushing with a closed loop system.

    For my Fiat X1/9 community friends... If you decide to remove the heater tube that runs inside the car, in the console, you will want to know that there are THREE 'clamps' that are spot-welded to the console. They do NOT want to be removed. Took some large pry bars. chisels, spot weld cutters, and a right angle cut off tool to get it loose. Then, I decided to cut the tube into three sections to remove it, since it was easier than taking it out the back.
     

    Attached Files:

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